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SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 


HEARINGS dot 

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BEFORE THE 

Ui ,*2 , ConQV2.S_s . ^ /e. • 

^COMMITTEE ON THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 
UNITED STATES SENATE 


SIXTY-SEVENTH CONGRESS 
FIRST AND SECOND SESSIONS 

ON 


S. 14, S. 417, and S. J. RES. 133 

PROVIDING FOR SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 
AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES 


November 8 , 14 , 18 , 21 , December 13 , 1921 
and January 12 and 13 , 1922 


Printed for the use of]the Committee on the District of Columbia 




83480 


WASHINGTON 

GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE 
1922 






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COMMITTEE ON THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


Li. HEISLER BALL, Delaware, Chairman. 


WILLIAM P. DILLINGHAM, Vermont. 

WESLEY L. JONES, Washington. 

ARTHUR CAPPER, Kansas. 

DAVIS ELKINS, West Virginia. 

FRANK R. GOODING, Idaho. 

RALPH H. CAMERON, Arizona. 

OVINGTON E. WELLER, Maryland. 

Thomas E. Peeney, Clerk . 

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ATLEE POMERENE, Ohio. 
WILLIAM H. KING, Utah. 
MORRIS SHEPPARD, Texas. 
CARTER GLASS, Virginia. 

A. OWSLEY STANLEY,, Kentucky 



, OFCONGRESS 


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| DOCUMENTS PlV( StQN 









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CONTENTS. 


Statements of— Pa ^e. 

Adriaans, John H_ 257 

Ayers, G. W___ 55,140, 284 

Bradshaw, Aaron_ 274 

Brandenburg, E. G__3, 45, 80 

Claflin, Roy C_5,281 

Clayton, C. T_ 40 

Clayton, William McK_ 263 

Fairbairn, A. D___1_ 157 

Glassie, Henry H_ 123 

Gurley, Joseph G_»___ 277 

Hickey, William A_ r ___ 5 

Jones, Col. Winfield_ 283,288 

Johnson, Mrs. Mary Wright_37,184 

Keller, W. W_ 35 

Lesh, Paul E__ 68,184,204,304 

Lloyd, James T_51, 67 

Lord, Frank B_ 39 

Macpherson, Donald_•_ 165. 302 

Marks. Avery_ 4 

Miller, Kelly_._ 211 

Nicholson, Soterios_ 282 

Noyes, Theodore W_=_ 215 

Oyster, E. W____ 185 

Perry, Frank Sprigg_'_ 169 

Snell, Mrs. Frank Hiram_ 168 

Topham, Washington_^_ 283 

Tucker, Evan H___ 160 

Waldron, Rev. John Milton_ 151 

Westlake, William B_ 38 


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Delegate to the Senate from 
the Mstrict of Columbia 
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SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 1921. 

United States Senate, 
Committee on the District of Columbia, 

Washington, D. C. 

The committee met, pursuant to call, at 10 a. m., in the committee room, 
Capitol, Senator L. Heisler Ball, chairman, presiding. 

Present: Senators Ball (chairman), Capper, Jones, and Sheppard. 

Present also: Col. Winfield Jones, chairman of the National Press Committee, 
representing those favoring the bills pending before the committee providing 
for suffrage in the District of Columbia. 

Present also: Mr. E. C. Brandenburg, appearing on behalf of those opposing 
the proposed legislation. 

The Chairman. Two bills have been referred to the Committee on the Dis¬ 
trict of Columbia. One was introduced by Senator Poindexter and provides 
for the election of a Delegate to the House of Representatives from the Dis¬ 
trict of Columbia, and for other purposes. One was introduced by Senator 
Capper, providing for the election of a Delegate to the House of Representatives 
from the District of Columbia and for the election of Commissioners of the 
District of Columbia, for the election of a public-utilities commission, a board 
of education, and for other purposes. Then a bill was introduced by Senator 
Jones of Washington and referred to the Judiciary Committee, providing for 
an amendment to the Constitution which will permit statehood in the District. 
In this hearing we will permit the discussion of all these bills. 

The time to be consumed by the respective sides ought to be divided in some 
way. I would like to ask about how much time will probably be required for 
those favoring any one or all of these bills. Will six hours be sufficient? 

Col. Jones. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Brandenburg. Mr. Chairman, I would like to say in behalf of those I 
represent that we contemplated a hearing on the Capper bill and the Poindexter 
bill which are before you. We did not contemplate a hearing on the bill pro¬ 
viding for a constitutional amendment. That is' a matter which at present is 
pending before the House Judiciary Committee. We had one extended hearing 
lasting a number of days, and we are informed and expect we will have an¬ 
other hearing shortly after the convening of the new Congress in December. 

The Chairman. I might say for your information that a similar bill is not 
before the House Committee on the District of Columbia, but is before the 
House Judiciary Committee. 

Mr. Brandenburg. It is? 

The Chairman. And also before the Senate Judiciary Committee. So I think 
we will have to exclude that. It is before neither Committee on the District 
of Columbia. It is a matter for the Judiciary Committee to dispose of. 

We will allow not more than six hours to each side, hoping, of course, that 
one side or the other will not take up quite so much. The committee wants a 
thorough hearing, so far as the desires of the people are concerned, and the 
reasons why this bill or that bill should be passed. We want all the speakers 
to present the views of the people and the reasons why the bills should be en¬ 
acted into law, and not take up any unnecessary time. 

Now, in presenting this matter, would you prefer to have two hours for the 
bill and two hours against the bill, alternating in that way, or let one side 
present its entire case first? 

Mr. Brandenburg. I think it would be well, Mr. Chairman, for the proponents 
of the bill to present their side in full. 

Col. Jones. I think it would be better to alternate. 


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SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


The Chairman. It will be necessary for those favoring the bills to present part 
of their case first. I would be willing to alternate, but it would be much better 
to have the complete presentation of one side first. 

Col. Jones. I would not object to that, if we have a chance to reply to some 
of the arguments of the other side. Otherwise, they might present their views, 
and we would be shut off from replying to them. 

The Chairman. I am willing to give two hours to each side alternately. I 
can see the advantage of having an opportunity to reply to the arguments of 
the other side. You may proceed, Col. Jones. 

STATEMENT OF AVERY MARKS, PRESIDENT OF THE NATIONAL 

PRESS CLUB. 

Mr. Marks. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, I have no argument to set forth 
in respect to this or any other bill in regard to District suffrage. I only want to 
lay before the committee the facts as they appear to me. I have learned these 
facts from letters written to the editor of the Washington Times within the 
last five years. During that period I have had available to me such letters, 
and I have concluded from those letters and the proportion of the letters re¬ 
ceived that the people of the District of Columbia do want participation in the 
local government, at least to some extent. 

To digress a moment, it is rather hard to say that a proportion of letters re¬ 
ceived on any certain subject is indicative of public sentiment in a community. 
We know that in case we publish an editorial on any subject the proportion of 
denunciations to the proportion of approvals is not in proportion to public 
sentiment. The paper which I represent is by its friends called vigorous and 
by its enemies called violent. Its editorial policies are always very strong. 
If we are right we are emphatically right, and if we are wrong we put our foot 
in it away up to the hip. That sort of policy, as the committee knows, is 
conducive of what in newspaper parlance we call “ stirring up the animals,” 
making people think, making them protest or agree with us. 

I have watched this carefully for five years, and we have found that in case 
sentiment in a community is about evenly divided on a subject, the letters writ¬ 
ten to the editor favoring an editorial on that subject, no matter which side 
we take in the matter, the proportion is about three denunciations to one ap¬ 
proval of our editorial policy. If we were to advocate free trade we would 
receive three protests to a single agreement with us. If we were to oppose 
free trade, we would have the same result—three denunciations to one approval. 
That has been the case in the letters received by our paper upon every other 
subject, except the soldiers’ bonus and District suffrage. Our paper has very 
vigorously supported suffrage for Washington and local participation in the 
government for several years, and with these two excetpions the rule of three 
to one against whatever we say has held good. 

You gentlemen know that if a person agrees with you he usually says very 
little or nothing about it. If he disagrees with you he will tell you about it 
very strongly. In case of an election a man will go 10 miles to vote against 
something when he will only go 1 mile to vote for a matter. 

In the case of suffrage we find that in spite of our editorial stand, and in spite 
of what might be expected in the way of letters commenting upon our stand, a 
ratio of about 3 to 1 in favor of our position. If we would be fair in the 
matter, in considering the ratio on every other subject, we would multiply the 
approvals of our stand by three in order to find the public sentiment on that 
subject. Therefore the ratio of public sentiment appears to be not 3 to 1 but about 
9 to 1. In other words, about 9 out of every 10 in the community, as represented 
by those who have been interested enough to write to us, are in favor of local 
participation. 

The letters which have come to the editor in behalf of suffrage have been 
intelligent, helpful letters. There has been no organized letter-writing propa¬ 
ganda behind them. You gentlemen are familiar with letter-writing campaigns 
to influence legislation, and it is very easily spotted. There has been none of 
that, and in -fairness to the other side I should say there has been none on the 
other side that .we could see. 

The letters agreeing with us have set forth a good many arguments for Dis¬ 
trict suffrage, embracing practically every argument for a democracy. Those 
protesting against it have, almost without exception, been based upon "one argu¬ 
ment; that is, that in order to enfranchise 400,000 people it is necessary to 
enfranchise one-fourth that number of colored people. That has been put 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


5 


forward in most cases as a final and determining argument against suffrage for 
400,000 people. Those people seem to have forgotten that is no longer an issue; 
that that was written into the Constitution of the United States some 60 years 
ago and has been settled. I presume they were very seriously shocked when 
-the President of the United States some two weeks ago at Birmingham reiterated 
his belief in the Constitution of the United States. That is the main protest, and 
practically the only protest, we have received against suffrage. 

To sum up, I believe it is manifest that at least 90 per cent of the people of 
the District of Columbia are in favor of participation in the Government and 
the other 10 "per cent base their protest on an issue which has been settled long 
since. 

Senator Capper. You say “ participation in local government.” To what ex¬ 
tent has your paper supported participation in local government? 

Mr. Marks. In general, a participation proportionate to the financial burdens 
borne by the people. 

Senator Capper. How far would you go in the matter of popular election ? 

Mr. Marks. I have not gone into that matter specifically. In the period of 
which I speak the paper has changed hands once, ‘so that the accumulation is 
not exact in regard to that specific feature. 

The Chairman. Have you not advocated an indefinite policy, so far as repre¬ 
sentation in Congress and statehood are concerned? 

Mr. Marks. It is believed that our policy has been for an authoritative rep¬ 
resentation before Congress and delegate representation in or before Congress. 
We have used the term “before Congress,” meaning participation in the local 
government commensurate with the financial burdens borne by the people. 

Senator Capper. Through a general election in the District? 

Mr. Marks. Yes, sir. I might add that the only , other time when we have 
received similar approval of our policy in these letters has been in the case of 
the soldiers’ bonus, and the soldiers’ bonus has outvoted suffrage, as far as 
agreeing with the paper is concerned. We have discounted that because of the 
large number of disabled soldiers in Washington. 

STATEMENT OF MR. WILLIAM A. HICKEY, REPRESENTING THE 
ARMY AND NAVY VETERANS. 

Mr. Hickey. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, we are ex-sol¬ 
diers representing the veterans who served in the Spanish-American War, in 
the Philippine insurrection, and some who served in the World War, and I 
think I can speak for the members of the Grand Army of the Republic. We 
fought for liberty, we fought for the right to vote, and we ex-soldiers in the 
District of Columbia, numbering some thirty-odd thousand, feel we should 
have the right to have a vote, to elect our own officers, and have a government 
that we can control by the voice of the majority. That is one of the principles 
of Americanism and one of the things our forefathers contended for in the 
establishment of the Constitution—the right of representation in the Govern¬ 
ment, as well as being taxed. We soldiers feel that we should have that right. 
We fought for that principle for others. We fought for that principle in Cuba, 
we fought for that principle in the recent World War, and our forefathers of 
the Grand Army of the Republic fought for the right to liberate a people who 
were in serfdom, and the American Congress rightfully gave those people the 
franchise and clothed them with citizenship. They have the right to vote in 
other places, but, of course, do not have the right to vote here, as we do not 
have that right. 

Therefore, we ex-soldiers contend and feel that we should have the right to 
have some say in our local government. 

STATEMENT OF MR. ROY C. CLAFLIN, PRESIDENT OF THE DIS¬ 
TRICT DELEGATE ASSOCIATION. 

Mr. Claflin. Mr. Chairman, I understand that one of the things up for con¬ 
sideration, among others, is the election of the board of education. I do not 
care to speak specifically on that, but I would like to have introduced in the 
record and report of the hearings some arguments in favor of electing the 
board of education, and not go into that personally at this time. I would also 
like to have incorporated in the record in the same connection a copy of the 
bill introduced by Senator Sherman in the last Congress, in connection with 
electing a board of education. 

The Chairman. Those may go in the record. 


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SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


(The documents referred to are here printed in full, as follows:) 

Citizens’ Joint Committee foe an Elective School Board. 

This committee is composed of representatives of organizations cooperating 
to secure from Congress the right for the citizens of the District of Columbia 
to elect the members of their board of education. 

STATEMENT OF MR. HENRY P. BLAIR, PROMINENT LAWYER AND FORMER PRESIDENT 

OF THE BOARD OF EDUCATION. 

Mr. Henry P. Blair, testifying on April 5, 1920, before the Senate committee 
investigating the District Board of Education, made the following statement: 

“ I have never considered the appointment of the school board by the judges 
a proper judicial function and am against the change of the appointing power 
back to the commissioners. 

“ I have been in favor of suffrage in the District of Columbia ever sinc^ I 
was old enough to vote. The people of the District should elect their board of 
education—that is where the appointing power belongs. 

“ It would be an excellent thing for the people of the District to begin to 
learn something about voting, and elections, and they could learn in the elec¬ 
tion of the board of education.” 

CITIZENS’ JOINT COMMITTEE FOR AN ELECTIVE SCHOOL BOARD. 

On June 25, 1919, the citizen’s joint committee for an elective school board 
was organized in the rooms of the Washington Board of Trade by the official 
representatives of 26 civic organizations of the District of Columbia. Since 
that date the number of organizations affiliated with the movement has been 
increased to 33, making the aggregate membership of the bodies represented 
considerably over 200,000 citizens at the present writing. 

The movement was initiated by the action of the board of trade on January 
21, 1919, when it declared in favor of the election of the school board members 
and instructed its committee on public schools to work for the enactment of 
legislation granting this right to the citizens of the District of Columbia. 

Accordingly the matter w T as laid before various organizations of Washing¬ 
ton and their cooperation was asked. The response was spontaneous, indicating 
the overwhelming sentiment of the citizens generally favoring the selection 
of the members of their board of education by their own vote. 

At the call of the chairman of the board of trade committee on public schools 
a conference was held on June 25, 1919, of two duly accredited representatives 
from each of 26 organizations. At this conference the citizens’ joint committee 
for an elective school board was organized and officers elected as follows: 

Chairman of the committee, Roy C. Claflin, of the board of trade; secretary, 
J. Clinton Hiatt, of the board of trade; members of steering committee, B. W. 
Payne, chairman, of the Maryland and District of Columbia Federation of 
Labor; Dr. Starr Parsons, of the Northeast Washington Citizens’ Association; 
William W. Keeler, of the Central Labor Union; Henry W. Draper, grade 
principal of che public schools; Mrs. Florence Rogers, of the High School 
Teachers’ Union; Miss Ethel M. Smith, of the National Women’s Trade Union 
League; Rev. J. Milton Waldron, of the Parents’ League; Walter S. Early, of 
the FairmoUnt Citizens’ Association ; Miss Estelle C. Jackson, of the Washington 
Elementary Teachers’ Union; secretary to the steering committee, J. Clinton 
Hiatt; Roy C. Caflin, ex-officio member. 

ORGANIZATIONS REPRESENTED ON THE CITIZENS’ JOINT COMMITTEE FOR AN ELECTIVE 

SCHOOL BOARD. 

Washington Board of Trade, Columbia Heights Citizens’ Association, Chevy 
Chase Citizens’ Association, Central Labor Union, East Washington Citizens’ 
Association, Daughters of Veterans U. S. A. (Ellen Spencer Mussey Tent 
No. 1), Congress Heights Public Improvement Association, Rhode Island 
Avenue Citizens’ Association, Petworth Citizens’ Association, Southwest Civic 
Association, Maryland and District of Columbia Federation of Labor, North 
Capitol and Eckington Citizens’ Association, West End Citizens’ Association, 
Washington News Writers’ Association, Washington Lodge, No. 193, Interna¬ 
tional Association of Machinists, Washington Elementary Teachers’ Union, 
Washington Civic Center, Sons of Veterans, U. S. A. (Wm. B. Cushing Camp, 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


7 


No. 30), Sixteenth Street Highlands Association, Public Interest Association 
of East Washington, Parents League of District of Columbia, Northeast Wash¬ 
ington Citizens’ Association, National Women’s Trade Union League, Manual 
Training Association of Washington, D. C. (District of Columbia Manual 
Training Union, No. 10), Kenilworth Citizens’ Association, High School 
Teachers’ Union, Central Citizens’ Association, Fairmount Heights Citizens’ 
Association, Deanwood Citizens’ Association, Federal Employees Union, No. 2, 
Benning Citizens’ Association, Grade Teachers’ Union, Bradbury Heights Citi¬ 
zens’ Association. 

HOW OTHER AMERICAN CITIES SELECT THEIR SCHOOL BOARDS. 

[Information taken from “ Current Practice in City School Administration,” compiled by 
the United States Bureau of Education, Bulletin, 1917, No. 8.] 

Educational thought favors election of board members at large by popular 
vote of appointment by elective officials. The majority of school men favor 
election by the people, even in preference to appointment by elective officials. 
Practically no students of school administration favor appointment by the 
courts. 

In practice, over 75 per cent of American cities having a population of 25,000 
and over select the members of their boards of education by popular election. 
In about 18 per cent of these cities the school board is appointed by elective offi¬ 
cials, and in less than 7 per cent of these cities are the school boards appointed 
by members of the courts. Even in some of these cases, Philadelphia for ex¬ 
ample, the judges who appoint the school board are themselves elected by the 
people, so that probably in less than 5 per cent of American cities are the 
boards of education selected in the manner prescribed in the District of 
Columbia. 

The tendency of reform is away from appointed to elected boards. The city 
of Cincinnati is an example. The public-school system of this city has never 
been so efficient as it has been since the method of selection was changed to 
election at large by the people. 

REASONS WHY THE CITIZENS OF WASHINGTON SHOULD SELECT THEIR SCHOOL-BOARD 
MEMBERS ACCORDING TO THE AMERICAN PLAN. 

From a study of the methods of selecting members of boards of education 
throughout the country, it can properly be said that the American plan is 
popular election by the people. 

In no place would it be more appropriate to follow the American plan of 
selecting the board of education members than in the National Capital. In 
this city we should have the model system. 

To grant to the citizens of the District of Columbia the right to elect the 
members of their board of education would be a big step toward the Americani¬ 
zation of the seat of government of the United States. 

This right should be granted not only as a matter of principle, but as a means 
of placing our school system on a more efficient basis. Without reflecting upon 
the personnel of the present or any past board of education of the District, it 
stands to reason that if the members were elected by the people they would 
be more representative of the community and therefore administer their duties 
as a school board more in conformity with the desires of the people. These 
desires are always for an efficient school system. 

Also, without reflecting upon the personnel of the judges who have been 
selecting the members of the board of education in the District of Columbia, 
it stands to reason that the people themselves are much better qualified to select 
the administrators of their schools than are the judges, who usually are not in 
touch with school problems. The majority of the voters would be parents with 
children in the schools, and obviously they are in a much better position than 
the judges to know who will serve their interest better in school matters. 

SUMMARY OF SENATE BILL NO. 4001, INTRODUCED IN THE SENATE ON MARCH 2, 1920, 

BY SENATOR LAWRENCE Y. SHERMAN AND REFERRED TO THE COMMITTEE ON EDUCA¬ 
TION AND LABOR. 

Object .—To provide for the election of the members of the board of educa¬ 
tion of the District of Columbia, etc. 

Qualification of voters .—All citizens of the United States 21 years of age 
and over, without regard to sex, who are actual and bona fide residents of the 


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SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


District of Columbia and desire to vote in the District of Columbia and no other 
place, and who have been such residents continuously during the entire year 
immediately preceding the election, and who have been such residents con¬ 
tinuously for 30 days next preceding the election in the precinct in which they 
vote, shall be qualified to vote: Provided, That no idiot or insane person or 
person convicted of a felony shall be entitled to vote. Temporary absence from 
the District shall not affect the question of residence of any person. (Sec. 6.) 

Qualification of members of board of education. —Any person so elected shall, 
at the time of his or her election, have been for seven years a citizen of the 
United States and shall be an inhabitant and qualified voter of the District of 
Columbia, and shall be not less than 25 years of age. (Sec. 1.) 

Time of election. —All elections for the members of the board of education, 
as herein provided, shall be held on the Tuesday next after the first Monday 
in November of each year. (Sec. 3.) 

The polls shall be opened at 7 o’clock a. m. and closed at 7 o’clock p. ma. 
(Sec. 30.) 

Composition of board and terms of office. —The members of the board of edu¬ 
cation chosen at each election subsequent to the first election held under this 
act shall hold their office for a term of three years. In the first election nine 
members shall be elected, as follows: Three white men, three white women, and 
three colored persons, not less than one or more than two of such colored 
persons to be women. The white male member and white female member, 
respectively, receiving the highest number of votes in their group and colored 
member receiving the highest number of votes cast for a colored member shall 
serve for a term of three years. The white male member and the white female 
member receiving the next highest number of votes in their respective group, 
together with the colored member receiving the next highest number of votes in 
the colored group, shall serve for a term of two years. The other three mem¬ 
bers elected in said first election shall serve for a term of one year. The 
vacancies created by the expiration of terms as above indicated shall be filled 
in the subsequent elections with members corresponding, respectively, in sex 
and color, to the order set forth in this section, so that the composition of the 
board in these respects shall remain unchanged. (Sec. 4.) 

Vacancies. —Any vacancy occurring in the membership of the board for any 
cause other than expiration of term shall be filled by the Commissioners of the 
District of Columbia within 30' days by naming the person receiving the 
next highest number of votes in the same group as the vacating member in the 
last election at which said group was voted on. If such person is not available 
for service, the next highest shall be named, and so on. (Sec. 5.) 

Nominations. —All nominations shall be by petition. Each candidate shall be 
placed in nomination by the signatures of at least 100 qualified voters on a form 
corresponding in effect to the following: “ We, the undersigned qualified voters 
of the District of Columbia, do hereby nominate ” (here shall appear the names 
of the proposed candidates, together with the designation of color and sex of 
each and their respective street addresses) “for membership on the board of 
education of the District of Columbia.” Then shall follow the names of the 
petitioners. All nominating petitions must be filed with the secretary of the 
commissioners not less than 30 days prior to the date of the election. Any 
petition of nomination not so received shall not be valid. (Sec. 28.) 

Registration. —The registration of voters is provided for to be carried on 
under the supervision of the secretary of the commissioners who is designated 
as the registration officer. No one is allowed to vote who has not properly 
registered prior to the election. 

Election machinery. —The bill provides that the Commissioners of the Dis¬ 
trict of Columbia shall constitute an election board, and that they shall have 
charge of carrying out the provisions of the act. 

They are to divide the District into voting precincts, each containing a voting 
population of approximately 500, and define the boundaries thereof, and shall 
appoint, at least 30 days before each election, one inspector, two judges, and 
two clerks for each voting precinct, all of whom shall be qualified voters of 
the precinct. 

The commissioners are to provide suitable polling places for each precinct, 
preferably a public-school building, and give due notice of elections, specifying 
the time and places and the names and addresses of the nominees. 

The bill contains the usual election machinery for carrying out the election 
in a most efficient and thorough manner, providing every precaution against any 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


9 


possibility of fraud. Suitable penalties are provided for violation of the re¬ 
quirements of the act. The election machinery provided in the bill is based 
upon the most modern election laws of the various States. 

(The bill in full follows:) 

[S. 4001, Sixty-sixth Congress, second session.] 

A BILL To provide for the election of the members of the Board of Education of the 
District of Columbia, and for other purposes. 

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United 
States of America in Congress assembled, That the people of the District of 
Columbia shall elect the members of the board of education of said District 
in the manner and at the times hereinafter prescribed. Any person so elected 
shall, at the time of his or her election, have been for seven years a citizen 
of the United States and shall be an inhabitant and qualified voter of the 
District of Columbia, and shall be not less than twenty-five years of age. 

Sec. 2. That the words and phrases in this act shall, unless the same be in¬ 
consistent with the context, be construed as follows: 

(a) The word “commissioners” shall mean the Commissioners of the Dis¬ 
trict of Columbia. 

(b) The word “ District ” shall mean the District of Columbia. 

(c) The words “registration officer” shall mean the secretary of the Com¬ 
missioners of the District of Columbia. 

(d) The word “ ballot ” shall mean the ballot herein prescribed. 

(e) The word “group” shall mean the list of candidates of the same color 
and sex. 

(f) The words “he,” “his,” or “him,” referring to electors or candidates, 
shall include female as well as male. 

Sec. 3. That all elections for members of the board of education, as herein 
provided, shall be held on the Tuesday next after the first Monday in November 
■of each year. 

Sec. 4. That the members of the board of education chosen at each election 
subsequent to the first election held under this act shall hold their office for 
a term of three years. In the first election nine members shall be elected as 
follows: Three white men, three white women, and three colored persons, not 
less than one nor more than two of such colored persons to be women. The 
white male member and white female member, respectively, receiving the high¬ 
est number of votes in their group and the colored member receiving the high¬ 
est number of votes cast for a colored member shall serve for a term of three 
years. The white male member and the white female member receiving the 
next highest number of votes in their respective group, together with the colored 
member receiving the next highest number of votes in the colored group, shall 
serve for a term of two years. The other members elected in said first election 
shall serve for a term of one year. The vacancies created by the expiration 
•of terms, as above indicated, shall be filled in the subsequent elections with 
members corresponding, respectively, in sex and color to the order set forth 
in this section, so that the composition of the board in these respects shall 
remain unchanged. 

Sec. 5. That any vacancy occurring in the membership of the board for any 
cause other than expiration of term shall be filled by the Commissioners of the 
District of Columbia within thirty days by naming the person receiving the next 
highest number of votes in the same group as the vacating member in the last 
election at which said group was voted on. If such person is not available for 
service, the next highest shall be named, and so on. 

Sec. 6. That all citizens of the United States, 21 years of age and over, with¬ 
out regard to sex, who are actual and bona fide residents of the District of 
Columbia and desire to vote in the District of Columbia and no other place, and 
who have ‘been such residents continuously during the entire year immediately 
preceding the election, and who have been such residents continuously for thirty 
days next preceding the election in the precinct in which they vote, shall be 
qualified to vote: Provided, That no idiot or insane person or person convicted 
of a felony shall be entitled to vote. Temporary absence from the District shall 
not affect the question of residence of any person. 

Sec. 7. That the Commissioners of the District of Columbia, at least sixty 
days before the first election herein provided for, shall divide said District into 
noting precincts, each containing a voting population of approximately five 
hundred, and define the boundaries thereof, and they shall also appoint, at least 


10 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


thirty days before each election, one inspector, two judges, and two clerks for 
each voting precinct, all of whom shall be qualified voters of the precinct. 

•The said commissioners shall also, at least ten days before the election, pro¬ 
vide a suitable polling place for each voting precinct, preferably a public-school 
building, and give due notice of the election by posting a written or printed 
notice in at least three public places in each precinct, one of which shall be the 
polling place, specifying the time and place of the election and the names and 
addresses of the nominees, together with their proper group designations. A 
copy of said notice shall be published in a newspaper published and of general 
circulation in the District, once a day for seven consecutive days next prior to 
the date of the election. That not more than $10 at each election shall be al¬ 
lowed for the rental of a polling place in each precinct. 

Sec. 8. That the inspector and judges in each precinct shall constitute the 
election board and shall supervise and have charge of the election therein. 

Before entering upon the duties of their office each of the members of said 
election board and the clerks of the election in the precinct shall take an oath, 
which shall be reduced to writing, before an officer qualified to administer oaths, 
to perform honestly, faithfully, and promptly the duties of their positions. 

That each member of the election board shall have authority to administer 
any oath to the voter necessary or proper under this act, and in case of any ques¬ 
tion or disagreement over any matter during the course of said election thfr 
decision of a majority of the board shall govern. 

