Mary Parker Follet

THE power of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, unknown to political theory, is the central feature of our actual system of government. The object of the following work is to show the growth of the Speaker’s power from 1789 up to the present time. A necessary preliminary has been an examination of the precedents of the office, which exist chiefly in the practice of the House of Commons and of the colonial assemblies. A careful study either of the Speakership of the House of Commons or of the colonial Speakership would constitute an independent work in itself : I have attempted, therefore, to give only a general outline of these two precedents. Cobbett’s and Hansard’s ” Debates ” afford material for a study of the Speakership of the House of Commons, but in the case of the colonies there is little besides the meagre records of assemblies ; the ground has as yet hardly been broken for a study of colonial political institutions.

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