This plan of electing by general ticket was therefore abandoned in a number of the States because of its rank and notorious injustice and because of the dissatisfaction which it produced. The habit, however, of so electing Representatives remained in many of the States until Congress interposed by virtue of its power under the Constitution of the United States to regulate this subject, and there is now a law upon our statute-book which provides that Representatives in Congress shall be selected from each State by districts; each State where more than one are to be chosen is to be broken into single districts and a member elected from each. That action by the States and this ultimate legislation by Congress were for the purpose of doing away with the injustice of the former system. It was to enable the minority, or, to speak in other words, to enable the various political interests of society, to have a voice in the councils of the nation, to be heard in these Halls, where laws were to be enacted which would be binding universally upon the citizens. The establishing of the system of single districts for the election of members of Congress was a great reform and a great improvement in American politics; it broke the power of the party majority to this extent, that they could not absorb the whole representation of the State in the popular House of Congress. But when you established the system of single districts you retained still the majority rule for elections in the districts. The majority rule which obtained previously for the States was sent down into these divisions into which the States were broken, and now obtains in the election of Repre

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sentatives from those several districts. But as society with us has increased in magnitude and in the variety of its interests, inconveniences and evils which formerly were unnoticed or unimportant have grown in magnitude also, and have become exceedingly important, and the majority rule which prevails in the selection of Representatives by districts operates hardly and badly and requires amendment. At least that is my opinion; and in vindication of

. that opinion, before I conclude I will submit such reasons as have occurred to me in its support.

A majority in a congressional district, although it be a majority of one vote, though it have but a preponderance of one vote over the opposing interest, is entitled to select a Representative, and its voice is heard in the Hall of the people's House. In theory the men who do not vote for the Representative are represented by him; but that theory is simply a falsehood; it is opposed to the fact; it is not true. Instead of representing the men who do not vote for him in his district, the ordinary fact is that the Representative opposes their opinions and contributes all the power which he possesses to render those opinions unpopular and fruitless in the administration of government.


INJUSTICE TO THE MINORITY. Now, sir, it is a hardship that large masses of the American people should have no voice in the people's House, that they should be shut out from representation in the Hall where popular representation is supposed to prevail with completeness and perfection. Everybody admits that the fact is so,

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that there is such disfranchisement; and at some times when the cases are very glaring, that disfranchisement arrests public attention and elicits indignant debate.

But we are told that although a minority may be under our present system disfranchised in one district, the opposite party may be disfranchised in another; and so taking the whole State and the whole country together a sort of equilibrium is produced; the party which fails in one district is successful in another, and vice versâ ; so that when you carry this thing throughout the whole country there is some approach toward justice and a correct result. My answer to that, which is really the main plea for the existing system, is this: in the first place I do not see that the perpetration of injustice in one locality is any compensation for the perpetration of injustice in another; that because a certain minority of voters in Pennsylvania are without a voice in this Government, therefore the non-representation of a different class of voters in Kentucky is justified and made equitable and honorable and of good repute under a republican system. In short, sir, my idea is that when you show me a multiplication of cases of injustice, you have simply swollen your evil in statement and made it more odious, more deserving of blows instead of favor, of opposition instead of support: that the variety of the interests which may be disfranchised under your majority rule as applied to congressional districts is the very fact which pronounces the most weighty condemnation of that rule instead of furnishing it a justification or an apology. Then I have another reply to this suggestion; and that is that it is not true in point of fact that the disfranchisements throughout the country taken together, or the disfranchisements in districts in a particular State taken together, do result in an equilibrium. The fact has never been so; it is not likely to occur; the chances are a thousand to one against it. Therefore, even if there were some soundness in this doctrine of set-off, of setting off one wrong against another, the result would not be the production of an equilibrium of political forces or their just distribution. How was it in the last Congress ? Sixteen bundred thousand voters in a particular section of country represented in Congress—the North and West—had but thirty votes; while two million voters in the same section were represented in that same House by one hundred and twenty-eight! Therefore, sir, it is manifestly absurd to talk about the equalization of disfranchisement. There is no such result; there is no equalization.

Mr. President, we have all heard a great deal said in our time about the “sacred principle” that the majority shall bear absolute rule. Well, sir, I deny that there is any such principle in our system of government; and if it could be established, I should deny that it possessed any sacred character. What is our principle, the principle upon which our republican system is founded ? It is that the people shall rule; that they shall rule themselves; that we shall have a system of self-government. Does that mean that a part of the people shall rule over another part ? Does that mean that they shall be divided


numerically, and that twenty shall absolutely control nineteen; or does it mean volition and action of the whole mass in the business of self-government ? We have, however, from what we have supposed to be the necessity of the case, a majority rule at elections. It is a simple rule, nothing sacred in it or about it; an arrangement, a thing of detail, by which we have attempted in a rude manner to apply practically our principle of government by the people; and this majority rule formerly obtaining in the States and applied to a system of voting by general ticket, yet applies in the districts into which the States are divided. It is the same in its nature and to a great extent it is the same in its effects as before, and the very mischief and evil which led to the abolition of the general ticket plan yet obtains and prevails in elections in single districts. Though mitigated somewhat, it requires, as I think, the vigorous hand of reform.

I have made these introductory remarks in order to approach the subject in an intelligible manner. What is meant by cumulative voting is this: that an elector in any State, whether he belongs to the majority or to the minority, can give his votes for some candidate or candidates who will be elected and who will actually represent him in the Congress of the United States. That is all there is of it. That is the Alpha and the Omega of this whole plan. It is a device by which there shall be actual instead of sham representation in Congress ; by which men who come here into the people's Hall shall represent the men who vote for them and nobody else, and by which it shall not happen that nearly half

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