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“ IF THE PEOPLE REALLY RULE, WHY DON’T THE
PEOPLE GET WHAT THEY W A N T ?”

The
The
The
The

Election of Senators by Direct Vote of the People
Need for the Direct Rule of the People
Laws Needed for the People’s Rule
Method by Which to Obtain the People’s Rule

SPEECH
OF

HON. ROBERT L. OWEN
OF OKLAHOMA

IN THE

SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

W ASHINGTON
GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE

31092—10612




1912

SPEECH
OF

HON.

EOBEET

L.

OWEN.

The Senate having under consideration the election o f Senators by direct vote o f the
people—
M r. O W E N s a id :
M r. P r e s i d e n t : On the 21st day o f M ay, 1908, in accordance w ith the w ishes
o f the L egislatu re o f the State o f Oklahom a, expressed by resolution o f January
9, 1908, I introduced Senate resolution No. 91, providing fo r the submission o f a
constitutional am endm ent for the election o f Senators by direct vote o f the
people.
A rticle V of the Constitution provides th a t Congress, whenever tw o-thirds of
both H ou ses shall deem it necessary, shall propose am endm ents to the C onsti­
tution or, on the application o f the legislatu res o f tw o-thirds of the several
States, sh all call a convention for proposing am endm ents which, in either case,
shall be valid w hen ratified by the legislatures o f three-fourths o f the several
States or by conventions in three-fou rths thereof, a s the one or other mode o f
ratification m a y be proposed by Congress.
T h e reasons w h y the people w ish th is proposed reform are thoroughly w ell
understood.
First. I t w ill m ake the Senate o f the U nited States more responsive to the
w ishes o f the people of the U n ited States.
Second. I t w ill prevent the corruption o f legislatures.
T hird. I t w ill prevent the improper use o f money in the cam paigns before the
electorate by men am bitiou s to obtain a seat in the Senate o f the U nited States.
Fourth. I t w ill prevent the disturbance and turm oil o f State legislatures and
the interferences w ith S tate legislation by the violent contests o f candidates for
a position in the U nited States Senate.
F ifth . I t w ill compel candidates fo r the U nited States Senate to be subjected
to the severe scrutiny o f a cam paign before the people and compel the selection
o f the best-fitted men.
Sixth. I t w ill prevent deadlocks, due to political contests in which various
S tates from tim e to tim e have been thus left unrepresented.
Seventh. I t w ill popularize governm ent and tend to increase the confidence
o f the people o f the U nited S tates in the Senate of the U nited States, w hich has
been to some extent im paired in recent years.
M r. President, as the State o f Idaho points out, and as the State o f N ew Jersey
points out, in their resolutions herewith subm itted th e H o u s e o f R e p r e s e n t a t iv e s
o f t h e C o n g r e s s o f t h e U n ite d S t a t e s ha s on f o u r s e p a r a t e o cc a s io n s p a s s e d b y
a t w o -th ir d s v o t e a resolution proposing an am endm ent to the Constitution

providing for the election o f U nited States Senators by direct vote o f the people.
A n d the Senate has, on each occasion, failed or refused to vote upon such
resolution or to subm it such constitutional am endm ent to the several States
for their action, a s contem plated by the Constitution o f the U nited States.
On July 21, 1894, the H ou se o f R epresentatives, by vote o f 141 to 50 ( C o n ­
g r e s s i o n a l R e c o r d , vol. 26, p. 7 7 8 3 ), and on M ay 11, 1898, by vote o f 185 to 11
( C o n g r e s s i o n a l R e c o r d , vol. 31, p. 4 8 2 5 ), and on A p ril 13, 1900, by vote o f 242
to 15 ( C o n g r e s s i o n a l R e c o r d , vol. 33, p . 4 1 2 8 ), and on February 13, 1902, by a
viva voce vote, nem. con. ( C o n g r e s s i o n a l R e c o r d , vol. 35, p. 1 7 2 2 ), has recorded
the w ishes o f every congressional district o f the U nited States, w ith negligible
exceptions, in fa v o r o f this reform.
T h e Speaker o f the F ifty-fifth Congres's said, and M r. Corliss, February 19,
1902, repeated the sentiment, “ that th is w as a m easure dem anded by the A m eri­
can people, and th at the M em bers o f th is H ouse, representing directly the people,
should p ass this m easure, and continue to pass it, and knock upon the doors of
the Senate until it listens to the voice o f the people.”
( C o n g r e s s io n a l R ecord,
vol. 35, p. 1721.)
31092— 106i2
(2 )




I

3
I s a unanim ous ro te o f tlae H ou se of R epresentatives an index to the w ishes
o f the A m erican people or is the w ill o f the people o f sufficient im portance to
persuade the Senate to act and com ply w ith their repeatedly expressed w ishes?
On M ay 23, 1908, I called attention o f the Senate to the various resolutions
passed by 27 S tates o f the Union praying Congress and the Senate fo r th is
reform , and on beh alf o f m y own S tate o f Oklahom a I urged the Senate to act.
Over m y protest the Senate referred th is jo in t resolution 91 to the Com m ittee
on P rivileges and E lections by the follow in g v o te :
The result was announced— yeas 33, nays 20, as fo llo w s :
A ldrich
Allison
Bacon
Bankhead
Brandegee
Briggs
Burnham
Burrows
Carter

Clark, Wyo.
Crane
Cullom
Depew
Dick
Dillingham
Foraker
Gallinger
Guggenheim

Ankeny
Beveridge
Borah
Brown
Clapp

YEAS— 33.
Hale
Heyburn
Hopkins
Kean
Knox
Lodge
Long
Nelson
Penrose

Dixon
Gore
Johnston
La Follette
McCreary

Richardson
Smith, Md.
Stewart
Warner
Warren
Wetmore

NAYS— 20.
Newlands
Piles
Owen
Simmons
Overman
Smith, Mich.
Paynter
Stephenson
Perkins
Teller
NOT VOTING— 39.
Bailey
Dolliver
Hansbrough
Platt
Bourne
du Pont
Hemenway
Rayner
Bulkeley
Elkins
Kittredge
Scott
Burkett
F lint
McCumber
Smoot
Clarke, Ark.
Foster
McEnery
Stone
Clay
Frasier
McLaurln
Sutherland
Culberson
Frye
Martin
Taliaferro
Curtis
Fulton
Milton
Taylor
Daniel
Gamble
Money
Tillman
Davis
Gary
Nixon
(Page 7115 C o n g r e s s io n a l R ec or d , May 23, 1908.)
This vote m ean t the d efeat of the proposed constitutional am endment.
T h e Senator from M ichigan [M r. B u r r o w s ], chairm an of the Com m ittee on
P rivileges and Elections, never gave an y hearing on this resolution and never
reported it, but allow ed the Sixtieth Congress to expire w ithout talcing any ac­
tion in regard to it, n otw ithstanding the L egislature o f the S tate o f M ichigan
had theretofore by join t resolution expressly favored the submission of an
am endm ent for the election o f Senators by direct vote.
On July 7, 1909, I introduced the sam e resolution again in the present Con­
gress as Senate Joint R esolution No. 41.

I trust I may not be regarded as inconsiderate, too hasty, or too
urgent, if after waiting over two years for a report by the Senator from
Michigan, I now call upon him to perform his duty to the people and re­
spond to their repeatedly expressed wishes in this matter, or else that he
frankly refuse to do so.