That it shall be the duty of the clerks at each voting precinct to make a full 
written record of such election as held in that precinct, and to keep a correct 
record in the poll book, as herein provided, of the names of the persons voting" 
and the fact that they have voted, or have offered to vote and were refused, and 
a brief statement of the reasons for said refusal. 

Sec. 9. That each of the candidates for the office of member of the board of 
education herein provided for, at any election held hereunder, shall be entitled 
to one watcher at each voting precinct, who shall be permitted to be present 
within the place of voting at such precinct, and in some place therein where he' 
may at all times be in full view of every act done. Such watcher shall have the 
right to be so present at all times from the opening of the polls until the ballots 
are finally counted and the result certified by the election board. Each watcher 
shall be required to present to the election board proper credentials, signed by 
the candidate he represents, showing him to be the duly authorized watcher for 
such person. 

Sec. 10. That in case any of the officers or clerks of election selected as herein 
provided for any precinct shall fail to appear and qualify at the time and place 
designated for the opening of the polls, then, in that event, the qualified voters 
present may, by a majority viva voce vote, select a suitable person or persons to 
fill the vacancy or vacancies, and the person or persons so selected shall qualify 
and serve with the same powers and in the same manner as if appointed as here¬ 
inbefore provided. 

Sec. 11. That any person offering to vote may be challenged by any election 
officer or any other person entitled to vote at the same polling place, or by anjr 
duly authorized watcher, and when so challenged, before being allowed to vote 
he shall make and subscribe to the following oath: “ I do solemnly swear (or 
affirm, as the case may be) that I am twenty-one years of age or over and a 
citizen of the United States; that I am an actual and bona fide resident of the 1 
District of Columbia, and have been such resident during the entire year imme¬ 
diately preceding this election, and have been a resident in this voting precinct 
for thirty days next preceding this election, and that I have not voted at this 
election.” And when he has made such an affidavit he shall be allowed to vote; 
but if any person so challenged shall refuse or fail to take such oath or affirma¬ 
tion and sign such affidavit, then his vote shall be rejected; and any person 
swearing falsely in any such affidavit shall be guilty of perjury and shall, upon 
conviction thereof, suffer punishment as is prescribed by law for persons guilty 
of perjury. 

Sec. 12. That the election board at each polling place, as soon as the polls 
are closed, shall immediately publicly proceed to open the ballot box .and count 
the votes cast, and the clerks shall make duplicate tally lists of the votes cast 
for each candidate opposite his name in the tally books prepared therefor, 
and the election board shall thereupon, under their hands and seals, make out 
in duplicate a certificate of the result of said election, specifying the number 
of votes, in words and figures, cast for each candidate, and they shall then 
immediately, carefully, and securely seal up in one envelope said duplicate cer- 


SUFFRAGE IU THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


11 


tificates, the duplicate tally books, and the registers of voters, all the ballots 
cast, and all affidavits made, and deliver such envelope, with said papers 
inclosed, to the Commissioners of the District of Columbia. 

Sec. 13. That said commissioners shall, within seven days after the election, 
canvass and determine the total number of votes cast for each candidate, 
and shall officially announce the names of the successful candidates imme¬ 
diately thereafter, together with the names of the candidates receiving the next 
highest number of votes in each group. Within ten days after the election the 
commissioners shall issue a certificate of election to each of the newly elected 
members of the board of education, and said members shall enter upon their 
respective terms of office on the 1st day of December next. 

Sec. 14. That all election ballots prepared under the provisions of this act 
shall conform to the following requirements: 

First. They shall be of white and a good quality of paper, and the names 
shall be printed thereon in black ink. 

Second. Every ballot shall contain the name of every candidate whose nomi¬ 
nation has been filed according to the provisions of this act, and no other names. 

Third. The names of the nominees shall be placed under the designation: 
“ For member of the board of education.” 

Fourth. There shall be a space one-fourth inch square at the right of the 
name of each nominee, so that the voter may clearly indicate the candidates 
for whom he wishes to cast his ballot. The size of type for the designation of 
the office shall be nonpareil caps; that of the candidates not smaller than 
brevier or larger than small pica caps, and shall be connected with the squares 
by leaders. 

Fifth. The names of the candidates shall be placed on the ballot in the fol¬ 
lowing groups: (1) White male candidates; (2) colored male candidates; (3) 
white female candidates; (4) colored female candidates. Within the groups 
the names of the candidates shall be arranged in the order in which the 
petitions of nomination shall have been filed as hereinafter provided. 

The line of demarcation between the said groups shall be inverted nonpareil 
rule. 

Sixth. Upon each official ballot a perforated line one-half inch from the left- 
hand edge of said ballot shall extend from the top of said ballot toward the 
bottom of the same two inches thence to the left-hand edge of the ballot, and 
upon the space thus formed there shall be no printing except the number of 
such ballot, which shall be upon the back of such space in such position that 
it shall appear on the outside when the ballot is folded. The secretary of the 
commissioners shall cause official ballots to be numbered consecutively, begin¬ 
ning with number one, for each separate voting precinct. Each group column 
shall be two and five eighths inches wide. 

Seventh. On the top of each of said ballots and extending across the said 
groups there shall be printed instructions directing the voters how to mark 
the ballot before the same shall be deposited with the judges of election. At 
the head of each group of candidates the number to be voted for shall be 
indicated. 

Sec. 15. That before the opening of the polls the secretary of the commis¬ 
sioners shall cause to be delivered to the judges of election of each election pre¬ 
cinct in the District at the polling place of the precinct, two ballots for each elec¬ 
tor registered in the precinct, and two tallying books that shall be printed in 
relation and accord with the ballots. The ballots shall be given to the in¬ 
spector of each election precinct; but in case it may be impracticable to deliver 
such ballots to the inspector, then they may be delivered to one of the judges 
of election of any such precinct. 

Sec. 16. That at any election it shall be the duty of the inspector, of one of 
the judges of election, .to deliver ballots to the qualified electors. Any elector 
desiring to vote shall give his name to the inspector or one of the judges, 
who shall then, in an audible tone of voice, announce the same, whereupon 
a challenge may be interposed in the manner herein provided. If no challenge 
be interposed, or if the challenge be overruled, the inspector or one of the 
judges shall give him' a ballot, at the same time calling to the clerks of election 
the number of such ballot. It shall be the duty of such clerks to write the 
number of the ballot against the name of such elector as the same appears 
upon the certified poll book of registration in their possession. Each qualified 
elector shall be entitled to receive from the said judges one ballot. 

Sec. 17. That on receipt of his ballot the elector shall forthwith and without 
leaving the polling place retire alone to one of the booths or compartments pro- 


12 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


vided to prepare liis ballot. He shall prepare his ballot by marking a cross (X) 
after each of the names of the persons or candidates for whom he wishes to 
vote. Before leaving the booth or compartment the elector shall fold his ballot 
in, such a manner that the number of the ballot shall appear on the outside 
thereof without displaying the marks on the face thereof, and he shall keep 
it folded until he has voted. Having folded the ballot, the elector shall deliver 
it folded to the inspector, who shall in an audible tone of voice repeat the name 
of the elector and the number of the ballot. The election clerks having the poll- 
books of registration in charge shall, if they find the number marked opposite 
the elector’s name on the poll books to correspond with the number of the ballot 
handed to the inspector, mark opposite the name of such elector the word 
“ voted,” and one of the clerks shall call back in an audible tone the name of 
the elector and the number of his ballot. The inspector shall separate the slip 
containing the number of the ballot from the ballot and shall deposit the ballot 
in the ballot box. The slips containing the numbers removed from ballots shall 
be immediately destroyed. 

Sec. 18. That not more than one person shall be permitted to occupy any one 
booth at one time, and no person shall remain in or occupy a booth or com¬ 
partment longer than may be necessary to prepare his ballot, and in no event, 
longer than two minutes: Provided, That the other booths and compartments are 
occupied. 

Sec. 19. That any voter who shall, by accident or mistake, spoil his ballot 
may, on returning said* spoiled ballot, receive another in place thereof. 

Sec. 20. That the secretary of the commissioners shall provide for each polling 
place a sufficient number of booths or compartments, which shall be furnished 
with such supplies and conveniences as shall enable the voter conveniently to 
prepare his ballot for voting, and in which electors shall mark their ballots 
screened from observation; and a guardrail so constructed that only persons 
within such rail can approach within ten feet of the ballot boxes or the booths 
or compartments herein prescribed. The number of such booths or compart¬ 
ments shall not be less than one for every one hundred electors or fraction 
thereof registered in the precinct. No person other than electors engaged in re¬ 
ceiving, preparing, or depositing their ballots, or a person present for the pur¬ 
pose of challenging the vote of an elector about to cast his ballot, shall be per¬ 
mitted to be within said rail. The expense of providing such booths or com¬ 
partments and guardrails shall be a public charge, and shall be provided for 
in the same manner as the other election expenses. Subsequent to the first Tues¬ 
day after the first Monday of November and prior to the 1st day of December 
thereafter, the Commissioners of the District shall, as far as necessary, alter 
or divide the existing election precincts in such manner that each election 
precinct shall not contain more than five hundred voters. 

Sec. 21. That any voter who declares to the judges of election, or when it shall 
appear to the judges of election, that by blindness or other physical disability 
said voter is unable to mark his ballot, shall, upon request, receive the assistance 
of one or two of the election officers or a watcher in the marking thereof, and 
such officer or officers shall certify on the outside thereof that it has been so 
marked with his or their assistance, and shall thereafter give no information 
regarding the same. The judges may, in their discretion, require from such 
person so offering to vote a declaration of disability. No elector, other than 
the one who may, because of his physical disabilty, be unable to mark his ballot, 
shall divulge to any person within the polling place the name of any candidate 
for whom he intends to vote, or ask or receive the assistance of anyone within, 
the polling place in the preparation of his ballot. 

Sec. 22. That no inspector shall deposit in any ballot box any ballot upon 
which the official stamp, as herein provided, shall not appear. Every person 
violating the provisions of this section shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor. 

Sec. 28. That the secretary of the Commissioners of the District shall cause 
to be printed in large type on cards, in English, instructions for the guidance 
of electors in preparing their ballots. He shall furnish ten such cards to the 
judges of election of each election precinct and one additional card for each 
fifty electors or fractional part thereof in the precinct, at the same time and 
in the same manner as the printed ballots. The judges of election shall post 
not less than one of such cards in each booth or compartment provided for the 
preparation of ballots and not less than three of such cards elsewhere in and 
about the polling places upon the day of election. Such cards shall be printed 
in large, clear type, and shall contain full instructions to the voters as to what 
should be done, namely: 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


18 


First. To obtain ballots for voting. 

Second. To prepare the ballots for deposit in the ballot boxes. 

Third. To obtain a new ballot in the place of one spoiled by accident or 
mistake. 

Sec. 24. That it shall be the duty of the secretary of the Commissioners of 
the District to cause to be published in pamphlet form and distributed to each 
election precinct, at public expense, a sufficient number of copies of til's act 
as will place a copy thereof in the hands of all officers of election. 

Secl 25. That in the count and canvass of the votes any ballot or parts of 
a ballot from which it is impossible to determine the elector’s choice shall be 
void and shall not be counted. 

Sec. 26. That all ballots cast at the election shall be printed and distributed 
at public expense, as herein provided. The printing of ballots and cards of 
instruction for the electors, and the delivery of the same to the election officers, 
as hereinafter provided, shall be a District charge, the payment of which shall 
be provided for in the same manner as the payment of other District expenses. 

Sec. 27. That the commissioners shall cause to be printed upon the official 
ballots at the election, in the form and manner prescribed by this act, the 
names of those candidates who shall have been nominated by petition, as herein 
provided. 

Secx 28. That all nominations shall be by petition. Each candidate shall be 
placed in nomination by the signatures of at least one hundred qualified voters 
on a form corresponding in effect to the following: “ We, the undersigned 
qualified voters of the District of Columbia, do hereby nominate” (here shall 
appear the names of the proposed candidates, together with the designation of 
color and sex of each and their respective street addresses) “for membership 
on the Board of Education of the District of Columbia.” Then shall follow 
the names of the petitioners. All nominating petitions must be filed with the 
secretary of the commissioners not less than thirty days prior to the date of 
the election. Any petition of nomination not so received shall not be valid. 

Sec. 29. That it shall be the duty of the secretary of the Commissioners of the 
District to provide ballot boxes, or pouches, printed ballots, duplicate tally 
books, and a poll book for each precinct at every direction, and to cause to be 
printed on the ballot the name of every candidate who has been nominated in 
accordance with this act. Ballots other than those printed by the secretary 
of the commissioners, according to the provisions of this act, shall not be cast 
or counted in any election. Nothing in this act contained shall prevent any 
voter from writing or pasting on his ballot the name of any person for whom 
he desires to vote, and such vote shall be counted the same as if printed upon 
the ballot and marked by the voter, and any voter may take with him into the 
polling place any printed or written memorandum or paper to assist him in 
marking or preparing his ballot, except as herein otherwise provided. 

Sec. 30. That at all elections held under the provisions of this act the poll 
shall be opened at seven o’clock antemeridian and closed at seven o’clock post¬ 
meridian. 

Sec. 31. That the secretary of the commissioners shall cause to be preserved 
in his office for six months all petitions of nomination, and they shall be kept 
open to public inspection under proper regulations to be made by the com¬ 
missioners. 

Sec. 32. That if at any election hereafter eight hundred or more votes shall 
be cast at any voting place, it shall be the duty of the inspector in such pre¬ 
cinct to report the same to the commissioners, who shall, as soon as practicable, 
divide such precinct, so that the new precincts formed thereof shall each con¬ 
tain approximately an equal number of voters. 

Sec. 33. That it shall be the duty of the Commissioners of the District, on 
or before July 1, 1920, to prepare all forms necessary to carry out the provisions 
of this act, which forms shall be substantially followed in all elections held 
in pursuance hereof and shall be printed with copies of this act for public use 
and distribution. 

Sec. 34. That there shall be a registration of voters prior to the election as 
herein provided. 

Sec. 35. That it shall be the duty of the Commissioners of the District of Co¬ 
lumbia immediately upon the taking effect of this act to procure and open for the 
registration of voters duplicate poll books for each precinct in the District, and 
the secretary of the commissioners shall be the registration officer. 

Sec. 36. That such poll books shall at all times, except as herein otherwise 
provided, be kept in the office of the secretary of the Commissioners of the Dis- 


14 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


trict. It shall be the duty of said secretary as registration officer to register 
all qualified electors of the District of Columbia on such pooll books, as herein¬ 
after provided: Provided, That the commissioners may direct that in all or 
certain of the precincts of the District the poll books of such precincts shall be 
kept open in such precincts for the registration of the voters thereof at and dur¬ 
ing such time as they shall designate. It shall be the duty of the commissioners 
to designate and publish the time and place where the registration poll book 
for each precinct will be open in such precinct for the registration of voters 
of such precinct, and to provide for a deputy officer of registration to be at 
the place designated to be kept open for the registration of voters qualified to 
register, between the hours of nine o’clock antemeridian and nine o’clock and 
thirty minutes postmeridian on the days designated in said published notice. 

Sec. 37. That it shall be the duty of all qualified voters of the District of 
Columbia, after the opening of the books as herein provided, to apply to the 
officer of registration, and be registered therein, at such time or times as said 
books shall be open for that purpose, as provided in this act; and such reg¬ 
istration when made, as in this act provided, shall entitle such citizens to 
vote in their respective precincts if such citizens are otherwise legally qualified 
voters at such election. Such registration shall be prima facie evidence of 
the right of such citizens to vote at any election held within two years sub¬ 
sequent to such registration. 

Sec. 38. That it shall be the duty of the officer of registration, upon receipt 
of the poll books in this act provided for, to cause to be published a notice 
in'two newspapers of general circulation in the District of Columbia, for ten 
days, notifying the citizens of the District of Columbia that they can register 
at the place or places designated in said notice, and a like notice shall be 
published within twenty days after the first Monday in each July preceding 
the annual election. 

Sec. 39. That the poll books provided for in this act shall be open at the 
office of the secretary of the commissioners at all times during the year for the 
registration of voters, except that they shall be closed on any day in which 
an election shall be held in the District of Columbia, and excepting that they 
shall be closed for the purpose of organization during and for the next pre¬ 
ceding five days prior to any election. The officer of registration shall give 
notice of the closing of said books by publication in two newspapers of general 
circulation in the District of Columbia not more than ten days nor less than 
two days preceding the day of such closing, and such notice of publication 
shall have at least two insertions in each of such newspapers. 

Sec. 40. That the poll books aforesaid shall be so arranged as to admit the 
alphabetical classification of the names of the voters, and ruled in parallel 
columns, with appropriate heads as follows: Date of registration; name; 
age; occupation; place of residence; place of birth; time of residence in the 
District of Columbia and precinct, and, if of foreign birth, name and place of 
court where and date when naturalized as a citizen of the United States, and 
with column headed “ Signature,” for signature of the voter at the time of 
registering, and another and similar column immediately following, headed 
“ Identification,” for the signature of the voter in case he be challenged when 
he offers to vote, and a column for remarks, and one column for checking the 
name of voter at the time of voting. If the voter registering is of foreign 
birth, he shall at the time of registering produce satisfactory evidence to the 
registration officer that he is a naturalized citizen of the United States. Under 
the head of “ Place of residence ” shall be noted the number of lot and block 
or street name and number where the applicant resides or some other definite 
description sufficient to locate the residence; and the voter so registered as 
provided in this section shall sign his name in each of the duplicate poll books 
on the registry opposite the entries above required, in the column headed 
“ Signature.” 

Sec. 41. That no person shall be allowed to vote at any election herein pro¬ 
vided who is not registered according to the provisions of this act. The regis¬ 
tration shall not be conclusive evidence of the right of any registered person 
to vote, but said person may be challenged and required to establish his right 
at the polls in the manner required by this act. 

Sec. 42. That the officer of registration is hereby empowered to administer 
all necessary oaths in examining an applicant for registration, or any witness 
he may offer in his behalf, in order to ascertain his right to be registered 
under the provisions of this act; and the said registration officer shall closely 
examine any applicant for registration whose right to registration he may 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


15 


doubt or who may be callenged, and shall explain the necessary qualifications 
of a voter; and if the applicant for registration be entitled to vote at the 
next election, he shall be registered, otherwise he shall not. 

Sec. 43. That no person shall be registered unless he shall appear in person 
before the officer of registration at his office during office hours and apply 
to be registered and give his name, age, occupation, number or place of resi¬ 
dence, place of birth, time of residence in the District , of Columbia, and such 
applicant shall make and subscribe to the following oath or affirmation: 

District of Columbia, United States of America, ss: 

do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I shall be, on the date of the 
next election, twenty-one years of age or over; that I am a citizen of the 
United States; that I shall have been an actual resident of the District of 

Columbia for one year prior to said election and of the - precent thirty 

days prior thereto, and I have not lost my civil rights by reason of being con¬ 
victed of an infamous crime. 


Subscribed and sworn to before me this-of 


Said affidavit shall be bound in book form and preserved with the other records 
of the District of Columbia. 

Sec. 44. That if a citizen of the District of Columbia shall, during the year for 
which he has been registered, change his residence from one voting precinct in 
said District to another voting precinct in said District, he shall apply to the 
officer of registration to have said removal noted on said poll books when the 
same are open. The officer of registration shall register said person in the voting 
precinct to which lie has removed aintadraw a red-ink line across his name in 
the precinct book of his former residence, and likewise note the transfer in the 
column “ Remarks ” in said poll book. 

Sec. 45. That it shall be the duty of the officer of registration, immediately 
upon the close of the poll books preceding any election to be held in said Dis¬ 
trict, to certify to the authenticity of said duplicate poll books and, in time for 
the opening of polls as provided by law, to have one of said duplicate poll books 
at each of the voting precincts and deliver the same to the inspector or one of 
the judges of said election and take his receipt therefor. The other of said 
duplicate poll books shall remain in the custody of the said officer of registration. 

Sec. 46. That at every election one of the judges of election shall, as each 
person registered votes, enter on the said poll book in the check line opposite the 
name of such person the word “ voted,” said poll .book to be returned to the 
officer of registration after said election and by him preserved. 

Sec. 47. That no officer of election shall do any electioneering on election day. 
No person shall do any electioneering on election day within any polling place, 
or any building in which an election is being held, or within fifty feet thereof, 
nor obstruct the doors or entries thereto, or prevent free ingress to and egress 
from said building. Any election officer, marshal, or other peace officer is 
hereby authorized and empowered, and it is hereby made his duty, to clear the 
passageway and prevent such obstruction and to arrest any person creating 
such obstruction. No person shall remove any ballot from the polling place 
before the closing of the polls. No person shall show his ballot after it is 
marked to any person in such a way as to reveal the contents thereof or the 
name of any candidate for whom he has marked his vote, nor shall any person 
solicit the elector to show the same, nor shall any person, except a judge of 
election, receive from any elector a ballot prepared for voting. No elector shall 
receive a ballot from any other person than one of the judges of election having 
charge of the ballots, nor shall any person other than such inspector or judges 
of election deliver a ballot to such elector. No elector shall vote or offer to 
vote any ballot except such as he has received from the judges of election having 
charge of the ballots. No elector shall place any mark upon his ballot by which 
it may afterwards be identified as the one voted by him. Any elector who does 
not vote a ballot delivered to him by the judges of election having charge of the 
ballots shall, before leaving the polling place, return such ballot to such judge. 
Whoever shall violate any of the provisions of this section shall be deemed 
guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof in any court of competent 
jurisdiction shall be fined in any sum not exceeding $100. 

Sec. 48. That any person who shall falsely make, or make oath to, or fraudu¬ 
lently deface or fraudulently destroy any election certificate, tally sheet, ballot, 
or return, or any part thereof, or suppress the same or forge or falsely make the 

83480—22-2 













16 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


official indorsement on any ballot, shall be deemed guilty of a felony, and 
upon conviction thereof in any court of competent jurisdiction shall be punished 
by imprisonment in the penitentiary for a period of not less than one year nor 
more than five years. 

Sec. 49. That any person who shall during the election willfully remove or 
destroy any of the supplies or other conveniences placed in the booths or com¬ 
partments for the purpose of enabling the voter to prepare his ballot, or prior 
to or on the day of election willfully deface or destroy any list of candidates 
posted in accordance with the provisions of this act, or who shall during an 
election tear down or deface the cards printed for the instruction of voters, shall 
be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof in any court of 
competent jurisdiction shall be fined in any sum not exceeding $100. 

Sec. 50. That any public officer upon whom any duty is imposed by this act 
who shall willfully do or perform any act or thing herein prohibited, or willfully 
neglect or omit to perform any duty as imposed upon him by the provisions of 
this act, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof 
shall forfeit his office and shall be punished by imprisonment in the District 
Jail or workhouse for a term of not less than one month nor more than six 
months or by a fine of not less than $50 and not more than $500, or by both such 
fine and imprisonment. 

Sec. 51. That if any person shall falsely swear or affirm in taking the oath 
or making the affirmation for registration prescribed herein, or shall falsely 
personate another and procure the person so personated to be registered, or 
if any person shall represent his name to the officer of registration to be 
different from what it actually is and cause such name to be registered, or if 
any person shall cause any name to be placed upon the registry list otherwise 
than in the manner provided in this act }> lip shall be deemed guilty of a felony, 
and upon conviction be punished by confinement in the penitentiary not more 
than five years nor less than one year. 

Sec. 52. That if any official shall neglect or refuse to perform any duty relat¬ 
ing to the registration imposed upon him by this act, or in the manner required 
by this act, or shall neglect or refuse to enter upon the performance of any 
such duty, or shall enter or cause or permit to be entered on the registry books 
the name of any person in any other manner or at any other time than as 
prescribed by this act, or shall enter or cause or permit to be entered on such 
books the name of any person not entitled to be registered thereon according to 
the provisions of this act, or shall destroy, secrete, mutilate, alter, or change 
any such registry books, he shall upon conviction be punished by confinement 
in the penitentiary not more than five years nor less than one year, and shall 
forfeit any office he may then hold. 

Sec. 53. That no person shall in any way, directly or indirectly, by menace 
or other corrupt means or device, attempt to influence any person in giving or 
refusing to give his vote in any election, or to deter or dissuade any person 
from giving his vote therein, or to disturb, hinder, persuade, threaten, or 
intimidate any person from giving his vote therein, nor shall any person at 
any such election knowingly and willfully make any false assertion or propa¬ 
gate any false report concerning any person who shall be a candidate thereat 
with the intention of preventing the election of such candidate, and if any 
person shall be guilty of any act forbidden or declared to be unlawful by this 
section he shall be deemed to be guilty of a misdemeanor, and on conviction 
thereof shall be punished by fine or imprisonment, or both, at the discretion 
of the court before which such conviction shall be had: Provided, That in no 
case shall such fine exceed the sum of $250 or such imprisonment the term of 
six months. 

Sec. 54. That any person who shall solicit, request, or demand, directly or 
indirectly, any money, or any thing of value, or promise thereof, either to 
influence his own vote or to be used, or under the pretense of being used, to 
procure or influence the vote of any other person or persons, or to be used at 
any poll or other place prior to or on the day of any election under this act, 
for or against any candidate for office, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and 
upon trial and conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine of not less than 
$10 nor more than $500, or by imprisonment in the District Jail or workhouse 
for not less than thirty days nor more than six months, or by both such tine 
and imprisonment. 

Sec. 55. That any person who shall forge any name of a person as a. signer 
to a nomination paper shall be deemed guilty of forgery, and on conviction shall 
be punished accordingly. 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


17 


Sec. 56. Tliat any person who shall violate any section of this act for which 
no. punishment is therein especially provided shall. be deemed guilty of a mis¬ 
demeanor, and upon conviction thereof shall be fined not less than $50 nor 
more than $200, or by imprisonment in the District Jail or workhouse for 
not less than one nor more than three months, or by both such fine and 
impifisonment, in the discretion of the court. 

Sec. 57. That the act of Congress approved June 20, 1906, entitled “An act 
to fix and regulate the salaries of teachers, school officers, and other employees 
of the Board of Education of the District of Columbia” (Public Document 
Numbered 254) be, and hereby is, amended to conform with this act. 

Mr. Glaflin. Just briefly sketching the history of the campaign for a Dele¬ 
gate in Congress, and that is what I wish to speak about, the Poindexter bill 
which is before you for consideration, the District Delegate Association, organ¬ 
ized to push this campaign, was organized September 28, 1912. The members 
of the executive council were Frank J. Hogan, at that time national committee¬ 
man of the Progressive Party; William McK. Clayton, then president of the 
Federation of Citizens’ Associations; John F. Oyster, at that time president of 
the Washington Chamber of Commerce; Ellen Spencer Mussey, dean of the 
Washington College of Law; and myself, as chairman. We started an active 
campaign about that time and built up a representative membership of ap¬ 
proximately 25,000 citizens. The campaign culminated in the introduction of 
the Poindetxer delegate bill, and finally we secured a hearing on that bill in 
February, 1916, at which time it was linked with the constitutional amendment 
bill. There was a joint hearing held on the two.. A subcommittee of the main 
District committee, headed by Senator Pomerene, reported favorably to the 
Senate on the bill and urged its passage; that is, the Delegate bill, but made 
no report on the constitutional amendment bill. That was the first time since 
the present form of government was‘‘established in the District of Columbia 
in 1878 that any bill providing suffrage for the District has ever got on the 
calendar of either House, and it is the only time. 

The Chairman. I understand you are filing a statement on the matter of the 
election of the school board. 

Mr. Claflin. Yes, sir. 

The Chairman. I should like to ask you a question or two concerning that: 
Did they not elect the school board at one time in the District? 

Mr. Claflin. Not that I recall. My memory does not go back that far. 

The Chairman. I was told that they formerly did. 

Mr. Claflin. I never heard that had been the case. 

Mr. Henry H. Glassie. I think before the Civil War. It has not been done 
under the present organic act at any time since 1878 or before. 

The Chairman. I understood they had elected the school board since the war, 
during the time those bonds were issued, during that short administration. 

Mr. Glassie. 1871 to 1874. 

The Chairman. Yes. I understood they elected a school board, and it was 
not'at all satisfactory. 

Mr. Glassie. It must have been prior to the present organic act. 

The Chairman. It was, and the reorganization followed after that. 

Mr. A. E. Seymour (secretary of the Washington Chamber of Commerce). It 
was just prior to that. I think it was between 1874 and 1878. 

The Chairman. I just wanted to know if you knew anything concerning that. 

