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the public ought to entertain for the House as the ragged appearance it ordinarily presents to the visitor.
1-Recent Developments in Congressional Procedure, Reinsch, P., American Legislatures and Legislative Methods, 4270.
2-The House at Work, Bryce, J., American Commonwealth, I,
3-Impeachments, Hinsdale, B. A., The American Government, 170-5.
4- Parliamentary Obstruction in the United States, Lodge, H. C., Nineteenth Century, XXIX, 423-8.
5-Making Laws at Washington, Nelson, H. L., Century Magazine, XLII, 169-84.
6-The Speaker and His Power, Taylor, H., North American Review, CLXXXVIII, 495–503.
7-Speaker as Premier, Hart, A. B., Practical Essays in American Government, 1-20.
34. POPULAR ELECTION OF SENATORS.
(a) The Constitution originally stipulated that Senators were to be chosen by the State Legislatures. This mode of election was not an unqualified success. Concerning it Mr. George H. Haynes, in his book on The Election of Senators written prior to the adoption of the amendment providing for the election of Senators by the people, offered the following criticisms and suggestions: 1
How senators shall be chosen, has become a question which the people of the United States must frankly face. For, that the phrases of the Constitution have long since ceased accurately to describe, still less to determine, the process of their election, no one can doubt who has noted how senators in recent years have reached their office, or who has grasped the import of the movement, which, during the past thirty years, has taken on different forms, has employed different means and methods, but has ever kept the same spirit and aim-a determination that the Senate of the United States shall be made responsible to the people.
Meantime, a vast deal of ingenuity has been devoted to attempts to reach popular control of senatorial elections by some other route than the amending of the Constitution. While the form of election by the legislature is retained, its spirit has been radically changed. There is not a State in the Union to-day where members of the legislature proceed to the election of a senator with that enlightened independence, that freedom of individual discretion in the choice from which the fathers anticipated such beneficent results. Every1 Reprinted by special permission of Henry Holt and Company.
where the legislators approach the task under the dominance of party, and in every State where one well-disciplined party is in power, the result of the election is a certainty even before the legislature convenes. Not only has party spirit claimed this election for its own, but the party's choice for senator is often made before the members of the legislature are elected, and is obtruded upon that body by the state convention. Already, in about a third of the States, either under party rules, or in accordance with the explicit provisions of state law, direct primaries name the candidates, and wherever a strong party is supreme, this nomination is tantamount to an election. Even in the most conservative States, the movement for the direct primary is making distinct progress. In four States, provision is made for a popular "election,' 1," carried out under the supervision of officials, not of the party, but of the State; an election as complete in all its details and formalities as is that of the governor, yet which is as void of legal power to bind the legislature in the real election of senator as would be the resolutions adopted by a boys' debating society.
What, then, is the outcome to be? That depends not a little upon the temper and action of the Senate itself. If senators have foresight enough to discern the cloud while it is yet but the size of a man's hand, the gathering tempest of discontent may be averted. For, in comparison with a rule-ridden House that has ceased to be a deliberative body, a Senate that gave evidence of feeling itself responsible to public opinion, and of striving to discover and serve the country's broader interests, might so win the people's confidence that agitation for change in its mode of election would lose its force. But is legislative election under present conditions calculated to yield a Senate capable of such self-regeneration? If, on the other hand, the Senate continues for a few years more arrogantly to refuse the people an opportunity to pass upon the mode of their election; if, meantime, relying upon the impregnable defense built about their office by legislative election, senators persist in neglecting
or perverting measures of the utmost public concern, while not a few of them are devoting their best energies to the protection of private interests; if state legislatures, heedless of the earnest and manifold efforts made by the people to bring them to a sense of their high responsibility to the State in the selection of senators, persist in using their freedom of choice, not for the selection of the best man, but of men whose presence in the Senate is a disgrace to the State and a menace to popular government-then the new century will still be young when the people will find themselves forced to make choice between two alternatives; either they must redouble their efforts to force the new wine of democracy into the old bottles of the elective process prescribed by the Constitution, or, frankly casting aside that ancient mode of election as outworn, for better, for worse, they must take the choice of senators into their own eager, strong, but unskilled hands.
But the teaching of both theory and experience is that without amendment of the Constitution, genuine popular control over senatorial elections cannot be effectively realized. It needs no repetition of such experiences as the Oregon fiasco of 1903 to afford convincing proof that the indorsement of senatorial candidates by state conventions, their nomination by direct primaries, even their "election" by an overwhelming majority of the vote of the people, may count absolutely for naught in influencing the real election at the hands of a legislature ruled by party bosses, or rent by factions which this very election has brought into being. In the very State where popular control of senatorial elections is most needed, the best laid schemes for its realization have proved futile.
The grounds which the framers of the Constitution advanced for their belief that the election of senators by legislatures would produce beneficent effects upon the Senate as a lawmaking body have for the most part become obsolete. Legislative election in other departments has passed entirely out of vogue and out of practice. It was not to be thought of
that the framers of the constitution in the latest great federal state, the Australian Commonwealth, would follow ancient American precedent in this regard. If it is claimed that the change to popular election would remove a great bulwark against centralization in the organized resistance of the state legislatures, the reply is that no other influence has conduced so directly to the subordination of state and local government to the national party organizations as has this process of electing senators, and legislatures thus dominated are little likely to impose sentiments opposed to centralization upon the senators of their choice. The protest that under popular elections the Senate would fail to secure representation of the States as such, is academic and fallacious. The state legislature is but the agent; the body of voters, the principal. The governor personifies the State in most of its dealings with other States and with the national government; he certainly is no less the representative of the State by virtue of his deriving his authority directly from the people than he would be if he were elected by the legislature. No logical principle underlies the assumption that only election by the legislature can authorize a man to represent the statehood of Massachusetts, or of New York, in the Senate of the United States.
As to the improvement which popular election would bring to the quality of the Senate, it is best not to entertain too optimistic anticipations. It cannot be denied that the lowering of the tone in the Senate in recent years is not to be attributed solely to the method of election-which in form has remained unchanged-but to general influences which have lowered and commercialized American politics throughout the system. Popular elections would present no insuperable barrier to the demagogue and to the corruptionist. Indeed, it is a debatable question, whether he would not find his path easier and more direct than at present. Moreover, the shortening of senatorial careers-which the history of other elective offices shows would be an almost inevitable consequence of popular election-would tend seriously to im