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country through the school system if teachers from other States could be brought into each State so as to give the points of view of those brought up and educated in other surroundings, that teachers of Virginia should be sent to Utah and North Dakota, and that teachers of Utah and North Dakota should be sent to Virginia, and it would not be surprising to find that the secretary of education might believe that the most enlightened writers of schoolbooks for children could be found alone in his or her own State or section.
The power claimed to make conditions is a power to control the school system. To deny it is useless, and the practical effect of such principle is already seen in the bill for Federal aid to roads and the Federal Board for Vocational Education, which were at first as modest and considerate as are the authors of this bill; but after the operation of a few years, in the case of roads, it is seen that not a mile of road is built under the Federal-aid system except as approved first by the Federal Government; and in the case of vocational education the board controlling that system now disburses Federal money, “laying down regulations, controlling, inspecting, and dictating the manner in which vocational education shall be carried on by the States, the cities, and towns and other local educational units.
The issue is clear; the passage of the first bill that starts this iniquitous system must be fought-obsta principiis. Giving control to the States in this bill fools nobody. The next bill may take it all from the States by imposing conditions. “Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird.'
This bill contains a condition that each State must have a compulsory system of education.
Gen. James A. Garfield, in the House of Representatives, June 8, 1866, on the bill to establish a bureau of education, said:
“The genius of our Government does not allow us to establish a compulsory system of education, as is done in some of the countries of Europe. There are States in this Union, however, which have adopted a compulsory system; and perhaps that is well. It is for each State to determine."
If, as General Garfield says, the question of a compulsory system of education is for each State to determiné, how can Congress in this bill propose a compulsory system in each State as one of the conditions upon which each State shall receive this appropriation?. Garfield was an earnest friend of education, but he could not indorse such violation of the Constitution as this.
Fourth. This bill gives to Congress the power to appropriate money to the States for school purposes, and with such grant relinquishes any control whatsoever of the money granted and places that control in the hands of another government. This is a plain surrender of a plain trust duty residing in Congress to control the expenditure of all money appropriated by it.
The duties confided to Congress are trust duties. The great powers to lay and collect taxes and to appropriate money are the highest trust duties; to use the power to gather money from the people by taxation, and then by appropriation give that money 'to a State without let or hinderance by Congress is an abandonment of a trust duty which no court will sustain. Even if the money is appropriated to the State to carry out a purpose within the control of Congress, it is clearly an unauthorized abandonment of their trust duty to control the people's money, and if the money be appropriated to a State another government—to carry out a purpose denied to Congress, their guilt is only enhanced. If the Federal Government retains partial control, this is equally unconstitutional, for “Congress can not delegate the powers confided to it” at all. How can the United States Government surrender control of its own funds into the hands of another government and keep faith with the people as their chosen trustee? The people, in making our Constitution, never intended that the taxes wrung from them should be used and administered by another distinct government.
No trustee, charged with a duty, and accepted by him, can escape his responsibility under the trust who abandons his trust by surrendering it to another.
Fifth. As a corollary of the last doctrine asserted, it follows that no law of Congress would be valid that takes away a duty devolving upon Congress and seeks to place it in the hands of another power or government.
Black on Constitutional Law, third edition, page 287, says: “It is clear in the first place that Congress can not pass any law altering the form or frame of the Government, curtailing the autonomy of the United States, or subjecting the Government to the influence or ascendency of any foreign power.'
This principle is so clear that it hardly needs affirmation or discussion. A minute examination of this bill shows it to be clearly subject to this objection.
Such examination will show its revolutionary character and will show with equal clearness the attempted grant of power to the one or the other which is denied to it in the Constitution, or the exclusion of the one or the other from the exercise of a power granted to it. Neither can be admitted.
Finally: Why should we by this bill increase the debt of the Government $100,000,000, or more likely by $500,000,000, in five years when every patriot in the country is striving to reduce it? Are we willing to pay such a price for the chance of mixed schools? For imported teachers, not of our own choice? Or for books selected by the Secretary of Education for the children of the schools? This bill also represents a large spoke in the lagre wheel of consolidation, which unless checked will finally place all of the interests of the people of the United States, national and local, in a consolidated empire at Washington. Time would fail me to record even a partial list of the bills that have become laws and those that are pressing for consideration involving appropriations to the States. Each is a spoke in this great wheel of consolidation. Most of them rely upon money drawn from the States by taxation and brought to Washington to be sent back to the States for the discharge of State functions. Business methods would suggest that this money should be left in the States for the discharge of State functions and not be subjected to the losses incident to its transfer to Washington and its retransfer to the States by the employment of thousands of extra employees to do this work. No business corporation would ever stand for such a system. This bill attempts to appropriate $100,000,000. In five years, should this bill go through, we may expect the appropriation to be $500,000,000.