Mr. Claflin. There were other features of the established form of govern¬ 
ment at that-time which were not desirable, but that does not mean by having 
an elective board in the District now it would be in any way unsatisfactory. 
The government of about 1874, which put the District into bankruptcy, had, for 
instance, as a part of the government, a Territorial Delegate, but because that 
government was not successful is no argument against a Territorial Delegate, 
because I think that was one of the redeeming features of that form of govern¬ 
ment, and it was not because of the Delegate that it was an unsuccessful 
attempt. 

Going back to the fact that the Poindexter Delegate bill was reported favor¬ 
ably to the Senate by Senator Pomerene, and its passage urgently requested, 
the bill was on the calendar but did not come to a vote. After that time and 
during the last five years we have allowed our campaign for a Delegate-to be 
eclipsed by the campaign for a constitutional amendment. During those five 
years it has not been clearly demonstrated that it is possible to secure the 
passage of a bill providing for a constitutional amendment, giving the District 


18 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


of Columbia full statehood rights; that is, a voting delegation in the House 
and one or two Senators. However, in my opinion, it has been demonstrated 
that you can not get such legislation. Therefore, I think the time is ripe that 
we should push something practical, something that we can get, something 
Congress is willing to give us. 

Now, some of the fundamental reasons why the District of Columbia ought 
to be represented in the House of Representatives are that, first, it is right, it is 
just, it is logical, it is expedient, and above all, it is American. I do not wish 
to take your time t;o expand on these arguments for myself, but I will ask 
leave to read quotations from men whose opinions are much more weighty 
than my own. I will quote from Presidents of the United States, from Senators, 
from Representatives, from other officials of the Government, from prominent 
and leading local citizens, and from men from other States, showing that the 
sentiment for a proposition of this kind is universal, and that those opinions 
are not confined to the present day, but they go back over a period of 100 years. 

VIEWS OF THE PRESIDENTS. 

The first President to discuss formally the political status of the District was 
Monroe, who, in his message of 1818, said: 

“ By the Constitution the power of legislation is exclusively in the Congress 
of the United States. In the exercise of this power, in which the people have 
no participation, Congress legislates in all cases directly on the local concerns 
of the District. As this is a departure from a special purpose from the general 
principles of our system, it may merit consideration whether an arrangement 
better adapted to the principles of our Government and to the particular 
interests of the people may not be devised which will neither infringe ibe 
Constitution nor affect the object which the provision in question was intended 
to secure.” 

Thus in 1818 President Monroe suggested as alternatives either a separate 
legislature for the District or some device under which the District should be 
represented in Congress. 

In 1818 Washington, Georgetown, and Alexandria were enjoying, by the 
grace of Congress, municipal “ self-government.” Washington, for instance, 
elected city councils, who elected a mayor. Nonparticipation by the people in 
the congressional power of exclusive legislation was the “ departure from the 
general principles ” of the American system, of which Monroe suggested a 
correction. 

Andrew Jackson was the first President to urge specifically the election by 
the District of a Territorial Delegate in Congress. He made this recommenda¬ 
tion in 1830, and repeated and enlarged it in 1831 and 1835. In 1831 he said: 

“ It was doubtless wise in the framers of our Constitution to place the people 
of this District under the jurisdiction of the General Government. But to 
accomplish the objects they had in view it is not necessary that this people 
should be deprived of all the privileges of self-government. Independently of 
the difficulty of inducing the Representatives of distant States to turn their 
attention to projects of laws which are not of the highest interests to their 
constituents, they are not individually nor in Congress collectively well qualified 
to legislate over the local concerns of this District. Consequently its interests 
are much neglected and the people are almost afraid to present their grievances 
lest a body in which they are not represented, and which feels little sympathy in 
their local relations, should, in its attempts to make laws for them, do more 
harm than good. * * * Is it not just to allow them at least a Delegate to 

Congress if not a local legislature to make laws for the District subject to the 
approval or rejection of Congress? I earnestly recommend the extension to 
them of every political right which their interests require and which may be 
compatible with the Constitution.” 

President William Henry Harrison in 1841 discussed the political status of 
the District sympathetically and earnestly, saying: 

“Are there indeed citizens of any of our States who have dreamed of their 
subject in the District of Columbia? Such dreams can never be realized by 
any agency of mine. The people of the District of Columbia are not the sub¬ 
jects of the people of the United States, but free American citizens. Being in 
the latter condition when the Constitution was formed, no words used in that 
instrument could have been intended to deprive them of that character. If 
there is anything in the great principle of inalienable rights so emphatically 
insisted upon in our Declaration of Independence, they could neither make 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


19 


nor the United States accept a surrender of their liberty and become the 
subjects—in other words, the slaves—<of their former fellow citizens. If this 
be true—and it will scarcely be denied by anyone who has a correct idea of 
his own right as an American citizen—the grant to Congress of exclusive 
jurisdiction in the District of Columbia can be interpreted as far as respects 
the aggregate people of the United States as meaning nothing more than to 
allow the Congress the controlling power necessary to accord a free and safe 
exercise of the functions assigned to the General Government by the Con¬ 
stitution. In all other respects the legislation of Congress should be adapted 
by their peculiar position and wants and be comformable with their deliberate 
opinions of their own interests.” 

. President Andrew Johnson repeated in 1866 Jackson’s recommendation of a 
Territorial Delegate in Congress, saying: 

“ Our fellow citizens residing in the District, whose interests are thus con¬ 
fided to the special guardianship of Congress, exceed in number the population 
of several of our Territories, and no just reason is perceived why a Delegate 
of their choice should not be admitted to a seat in the House of Representa¬ 
tives. No move seems so appropriate and effectual of enabling them to make 
known their peculiar condition and wants and of securing the local legislation 
adapted to them. I therefore recommend the passage of a law authorizing the 
electors of the District of Columbia to choose a Delegate, to be allowed the 
same rights and privileges as a Delegate representing a Territory.” 

President Abraham Lincoln said : 

“ I am opposed to the limitation or lessening of the right of suffrage. If 
anything, I am in favor of its extension or enlargement. I want to lift men 
up, to broaden rather than contract their privileges.” 

Permit me to quote the late Senator Jacob H. Gallinger, former chairman 
of the Senate District Committee, on the proposition for a District Delegate. 
This is from an interview published in the local papers in December, 1912. In 
addition to promising his support for the proposition he said: 

“I firmly believe that more responsibility should be placed upon the people 
of the District of Columbia. The form of government here is absolutely un¬ 
republican. It seemed so strange when I had studied in my history from youth 
up that the Revolutionary War was fought over the false principle of taxation 
without representation and then to come to Washington over a hundred years 
after that great struggle to find the very same principle existing at the very 
heart of the great Republic. 

“ I have always felt that an unjust situation exists here, and that it ought 
to be corrected. Aside from the principle of the thing, I can see many ad¬ 
vantages the people of the District will enjoy through having a Delegate to 
represent them in the body that governs them.” 

I will say that Senator Gallinger kindly offered his services in preparing the 
bill to provide a Delegate, with an offer also to introduce it. Senator Poin¬ 
dexter, however, drew up the present bill in its entirety, after very careful 
study. 

From the Washington Times of June 1, 1920, I quote the following: 

“ Senator Boies Penrose, of Pennsylvania, favors giving the people of the 
District of Columbia a Delegate in the House of Representatives and one vote 
in the electoral college for President and Vice President. 

“ ‘ I shall be much interested in examining any plans for national representa¬ 
tion,’ he added, ‘ but I do not favor the proposition to give the people here two 
United States Senators and a Member of the House of Representatives. They 
are, however, entitled to a Delegate in Congress and a vote for President.’ ” 

I also quote the views, in part., of Senator Weeks, expressed in connection 
with the report of the joint select committee investigating the fiscal relations 
of the District four years ago: 

“ It is unjust and un-American to deny the franchise to any citizen having 
the requisite qualifications of a voter. * * * I submit, too, that as the 

District is governed by Congress the people should have some representation 
or representatives in that body.” 

One of the first Members of the Congress from whom we secured an inter¬ 
view for publication was Senator Chamberlain, of Oregon, who later intro¬ 
duced the resolution for a constitutional amendment providing statehood for 
the District. I had a long talk with Mr. Chamberlain in his office and he de¬ 
clared very emphatically in favor of a Delegate representing the District in 
the House. 


20 


SUFFRAGE IX THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


At a joint hearing on the Poindexter Delegate bill and on h’s bill for a 
constitutional amendment Senator Chamberlain made the following statement: 

“ I do not see why a Delegate might not be selected to sit in an advisory 
capacity in the Senate; but in any event I do not oppose the election of a 
Delegate to the House. * * * I think it would be well that the District 
should be represented until the constitutional amendment has been submitted. 
I do not think there would be any question about the House. * * * Of 

course, as to a Delegate, he can not vote. He is a voteless individual; he has 
not much voice in things, but he can at least advise the body in relation to 
the legislation needed by the District, and keep the people informed. I think 
they ought to have a Delegate.” 

I will quote also from the remarks of a prominent member of the Senate 
Committed on the District of Columbia, made in a rousing speech which he 
delivered before the Washington Chamber of Commerce on October 14, 1913. 
In part he said: 

“ It’s a wonder to me you people don’t rise up and demand a vote. Prior to 
1776 there was a little tea party in Boston Harbor. Every one throughout 
this country has profited by this save the people of the District of Columbia 
and the women of the land. There can be no excuse for the people of Wash¬ 
ington not voting. The District should be granted a Delegate to Congress. 

“ It is strange that in Washington, the Capital of the greatest Republic 
known to history, and it being in our Constitution that none shall be deprived 
of the right to vote becausee of coor or previous condition of servitude, the 
people should be deprived of the privilege to vote. 

“ I do not know what pearls of wisdom dropped from the lips of the states¬ 
men who voted to take away this right, but I think in view of the calcium 
light of present enlightenment that they must have been pearls of paste. No¬ 
where else under the Stars and Stripes does taxation without representation 
exist.” 

Senator Capper. Could you give the name of the author of that? 

Mr. Clafein. That was Senator Pomerene. 

Statement of Senator Miles Poindexter, author and sponsor for the present 
Delegate bill now under consideration. The following is a part of a statement 
published in a local newspaper on September 4, 1913: 

“ The District Delegate bill should be enacted for two general reasons: First, 
in order that the inhabitants of the District may have the right to choose some 
one to represent them in legislation which so vitally concerns them; and sec¬ 
ond, in order that Representatives may be relieved to some extent of the 
burden and responsibility of taking care of local District matters. As the 
situation now is, Congress has a good deal of its time taken up sitting in the 
capacity of a city council for the City of Washington. With the interests of 
their own constituents to look after, even the members of the District com¬ 
mittees of the House and Senate can scarcely be expected to give the requisite 
time and attention which the present arrangement calls for to District matters. 

“ Of course, in a sense the government of the District is a national concern, 
in which all Congressmen might well have a responsibility and interest. How¬ 
ever, the Government of the District also involves a vast number of matters 
which are largely of local and in a very slight sense of national concern. There 
should by all means be a special Delegate, whose chief concern and responsi¬ 
bility would be to study these questions and present them properly in the 
House of Representatives. It would be a relief to the rest of the country by 
freeing Congress in general from the anomalous situation of being called upon 
to decide upon so many questions which it is no one’s special business to 
take care of. 

“ In their own interests and in the interests of the rest of the Nation, the 
people of the District should have a voice in their own government. If they 
do not desire it they should be required to have it and to exercise the responsi¬ 
bility which it will entail upon them. I am satisfied, however, that they do 
desire it. This bill proposes only to give them a voice n Congress; whether or 
not they shall have a vote there may be reserved for future considerations. 

“ This bill, while it only authorizes the election of a Delegate in Congress, 
contains complete election machinery, so that if hereafter it should be decided 
to extend the political privileges of the District the election machinery will 
be already provided therefor.” 

A further statement of Senator Miles Poindexter before a subcommittee 
of the Senate District committee in a hearing on the Delegate bill, Febru¬ 
ary 29, 1916: 


SUFFRAGE 1ST THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


21 


“ Furthermore, Mr. Chairman and Senators, it is not only in the interests of 
the.people of the District and of the United States, in order to take away from 
them the example of a people of their own race being governed without their 
consent, without participation in the Government, but there is a practical 
reason in promoting the work of Congress. More business is transacted by 
Congress in dealing with the special affairs of the District of Columbia than 
with the special measures of any State in the'Union or of any half dozen States 
put together. 

“ The Committees on the District of Columbia in both Houses are among the 
very greatest committees in Congress. The questions which they deal with 
require as much study, though they relate only to the District of Columbia, as 
the questions relating to the great national and international affairs on which 
Congress has to act. Yet there is no one here in either branch of Congress who 
is so situated as to be relieved of the duties which he owes to his constituents 
at home, or to his State if he is a Senator, so that he can devote his entire 
time to make himself a specialist in studying and working in matters that 
relate only to the District of Columbia. For that reason there ought to be a 
Delegate in Congress from the District whose service of the District would not 
be merely an incident to his service of another constituency. 

“We can depend upon the citizenship of the District of Columbia to.elect a 
man, I presume, I hope, I think, I know, who would represent their views and 
their interests in Congress in the work which he would do, though he may not 
have a vote; and one vote in the House of Representatives, even though he had 
it—and that is all he would have if he were a Member—is very seldom a deter¬ 
mining influence. Far more than the vote are the voice and the labor of the 
chosen Representatives of the people.” 

Statement of Representative John H. Rothermel, of Pennsylvania, published 
August 30, 1913: 

“ I have seen the business interests of the District attacked on the floor of 
the House until it looked to me to be a deplorable fact that the citizens of this 
city were not represented there. 

“ The Members of the House are too busy attending to their constituents to 
bother with the needs of the people of the District of Columbia. Therefore these 
people should have a Representative in each body of Congress—one at least— 
and these Representatives should shape and mold legislation when Congress is 
not in session. 

“ I have more than 325,000 people in the district which I represent, and all of 
these are for the sentiments I have expressed. They are true Americans back 
there in Lehigh Valley.” 

Statement of the late Champ Clark in a speech before the House of Repre¬ 
sentatives delivered on April 6, 1900, when the question of whether Hawaii 
should have a Delegate in the House was being discussed. Mr. Clark said he 
thought that the District of Columbia also should have a Delegate. After 
remarking that Congress sat on designated days as a common council for the 
city of Washington, with Members generally “ ignorant of the wants of the 
people and the proper relation of one thing to another,” Mr. Clark said: 

“ The fact that under the shadow of the Nation’s Capitol 300,000 American 
citizens are completely disfranchised, not permitted to vote on any proposition 
under the sun, are reduced to the low estate of being the Nation’s wards, have 
no more voice in the Government under which they live than have the inhabit¬ 
ants of Africa, is the saddest commentary to be found anywhere on the theory 
of representative government.” 

In a debate in the House December, 1800, Representative Smilie said: 

“ Not a man in the District would be represented in the Government, whereas 
every man who contributed to the support of a government ought to be repre¬ 
sented in it; otherwise his natural rights were subverted and he was left not a 
citizen but a slave. It was a right which this country, when under subjection to 
Great Britain, thought worth making a resolute struggle for and evinced a 
determination to perish rather than not enjoy.” 

In 1803 the “ unrepublican ” condition of the District was again a matter of 
comment and it was proposed to recede to Maryland and Virginia jurisdiction 
over the parts of the District originally ceded by them. John Randolph, jr., 
in February of that year, said in the House: 

“ I could wish, indeed, to see the people within this District restored to their 
rights. This species of government is an experiment how far freemen can be 
reconciled to live without rights; an experiment dangerous to the liberties of 
these States.” 


22 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


Statement of James Wickersham, Delegate from Alaska, in an interview pub¬ 
lished August 10, 1913: 

“ It is amazing that the District of Columbia, with nearly 400,000 highly edu¬ 
cated inhabitants, has been refused representation in Congress when there are 
at least six States in the Union with a less population, less wealth, and that 
pay less taxes and have no more reason for representation than this District 
of Columbia. But each enjoys full representation in the House of -Represen¬ 
tatives as well as in the Senate. 

“Alaska was purchased by the United States in 1867, but the first Delegate 
was not elected until 1906. Prior to 1906 the Territory had received no bene¬ 
ficial legislation in aid of the development of her resources or government by 
the people there. Since that date there has been a greater material develop¬ 
ment in Alaska than in all the preceding 40 years. 

“ No American community ought to be compelled to exist for so many years 
without representation in Congress. It is illogical in the first place and an 
injustice in the second place, to say nothing of the inconvenience to the people 
who are thus excommunicated from the enjoyment of their American birth¬ 
right—participation in their own governmental affairs. 

“ I feel most emphatically that the bill designed to grant this long-delayed 
representation of the District of Columbia in the National Legislature should 
be passed by Congress without delay.” 

Later, when asked his opinion as to Whether he considered his effectiveness 
as Delegate from Alaska would be strengthened by his having a vote as do the 
Representatives from the States, he declared that, on the contrary, he believed 
his usefulness was greater through not having a vote. “ I find it a great ad¬ 
vantage,” he said, “ not to be required to be a partisan at critical times; not 
to be required to line up with any particular group and thereby incur antago¬ 
nism from other groups. Furthermore, my not being required to study all 
general matters of legislation coming up for a vote in the House gives me a 
great deal more time to devote to the particular interests of Alaska.” 

Statement of Representative C. O. Lobeck, of Nebraska, in a speech at a 
meeting of local citizens at the Ebbitt House, November 26, 1913: 

“ The District of Columbia is sorely handicapped by reason of the fact that 
it has no representative in Congress to look after the interests of the people 
here.” 

The “ cow-boy mayor ” of Omaha, James Dahlman, was present on the same 
occasion and declared: 

“ I am tempted to come to Washington myself and join you in the fight for 
suffrage.” 

Statement of William C. Redfield, then Secretary of the Department of Com¬ 
merce, at an annual meeting of the Associated Charities at Rauscher’s, Decem¬ 
ber 2, 1913: 

“ From a governmental standpoint, I look upon the District of Columbia as 
a curiosity. In my home city of Brooklyn, N. Y., we make the commissioner 
of charities do as we want him to do because we are governed by a people 
whom we select. 

“We are governed there by those who are of us. In the District it is quite 
different. The men who govern you are not of you. Suppose one of you were 
to be sent 3,000 miles across the country and were there asked to make wise 
decisions on various subjects for that community, and then to take care of your 
home town, in addition to looking after the affairs of the Nation as a whole. 
The whole problem is one amusingly ridiculous as far as its responsibilities 
are concerned. But you have the right to appeal to the peculiar sense of 
honor of those who have charge of this great and growing city.” 

Statement of Joseph W. Folk, former governor of Missouri, then chief coun¬ 
selor for the Interstate Commerce Commission, made in a speech at a meeting 
at the Ebbitt House on April 13, 1914: 

“ Washington should be made a model for all America, not only in civic 
playgrounds, etc., but in the government by the people. If it be said that the 
experiment were tried in years gone by and resulted in corruption, the answer 
is that all the large cities of the country were venal in their governments at 
this time. The people everywhere have been awakened since then. They have 
come to realize that where they have the ballot, they can make the government 
of the city and of the State just as good as they wish to make it, or just as 
bad as they permit it to become. 

“ There should not be any place in the United States where the people are 
subjects rather than citizens. Above all, the Capital City itself should not be 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


23 


denied the privilege of American citizenship and be kept in ignorance of 
American ideals, a knowledge of which can only come through the exercise of 
the ballot according to a freeman’s will.” 

Statement of John Burke, former governor of North Dakota, and then Treas¬ 
urer of the United States, on the same occasion: 

“We have heard speeches here on equal rights and equal privileges. It 
seems you have not equal rights of others you are deprived of the right of 
suffrage. I believe that what makes better citizens is giving the individual 
more responsibility. What reason has a man to respect the law when he is 
denied a part in making the law?” 

Statement of William F. Gude, prominent local business man and civic 
worker, then president of the Washington Chamber of Commerce, now a mem¬ 
ber of the District Rent Commission: 

“ I am for a District delegate, because it would give justice to all concerned. 
The District is like an orphan and is not treated with the consideration that 
it deserves as the seat of the National Capital. This is so not because Con¬ 
gress does not want to do better by the District but because of a lack of a 
thorough understanding. 

“ Members of Congress need some one to keep them properly in touch with 
the needs of the District. 

“ There are plenty of cases on record where Congressmen actually have lost 
their seats because of the time they have taken from their constituents’ interests 
to look out for District matters. It has been necessary for some one to do this, 
owing to the lack of a District delegate. 

“ If we had a delegate in Congress to officially represent our interest, he would 
be responsible for attending to local matters in Congress, and it would be his 
business to get matters in their proper shape for presentation to that body.” 

Statement of Mrs. Mary E. Brown, a member of the committee of the 
W. C. T. U. appointed to cooperate with the District Delegate Association, con¬ 
tained in a letter written to the Senate District Committee, February 25, 1914: 

“ Being a property holder and a taxpayer of the District of Columbia, also rep¬ 
resenting about 800 women of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, I urge 
your most honorable body to a favorable action on the Poindexter bill, which 
provides for the election of District delegate. We feel the urgent need of a rep¬ 
resentative in Congress to present our needs.” 

Statement of Ross P. Andrews, prominent District merchant and civic 
worker, then president of the Retail Merchants’ Association, published in the 
Evening Star, September 4, 1913: 

“ I am emphatically in favor of a delegate in Congress representing the Dis¬ 
trict of Columbia. I •think it takes nerve to ask any man elected to serve in 
interests, for instance, of Minnesota, to devote his time to the consideration of 
District of Columbia affairs. A personal friend of mine on the District Com¬ 
mittee says that while he appreciates his obligation of serving the National 
Capital and all that, at the same time his constituents look to him to serve the 
interests of those who elected him. They say to him, ‘ Why do you spend your 
time on the affairs of Washington City? We want you to look out for us.’ This 
Member of Congress came near to being defeated on account of his zeal for Dis¬ 
trict affairs. My experience has been that this is the universal sentiment in 
Congress. 

“ It is an inconsistent situation that allows this community no right to par¬ 
ticipate in-the discussion of legislation for its own government, and I am heartily 
in favor of the effeorts of the District Delegates’ Association to secure this much- 
needed representation. 

“ I think all organizations of the District should follow the example of the 
Federation of Citizens’ Associations in indorsing the proposition and giving their 
assistance to this worthy campaign.” 

I would like to say that the Federation of Citizens’ Associations, which repre¬ 
sents practically all the citizens’ associations of the city, 20 or 25 at that time, 
voted unanimously in favor of the delegate bill. 

The Chairman. How many did you have present when that vote was taken? 

Mr. Claflin. Can Mr. Clayton answer that question? 

Mr. William McK. Clayton. In the federation there are 38 associations. 

Senator Sheppard. How many were present when the vote was taken? 

The Chairman. You may have a unanimous vote when there are only one or 
two persons present. 

Mr. Claflin. Mr. Clayton presided at the meeting. 


24 SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, 

fc 

Mr. Clayton. At that time there were three questions presented to the federa¬ 
tion. All of the associations were not represented there. There were three propo¬ 
sitions presented at that meeting: First, the local self-government feature, town 
council, sponsored by a few; and, second, the delegate proposition. When put 
to a vote the local self-government proposition failed, I think having two or 
three votes. The delegate proposition, as I remember, passed unanimously. 

The Chairman. I want to know whether it was a representative meeting or a 
meeting of only a few people. 

Mr. Clayton. Thoroughly representative. It was a regular meeting of the 
federation. 

The Chairman. Were there 50 people there? 

Mr. Clayton. At that, time we only had one delegate from each citizens’ 
association. 

The Chairman. Were all these delegates present from these associations? 

Mr. Clayton. All were present that were usually present. It was a thoroughly 
representative meeting, and there was no effort to do anything but what was 
square and honest in taking the vote. The federation also is in favor of national 
representation and stands solidly back of that. 

Mr. Claflin. The date on which the action was taken by the federation was 
at a meeting on August 30, 1913. In view of the fact that the suffrage ques¬ 
tion was a live issue, the meeting of the federation was unusually well at¬ 
tended. 

Mr. Lloyd. Mr. Chairman, I think Mr. Claflin is speaking of one meeting and 
Mr. Clayton is speaking of an entirely different meeting. The meeting Mr. 
Claflin is speaking of was held in 1913, and the meeting Mr. Clayton is speaking 
of was held in 1921. Is not that right? 

Mr. Clayton. No. I made myself very plain. It was unanimously for the 
delegate proposition. I can not give those dates. 

Mr. Lloyd. He says it was in 1913. Is that the meeting to which you refer? 

Mr. Clayton. Yes. 

Mr. Claflin. Statement of Ellen Spencer Mussey, then dean of the Washing¬ 
ton College of Law, formerly vice president* of the Washington Board of Edu¬ 
cation. In a letter to the Senate Committee on the District of Columbia, in 
February, 1914, advocating a favorable report to the Senate on the Poindexter 
delegate bill, Mrs. Mussey said in part: 

“ I have been a resident of the District for 40 years and actively interested 
in all that concerns the welfare of the people. It is my belief that no community 
of equal intelligence in the United States ever suffered so much from mis¬ 
representation as have the citizens of the District.” 

Mrs. Mussey in her letter then discusses how her experience as a member 
of the local board of education thoroughly convinced her of the need of a 
delegate from the District on the floor of the House of Representatives. 

The Chairman. You say “ nlisrepresentation ” or “ misgovernment.” She does 
not give any specific forms of misgovernment. Does she mean to imply that the 
District of Columbia is not as well governed as other cities? 

Mr. Claflin. I don’t think that is what she had in mind at all, for I know 
she has the highest respect for the government of the District of Columbia. 

The Chairman. I wanted to get an idea whether it was a satisfactory plan, 
whether the plan itself was condemned or whether the government itself was 
unsatisfactory. 

Mr. Claflin. The real point which she felt strongly at that time was that we 
did not have national representation. What she meant by “ misrepresentation ” 
was the fact that at times Members on the floor of Congress made statements 
concerning District affairs of which they were not well informed, and if we had 
had a. delegate that delegate could have supplied that information. There have 
been hundreds of instances of that kind. 

Mr. Ayres. Is the gentleman speaking with authority or is this just his 
opinion as to what she meant? 

Mr. Claflin. It is my opinion, based on a pretty good knowledge of her 
ideas. 

The Chairman. The reason I asked the question is that the committee wants 
to know where the charge is made that the District of Columbia is not a good 
government, that the people are not .as well governed as they are in other com¬ 
munities, or whether the charge is entirely based upon the fact that the people 
are dissatisfied because they do not have a part in that government. If you 
have a bad government, that ought to be shown here, it ought to be brought 
out; but if you are as well governed as other cities, and you are dissatisfied 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 25 

merely because you are not given the right to vote, we want to know that. We 
want to know which one of those is uppermost in your mind. 

Mr. Claflin. So far as I am personally concerned, I have no information to 
present to the committee to show that the present form of government is not 
satisfactory. 

Mr. Brandenburg. Mr.' Chairman, I think I can speak as well for Mrs. 
Mussey in this matter as the speaker who has just addressed the committee. 
Mrs. Mussey is in hearty support of the position we take, namely, for a con¬ 
stitutional amendment. Mrs. Mussey has never, so far as I know, and T 
know her well, taken the position that the city of Washington is not well gov¬ 
erned. Her theory is entirely one that we are taxed without representation. 

Mr. Claflin. Statement of Frank J. Hogan, prominent local attorney, pub¬ 
lished August 8, 1918: 

“ The government and citizens of the National Capital are at present with¬ 
out a voice respecting matters of the most vital importance that come con¬ 
tinually before the body that legislates for this helpless community.- 

“A delegate in Congress—a man thoroughly familiar and in sympathy with 
District affairs—would be of inestimable aid in protecting local officials from 
the inconvenience and possible embarrassment of appearing before committees 
of investigation. 

“ He would be in ai position to give Congress all the information desired 
and thus make formal investigations unnecessary. 

“ I think the Poindexter delegate bill is admirable. It is fair and just in its 
treatment in every issue and should meet with the approbation of every true 
and loyal citizen of the District.” 

Statement of Joseph P. Annin, newspaper writer, in an article published in 
the Washington Herald, March 31, 1913: 

“ Sentiment in favor of a delegate from the District to Congress has grown 
rapidly since District affairs began to require more than the usual amount 
of individual thought from the national legislators. It is a peculiar anomaly 
that a Territory the size of the District embracing a population as great as 
that of many States at the time of their entry into the Union, should be with¬ 
out a voice on the floor of the House, while distant territories, populated by 
alien races, at best not many generations removed from the savage, should be 
granted privileges denied the residents at a Nation’s capital. The Philippine 
Islands have two elected resident commissioners; Porto Rico has one com¬ 
missioner; Alaska and Hawaii each has a delegate. The need of such a voice 
in the House is felt by all who have been called upon to pass on District mat¬ 
ters, a»d if such a bill could be brought to the calendar of the House, it 
would be assured of early and favorable action, if properly framed.” 

