The state is bounded on the east by the states of Iowa and Missouri; on the south by the states of Kansas and Colorado; on the west by the state of Colorado and the territory of Wyoming, and on the north by the territory of Dakota.
   The more specific lines that bound the state are as follows:  Beginning on the 40th degree of north latitude in the center of the channel of the Missouri river; thence along the center of that channel till it reaches the point of its intersection with the 43d degree of latitude; thence due west to the 27th degree of longitude; thence due south to the 41st degree of latitude; thence due east to the 25th degree of longitude; thence due south to the 40th degree of latitude; thence due east to the place of beginning in the center of the channel of the Missouri river.






   The state is divided into smaller bodies for purposes of government. Beginning with the smallest subdivision, they are as follows:

    1. Villages.
    2. Cities.
    3. School Districts.
    4. Precincts.
    5. Townships.
    6. Counties.
    7. Judicial Districts.
    8. The state is also divided into three congressional districts, for purposes of representation in the lower house of Congress, but this division has no effect upon the state government.
   Each of the above named seven subdivisions has special officers whose duties and authority fall within that subdivision. We will take up the subdivisions of the state, as indicated above, in the order named.


The State.




School Districts.

Judicial Districts.

Congressional Districts.






   A village has the smallest area of any subdivision of the state, and is the least of the corporations that are the subject of this chapter. Villages, cities of the second class, and cities of the first class, are organizations of the same general character. They are organized in the same way, for the same purpose, and have the same general powers. The details of their organization, and their powers increase as they become larger and more populous.
   Purposes.--The purpose of the organization of these bodies is to afford their inhabitants power to govern themselves to better advantage than they could do under the laws passed for the whole state. Cities and villages do not all have the same wants, nor are they surrounded by the same difficulties. One may be a manufacturing city, another a commercial city, and another have the qualities of the two. One may be situated upon a navigable river, another upon a small stream, another upon the open prairie, and another among hills. We can see that general laws would not be adequate to the wants of all these cities. The inhabitants of each are best competent to judge of their own wants, and are usually competent to enact such rules for securing them, and such regulations for their own government in local matters as are for their best interest. The state, therefore, wisely permits the inhabitants of thickly populated districts to form themselves into such corporations, and gives them fall authority or power to make all such rules and regulations as they need. It also gives them full power to enforce them. These corporations are called municipal corporations, because, anciently, such corporations were usually surrounded by a wall, for their protection; from munio, I build a wall, and capio, I take; the rather free translation being, received into walls, protected by




walls. As such cities had special privileges, they were called free cities. The municipal corporations of the state have special privileges and can govern themselves more fully than can persons outside them, but the inhabitants are subject to the same general laws that control other citizens.
   Divisions. These corporations are divided into three classes, depending upon the number of the inhabitants; namely, 1. Villages; 2. cities of the second class; 3. cities of the first class
   I. Villages. A village can be formed whenever there are two hundred inhabitants living near together, who so vote. The village must contain all the land occupied by the inhabitants that are included in the village, and, also, all the land between them. That is, the village has boundary lines and includes all the people and all the land inside of those boundary lines.
   (a.) OFFICERS. These consist of (1) five trustees, who must be voters and tax payers of the village, and who must have resided there three months before the election, and they hold their offices for one year; (2) a clerk; (3) a treasurer; and (4) an attorney.
   (b.) POWERS AND DUTIES OF OFFICERS. (1) The trustees meet as a body at such regular times as they may determine; one of the members is elected chairman. This board of trustees is given power to make ordinances for laying sidewalks, grading and working the streets, preventing and removing nuisances, preventing and punishing disorder of all kinds, preventing and suppressing fires, contagious and infectious diseases, regulating markets, the sale of goods, keeping a police force and board of health, establishing weights and measures, lighting streets, regulating the sale and use of dangerous weapons and combustibles, levying taxes for paying the expenses of the village, assessing the cost of improving streets and sidewalks, regulating the sale of intoxicating liquors, &c.