The maternity law passed two years ago that carried an insignificant appropriation, in the budget for this year has largely increased that amount. If it should ever be uniformly adopted by the States, in a few years it will require millions of dollars annually. How can this tax-ridden people stand such burdens? This policy seems to be invoked in every description of legislation, but for fear some State power might have been omitted in its transfer to the Federal Government, we find pressing for consideration a bill to create a “General Welfare Department" to complete the concentration of all powers of the States in the Federal Government. Bureaus and commissions of every kind and description, moving in independent orbits, drain the public Treasury of taxes drawn from the people and add to the congestion of powers in Washington.
With a national debt of twenty-two billions of dollars; with an annual interest charge of about one billion dollars; with the people crying for relief from the burdens of war taxation; with this bill offering to give the States one hundred millions of dollars, an additional burden to the people, may not the question seriously be asked of the States, in Biblical language, “Is it a time to receive money, and to receive garments, and olive-yards, and vineyards, and sheep, and
What matters it that the Treasury Department can pay off $300,000,000 of the debt if we stand here prepared to add ten times that amount by the bills that are pressing? The first duty of a legislator is to reduce this debt and thereby reduce taxation, and if this bill is passed the debt of the Government and the taxation of the people will both be largely increased. Not only that, but the bill represents a vicious principle seen in so many bills now before Congress of attempting, by indirection, to transfer powers to the Federal Government which, under the Constitution, belong to the States, until the concentration of power at Washington in this the greatest Republic of modern times will soon rival the condition which existed in Germany at the outbreak of the late war, when all power had been taken from the people in their localities and concentrated in Berlin; and this bill, and others of like character, are not only increasing the debt of the country and thereby increasing taxation, but they are concentrating in the city of Washington powers which should remain in the States.
Germany to-day is suffering from this very principle, and is a sad example of it. In the forests of Germany the Anglo-Saxon principle of local self-government was first developed. That principle was brought to England by the Saxons and nurtured in the congenial atmosphere of the mother country. Our fathers brought it to this country and first planted it on the banks of the Noble James” at Jamestown, Va. Note the difference in the development of the two civilizations. We took the principle from the Saxons commonwealth and have faithfully developed it in this country until recent years. Local self-government has been the shibboleth of those who believe in the highest development of the individual man. It teaches the principle that where the Government touches
him closest, in his home, that there his power as a citizen should be greatest to defend and protect that home; and what, I ask, comes closer to the home than schools? And, therefore, when we are brought face to face here in Congress: with the bold attempt asserted in these bills to destroy that principle of home rule and substitute in its place a consolidated Government embracing not only national but the local powers of the people at home, I find myself, in duty bound to the noble people I represent, to resist such bills to the uttermost.
I beg any man to look at the history of Germany and see how year by year and century by century the local powers which originally belonged to the people had become concentrated in Berlin in one iron hand, and its results! Concentration of power results in irritation, congestion, and inflammation in the body politic and the destruction of liberty; and, like the human body suffering with inflammation, needs a counter irritant to draw out such inflammation. A mustard plaster in the latter case will usually relieve the patient, and in the former the return of the local powers of which the people in their States, counties, and districts, have been stripped will bring the desired relief. The experiment of free government in this American Republic is at stake. The fight is on.
I invoke the aid of patriotic men of every creed and party to put their armor on and resolve never to take it off until the victory is won for the integrity of our own Constitution, the only hope of this American Republic.
STATEMENT OF REV. J. FREDERIC WENCHEL, SECRETARY OF THE WASHINGTON COMMITTEE EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN SYNODICAL CONFERENCE OF NORTH AMERICA, WASHINGTON, D. C.
Mr. WENCHEL. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, we are here representing the Evangelical Lutheran Synodical Conference of North America, and we have also been asked to represent the joint synod of Ohio. The number of people we represent is about a million and a half.
In stating that I would also like to emphasize the fact that in the Lutheran Church which we represent there is unity, especially in doctrine. We are practically united, and opinion is very largely crystallized; so that we are not speaking at random for these people, but we are really representing the great mass of these million and á half of people in the views that we are presenting, as well as in the opposition to the bill.
Mr. TUCKER. There are no differences of modernists and fundamentalists?
Mr. WENCHEL. There are no modernists in the Lutheran Church. If they become modern, they are no longer Lutheran.
We have here as our first speaker a layman, the chairman of our school committee, Mr. C. M. Zorn, of Cleveland, Ohio.
Let me also say this: We are trying to get away from going over the beaten ground, the ground that has been beaten under the feet of others who have gone before us, and we are going to present some new things from our own viewpoint.
Mr. Zorn is the first man we would like to present as an opponent of the bill.