Statement of Capt. James F. Oyster, now one of the Commissioners of the 
District, formerly president of the board of education, then president of the 
Washington Chamber of Commerce, at a meeting of the United Brotherhood 
of Carpenters and Joiners of America on September 16, 1912: 

“ Congressmen give us very little attention here in the District because we 
have no vote. We are taxpayers without representation. We have a form 
of government that is very agreeable, but the District commissioners have not 
enough power. We should have a representative on the floor of the House to 
tell the Members our needs.” 

A later statement of Capt. Oyster in an interview published August 7, 1913: 

“ I am heartily in favor of the District being represented in Congress by a 
Delegate. The more I have thought about it the more positive I am that it 
would be an excellent thing for the District. Members of Congress, I believe, 
would take more interest in local legislation and committees would be more 
active in handling matters pertaining to the District. 

“ This bill, introduced by Senator Poindexter, makes careful provision for 
the qualification of voters, which I consider to be wise, and the bill goes into 
the general subject very much in detail. 

“ The District has long needed an official representative in Congress, one to 
whom the people as a whole may look for presenting the views and sentiments 
of the community in matters affecting them, and I believe this bill to be the 
one that will most satisfactorily provide for this representation.” 

The Chairman. At the beginning of the hearing I stated that the Jones bill 
would also be considered during this hearing. We afterwards found it had 
been referred to the Judiciary Committee, and I then stated that it would 
not be considered at this time. Senator Jones thinks it should have been 
referred to this committee. He has now gone into the Senate to have the - refer- 


26 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


ence changed from the Judiciary Committee to this committee, so the scope of 
this hearing will cover that bill as well as the other. 

Mr. Claflin. May I ask what that bill covers? 

The Chairman. That provides for a constitutional amendment. 

Mr. Brandenburg. May I speak for this side? 

The Chairman. I just wanted to make the statement that those who wish 
to speak for complete statehood will have the right to do so. Otherwise it 
would not be presented at this hearing. 

Mr. Claflin. I will quote also an editorial in the Evening Star in support 
of our Delegate proposition. The editorial appeared in the issue of October 24, 
1913, and in part is as follows: 

“ The strongest argument for a Delegate is found in present conditions, 
which suggest that through the hurtful activities of certain of the legislators 
whom the American people have chosen to represent the District in Congress 
the financial relations between Capital and Nation are already as disturbed 
and chaotic as they can be; that real representation in Congress, though desir¬ 
able and equitable, can not at this time be secured; and that it is possible at 
this time to win for the District a Territorial Delegate who may serve a useful 
purpose in any event and may help to real representation in Congress. 

“ The Star is in sympathy with the District’s appeal for increased repre¬ 
sentation in its government and for protection in the feeble, indirect repre¬ 
sentation which it now has. It believes Washington entitled to every political 
privilege consistent with full legislative and executive control of the Capital 
by the Nation. It believes that the local community should be treated as an 
integral part of the Nation in exercising this control. While it feels that 
Washington should ask full representation so far as Congress is concerned 
and be satisfied with nothing less, if the community after due deliberation 
shall be disposed to try again the experiment of a voteless Delegate the District’s 
wish in this respect should, in the Star’s opinion, be met by Congress, and the 
Star will cooperate heartily to this end.” 

We feel that it has been fairly shown that the people of the District of Co¬ 
lumbia want a Delegate. It is almost impossible to find anyone who is not in 
favor of representation of the District of Columbia in Congress. However, a 
good many people feel that w T e ought to have full statehood, voting representa¬ 
tion, Senators, and so on, but they do not realize in taking that position that it 
is a very difficult thing to get. They do no stop to realize that it will require 
a good many years to secure a constitutional amendment. However, when you 
discuss it with them on that basis they invariably say they believe .we should 
have a Delegate at once to represent us during the 8 or 10 years it mrght re¬ 
quire to get through a constitutional amendment. 

Senator Capper, You favor the Delegate plan ? 

Mr. Claflin. Yes, sir. 

Senator Capper. Is that as far as you go now? 

Mr. Claflin. I think that is as far as we can go now. 

Mr. John Joy Edson. You are in favor of a constitutional amendment, are- 
you not? 

Mr. Claflin. We always have been, but do not believe it practical to push 
that at this time. I feel, and my opinion is based on some definite information,, 
that there is not a majority of the Senate nor in the House that will vote for a 
constitutional amendment, but that there is a very strong sentiment, in fact, 
what you might call an overwhelming sentiment in both Houses for the granting 
of a Delegate to the District of Columbia. Therefore, while I would like to see 
the District get as full representation as possible, I believe it is entirely feasible 
and expedient to take the Delegate at the present time, if we can get it. 

Senator Sheppard. How do you propose to select a Delegate? 

Mr. Claflin. By popular election. 

I desire to read the report which the subcommittee of the Senate District 
Committee made in presenting to the Senate for favorable consideration, the 
Poindexter Delegate bill. 

Senator Capper. What year was that? 

Mr. Claflin. That was in 1916. The report was made to the Senate on 
May 15, 1916, and placed on the calendar. 

The Chairman. In discussing this matter it would help the committee very 
much if those discussing it could give us the character of the administration at 
the different times, when you had a mayor that you elected yourselves, when 
you had a local government that was the result of your own vote. We would 
like to have you give the character of that government. What this committee- 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


27 


wants is to give the District of Columbia the best government we can. Whether 
it is to give you a District Delegate, or whatever it is, we want to do it, but we 
want to give you the best government we can, and we must be governed some¬ 
what in our own opinions by the result of the trial of the former governments. 

Mr. Claflin. I understand other speakers will cover that phase of the subject. 

The Chairman. I just called attention to the fact that I think you can help 
us very much if you will do that. 

Mr. Claflin. I think that is a logical proposition. 

I wish now to read the report made by Senator Pomerene and the subcom¬ 
mittee on the Poindexter bill: 

[Senate report No. 443, Sixty-fourth Congress, first session.] 

The Committee on the District of Columbia of the Senate reports favorably 
upon Senate bill 681, and recommends its passage with the amendments therein 
indicated. 

The bill as presented by Senator Poindexter provides for— 

(a-) The nomination and election of a Delegate to the House of Representa¬ 
tives from the District of Columbia, and defines his powers and privileges. 

(&) A presidential primary. 

(c) The election of delegates to the national presidential conventions. 

( d ) The necessary election machinery for said purposes. 

(e) Prescribes the qualifications of electors. 

The bill as favorably reported eliminates the provisions relating to the 
presidential primary and the election of delegates to the national presidential 
conventions. As amended and approved by the committee, it authorizes (a) 
the nomination and election of a Delegate to the House of Representatives and 
defines his powers and privileges; ( b ) the necessary election machinery; and 
(e) prescribes the qualifications of electors in the District. Under this bill, the 
Delegate is given the same powers and privileges and is entitled to the same 
rate of compensation as the Delegates in the House of Representatives from 
the Territories of the United States. 

The committee decided to strike out the provisions of the bill relating to a 
presidential primary and the election of delegates to the national presidential 
conventions, because waiving the differences of opinion as to the policy of such 
legislation, the members believed it would be impossible to pass this bill so as 
to make it effective for the coming presidential conventions. If the pending 
bill should be passed the election machinery will be provided and it will be a 
comparatively simple matter, later, to provide for the presidential preference 
primary and the election of delegates to the national presidential conventions. 

BRIEF HISTORY OF THE LEGISLATION RELATING TO THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 

Under the Constitution Congress exercises “ exclusive legislation in all cases 
whatsoever of such District (not exceeding 10 miles square) as may, by cession 
of particular States and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the 
Government of the United States.” 

On July 16, 1790, the Congress accepted from Maryland and Virginia the 
District of Columbia, and it was provided that “ the operation of the laws of 
the State within such District shall not be affected by this acceptance until 
the time fixed for the removal of the Government thereto and until Congress 
•shall otherwise, by law, provide.” Under this act, and for 10 years thereafter, 
the territory ceded by Maryland was subject to Maryland-made laws and that 
ceded by Virginia to Virginia-made law. 

On February 27, 1801, Congress again declared that the laws of Maryland 
should continue in force in that portion of the District ceded by Maryland and 
the laws of Virginia in that portion of the District ceded by Virginia. 

On May 3, 1802, the city of Washington was incorporated. Under this act, 
a council of 12 members was created to be elected annually by ballot by the 
free white male inhabitants of full age. The 12 councilors thus elected chose 
from their number 5 members to form a second chamber. The mayor was 
appointed by the President of the United States. He in turn appointed all 
other officers of the corporation. Ordinances passed by the council were sub¬ 
ject to the approval of the mayor, but could be reconsidered and passed over 
his veto by three-fourths vote of the two branches of the city council. 

In 1804, this system was so changed as to provide for two chambers in the 
city council, of nine members each, elected annually. 


28 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


In 1812, the character was again amended so that the corporation was com¬ 
posed of a mayor and board of aldermen and a board of common council. The 
board of aldermen had eight members elected for a term of two years, two 
from each of the four wards, one-half retiring each year. Theboard of common 
council had 12 members, 3 from each ward, elected: annually. The mayor 
was annually elected by the joint ballot of the common council and the board 
of aldermen. The franchise was restricted to white male citizens .who were 
taxpayers. 

In 1820, a new charter was provided, to remain in force for 20 years, or until 
Congress should otherwise provide. The most important change made in the 
city government was the election of a mayor biennially by popular vote. With 
slight changes, this charter continued until 1848, when it was again amended 
and renewed for another period of 20 years. 

By the act of 1848, other offices were made elective and suffrage was extended 
to all free white males of 21 years of age who were subject to and had'paid 
their taxes. 

In August, 1861, Congress passed an act combining the cities of Washington 
and Georgetown and the county of Washington into a “Metropolitan police 
district.” Five commissioners of police, appointed by the President of the- 
United States for a term of three years, together with the mayors of George¬ 
town and Washington, formed the board of police commissioners, to which 
was given entire control of the police force of the District of Columbia. 

On January 8, 1867, the right to vote at elections in the District of Columbia 
was extended so that all male persons above the age of 21 years should have 
the right to vote in the District, without distinction on account of color or race. 

In 1868, with slight changes, the charter was again extended for one year and 
later, until 1871, when the city of Washington was merged with the other parts 
of the District of Columbia. 

On February 21, 1871, the government of the District was reorganized in a 
way similar to that provided for the Territories of the United States. The 
executive power was plac.ed in a governor appointed by the President and con¬ 
firmed by the Senate. The legislative power was vested in a legislative as¬ 
sembly composed of a council and the house of delegates. The council had 11 
members appointed by the President with the approval of the Senate. The 
house of delegates was composed of 22 members elected annually. The governor 
was given the right of veto, which could be overruled by a two-thirds vote of all 
the members of the council and the house of delegates. The right of suffrage 
was exercised by all male citizens over 21 years of age. The legislative power 
of the District extended “ to all rightful subjects of legislation within said Dis¬ 
trict, consistent with the Constitution of the United States,” and the provisions of 
the act of February 21, 1871, subject, however, to certain limitations contained 
in the act itself and all the acts of the legislative assembly were at all times- 
subject to repeal or modification by the Congress of the Uhited States. The 
financial powers of the new government were definitely limited. The power 
to tax and to make appropriations was vested in the legislative assembly within 
prescribed limits. 

A board of public works, however, was created, consisting of the governor and 
four persons appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. It was 
vested with power to make all regulations considered necessary for keeping in 
repair the streets, avenues, and sewers of the city and all other work which 
should be intrusted to it by the legislative assembly or by Congress. 

This act further specially provided for the election of a Delegate to the House 
of Representatives, with the same rights and privileges exercised and enjoyed 
by the Delegates from the Territories of the United States, and he became ex 
officio a member of the Committee for the District of Columbia. 

It will serve no good purpose to go into the details of the history of the admin¬ 
istration of the affairs of the District during the operation of this law. Suffice 
it to say that the board of public works, under the authority vested in it, adopted 
elaborate plans of public improvement at a total estimated cost aggregating 
over $6,000,000, one-third to be assessed upon private property according to the 
benefits conferred by such improvements; but while the original plans provided 
for the expenditure of over $6,000,000, the board of public works entered into 
contracts involving an expenditure of over $12,000,000 in excess of this sum. 
The District became bankrupt and the law of 1871 was repealed. 

On June 20, 1874, a new law governing the District was passed. Under it, 
while the Delegate then serving was permitted to continue for the term for 
which he was elected, the Delegate was thereafter discontinued. Three com- 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


29 


missioners were appointed, vested with all powers formerly exercised by the 
governor and the board of public works. They were forbidden, however, to 
make any contract or incur any obligations “ other than such contracts and obli¬ 
gations as may be necessary to the faithful administration of the valid laws 
enacted for the government of said District, in the execution of existing legal 
obligations and contracts, and to the protection or preservation of improvements 
existing or commenced and not completed at the time of the passage of this act.” 

The “ organic law ” of the District of Columbia was passed June 11, 1878, and 
with sundry amendments now remains in force. 

Under its operation the administrative authority in the District is vested in 
three commissioners, appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. 
They are also clothed with legislative authority in purely local matters. The 
judicial officers in the District are also appointed by the President and con¬ 
firmed by the Senate. Under this law the citizens of the District are without 
any voice whatever in either local or National Government. 

Briefly stated, the foregoing resume of the history of the District shows four 
different periods, each with its own plan of government. During the first period, 
that part of the District coming from Virginia was governed by Virginia laws 
and that part of the District coming from Maryland by Maryland laws. 

During the second period, the government was vested a portion of the time in 
a mayor appointed by the President and a council elected by the people, and 
a second chamber of five members chosen by the council. During the rest of 
this period and continuing until 1871 the District was controlled by a board 
of eight aldermen elected biennially and a board of common council elected an¬ 
nually, and a mayor chosen by joint ballots of the common council and board of 
aldermen. 

During the third period, the District had the Territorial form of government, 
consisting of a governor appointed by the President, a legislative assembly 
composed of a council and house of delegates. The council were appointed by 
the President and the house of delegates elected by the people. A Delegate was 
provided for to represent the District in the House of Representatives. 

Th fourth period began with the organic act of 1878, and is now in operation, 
with a board of three commissioners appointed by the President. 

Of course, the government of the District could not continue to be operated 
and to progress under the laws of Maryland and Virginia. As the District was 
formed for the seat of the National Government, your committee can understand 
why the people within the District might not, if given full and complete control, 
administer its affairs on a scale sufficiently national either to meet the require¬ 
ments of the Government itself or of the American people. Because of this fact 
it is believed that the municipal form of government as it existed prior to the 
year 1871 did not meet the national requirements, and the Territorial form of 
government between 1871 and 1878, because of its extravagance and lax adminis¬ 
tration, met neither the approval of the people of the District locally or of the 
people of the country at large. 

While sound governmental policy would seem to suggest that the National 
Government should have control of the District rather than that the District 
should have control of the Government buildings and property within the Dis¬ 
trict, we believe there is no valid reason why the people of the District should 
not have some voice in the National Government, as well as those who are living 
outside of the District and in other sections of the country. The United States 
is a representative Government. Congress meets in the Capitol. Senators and 
Representatives come yearly to perform their legislative duties, refreshed by 
contact with their home people, and because thereof better able to represent 
their views. Each of their constituents is a sovereign citizen; he is a part 
of the Government, State and National; he has a voice in the selection of his 
officers and, either directly or indirectly through his Representatives, makes 
and enforces all laws, State and National, affecting life, liberty, and property. 
But here in the District of Columbia, in the Capital of our country, in the 
shadow of the very dome of the Capitol itself, where our Chief Executive lives, 
and where sit the greatest court in the world and the two branches of Congress, 
controlling the affairs and the destinies of a hundred millions of people, live 
nearly 400,000 American citizens whose life, whose liberty, and whose property 
are under the absolute control of the Executive, the Congress, and the judiciary, 
without any right to vote or to participate in the making or administration of 
the laws under which they live and move and have their being. 

More American citizens live in the District of Columbia than in any one of 
the States of Nevada, Wyoming, Delaware, Arizona, Idaho, or New Mexico, yet 


30 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


Senators and Congressmen have waxed eloquent in their demands that Ter¬ 
ritories subject to the control of the Federal Government shall have statehood 
and that our foreign possessions may have independence so that they may work 
out their own destinies. Is it possible that a Congress of a sovereign people 
will continue to insist, as they have insisted, that all the people of our island 
possessions shall have a voice in their own Government, and yet deny this sacred 
right to the nearly 400,000 people who live within the District of Columbia? 
The control of the Czar of all the Russias over his subjects is not more complete 
than is the jurisdiction of our Government over the people of this District. 

Argentine, Brazil, and Mexico have copied our Constitution and form of 
government. They have Federal districts for their respective capitals similar to 
the District of Columbia, but the people in those districts are given the right of 
representation in Congress. 

It is in no sense a disrespect to the Members of either House of Congress to 
say that they have a more personal interest in the affairs of their respective 
States or Districts than they have in the District of Columbia. As a conse¬ 
quence, there is not that personal touch between the District and the Congress 
that exists between the Congress and the people of the several States or 
Districts. 

The pending measure, if passed, gives to the citizens of the District only 
the right to elect a Delegate to the House of Representatives who may, on the 
floor, represent its citizens and present their cause without the right to vote. 
It gives them only the same right in national legislation that the people 
living in the Territory of Alaska now have. If the people of Alaska have the 
right to be thus represented, by what process of reasoning can the people 0:6 
the District be denied the right? Are they less patriotic or less intelligent than 
the people of Alaska or the people of our own States? Have they less SO' mucn 
of civic pride that they do not deserve to share in working out the political 
destinies of a great .people in which they are so much interested and a part of 
which they are? May we ask those who oppose this legislation, are they willing 
to have laws enacted for their own constituents which will shear them of their 
political status and leave them with no greater share in their Government, local 
or national, than the people of this District now have? How many of them are 
willing to say, “ We will consent that our States or our Districts shall be con¬ 
trolled by a Congress composed of men elected by other States and other 
Districts,” and deny themselves the right of representation in Congress? If 
Senators and Congressmen are not willing to surrender these rights, how can 
they consistently deny to nearly 400,000 of their fellow citizens living in the 
District the right of representation on the floor of the House of Repre¬ 
sentatives ? 

Some men oppose all representation for the District in either branch of 
Congress, because, it is said, that when the District had local self-government 
it was not properly administered. We grant that this may be so, but who will 
rise up and say that since the people of the District have been denied repre¬ 
sentation the burdens of government have been equally distributed, its blessings 
properly bestowed, its affairs properly administered, its poor sufficiently cared 
for, or that its slums have been wiped out? To what greater or better extent 
has municipal government prospered here than in other cities which are self- 
governed? The majority of the committee recognize that the status of the 
people of the District is different from that of any other portion of the country, 
because it is the site of the National Government, and it is and always will be 
the principal institution in the District. As a consequence, any legislation on 
the subject should have a national rather than a local aspect, and if it were a 
choice between a purely local government as controlling the District and all 
its institutions therein, of one purely national, the committee would prefer the 
latter, but it is not denationalizing the District to allow its citizens to par¬ 
ticipate with the rest of the people of the Nation in the government of the 
District itself. To that extent it helps to nationalize the significance of the 
District. It helps to popularize government. It will wipe out the incon¬ 
sistencies in our institutions of having a nonrepresentative people in the very 
shadow of a representative Government. 

The writer only regrets that the bill does not go further. 

QUALIFICATIONS OF ELECTORS. 

Section 3 of the bill defines the qualifications of electors as follows: 

Sec. 3. That all citizens of the United States, twenty-one years of age and 
over, without regard to sex, who are actual and bona fide residents of the 
District of Columbia, and who have been such residents continuously during 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


31 


the entire year immediately preceding the election, and who have been such 
residents continuously for thirty days next preceding the election in the 
precinct in which they vote, and who shall be able to read the Constitution of 
the United States in English and write their own names, shall be qualified to 
vote in all elections held in the District of Columbia: Provided, That no idiot 
or insane person or persons convicted of a felony shall be entitled to vote. 
Temporary absence from the District shall not affect the question of residence 
of any person, provided the right to vote has not been claimed or exercised 
elsewhere. 

By the law of May 3, 1802, the right of suffrage was limited to free white 
male inhabitants 21 years of age. 

By the act of 1848 it was limited to all free white males of 21 years of age 
who were subject to and who had paid their taxes. 

By act of January 8, 1867, the right to vote was extended to all male persons 
above the age of 21 who had the right to vote in the District without distinction 
on account of color or race. 

By act of February 21, 1871, the right of suffrage was exercised by all male 
citizens over 21 years of age. 

At present the right of suffrage does not exist in the District. Congress alone 
has the sole power to confer it within the District and upon such terms and 
condit : ons not inconsistent with the Constitution as in its wisdom it may de¬ 
termine. There is no other way under the Constitution whereby to bestow this 
right. 

The majority of the committee believe that it should be granted to both 
men and women alike who have continuously resided in the D strict for a 
period of one year, and who have continuously resided in the precincts in which 
they vote for 30 days and who meet the following qualifications: That they 
may be able to read the Constitution of the United States in English and write 
their own names. 

ELECTION MACHINERY. 

The bill clothes the Commissioners of the District with the powers of an 
election board and adopts the Australian method of voting which prevails in 
many of the States. 

The members of subcommittee giving the hearing and making this report 
were as follows: Atlee Pomerene, Ohio, chairman; Henry F. Hollis, New Hamp¬ 
shire; Willard Saulsbury, Delaware; William P. Dillingham, Vermont; Law¬ 
rence Y. Sherman, Illinois. 

The main committee on the District of Columbia favoring this report and 
placing the delegate bill on the calendar were John Walter Smith, Maryland, 
chairman; Atlee Pomerene, Ohio; Marcus A. Smith, Arizona; Henry F. Hollis, 
New Hampshire; Ollie M. James, Kentucky; Willard Saulsbury, Delaware; 
Thomas S. Martin, Virginia; James D. Phelan, California; William P. Dilling¬ 
ham, Vermont; Wesley M. Jones, Washington; John D. Works, California; 
William S. Kenyon, Iowa; Lawrence Y. Sherman, Illinois; Thomas Sterling, 
South Dakota, Alban M. Wood, clerk. 

Senator Jones. I want to make a statement right here. I was a member of 
that committee. That relates to a Delegate in the House of Representatives. 
My opinion then was the same as my opinion now, that the Senate really ought 
not to consider a proposition of that kind until the House has acted upon it, 
as it has to do with who shall compose its membership. Each House is the 
judge of the qualifications of its Members, and I think the Senate should not 
consider the question of putting a Delegate in the House until the House has 
expressed its desire in the matter. 

Mr. Claflin. That is a matter of procedure, of course, and for you to decide. 

I have here several letters on the subject of the District of Columbia being 
represented in Congress by a Delegate that I would like to submit. The general 
ground has been pretty well covered. 

(The documents referred to are here printed in full as follows:) 

November 1, 1915. 

Senator W. E. Chilton, 

' Chairman Joint Select Committee of Congress investigating the fiscal 
relations of the Federal Government and the District of Columbia. 

I desire to present for your consideration the following proposition on behalf 
of the District Delegate Association: 

We believe the first logical reform in the affairs of the District of Columbia 
should be that its people be provided with an official spokesman, a representative 

83480—22-3 



32 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


elected by them at a properly authorized and conducted election, who could 
thus speak for them with due and legal authority. 

As matters now stand there is no one man or group of men, even in this 
hearing being conducted by your committee, who has the authority or right 
to say that he or they represent the taxpayers or the people of the District 
of Columbia. No one can do so, as the District people have had no opportunity 
to authorize anyone to speak for them. No one officially knows the- majority 
sentiment of the people of the District; at best it can only be surmised. 

Our proposition is that the whole people of the District, should be given a 
real hearing—an opportunity to express officially their majority sentiment 
regarding this question which is so vital to their government. It affects the 
community as a whole, and the community as a whole should be heard from 
before a radical change is made. No man should be accepted by your com¬ 
mittee as spokesman for the local people, and no man should presume to exer¬ 
cise that prerogative under the present circumstances of the District of 
Columbia. 

Our proposition is that Congress, in the coming session, shall authorize tne 
citizens of the District to hold an election, express their views on this fiscal 
question and on other questions affecting their government. At the same time 
a delegate could be elected by them to represent them before Congress and its 
committees. 

; Is $t right that your committee should recommend to Congress a radical 
change in our local government without giving us a real opportunity to be 
heard? Is this not a community of Americans.? Are we not entitled to our 
rights and liberties as such? Do you not, as a committee acting for! the 
highest legislative body in the Republic, stand for American principles? I 
believe that we all agree with President Wilson in his opinion that the funda¬ 
mental principles which give America distinction in the annals of the*world 
is that America shall have no government at all that does not rest upon the 
consent of the governed. 

No group of men, not even those constituting the National Congress, has the 
moral right to make a radical change in the form of local government of a 
community of fellow American citizens, especially where that form was given 
to.them and so accepted as permanent, without their officially expressed consent. 

While, the present form of government in the District of Columbia has 
operated over 35 years with all the outward evidences of a satisfactory, peaceful, 
just, and successful arrangement, it is nevertheless true that improvements 
Cfin be made to bring it up to date. But to make these improvements it is not 
necessary to uproot the entire foundation. 

The greatest needed improvement—one which must and will come, for it is 
right—-is that the people of the District be represented and given a voice in 
their own government. This is right because it is the very cornerstone of the 
American principles laid by our forefathers. Grant this right to the District 
people and the necessary reforms will gradually work themselves out, and in 
a more satisfactory manner than is possible where one side has all the say. 
There is too much politics in the country in general and not enough in the 
District, of Columbia. 

The men of Congress can not truly sense our local needs. We must work out 
our own salvation. Give us the opportunity to get together at the polls and 
we will tell you what we need better than you can figure it out in the light of 
the problems of your respective communities. Our conditions here are peculiar 
to ourselves. Give us the “ pencil and paper ” and we will help you, and in a 
way that will be fair and honest to you as well as to ourselves. 

This is a practical and vital question. Justice can not be done it in a few 
months’ time by a small committee, however competent it may be, and even 
though each member concentrates his most earnest efforts and his undivided 
attention. It requires the consideration of many minds, particularly of those 
who are most, affected by it, the people of the District of Columbia. 

We, the Districe Delegate Association, believe that this community should be 
granted a Delegate in Congress. We do not believe that will be sufficient. But 
it is something which can be brough about practically at once and will, in addi¬ 
tion to its consequent advantages, be a step in the right direction. 

In conclusion, I urge that your committee not recommend to Congress a radi¬ 
cal change in our local government at the present time, but that you recom¬ 
mend that the citizens of the District of Columbia be authorized to hold an 
election in the near future, when they shall express their convictions as to 
their form of local government. 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


33 


November 29, 1913. 

Mr." Oliver P. Newman, 

Chairman Commissioners of the District of Columbia: 

On behalf of the District Delegate Association I respectfully urge your favor¬ 
able recommendation to Congress of the Poindexter bill, S. 2863, providing for 
the election of a delegate to‘represent the people of the District of Columbia in 
Congress. 

It is the fundamental principle of the American Government that the people 
themselves should have a voice in the management of their civic affairs, and 
that taxation without representation shall not exist anywhere within the 
American borders. 

We urge District representation in Congress in pursuance of the right be¬ 
stowed upon all American citizens by the forefathers of this country through 
the Federal authorities. 

If the present Congress refuses to grant representation to the District of 
Columbia, together with the right of voting, then their neglect will be counter 
to the principles emphasized by President Woodrow Wilson on October 25 last, 
when, in Swarthmore, Pa., he made the following statement: 

“ The extent of the American conquest is not what gives America distinc¬ 
tion in the annals of the world. It is the professed purpose of the conquest, 
which was to see to it that every foot of that land should be the home of free, 
self-governed people, who should have no government whatever which did not 
rest upon the consent of the governed.” 

Thus we believe that the people of the National Capitol should be represented 
in their Government as a matter of principle in keeping with the great idea of 
American civic thought. 

A delegate to Congress from this community would save the Commissioners 
of the District a great deal of valuable time. 

A delegate in Congress from the District would also save the individual 
Members of Congress much annoyance and time now devoted to the hearing 
of complaints of many citizens and organizations of Washington. 

The delegate would afford the District an official voice on the floor of the 
House, and all know the hundreds of instances where this advantage would 
have been of inestimable value to this community. 

We believe the granting of a delegate should precede all other reforms for 
the District of Columbia, because the people should have a spokesman to rep¬ 
resent them in the shaping of legislation to remodel their government. 