M r. President, the present Com m ittee on P rivileges and E lections o f the
Senate is composed o f the follow in g M embers, 8 Republicans and 5 D e m o c ra ts:
J u l iu s C. B u r r o w s o f Michigan, C h a u n c b y M. D e p e w o f New York, A l b e r t J. B e v ­
e r id g e o f Indiana, W i l l i a m P. D i l l in g h a m o f Vermont, J o n a t h a n P. D o l l iv e r o f Iowa,
R o b e r t J. G a m b l e o f South Dakota, W eld o n B. H e y b u r n o f Idaho, M o rgan G. B u l k e l e y
o f Connecticut, J o s e p h W . B a il e y o f Texas, J a m b s B . F r a zie r o f Tennessee, T h o m a s H.
P a y n t e r o f Kentucky, J o s e p h F. J o h n s t o n o f Alabama, D u n c a n U. F l e t c h e r o f Florida.
Ten o f these 13 States favor the choice o f Senators by the vote o f the people,
but I fea r the Senators from Verm ont, N ew Y ork, and Connecticut, whose
S tates are not officially committed, m ay unduly influence the committee, para­
lyze its activities, and prevent a favorable ansiver to the petition or w ishes o f
the 37 other States.
E igh t Republican Senators, a s a practical m atter, control the policy o f this
com m ittee, and 4 o f these can prevent action under the present very enlightened
system o f organized party m anagem ent o f the m a jo rity party, which is under an
influence that is alm ost occult, and a m anagem ent that seems excellently w ell
devised to control a ll com m ittee action by a m ajority o f a m a jo rity plan that
enables 4 to d efeat 13 on the Com m ittee on Privileges an d Elections. T h is is
an exam ple o f w h at is called “ m achine politics.”
*

*

31092— 10612




*

*

*

*

*

4
T h e fu lle r d etails relative to prim ary elections w ill be found in the work
P rim ary Elections, a Study o f the H istory and T endencies o f P rim ary Election
L egislation, by C. E dw ard M erriam , associate professor o f political science in
the U n iversity o f Chicago, 1908.
Only nine S tates— N ew E ngland, N ew Y ork, D elaw are, and W e s t V irginia—
have failed to definitely act in favor o f the election or selection o f Senators by
direct vote o f the people, and even, in these States the tendency o f the people
is strongly m anifested tow ard such selection o f Senators.
In W e s t V irgin ia they have prim aries in alm ost all o f the counties, instructing
m em bers o f the legislatu re a s to the election o f Senators.
In D elaw are the election o f the members o f the legislature carries w ith it an
understanding as to the vote o f the member on the Senatorship.
In M assach u setts the legislatu re, through the house o f representatives, has
ju s t passed a resolution favorable to th is constitutional am endm ent and is now
considering the in itiative and referendum.
M aine h as recently adopted the in itiative and referendum — the people’s rule.
I t is obvious th at in M ain e the question o f w ho shall be Senator is entering
vigorously into the question o f the election o f m em bers o f the legislature, and
com m itm ents are dem anded o f candidates for the leg islatu re; and so in greater
or less degree even in some other N ortheastern States, w hich are not definitely
com m itted to the election o f Senators by direct vote o f the people, a sim ilar
method is follow ed, which, in effect, operates a s an instruction, m ore or less
pronounced, in favo r o f a candidate for the Senate.
In the five rem aining States, N ew Y ork, N ew H am pshire, Verm ont, Con­
necticut, and Rhode Island, a m a jo rity o f the people unquestionably favo r the
election o f Senators by direct vote o f the people, w hich is dem onstrated by the
approval o f the D em ocrats o f these S tates o f this policy and in addition by the
various nonpartisan organizations, the N ational Grange, A m erican F ederation
o f Labor, and so forth, and by the attitude o f m any individual Republicans, who
are not sufficiently strong, how ever, to control the party management.
In the effort I m ade to have the am endm ent to the Constitution subm itted to
the various S tates on M ay 23, 1908 (S . J. Res. 9 1 ) , it w as obvious th a t I had
not the sym pathy o f those who control the Senate and no vote from a North­
eastern State.
I had, in fact, the active opposition o f the Senator from Rhode Island [M r.
A l d r ic h ], the Senator from M assachusetts [M r. L odge], the Senator from N ew
Jersey [M r. K e a n ], the Senator from M aine [M r. H a l e ], the Senator from Penn­
sylvania [M r. P enrose ], the Senator from N ew Y ork [M r. D e p e w ] — the leaders
o f the Republican P arty in the Senate. T he Senator from M assachusetts and
the Senator from Rhode Islan d and the Senator from New Jersey actually tried
to prevent m y obtaining a vote, resorting to the sm all parliam entary device o f
asserting or suggesting th at I w as asking unanim ous consent fo r a vote a fter
I had m oved the Senate to take the vote. I f I had acceded to this untrue
assertion consent would have been denied and a vote thus prevented. W h a t does
th is fear o f a record m ean?
I do not in the least complain o f such parliam entary tactics, nor o f the oppo­
sition. I m erely think it m y duty to call the attention o f the country to it,
th at it m ay not be doubted that the R epublican leaders o f the Senate are opposed
to giving the people o f the U nited S tates the power to choose their own Senators.
T h e right o f the people to elect Senators ought not to be denied, and the party
leaders who are unw illing to trust the people to elect M em bers o f the Senate
ought not to be trusted w ith power, because the Senate can block and actually
does block every reform the people desire.
T h e Senate h as frequently been used to obstruct the w ill o f the people, and
especially the w ill o f the people to elect Senators by direct vote.
I had then and I w ill have to-day the efficient opposition o f the Republican
m anagers o f the Senate, who do not listen to the voice o f the people, even if
they believe in it. T h e Senator from Rhode Island, for exam ple, the acknow l­
edged leader, h as an environment that unfits him to believe in the w isdom o f
popular governm ent, because in R hode Island, under an unw ise and archaic
m echanism the governm ent o f the State is said to be controlled by about 11 per
cent o f its voters and w h at m igh t fa ir ly be called a p arty machine, w hich is
under the pow erful domination o f commercial interests. I do not say this in any
sense a s a reproof, because I believe each S tate m ust determ ine its own m anage­
ment, but as an historical observation, w hich I think is accurately made, and a s
show ing the im portant need o f im provem ent in our system o f government.

31092— 10612




5
The Senator from Rhode Island, in answ er to m y presentation o f the resolu­
tions passed by the various 27 States, asked the follow ing illum inating question
of m e :

A

.

Mr.
ldrich Does the Senator from Oklahoma understand that
vote according to the instructions of his legislature?

a

Senator is bound

to

W h ile I answered in the negative, a s a mere legal proposition, nevertheless
I do think th at when the opinion o f the people o f a State is thoroughly w ell
made up a Senator ought not only to be bound by it, but that he ought to feel
glad to carry into effect the w ill o f the people whom he represents, and ought
not to set up for h im self a knowledge or an understanding greater than that
o f the people o f the entire State who have sent him a s their representative.
I believe th a t the w ill o f the people is fa r more nearly right, in the main,
than the w ill o f any individual statesm an w ho is apt to be honored by them
w ith a transitory seat in the S en ate; th at the w hole people are more apt to be
safe and sane, more apt to be sound and honest than a single individual. A t
all events, I feel not only w illing, but I really desire to m ake effective the w ill
of the people o f m y State. I believe in popular government, and I believe that
the people are m ore conservative, more “ safe and sane,” and more nearly apt
to do right in the long run than am bitious statesm en tem porarily trusted w ith
power.
I w ill subm it, M r. President, the direct evidence and record o f the public
opinion o f the people o f the United States a s expressed through their legisla­
tures, or by the voluntary act o f party regulations in instructing candidates fo r
the legislatu re on the question o f the election o f U nited States Senators, or by
prim ary la w s a s fa r a s they apply.
It w ill be thus seen that D em ocratic States and Republican States alike,
w est o f the H udson R iver, have acted favorably in this m atter practically
w ithout exception. O nly eight or nine States have failed to act, and I do
not doubt that i f the voice of the people o f these States o f N ew England, o f
N ew Y ork , M aryland, and D elaw are could find convenient expression, free from
ma.cmne politics, every one o f them w ould favor the election o f Senators by
direct vote, and w ould favo r the right o f the people to instruct their Repre­
sentatives in Congress and in the Senate, a right which they enjoyed from the
beginning o f the A m erican Republic down to the days w hen this right w as
smothered and destroyed by the convention system o f party management.
N ot only the S tates have acted alm ost unanim ously in favo r o f this right o f
the people, but all the great parties o f the country have declared in favor o f
it, except the Republican P arty, and th is party w ould have declared for it
except fo r the overw helm ing influence and domination o f m achine politics in the
m anagem ent o f that party and the prevalence o f so-called boss influence
And
th is is dem onstrated by the fa c t th at the large m a jo rity o f the Republican
States, by the resolutions or acts o f their legislatures, have declared in favor
o f it, an d th at several tim es the H ouse o f Representatives, when Republican,
oy a tw o-thirds vote, passed a resolution to subm it such a constitutional
am endment.
T h e trouble is the machine has gotten control o f the Republican management
o f the Senate and can thus block every reform the people w ant. T h e insur­
gents insurge in vain.
I f I remember correctly, the Senator from W isconsin [M r. L a F ollette ], at
the la st national Republican convention, raised this issue on the floor o f the
convention, and the proposal to put in the Republican platform the election of
Senators by direct vote o f the people w as defeated by the powerful influence
o f a political machine, which, on th at occasion, m anifested itself in the delegates
there present— a machine so obviously a machine as to excite the term o f
derision, “ the steam roller.” The “ steam roller ” is not an emblem o f repre­
sentative free governm ent o f a free people.
*

*

*

*

*

*

Mr. President, I have great personal respect fo r very m any o f the representa­
tives o f the great party the control o f w hich by machine m ethods I am assailing
on the floor o f th is body, and do not wish to appear to say anything that w ould
im ply the contrary. I am assailing a bad system o f government, w hich leads
to evil, and not assailin g individuals, or desiring to do so.
I do not approve m achine m ethods in the Senate, in the House, or in the
m anagem ent o f parties, because it leads to absolute bad governm ent and gives
peculiar opportunity.

