The Alliance-independent. (Lincoln, Nebraska) 1892-1894, August 04, 1892, Image 1

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    VOL. IV.
SHALL THE PEOPLE RULE
Speech on the Election of United States
Senators by the vote of the
People.
Delivered in the Houss of Representatives
July 12th, by Hon. O. M. Kem,
of Nebraska.
thev ire the following remarkable and
pertinent language:
rron s OAtil 1A t Tl OA
just powers iromtrie consent 01 mcguvnucu,
form nf ernvernment be-
J , - . . . . V.
comes destructive 01 mese cuuo, w
right of the people to alter or abolish it,
..JfU inutUnto a new crvrnmnt. laving
A11U XlAiJV.V AW ' " D " f
its feundatioa on such principles and organ-
. . A JTnawt n n j-v ham
Cnrtnr ITfl mWir 111 Kllf'Il (I1IU3 iXi IU L Uv'll
shall seem most like'y to effect their safety
ana nappmss.
Mr. Speaker, in speaking to the reso
lution that is before the house for its
consideration at this time, I do not do
so believing it a cure for all the evils
complained of by the people. But I
regard it as a step in the direction of
popular government, in which the voice
of the whole people will not only be
heard but heeded. In it lies a princi
ple of justice and equality that should
be better established bv the constitu
tion a principle that must be well es
tablished and maintained or we cannot
hope to preserve that perfect liberty
given by the Creator as the birthright
of man.
If time ha? developed the fact, as I
believe it has, that because of defects
in its construction, the constitution no
longer gives that protection it was de
signed to give, it is not only the privi
lege, but the absolute duty of every
citizen who loves his country to use all
honorable means to remedy those de
fects and make it as perfect an instru
ment of justice as it is possible to make.
It goes without saying that the consti
tution, as constructed by the fathers,
was the greatest instrument of civil
government devised by man, and met
perfectly perhaps the requirements of
the day and date that brought it forth:
"but if it was sufficient unto the evils of
that day it is no evidence that it is
sufficient unto the evils of these degen
erate days. .
The fathers themselves saw the im
possibility of a fixed organic law and
wisrIv made provisions for its amend
ment from time to time as experience
miffht show to be necessary. The first
vpars after its adoDtion it was
oTnndAr? tpn times, sinci which time
more than a century has elapsed and it
1 . A. .m. -k 5 1 4- HtTA
na3 Deen necessary w ameuu it uuu uio
times. And, in my opinion, iur. uair
man, five other amendments will carry
us safely through another century, pro
vided they are of the right kind and
properly observed. This idea of some
sacredness that attaches to the organic
law in the minds of sosae did not con
form to the ideas of our fathers res
pecting that instrument. They not
only held the right to alter and amend
the constitution, but if necesary to
abolish the government: for tie proof
rhinh t ritA the Declaration of In
II uivu JL.
dependence as follows. Alter denniog
Thus the fathers expressed their
ideas of true liberty, the natural rights
cf man, and the functions of govern
ment. Holding tnose rignis as sacreu,
and the cmvernment simplv as a ma
chine created by the people to estab
liah nroteot and maintain them, and
when it failed to accomplish its pur-
. 1 -i 9 Ji 1
pose to be altered ana improveu, uy
f, J ti. 4 511 tt iirMilrt
tne -power tuav maue xu, wu.
An u work, thev reasoned that noth
ing should stand between the people
and the enjoyment of their rights.
And, I think, no man will stand on this
floor today and say this is not true.
This principle of liberty that was
. . r . ii . 1 a. e
true of that day is none tne less true ui
tViic inst. ns Ranrpd. iust as necessary.
oo it ma. a ihpn! and should beasiealous-
CfcO A. V m - m
lv ffnarded and maintained as it was
'P. . - . , I - 1 1 V X X
valiantly ana stuDOorniy jouga w es
tnhiish And the time has come. Mr.
Chairman, in my opinion, when the
constitution 6 nouia db so amenaea as
to pon form more nearlv to tne princi
ples set forth in the Declaration of
Liberty and us own preamDie.