A District delegate would expedite local legislation in Congress. It would 
be his concern to keep in touch with bills desired by the District people and to 
promote the same. 

It appears that an overwhelming majority of the people of the District of 
Columbia want representation in Congress. 


February 19, 1914. 

Hon. John Walter Smith, 

Chairman Senate Committee on the District of Columbia. 

On behalf of the District Delegate Association I urge upon you a favorable 
consideration of Senate bill 2863, providing primarily for the representation of 
the District of Columbia in Congress by a delegate. 

The passage of this bill will restore to the 360,000 of the National Capital 
the right bestowed on all qualified American citizens—the right to vote. 

It will give to this community, the population of which is greater than that of 
each of eight States of the Union, the privilege of being represented by one of 
their number in their legislative assembly, a right not denied any other American 
political entity. 

The enacting of this bill into law will afford a much needed official connecting 
link between Congress and the people of the District of Columbia over whom 
they exercise absolute control. 

This will result in the elimination of much embarrassing and detrimental 
misunderstanding between Congress and the local community, insuring a more 
harmonious and sympathetic cooperation between them. 

Furthermore, it will expedite District legislation to a remarkable extent, 
and will relieve individual Members of the Senate and the House of Representa¬ 
tives of considerable time which is now required of them in attending to many 
routine details involved in the relations of Congress and the District govern¬ 
ment. 



34 


SUFFRAGE IN' THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


In debates on the floor of Congress on legislation pertaining to the District, 
the people of this community will have the right and advantage of being repre¬ 
sented by an official spokesman, the right that members of Congress can not with 
justice withhold indefinitely from a community of their fellow American 
citizens. 

Not only would this proposed law expedite District legislation in Congress, 
rendering greater fairness to the District and making the Congressmen’s task 
lighter, but it will relieve the District Commissioners of burdensome duties 
which they now must perform at the Capitol, explaining, defending, and pleading 
for the needs of the people of Washington. 

The Poindexter delegate bill does not involve any change in the present form 
of local government, and therefore should become a law before any such change 
shall seriously be considered by Congress, for this would entitle the people of 
the District to be heard through their elected representative on a matter so 
vitally affecting them. 

A further reason why the Poindexter delegate bill should be made a law 
prior to the passage of any legislation to change the form ot*local government 
is that any alteration of the organic act in 1878 would undoubtedly provide for 
the establishment of a general franchise, and the Poindexter bill provides for 
a most complete, modern, and efficient basic election law. This law could later 
be made to include any other elected officers for the District, with the ad¬ 
vantage that this law would then have been given the test of actual operation. 

Not only should the Poindexter delegate bill be made a law as a matter of 
expediency both to the Congress and the people of the National Capital, but 
above all, aside from the innumerable practical advantages most sure to be de¬ 
rived, this representation should be granted to this community of over a quarter 
million of American citizens as a matter of justice and common sense. 

In conclusion, permit me to call your attention to the views of Mr. Thomas 
Nelson Page, which he has expressed as follows: 

“ Congress has the power to exercise exclusive legislation over the District 
of Columbia; but this power is not an unbridled and unlicensed power. It is 
subject to all the modifications and restraints which underlie all powers. 

“ Under modern conditions governing bodies almost invariably endeavor to 
act in harmony with the views of those governed by them and endeavor to 
promote their interests. The good of the people is the supreme law. Abso¬ 
lutism does not exist in the United States—not even in the District of Columbia. 

u Other Territories have their representatives. The District of Columba 
alone has none. It alone must rely on the Congress for justice, for a govern¬ 
ment as good as that in other parts of the land. If the Congress fails to 
give it this, then it is as derelict as any other Government which is guilty of 
malfeasance in office. And though there be no remedy available under which 
the wrongs of the people of the District of Columbia may be righted, yet the 
Congress is all the more culpable in such a case, for* it is exercising mere 
tyranny. And this is an injury to the whole Nation, to every citizen of the 
country, and to the Congress itself.” 


AEGUMENT FOE DELEGATE PEESENTED TO THE PAEK VIEW CITIZENS’ ASSOCIATION. 

March 2, 1911. 

I believe the District of Columbia should be represented in Congress by an 
elective delegate for the following reasons: 

Because it is right and just as an American principle for a community of 
citizens to have a voice in its local government. 

The Constitution does not imply that Congress should deprive the District of 
representation as a legitimate portion of the Nation, whose citizens pay taxes 
into the public coffers. 

The general trend of decision has been that the District of Columbia is non¬ 
descript—it is more than a Territory—distinguished by the framers of the Con¬ 
stitution by a dignity peculiar to itself. It is, therefore, entitled to even more 
consideration than a Territory or a possession. As it is, it does not have as 
much consideration in the matter of representation. 

Every thinking man in the District, as well as in Congress, realizes that the 
District does not receive fair treatment from Congress under the present 
arrangement. 



SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


35 


The presence in the House of Representatives of a delegate from the Dis¬ 
trict would insure more definitely an open ear of Congress for our needs. The 
necessity is emphasized by the fact that not one District legislative bill has 
been passed during the session just closing; thus the accumulation of much- 
needed legislation has not in any wise been relieved, but added to. 

No other city of over 800,000. population could make progress with its city 
council meeting but one or two days a year and then not producing results. 
Any city this size requires a very busy council working almost constantly to 
keep abreast of the times. 

Patience ceases to be a virtue when our acting city council turns a deaf 
ear to our earnest appeals for the necessities of communtiy life—when we 
find that body immovable by appeals to their logic or to their sense of justice 
or even to their sympathy for a voteless people, though living in the realm of 
American liberty. 

When in 1878 the predecessors of the present Members of Congress assumed 
the responsibility of performing the duties of a city council for us, depriving 
the District of suffrage, it was done through patriotic motives, and was hailed 
by the residents as a relief on account of circumstances then existing. Did 
those men foresee the increase of the national demands on the time of Congress 
which to-day renders impossible a proper consideration of legislation for the 
District, whose needs also demand greater thought? 

One of the stated objects of our Constitution is to establish justice.” The 
present predicament of the District—at the mercy of and dependent upon the 
charity in time and good will of the Members of Congress—is at once conceded 
by all to be the essence of injustice. Our interests are obviously not their 
interests and consequently suffer. 

Congress as a whole has demonstrated conclusively not its inability to cope 
with our legal problems but its absolute unwillingness to do so. 

A delegate representing the District could devote his entire attention to 
District matters and engage himself in a systematic education of Members of 
Congress, enabling them to vote intelligently on local affairs. He would 
relieve the citizens and also Congressmen of the time and labor now necessarily 
spent in “ lobbying.” It stands to reason that a local citizen living the year 
around in Washington will be in closer touch with the sentiment and needs 
of the Capital than a Congressman residing here only a few months of the year, 
with his interests elsewhere. 

Mr. Claflin. I think that from the opinions I have read from' these various 
men and women I have demonstrated that we should have a Delegate in Con¬ 
gress, because it is right, it is just, it is logical, it is expedient, and, above all, 
it is American, as I started out to endeavor to show. I will predict that if 
this delegate bill is reported favorably to the Senate the vote will be, perhaps, 
two to one in favor of its passage, and the same in the House of Representatives. 
I certainly express confidence that this committee will report the Poindexter 
delegate bill favorably to the Senate. 

The Chairman. You understood what Senator Jones said, that action pro¬ 
viding for a Delegate in the House should first come from the House? 

Senator Jones. Of course, I was only expressing my own view. I was not 
attempting to speak for the committee. 

Mr. Claflin. I did not know that was an official decision of the committee. 

I understood Senator Jones was expressing his view. Of course, we are not 
concerned about procedure. What we want is a Delegate to represent us, and 
the procedure is a matter to be decided by you gentlemen. 

I thank you very much for your patience. 

STATEMENT OF W. W. KEELER, FORMER PRESIDENT OF CENTRAL 

LABOR UNION AND NOW MEMBER OF LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE 

REPRESENTING ALL THE LABOR UNIONS OF THE DISTRICT OF 

COLUMBIA. 

Mr. Keeler. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, I will state that, representing 
organized labor of the District of Columbia, for the past 20 years they have gone 
on record as favoring local self-government and District suffrage—that is, a 
vote at all elections, such as elections that occur in the different States. Our 
indorsements qre recent. During the past month I personally accompanied the 
committee to the different organizations with the present bills pending before 


36 


SUFFRAGE 11ST THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


the Senate and one before the House, and they have been unanimously indorsed 
by every meeting we have attended. 

I am not authorized to speak for labor at large; but it is a matter of record 
of all American Federation of Labor conventions, and all international conven¬ 
tions that have been held in the last number of years, that they have also 
indorsed resolutions calling for or seeking local self-government or local suffrage 
in the District of Columbia. 

Senator Jones. How far do you want to go in local self-government? 

Mr. Keeler. I will say “ local suffrage,” the residents of the District to elect 
their local officers. 

Senator Jones. Do you want to elect the commissioners and the superin¬ 
tendent of police? 

Mr. Keeler. Oh, no; not the superintendent of police, but the commissioners, 
the utilities commission, the school board. 

_ Senator Jones. Do you want a legislative council in the District? 

Mr. Keeler. That has not been gone into very extensively. The commission 
form of government at the present time is quite popular throughout the United 
States, but they are elective commissioners. I think possibly that would be 
favored by labor. 

Senator Jones. I just wanted to get your views and what you mean by “ local 
government.” 

Mr. Keeler. I think I am safe in saying the same as any other locality. 

Senator Jones. In a good many they elect a council and elect a marshal and 
all that sort of thing. I wanted to know if you wanted to go that far. 

Mr. Keeler. No ; I doiTt suppose I would. I would not favor going as far 
as electing the marshal or such officers as the chief of police and the chief of 
the fire department. That is not done in other municipalities. I would not want 
to go that far. 

Senator Capper. You mean to take the appointment of the government officials 
out of the hands of the President and put it in the hands of the people? 

Mr. Keeler. Yes, sir. 

Senator Jones. Your idea is that you would elect the three commissioners for 
the District? 

Mr. Keeler. Yes, sir. 

Senator Jones. And you would provide for a separate public utilities com¬ 
mission and elect them? 

Mr. Keeler. Yes. sir. 

Senator Jones. And you would elect a board of education? 

Mr. Keeler. Yes, sir. 

Senator Jones. And you would elect a Delegate in Congress? 

Mr. Keeler. Yes, sir. 

Senator Jones. Do you want a Delegate in the Senate? 

Mr. Keller. I presume they would like to have as much representation as 
other States have if they could get it, but from the legal information that we 
have had it would be a long-drawn-out affair. To obviate the present situation 
a Delegate in Congress, I believe, would be satisfactory; 

Senator Jones. In the House? 

Mr. Keeler. In the House, similar to Alaska and other Territories that we 
have had in the past, and later on full representation. 

I attended an international convention of the machinists last October in 
Rochester, and there introduced a resolution on this subject. We had a repre¬ 
sentation of 670 delegates. That was a resolution seeking the indorsement of 
the machinists of the United States and Canada, and was indorsed unani¬ 
mously by the convention. I believe that was known as the Capper-Zihlman 
bill. 

That is all .1 have to say. 

Senator Jones. I might ask you the same question the chairman asked the 
nfher witness. Do you consider that the government of the District is bad 
and that by your system you would improve the government, or is your posi¬ 
tion based largely upon your desire for active participation by the people in 
the Government? 

Mr. Keeler.. Active participation by the people. 

Senator Jones. You do not think if the change is made that you would 
really have any better government than you have now, except that you would 
have a part in it? 

Mr. Keeler. Have a part in it. That is right. The laboring people are very 
jealous of their American rights. 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


37 


Senator Jones. They are not alone in that. 

Mr. Keeler. I know they are not. As American citizens 'they want all the 
rights that are granted them by the Constitution as to participation in election 
of their own officers, and the citizens of the District of Columbia are denied 
that right. Their main object is to try to get democratic Americanism. 

Mr. Brandenburg. Have not your labor organizations taken the position that 
they advocate the. full franchise and the right to vote for the election of Presi¬ 
dent and Vice President? 

Mr. Keeler. The local organizations have in the past, but recently upon 
information that it would be a long-drawn-out affair they favor the present 
bills as a sort of a starter, as it were, toward general representation in Con¬ 
gress. They want a Delegate the same as all Territories of the United States 
have had Delegates in the past, to be followed later on by regularly elected 
Congressmen. 

Mr. Ayers. May I ask the gentleman a question? Did your organization 
ever advocate the granting of the right to vote to Indians as citizens of the 
United States? 

Mr. Keeler. I don’t know. Labor organizations are in favor of all American 
citizens voting. I don’t know where there is a more established American 
citizen than the American Indian. 

The Chairman. I would suggest that each side has six hours on this subject, 
and that the committee will ask any questions they see fit. The opposite sides 
in presenting their case can present it as they see fit, keeping within proper 
bounds. Any questions that are asked must be asked through the committee. 
If there is any special reason why the question should be asked, you can take 
it up with the committee, and no doubt they will ask it. 

Senator Jones. I would suggest that anybody who desires to have a ques¬ 
tion asked reduce it to writing and hand it to the chairman of the committee. 

STATEMENT OF MRS. MARY WRIGHT JOHNSON, OF THE FEDERA¬ 
TION OF WOMEN’S CLUBS. 

Mrs. Johnson. Mr. Chairman, I had not expected to say anything until to¬ 
morrow. First, I want to call your attention to the fact that you may think 
this is another thing the women are mixing into. The reason we are mixing 
into this is not a question of rights—fighting for equal rights. It is a question 
that with some of we local people Washington is our Main Street. You who 
come here from all over the country do the best you can for us, but you can 
not get the proper viewpoint of our problems with the little time you are able 
to give us. 

We people here have our problems to discuss, and we discuss them as we 
talk from our porches. I discuss them with neighbors as I shape my rugs and 
exchange recipes for rheumatism. We don’t exchange recipes for croup any 
more, because we have progressed so that the children do not have it. We 
exchange recipes for marmalade and talk about the Borland law that makes 
us pay the cost of repairs to the streets whether we feel like it or not. We 
talk over the shortage of water here that, after we have had our lawns sodded, 
we have to let them go dry so the people who come here from the States can 
have water enough to drink and have their baths. It is something which affects 
our homes and our firesides. It is not that we want to shirk the work a 
woman should do in the home, or that we are not just as good cooks as any 
woman on the Main Street in your homes. We will match up with any of 
them. If you are hungry any time, let us know and we will give you a good 
home meal. 

We have been very much interested in the tubercular school. Some of us 
who have raised our children now have time to go out aiid work on these 
problems and help the women who still have children to raise and must stay 
at home. If some of we women had not gone out of our homes and worked 
at that problem, where would the tubercular children be to-day? We were 
simply helping those people who could not get out. 

Now, in regard to the criticism made of the time when we had a mayor of 
our own election, time has proven he was a wise mayor. He left the city in 
debt, but he improved the city more in the time of his administration than 
in all the time previous. He finished the unfinished streets; he started the 
sewer system; he turned the Tiber Canal at the foot of Rome into a part of 
the sewer system of the city; he looked out for the interests of Washington. 


38 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


We believe that if you give us a chance, not only to have a Delegate in Con¬ 
gress, but a chance for every form of government possible for an American 
to have, that we would do the work well and be better satisfied. It is not any 
question or objection to the form of government, but the inherent instinct in 
every animal to have some chance to look out for itself. It is the instinct 
of every mother to protect hey young, and the modern method is with the ballot. 
We can’t go out and fight the way animals did. The only way we have is 
through the vote. 

I could talk along this line for a long while, but there are many speakers 
here, and I want you to realize that we are not trying to dictate, but simply 
working for the betterment of our homes. I thank you. 

STATEMENT OF WILLIAM B. WESTLAKE, FORMER PRESIDENT OF 
THE FEDERATION OF CITIZENS’ ASSOCIATIONS. 

Mr. Westlake. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, I came here to-day rather to 
urge upon the committee some definite action than a specific course of action. 
My several years of active participation in civic affairs in the District of Colum¬ 
bia has led me to the very strong conclusion that the people of Washington are 
hoping for very prompt action to give them some sort of representation in their 
government. Naturally, we are not united. We are no more united in Wash¬ 
ington than are the residents of any of the cities from which you gentlemen 
come. We will never be able to have a hearing where there will be no opposi¬ 
tion to any plan that is proposed. It is useless to expect us to do that, because 
we can not. 

Some time ago we united on what we believed to be one thing that everybody 
could ask for and honestly want, and that was representation in both Houses of 
Congress by constitutional amendment: I think everybody still wants that. A 
great number of our people believe that will be hard to obtain, and have asked 
for something else, and these bills represent some compromise. There are 
many people who will be satisfied with a compromise, and others will not be. 
We can only ask that the committee in its wisdom will make the report which 
it believes to be the best recommendation, but we do hope that it will be some 
sort of a report favorable to representation of the District of Columbia, and we 
desire that for this reason: 

It is a tremendous tax on the time and energy of the people of the District of 
Columbia to come up here year after year, month after month, and week after 
week, to discuss questions with the committees which those committees can not 
otherwise be acquainted with. If we had some sort of representation which 
would enable us to have at all times in Congress representatives who could 
enlighten the committees on any subject, we would be saving a great deal of 
the confusion and loss of time and trouble to which we are now put for that 
express purpose. I think it is impossible to expect the people of Washington 
to come to Congress every year on the same subject, time after time, and 
express opinions which could be so much better expressed if the authority to 
express them was brought down to one or two men, as the case might be. Of 
course, a good many of our civic bodies have taken positions which at first 
appearance might seem to be antagonistic, but underlying the whole thing is the 
one thought that we would like to have some direct means of participating in 
our local government. 

I do not mean that in the broad sense. I don’t think many people in Wash¬ 
ington want any condition of State rights. I don’t think many of the people of 
Washington want to change our present form of government. I think we are 
pretty well satisfied with that. We would like to have some voice in determin¬ 
ing the question of who administers for us and some means of going direct to 
Congress, saving your time and ours on the question of what legislation should 
be passed. 

We are all satisfied that Congress does the best it can for us. We have 
absolute confidence in the integrity and good intentions of Congress. That 
question does not enter into this discussion in any way. But it is cumber¬ 
some ; it cosumes lots of time and energy which might be better directed. 

I think that is a statement of what the people of Washington want, and I 
think most of them will be pretty well satisfied with your conclusion as to 
what they should have, providing you give them some relief. 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


39 


STATEMENT OE FRANK B. LORD, OF THE NATIONAL PRESS CLUB. 

Mr. Lord. Mr. Chairman, in the light of what you have already heard, and 
in view of what has been told you by the representatives of the various groups 
which have expressed the sentiment of the people of Washington, I do not 
propose to enter into an elaborate discussion of the measures before you. It 
seems to me almost unnecessary to argue before a committee of the United 
States Senate, the members of which are elected by the popular vote of the 
people, in favor of extending the right of franchise in a limited way to a 
community of American citizens who are in every way as well qualified and 
as intelligent and as deserving as the people of the communities which the 
Members of Congress represent. I can scarcely conceive that a Member of 
the Senate or Member of the House in returning to his constituency would 
he subject to any censure or criticism for having conferred the right of suffrage 
upon an American community of half a million people. On the other hand, 
I can conceive that perhaps a Member of Congress might be subjected to a 
rebuke, perhaps, for having so long delayed action upon this matter. 

But, after all, I am frank to admit that in my humble opinion the reason why 
Congress has not heretofore acted upon this subject is largely the fault of the 
people of the District of Columbia themselves. I have been upon the floor 
of the House for many years, as the Senator from Texas and the Senator 
from Washington know, and in my conversations with Members of the House 
and Senate I have reached the conclusion that they are willing, if the people 
of Washington would get together and determine what they want and deter¬ 
mine the form in which they want it and present their claims to Congress, to 
yield to the wishes of the people in a very large measure. 

But instead of doing that the people of the District of Columbia have been 
growling some and complaining a good deal. They have been like a man with 
indigestion, sitting around and making themselves obnoxious to their friends 
rather than going to a physician and getting some relief. 

The people of the District of Columbia have not come to Congress for relief 
with any united and concerted effort. 

I recall that the late Speaker Clark, who was one of the best friends the 
District ever had and who was so much beloved by the people of the District 
that when he became a candidate for the nomination of the Presidency there 
were at least three sets of delegates contesting with each other for the right 
of representation in the nominating convention for the privilege of voting 
for him; and Mr. Clark, on the opening day of every Congress for a number 
of terms, introduced a bill conferring the right of suffrage upon the District 
in some form or other. 

Unfortunately and, it might be said, to the shame of the people of the Dis¬ 
trict, they never got behind him with any united effort. They never fully ap : 
preciated the work he was willing to undertake. 

It has only been in the last two or three years, since Col. Jones started the 
national press committee on suffrage, that there has been a concerted and 
united effort to bring the matter forcibly to the attention of Congress and tell 
Congress what we need and what we want. 

I realize that probably there are some elements in the District of Columbia 
that are not in favor of this bill. There are others to whom the bill does not 
express their full sentiment and belief in respect to suffrage. But this is a 
sort of compromise measure, which all the 'groups of citizens and organizations 
which are represented here in favor of the bill have agreed upon. 

So we have come to Congress with an agreement upon something which we 
ask your favorable consideration of. There is one point which the Senator 
from Washington made and which, while I have the fullest respect for his 
opinion, seems to me theoretical rather than practical. As I understood him, 
his idea was that a bill to confer the right of suffrage for the purpose of elect¬ 
ing a Delegate to the House of Representatives should originate in the House. 
Am I correct in my understanding? 

Senator Jones. It should pass there first. 

Mr. Lord. That is theoretical, I think, rather than practical. 

Senator Jones. I do not think so. Each House is pretty jealous of inter¬ 
ference from the other, and I think it would hardly be right for the Senate to 
say there should be a Delegate in the House. 


40 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


Mr. Lord. If the House of Representatives is so sensitive and jealous of its 
prerogatives on that subject, if the Senate can pass a bill and send it over to 
the House, if they feel outraged by it they can very easily refuse to pass the 

bill. 

Senator Jones. You are not asking for representation in the Senate? 

Mr. Lord. Not under this bill? 

Senator Jones. Why not? 

Senator Sheppard. Why not have a Delegate in both Houses? 

Mr. Lord. I want to answer also the point raised by the chairman of the 
committee, that he wanted to know whether the government of the District of 
Columbia would be improved by the election of a Delegate, or whether we 
could devise any better form of government than we have at present in the 
District of Columbia. That is not exactly the point. We are not changing the 
government of the District by this bill. We are simply providing a liaison 
officer, as it were, between the governing body of the District, the Senate 
and the House of Representatives, and the people. To that extent I think 
the government would be improved, because it would afford a Representa¬ 
tive, a Delegate, if you will, in the Senate or in the House, of course with 
the privilege of appearing on the floor of the Senate, not to speak, but to 
be on the floor of the Senate and appear before the committees. He would be 
responsible to the whole people rather than the self-constituted individuals 
who come to Congress and ask for action or the rejection of a measure and 
represent only a particular group. 

The Chairman. You are speaking only for the Delegate in Congress now? 

Mr. Lord. Yes, sir. 

The Chairman. Your form of government would not be changed if you send 
a Delegate to either House or both Houses? 

Mr. Lord. No, sir. The election of a Delegate would simply be a liaison 
officer between the governing body of the District and the people, and to that 
extent he would be a better representative than a self-constituted individual 
who comes here, has an ax to grind or wants some particular legislation en¬ 
acted, and speaks only for a particular group. 

The Chairman. I think you are correct, but should we pass the Capper bill, 
which provides for the election of the board of education and the commis¬ 
sioners, then you decidedly change your form of government. 

Mr. Lord. That would be true. 

The Chairman. You are speaking only for the Delegate bill? 

Mr. Lord. I am speaking for the election of a Delegate. 

Senator Jones. Are you in favor of the election of the commissioners and 
the board of education and the public utilities commission? 

Mr. Lord. I don’t want to be placed in the attitude of criticising either the 
government of the District of Columbia or its officers. There are a good many 
things it has done which, if I had the power, I woulld not do; and a good 
many things which it has not done which I wouuld like to see done. 

The Chairman. Any suggestions you may make as to a change of govern¬ 
ment will not be construed by this committee at least as any criticism of the 
present administration. 

Mr. Lord. I am willing to say that I think the legislation to be enacted should 
be legislation which the people of the District of Columbia favor. 

Senator Jones. I can see how yoq might well favor the election of a Dele¬ 
gate, and possibly not favor the election of other officers. I understand you 
are urging only the election of the Delegate. 

Mr. Lord. Yes, sir. I will say that if Congress has any doubt as to what the 
people of the District desire a plebiscite will determine what form of local 
government they desire. In the meantime I think a great advantage would 
accrue if we would have the right to elect a Delegate. 

STATEMENT OF C. T. CLAYTON, OF THE COLUMBIA HEIGHTS 
CITIZENS’ ASSOCIATION. 

Mr. Clayton. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, the Columbia Heights Citizens’ 
Association has considered the question of suffrage a good many times. On the 
various occasions, so far as my recollection goes, the vote has been overwhelm¬ 
ingly in favor of the general proposition of suffrage in the District. When it 
comes to the details, the association has not considered the particular bills be¬ 
fore the committee. The only bill they have recently considered was the Bur¬ 
roughs resolution, which was very emphatically indorsed, as perhaps the com- 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


41 


niittee knows, by tlie citizens of the District last spring*. But at a recent meeting 
that citizens’ association, which is represented to-day by nearly one-fourth of 
the gentlemen and ladies here present, I believe, they did appoint a committee 
of five with authority to appear, and I am speaking for that committee. The 
committee has examined the two bills now before the committee—the Poin¬ 
dexter bill and the Capper bill—and we have informally reached certain con¬ 
clusions which I have been directed to give you. 

The Chairman. And we now have the Jones bill before the committee. 

Mr. Clayton. I am very glad to hear that. Personally, I think that is what 
the citizens of the District really do want, and I believe that is what they 
would stand for if they had an opportunity. 

There are three propositions, then, before the committee. The Jones bill is 
intended to give us the rights of citizens. I am a lawyer; and when I have to 
draw a petition for a client and commence it with the form in vogue here, that 
the complainant is a citizen of the United States and a resident of the District 
of Columbia, my mind always jumps away for a moment to a reflection upon 
the peculiar and anomalous condition which we American citizens are living 
under. A citizen of the United States—just exactly like a Chinaman born in the 
United States. We can’t vote. It is an impossible condition. I don’t think the 
fathers who organized this Republic ever dreamed the language they used in 
that section of the Constitution, giving the Government exclusive control over 
10 miles square, would be construed to mean that exclusive power prevented any 
participation in Government of the people who lived within those 10 miles square. 

The Chairman. Was not that the very reason for taking that 10 miles square, 
so as to get a place where the Government of the United States would have abso¬ 
lute control over that Government? Was not that the real fundamental reason, 
brought about by conflict of authority in other places where they had had the 
Government ? 

Mr. Clayton. I don’t think there is any doubt of it. I think probably in the 
minds of the gentlemen who wrote the constitutional provision was a recollection 
of the unhappy conditions which existed in a Pennsylvania city upon the well- 
remembered occasion when a regiment of troops stormed the Pennsylvania 
statehouse where they were sitting. I have no doubt they wanted to have ex¬ 
clusive control, and I don’t think any citizen of the District wants to deprive 
Congress of that exclusive control. 

The Chairman. The moment you give statehood you certainly would not have 
control by Congress. 

Mr. Clayton. The Jones resolution, as I understand it, although it gives state¬ 
hood, would not have the effect of giving it to us to such an extent as to en¬ 
tirely emancipate us from the control of Congress. I don’t think that is the 
intention. 

Senator Jones. It does not really contemplate statehood. It simply gives to 
Congress the authority to use its discretion to give you representation in Con¬ 
gress and the right to vote for presidential electors. 

The Chairman. It is merely an amendment to the Constitution. 

Senator Jones. Yes. 

The Chairman. I would like to ask you, Senator Jones, if you get a consti¬ 
tutional amendment giving the right to vote for Representatives in Congress 
and for Senators and for presidential electors, would you not expect to elect 
some head of the District? 

Senator Jones. This resolution does not even give them the right to vote. 

The Chairman. It merely amends the Constitution, giving the right to vote 
for Senator and Representative? 

Senator Jones. It does not go that far. It amends the Consftution to 
give to Congress the authority to provide for representation in the House and 
in the Senate. Congress may see fit to grant that, and it may refuse it. It 
also gives to Congress the authority to grant to the people of the District the 
right to vote for presidential electors. Congress may grant them that right 
and may refuse it. It does not contemplate any legislative assembly or anything 
of that sort—does not give that right to Congress. 