31092— 10612




The Democratic Party, representing about half of the voters of the United
States (6,409.104 voters), in its national platform adopted at Denver, Colo.,
July 10, 1908, says:
We favor the election of United States Senators by direct vote of the people, and regard
this reform as the gateway to other national reforms.

In like manner the Democratic national platform in 1900 had declared for—
Election o f United States Senators by the direct v ote of the people, and w e fa vor direct
legislation wherever practicable.

And in 1904 repeated the doctrine:
We favor the election of United States Senators by the direct vote of the people.

The platform of the Independence Party, adopted at Chicago, 111., July 28,
1908, declared for direct nominations generally, and further made the following
declaration:
*
We advocate the popular election of United States Senators and of judges, both State
and Federal, * * *
and any constitutional amendment necessary to these ends.

The platform of the Prohibition Party, adopted at Columbus, Ohio, July 16,
1908, made the following its chief plank after the prohibition question, to w it:
The election of United States Senators by direct vote of the people.

-1

The platform of the Hew York Democratic League, adopted at Saratoga, N. Y.,
September 10, 1909, declares for the—
Election of United States Senators by the direct vote of the people.

The platform of the People's Party at Sioux Falls (1900) contained the fol­
lowing declaration:
We demand that United States Senators be elected by direct vote of the people.

The American Federation of Labor, consisting of 118 national and interna­
tional unions, representing, approximately, 27,000 local unions, 4 departments,
38 branches, 594 city central unions, and 573 local unions, with an approximately
paid membership of 2,000,000 men, representing between eight and ten millions
of Americans, with 245 papers, have declared repeatedly in favor of the election
of Senators by direct vote of the people.
The National Orange, comprising the Association of Farmers in the Northeast
and in Central States, including nearly every farmer in Maine and in the New
England States, and in Pennsylvania and Ohio and Michigan, the Society of
Equity and the Farmers' Educational and Cooperative Union of the West and
South, and all together representing the organized farmers of the entire United
States, have declared in favor of the election of Senators by direct vote of the
people. In this group of people our census of 1900 disclosed 10,438,218 adult
workers and probably 45,000,000 people.
The State of Iowa in a joint resolution of April 12, 1909, makes the follow­
ing statement:

^

Whereas the failure of Congress to submit such amendment to the States has made It
clear that the only practicable method of securing submission of such an amendment to
the States is through a constitutional convention to be called by Congress upon the
application of the legislatures of two-thirds of all the States—

And the Legislature of Iowa therefore resolved in favor of a constitutional
convention, in effect, because of the neglect and refusal of the Senate of the
United States to perform its obvious duty in the premises, the lower House hav­
ing, by a two-thirds vote on four previous occasions, passed a resolution provid­
ing for the submission of such a constitutional amendment.
In the speech of the Hon. William II. Taft accepting the Republican nomina­
tion for the office of President of the United States at Cincinnati, Ohio, on
July 28, 1908, he said:
With respect to the election of Senators by the people, personally I am inclined to
favor it, but it is hardly a party question. A resolution in its favor has passed a Repub­
lican House of Representatives several times, and has been rejected in a Republican
Senate by the votes of Senators from both parties. It has been approved by the legis­
latures of many Republican States. In a number of States, both Democratic and Repub­
lican, substantially such a system now prevails.

The President justly says it is hardly a party question, and that personally
he is inclined to favor i t ; that a resolution in its favor has passed a Repub­
lican House of Representatives several times, but has been rejected in a Re­
publican Senate by votes of Senators from both parties; that it has been ap310 9 2 — 10612*




r

7
proved by the legislatu res o f m any Republican S ta te s ; nevertheless, it is per­
fectly obvious to the country th a t any action by the Senate in fa v o r o f
com plying w ith the w ill o f the people o f the U nited S tates in this connection
w ill be rejected.
I n atu rally ask, under the circum stances, since the D em o­
cratic P arty is fu lly com m itted to it, since m any Republican S tates fa v o r it,
since a R epublican H ou se o f R epresentatives has passed a resolution in its
fa v o r several tim es, since a R epublican P resident is inclined to fa v o r it, W h y
ca n t h e p e o p le g e t n o a c tio n f
I n atu ra lly ask under the circum stances, D o the
people rule, or are they ruled by m achine ru le unduly influenced by com m ercial
interests?
M r. President, I now su bm it the resolutions or ab stract o f law s o f 37 States,
over th ree-fou rth s o f the S tates o f th e U nion, w hich have show n them selves a s
favo rin g election o f Senators by direct vote o f the people or by direct nom i­
nations, either by these resolutions or by actual practice in prim aries.
I know th a t th e leaders o f the R epublican P a rty in the U nited S tates Senate
w ill refu se to com ply w ith the express desire o f over three-fou rths o f the
S tates in this m a tter, but they ought not to be understood by the people o f the
U nited S tates to have done th is in ignorance, and fo r th a t reason I propose to
insert in th e R ecord the attitu d e o f the 37 S tates th a t fa v o r the election o f
Senators by direct vote o f the people, and m erely ask the sim ple q u e stio n :
“ D o the people ru le ?”
A s it w ould take considerable tim e to read all these resolutions, I ask the
consent o f the Senate to insert them w ith ou t reading except in so f a r as they
m ay be needed.
T h e V I C E -P R E S I D E N T . W ith o u t objection, the request is granted.
T h e m atter referred to is as fo llo w s (see C o n g r e s s i o n a l R ecord o f M a y 31,
1910) :
H ere find resolutions, law s, etc., o f 37 States.
In spite o f 37 S tates dem anding
Senators b y vote o f the people, in
un iversality o f opinion, the w ill o f
o f a hearing.
M r. President, I a sk y o u , I a sk

or adopting the indirect m ethod o f selecting
spite o f all the evidence subm itted to show
the A m erican people is refused the courtesy
t h e S e n a te , I a sk

th e p e o p le o f th e

TJnited

S t a t e s , D o th e p e o p le r e a l l y r u l e t

T h e refu sal o f the Senate o f the U nited S tates to p erform its obvious duty
in th is m atter o f the su bm ission o f a constitutional am endm ent fo r the election
o f Senators by direct vote, w h ile very im portant a s the g a t e w a y to o t h e r
n e e d e d r e f o r m s , is, how ever, m erely characteristic o f the Senate under the
control o f a p arty m anagem ent th a t is ruled by a m achine m ethod unduly in­
fluenced by com m ercial allies and the so-called big interests. I shall presently
show th a t the people can get none o f the reform s they w an t w hile this un­
fortu n ate condition rem ains.
M r. P resident, the unw earied and unconquerable D em ocracy in the opening
d eclarations o f its la st n ational p latform laid dow n the great issue that m ust
n ext be settled in th is country and s a i d :
W e rejoice at the increasing signs of an awakening throughout the country.
The
various investigations have traced graft and political corruption to the representatives of
predatory wealth and laid bare the unscrupulous methods by which they have debauched
elections and preyed upon a defenseless public through the subservient officials whom
they have raised to place and power.
“ The c o n s c ie n c e o f th e N a tio n is n o w a ro u sed to f r e e th e G o v e r n m e n t fr o m th e g rip o f
th o s e w h o h a v e m a d e i t a b u sin ess a s s e t o f th e fa v o r -s e e k in g c o r p o r a tio n s ; It must become
again a p e o p le ’ s g o v e r n m e n t and be administered in all its departments according to the
Jeffersonian maxim, E q u a l r ig h ts to a ll a n d 's p e c ia l p r iv ile g e s to n o n e.”
Sh
all

all

th e

th e

people

q u e s t io n s

ru le
now

?

is

th e

under

THE

o v e r s h a d o w in g

d is c u s s io n

G R E A T E ST

is s u e

w h ic h

m a n if e s t s

it s e l f

in

.
OF A L L

IS S U E S .