Tt. was this evil of concentrating the
power to govern in the hands of the
few that tne ratners sougni xo gunu
m J A A . - A !
sio-ninst. in Iran in et tne constitution.
hilft it was a most radical meas
ure for that period, we find a spirit of
pnnsprra'ism ct'ODDinsr out here and
there, showing most clearly that they
were not certain m tneir own minus
that, thA neoDle were wholly able to
n-nvprn themselves. This fear mani-
O - 4 1
tests it3elf pernaps witn no greater
force than in tne provisions ior eieet-ino-
the president of the United States,
WniCU uas ao Uiiiereiii wmcs xu. xiio
twtr nf npr pountrv resulted in defeat
in or hp. nnnnlar will b7 placing in the
executi re chair a man whom the ma
inritv did not want and for whom they
did not vote, thus defeating the very
principles sougnt to oe maintainea.
Tn iRTfi thp np.onle were brought to
see the danger of an electoral syste n
whioh madfi it necessarv to provide an
pipptnrnl p.nm mission in order to pre
serve the peace, and that placed the
judges of the supreme court in a posi
tinn that, oansp.d manv people to feel
that the decision rendered was not free
from party prejudice. Mr. Chairman,
if 1 nan tne power, x wuuiu
cm nrmph farther than this res
rtintirtn capVs to po : I would
this defect in the Constitution
in order to guard the people against
the dangers that threatened the peace
and safety of the Republic during the
continuation of the electoral contest
yofprrpd in. hv makinc the president
elective by the popular vote. I would
niinw no middle man. as member of an
a w oral rollpce. to stand between the
people and the consummation of their
r-f- , r -1 Hi i
defeat the popular wil1, as they have
done m tne past, xne evu ui vuia
defect is so apparent and the necessity
ior a rem?ay so piain tnat an sH;H.iy
sentimentality should be thrust aside
and a fair amount of American common
sense applied to the blotting out or tnis
I . m r -it V J 1 I -
remnant 01 uritisn monarcmuai misrule
TrtoT-pfAM T r-ftlipvii the time has
fuUv come when the people should be
. . . i j ,i ,i
allowed to say in tne metnou pruviueu
for In the resolution whether the
present manner of electing United
States senators Bnaii cuuwuue, ui
thpv shall be elected as the
members of tne House are elected, and
compelled to give an account 01 tneir
stewardship direcwy to tne peupio
whom they are supposed to serve. The
only reason I Know ior tne existence ui
o TTnitpd statp.q spnator at all is that
he was designed by the fathers as a
kind of checK upon me wuu auu
i an orp roil s idpaB thev feared would
emanate in the shape of law from the
MOUSe 01 ivspioseuiawvcD,
hndv that, is from and responsible to
the people; yet I will venture to say
that as many wild and aangeruus meas
ures have emanated from that end of
the hall as ever came from this.
a a t lidv.i rpmarked. tne iatners
4.,J J- MM w - I
V nrnnohlv imbllftd With ttl6
nri fjy n-vi j
idea? of a monarchial government they
could not quite believe that the inter
ests of the people would be safe in their
own hands, nence estauiisueu mo
American house of lords, known as the
Urited States senate, to act in the
capacity of a guardian, and see tnattne
representatives of the people do not go
astray. We b lieve to say the leas",
that the present mode 01 eieutiug
onva not onlv unnecessary, unwise,
undemocratic, an un-American, but it
is absolutely dangerous, ine teuueucj
W.ino- to ppntralize the power to govern
in the hands of the few, a practice that
if continued will destroy vur guvciu-
mont. nni ir tho time ever exiswsu wucu
it was necessary, it nas long since
passed, and the time come wnen tne
atHI should ha remedied and the
ts ml a themselves.
UUUlW UilWMWW
We believe tne relation oeiwecu
d thpir legislators should be
the same as that existing between em
ployer and employes, on farm or m
,,-u 4Vot nf a oorrint. nf tllP. PeOPlO.