The Chairman. I would like very much to see the inhabitants of the District 
of Columbia entitled to a vote for President. The President now appoints your 
commissioners, and that would give you a direct voice in who would appoint 
your governing officers. 

Mr. Clayton. Yes, sir. 

The Chairman. But as to giving you a local government, I th'nk it would be 
a very serious mistake, and I think in doing that you would defeat the very 
aims for which the District of Columbia was created. 


42 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


Mr. Clayton. I am very glad you do not wish to limit us to local government. 

Senator Jones. If this -resolution should be adopted and ratified by Congress, 
then Congress could provide for the election of a Delegate without going any 
further, or could provide for representation in Congress. Congress could pro¬ 
vide for representation in Congress and stop there, or it could go further and 
provide for election of Representative and Senator, but it can not go further 
than that. 

The Chairman. Congress to-day, in my judgment, has the right to provide 
for the election of certain officers. 

Senator Jones. Not for the election of a Senator. It does not interfere with 
with any other authority which Cogress has. 

Mr. Clayton. It only makes it possible for us to have representation in both 
Houses. 

Senator Jones. And to participate in the election of President. 

Mr. Clayton. I am speaking for myself when I say I think that is what we 
ought to have. 

Now, if I may speak for the committee, the Poindexter bill has been referred 
to a number of times as the Delegate plan. The great fundamental difference, 
as I see it and as the committee sees it, between the Poindexter and the Capper 
bills is this: The Capper bill turns over to the citizens the election of certain 
administrative officers in the District—the public utilities commission, the com¬ 
missioners, and the board of education. Then it provides machinery for their 
election. All of those are simply matters of administrative provision. The 
officers themselves are ministrant, and it does not go to the root of the matter. 
What we are really concerned about is our connection with our governing body 
here—Congress. Suppose we want to put in an additional waterworks sys¬ 
tem. We must present the matter to Congress and inform Congress, and some¬ 
times when they are busy it is very difficult for Members of Congress to take 
the time to go into the vast array of details necessary to fully advise themselves 
before they determine whether we shall or shall not have it. If we have a 
voice here, and that voice is intelligent and informed, it would save a good deal 
of time of Congress and would give us an opportunity to express our desires. 
That we have not now. All we can do is to come here in mass meeting and 
bother you for hours at a time expressing opr views, perhaps none too well 
defined. If we had some one who is on the job all the time lie could tell you 
what we want and tell you when we want it and advise you intelligently about 
it. That is provided for in the Poindexter bill. 

As far as the other proposition is concerned, the election of commissioners, the 
board of education, etc., I must say there is an irreconcilable conflict of opinion 
among our own people on nearly every one of them. Some want to elect the 
commissioners, and others don’t want it. Many believe that the commission 
form of government is very satisfactory. There is a great difference of opinion 
with relation to the members of the board of education. I have'had some 
experience in that myself. To elect a board of education with a salary of $1,000 
a year would be an incentive for persons who are not fitted for that place to 
want the job, and there is not enough money to get first-class brains. I think 
we would be better off with no salary, if we had the board elected. There 
might be other things said about the public utilities commission. 

But now, speaking for the committee, I want to sum up our judgment to be that 
as between these two bills we favor the delegate bill; but speaking for myself, 
and I believe speaking for the committee also, we would prefer to have rep¬ 
resentation in both Houses so that we can bring to you our views intelligently 
at the proper time on the very vital matters concerning the government of 
Washington. 

If I may refer to a question the chairman asked a while ago, if you undertake 
to go into the history of previous experiments upon government in Washington, 
it is necessary to bear in mind that those experiments were all abandoned in 
favor of our present form quite a number of years ago. Washington to-day is 
in no sense to be compared with the city governed by a town council and a 
mayor some 50 years ago. Therefore, a comparison can not throw very much 
light upon the situation which you have to deal with now. 

The Chairman. We are going to close the hearing to-day. The committee will 
adjourn until 2 o’clock next Monday afternoon, at which time the opponents 
to this legislation will have two hours. 

(Whereupon, at 4 o’clock p. m., the committee adjourned, to meet again on 
Monday, the 14th day of November, 1921, at 2 o’clock p. m.) 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


MONDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 1921. 

United States Senate, 
Committee on the District of Columbia, 

Washington, D. C. 

The committee met, pursuant to adjournment, in the committee room, Capitol, 
at 2 o’clock p. m., Senator L. Heisler Ball presiding. 

Present: Senators Ball (chairman), Capper, Gooding, Jones, and Sheppard. 

Present also: Col. Winfield Jones, representing those favoring the bill provid¬ 
ing for a Delegate in the House of Representatives; Mr. E. C. Brandenburg, 
representing those favoring the adoption of the Jones resolution, providing for 
a constitutional amendment; Mr. G. W. Ayers, representing those opposed to 
any form of suffrage in the District. 

The Chairman. The committee will be in order. 

There seems to be a misunderstanding as to the division of time. I made 
the statement that six hours would be allowed to each side in the discussion. 
I mean by that if you need that much time. If you do not need the six hours, 
I do not mean to say you have to by wandering speeches take up the time, be¬ 
cause our time is valuable. However, we are perfectly willing to give you the 
six hours. That means those for suffrage in any form will have six hours; 
those against suffrage in any form will have six hours, if they need it. This 
does not mean that you can discuss any one bill for six hours, but draws the 
line at those favoring suffrage in some form, who will be given six hours, and 
those opposing suffrage in any form, who will be given six hours, if they find 
they require that much time. 

I want to say further that I think it is possible for any one speaker to-state 
clearly his position, and in such a manner that the committee in reading the 
rec.ord will get the argument very much more forcibly, if it is stated briefly. I 
believe in half an hour any person ought to be able to state his position. I 
understand at some of these hearings some of the speakers have spoken as long 
as five hours. I am not going to permit any one speaker to speak five hours. It 
is unfair to the other speakers who want to express their views. You will have 
ample time to say what you desire to say. Half an hour, or at least three- 
quarters of an hour, will give everybody ample time to express the reasons for 
or against a proposition of this kind, and to give all of their arguments, with¬ 
out going into flights of oratory, which we do not want here. 

Mr. Brandenburg. Mr. Chairman, I would like to say that I appear in behalf 
of the joint citizens’ committee, an organization composed of substantially 
all the civic bodies in the city of Washington. At the former hearing we 
understood that the advocates of the voteless Delegate were to present their 
side of the case. We have appeared to-day to present our side in opposition to 
that and to show why the Jones bill should be the bill reported by this com¬ 
mittee. We, of course, will naturally take the affirmative for the Jones bill 
and take the negative so far as the other bills are concerned. 

The Chairman. Still you are in favor of the amendment? 

Mr. Brandenburg. We are in favor of the amendment. 

The Chairman. Therefore you will come within the six hours- allotted to 
those favoring suffrage, two hours of which were taken up at the former 
session. 

Mr. Brandenburg. How many hours will we have to present our side? These 
gentlemen who are favoring the Delegate bill are in favor also of the Jones bill. 
It is more of necessity than choice that they are advocating the Delegate bill. 

The Chairman. Of course, that is not for the committee to decide. You 
are granted six hours for suffrage. 


43 



44 


SUFFRAGE IU THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


I feel that if the civic organizations had gotten together and agreed on some 
definite plan and submitted that plan to the committee, representing some defi¬ 
nite, concrete method of granting suffrage, it would have had more force with 
the committee; but since you can not agree, then you will have to divide your 
time among yourselves, so that each side may present its views properly. 

Mr. Brandenburg. But we have agreed, sir. Even those who advocate suf¬ 
frage are parties to a petition to Congress in favor of the Burroughs bill, 
which is identical with the Jones bill. I appear in behalf of the representative 
organizations of this city to support that. 

The Chairman. Of course, the other side has the floor to-day. We had 
better let them proceed, and if we And they are not going to consume the two 
hours we can hear you. 

Mr. Brandenburg. We would like to present our views in opposition to the 
Delegate bill. 

The Chairman. To-day those who are opposed to suffrage at all will have 
the floor. That was my ruling the other day, and I must live up to it. Is there 
anybody here that wishes to speak in opposition to suffrage? 

Mr. G. W. Ayers. Mr. Chairman, I would be perfectly willing, as representing 
the opposition, to allow them to use any part of my time up to an hour and a 
half or two hours. I will be generous with them. 

The Chairman. I would not permit him to use two hours. 

Mr. Ayers. Any part of the two hours they wish to use I am willing to 
allow them. 

The Chairman. Are you the only speaker for the opposition? 

Mr. Ayers. I have two others, who are not here how. 

The Chairman. You are only allowed two hours. If you give him. an hour 
and a half, you will only have 30 minutes to divide between you on your 
side. 

Mr. Ayers. If we have another meeting, we will have several hours? 

The Chairman. Yes; you will have another opportunity. 

Mr. Ayers. All right, I will take it. I am willing to be generous and let 
them speak to-day. 

The Chairman. Then you may proceed, Mr. Brandenburg. 

Mr. Brandenburg. I think he should present the opposition, so we may reply. 

I think he should present the views of the opposition, and then we will reply 
to it. 

The Chairman. He is granting you time at his disposal. He can do it now 
or at the end. 

Mr. Brandenburg. We would prefer it to be at the end, so we can reply to it. 

The Chairman. Do I understand you are representing the opposition to suf¬ 
frage and that you want to speak first, or do you want to allow him to take an 
hour of your time now? 

Mr. Ayers. We will allow him to take an hour of the time now. 

The Chairman. All right; proceed. 

Mr. William McK. Clayton. Mr. Chairman, before Mr. Brandenburg pro¬ 
ceeds I should like very much to present a matter at this time. I will confine 
myself to five minutes. I have a short manuscript here that I think should go 
into this record before Mr. Brandenburg proceeds. It relates to a point which 
has not yet been brought before the committee. It is for suffrage and I think 
some argument might be based upon it later. I will promise to be very, very 
brief. I think it might clarify some of the argument that will come after this. 

The Chairman. We have limited the time allowed for each side. You are 
for suffrage? 

Mr. Clayton. Yes, sir. 

The Chairman. It is not right that those who are for suffrage should take 
half an hour out of these two hours. They have already granted a man who is 
for suffrage an hour of this time. You must get his consent for that, not mine. 

Mr. Clayton. I spoke to Mr. Brandenburg about this. Do I understand those 
in favor of the delegate proposition will have further time? 

The Chairman. You still have four hours. 

Mr. Clayton. I will yield whatever is necessary of my time later on. I 
really feel this is a question that has not been touched upon at all. I want 
Mr. Brandenburg to hear it. I think it should be put in the record here. 

Mr. Brandenburg. We have no objection. We don’t control the time. 

The Chairman. Y r ou control that hour that has been granted you. 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


45 


Mr. Brandenburg. Then I want to preserve the hour. 

The Chairman. You can not do that and grant him part of the time. 

Mr. Brandenburg. I am very sorry that I can not comply with Mr. Clayton’s 
request. 

STATEMENT OF E. C. BRANDENBURG, ESQ. 

Mr. Brandenburg. Mr. Chairman, I appear here in the first instance before 
the committee as a representative of the citizens’ joint committee on national 
representation for the District of Columbia. This committee is composed of a 
number of organizations, comprising, perhaps I might safely state, the entire 
District of Columbia. We are united in support of the Jones bill. We differ 
simply on the question of the delegate. The advocates of the Poindexter bill 
and the Capper bill, as I said a moment ago, do so merely because of necessity 
rather than because of choice. They are with us. 

The Chairman. You should draw a distinction between the Jones bill, on 
the one hand, and the Poindexter bill and Capper bill on the other. The Cap¬ 
per bill gives you local administration, changes your whole method of adminis¬ 
tration of the District, while the others do not. 

Mr. Brandenburg. I am aware of that fact, sir. 

Now. this joint citizens’ committee is composed of delegates from the Wash¬ 
ington Board of Trade, with a membership of more than 2,300; from the 
Chamber of Commerce, with a membership of more than 1,100; from the 
Federation of Citizens’ Associations, which comprises some 38 sectional citi¬ 
zens’ organizations, each sending their delegate to the main meeting. It 
also represents the Central Labor Union, and they represent 90 local unions and 
7 local auxiliaries, with an aggregate membership of considerably more than 
50,000. It also represents the Merchants and Manufacturers’ Association, the 
Monday Evening Club, the Bar Association, the Women’s Bar Association, the 
suffrage group of the City Club, the Association of Oldest Inhabitants, the 
District Delegate Association, and a number of other organizations. 

Now, inasmuch as this organization is composed of representatives of all 
these great bodies of organizations', naturally there is some difference of 
opinion as to the methods of securing suffrage. We are all united, even the 
gentlemen who presented the argument here the other day, on the proposition 
that taxation without representation should not exist anywhere under the 
flag of the United States. We are united upon it. It is simply a question of 
procedure. The gentlemen who appear here in behalf of the Delegate feel, 
that it may be some time before Congress will grant us the privileges set forth 
in the Jones bill. 

Now, that bing so, the joint citizens’ committee when we come before you 
can not say that we are united as against the Delegate bill, or in favor of the 
Delegate bill; but we do present in the memorandum which I shall file with 
the committee the views of that joint organization, setting forth the fact 
that we believe that the election of a voteless Delegate would simply postpone 
indefinitely consideration of the constitutional amendment which is set forth 
in the Jones bill. I shall not take time to read this memorandum, but will 
ask that it be incorporated in the record as a part of my remarks. This is 
signed by representatives from nearly all the organizations. 

The Chairman. That may be inserted in the record. 

(The document referred to is here printed in full, as follows:) 

Memorandum on Behalf of Citizens Joint Committee on National Repre¬ 
sentation for the District of Columbia on Senate Bills Nos. 14 and 

417 of the Sixty-seventh Congress, First Session. 

To the Congress of the United States: 

This memorandum has been prepared and is submitted pursuant to a reso¬ 
lution adopted October 27, 1921, by the directing and brief committees of the 
citizens’ joint committee on national representation, which resolution, in so far 
as it is here material, is as follows: 

“Resolved, That the brief committee be requested to follow attentively the 
Senate district committee hearings on the bills proposing a voteless territorial 
delegate for the District; and be empowered in its discretion to supplement 
these hearings by a statement to the Senate district committee in the form of 


46 


SUFFRAGE IU THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


a petition or otherwise of the relation between the Territorial Delegate project 
and our constitutional amendment empowering Congress to grant to District 
residents voting representation in Congress and the Electoral College and of 
the inadequacy of the former as a substitute for the latter.” 

The reasons leading to this action are these: 

The citizens’ joint committee is composed of delegate representatives of prac- 
. tically all of the civic organizations of the District of Columbia. A list of 
these powerful and numerous constituent organizations is appended to this 
memorandum. The committee is organized for one specific purpose, and that is 
\ to secure, for the residents of the District, representation in Congress and in 
the Electoral College, and access to the Federal courts. The proposal which 
the committee is united in advocating was embodied in House Joint resolu¬ 
tion 11 of the Sixty-sixth Congress, proposing an amendment to the Consti- 
"N tution, upon which hearings were had before the House Judiciary Committee 
January 11-15, 1921, and in the prints of those hearings will be found a full 
statement of the committee’s contentions. The committee therefore has no 
mandate from its constituent organizations to advocate other measures or to 
oppose them unless such other measures threaten to defeat or postpone indefi¬ 
nitely the measure which they unite in advocating. 

The pending bills above mentioned include one feature which might be con¬ 
founded with the “ national representation ” which the joint committee is advo- 
eating. We refer to the provision made in both pending bills for the election 
by the inhabitants of the District of a voteless Delegate to the House of Rep¬ 
resentatives. 

Some members of the joint committee and of the constituent organizations 
believe that no secure a Territorial Delegate from the District of Columbia 
would he a helpful preliminary to national representation. They point out 
that States which now have national representation passed through a prelimi¬ 
nary stage in which they hnd a Territorial Delegate. 

Others of the joint committee and of the constituent organizations believe, 
on the contrary, that the Territorial Delegate project delays and tends to de¬ 
feat full national representation as proposed by the constitutional amendment 
which we advocate. They point out that Congress is not likely to pass imme¬ 
diately or in the near future more than one measure looking toward “ suffrage ” 
in the District, and they urge that many of our congressional legislators are 
inclined to view the voteless-delegate proposal and the proposal for representa¬ 
tion in Congress and in the Electoral College as essentially alternative pro¬ 
posals, and with them to adopt the former would be to reject or at least to 
delay the latter. 

If it is true the two proposals are to be considered by Congress as alter¬ 
native, then the difference between the proposal of the pending bills and what 
would be secured by the proposed constitutional amendment should be noticed. 
Some are so obvious as to make complete enumeration unnecessary. We men¬ 
tion, however, the following: 

(1) The pending bills give the people of the District of Columbia no atom 
of power in the two yitally important functions of government, viz, the levy¬ 
ing of taxes and the appropriation of public funds, either with respect to local 
taxes and local appropriations, or with respect to national taxes and national 
appropriations; nor in the making of laws, excepting with respect to such 
municipal regulations as are within the power of the municipal administrative 
boards to be elected as proposed by one of the bills. 

(2) They give the people of the District of Columbia no voice in the election 
of the Chief Executive. 

(3) They give to the people of the District not even a voteless voice in the 
Senate, and hence none in the special functions of that branch of Congress. 

(4) They give the people of the District of Columbia no power in the selec¬ 
tion of the members of their judiciary, which power is to be exercised under 
our proposal through participation in the selection of the President and the 
Senate. 

(5) Obviously the Territorial Delegate project does not deal at all with the 
need of access for residents of the District to Federal courts. 

The proposals are also essentially dissimilar from the Territorial legislation 
with which they are usually compared in that no Territorial legislature, not 
even one with the scanty powers of the legislature of 1871-1874, is proposed. 
The proposals not only do not contemplate the further step which has followed 



SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


47 


the grant of Territorial representation in continental United States, viz, the 
ultimate grant of full statehood, but such a further step would, in the opinion 
of this committee, be impossible without an amendment to the Constitution, 
more difficult to secure because open to more objections than the more limited 
amendment which this committee advocates. 

If favorable consideration is to be given the Territorial Delegate proposal 
as a step toward a later grant of voting representation, then this committee 
earnestly urges that such a conclusion logically and inevitably requires imme¬ 
diate favorable action by Congress upon the proposed constitutional amend¬ 
ment. For the postponement of voting representation after Territorial status 
is accorded is only justifiable and has occurred in the case of other Terri¬ 
tories only on the ground of the smallness or lack of qualification of.the popula¬ 
tion of the Territory or its unreadiness from other causes for voting representa¬ 
tion in Congress. No such condition exists with regard to the District. If 
we are entitled to a Delegate, we are entitled to voting representation, and 
no reason exists against the latter any more than against the former. The 
only impediment to national representation is the constitutional difficulty, ana 
every argument for a delegate is an argument for removing this constitutional 
defect. 

On the other hand, considered as a step toward full voting representation, 
the Delegate proposals of the pending bills involve a possibility of injury to 
our proposal, which is one of the considerations leading many of our con¬ 
stituent members to oppose flatly the Delegate proposal. 

It is that both bills provide in section 3, and it seems that any similar bill 
must necessarily provide, that no person shall vote in the District of Columbia 
who claims the right to vote or claims residence elsewhere. The exceptional 
fact concerning the inhabitants of the District of Columbia is that so many 
of them claim residence in States. Their continued claim is to be expected, 
not only to preserve their status with respect to employment by the Government 
(which difficulty could be removed by simple legislation), but also in order to 
preserve their share of control through the ballot of the affairs of the Nation. 
It is not to be expected that such citizens would surrender the right to elect 
voting Members of the Senate and House and the right to participate in the 
election of the President for the privilege of electing a voteless Delegate or 
even the privilege of electing the municipal administrators of the District of 
Columbia affairs (the commissioners, the board of education, etc., who have 
no real legislative power). If, therefore, the proposals of the pending bills 
are adopted, the voting constituency of the District of Columbia will not be 
of the strength that would be developed if representatives in Congress and in 
the Electoral College were to be elected, as proposed to be secured through 
legislation authorized by the constitutional amendment which we advocate. 

Those who believe that the election here of a Territorial Delegate would 
retard the adoption of our constitutional amendment point to this difference 
in the probable voting constituency of the District of Columbia upon an elec¬ 
tion for a Delegate on the one hand and upon an election such as would be 
held under the proposed constitutional amendment on the other, saying that 
the holding of the election for delegate would furnish misleading informa¬ 
tion as to the number and quality of the qualified voters in the District of 
Columbia, which could be used by opponents of full national representation 
here to oppose the enactment of such an amendment to the Constitution. 

There are obviously other considerations so well known to the Congress 
that we do not venture to restate them which make it impossible that the 
people of the District of Columbia should accept the grant of a voteless 
Delegate as a satisfaction in full of their claim for participation, in the 
National Government. 

On the whole, therefore, the joint committee on national representation 
makes this record of the fact that neither the pending bills nor any amend¬ 
ments to them within the existing power of Congress, nor any bill excepting 
one proposing the constitutional amendment, would be acceptable to the people 
of the District of Columbia in satisfaction of their respectful demand for 
representation in both Houses of Congress and participation in the election 
of the President, according to population, and access to the Federal courts. 

No other proposal than the proposal which we advocate has received 
indorsement from the civic organizations of the District of Columbia (their 
only present means of making their wishes known) with practical unanimity. 


83480—22- 4 



48 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


We therefore urge that whatever disposition is made of the pending bills, 
they may be not allowed to divert attention from nor to postpone the con¬ 
sideration of and action upon the proposal to amend the Constitution embodied 
in the House joint resolution 6 and in Senate joint resolution 133 of this 
Congress. 

Respectfully submitted. 

Edwin C. Brandenburg, Chairman, 

A. S. Worthington, 

Henry H. Glassie, 

Chapin Brown, 

E. F. Colladay, 

A. Leftwich Sinclair, 

John B. Larner, 

James T. Lloyd, 

Wm. McK. Clayton, 

Paul E. Lesh, 

Frank J. Hogan, 

Theodore W. Noyes, ex officio, 

Committee on Brief. 

LIST OF CONSTITUENT ORGANIZATIONS REPRESENTED IN THE CITIZENS’ JOINT COM¬ 
MITTEE ON NATIONAL REPRESENTATION FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 

The organizations represented in the citizens’ joint committee on national 
representation for the District of Columbia are as follows: 

Board of Trade (2,100 members). 

Chamber of Commerce (1,100 members). 

Federation of Citizens’ Associations, representing 38 sectional citizens’ asso¬ 
ciations, as follows: Anacostia, Benning, Brightwood, Brookland, Cathedral 
Heights, Central, Chevy Chase, Chillum Castle-Woodburn, Cleveland Park 
School Community, Columbia Heights, Conduit Road, Connecticut Avenue, Con¬ 
gress Heights, Georgetown, Kalorama, Kenilworth, Lincoln Park, Mid City, 
Mount Pleasant, North Capitol and Eckington, North Washington, Northwest 
Suburban. Park View, Petworth, Piney Branch, Rhode Island Avenue Suburban, 
Randle Highlands, Sixteenth Street Highlands, Sixteenth Street Heights, South 
Washington, Southeast, Stanton, Park, Takoma Park, Trinidad, West End, 
Washington Civic Association, Washington Society of Fine Arts, American 
Institute of Fine Arts, Arts Club of Washington, District of Columbia Society 
of Architects, Society of Nations. These associations cover nearly the entire 
District, with an aggregate membership (estimated) of 20,000. Many of these 
sectional associations have, in addition to participation through the federation, 
separately indorsed District national representation through constitutional 
amendment and have appointed cooperating campaign committees. 

Central Labor Union, representing 90 local unions and 7 local auxiliaries, 
with aggregate membership (estimated) of 85,000. 

Merchants’ and Manufacturers’ Association. 

Monday Evening Club. 

Bar Association. 

The suffrage group of the City Club. 

Association of Oldest Inhabitants. 

District Delegate Association. 

Citizens’ associations not represented in the federation, including East Wash¬ 
ington, Northeast Washington, and Southwest Citizens’ Associations. 

Washington Real Estate Board of the District of Columbia. 

Advertising Club of Washington. 

Woman’s Bar Association. 

Manual Training Teacbers’ Association. 

Twentieth Century Club. 

COOPERATING ORGANIZATIONS. 

The American Federatioon of Labor. 

The Woman’s City Club. 

Federation of Women’s Clubs. 

The local branch of the National American Woman’s Suffrage Association. 

The Anthony League. 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


49 


Washintgon section of the Progressive Education Association. 

District of Columbia Congress of Mothers’ and Parent and Teachers’ Asso¬ 
ciation. 

The Men’s Club of Mount Pleasant Congregational Church. 

_ The Chairman. Permit me to ask you a few questions, that we may get dis¬ 
tinctly in our minds the position that these various organizations take. 

Mr. Brandenburg. I will be very glad to answer them. 

The Chairman. You say they are in favor of all these bills? 

Mr. Brandenburg. No, sir. 

The Chairman. But they object to the Poindexter bill because they fear it 
will postpone action on the other, instead of leading up to it ? 

Mr. Brandenburg. That is one of them. They are all united on the Jones 
bill, which is identical with the Burroughs bill, that we desire a constitutional 
amendment. 

. The Chairman. Are they opposed to the Capper bill? You must remember 
that differs from either of the others. The Jones bill and the Poindexter bill 
both leave the control of the District of Columbia in the hands of Congress. 
The Capper bill takes local control of the District of Columbia out of the hands 
of Congress and places it in the hands of commissioners elected directly by 
the people. 

Mr. Brandenburg. I shall approach that subject in a moment. 

The Chairman. I would like you to make yourself clear on that point. 

Mr. Brandenburg. The organization has not taken a position on the question 
of local self-government; that is, the joint citizens’ committee has taken no 
stand upon that matter. They are united, however, in response to the sugges¬ 
tion, made a moment ago by yourself, in support of the Jones bill, namely, the 
right of absolute franchise. 

The Chairman. When you say “ absolute franchise,” it is rather misleading. 
Absolute franchise means the right to vote for every officer who has to do with 
the District of Columbia. 

Mr. Brandenburg. No ; we do not take that position. 

The Chairman. Then you should not say “ absolute franchise.” 

Mr. Brandenburg. Very good. That was inadvertent and probably going a 
little too far. What I mean is just set forth in the Jones'bill, namely, the 
right to vote for electors for President and Vice President, to have representation 
in the Senate and in the House of Representatives, and that the citizens of the 
District of Columbia when it comes to going into the United States court be 
treated the same as the citizens of any State. This joint citizens’ committee 
has not taken any position with reference to the question of local self-govern¬ 
ment, but are united, as I have said, on the provisions of the Jones bill. 

The Chairman. I am glad you make that distinction clear, because there is 
a wide distinction. 

Mr. Branderburg. There is, and we do not agree on that proposition. 

Now, then, I also appear here as the representative and former president 
of the Washington Board of Trade, an organization composed of more than 
2,300 of the business, professional, and representative citizens of the District 
of Columbia. This organization has time and again taken the position that 
they are opposed to local self-government. We are opposed to local self- 
government because under the Constitution the exclusive right to jurisdiction 
over the District of Columbia, we think, should be where it is to-day, namely, 
with the Federal Government. We do not for a moment believe that conditions 
can be improved through the election of a board of commissioners nor do we 
believe that conditions can be improved through the election of a city council. 

‘And why do I say that? I say it for this reason: That a local city govern¬ 
ment would be one in name only if granted,in accordance with the bill which 
is before this committee. That is true for this reason: That no local city 
government can exist except there be also with it the power of taxation—of 
levying taxes and providing for their distribution—and I say that Congress 
never will, so long as this country exists, give the citizens of the District of 
Columbia the right to levy taxes upon the property in the District of Columbia. 

The Chairman. You say it never will. Do you think it should? 

Mr. Brandenburg. No ; I say it never should. 

The Chairman. I think that should be made clear. 

Mr. Brandenburg. Yes. They never should surrender that right. I don’t 
think the conditions which prevailed in Philadelphia and which caused the Gov- 


50 


SUFFRAGE IN' THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


ernment to come to the city of Washington should play any part in this matter. 
The days when the military can walk up to the halls of a legislature and stay 
the proceedings have long since passed. That can not occur in the District of 
Columbia. So, I say, that if you provide for local city government, as provided 
in one of these bills, you do an idle thing. How long would that satisfy 
even the advocates of that provision? Not very long, for the reason that there 
would still rankle in their hearts the old feeling against taxation without repre¬ 
sentation. It was inherent in the American colonists, and it has come down 
through the course of time, and it still exists with the people in the city of 
Washington. 