 (2.) The clerk keeps a record of the proceedings of the board of trustees, draws warrants for money and performs such other duties as are required.
   (3.) The treasurer receives the money of the village and pays it out on the order of the board.
   (4.) The attorney is the legal adviser of the village and of its officers, and has charge of its law suits.
   II. Cities of the Second Class. When a village has one thousand inhabitants, it may organize as a city of the second class. The difference between the two classes of corporations is very slight in other respects.
   (a.) OFFICERS. The officers of the cities of the second class consist of (1) a mayor, (2) a clerk, (3) a treasurer, (4) a city engineer, (5) a police judge, (6) an overseer of streets, (7) an attorney, (8) city council.
   (b.) DUTIES AND POWERS. (1) The mayor presides at all meetings of the council; may veto any ordinance of the council; has a superintending control of the officers and affairs of the city, and shall take care that the ordinances of the city and the laws of the state referring to cities of the second class are enforced.
   (2.) The duties of the clerk, treasurer and attorney are substantially the same as they are in villages.
   (3.) The city engineer makes estimates of the cost of improving streets, bridges and public buildings, and does such other like work as the city requires.
   (4.) The overseer of the streets has charge of opening, grading and repairing streets, sidewalks, culverts, bridges, etc.
   (5.) The police judge tries all persons charged with violating any of the ordinances of the city.
   (6.) THE COUNCIL. This body is made up of two persons elected from each ward, into which the city may be divided. There cannot be less than two wards, nor more than six. The powers of the council are not much




broader than those of trustees of a village. It may establish hospitals for diseased persons, establish water works, own market houses and market places, purchase fire engines and organize fire companies. Any ordinance that is vetoed by the mayor may be passed over the veto by a vote of two-thirds of the members elected to the council.
   Cities having a population of five thousand and less than twenty-five thousand, while called cities of the second class, have many of the powers of cities of the first class.
   III. Cities of the First Class. Municipal corporations of this grade include all cities whose inhabitants exceed twenty-five thousand and consist of six wards.
   (a) OFFICERS. The elective officers of cities of the first class are: (1) a mayor, (2) a police judge, (8) a treasurer, (4) an auditor, (5) a council that consists of one member from each ward. and six members elected by the whole city. The appointive officers are: (1) the clerk, appointed by the council; (2) the city marshal, (3) city engineer, (4) street commissioner, (5) city attorney, (6) chief of fire department, and (7) board of public works, appointed by the mayor and the council. The duties of these officers need not be specified here, as they are similar to the duties of such officers in cities of the second class. The board of public works have charge of public improvements. The auditor is the financial and accounting officer of the city.
   (b) THE POWERS OF THE COUNCIL are more extensive than are those of councils in cities of the second class, but they do not embrace many subjects more. As sewerage, water works, gas works, street railways, public buildings, hospitals, police forces, and other subjects, will necessarily be more expensive in large cities than in small ones, with enlarged opportunities for frauds and




swindles, the authority granted to cities of the first class over these and other things is correspondingly more minute and definite, and the public interests more carefully
   (c) SCHOOL DISTRICTS. In cities of the first class, the city limits are the same as the limits of the school districts of the cities. In a certain sense, therefore, the school officers are city officers. It is better that the schools of cities should be included in the chapter on education; for this reason this subject is postponed till that chapter is reached.


   1.  What are the purposes for which municipal corporations are organized?
   2.  What is a municipal corporation?
   3.  How many divisions are there of them, and what we they?
   4.  When may a village be formed?
   5.  What are the officers of a village?
   6.  What are their powers and duties?
   7.  When may cities of the second class be formed?
   8.  What are the officers of these cities?
   9.  What are their powers and duties?
   10. What compose the city council?
   11. What are its duties?
   12. When may cities of the first class be formed?
   13. What officers has cities of this class?
   14. What powers have the council?
   15. What powers and duties have the other officers?
   16. What about school districts in these cities?


    Districts. Each county is divided into as many school districts as the people may demand and the county superintendent may approve. The law prohibits the formation of a school district that does not contain four sections of land or an assessed valuation of twelve thousand dollars in property and fifteen children of school age.




