California's Direct Means of Democracy Essay

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California is a democratic republic consisting of three branches of government. The first is the executive branch, i.e. the governor and a group of elected constitutional officers. Second is the judicial branch which consists of the Supreme Court of California and the various local courts. Officials are appointed by the Governor and ratified in the next general election. The third branch of government in California is the legislative branch. It is a bicameral body which includes California’s Senate and Assembly. The Assembly makes up the lower house of the California State Legislature and consists of eighty members, one representative from each county, who serve for up to three two year terms. There are forty state senators who are able …show more content…
In 1910, California Progressive Party member Hiram Johnson ran for governor. “Restore absolute sovereignty to the people that we may yet live in a free republic” was his slogan. In years prior to the election Californians began to notice a trend in their state government. Californians were not being represented properly by the legislature (Kesler). This is a reflection of California at the time. The gold rush had brought massive amounts of people into the state. This led to an unprecedented opportunity for new business. The Southern Pacific Railroad among other big business infiltrated politics and corruption followed for decades. Law makers passed laws which benefited them. The Progressives sought to give the people greater say in making and dismantling legislation. In doing so the Legislative branch lost power.
To accomplish their goal in 1911 they enacted the ballot measures in order for citizens to bypass legislature approval and have a measure placed on the ballot. An initiative is a proposal for a new law that allows any citizen or organization to gather a state defined amount of citizen signatures to qualify. Another ballot measure enacted by the Progressives is a popular eferendum. This allows citizens to create a ballot measure to repeal a specific legislative act by gaining a predetermined number of signatures. “Voters ratified these amendments in a special election of October 10, 1911” (Initiative & Reform Institute).
Since their enactment,
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