Now*, a voteless Delegate in the House of Representatives and also in the 
Senate, if you please, would be an idle ceremony. What good would it be to 
give us the right to have a Delegate who can only talk? As I have had occasion 
to say once before, it would be about as useless as the appendix in the human 
anatomy. It would be like shooting one' of our 12-inch guns with a blank 
cartridge. 

The Chairman. And might cause just as much damage at that causes some¬ 
times. 

Mr. Brandenburg. And might cause just as much damage as that would cause, 

I would say. 

Now, the real facts—and we might as well look them right in the face- 
underlying this request for a change in the local form of government is the 
fact that the people are dissatisfied because they have no say in tlrs question of 
taxation and how those taxes shall be disbursed. That is the underlying fact, 
and you can talk as much as you please and it will never change. 

The Chairman. Do you think they have no say? 

Mr. Brandenburg. No: we have absolutely no say; but if vou give us the 
provisions of the .Tones bill then we have a voice, because our representatives 
will be in Congress and can vote on the question of the levying of taxes and of 
their distribution. 

And what is more. Mr. Chairman, let me call your attention to this fact: 
That if we are given the right to vote for President and Vice President 
we do have a say in the appointment of the Commissioners of the District of 
Columbia. There is no doubt about it. 

So that T say'that tlus is a different privilege which is attempted to be set 
forth in the Poindexter bill and in the Capper bill. 

I have here a resolution which was passed a few days ago by the directors 
of the Washington Board of Trade, which sets forth their views, and I shall 
read it into the record: 

RESOLUTION ADOPTED BY THE ROARD OF DIRECTORS OF THE WASHINGTON BOARD OF 

TRADE, NOVEMBER 7, 1921. 

Whereas the Washington Board of Trade, on April 24, 1916, unanimously 
approved amendment of the Constitution to provide voting representation for 
residents of the District in both Houses of Congress and in the Electoral Col¬ 
lege, and directed its officers and appropriate committees to work to secure 
the adoption of this constitutional amendment, which is now pending in 
Congress and under consideration by the House Judiciary Committee; 

Whereas the mandate to fight for adoption of the constitutional amendment 
includes authority to oppose any other legislative proposition which defeats or 
threa tens to defeat that in support of which we are thus united; 

Whereas bills now before the Senate District Committee propose for the District 
a voteless Delegate or Delegates in the House, a small and negligible fraction 
of a Territory’s powers and privileges, conveying to the people of the Capftal 
no atom of legislative participation in their government or of a genuine 
national representation. 

Resolved, That the directors of the board of trade record their conviction that 
the grant to the District of a voteless Territorial Delegate in advance of our 
constitutional amendment would indefinitely postpone and tend to defeat the 
securing of genuine national representation. Adoption of the Territorial Dele¬ 
gate project would, in the opinion of the directors, expose the District to the 
risk that many legislators will treat it as substitute or alternative legislation 
along the line of national representation and as satisfaction in full of the Dis¬ 
trict’s claim to real national representation and will use assent to it as a reason 
for shelving or rejecting genuine voting national representation through con¬ 
stitutional amendment, or will treat this grant of something almost worthless as 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


51 


a pretext for shirking or repudiating legislative responsibility in respect to 
the Capital; and that as a natural result of this procedure the constitutional 
amendment would be pushed aside and a voteless Delegate in one House would 
become the permanent substitute for adequate voting representation in both 
Houses. 

Resolved, That the directors of the board of trade record the opinion that the 
duty of the board’s officers and appropriate committees to fight for adoption of 
the constitutional amendment includes authority to oppose the voteless Delegate 
projects which thus threatens to defeat or postpone indefinitely the real national 
representation through constitutional amendment which we seek. 

I want to say, furthermore, may it please the committee, that the distin¬ 
guished gentleman the other day referred to and quoted from a number of 
Presidents on this question of franchise and Delegate. I don’t think there is 
a question of doubt that they realized the impotent and helpless condition of 
the citizens of the District, and simply because we at that time had not reached 
the stage in population, in other requisites, to entitle us to full representation 
in Congress, that that is the reason why these various Presidents have advo¬ 
cated a Delegate in Congress. The situation has changed. We have now 
advanced, and during the time you will give us to present our .views on the 
Jones bill we shall present the reasons and show you that we have passed ^ 
from the state of a Delegate and that we have reached the stage which justifies 
giving us the right which is guaranteed to every citizen of the United States. 

In other words, we want to be removed from the state of the criminal, the alien, 
and the mentally incompetent, in which we now stand so far as our rights 
before the Federal Government are concerned. 

I shall call upon Mr. Lesh, who also represents the citizens’ joint committee 
and represents the City Club, an organization, who desires to say something in 
opposition to the Delegate bill. 

Mr. James T. Lloyd. Mr. Chairman, may I interrupt a moment? I wish to 
be heard on the part of the joint citizens’ committee as a representative of the 
chamber of commerce in favor of the Jones bill. It will take me about 30 
minutes to present my views, and I do not know that I can attend the next 
session. I would therefore be very much pleased if I could go on this after¬ 
noon. 

The Chairman. It will be agreeable to me if you gentlemen can divide the 
time between yourselves. 

Mr. Lesh. Mr. Chairman, I know Mr. Lloyd’s engagements, and so far as I 
am personally concerned it is agreeable to me; but the City Club does wish to 
be heard in favor of the Jones bill and in opposition to the Capper and Poin¬ 
dexter bills before these hearings are concluded. 

The Chairman. You will have four hours after to-day for those favoring 
suffrage. You are granted an hour to-day by the opposition, but only an hour. 

It is now 2.30, so you only have half an hour more. 

Mr. Lesh. If I have any right by reason of the fact that I am at present on 
my feet, I wish to say that I hope the committee will consider the City Club 
the next order of business when we come to the affirmative side of the case 
«again. 

STATEMENT OE JAMES T. LLOYD, ESQ. 

pi 

Mr. Lloyd. Mr. Chairman, I think you understand whom I represent. I will 
endeavor to be as brief as possible. 

At the former hearing you properly asked the question whether the people 
here are satisfied with the present system of District government. I think I 
- can safely answer that question in the affirmative. The people believe that 
Washington is one of the best-governed cities in the United States. Its officers 
are honest and have the best interests of the people at heart. The dissatisfac¬ 
tion in Washington is not on account of its local government, but because of 
the fact that the people are not represented in that government and have no 
voice in its councils. With one accord they come to you now, asking that they 
may have the right to vote for presidential electors and for representatives in 
both branches of Congress. They wish to be recognized as citizens, with the 
rights that are attached to citizenship. The President appoints their com¬ 
missioners. They wish to vote for the officer that names these commissioners. 
Congress is their legislative body. They wish the right to have representatives 
in that Congress. 

In these urgent requests they are all agreed and among them there are no 
dissenting views. Those who indorse the Poindexter bill do so, in most in- 




52 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OE COLUMBIA. 


stances, because tliey believe it is the first step toward representation in Con¬ 
gress and in the electoral college and because they believe Congress will do 
nothing more for them. Those who advocate local self-government and support 
the Capper bill are equally anxious to secure the representation asked in the 
Jones bill. You have observed, I am sure, in the statements which have been 
made in favor of the Poindexter bill that none of them opposed the Jones bill. 
The people are seriously divided on the advisability of the passage of the 
Poindexter bill; but few advocate the passage of the Capper bill; but all, of 
every class and condition of our people, favor the Jones bill. If you give 
Washington what it wants, what it insists upon, what it believes in common 
justice it ought to receive, you will favorably consider the Jones bill. 

You may inquire why the people wish representation. It is because of that 
inherent feeling in all Americans, that they should have a voice in government. 
As you know, I am somewhat familiar with the viewpoint of the Congressman, 
but I have learned, as a resident of Washington, the humiliation of its people 
in being totally disfranchised. Those who enjoy citizenship, with voice in the 
affairs of the Government, do not realize the mortification that comes to Wash¬ 
ingtonians in being deprived of their rights. Before you is a forceful example 
of it. John Joy Edson, whom you all know, who is past 75 years of age, has 
never had the right to vote for President or Congressman. No more patriotic 
man can be found. He fought in the Civil War in defense of the flag; he con¬ 
tributed of his money and time during the World War; he has lived an un¬ 
blemished life. I have talked with him and know the anguish of his soul in 
having no voice directly or indirectly in the affairs of the Government. He has 
shown his willingness to give his life, if need be, for his country, and yet, be¬ 
cause he lives in the District of Columbia, he is deprived of that priceless 
boon, the right of participation in governmental affairs. Why should he not 
vote for presidential electors? Why should he not vote for Representatives in 
Congress? No satisfactory answer can be given for his being deprived of these 
privileges. 

The people do not demand the granting of these privileges simply because 
other people have them, but because, in the light of present-day conditions it 
is the right which, as American citizens, they should be permitted to enjoy. 

Would anyone take from the splendid State of Delaware, rich in achievement 
in the councils of the Nation as it has been, any of its representation in Con¬ 
gress? This remarkable little State, small in area and population, the home 
of the chairman of this committee and the birthplace of my father, has a his¬ 
tory in the galaxy of States that much larger States might covet, and yet to-day 
it has not half the population of the District of Columbia and has a citizen¬ 
ship no more intelligent, no more loyal to the Government and no more moral 
and lawabiding than the residents of the District. 

It is said that this District was dedicated as the seat of Government and 
placed under the control of Congress. The people here are pleased that it was, 
and no one would change such seat of Government, nor prevent the control of 
Congress. What these people ask is that the District shall remain under the 
control of Congress and shall have the same representation in Congress as a 
State. 

The President, by appointment, and the Senate, by confirmation, control the 
executive and judicial branches of the District government. Why should not 
the people here have a voice in the selection of that President and in the 
body which confirms the appointments of its chief officers? 

I know how jealous the Senate is of its power; I know with what caution it 
has considered the various applications for statehood in the past, but the peo¬ 
ple here are not asking statehood; they do not want it; they are only asking 
representation in the Congress and the right to vote for presidential electors. 

If the Jones resolution is adopted and the proposed constitutional amend¬ 
ment ratified, Congress and the Executive will yet have complete control of 
the District, but the people will enjoy that privilege which they crave; that 
right which every American covets; they will then enjoy that right which 
our revolutionary fathers demanded from England—the right of representa¬ 
tion. They will have that for which the revolutionary fathers fought. 

The people come to you in no spirit of antagonism. They come with loyal 
hearts, asking for that to which all free people are entitled, in the confident 
belief that if the Congress will only seriously consider their plea on its merits 
there can be only one response, and that is that the people of the District shall 
be given the rights which free men enjoy in all republics—the right of repre¬ 
sentation. 


SUFFRAGE IN. THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


53 


Senator Jones. Mr. Lloyd, it might be well to call attention to the fact that 
they would not have that right, by virtue of the passage of this resolution. 
Congress would still have to give it to them,'but Congress would have the right 
to do it. 

Mr. Lloyd. I supposed you understood that. 

Senator Jones. We do, but I thought while you and Mr. Brandenburg were 
talking that people reading what you say would conclude that necessarily gives 
that right. 

Mr. Brandenburg. I did not discuss that, because the chairman held me to 
the opposition of these two bills. I expected to discuss that. 

Mr. Lloyd. The Declaration of Independence asserted as a self-evident truth, 
that all governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. 
The people here, in all seriousness, ask what powers have been granted to the 
government by the consent of the governed in the District of Columbia. It is 
ruled absolutely by the will of Congress, and yet the more than 435,000 people 
here have not, nor can not, give any consent to such government. 

It has been argued that the population is composed largely of employees of 
the Government, and as these come from the States they have residence and 
citizenship elsewhere. This statement is erroneous. There are in the employ 
of '.he Government about 85,000 people. At least one-half of these have lost 
their residence in the States. It is safe to say there are 380,000 bona fide 
residents of the District of Columbia. Of this number at least 150,000 are of 
-s oting age and have not the right of suffrage anywhere. It is for these 150,000 
voters that the various organizations in the District speak and for them they 
make this urgent demand. 

Senator Sheppard. When you say there are 85,000 people here who are em¬ 
ployed by the Government, do you mean that your figures include the families? 

Mr. Lloyd. No. There are some of them who have families, but a majority 
of those in the District who have residences elsewhere are persons who are 
living alone, who are single. Those persons living here who are employed by 
the Government and have families, as a rule, have lost their residence else¬ 
where. 

The Chairman. You say there are 150,000 voters? 

Mr. Lloyd. That includes men and women, of course. 

The Chairman. What is the population of the District at this time? 

Mr. Lloyd. It is a little over 435,000. 

The Chairman. Do you not think there are at least 100,000 of those who 
claim their residence in other States? 

Mr. Lloyd. No ; I think not. Of the 85,000 employed by the Government it 
is safe to say that half of them have lost their voting residence elsewhere. 

The Chairman. Tfie 85,000 employed by the Government are not the only 
ones who are counted in this District as residing in other States. You will 
find of the 85,000 probably half who have families. There will be two or three 
in each family that have a vote in other States. 

Mr. Lloyd. I think I have stated the fact correctly, sir, that a decided ma¬ 
jority of those in the employ of the Government are single. I am quite sure, 
from my knowledge of it, that I would be safe in saying that two-thirds of 
those employed by the Government are single, and that only one-third of them 
have families dependent upon them. 

The Chairman. Of course, it is immaterial, because the force of the argu¬ 
ment is the same, but I think you are mistaken in those figures. To-day there 
are many States that permit voting by mail, and I was very much surprised 
during the last Presidential election to find such a large percentage from the 
States of Iowa, New York, and such States as permit voting by mail, that 
did vote, and the whole families voted. I think your statement of the number 
of people voting in the various States is entirely too low. 

Mr. Lloyd. That may be true, that I may be wrong. I am bound to make 
an estimate. There is no way of stating it accurately. 

The Chairman. The thing that called it specially to my attention was the 
fact that you said you had double the voting population of the State of 

Delaware. . 

Mr. Lloyd. Again referring to the State of Delaware, of which I am per¬ 
sonally especially proud, the record shows that at the last election, in No¬ 
vember, 1920, there were 92,755 votes cast for President. There can be no 
question that there would be more votes cast here in an election for President 
than in any of the States of Arizona, Delaware, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, 
South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, or Wyoming. 


54 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF.COLUMBIA. 


The only serious objection urged to the Jones resolution, so far as I know, 
is the character of the citizenship here. There can he no question of the in 
telligence of our voters. 

Literacy is considered by many as one of the best tests of ability to cast 
an intelligent ballot. The census shows that only 4.9 per cent of the males in 
the District of Columbia above 21 years of age are unable to read and write. 
This is a lower per cent than any of the States north of us. 

Maryland has 8.5 per cent illiteracy; Delaware 10.1 per cent; Pennsylvania, 

7.8 per cent; New Jersey, 6.6 per cent; New York, 6 per cent; Connecticut, 

6.8 per cent; Rhode Island, 8.8 per cent; Massachusetts, 6.1 per cent; New 
Hampshire, 6.2 per cent; Vermont. 5.3 per cent; and Maine, 5.5 per cent. 

In fact, out of the 48 States, 30 have a greater per cent of illiteracy in its 
voting population than in the District of Columbia, while 8 of the remaining 
States have less than three-fourths of 1 per cent less illiteracy than in the 
District. The remaining States which have less than 4 per cent of illiteracy 
are Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oregon, South 
Dakota, Utah, and Washington. 

Senator Jones. In these last figures do you include men and women? 

Mr. Lloyd. No; those figures represent only men. I did not have before me 
at the time the figures as to women. 

In the United States the average of illiteracy is 8.4 per cent, which is nearly 
double the illiteracy in the District. 

These statistics will be surprising to the man who has not inquired into 
the situation, for there seems to be a general impression that the percentage 
of illiteracy in the District of Columbia is very great. 

There are those who claim that the best means of determining the capa¬ 
bilities of citizenship is in the frugality of its people and in the number of 
its paupers. In the District of Columbia the number of paupers in its alms¬ 
houses is 83.4 per population of 100,000. Every State north of the District, 
including Maine, has a greater percentage of paupers than is found in the Dis¬ 
trict, and this is true of nearly half of the States of the Union. 

As to the frugality and business success of our people, it would be interest¬ 
ing to note that in the year 1919 and the first half of 1920 there were 9,803 
business failures, and out of this number only 14 were in the District of 
Columbia. It has approximately one three-hundredth part of the population 
of the United States and only one seven-hundredth part of the number of 
failures. 

The assessed value of the property in the District of Columbia is about 
$1,300 per capita, while that in the United States is only about $750 per 
capita, showing that the wealth upon which taxes are paid is nearly twice 
as great in the District as in the States. 

Considering the District from the standpoint of its illiteracy, its frugality, 
its accumulated wealth, or its prosperity in business, it stands far above the 
average in the States. In fact, from any standpoint the District may be con¬ 
sidered, its ability to cast an intelligent ballot is equal to that of any of the 
States of the Union, and it is a serious and unjustifiable reflection on its in¬ 
telligence, its business ability, and its patriotism to say that it can not be 
trusted to vote for Representatives in Congress or for presidential electors. 

If the qualifications for voters in the District are to be viewed from the 
standpoint of morals, it is worthy to note that in church affiliation, attendance 
at their services, support of their institutions, it is not equaled by any city 
of 200,000 population in the United States. 

Its schools, both public and private, are not surpassed. The laws here are 
better enforced tha*n in most of the States, and from any moral comparison 
with the States the District will not be at a disadvantage. 

The patriotism and loyalty of our people can not be questioned. This has 
been exhibited in the past whenever opportunity has been presented; in the 
War between the States, in the Spanish-American War, and in the World War. 
It is only necessary to remind you of its part in the last Great War. You saw 
it demonstrated on every hand. It had more volunteers in 1917 in proportion 
to population than almost any State. It furnished more than its quota under 
the draft. Many of our homes are made sorrowful because of the supreme 
sacrifice of those who did not come back from overseas. We have some un¬ 
known dead. No braver soldiers were found on the fields of France than the 
boys from the District of Columbia. 

The people here paid more than their share in every Liberty loan drive that 
was made and supported liberally every enterprise helpful in winning the war. 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


55 


The people are native-born Americans. They speak the English language, 
and they are in complete sympathy with American ideals. Then, why fear their 
ability in the matter of their representation? There can be no well-founded 
reason to doubt the intelligent use of their ballot. It is safe to say that repre¬ 
sentatives that may be chosen here will be equal in intelligence, in morals, 
and in patriotic devotion to the Government of those from the States. 

The people of the District beg your committee to favorably report the Jones 
resolution. They urge the Congress to pass it; that the loyal, liberty-loving 
Americans living in the District may have submitted to the various States of 
the Union the proposed amendment which, if adopted, will give the people here 
not Statehood, but representation in Congress and the right to have a voice in 
the selection of the President of the United States. 

These people have more interest in the President than any others, because 
the President has more direct relation to them than to the people of the States 
for the reason that there is no State Government. They are more interested in 
Congress than any other people because it is their only law-making body. 
To-day these people, out of the 531 Members of Congress in both branches, have 
no one of whom it may be said he is their Congressman or Senator. 

These people urge you to give them an opportunity to say that they have rep¬ 
resentatives in both branches of Congress who are answerable to them and who 
may be held responsible by them. They ask an American birthright; they wish 
freedom in fact, a voice in the councils of the Nation. They urge, as a matter 
of justice, the right of representation, and they crave the privilege of giving 
consent to the Government that their powers of citizenship may be exercised. 
They have shown their loyalty in war and in peace, and they pray for that 
recognition which would give them partnership in the affairs of the Republic. 
They desire to be more useful to the Government. They believe the Jones bill, if 
adopted and made a part of the Constitution, would enable them to do so. They 
wish to teach their children that they are the citizens of the best Government 
amongst men and to encourage them to actively participate in its affairs. They 
wish them to love the flag of our country and to know that it means the same to 
them as it does to your children. They do not come to you in a complaining 
mood. They have no grievance, but they want to possess the God-giving rights 
for which the fathers fought and for which the people here and their posterity 
will ever strive to maintain, whether in times of peace or when the clouds of 
war shall gather. 

The Chairman. Mr. Lloyd, without committing the chairman or any member 
of the committee to any of the propositions, I wish to congratulate you upon 
your presentation of your views. It is the kind of presentation that the com¬ 
mittee desires. You have given your reasons clearly and concisely set forth. 

Mr. Lloyd. Thank you, sir. 

The Chairman. The hour has expired, within five minutes. 

Mr. Brandenburg. We will reserve-that. There is no use in starting if we 
only have five minutes. 

The Chairman. Who is here now representing those opposed to any form of 
suffrage? 

STATEMENT OF G. W. AYERS. 

Mr. Ayers. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, these, papers may look a little 
formidable, but I hope .they are not too long. The other side has had three 
hours to present their views. Over in the House they had about 9 to 1. It 
looks like it may be necessary for me to make the most of this presentatiton. 
It has been my experience, in politics in particular, that men who are after 
something will organize and go after it, but those who are merely negatively 
opposed, until a crisis arises, rarely come out and take an active part in 
opposing anything. I think that is true in regard to a great many things. 

Now, I do not think I can make a good speech, as good a speech as Mr. 
Lloyd made, and I am consuming my own time in this with no pay for it in any 
way. I am representing no organized body. 

Mr. Lloyd. Mr. Chairman, we do not want it understood that any of us around 
this table are paid for the services we render. We are here as a patriotic duty, 
everyone of us, and there is no suggestion, and no one dares to suggest, that any 
of us receive a cent for those services. 

Mr. Ayers. I had not implied that, and I beg your pardon if you so under¬ 
stood me. 

Mr. Lloyd. I was afraid you would be misunderstood. 

The Chairman. Are you a resident of Washington? 


56 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


Mr. Ayees. I am a Hoosier from Indiana. I have been living here three 
years; was here six years around 1900; was here in 1892. 

Senator Jones. Are you coming here iji an individual capacity or representing 
any body or organization. 

Mr. Ayees. Not an organized organization definitely after anything, but rep¬ 
resenting quite a few men, many of them members of the chamber of commerce,, 
board of trade, City Club, Kiwanis Club, Elks Club, and Federation of Citizens’ 
Associations, of which I have had the honor recently to become a member. 

Senator Jones. You have no authority here to represent them? 

Mr. Ayees. I have authority to represent those individuals, and several others 
should be here, but I do not see them. 

Senator Gooding. As organizations or as individuals? 

Mr. Ayees. As individuals. Let us get that clear. 

The Chaibman. You have a perfect right to come here and present your views, 
because this is a national matter. You have that right whether you are a citizen 
of the District of Columbia or not. 

Mr. Ayees. I thought so, Mr. Chairman. 

The Chaieman. It is a matter that involves the whole Nation, and that every 
State in the Union must act upon if you adopt the constitutional amendment. Con¬ 
gress can not pass the Jones bill to become effective until three-.fourths of the 
States act favorably upon it; therefore this is a national matter, and no matter 
where you come from or who you represent you have a right to come here and 
express your views. 

Senator Jones. I agree absolutely with the chairman. What I wanted to get 
at was whether he was representing some one or coming in an individual 
capacity. 

Mr. Ayees. I am here as an individual, simply because, as I stated a few 
moments ago, it is difficult to get those to come out and take an active part in 
a matter who are merely negative in their attitude. 

Now, I want to say, so there will be no prejudice, no misunderstanding, that 
it should be understood that I was born north of Mason and Dixon’s line; 
that my father fought four years and a half in the Civil War, and did not ask 
for a pension or a bonus; that I have usually paid my taxes wherever I have 
been located; that I have been a sociological and political worker for the 
last 25 years; that I was in Oklahoma in 1890 and saw that Territory or¬ 
ganized ; that I was back there again around 1900 and helped in its reorganiza¬ 
tion ; that I have been familiar for 25 years at least with the city councils 
of the principal cities in the United States, so I pretty well know how our 
Government is run, I think. 

Now, we here in the United States have been accused of not having an inter¬ 
national vision of things; that our vision has been national only. I think 
that same idea in a smaller way may be applied to the District of Columbia, 
that our vision is not national, but local. It is very human to feel that way, 
very human, indeed. And so(l would like)right nowfto say to those who are 
in favor of suffrage for the District, let us be big hearted and broad visioned 
and look to the good of the national welfare, rather than the little things we 
want locally. J 

Now,p might call this talk “ The policy of accommodation,” and I am going 
to apply it particularly to expediency and efficiency in government, not a ques¬ 
tion of ethical rights. ^ I think* we can dismiss that by saying that the Declara¬ 
tion of Independence is an ideal paper, and just as soon as we got into practical 
politics of writing a Constitution we very quickly forgot the Declaration of 
Independence. 

What was the very first thing we did ? Only males should vote, forgetting 
one-half of the population, which were women; saying that slaves should not 
vote; saying that those who were not freemen should not vote; saying that 
the Indian not taxed should not vote, and to-day he does not vote anywhere 
in the United States. In Mr. Capper’s State I think there are several and 
they do not vote. 

It is also true that in the majority of the States prior to the formation of 
our country and our Constitution, there was always in all of those colonies or 
local governments, whatever they might have been, a qualification for the 
elector—£20 or £50 or 500 acres of land, some land and some money, some 
educational qualifications, some religious qualifications. 

Now, sir, I don’t think that up to the time of the signing of the Declaration 
of Independence there was any idea among the colonists that everybody was 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 57 

born free and equal, because history does not carry out that fact. You may 
talk it as you will, but history does not mention that at all. 

The speakers who have preceded me have mentioned the names of men and 
women in support of their contention for suffrage in the District, quoted 
Abraham Lincoln, quoted some lady in the District, Mrs. Mussey, I believe it 
was. So if I should mention names, either for or against, it is not personal. 
If I should mention a racial matter, it is in no wise personal. It is simply 
the statement of a fact that I am trying to bring out, so this committee may 
have the information that apparently those in favor of suffrage absolutely re¬ 
fuse to give. They did not in the House, and they do not seem to have done it 
here. I have not heard any of them present anything constructive, so far as a 
better form of government is concerned, than we now have. They have made 
their requests, but have presented no constructive form of government that 
would be better than we now have. And so I shall deal with politics only from 
a historical point, as applied to the District of Columbia. 

Plato—I think most of us have read Plato—says an ideal government could 
be formed only of honest men. I think we have a lot of them in this country, 
but I say they are not all so. That would be the ideal form, and therefore, any 
form, if they were not all honest, must be a compromise. 

Now, the Federalist, I do not think even by inference, in any of those papers 
I have seen, ever said that all men were born equal. I never read it anywhere 
in the Federalist. I may have missed a few papers. The Declaration of In¬ 
dependence says all men were born equal, but the Constitution by implication 
certainly says no. 

Our friends, Jonathan Edwards and Benjamin Franklin, a couple of hun¬ 
dred years ago, had some quite definite ideas on both religious and political 
government. I don’t care to go into that in detail here. 

So I will just dismiss the Declaration of Independence as a great ideal that is 
impracticable and get down to the Constitution of the United States, fl am going 
to try to establish one point—that suffrage is not a natural, but an acquired 
right; that suffrage is not a panacea for all social, political, and economic 
ills; that the present form of government in the District of Columbia approxi¬ 
mates what is best for the Government as a whole, for the District of Columbia 
is merely the workshop of the General Government and might as well be called 
a military reservation for all purposes. 

It was not intended by the fathers—at least, I am going to make that con¬ 
tention, because others have made it otherwise—it was not intended that the Dis¬ 
trict of Columbia was to be in any^ capacity whatsoever similar to any State or 
any Territory, formed or forming.^In Bryant’s History, which was handed you 
the other day, and the lady said you would get all the history of the District 
in it, you will find in the first 25 or 30 pages—and I think it is a thoroughly 
concise history of the District—that it appears from all I can find (the author 
says) that the fathers did not intend the District of Columbia to have suffrage. 

Now,|the North rather harshly compelled the South to accept the kind of 
government the majority thought best for the Nation as a whole, irrespective 
of what Hie South wanted as its local form of governmeiTt. Now, that was for 
the Nation as a whole. It is true of the. District of Columbia as‘ a whole, as 
applied to the United States Government4-nothing less, nothing more. 

North Dakota in its recent election turned out the Nonpartisan League, 
and North Dakota was governed very much like Russia is now under the 
Lenin form of government in some respects. I think so, anyway. 

At the time we wrote the Constitution and voted on it Rhode Island held out 
to the last. That was the opinion of a certain number of people. It merely 
went to show that not all the States were united and agreed that the Consti¬ 
tution was exactly what each one wanted. It was a compromise. 

I was in Oklahoma when that country was formed into a Territory. I was 
almost a “ sooner ” down there—punched cattle, was United States deputy 
marshal, chased horse thieves and cattle rustlers and counterfeiters, and so 
on and so forth—saw a lot of that, had a lot of fun. I was back there 
a few years ago and ran country newspapers and small-town daily news¬ 
papers. I believe that Oklahoma, when it formed its constitution, was called 
radical—altogether different from any one of the other 40 State constitutions 
that we had at that time—but it still works under the Constitution of the United 
States. 