M r. P resident, th e greatest o f all issues, not only in the U nited S tates but
throughout the civilized w orld, is the issu e o f popular governm ent, or the gov­
ernm ent o f th e people ag ain st delegated governm ent, or governm ent by conven­
tion, or governm ent by m achine politics.
T h e v ital question is, Shall the people ru le? S hall they control the m echanism
o f p arty governm ent?
S h all they have the direct power to nom inate, to in ­
struct, to recall th eir public se rv a n ts ; to legislate directly and to enact law s
they w an t and to veto la w s they do not w ant, free from corruption, intim idation,
or force, a s w ell as elect S enators who claim to represent them on this floor?

31092— 10612




8

The Senator from Oregon well says (May 5, 1910) :
“

A B SO L U T E G O V E R N M E N T B T T H E

PEO PLE.

“ Under the machine and political-boss system the confidence of sincere par­
tisans is often betrayed by recreant leaders in political contests and by public
servants who recognize the irresponsible machine instead of the electorate as
the source of power to which they are responsible. If the enforcement of the
Oregon laws will right these wrongs, then they were conceived in wisdom and
born in justice to the people, in justice to the public servant, and in justice to
the partisan.

“Plainly stated, the aim and purpose of the laws are to destroy the irre­
sponsible political machine and to put all elective offices in the State m direct
touch with the people as the real source of authority;
to elimi­
nate dominance of corporate and corrupt influences in the administration of
public affairs. The Oregon laws mark the course that must be pursued before
the wrongful use of corporate power can be dethroned, the people restored to
power, and lasting reform secured.

in short, to give direct
and full force to the ballot of every individual elector in Oregon and

They insure absolute government by the

people.”

THE

SECR ET

A L L IA N C E

BETW EEN

M A C H IN E

P O L IT IC S

AND

S P E C IA L

IN T E R E S T S .

Mr. President, the great evil from which the American people have suffered
in recent years has been the secret but well-known alliance between commer­
cial interests and machine politics, by which special interests have endeavored
and often succeeded in obtaining legislation giving them special advantages in
Nation, State, and in municipalities over the body of the American people and
obtained administrative and judicial immunity so that the laws have not been
properly enforced against them; by which means they have enriched themselves
at the expense of the American people; at the expense of Democrats and
Republicans alike; by which private individuals have become enormously and
foolishly rich, and many millions of people intellectually, physically, financially,
or morally weak have been reduced to poverty and to a condition of relative
financial, industrial, and moral degradation.
Mr. President, the mad scramble for unneeded millions, the unrestrained lust
for money and power has become a national and a world-wide scandal. How
unwise it seems, Mr. President, when a man already has more than enough to
gratify every want, every taste, every luxury, every wish that is within the
bounds of reason or of common sense that he should still pursue a mad race
for sordid wealth, using his great opportunities for good, not for the welfare of
his poorer and weaker brothers, but to press them to hard labor through the
artificial mechanism of corporate taskmasters like galley slaves sent to twelve
hours of labor seven days a week, to degeneracy and ruin, as has been reported
to this Senate through the protected iron and steel industries of Pittsburgh
(Pittsburgh Survey) and at Bethlehem (Report of Secretary of Commerce
and Labor).
What an evil inflence over our national life is being exercised by the false
social standards of lavish extravagance and wasteful ostentation, standards set
by the thoughtless rich and imitated in graduated degrees by their satellites and
admirers down through society to those who can not afford extravagance with­
out injury or ruin. Our whole society is being injuriously affected by these
false standards of “ high living.” People have automobiles who have no
homesteads.
Mr. President, I regard it as of great importance that the country should
understand the manner in which commercial interests are using the powers of
government through the mechanism of machine polities.
Many men without the slightest intention of departing from the line of the
strictest rectitude nevertheless engage in the political game and use machine
politics for their own preferment, recognizing no better method and thinking
it to be a fact that purity in politics is an iridescent dream, and content that
they are themselves guilty of no criminal or gross immoral act. My comments
on these matters are intended to have no application whatever to any individual
tn the sense of imputing to him a bad or depraved motive. It is the system
which I attack.
All men where severely tempted are liable to err, and I believe our Govern­
ment should be so changed as to protect the individual from temptation of any
kind as we would protect a friend from exposure to disease.
31092— 10612




9
M r. P resident, I b a re no desire to seek p artisan advantage by pointing out the
w eaknesses o f governm ent under present m ethods o f p arty m anagem ent. I
shou ld like to see the com plete restoration o f good governm ent in the U nited
States.
I t w ill require the m ost vigorous efforts o f the honest men o f both panties to restore the Governm ent to a condition o f integrity, w here high purposes,
honor, and the com m on good sh all exclu sively rule.

*

*

*

*

THE

*

B IP A R T IS A N

*

*

A SP E C T .

M r. President. I sh all not offend the colum ns of the Congressional R ecord
w ith th e m u ltitu des o f instances of corruption in m unicipality, city, or F ederal
G overnm ent w ith w hich the public press h a s been constantly filled. T h e cor­
ruption show n in St. L ou is by M r. F o lk ; in San F rancisco by H e n e y ; in C hi­
cago ; in P ittsburgh, w here m ore th an 4 0 m em bers o f the city council w ere in ­
dicted fo r g r a f t ; in A lb an y , N . Y . ; in H arrisburg, P a .; in N ew Y o r k ; in B o sto n ;
in P h ilad elp h ia— the w ide prevalence o f corruption in governm ent in our great
Republic is a deep n ation al disgrace. T h e num ber o f egregious instances is
both shocking and am azing. T h is n ation -w ide evil is, how ever, d irectly d ue to
th e w eakn ess o f hum an natu re and th e defective m echanism o f party govern­
m ent w hich h a s unavoidably developed under a system o f m achine politics, w ith
its corrupt and corrupting m ethods, w hich su bjects men to tem p tations th a t too
often prove irresistible. T h e evil, under such a bad system , w ould arise under
any p arty in pow er, and can be absolutely elim inated and eradicated by the law s
I propose.
A distinguished statesm an once said th a t the idea o f purity in politics w as
in iridescent dream .
T h e people retired him , and th ereafter he described h im se lf as “ a statesm an
ou t o f a job .”
H e neglected h is opportunity to find a rem edy and point it out. Y e t he w a s
a w ell-m ean in g m an, an orator and a scholar o f great a b ility ; bu t he saw no
w ay out.
P U R IT Y

IN

P O L IT IC S .

I t is n ot true, M r. President, th a t pu rity in politics is an iridescent dream .
I t can be m ade a rea lity through the Oregon system o f p opular governm ent and
b y th e overthrow o f the im perfect m echanism o f p arty governm ent w hich h as
evolved th e bad system o f m achine-rule governm ent. T h e rem edy f o r th e evils
from w hich ou r n ation al, S tate, and municipal governm ents h av e suffered is to
restore th e ru le o f th e people— to restore the fu ll p ow ers o f governm ent to the
people b y th e Oregon s y s te m ; to p ass la w s by w hich th e people can d irectly
nom inate, d irectly Initiate la w s they d o w ant, d irectly veto la w s they do not
w an t, d irectly recall public servants, b y w hich the people can set asid e political
m ercenaries w h o often seize upon th e rein s o f p arty control under color o f
p a rty en th u siasm w ith the cold-blooded, crim inal purpose o f selling governm ent
fa v o r o f profit or power. I p ray the leaders o f all parties to prom ote the rule
o f the people b y th e Oregon system .
T h e people h av e no sinister purposes. T h e people w ill not sell o u t

The
The
The
The

people
people
people
people

are “ safe and sane."
are conservative and sound.
are honest and intelligent.
would vote for the public interest alone and w ould n ot vote fo r

purely selfish p rivate interests.
T h e people w ould not gran t 9 9-ye ar or perpetual corporate fran chises or legis­
la tiv e privileges o f enorm ous valu e w ith ou t adequate consideration.

The people would not deprive any persons of their just rights.
Under the rule of the people the issue of world^widc peace would he raised
and would, by popular bote of all nations, be made a permanent international
law.
The people know more than their Representatives do, and are less passionate
and less liab le to be led into either internal o r international com plications.
The people are worthier to be confided in than an y in d ividu als trusted w ith
tem p orary power.

