The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, June 06, 1913, Image 1

Below is the OCR text representation for this newspapers page. It is also available as plain text as well as XML.

    "ffw81!!1 yymqjH1 WPHWW "yiwi':
-i "r fvw
' ni
The Commoner.
VOL. 13, NO. 22
Lincoln, Nebraska, June 6, 1913
Whole Number 646
The Seventeenth Amendment
Accomplishment of the Most Important Reform That Has Been Made in a Century
Affecting Methods of the Federal Government
At 11 o'clock a. m., on the 31st of May, 1913,
the secretary of state signed the proclamation
announcing the ratification of the seventeenth
amendment to the constitution of the United
States, providing for tho election of United
States senators by tho direct vote of .the people.
There were present, by special invitation, ex
Congressman Harry St. George Tucker, of Vir
ginia, who was chairman of the committee of
tho Fifty-second congress having in charge the
first resolution which ever passed the house of
representatives providing for tho popular elec
tion of senators, Congressman William W.
Rucker, of Missouri, chairman of the committee
of the Sixty-second congress having in chargo
the resolution which submitted tho present
amendment, and Senator William E. Borah,
of Idaho, chairman of tho senate committee,
having in chaTgo tho resolution submitting this
In anticipation of tho event, Mr. Bryan had
provided four pens, which were used and dis
posed of as follows:
Tho first was used to sign the first part of his
name, "William," and delivered as -a souvenir to
ex-Congressman Tucker; the second was used
to sign the second part of his name, "Jennings,"
and delivered to Congressman Rucker; the third,
which was used for signing the last part of his
name, "Bryan," was kept by himself; the fourth
was used for writing in the date, "thirty-first,"
and was delivered to Senator Borah.
To those present, Mr. Bryan expressed his
gratification that the making of this official an
nouncement of tho ratification of tho amendment
had fallen to him as one of his official duties.
He also pointed out the fact that the short time
required for the ratification of tho amendment
proved that the sentiment in favor of it was
practically unanimous. He was elected to con
gress in 1&90 upon a platform containing tho
following plank:
"We favor an amendment to the federal con
stitution which will take the election of the
United States senators from the state legisla
tures and place it in the hands of tho people,
where it belongs."
He voted in both the Fifty-second and Fifty-
third congresses for tho resolution submitting
an amendment similar to that which has Just
been ratified, and ho has assisted in the writing
of four national platforms which Indorsed this
amendment, the platform of 1908 speaking of
It as "the gateway to other reforms" and tho
platform of 1912 urging Its ratification by tho
states. He regards it as the most important re
form that has been made in a century affecting
methods of the federal government, and he be
lieves that a senate chosen by the people, and
thus made responsive to tho people's will, In
stead of degenerating, will improve in charac
ter while it Increases in influence. A senato
chosen directly by tho people can speak with
greater authority and thus wield greater power
than a senate selected indirectly through stato
"William Jennings Bryan, secretary of stato
oft tho United States of America To all to
whom these presents may como, greeting: Know
yo that, the congress of tho United States at
the second session, Sixty-second congress, in tho
year one thousand nino hundred and twelve,
passed a resolution in tho words and figures fol
lowing: to-wit
Proposing an amendment to tho constitution
providing that senators shall bo elected by tho
people of tho several states.
"Resolved, by the senate and houso of rep
resentatives of tho United States of America in
congress assembled (two-thlrda of each houso
concurring therein), That , in lieu of the first
paragraph of section three of article I of tho
constitution of the United States, and In lieu of
so much of paragraph two of tho same section
as relates to the filling of vacancies, the follow
ing be proposed as an amendment to tho con
stitution, which shall be valid to all intents and
purposes as part of the constitution when rati
fied by tho legislatures of three-fourths of the
" 'The senate of tho United States shall be
composed of two senators from each stato,
elected by the people thereof, for six years, and
each senator shall havo one vote. Tho electors
In each state shall have tho qualifications requi
site for electors of the most numerous branch
of the state legislatures.
" 'When vacancies happen In tho representa
tion of any state in tho senate, tho executive
authority of such state shall Issue writs of elec
tion to fill such vacancies: Provided, That the
legislature of any state may empower the execu
tive thereof to make temporary appointment
until the people fill the vacancies by election as
tho legislature may direct.
" 'This amendment Bhall not bo so construed
as to affect the election or term of any senator
chosen before it becomes valid as part of tho
"And, further, that it appears from official
documents on filo in this department that tho
nmondmont to tho constitution of tho Unltod
States proposed as aforcanld has been ratified by
tho legislatures of tho states of Massachusetts,
Arizona, Minnesota, New York, Kansas, Oregon,
North Carolina, California, Michigan, Idaho,
West Virginia', Nebrnska, Iowa, Montana, Texas,
Washington, Wyoming, Colorado, Illinois, North
Dakota, Nevada, Vermont, Maine, Now Hamp
shire, Oklahoma, Ohio, South Dakota, Indiana,
Missouri, New Mexico, Now Jersey, Tonnessoo,
Arkansas, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Wis
consin. "And, further, that tho states whoso legisla
tures havo so ratified tho said proposed amend
ment, constltuto three-fourths of tho wholo
number of states In tho United States.
"Now, therefore, bo it known that I, William
Jennings Bryan, secretary of stato of tho Unitod
States, by virtue and In pursuance of section
205 of tho revised statutes of tho United States,
do hereby certify that tho amendment afore
said has become valid to all intents and pur
poses as a part of tho constitution of tho Unltod
"In testimony whereof, I havo hereunto sot
my hand and caused tho seal of tho department
of stato to bo affixed.
"Done at tho city of Washington this thirty
first day of May in tho year of our Lord, ono
thousand nino hundred and thirteen, and of
tho independence of tho United States of
America tho ono hundred and thirty-seventh.
It will be remembered that about a month
ago a plan was, by the president's direction,
submitted to all the governments having repre
sentatives here, the plan being in substance, ai
First, that tho United States Is prepared to
enter into an agreement with each and every
country severally providing for tho Investiga
tion of all disputes of every character and na
turo by an international commission, tho con
tracting parties agreeing not to doclaro war or
begin hostilities until such investigation is made
and report submitted; second, the investlgatloi
to bo conducted as a matter of course, upon tht
initiative of tho commission, without tho for
mality of a request from either party; third, thi
report to be submitted within a given time, th
time to bo agreed upon; fourth, tho parties to
reserve tho right to act independently on tha
subject matter in dispute, after tho report is
submitted. Tho composition of the commission
was a matter of detail to bo agreed upon by the
contracting parties, tho time, also, in which th
report should bo submitted was a matter of de
tail to be agreed upon by tho contracting parties.
Nine nations have up to this time responded
favorably, some indorsing tho principle and ask
ing that suggestions be submitted In regard to
tho details, others replying that tho proposition
is received sympathetically and expressing a
- -mnmMmtowwmmrrift:W--
A'fi ite. .
iAAtfe'to!attiLA jaUstii&- M-Lty w.