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This is no trifling matter, and I verily believe that it constitues a drop of poison in the heart of the Republic, which, if left without its antidote, will spread virus through that circulation which is the life of our liberties.
The District of Columbia has deserved well of the Republic. The balance of monetary obligations as between the General Government and the people of this city is very largely against the General Government. I shall produce some statistics to demonstrate this and to remove the impression which has been so generally made to the contrary. The District contributed its full quota of men and money to the common defense in the war of 1812, and suffered more largely from its disasters than almost any other community in the whole country. When the war was over the enterprising people of this District contributed at once and very largely to the reparation of the ravages of the great struggle for the benefit of the nation at large, as well as of themselves.
They paid their full share of taxation specially for the prosecution of the war for the preservation of the Union, and gave their sons and their blood to the same end and to their full proportion, and 18 percent beyond the quota which the law required of them for the active service.
There is now a valuation of property of the District, exclusive of that of the Government of nearly $150,000,000; and including that of the Government itself, from $250,000,000 to $300,000,000, an amount in excess of the valuation of the following States: Idaho, Wyoming, Washington, Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota. In this connection I call attention to the following table, prepared by one of the leading citizens of the District for my use:
Comparative statement-New States Territories, and District of Columbia
This is the property and taxes of private citizens. The United States Government owns property to nearly an equal amount.
NOTE. The figures for the new States and Territories are in nearly all cases estimated by their advocates, and no doubt are excessive; but I have given them as they estimated them-all they claimed. Ours are official.
The population of the District of Columbia is a trifle under 230,000; the exact amount I have not by me. W. C. DODGE. JULY 23, 1890.
For internal-revenue tax paid, see memorial, page 10, inclosed.
Population is rapidly increasing, and it must continue to increase, probably for centuries. I do not believe it to be possible for the existing order of things to continue. It is already so bad as to be unsupportable, and the principles of government-I should rather say of misgovernment-and of administration, which have made things what they are and they are, in my belief, far worse than appears upon the surface-will inevitably operate in the same evil direction with acceleration as time goes on. One of the most hopeful indications of the situation is the fact that the masses of the people are themselves exceedingly restive under the conditions imposed upon them. I do not believe that existing matters can go on as they are many years without popular outbreaks in the District. Certainly nothing can suppress their manifestation but the presence of armed power, such as keeps peace in Warsaw. Sooner or later the public safety will require that the principles of popular liberty be applied in this city, and they should be applied immediately.
To one entertaining views thus briefly and imperfectly expressed, the important question is, What is the remedy? Certainly there must be a remedy if our form of government be not a failure; and reverting once more to the great truth enunciated by Montesquieu, it is obvious that we must seek that remedy in the complete application of the principles of our form of government to the people of this District, who, by their numbers and locality, are an integral and already a very important part of the nation itself. In my belief, any remedy will be found to be no remedy which does not go to the root of the matter and make the citizen of this District in every respect the equal both in local and in national importance of the citizen of any other part of the country.
In other words, he must be allowed to participate nationally in the creation and transfer of the executive, judicial, and legislative power, and, by the exercise of the sovereignty itself in a national capacity, become an active participant in the national functions of the American people, as well as in the exercise of his own local control.
The joint resolution for the amendment of the Constitution, which I offered in the last and present Congresses, in two draughts, differing somewhat in form but not in substance, does not aim directly to secure the establishment of a local government for the people, but to give them complete and equal participation in the National Government, and so to enable them to participate in the enactment of the general laws affecting the interests of the nation at large, including their own as a portion of the nation, and also in those specific laws which Congress should enact having reference to themselves. Being thus a part of the national power they could favor or oppose and so properly be bound by any decision of Congress touching the creation of a local or municipal government for the District.
I do not believe it right or safe or endurable that the people of this vast, influential, and rapidly increasing community of American people shall continue longer in a condition of territorial dependence towards the nation at large. It is time that they were clothed with powers analogous to those possessed by the people of a State, so far as the creation and administration of the Federal power is concerned. They can not be perpetually kept in a condition of political tutelage and vassalage. This must become a full-grown community at some time, or it will become a miserable and dangerous one for all time. And I submit that the time has already come for action. Congress is estopped to deny that the time for action has already come by its conduct toward the smaller and weaker communities which have been admitted so often as States into the Union.
What harm can possibly come from giving the District of Columbia representation in the Senate, with a vote there, and two electors to participate in the choice of President? If, as was formerly the case, the District may appropriately be heard in debate by a Delegate on the floor of the House of Representatives, what harm can result, when he represents a population and wealth surpassing that of many States, in giving him a vote there also? If he may be allowed to speak in order to influence the result by controlling the votes of others, why may he not influence that result by his own vote as the representative of those for whom he speaks? And if a Delegate from the District may be its representative in debate and in suffrage on the floor of the House, what danger can arise in this great community if it be heard and voted for by a Senator? And why not by a membership in the electoral college corresponding to its representation like a State, since, unlike a Territory, the District is to exist as long as the States? But if it were thought dangerous, or even inconvenient, that the District should thus participate in the choice of the President, how is it possible to deny to such a community representation in that body which makes the laws which control their life, liberty, and property?