The people would be economical in government.
U n der the ru le o f th e people, w ith th e righ t o f recall, their public serv an ts
w ou ld be m ore upright, m ore fa ith fu l, m ore diligent, m ore econom ical, and m ore
h o n e s t; the public sen d ee w ould be p u rifie d ; th e bad exam ple o f corruption and

31092— 10612




10
extravagance in high places w ould be rem oved and new and better standards o f
public and p rivate conduct w ould prevail.
T h e servants o f the people w ou ld then concern them selves m ore in bringing
about the reform s w hich the people desire.
IF

THE

P E O PL E

EE A L L ?

E U LE ,

WHY

D O N 'T

THE

P EO PL E G ET

W HAT

THEY

W ANT?

M r. P resident, “ p opular d istru st o f our leg islative bodies is underm ining the
confidence o f the people in representative governm ent.”
I t is prom oting radical
socialism and developing elem ents o f crim inal anarchy.
I t is developing forces th a t h av e in past history overthrow n Governm ents and
destroyed the existin g order.
T h e people d esire m any th in gs w hich they are entitled to receive, w hich have
been prom ised to them , and w hich h ave been w ithheld or a t lea st not delivered
by their public servants, w h o in reality m ake them selves the m asters o f the
people w hen trusted w ith power.
T h e p e o p le w a n t l o w e r p r ic e s o n t h e n e c e s s a r i e s o f l if e and the reduction o f
th e tariff. W h y d o they not get it? T h ey w ere prom ised reduction, but they
got a higher ta riff and higher prices than before.
W h y d o t h e y n o t y e t r e c ip r o c it y f
I t h a s been repeatedly prom ised in party
p la tform s an d on the hustings.
R e c i p r o c i t y w a s the policy repeatedly declared by B lain e and M cK in ley , and
it w a s again proclaim ed in the R epublican national p la tform o f 1900, upon
w hich M cK in ley and R oosevelt w ere elected, confirm ing the policy upon w hich
the people h ad p reviously trusted the R epublican P arty w ith power.
B u t the R epublican organization in the Senate on M arch 5, 1903, finally
defeated every reciprocity trea ty negotiated under the au th ority o f the “ A ct
to provide revenue for the Governm ent, and to encourage the industries o f the
U n ited S ta tes,” approved July 24, 1897, to w i t : T h e convention w ith France,
subm itted D ecem ber 6, 1899, agreem ent extending tim e to r a t if y ; subm itted
M arch 21, 1 9 0 0 ; again M arch 9, 1 9 0 1 ; D ecem ber 4, 1902, and so forth. Recom ­
m itted M arch 5, 1903. In lik e m anner w ere sm othered and killed the follow in g
reciprocity tr e a tie s :
T h e convention w ith G reat B ritain , M arch 5, 1 9 0 3 ; the convention fo r B a r­
bados, M arch 5, 1 9 0 3 ; the convention for B ritish G uiana, M arch 5, 1 9 0 3 ; the
convention fo r T u rk s and Caicos Islan d s, M arch 5, 1 9 0 3 ; the convention for
Jam aica, M arch 5, 1 9 0 3 ; the convention for B erm ud a, M arch 5, 1 9 0 3 ; the con­
vention fo r N ew fou n dlan d, M arch 5, 1 9 0 3 ; the convention w ith A rgentine
R epublic, M arch 5, 1 9 0 3 ; th e convention w ith E cuador, M arch 5, 1 9 0 3 ; the con­
vention w ith N icaragu a , M arch 5, 1 9 0 3 ; the convention w ith D en m ark fo r St.
Croix, M arch 5, 1 9 0 3 ; an d so forth , and so forth.
T h e p e o p le w a n t l o w e r p r ic e s and the reduction o f the tariff.
W h y don’t
they get it? T h ey w ere prom ised reduction, but they got a higher ta riff and
higher prices than before, and sh am efu l “ r e t a l i a t i o n ” Instead o f honorable
“ reciprocity? ”
T h e p e o p le w a n t t h e c o n tr o l o f m o n o p o l y and the reduction o f the high prices
o f monopoly.
W h y don’t they get it?
A ll parties prom ise it, ye t M oody’ s
M an u al show s th a t the gigan tic m onopolies have rapidly grow n until their
stock s and bonds com prise a th ird o f th e national w ealth.
T h e y aggregate
over th irty thousand m illion s o f d ollars. M ood y’s M an u al fo r 1907, page 2330,
gives over 1,000 com panies absorbed or m erged by or into other com panies fo r
1907, and these conditions grow w orse each year.
O rganized m onopoly controls th e m eat m a r k e t; controls the selling price o f
beef, m utton, pork, fo w ls, and every v a rie ty o f m eat.
O rganized m onopoly controls the prices o f all bakery products and candies
and p re se r v e s; controls the p rices o f all canned goods and tropical f r u i t s ; con­
tro ls the price o f su gar and salt and spices. M onopolies control everything that
goes on the table, a s food, a s tablew are, china and glas3 w are, and the price
o f the table it s e lf; controls th e price o f everything th a t enters the house, the
fu rn itu re, th e carpets, th e d ra p e ries; controls the price o f everything w orn
upon the back o f m an, o f w oolen goods, o f linen goods, o f silk goods, o f cotton
goods, o f leather goods.
T h e y control th e price o f all m a te ria ls o f w hich buildings
are constructed— lum ber, iron an d steel, cem ent, brick, plaster, m arble, granite,
stone, tile, slate, and asp h alt. T h ey control paper and stationery goods, iron,
copper, and steel and m etals, and goods m ade o f these m aterials.
T h ey con­
trol d airy p ro d u cts; they control ra ilw a y s and steam ship lines, telegraph,
telephone, and express com panies.
T h ey control everything needed by m an,

31092— 10612




11
from the cradle w hich receives the baby, and the to y s w ith w hich a child plays,
to the casket and the cerem ents o f the grave.
T h ey have raised prices 50 per cent higher than the m ark ets o f the w orld,
an d their apologists, the political allies o f com m ercial monopoly and their
in tellectu al m ercenaries, fill the public press w ith solemn argum ent about the
qu an titative theory o f m oney and the increase o f gold as exp laining and ju s tify ­
in g high prices.
T h e w hole w orld is staggering under the high prices o f monopoly, and the
people o f the U n ited S tates are afflicted w ith prices 50 per cent higher than
those paid by the balance o f m ankind. T h e people ask fo r bread and they get
a stone. T h e y ask fo r low er prices and they get a senatorial investigation as
to the causes o f high prices, and the causes o f high prices w hen ascertained by
this unnecessary and absurd research w ill unquestionably be used a s a special
plea and as an apology and p retext for denying the reasonable dem and o f( the
A m erican people fo r the restrain t o f m onopoly and the low ering o f prices.
T h ese high prices m ean th a t it takes $150 to buy w hat $100 bought before
and ou g h t to buy. I t is very h ard on dom estic servants, a ll o f w hom are ask ­
ing higher w ages.
I t is very hard on people w ith fixed salaries or o f sm all
fixed incom es and ann uities and w ith pensions.
T h e se artificial high prices
m ake the few , the m onopolists, very rich, but they sorely, p ain fu lly ta x the
livin g o f th e poor.
T h is policy i? ju stified neither by com m on sense nor by patriotism .
T h e p e o p le d e m a n d a f a i r p r ic e f o r th e ir c r u d e p r o d u c ts , fo r th eir ca ttle and
hogs and sheep and the corn and h ay and grass fed into these dom estic anim als
and m arketed. T h e B e e f T ru s t artificially fixes the price o f w h at they produce,
w ith ou t com petition, at an u n fair price, and no rem edy is afforded. T he
Tobacco T ru st fixes the price o f their tobacco, and is stirring up the night
riders’ rebellion, w ith its ignorant, crim in al, and p itifu l protests, by stealing
the valu e o f the labor o f the tobacco raiser by artificial prices, and no relief is
given.
T h e th ief uses the sw ord o f the S tate to punish the protest o f its victim who
in blind passion violates the la w o f the Governm ent th a t d oes n ot protect him.
I t is a sorrow fu l sight.
G am blers in the m arket places undertake to force prices o f w heat, corn, oats,
an d cotton back and forth fo r gam blin g purposes, and no relief.
I s it an y w onder th e people abandon the fa rm and find a w orse condition in
the grinding com petition o f labor in our great cities, w here m onopoly again fixes
the price o f lab o r? I s it any w onder labor m akes violent efforts to protect itself
an d to protect the w ives and children who look to them for protection?
IF THE PEOPLE BULE, W H Y DO THEY NOT GET W HAT THEY W AN T?
T h e p e o p le h a v e b e e n p r o m is e d t h e c o n tr o l o f m o n o p o l y .
W h y do they not
get it? A re the people in control o f Governm ent, or are the tru sts in control?
D o the people really ru le?
T h e p e o p le do n o t a p p r o v e b la c k listin g o f e m p l o y e e s by the tariff-protected
m onopolies, y e t they get no relief.
T h e p e o p le d o n o t a p p r o v e t h e g r in d in g d o w n o f w a g e s b y th e p r o t e c t e d
m o n o p o lie s , from w hich brutal policy poverty, crim e, inefficiency, sickness, and