 A district may be formed partly in one county and partly in another, but this is seldom done.
   Corporation. Each district is a corporate body, with power to sue and to be sued; to buy and own real and personal property, and to make contracts in the name of "School District No. --, of ---- County, State of Nebraska."
   Grades. There are three grades or kinds of school districts in the state; (a) the ordinary school district of the country, (b) the high school district, (c) the city school district.
   How Governed. (a.) The affairs of the ordinary country districts are managed by the annual district meeting and by a board of three; a moderator, a treasurer and a director. The moderator presides at all meetings of the district and of the board, and signs warrants for the payment of district money. The treasurer receives the money due the district and pays it out as directed by the law, on the order of the moderator and director. The director is the clerk of the meetings of the district and of the board; draws and signs warrants for the payment of money; makes contracts with the teachers, with the assent of either the moderator or treasurer; takes a census of the school children of the district once a year; has the care, control and custody of the school property, and generally attends to such other duties as the district or board may direct. At the annual school meeting of the district, the voters may make such orders as they may deem best, concerning the affairs of the district.
   (b.) Whenever any district contains over one hundred and fifty children of school age, that district may organize as a high school district and will be governed by six trustees. These trustees grade the studies of the district, and, upon a vote of the district, may establish a high




 school. The district is governed in much the same manner and form as are ordinary school districts.
   (c.) Each incorporated city is a school district by itself. In some cases, of cities of the second class, the district includes territory outside of the city limits, until such time as the city shall grow large enough to include it, or until it can be set off by itself or be assigned to another district.
   In the city districts the governing board is called the Board of Education, and the district is named, "The School District of -----, in the County of ------, in the State of Nebraska." The board elects one of its members presiding officer and another one its secretary. The people of the district have no voice in its government beyond the election of the members of the board of education, and in voting upon the issuance of bonds and upon other matters which the board must submit to vote. The board has full control of all other matters. These districts usually have graded schools, in all departments. The schools are under the immediate care of a superintendent, and each department is controlled by a principal and such teachers as are needed. The city treasurer is the treasurer of the city school district.


   1. What constitutes the smallest school district?
   2. What may a school district do?
   3. How many grades of school districts and what are they?
   4. How is the ordinary school district governed?,
   5. How are high school districts governed?
   6. By what officers are city districts governed?


   What it is. A precinct is the name given to a tract of country, a subdivision of a county, all of whose voters can conveniently vote at one polling place. Excepting




along the large rivers, the precinct is usually six miles square, a congressional township. The county commissioners determine the size and name of the precinct. It is a simple territorial subdivision and does not possess any of the attributies (sic) of a corporation; it has no authority to sue or be sued, nor to buy or own property.
   Officers. These consist of three judges of election, two clerks of election, one assessor, two justices of the peace and two constables. The judges of election and clerks of election conduct elections as we shall see more fully in the chapter on Elections. The duties of justices of the peace and of constables will be more fully described in the chapter on the Judicial Department. The assessor lists and assesses the property of the precinct for taxation in the manner described in the chapter on Revenue.


   A law of the state permits counties to adopt township organization. For this purpose, a petition, signed by not less than fifty voters of the county, must be duly presented to the board of county commissioners, who are thereupon required to call an election of the voters of the county, to vote upon the adoption or rejection of township organization. It requires a majority of all the voters who voted at that election to adopt it. In the same way, by petition and vote, the people of a county may abolish township organization, when they tire of it, and return to the old system.
   In counties that have adopted township organization, the board of county supervisors divides the county into townships of convenient size. They are usually of the same size as precincts, the same as congressional townships. No village or city, incorporated and with a population of one thousand, can be included in a township.
   Officers. These consist of three judges of election, two clerks of election, one assessor, two justices of the