Taxation without representation is tyranny; and representation is the power to vote, not merely the right to speak. It is the power to enter into and become a component part of the decision, which is the essence of representation. Representation is a matter of will and execution, rather than of the tongue and mere vocabulary. This right to be a component part of the supreme government under which they live is the all-important one to the inhabitants of this District as to other Americans, and of far more consequence than the right to establish and maintain their municipal law by an organization distinct from and carved out for them by the National Government itself. It is not of so much consequence who may be the direct and executive agents to administer the law in daily life, provided that the voice of the community is heard in that authority, and that the people are the authority which designates these agents.
If the existing law establishing this form of government by commissioners appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate was a law in the enactment of which representatives of the District had participated, and in the working and in the modification of which in the interest of the public welfare they could be heard, and could act hereafter in the halls of national legislation, the evils of the present form of government would be largely removed. It would undoubtedly be a great convenience, a convenience founded perhaps in necessity, certainly in popular right, that there should be a local government formed within the District, with the functions of a Territorial government, or with functions more analogous to those of a State government even, if you please always derived, however, from a general law of Congress, which must be supreme in the Federal District.
But I do not consider this by any means so essential as a matter of principle as I do that the District should be represented in the House and in the Senate by men who can both debate and vote; that is, that the District itself shall enter into the enactment of the general laws of the whole country and of the special laws under which the people of this community live. The government of the District of Columbia must be republican in form; it can not continue to be a despotism. The danger from such continuance is greater to the whole people, perhaps, through its action upon the representatives of the nation at large and the development of an incongruous, unrepublican mass so near the national vitals, than to this local community. But it is an unnatural condition for both, and the public welfare, in my judgment, imperatively demands its termination.
The proposed amendment to the Constitution is offered in the hope that it may be the basis of an agitation which shall interest not the people of the District alone, but of the entire nation, and lead to an affirmative modification of the fundamental national law which shall duly remedy the evil. No half-way measure will do the work. Completeness, simplicity, and comprehensiveness are indispensable to a true remedy; and it is a dangerous folly longer to develop in this District a hermaphroditic American citizenship.
The late period at which we have now arrived in the session and the overwhelming pressure of general affairs make it improper that I should further trespass upon the attention of the Senate at the present time. I desire rather to call public attention to the subject and initiate discussion than to enter upon it with completeness, far less with anything approaching exhaustion of the subject.
It will be found upon full examination that apprehension of evil results from the imperfect citizenship of the District have arisen in the minds of some of our most eminent statesmen in all the parties throughout the history of the Republic; and had the existing conditions of absolute political despotism, all the more alarming because so many are in love with it, which prevails here been foreseen before the adoption of the Constitution, it is manifest, from the earnest discussions had upon the creation of the Federal District in the various conventions which adopted the Constitution, that the Government never would have been founded without an eradication of the possibility of the conditions which now exist.
As suggested in beginning, I am sorry, although not surprised, that the committee to whom this proposed resolution of amendment to the Constitution was submitted in the last Congress and in the present, and before whom large numbers of the people of the District desired to be heard, exhausted the subject so easily and reported back the resolution with such celerity, without hearing or notice to anybody after its introduction and reference to them by the Senate. It is safe to say that a community of voters would not have been thus summarily disposed of.
In future Congresses, I doubt not, the subject will be heard in committee and in both the Houses, and its agitation will not cease, but will increase both in Congress and in the country, as well as in the District itself, until the hundreds of thousands who may yet become millions in this already magnificent and yet to be stupendous and glorious city shall be endowed with all the rights and liberties of Americans.
It doth not yet appear what Washington shall be. Rome, less beautiful for situation, the center of an inferior civilization, the capital in her grandest days of but 120,000,000 of men, grew for a thousand years and contained within her walls 5,000,000 of inhabitants or more. At the rate of increase in both the nation and in this city for the last fifty years Washington will contain more than 2,000,000 within the next century.
The Roman Republic existed five hundred years of fierce and bloody internal struggle, because, untrue to the republican form of government, she was a conglomeration of castes, of warring classes, of superimposed layers or strata of men, who intermingled only by volcanic action, and finally after mighty upheavals, which filled the universe with fire and destruction, sank and remained in one dead plain of slavery whereon the Caesars built their throne and the pretorian auctioneers sold it to the highest bidder, who settled for it in money and blood. Thus republican Rome, false to the true principles of freedom, wrought the dark ages, and, save only as her history is an admonition, was the tyrant and curse of mankind.