d eath m u st u n avoidably follow .
W H Y DO THEY GET NO BELIEF?
T h e p e o p le d e s ir e an e m p l o y e r s ' l ia b ilit y a c t — eight hours o f labor and one

d ay o f rest in seven and san itary housing for labor. W h y do they not get it?
I s the dem and unreasonable? H a s not the condition at P ittsburgh, the center
o f the great system o f A m erican protection, been fu lly set forth by the highest
au th ority, by the trained experts o f the R u ssell Sage F ound ation?
D id they not point ou t 12 hours o f labor 7 d a y s in the w eek a s the usual rule,
im pure w ater, im pure food, in san itary housing, sick w om en and children? D oes
not the recent report o f the D ep artm en t o f Com m erce and L ab or o f the B eth le­
hem Co. confirm it ? W h y is there no re lie f from these hideous conditions o f
A m erican life ?
T h e p e o p le d o n o t a p p r o v e 1 2 h o u r s o f la b o r f o r 7 d a y s in t h e w e e k th a t m akes
o f m an a p itifu l beast o f burden and destroys his efficiency and life. T h e Sage
Foundation pointed ou t these tragical conditions a t P ittsburgh, as I have here­
to fo re pointed ou t to the S e n a te ; the D ep artm ent o f Com m erce an d L ab or has

31092— 10612




12
reported to tlie Senate a like condition a t the Bethlehem Steel W o rk s, in answ er
to a resolution o f the Senate offered by me.
W h y is there no relief or attem p t a t re lie f?
T h e part w hich the U nited States Steel Corporation has played in prom oting
political cam paigns is an open secret and fu rn ish es one o f the obvious reasons
w hy relief is not afforded.
T h e p e o p le w o u l d lik e p u b li c it y o f c a m p a ig n c o n tr ib u tio n s , a n d a th o r o u g h ­
g o in g c o r r u p t-p r a c tic e s a c t.
W h y do they not get it?

W h o is interested in m ain tain in g the corrupt practices? D o not the people
desii’e corrupt practices stopped?
W h o opposes publicity o f cam paign contributions? D o not the people wish
publicity o f cam paign contributions and effective control o f the use o f money in
cam paigns?
T h e p e o p le d e s ir e to c o n tr o l g a m b lin g in a g r ic u ltu ra l p r o d u c ts .
W h o is con­
cerned in m ain tain in g th is evil system o f gam bling in w heat and corn and oats
and rye an d cotton ? D o the people d esire this gam bling to continue, and w ould
it continue under th e ru le o f the people?
T h e people despise the legislative treachery o f the so-called “ jok er ” in their
law s w hich d efe a ts the im plied prom ise o f relief in the law .
W h e n the people
rule, th is leg islative trickery w ill cease.
Oh, it is said, M r. President, th a t the people do not know w h at they w ant
nor how to govern them selves directly, but only by representatives.
I e m p h a tic a lly d e n y it.
T h e d e m o n s tr a tio n in O r e g o n is a fina l a n s w e r to
s u c h s h a llo w p r e t e n s e s .
I confess for the m ost p art they are an unorganized

mob in p o litic s; th a t fo r m any years they have trusted political parties, m an­
aged by m achine m eth o d s; that they do not select candidates or issu e s; but
Oregon and O klahom a point a new and sa fe w ay to correct this deficiency.
T h e p e o p le w i s h t h e g a m b lin g in s to c k s a n d bo n d s to be term inated.
W hy
does th e Senate not act?
W h y does not the Congress act and forbid the m ails
to the m ost gigan tic and w icked gam blin g scheme the w orld h as ever know n—
a gigantic sponge w hich absorbs by stealth an d c r a ft hundreds o f m illions
ann u ally from foolish tru stin g citizens, m isled b y fa lse appeals to their avarice,
cupidity, and speculative w eaknesses, d erisively called “ the lam bs,” w ho pass
in an unbroken stream to slaughter on the fascin a tin g a lta rs o f mammon.
W h y a r e t h e r e s e r v e s o f t h e n a tio n a l b a n k s n o t u s e d e x c l u s i v e l y f o r c o m ­
m e r c e , but used instead a s an agency o f stock gam bling and overcertification

o f checks a s a ch ief a u x ilia r y ?
I tried m y best in the Senate when the financial
bill w a s pending in 1908 to am end th is evil condition, but the Senate w ill rem em ­
ber the d enial o f th at relief.
W h y is there no control o f o v e r c a p it a liz a t io n o f the o v e r i s s u e o f s to c k s and
b o n d s o f c o r p o r a tio n s , another m eans by w hich the people are defraud ed ?
W h y is there n o e f f e c t i v e c o n tr o l o f ra ilr o a d , p a s s e n g e r , a n d f r e i g h t r a te s
a fte r 4 0 years a g ita tio n ? . D o th e people w an t reasonable railroad rates, or
do the people conduct the Governm ent o f the U nited S tates?
T h e present discussion o f railroad fre ig h t rates on the floor o f the Senate and
on th e floor o f the H o u se is alm ost entirely in vain, because the ju r y is not a
ju r y in sym path y w ith th e people, but a ju r y that, m ost unfortunately, u n d er
m a c h in e ru le , can not be free from the influence o f the enorm ous power o f the
railroad s in politics.
T h e debate is w ell-nigh useless, and fo r th is reason w ill
am ount to nothing in the w a y o f su bstantial relief to the A m erican people,
except to d efe a t a sk illfu l raid planned again st the people under color o f serv­
ing them .
W h y is th ere n o a d e q u a te c o n tr o l o f t h e d is c r im in a tio n o f r a ilw a y s against
individuals, or d iscrim in ation s in fa v o r o f one com m unity a g a in st another?
T h e people are opposed to these discrim inations, but th eir representatives— the
party lead ers w ho are in power— do not adequately represent the reasonable de­
sires o f the people.
W h y i s t h e r e n o p h y s ic a l v a lu a tio n o f r a i lw a y s — giving the ra ilw a y com panies
generous consideration o f every valu e they are entitled to— a s a basis o f honest
freigh t and passenger ra tes?
T h e In terstate Com m erce Com m ission has re­
peatedly advised us that it w a s essential and necessary, but yet there h as been
no response from the authorized representatives o f the people.
IF THE PEOPLE RULE, W H Y DO TH EY NOT GET W H A T TH EY ARE ENTITLED TO?
W h y is t h e r e n o p a rc e l p o s t f
W o u ld it serve the interest o f the people and
protect the deficit o f th e P ost Office D ep artm en t?
U ndoubtedly.
B ut the

31092— 10612




13
great express com panies have such political power w ith the dom inant repre­
sentatives o f the people th at the dom inant representatives do not ju stly repre­
sent the people, but represent instead those w ho contribute money and influence
secretly to cam paign funds.
W h y do w e not have a n a tio n a l d e v e l o p m e n t o f g o o d r o a d s, cooperating w ith
every S tate and county in the U n ion ?
T h e people undoubtedly w an t it and undoubtedly need it.
W h y do w e not have a s y s t e m a t i c d e v e lo p m e n t o f o u r n a tio n a l w a t e r w a y s f
T h e people w an t that, bu t the recent rivers and harbors w ill, appropriating
fifty-tw o m illions, spent m an y m illions on local projects w ith political prestige,
but w ith ou t a thoroughgoing n ational design.
T h e people desired a p u r e foo d , a n d d ru g a c t, and it took a long tim e to get
it, and it s a d m in is tr a tio n n o w is m a d e a lm o s t im p o s s i b l e b y t h e in flu e n c e s o v e r
g o v e r n m e n t o f s e l f-p r o m o t i n g c o m m e r c ia l in t e r e s ts .
W h y is e q u a l it y o f o p p o r t u n i t y being rapidly destroyed and absorbed by cor­

