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How Shall We Elect U. S. Senators?

How Shall We Elect U. S. Senators? image
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Speaking of the fact thnt sen-üutent in favor of electing Uflited Stares senators by popular vote is .aiuing ground, the Aim ArboV öemrler says it sees no reason to favor .sucii a proposition. So long as the Couner representa the class of citizeas whose laellnationa lea u nnvard -an aristocratie form of govemmewt we haJl not expeeft its dditor t see virtue in changes which wlll waden the influcnce of the people in the raanag'eniriit. of public alï.iirs. The Oourier s.'iys : "To elect Unfftöd Stettes semitors by direct vote of the people wlll take away froni the legislaüve aim of fhis govei'nnient its sfabilily. The hquse of .represenítsatfves is subject to the whims anid caprices of popular tihoii.ülit. and there shoiild be oue body that caii stand in the way of htóty artion or in températe legislation. With the senate chosen in the same mfainer as the house1, it wiB be swbject to the same influences and the same sudden changes, and the stability oí , this government !will not ba as firm a& U9w. We shall have two houses f repTesentatives instead af one. Our Government, as founded by our iorefathers, is a wise one. It is not safe to ctange it radically. and such a cliange would be a radical ouo. Oongress wijl do well to go slow in this matter." And why -should popular thought not domínale public business? At the time of the formation oí the eonstitution there was a largo and potent faction who distrusted the pcople. The checks upon the popular will einbraced in fhe constitution of the seu■ate we-re a concession to that class. But tlie experïence of a hundred years ■has proven that notion to have been erroneous. The people have been tfied in, the balance and they have not been founlï wanting. At this later day 'the most profound thiukers and fhose who have the real good of their country at heart do not distrust the masses, but the classes, who, by reasou of their power and positlon, ure ble to serve selfish and personal ends at 'the expense of the public. There are no necessáry evils of govprnment; its evils exist only in its abuses. But the abuses whieh threatt'H the sïaMIity of our governmemt do má. llow from the masses- froin the farmers and ïn-echanics and laborera, who have neitber the time nor the means of corrupting the adniin'is'tratiou of pulblie duties and scouring ,to themselvos ' special privllegea whi-ii rest as a fax vvpon the remainder of society. Those a'buses are framed and piojected in the interest of the wealtiiy classes, of wiiich the United States senate has beeome truly representative and a notorious travesly upoii popular ms'titutions. When, the Courier deprecates a change which is calculated to purgd this body of its most dangerous elements its acHon is equivalent to an indorsement of features which musí cause every true American, to blus.i for the public m; rality of hls country. We agree iih the Courier that the government founded by onr foi-efathers was a wise one. B:it it does not necessarily follow that a seheme of government framed to suit the social condition.-i. t Ho prejudiees and the. chishing of local interes'ts of the 18uh century will. without revisions, be best su'ited to serve the emergencias oí the 20th eentury. government only is wise wiiich is elastlc ónougli to adapt iteeïf to ehanging coriditions and servo the needs of the hour. But our government has cteinged. Wille the frame is that of 17SS) wiüi few alteratlons and ad-ditions. the inin'terpretïi tion put npon it by the eourts, the administrativo ofSeers mul the people lias boon slawly enlarged and broadened until the oonstitution of the present day diÉfera in many material points from that undeï which Washington orgaalzed liis fi'rst adï'.iuisir.-nion. And speaklng of radical changes, the j):u-t.v of nrhdeh the Courier is rejn-csentative is responsible for some ol' the most prononneed alterations both in forfcn and constniction of - that instrument- some of whlch cWanges the people are beglnning to reaBze v(re not ealculated to produce better and stronger governn". ent. Again the Coui-ior savs: "The great argument tliat none bui wealfhy mea can be eleeted to the ■senate now is not a gooi one. The Watthy men of the nation are almost without exception the brainy business men of the nation. It takes brains to run the affaira of goveroment the same as a prlvute business. Shut out those men and our nation would be in a dangenuis condition." '1'liis paragraph carrtes its owu refutation. Every student of American hiatory knows that t is not from this class that our state&nien and patriota have come, and every observer of current cvents knonvs that the millionaire senators miw in that body are títere, not as the represenitatives of the pewple, fout of the monopolies, trusts and graat railroad syndieates. In eloeing the Ooufler insi.-ts tli'at thls chanfre wouM not be wise because it affects to believo that in states wbiah. do not return Republicai) majoritiea honest eleotlons are not held. Perhaps the Coivrier has uot observed the stenen wiiich arises fro n tiie capital of every state wnich bas seiït a millïoEiire Retpubliean to the United States senate. But the change involved in the transfer of the seleetion of United Statea senators f rom the legtelature to the people is not so radical as tlie Oourier would have us believe. The feature of representa tion by sWtes, as distinguished f rom the per capita rep resentation of the house would be preserved as 'would also the six-yeai term. The advantages to be ga'iuöd are au Honest selection by the people, the suppressioa of bribery and corrupition In state legisla'tures, the brfTiging of the senate into line 'with popular poiicies. It is notofious that under the present system the people have next to nothing to do wJtli the selection of United States senators; It is also notorious that on the ove of the election of a United St'ates senator state legislatures are chosen, not with reference to the fitness of individual meimbers for the performance of the regular duties of a state legisla'tor, but on account of predilecfions for tuis or that candidate for the United States i-enate. The "s'ta'bilfty" of which the Oourier apeaüs so highly is a "stability" w-hich more frequenily retanls than advanees the aiilii'iaistration of goverument and is aften a positive veto apon the adoption of a national poiioy upon any question. On!y four times since 1872 Irave both branches oí tlie national leirislature been of the same politieal complexión. Tlie natural conseque-Jtce of this condition h; been that it has of-íeii been impossible to carry inlto leglsliitiion the earefii'ily c&nsidered demanda expressed by liirge popular majorfties. The dangev ■of rash and intemnenue le.uri .la'tion at the insta nee of the people is n '. boo too ancieiit to be looger effecüve. Innova ti ons and ohanges in iiatir.nal policy are santtioned by the people oniy after lonsr and (liorou,?h diseussion and once that detisïon is made. e political institirtion whden stands in tneway of its realizsition is daugerons to a free people.


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