What shall be the future of this puissant nation and of this her fair Capital wherein we have already planted the seeds of an unhappy fate?
However grateful the shade in which these magnificent distances are embowered, yet we must remember that the upas tree is a thing of beauty, and it is time to know whether it be the tree of liberty or of political slavery which was planted here when popular government was subverted in 1871 and the foul work consummated by legislative rape of the rights of man in this alleged temple of liberty in 1878.
I believe that this subject, like a disease of the vital organs, demands solemn attention all the more because our eyes are fixed upon external things and our heads are giddy with the glories of material growth.
Strongly impressed that I am discharging a long neglected but imperative duty, I earnestly commend this joint resolution to the patriotic and immediate consideration of Congress and of the country.
I have here collected a mass of letters and statistics and data and memorials from leading citizens of the District, and of important historical and other data bearing upon the general subject, and also upon the existing condition and importance of this great and growing community, which I think should be in the possession of Congress and of the country, most of which was designed for presentation before the committee. I shall ask to allow it to be made available in the form of a miscellaneous document for the use of the Senate and of the country.
This has been largely gathered, arranged, and compiled by Appleton P. Clark, esq., of this city, and I take this opportunity to thank him for the great assistance he has rendered to me personally and for his patrotic devotion to the cause of manhood suffrage for the District of Columbia.
The matter of which I have spoken might be properly attached to the speech which I have delivered, but mindful of the RECORD I will simply ask that that it be printed as a miscellaneous document and not encumber the RECORD. It is all very valuable, and will be required in the future examination of this subject. The VICE PRESIDENT. It will be so ordered, if there be no objection, and the joint resolutions called up by the Senator from New Hampshire will resume their place on the Calender.
[From the Congressional Record, Dec. 19, 1889, p. 297]
Mr. HOAR, from the Committee on Privileges and Elections, to whom was referred the joint resolution (S.R. 11) proposing an amendment to the Constitution to confer representation to the District of Columbia in the two Houses of Congress and in the Electoral College, reported adversely thereon.
Mr. BLAIR. I ask that the joint resolution be placed on the Calendar.
The VICE PRESIDENT. The joint resolution will be placed on the Calendar with the adverse report of the committee.
Mr. HOAR, from the Committee on Privileges and Elections, to whom was referred the joint resolution (S.R. 18) proposing an amendment of the Constitution to confer representation to the District of Columbia in the two Houses of Congress and in the Electoral College, reported adversely thereon.
Mr. BLAIR. I will say to the committee from which these joint resolutions come, that a large number of citizens of this District are preparing to be heard and
desire to be heard, and were not anticipating, as it was a matter which was pending some time in the last Congress, that it would be disposed of with the rapidity which seems to have been exercised. I ask that the joint resolution be placed on the Calendar.
The VICE PRESIDENT. The joint resolution will be placed on the Calendar with the adverse report of the committee.
[From the Congressional Record, Sept. 15, 1890, p. 10026]
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA REPRESENTATION.
Mr. BLAIR. I ask unanimous consent to give a notice that on Wednesday morning, at the conclusion of the morning business, I shall ask the courtesy of the Senate to proceed to the consideration of the joint resolution (S.R. 11) proposing an amendment to the Constitution to confer representation to the District of Columbia in the two Houses of Congress and in the Electoral College, and the joint resolution (S.R. 18) proposing an amendment of the Constitution to confer representation to the District of Columbia in the two Houses of Congress and in the Electoral College, being Orders of Business 67 and 68 on the Calendar, for the purpose of making brief remarks upon the same. Mr. COCKRELL. On Wednesday?
Mr. BLAIR. On Wednesday morning, at the conclusion of the morning business. I shall not trouble the Senate long.
[From the Congressional Record, Jan. 23, 1890, p. 802]
The joint resolution (S.R. 11) proposing an amendment to the Constitution to confer representation to the District of Columbia in the two Houses of Congress and in the Electoral College, and which was reported adversely, was announced as next in order.
The VICE PRESIDENT. The joint resolution will be laid over.
The joint resolution (S.R. 18) proposing an amendment of the Constitution to confer representation to the District of Columbia in the two Houses of Congress and in the Electoral College, and which was reported adversely, was announced as next in order.
The VICE PRESIDENT. That will also be laid over.
[S. Rept. 507, 67th Cong., 2d sess.]
GRANTING SUFFRAGE TO RESIDENTS OF THE DISTRICT OF
FEBRUARY 20 (calendar day, FEBRUARY 21), 1922.-Ordered to be printed
Mr. JONES of Washington, from the Committee on the District of Columbia, submitted the following
[To accompany S.J. Res. 133]
Your committee having carefully considered Senate joint resolution 133 and having held full hearings at which both the advocates and the opponents of this resolution were heard, report the resolution favorably and recommend that it be passed, and that the proposed constitutional amendment be submitted to the States for ratification.