BilUp, Uiaiiui owi i"" v x -i
and no intervening body should be em-
powered to employ tne one to auu m
hot. rarwAi t.v hut thev should employ
their own servants, and hold them
directly responsible ior tneir wor.
hp.ld bv a strong ele-
ment of the Federal convention that
adopted the constitution, and at one
lima threawnpn T.O UlSI'UUI iti ouu.
thAv oominued to be advocated at in
(Annola V,r lAadincr RtAtesmeh uo to
bCl ClO tJJ j.sv.v0
iao
iujy . . . .
at,. Tinntn hpid as a funiamenta
Alii. Juuuvvu " .
tn whiph there was no exception,
"that. Hhprt.r would be ruined by pro
viding any kind of substitue for popu
lar election;" asserting mat au ciw,
4?,o urnnia ripo-pnp.rate into irauu auu
. - .
niAionna na thp result of intermediate
hod i as Hp, showed further
that it was the law of the few to aisre-
got power into their hands, and that
Hhprt.v had hfipn destroved whenever
intermediate bodies obtained the direc
tion of . the populir will; he reasoned
from historv. the philo-.ophy Of
government, and tho nature of man,
and reierrea to tne p-rioa 01 uirwi
voting in Greece and Rome as the
"grand and glorious periods 01 popular
government," wh.n the people were
more prosperous than at any other
period in the history of those govern
ments, and woutd up witn tneso
words:
"I believe in the capacity of the people for
self-government, .but they must nave fair
niav. fair nlav at the elections on which alL
depends,'1
Mr. Renton summed ud the whole -
matter in tho last few words, when he
makes the ability of the people to gov
ern themselves rest on a lair expres
sion of their will. Tlus is the secret or
the whole matter, and unless we can
secure aod maintain free and fair elec
tions that shall not only express the
will of the whole people, but shall be-
respected as sucn, nistory wui repeau
itHPlf. and this erovernment is doomed
just as every other one has bsen that
failed to gard propeny xne iranuuiso
of ita nponlo. The ballet is the Ameri-
cai's only safeguard, the only modUir"
ihrougn woica ne may quieuy aim
Arraiiv pvnrpcs hia desires as a citizen.
tho nnlw neaoeahle means bv which
necessary and harmless revolution may
ba brought, upon which rests the honor
and life of the nation.
Therefore the franchise should be
hpid sanred and iealouslv guarded by
every device calculated to make it the.
medium that snail indeed register ana
maintain a freeman's will. Is this the
result of the present mode of electing-
unit:d states senators.' xiistory an
swers no; from all over this land, fronx
this state and tnat, lite ioui reports,
hlnplrpninor tho fair name of virtue.
comes the evidence of the subversion of
of the popu'ar will, cf fraud and intri
gue, the result of concentrating the
vote of the whole state in the hands of
a few individuals comprising an Inter
mediate body of which one or two may,,
and often do, hold the balance of power
and actuauy eiect.
Thus we see clearly the great danger
arising from the present system in the-.
opportunities onerea. tne Drioe-taKer, .
wno does not hesitate to sacrifice all .
honor or friendship for money or polit--
. a . WW 1 . 0 A. 1 ll.
ical position, to snow lurtner tut
dancrpr of our present method of elect- -
ing senators allow me to illustra'e. In.
a legislative body compc-sed 01 iuu mem?
. m i . a mi
Ders oi vo:es win eiect a ubto.;
are thre3 candidates m tne neiu,.
one has 49 or 50 votes, the bal
ance is divided between the other
two. Here we have the votes of millions
of so-called freemen, in a land wnere it.,
is said every man U a sovereign, con
centrated into one or two ballots; the
A 1 3
sovereign will ot tne mini )ns gatnerea
into the sovereign will ot two individ-
uals who are but human, governed per
haps, as cften is the case, by selfish,,
s rdid motives, ho'ding the absolute
t.ower to make another man, who Isj
equally human, Uni'ed States senator
forsix veafe; th result, a dead-lock ct j.
x" i ' ' -- 1 tr 1
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