porate grow th and power w ith ou t an y protection o f the young men and o f the
you n g w om en an d people o f the lan d ? D o the people w an t equality o f oppor­
tu n ity? W a s it not prom ised in the R epublican p la tform ?
T h e p e o p le u n i v e r s a l ly d e s ir e a n i n c o m e ta x .
I t w as defeated in the Supreme
Court by a fallacio u s argum ent, w hich I have heretofore pointed out, and w ill
probably be defeated a s a constitutional am endm ent because o f m achine rule
and the influence o f private interest w ith m achine rule, w hich is m ore potential
than the public w elfare.
W h y do th e p e o p le n o t g e t a p r o g r e s s i v e in h e r it a n c e t a x on the gigantic fo r­
tunes o f A m erica ? T h e people w an t it. E very nation in E urope h as it, even
under m onarchies, a s I have heretofore shown, w ith the m ost exact particulars.
Com m on honesty and fairn ess dem ands it, its constitutionality is affirmed by
the highest courts, and it w ould not offend the feelings o f the m ost avaricious
m u ltim illion aire a t the tim e o f its enforcem ent— a fter he w as dead.
W h y do w e w a i t s o lo n g f o r th e a d m is s io n o f A r iz o n a a n d N e w M e x i c o f
F or
years it h as been p ro m ise d ; fo r years those people have w aited upon the ad­
m in istration o f ju stice by the C ongress o f the U nited States.
F in ally, M r. President, w h y do w e n o t h a v e e le c tio n o f S e n a t o r s b y d ir e c t v o t e
o f th e p e o p l e t
T h e elected representatives o f the people in fo u r preceding Con­
gresses have, by a vote su bstan tially unanim ous, favo red and passed resolu­
tions fo r th is purpose. D id they represent the people o f the U n ited S tates?
T h irty-seven S tates now stand fo r it. D o they represent the people o f the
U nited S tates? A ll the great nonpartisan organizations o f the country, the
A m erican Federation o f Labor, the Society o f E quity, the N a tio n al Grange, the
F arm ers’ E du cation al and Cooperative Union, and every one of the great p oliti­
cal parties w ith the exception o f the dom in ant party, in its national p la tform ,
and even here a m a jo rity, a great m a jo rity, o f Republican S tates fa v o r it and
have so expressed them selves, and yet no action. N ine-tenths o f the .people
w an t it, and the Senate o f the U n ited S tates d efeats it, and the Senator from
Idaho [M r. H e y b u r n ] am uses the Senate by calling this m ature ju d gm en t o f
the A m erican people “ popular clam or.”
I t is enough to m ake the Senate laugh,
this m irth-provoking “ popular clam or,” evidenced by the insane legislatu res of
Idaho and K entucky.
It is w rong to inquire—
DO T H E

PEOPLE

RULE?

E veryth in g th at they stan d for and desire is defeated. A ll o f the great doc­
trines th at they have been urging forw ard are obstructed. Some o f the R epub­
lican leaders say, “ Y e s : the people ru le through the Republican P a rty .”
My
an sw er is, M r. President, th at i f th e p e o p le ru led th ro u g h th e R e p u b lic a n P a r t y ,
t h e y w o u l d h a v e lo n g s in c e a n s w e r e d th e ir o w n p r a y e r s and d e m a n d s f a v o r a b l y
a n d n o t d e n ie d t h e m s e l v e s th e ir o w n p e titio n s .

M r. P resident, the evils w hich have crept into our Governm ent have grow n up
n atu ra lly under the convention system , not through the fa u lts o f any particular
m an or any particu lar party.
I believe in the integrity o f the great body o f the
Republican citizens of this country, but I have little patience w ith pure m achine
politics guided by selfish interests in either party. T h e system o f delegated
governm ent affords too open and abundant opportunity fo r com m ercialism and
for mere self-seeking political am bition.
It h as seized upon the party in power, a s it a lw a y s seeks to do w ith the party
that c a n d e liv e r , and it w ill be a task o f enorm ous diflSculty to purge the party
31092— 10612




14
in pow er o f these dangerous and sinister forces, if, indeed, it do not prove
utterly im possible except by its retirem ent from power.
In som e cases delegated governm ent, even under a m achine form , is per­
fe c tly upright, perfectly honest, and serves the cause o f the people excellently
w ell, but the m echanism o f governm ent by the delegate plan afford s too great
opportunity fo r the allian ce o f com m ercialism and political am bition.
An
ordinary State convention, under the m achine-rule plan, is composed o f dele­
gates delegated from county co n ven tio n s; the county conventions consist o f
delegates delegated from the w ard p r im a r y ; the w ard p rim a ry consists o f a
w ard boss, a bouncer or tw o, and a crow d o f strikers who do not represent
the actu al m em bership o f the p arty voters o f that w ard, so th a t when a
Senator is nom inated by a S tate convention he is often three degrees removed
from the people, an d is the choice o f a m achine and does not really feel fu lly
his d u ty to th e in articu late m ass.
I t w ill be better fo r th is country w hen Senators and M em bers o f Congress
an d S ta te leg islato rs and m unicipal leg islato rs are chosen by the direct vote
o f the people and when the people h ave the right o f recall by the nom ination
o f a successor to their public servants.
T h e people w ill never abuse their
power.

The great political need in the United States is the establishment of the
direct rule of the people, the overthrow of machine politics, the overthrow of
corrupt or unwise use of money, intimidation, coercion, bribery; the overthrow
o f the variou s cr a fty corporate an d political devices w hich have heretofore
succeeded in n u llify in g th e w ill o f the people.
T h e great issue is to restore the direct rule o f the people a s m em bers o f
parties and w ith in both parties, and to abate the m align influence o f m achine
methods.
T h e great issue is to enable the m em bers o f the R epublican P arty to control
it, to provide a mechanism by which the members of the Republican Party,
fo r exam ple, can really nominate their own candidates for public office and
for party office, and then require their elected representatives to represent the
people w ho elect them and m ake effective the w ill o f the p arty m em bers who
have nom inated and elected them.
T h e great issue is to enable the m em bers o f the D em ocratic P arty to directly
nominate their own candidates, both in the party itself and for public office,
and then require such public servan ts so nom inated and elected to represent the
people w ho nom inated and elected them under p enalty o f the recall or under
the safegu a rd s o f the in itiative an d referendum .
A ll th e people now have is the power to d efe a t on election d ay a bad candi­
date, and thus th ey exercise some influence over nom inations. T h e people do
not in reality rule.
T h e people appear to ru le through the present m achinery o f p arty govern­
ment, but they do not ru le in fa ct, because the party m achinery is so largely
in the h an ds o f m achine men, is so largely controlled in the interest o f the few
an d again st the interest o f th e m a n y ; because the present m echanism o f party
m anagem ent is so contrived as to largely exclude au tom a tically th e cooperation
o f the great body o f the m em bers o f the party, and is so contrived as to cause
the party power to fa ll by g rav ity into the hands o f p rofessional m anagers.
T h e rem edy fo r th ese evils is to restore the governm ent o f the people and to
m o d ify the presen t m echanism o f p arty governm ent, so the party m em bers m ay
conveniently control, th eir own party.
In order to accom plish th is there m u st be—
F irst. An honest and effective registration law.
Second. An honest and effective ballot law.
T h ird. A direct primary laic, properly safeguard ed , by w hich candidates fo r
public office an d fo r p arty office m a y be d irectly and sa fe ly nom inated.
F ourth. Constitutional an d statutory lanes providing the initiative and ref­
erendum, by w hich the people m a y directly legislate, i f the legislatu re fa il,
and m ay d irectly exercise the veto power over an act o f their representatives
in the legislatu re i f a la w is passed they do not w ant.
F ifth . A thoroughgoing corrupt-practices act, forb id ding election rascalities,
prohibiting the use o f m oney, and providing fu ll publicity.
S ixth . An act providing for the publicity pamphlet, giving the argum ents for
and ag ain st every m easure, the argu m en t fo r and ag ain st every candidate, and
p u ttin g this p am phlet in the han ds o f every citizen b efore each election fo r M s
in form ation and guidance.

