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