 peace and two constables, one supervisor, one clerk, and one treasurer.
   Duties of Officers. The duties of justices of the peace, constables, the judges of election, clerks of election and assessor have already been referred to in the paragraph on precincts. The duties of those officers are the same in townships.
   The township clerk keeps the town records, and does the clerical work for the town. The supervisor represents the town in the county board of supervisors, of which more will be said hereafter. The duties of the treasurer will be explained in the chapter on Revenue.
   Town Meetings. These are held on the first Tuesday of April of each year, and may be attended by every voter of the township. At that meeting the assembled voters take such action as they desire in regard to the property of the town; determine the amount of taxes to be levied for township purposes; may give orders in regard to constructing wells, planting trees along the highway, preventing nuisances, repairing bridges and roads, and for the support of the poor in counties where there is no poor farm nor poor house, and may make rules in regard to the running at large of cattle and other animals and provide pounds for such animals as are found running at large illegally.
   Are Corporations. Townships are endowed with corporate powers; they may sue and be sued in the township name and may buy and own such property as they need for the public use.
   Town Board. The supervisor, town clerk and the two justices of the peace constitute the town board for the examination of the accounts of the supervisor, overseer of highways and of other town officers. This board also audits and adjusts all claims against the town for services, or for labor, or supplies, under contract.





   1. What is a precinct?
   2. What officers has it?
   3. Is a precinct a corporation?
   4. How may counties adopt township organization?
   5. What officers has a township?
   6. What are the duties of these officers?
   7. When are town meetings held and what maybe done at them?
   8. Are townships corporate bodies?
   9. What is the town board, and what are its duties?


   The county is the largest subdivision of a state that is a corporate body. It may sue or be sued, and may own property and make contracts in its own name, as "The County of ----, in the State of Nebraska." The counties are not of uniform size, but they will average about sixteen townships, or twenty-four miles square. The counties newly formed in the western part of the state, where the population is not dense, are much larger, some of them are of four times the average size. The intention is for them to contain property enough so that the taxation for county expenses shall not be burdensome.
   Officers. These are a clerk, treasurer, judge, clerk of district court, superintendent of public instruction, surveyor, sheriff, register of deeds, county attorney, coroner and a county board. In counties not under township organization, this board is composed of three members, one of which is elected each year, to serve for three years, and it is called the Board of County Commissioners. The, county is divided into three districts, as nearly equal in population as may be, and from each district one member is elected.
   In counties under township organization, this board is composed of a supervisor from each township and a supervisor from each city or village containing one thousand




inhabitants, and elected every year. It is called the Board of County Supervisors.
   Terms of Office. The clerk of the district court and register of deeds are elected for four years, and all the other county officers are elected for two years.
   Duties and Powers. The Board of County Commissioners and the Board of County Supervisors have identical powers and duties. This body is the governing body of the county; it audits and passes upon all claims against the, county, of whatever kind; it determines how much revenue will be needed for paying the expenses of the county, and it levies taxes to meet those expenses; it has the care and control of roads and bridges, and must open, vacate, repair and build such as are needed; it has the care and custody of all public buildings, and builds and keeps in repair the court houses, jails and poor houses; it vacates or changes the names of villages and cities when properly petitioned to do so; it settles the accounts of all county officers and road supervisors; it divides the county into precincts or townships of convenient size, and changes their boundaries, and names them; it makes contracts for county supplies, and licenses saloon keepers outside of corporations.
   The County Clerk is the clerk of the board of county commissioners, or supervisors. He keeps on file all accounts against the county and all official bonds of county officers, except his own. He is also county register in counties having less than fifteen hundred population.
   The County Treasurer, in counties not under township organization, collects the taxes of the county, and pays over the money as required bylaw. In counties under township organization he receives the money collected by township collectors and distributes as required by law.
   The Sheriff is the executive officer of the district court and of the county court, of which more will be said hereafter.