31092— 10612




15
Seventh. T h e r ig h t o f r e c a ll.
In order to get re lie f from the evils, a fe w o f w hich I have tried to point out,
these im portant statu tes m u st be w ritten on the statute books o f every State,
and the m achine m u st n ot be allow ed to fill them fu ll o f “ jo k e rs.”
T h e m a c h in e
m u s t n o t he a llo w e d to c h a n g e a w o r d o f t h e s e la w s th a t d o e s n o t s ta n d t h e
a p p r o v a l o f t h e f r i e n d s o f t h e r u le o f t h e p e o p le .
In order to h ave these la w s passed by the S tate legislatures, e v e r y c a n d id a te
f o r m e m b e r s h ip in t h e l e g is la tu r e s h o u ld he q u e s tio n e d and h is w ritten answ er

dem anded by authorized com m ittees o f the people— com m ittees p artisan and
nonpartisan, com m ittees R epublican an d D em ocratic, com m ittees o f all parties,
com m ittees o f the A m erican F ederation o f Labor, o f the F arm ers’ U nion, o f the
Grange, an d o f other organ ization s o f fre e men, operating together w henever
convenient.
T h e can didates fo r the leg islatu re w ho refu se to agree to support cord ially the
leg islative program o f the people’ s ru le deserve to be defeated a s they w ere
d efeated in O klahom a in th e cam paign fo r the constitutional convention in 1906.
Question the candidates on th e people’s rule.
N o candidate can expect, or ought to expect, the vote o f the people w hen he
defies the righ t o f th e people to rule.
T h e D em ocratic P arty inscribed on its banners in the la st national p la tform
the doctrine o f th e people’s rule, and I do hope all D em o cra ts w ill do w h a t they
can to m a k e effective the p latform declaration by concrete law s.
T h e enem ies o f the people’s ru le obscurely discourse about d estroying repre­
sen tative governm ent. N obody should be deceived fo r a m om ent by th is
illogical, unreasonable, unfounded, and u tterly absurd pretension. I t is the
argu m en t o f the m achine an d should brand the proponent a s an enem y o f
popular gbvernment.
M y representative represents m e best w hen he receives m y instruction and
when I retain the righ t to in stru ct him and to recall him and to act inde­
pendently o f him i f necessary.
I firm ly believe in representative go vern m en t
T h ose w ho stand fo r the people’s ru le program believe in representative gov­
ernment.
I t is representative governm ent they w ant.
I t is representative governm ent they dem and.
I t is representative governm ent they in sist on.
T h e end o f m isrepresentative, corrupt m achine governm ent Is the corollary o f
th is dem and an d its necessary complement.
I tru st to see th e tim e come, M r. President, when the citizen can vo te w ith fu ll
know ledge an d by secret postal ballot, to be counted at S tate headquarters and
registered w ith th e sam e certain ty, secrecy, and security th a t h is check w ould
be registered in a bank office, w ith o u t cost, w ithout inconvenience, and a t his
leisure.
O nly by the overthrow o f corruption in politics and by the elim ination o f the
sinister influences o f com m ercialism w ill the people o f the country ever be able
to consider disp assion ately the great m atters o f public policy w hich are so essen­
tia l to their fu tu re developm ent and w elfare. W h en w e shall have purged our
G overnm ent o f dishonest m ethods and have provided a m eans by w hich the
people can intelligently and hon estly r u le ; w h e n w e sh a ll h a v e p r o v id e d a
m e c h a n is m h y w h ic h t h e p e o p le ca n a u t h o r it a t i v e l y e x p r e s s t h e m s e l v e s , t h e y w ill
v o t e f o r u n iv ersa l p ea ce.
T h e p e o p le o f t h e U n ite d S t a t e s t o -d a y , i f t h e y c o u ld
v o t e o n t h e q u e s tio n o f in te r n a tio n a l p e a c e , on t h e q u e s t io n o f lim itin g t h e a r m a ­
m e n t o f n a tio n s , w o u l d h e a r t il y h e in f a v o r o f i t .
T h e p e o p le o f G e r m a n y w o u l d
v o t e th e s a m e w a y .
T h e p e o p le o f G r e a t B r i t a i n w o u ld v o t e t h e s a m e w a y .

T h e danger o f w ar arises n ot fro m the people, bu t from am bitious leaders,
an x iou s fo r activity, an x iou s for service, an xious fo r promotion. T h e dogs of
w ar in every n ation are an x iou s to fight, and com m ercial interests engaged in
fu rn ish in g the m unim ents o f w ar, in fu rn ish in g m aterial fo r building ba ttle­
ships, fill the press w ith ru m ors o f w ar w hen the naval appropriation is before
Congress, and th ese th in gs tend to irritate n ations w ith each other.
T h e in tern ation al m isch ief-m ak ers, w ho prate too m uch about the excessive
delicacies o f qu estion s o f n ation al honor that can only be settled b y th e arb itra ­
m ent o f w ar, should be stern ly suppressed and w ould be rendered pow erless
for harm under th e ru le o f the people.
I f th e p e o p le c o u ld e x p r e s s t h e m s e l v e s , t h e y w o u ld i m m e d i a t e l y v o t e f o r g o o d
r o a d s , im p r o v e d w a t e r w a y s , w h o l e s a l e e d u c a tio n , e ig h t h o u rs o f la b o r , i m p r o v e d

31092—10612




16
p r o t e c t io n o f t h e p u b lic h e a lth , l o w e r p r ic e s , r e a s o n a b le c o n tr o l o f p u b li c -u t i li t y
c o r p o r a tio n s , r e a s o n a b le f r e i g h t r a t e s , r e a s o n a b le r a te s b y e x p r e s s , te le p h o n e ,
and t e le g r a p h , t h e r ig h t o f d ir e c t le g is la tio n , a n d to c o n tr o l th e ir p u b lic s e r v a n ts .

M r. President, the citizens o f th e great R epublic w a it in vain for substantial
relief, w h ile m achine p oliticians in S tate and m unicip alities grow l a t each
o th er; but the D em ocrats an d R epublicans a t hom e and men o f a ll opinions
are robbed w ith perfect im p artia lity by the organized m onopolies and trade
conspiracies o f th is country. I a m un w illin g to see the people w a it an y longer.
M r. President, the people’ s ru le is th e only w a y to end political corruption,
and I am rejoiced to see th e great A m erican press giving the question o f the
new system o f governm ent vigorous attention.
W it h the activ e help o f the
new spaper men o f the "United S tates th is system w ill be in control o f the U nited
S tates in tw o and a h a lf years.
T h e new spaper men w ho appreciate the gradual closing o f the d oors o f op­
portu n ity fo r you n g men by th e gigantic grow th o f m onopoly w ill stand for
the ru le o f th e people, a s the doctrine o f organized righteousness and as th e
s o u n d e s t s a fe g u a r d o f p r o p e r t y r ig h ts a s w ell as o f hum an rights.
U n restrain ed organized greed can not oppress hum an beings too fa r w ithout
exp losive consequences o f far-reach in g .danger to property rights.
T h e com pilation o f law s, w ith exp lan atory notes, w hich I have subm itted a s
a Senate docum ent, looks to the restoration o f the rule o f the people o f the
U n ited S ta te s ; an d w hen I say people, I m ean the rule o f th e Republican
people, th e D em ocratic people, th e independent people, th e Socialist people, and
the P opu list people. A n d , M r. P resident, I ask th a t it be printed as a Senate
docum ent.
[S . D oc. No. 603.]
T h e P R E S I D I N G O F F I C E R (M r . K e a n in the c h a ir ). T he C hair hears no
objection to th e request o f the Senator from Oklahom a.
M r. O W E N . A t present these people do not r u le ; they only think they rule.
T h ey are, in fact, ruled by an allian ce betw een special com m ercial interests, at
the head o f w hich is the great political trade com bination known as the P ro­
tective T a r iff L eagu e and a great political m achine w hose nam e I need not
m ention in th is presence.
M r. P resident, the Senator from Oregon h a s heretofore set up in the clearest
possible m anner, in h is m ost n otable an d va lu able speech o f M ay the 5th, the
system o f the people’s rule o f Oregon. I w ish to give it m y cordial approval
and to say w ith the adoption o f th is m ethod th e people o f the U nited States
can relieve them selves in very great m easure, if not entirely, o f the sinister
influences to w hich bad governm ent in th is country is directly due.
PROGRESS OF SYSTEM.

M r. President, as one o f the steps to the restoration o f the people’s rule I
call to the attention o f th e Senate Senate jo in t resolution No. 41, providing for
the subm ission to the S tates o f the U nion o f a constitutional am endm ent pro­
viding fo r the election o f Senators by direct vote o f the people, and m ove that
th e C om m ittee on P rivileges and E lections be instructed to report the same
a t the first d a y o f the n ext session o f th is Congress, w hich w ill give the com ­
m ittee abundant tu n e ; and on th is m otion I ca ll fo r the ye a s and n ays.
(M y
m otion talked to death. R . L. O .)
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