STATEMENT OF MR. C. M. ZORN, JR., CHAIRMAN OF THE
SCHOOL COMMITTEE OF THE EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN SYNODICAL CONFERENCE OF NORTH AMERICA, CLEVELAND, OHIO
Mr. Zorn. Gentlemen of the committee, they picked on me first so that, if you get a bad taste, the others will take it away. I do not mean to reflect on the other members of the committee, but the next one is a little better, and the last one is the best. I will let them speak for themselves.
There was a great philosopher at one time—I do not know his name; I have not been able to find out his name—who said:
This is a hard, hard world. If you speak, you are either misunderstood or wilfully misinterpreted; and if you are silent, your silence is either misunderstood or misinterpreted.
I think the records will show that the Lutheran Church, as such, has rarely appeared in public—has rarely appeared before any committee of Congress, at any rate; and while we appear with some diffidence, still we have taken heart, because we feel that we ought to appear in opposition to this bill.
We hold that it is our first and foremost duty toward the child to give it a thorough Christian training. We must first of all look after the spiritual welfare of the child. The care for the bodily welfare of the child is a natural duty. You do not have to tell anybody that. An animal will take care of its offspring from purely natural instinct. But in the church, we look upon the spiritual welfare as the first consideration. That is a matter of conscience with us—a matter of religious conscience--and is therefore not subject to debate. It is not a thing that you can debate about. When a man holds that a matter is one of spiritual conscience with him it is not debatable.
We begin to take care of this obligation toward the child in the home as we should. But homes are of different character, .even among members of the church. The father may not be there; and another one may have greater or lesser gifts. And so wherever possible we maintain what we call Christian day schools. We do that, as I said before, as a matter of conscience, and one of the best evidences of our considering it a matter of conscience is the fact that we spend upward of $4,000,000 a year for the maintenance of these schools. That does not take in the cost of erecting buildings and maintaining buildings; it is only the direct expense of teaching the .child.
Besides that, we maintain institutions of learning where we train the teachers for this work, and we are rather fortunate in the fact that our teachers, taken by and large, have a life tenure. We have men who have taught in our schools for 50 years. It is a rare occurrence, indeed, when a teacher leaves his calling for any reason other than illness, old age, or death.
But besides being members of a church, we are members of a community, and we hold that we must in all things which do not conflict with the teachings of the Bible aid our Government and in every possible way further its interests.
The direct calling of the church is the preaching of the gospel, and by sticking close to that calling we make of our members the best possible citizens of the Commonwealth at the same time.
There has been a great deal of publicity in the last few years which calls for religious training of the child. They say that that is the only solution of the difficulties which confront the Nation, and we quite agree; and that is why we have our schools and why we stress this matter so much. But other relation to the State than to preach the gospel and make of its members the best possible citizens the church does not have. Its members, however, come in contact with organized government, and one of the fields in which they come in contact with organized government is the field of education
As I stated before, it is a matter of conscience with us that our children should have a thorough Christian training, and we believe the only really effective way of accomplishing that is by having our own schools, in which, by specially trained teachers, we have the Christian spirit permeating the teaching of every subject, even the secular ones. Whether it is geography or mathematics or what not, the Christian spirit permeates the teaching of all.
Organized government has the police power. Its duty is to make such laws as will prevent harm to its subjects; and therefore, when the state passes laws which compel the parents to so educate their children that they become fit and useful citizens of the Commonwealth, I believe that the State or organized government is entirely within the sphere of its lawful activity. As soon, however, as organized government goes beyond that point, it trespasses upon the domain reserved to the parent by our Constitution.
To repeat again, it is a matter of conscience with us to preach the Gospel, and to begin at home with our own children. We do not hold with those who spend millions for establishing schools in China and neglect their own children in their own homes; who pay no attention at all to the spiritual training of their own children, and send the money to China, where no one would think of establishing a mission, which is preaching the Gospel, except by first establishing schools. We begin at home, by first beginning with our own children. That is where our duty begins.
However, we can not in all cases establish schools of our own, because by far the greater number of our people are farmers and are scattered over a large territory, and it is therefore a physical impossibility to establish schools of our own. In those cases our children attend the public schools. We have in the public schools about a quarter of a million children, and we have in our own schools slightly less than 100,000. It is therefore obvious that if we want to seek the best interests of our children, we must also seek the very best interests of the public school, because by far the greater number of our children are in the public schools and not in our own schools. When we, therefore, appear before you in opposition to any bill, we do not appear here as enemies of the public-school system. Directly on the contrary, we appear here and we believe we are entirely correct in stating that we appear here as people who are better qualified to speak of the welfare of the child in the public school than people who know no other mode of education than the public school. If nothing else, self-interest would dictate that we should seek the very best interests of the public school.
I am sorry that the proponents of this bill should feel that everybody who is opposed to this bill is an enemy of the public schools. I have before me an editorial written by Dr. A. E. Winship, dean of