   The Judge of the County Court has jurisdiction between that of a justice of the peace and that of the district court. More will be said about that court in the chapter on the Judicial Department.
   The Register of Deeds has the custody of the books, records, maps and papers kept in his office, and he files and records all deeds, mortgages and other written instruments that the law requires to be recorded. Only counties having a population of fifteen hundred elect a register of deeds. In counties having a less population, the county clerk acts as register of deeds.
   The County Attorney will be the legal advisor of the county and of its officers; will appear for the county and state in all suits in his county in which either has any interest and prosecute all criminal suits in the county, before magistrates and the district court. As an elective officer, the county attorney will have no existence till January, 1887, when he will take the place of the district attorney The county board of each county now appoints an attorney to attend to its civil business.
   The Clerk of the District Court has duties that will be described in the chapter on the Judicial Department.
   The Coroner holds inquests upon the dead bodies of such persons as are supposed, or suspected, to have died by unlawful means. For this purpose, he issues an order to the sheriff to call six free-holders of the county as a jury. He and the jury then hear testimony and the jury makes its report as the facts justify. In the absence of the sheriff from the county, and when there is no sheriff of the. county, and when the sheriff is party to an action, the coroner serves the papers in the case.
   The Surveyor makes surveys of lands in the county and establishes boundaries and comers. He must make a record of all his official acts.
   The Superintendent of Public Instruction has general charge




of the schools of the county. He visits them as often as practicable and helps the teacher in his duties. He examines applicants as to their qualifications as teachers, and gives them certificates graded as to their qualifications. See chapter on Education.


   For purposes of the better administration of justice, the state is divided into ten judicial districts. In each district, the voters elect a judge who serves four years, and a district attorney who serves two years. The second and third district each has two judges, as it has more business than one judge can transact. The duties and powers of these officers will be treated fully in the chapter on the, Judicial Department.
   The counties that constitute these districts are as follows:
   First District. Gage, Johnson, Nemaha, Pawnee, Richardson.
   Second District. Cass, Lancaster, Otoe
   Third District. Burt, Douglas, Sarpy, Washington.
   Fourth District. Butler, Colfax, Dodge, Merrick, Nance, Platte, Saunders.
   Fifth District. Adams, Clay, Fillmore, Jefferson, Nuckolls, Saline, Thayer.
   Sixth District. Hall, Hamilton, Howard, Polk, Seward, York.
   Seventh District. Cedar, Cuming, Dakota, Dixon, Knox, Stanton, Wayne,--also the reservations of the Omaha Indians and Winnebago Indians, and the unorganized territory north of Knox.
   Eighth District. Chase, Dandy, Franklin, Frontier, Furnas, Gosper, Harlan, Hayes, Hitchcock, Kearney, Phelps, Red Willow, Webster.




   Ninth District. Antelope, Boone, Brown, Cherry, Greeley, Holt, Loup, Pierce, Valley, Wheeler.
   Tenth District. Blaine, Buffalo, Cheyenne, Custer, Dawes; Dawson, Keith, Lincoln, Logan, Sheridan, Sioux, and the unorganized territory north of Keith and Lincoln, and South of Cherry.


    The state is divided into three congressional districts, in each of which one member of congress is elected. The First district comprises the counties Cass, Douglas, Gage, Johnson, Lancaster, Nemaha, Otoe, Pawnee, Richardson, Sarpy, Saunders.
   The Second district embraces all the counties south of the Platte river, not included in the First district. The Third district embraces all the counties north of the Platte river not included in the First district.


   1.  What is the size of a county?
   2.  What officers has a county?
   3.  What are their terms of office?
   4.  What powers and duties has the county board?
   5.  What are the duties of the county clerk?
   6.  What duties has the county treasurer?
   7.  What duties has the judge of the county court?
   8.  What are the duties of the sheriff?
   9.  What duties has the register of deeds?
   10. What will be the duties of the attorney?
   11. What duties has the clerk of the district court?
   12. State the duties of the coroner.
   13. Name the duties of the surveyor.
   14. What are the duties of the county superintendent of public instruction?
   15. Why to the state divided into judicial districts?
   16. How many districts are there in the state?
   17. What officers have the different districts?
   18. What counties constitute the several districts?
   19. Into how many congressional districts is the state divided?
   20. Give the boundaries, of each district.



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