... In exercising authority over children the teacher uses and combines the three primary functions of government. He is, in his one person, the lawmaker, the judge, and the executive officer. This is giving large powers into the hands of one person. He can use his own judgment as to how far a child has transgressed his law and as to the penalty to be inflicted. He can proceed at once to the execution of his sentence without interference. If he is a strong teacher he can be very arbitrary and tyrannical. In short, he exercises the three different functions of government in full measure. . . . No civilized nation today permits all three of these functions to be monopolized by one person or group of persons. But in the teacher, we take the risk and venture to combine all these high and difficult attributes in one person. He is called upon to work out the coordination and harmony of these and of other more or less conflicting elements. This constitutes the peculiar difficulty or problem that attaches to disciplinary and administrative work in education. - McMurry, Conflicting Principles in Teaching, pp. 30-41.

The threefold division of civil government into executive, legislative, and judicial, which was recognized in England in the seventeenth century, became established in the colonies and has persisted in the United States to this day, although England abandoned that division two hundred years ago, and other countries have followed England's later practice rather than her earlier one. Perhaps this artificial separation of powers, embedded in our federal constitution, all of the state constitutions, and many city governments as well, is a reason why civil government is regarded in this country as so entirely foreign to any other kind of government. And yet the three phases of government really exist, and perhaps ought to be noticed in our small organizations more than they are, say as much as they are in the civil governments of other countries.

First a word as to constitutions. America is the land of written constitutions. From the Virginia charter, through the Pilgrim Compact, the union of the three Connecticut towns, and the Constitution of 1787, to the latest constitution of a local athletic association, we have had an experience in constructing forms of government such as has come to no other people. What young fellow with any ambition at all has never had a hand in drawing up a constitution? Who has not heard, or himself expounded, the function of a constitution? - to provide the framework or skeleton of the government, "that whereby the instrumentalities and powers of government are distributed and harmonized." 1 Who has not at some time in his life contended for the logical distinction between an article of the constitution and a legislative enactment as regards the kind of subject matter appropriate for each? What student of history has not worked over and over the manner in which an unwritten constitution comes to exist? There is no better exercise for a group of young people than to make a constitution for themselves and so come face to face with the problems of government. And it might be well if schools and groups of teachers would more often draw up a formal statement of the way in which they wish to be governed.