Now,/so long as white men have fought for supremacy among themselves 
there is little prospect that any colored race may expect any consideration of 
equality—economically, politically, or socially^-with all due respect to Presi- 


58 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


dent Harding; and I am a good Republican, fit is at best only a truce—noth¬ 
ing more. Economics is tlie basis of all civilization; politics merely follow. 
Social equality is tlm ultimate desire of all men, and when they have not that 
they are not satisfied.) That is my opinion. 

Now I wish to go back a little bit and see if I can find out whether or not 
the fathers of the Constitution really thought that all men were born equal. 

In The Constitutional History of the American People, by F. N. Thorpe,, 
under the significant subtitle of “Assumption of the responsibilities of citizen¬ 
ship ” and similar page titles, the qualifications necessary to be an elector are 
dealt with. 

To glance here and there we find that— 

“ New Hampshire 50 years before the Revolutionary War refused to allow 
any person to vote who was not a freeholder, owning land of the value of £20.” 

“ In Massachusetts in 1696 a man had to be a church member in full com¬ 
munion, a householder, 24 years old, with an income of not less than 10 
shillings.” In 1692 they raised the ante to £20. That is not in the book. That 
is due to my early Oklahoma training. 

“ In Rhode Island about this time a man had to have real estate worth £40 
or that rented for 40 shillings. But a freeman’s son could vote, ‘ being the son 
of his father.’ Rhode Island retained that in her constitution until 1842. At 
the present writing there are qualifications in the Massachusetts constitution 
differing from those of a good many other States, holdovers from those early 
days. 

“ The man who lived in New York City around 1750 and was not to the 
manner born paid a various price for his political estate, depending on whether 
he was a merchant, trader, or shopkeeper. If lie had served an apprenticeship 
and was native born, he only paid £1. In addition, each paid sundry little fees, 
called tips in our day—6 shillings to the mayor and 6 to the recorder, 7 and 6 
to the clerk, and 9 pence to the bell ringer and crier ‘ for wild riot ’ ”—I don’t 
know what that means—“ and yet some people in New England said New York 
was a wicked town.” Now, much of this was about 10 years or a dozen years 
before the Declaration of Independence. 

“ In New .Jersey a man had to own 100 acres of land or real and personal 
property to the value of £50.” In 1776 the State constitution changed this a 
little. 

In Pennsylvania in the seventeenth century it took 50 acres or £50 to be a 
voter. A taxable was a voter, but not all taxables were granted the right to 
vote, for the franchise was granted only to free white males. 

In Maryland about the same time 50 acres or £30 would give the suffrage, 
but to freemen only. 

The colonies of the South bordering on the Atlantic Ocean were even more 
exclusive and careful in granting the franchise, especially with reference to 
religion and color. 

Yet in the North, immediately prior to the Revolutionary War, the religious 
qualification was a prime necessity unofficially. 

The New England Staffes and New Jersey limited officeholders to Protestants. 
Jews were practically excluded from office anywhere, and Roman Catholics 
also, except in New York and Maryland. 

In 1800 there were 108,000 free persons of color and 890,000 slaves. The 
free Negroes were politically a people without a country. In 10 years their 
number had nearly doubled. To-day the population of the United States is 
100,000,000, of which 15,000,000 are Negroes. We have a foreign population 
of at least 20,000,000. Add the 15,000,000 Negroes and the 20,000,000 foreign 
born and we have left 65,000,000 natives, of which possibly 40,000,000 are two 
or more generations old. Thus we can s^e the increase of the native whites is 
nothing in proportion to the increase of foreigners and Negroes. 

Mr. Kelly Miller (colored). Mr. Chairman, he said there were 15,000,000 
Negroes in the United States. The Fourteenth Census, which has just been 
issued by the bureau, states there are 10,463,000, and I do not remember the 
exact number of hundreds. 

The Chairman. Any questions you desire to ask or statements you desire 
to make the ruling was that you should write them out and send them up to 
the chairman. 

Mr. Miller. I beg your pardon. 

Mr. Ayers. fin the District of Columbia we now have 375,000 white people 
and 125,000 Negroes, approximately 450,000 altogether. ^ 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


59 


\ In 1787 the Constitutional Convention met in Philadelphia in May. The 
work of that convention was made possible by three great compromises, and 
they were really only in the interest of expediency and efficiency. They are as 
follows, briefly stated: 

1. The Connecticut compromise of large and small States giving equal repre¬ 
sentation in the Senate. 

2. The compromise between the North and South, providing that slaves for 
representation and taxation should be counted at the ratio of five.blacks to 
three whites. 

3. The commerce compromise, which gave to Congress the power of regulat¬ 
ing commerce, provided the slave trade was permitted to exist until 1808. 

Those were the three compromises that made the getting together possible 
and the final formation of the Constitution of the United States, j 

In the State of Ohio in 1903, Article V of the Elective Franchise, section 1, 
provided that only a white male citizen of the United States of the age of 21 
has the qualifications of an elector. Since then, of course, it has been changed. 
President Harding was born in that State. 

The Chairman. In what year was Ohio admitted as a State? 

Mr. Ayers. 1802,. Of course, that was changed later, as many others have 
been, the same as Kansas and Delaware and other States. 

President Taft, now Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, was 
also born in that State, and I shall take great pleasure in quoting from this 
little book a speech by Justice Stafford, of the local district court, and the 
then President Taft of the United States, with reference to suffrage in the 
District of Columbia, Justice Stafford being for it and the then President of 
the United States being against it. 

The Constitution of the United States in the fourteenth amendment says that 
all men over 21 years of age shall have the right of suffrage. I wonder why 
we said 21 years instead of 25 or 18. It appears to me it was a question of com¬ 
promise, and a question of efficiency and expediency only. And all these facts 
and arguments I make I hope will gradually apply to the suffrage of the District. 

Harvard College up until 1872 listed all its students in the order of their social 
rank, and nothing else, and Harvard College became so radical that a few years 
afterwards Yale College was organized. It does not seem to me that Harvard 
College is very radical, but that was the history of it. 

In one work I have in my library, and down at the foot of the Constitution, is 
this little statement: “ Omissions of the Constitution: 1, annexation of terri¬ 
tory; 2, need of extended civil service; 3, rise of political parties; 4, possibility 
of attempts of States to secede.” There was another left out. That was suf¬ 
frage in the District of Columbia. It is not mentioned in the Constitution. 

Now, we have in this Government, under this Constitution, a good many differ¬ 
ent forms of government, all operating under this Constitution, this rigid Con¬ 
stitution that we have, this Constitution which says that we shall have suffrage 
for males only, inferentially whites only, Negroes not, slaves not, Indians not. 
And we are now operating seven or eight forms of government under this Con¬ 
stitution. I shall enumerate them: 

First. Forty-eight States with governors and legislatures elected by the peo¬ 
ple of those States. 

Second. Territorial forms of government, such as Alaska, Porto Rico, the 
Philippine Islands, and Hawaii. That, as I remember, is covered by an amend¬ 
ment to the Constitution, a provision for the government of Territories to be 
carved out of the great West, but was not in the original Constitution. 

We have a third form of government in Guam, the Virgin Islands, and Samoa. 
The Virgin Islands are under the immediate control of the Secretary of the 
Navy. 

Fourth is the Canal Zone, a different form from the others. They did not 
give us the control, but we took it. 

Fifth. Haiti and San Domingo. We control the Governments there. We 
put the President out, and we have run them, and we have had several scandals. 

Sixth. Cuba. We run Cuba. Cuba can not make a treaty or borrow money 
unless we say so. That is an assumption of power under our Constitution, 
whether we have the right or not. 

Seventh. Another form of government, the Indians, not taxed, can not vote. 
We ran them out of Georgia into the Indian Territory and located some of them 
on some very rich oil lands. 

Then we have another form of government, which is the District of Columbia, 
making eight forms of government under this Constitution, enacted by a Con- 


60 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


gress, signed by a President, duly elected by the electors of the different States, 
affirmed by the Supreme Court of the United States. 

Now, I am going to come down to the practical situation in the District of 
Columbia. I have merely tried to give you a foundation for our forms of gov¬ 
ernment and the pyschology of the situation at the time the Constitution was 
written and at the time it was argued for adoption. (At no time will I say any¬ 
thing with reference to the ethics of the right to vote in the District of Colum¬ 
bia, because I concede that every American has that right, as far as I under¬ 
stand if. But for the sake of patriotism and lqyalty)which we are talking about, 
And the broad vision which we should have,|and which most of you have,p; 
rhink the present form of government is better than anything we have had in 
the past in the District of Columbia.^) 

Ex-Commissioner Macfarland, who died recently, was before the House Judi¬ 
ciary Committee reading a paper two or three hours in length. In that state¬ 
ment the only thing he had to say as to why the District government was 
changed from that of a mayor and common council to a Territorial form of 
government, and then to a commission form of government, was contained in 
one sentence, so far as enlightening the Judiciary Committee was concerned, 
and this is the one sentence: 

“ Circumstances that had nothing to do with the question of national repre¬ 
sentation of the District of Columbia brought about the abolition of that Ter¬ 
ritorial government and the substitution of the commission form of govern¬ 
ment, without any kind of representation in Congress, or in the electoral college, 
or in the municipal government.” 

In a three-hour statement that is the only thing the gentlemen said with 
reference to why that form of government was changed. *It will be my pleasure 
this afternoon to give you some reasons why it was changed. 

An editorial in the Star of October 27, 1921, will shed some light on that 
question. In reference to the laying of the cornerstone of the City Club Build¬ 
ing, the editorial says: 

“ In hi§ fine address at the laying of the cornerstone of the new City Club 
Building yesterday Vice President Coolidge made a remark that should be 
considered thoughtfully not only by the residents of Washington, but by all 
who have to do with its administration and with legislation affecting it. He 
said: 

“ * This building typifies the great change that has come to the city of Wash¬ 
ington. Laid out with the thought that it would be only the seat of the Federal 
Government, the home of the Executive, the Congress, and the Supreme Court, 
which decides what is law, it has since gathered around it a metropolitan and 
cosmopolitan life composed of those not in the service of the Government— 
men of affairs, leaders in the industrial and business life of the great city 
fast approaching a million population.’ ” 

The Star goes on to say: 

“ The evolution of Washington as a community has not been even in its 
degrees. It has advanced by impulses, chiefly imparted by great events affect¬ 
ing the national life. The Civil War added very greatly to the city’s popula¬ 
tion. The Spanish-American War made another contribution. The Great War 
brought about the most marked change in the size and character of the Capital 
city of any in its history.” 

It has very much more to say, but I will not read it. There has gradually 
been a great change in the city of Washington, psychologically, geographically, 
.and socially. 

In the Star of November 2, 1921, is an editorial entitled' “ Washington, the 
Capital,” which reads as follows: 

“ President Harding, in his Thanksgiving proclamation, strikes a medium of 
designation in the final clause: ‘ Done at the Capital of the United States this 
31st day of October, etc.’ He does not say ‘ District of Columbia,’ as did his 
predecessor, or ‘ Washington,’ as did earlier occupants of the White House. 
Assuredly this is the Capital of the United States whether the official designa¬ 
tion of the seat of government is Washington or District of Columbia. There 
is but one ‘ city ’ in the District of Columbia, and that is Washington, and the 
boundaries of the District are the city limits. Washington Is coterminous 
within the District. Statutes have been written which definitely mention 
Washington as the Capital, and it would be a complete return to ‘ normalcy ’ 
for the Executive style to be brought clear back to the old question of dating 
state papers at ‘ Washington.’ ” 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 61 


S of this is not jest a little community, it is the Capital of the United States^ 
I wish you would all try to remember that. 

In the new paper, the Washington News, the first copy, the leading editorial 
says: 

“What is this Washington of ours? 

It isn t the ‘ hill ’ nor the White House, nor the Monument, nor indeed any 
of those things which bulk so large in the eye of privilege seekers, job hunters, 
tourists, and society people. 

. “ Tt is rather, the home of some 80,000 public servants with their families. Its 
lifeblood is the four of five millions of dollars that come out of the Treasury 
twice a month to meet the Federal pay roll in the District of Columbia.” 

And I think that right there is the reason for the quotation of statistics 
made awhile ago in regard to the comparatively small number of failures in 
business in the District, because we have nothing to close down. The Govern¬ 
ment goes along all the time and usually increases its expenditures every 
month of the year with each succeeding year. We are very fortunate indeed, 

I would say. 

It goes on: 


“ This pay roll provides a revolving fund that keeps the wheels going round. 

“ These civil servants, these Federal employees in tum employ the merchants, 
doctors, lawyers, bankers, the street car companies, and the other public utili¬ 
ties. 

“ These civil servants drawn from every State, almost every township in the 
country, constitutes a cross section of the American people.” 

Bear that in mind, a cross section of the American people, not just a lot of 
local people. 

“They represent the flower of the learned professions and the experts of 
most of the useful crafts and trades. 

“ This is the Washington to which the News comes. It comes to stay. It 
comes with the ambition to become known as a useful citizen and a good 
neighbor.” 

Here is something even more practical. Right there is a picture on the wall 
of this room of Senator McMillan, of Michigan, who lived here many years, 
was chairman of the District Committee for many years. I remember Dr. Gal- 
linger, who was chairman. I remember Senator Hale, who was chairman, 
if I am not mistaken. If I am wrong in these matters any man here may 
correct me. When those men passed out, the Star and the Post—usually the 
Star, and other papers too—had long eulogies on the services these men 
had rendered the District and the efficient manner in which they did it. There 
was never any criticism of those men; always a eulogy. 

That is true of the retiring engineer commissioner, Col. Kutz. The engi¬ 
neer commissioner must be 15 years a captain in the Army, must have gradu¬ 
ated from West Point and must be an engineer. He is far removed from poli¬ 
tics. He has been divorced from politics all his official life. He is here under 
the eye of his superior officers, the Secretary of War, the General Staff!, and 
his immediate superior officers. He has a salary that continues through his 
natural life, whole pay while in service and three-fourths pay when retired. 
So there is very little inducement that politics or business could offer him to 
do anything other than be honest while in office. 

In the Star of October 8, 1920, is an article entitled “ George Washington’s 
dream of America’s Capital City,” from which I wish to read this paragraph: 

“As was said by Senator McMillan at the time: ‘ The keynote of the centen¬ 
nial celebration was the improvement of the District of Columbia in manner 
and extent commensurate with the dignity and resources of the American 
people. eSnators and Congressmen vied with governor after governor in com¬ 
mendation of the idea put forth by the local committee that the time had come 
for the systematic improvement of the District of Columbia.’ (McMillan’s re¬ 
port, Jan. 15, 1902.)” 

{Very few city governments have as large a vision as Congress has in its 
vision for the District of Columbia. ) 

Here is an editorial of October 4, 1921, eulogizing Col. Keller, the new com¬ 
missioner, who had been a subordinate to Col. Kutz. It is a whole half-column 
editorial, not a news item. 

Here is an editorial in the Star on Senator Curtis, a Member of the House 
for many years from Kansas, and also many years in the Senate. It says 
he has always been a friend to the District of Columbia. 


62 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


Politics in the District 50 years ago, as reported by the Star. I have a dozen 
of these reports, and they are screams. July 10, 1921, 50 years after that 
date, is reprinted this article in the Star: 

“ Speedily following up the plan of the Territorial board of public works 50 
years ago, the house of deputies passed a bill providing means for a general and 
systematic improvement of the city. Opposition naturally developed. The Star 
said of this in its issue of June 29, 1871: 

“ ‘ The opposition is mainly political and appears to be inspired partly by the 
disposition to cripple the new government as a piece of party tactics and partly 
because the disbursement may not be made in a way to help the “ outs ” to the 
ascendancy. 

“ ‘ The organ of that party here has labored quite assiduously to get up a 
public meeting in opposition to the improvement plan, and a well-known lawyer 
of the same party, who figured lately as a Democratic candidate for Congress 
in New York, has within a few days appeared here and given much zealous 
labor to the task of working up this “ spontaneous demonstration ” against the 
measure. A call for a meeting of the property holders to consider the improve¬ 
ment loan bill appears to-day and bears the signatures of some 20 citizens of high 
respectability, but on the rule that all is fair in politics the names of several 
of these gentlemen appear without any authority, and probably this may be 
the case with the majority of them. One of the gentlemen is in Europe, another 
in the far West, and several now in the city assure us that they not only 
never authorized the use of their names but that they are heartily in favor of 
the improvement measures.’ ” 

The next article from the same issue reads as follows: 

“ The meeting was held, and the Star in its issue of June 30 thus discussed it: 

“ ‘ The meeting, called by Col. Philip, was very respectably attended, but, as 
was shown by the only test vote of the evening, was about evenly divided, 
standing 27 in favor of the bill to 34 against it. The speeches made by Messrs. 
Philip and Riddle in opposition to the bill are very good specimens of lawyerlike 
pleading, but no better than the arguments they made some months ago on the 
other side of the question and in favor of a District government empowered 
to carry out just such a comprehensive system of improvements as it now 
proposed. Mr. Durant, being new here, shot rather wild and peppered-some of 
Mr. Philip’s favorite ideas after the most cruel fashion, quite unwittingly.’ 

“As regards the meeting, we think it well that it has been held, as affording 
an opportunity for the presentation of all possible objections to the bill and 
in the strongest light possible. These objections have now been made, but if 
they have any weight we have no resort but to fall back upon our old 
profligate, systemless, municipal style of expenditure and patchwork improve¬ 
ment. Under the old order of things the four or five millions of dollars asked 
in this bill will be frittered away without appreciable results. The board of 
public works present a general plan of improvements, accompanied by an esti¬ 
mate. It is safe to say that under the old municipal rule a comprehensive 
system of this kind would have cost ten times the amount of these estimates.” 

Politics in the District of Columbia 50 years ago, as reported by the Star 
in 1871: 

“ The report of the police court made by the committee of the house of dele¬ 
gates (municipal government) yesterday, was to have been expected from the 
evidence before it, and while courteous in its tone, it is trenchant in dealing 
with the flagrant abuses proved to be incorporated in the management of affairs 
by the subordinates of the court. The committee also, while exonerating 
Judge Snell and Clerk Grey from any wrongdoing, censure them for not 
giving due supervision to the conduct of the subordinates. 

“ It is natural that the disclosure of this rotten state of affairs should cause 
great prejudice against the court, and the cry comes up from various quarters 
for its entire abolition and the return to the system of police magistracy.” 

There is a lot more along the same line, which I will not take the time of 
the committee to read. 

Here is another editorial from the Star of 50 years ago. This was July, 1871: 

“ The spontaneous grand mass meeting of citizens which was to have been 
held on Capitol Hill Monday night to protest against the improvement bill 
did not come off. Somebody had been at the pains to erect a large stand, 
with ample accommodations for a crowd larger than could be accommodated 
within walls, but at the time appointed for the meeting less than a dozen were 
present, including the knights of the pencil. Col. Philip did not come forward* 
but ‘ Gen.’ A. Grant appeared and went through the characteristic performance 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


63 


of calling the meeting to order, nominating a chairman, vice presidents, and 
secretaries, and appointing committees, after the Bentonian and Philippian 
style of setting the ball in motion, “ solitary and alone.’ 

“As stated by us on Monday, the live men of that part of the city who signed 
the call did so upon the representation to them that the meeting was to be 
held to secure a fair share of improvements for that part of the city, but when 
they found that the demonstration was to be used as capital by the opponents 
of the District government and against the improvement bill they concluded 
to let it alone severely.” 

There is a lot more of that along the same line, which I will not take the time 
to read. 

In a later issue, of July 8, 1871: “ Reasons for opposition: 

“ The Tammany organ, unsuccessful in its attempt to cripple the District 
government and defeat the improvement loan bill, now carries its partisanship 
to the extraordinary length of seeking to break down the financial credit of 
the District and make it impossible to raise the money to carry out the pro¬ 
posed improvements. Let the people understand this fact: Gov. Cooke can 
readily raise the money needed to carry on the District government at 6 per 
cent. If the taxpayers have to bear the burden of a higher rate of interest it 
will be solely due to the mischievous partisan efforts of the Tammany patriot 
crowd, who, in their rule-or-ruin policy, care little how much they damage 
business interests and the interests of taxpayers so that they make a point 
politically. They would prevent the expenditure of a single dollar for improve¬ 
ment or the employment of a single mechanic or laborer, because they can not 
secure the handling of the money or the selection of the men for the further¬ 
ance of their own selfish political purposes. The mass of the people, who see 
bus'ness and improvements of all kinds at a standstill through the hindrances 
made by these Tammany politicians, are thoroughly disgusted at being made 
to suffer in this way from the miserable pettifogging tactics of two or three 
political lawyers and a hungry Tammany newspaper.” 

You all know what it means when we speak of the Tammany organization. 

Then we have this from the Star of November 6, 1921, taken from the Star of 
50 years ago: 

“New York can make more noise and accomplish less and take more time 
to do it in than any other American city East or West. For months past whole 
pages of the newspapers have been filled with the details of immense frauds 
upon the city government; the guilty parties are known; they have been lam¬ 
pooned and caricatured, forgery and robbery of millions of dollars of the 
peoples’ money has been laid at their doors, and yet in all this time not one 
of them has been punished for his misdeeds, not one dollar of plunder wrested 
from them. On the contrary, they are allowed ample time to transfer their 
ill-gotten gains, and one man, the ringleader, the ‘ boss,” while busy placing 
millions of dollars plundered from the taxpayers into the hands of his friends 
apd accomplices for safe-keeping, is actually put up as the regular Democratic* 
cand'date for the State senate and has the cheek to come before an outraged 
people for their votes. Mayor Hall mounts his charger and rides triumphantly 
to a ‘ justice shop ’ where ample apology is made for the trouble he has been 
put to in complying with certain little legal forms; Tweed rolls to the tribunal 
in his carriage, and after condescending to trouble himself about the matter 
of bail, goes back to his palace; others of the ring plunderers are clothed in 
fine linen and fare sumptuously every day, with no fear of the law, and in 
the meantime poor devils are brought into court every hour for stealing a dollar 
or two, convicted on one-tenth of the evidence which has accumulated against 
these millionaire robbers, and sent to prison to expatiate their crimes. No. 
wonder that in a community where there is such a mockery of justice as this 
we find hints in the newspapers of a general wish for an execution of the 
laws a little more impartial, something swifter and a great deal surer. The 
Standard significantly says: ‘ We are really governed by a commune. And 
our only regret is that this commune does not take hold and make their work 
more thorough. There is only one way.’ 

“ Though the mills ground slowly, they ground exceeding fine. ‘ Boss ’ 
Tweed was brought to trial in 1873 on a charge of grand larceny and forgery 
and sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment. The sentence was reversed in 1875, 
but being unable to furnish bail in certain civil suits, he was committed to jail. 
He escaped to Spain, was arrested there, brought back on an American warship, 
and died in jail in New York.” 

83480—22-5 


64 SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 

a 

When the.Star referred to the Tammany gang in the District of Columbia 
that is the kind of a gang the Star meant that they had in 1871, and it is pos¬ 
sible to have the same kind of a gang again,) 

The Chairman. How long would you like to continue? 

Mr. Ayers. I would like to have at least another hour. 

The Chairman. Why not yield now. You have spoken three-quarters of an 
hour and you will have another three-quarters of an hour at another day. 
There is an article here from Mr. Baker that I would like to have read into 
the record. 

Mr. Ayers. I will be very glad to do that, Mr. Chairman. 

The Chairman. We have here a letter written before the beginning of this 
hearing. I think this is a proper place to put it into the record. It is from 
John A. Baker, who is opposed to suffrage. As we only have a few minutes 
until we must adjourn, I will request that the clerk read the letter and inclo- 
srrre for the record. 

(The documents referred to were thereupon read by the clerk of the com¬ 
mittee and are here printed in full, as follows:) 


Washington, D. C., November 5, 1921. 


To Senator Ball, 

Chairman, and the Members of the United States Senate Committee on the 
District of Columbia. 


Gentlemen : Fearing that the many papers presented to your committee, the 
probability of the loss of the communication of which the inclosure is a copy, 
I am sending you a duplicate. 

The propaganda for suffrage is under the management of a few persons am¬ 
bitious for congressional honors and influence. The citizens of the District of 
Columbia of the present generation, and many of the newer residents, know 
nothing of the conditions that existed here previous to the establishment of 
the present form of the District government, and it is in this field that the 
propagandist is diligently working. These citizens would repudiate the scheme 
if they were familiar with conditions referred to and knew the dangers in¬ 
volved. 

The columns of the Evening Star newspaper of the seventies exhibit the evils 
and show the disgraceful conditions of the then existing condition. It, I think, 
applied to the then existing legislature the designation of “ Feather Duster 
Legislature.” 

The present editor of this newspaper, who is a leading advocate of suffrage 
before your committee, may assist your deliberation by furnishing it with some 
of the interesting articles referred to. 

I inclose with this an excerpt from the pen of a very distinguished publicist. 

The police records will doubtless indicate the source of the crime wave here 
just now; what it would be with suffrage is not pleasant to contemplate. 

The cause of the calling off of the inaugural ceremonies by President Harding 
is not far to seek. 

This is the Capital of all the people of this great country and it should not 
be subject to the whims of the few here who advocate suffrage, and lose the 
fostering care of the Congress. Can they secure a better legislature than the 
Congress of the United States? 

Yours, very respectfully, 


John A. Baker. 


It is historically true that Washington and L’Enfant never contemplated as 
a design or an outcome that the National Capital should ever become a com¬ 
mercial or a manufacturing city. It was never intended to be a populous city. 
It was to be essentially a political city—a city of government, with the govern¬ 
ment idea dominating and glorifying everything—with nothing ever to subordi¬ 
nate the Government anywhere in population, in commerce, in the splendors of 
trade development, in the wrangles of factions, or in the clash of industry. It 
was to be the “ unique city,” the “ different city,” preserving its mission through 
the centuries and absorbing all splendors and all renown into the glory of the 
Government. 

It was in this way that it was to be the people’s city—with every citizen hold¬ 
ing the loyal and tender tie of part ownership in all that made it great—in 
stately buildings, and in fair repute. That every citizen should feel his common 
proprietorship with every other citizen in the pride of ownership in the Capital 
of our common country. 



SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


65 


And so the Capital was to play the part of the heart to the Nation’s veins, puls¬ 
ing the rich blood of fellowship and kinship and unity from the center through 
all the far-flung arteries of patriotism throughout the circumference of the cir¬ 
cumscribing States, inspiring the united which is strength and avoiding the divi¬ 
sions which make for disaster. 

The spirit and the plan of this our Capital is one of the richest legacies which 
the great Virginian left to his country. How noble and wise the suggestion. 
fl ow infinite the civic obligation to keep it always in the national mind. 

The exclusive control of the District of Columbia by the Congress insures a 
dignified Capital for the Nation; and, through this control, the citizens of the 
Capital enjoy peace and security freed from political and other disturbances, and 
from plunderers, corrupt contractors, corrupt officials, and inefficient administra¬ 
tion. Such evils can not exist under the present form of local government. The 
municipal affairs of the District are administered by commissioners, who are 
under the direct observation of the Congress and the President, subject to re- 
^aioval at any moment for inefficiency, neglect of duty, or dishonesty. 

The cost of administering the existing local government is relatively small; it 
has no complex machinery, no excessive pay rolls, no superfluous employees ap¬ 
pointed through favoritism. 

Quiet reigns at the District Building, and the business of the municipality is, 
in the highest sense, satisfactory to the citizens. In a word, in the view of all 
thinking people, it is a model government, an example for all city governments. 

It was the form of government for the District of Columbia in the beginning, 
and it was a misfortune that it was ever changed. 

Later, when the population was small, life simple, and the citizens knew one 
another, it was thought by the Congress that under its observation a mayor, 
common council, and board of aldermen could be ventured as a local government; 
and in that simple period it was successfully managed by the best and most re¬ 
spected citizens from all walks of life working for the public good and holding 
the confidence of their fellow citizens and of the Congress; but during and after 
the Civil War the population was largely increased by many idle and ignorant 
people from the neighboring States, and by many adventurers of doubtful char¬ 
acter, who easily secured the- following of the former, and with their votes took 
over the local government. 

Then followed all the evils that such a condition necessarily entailed; scan¬ 
dals, graft, riots, and disturbances prevailed until the situation became intol¬ 
erable. 

In this condition of affairs it was thought that the remedy lay in a governor 
and legislature and a Delegate in the Congress, and the Congress abolished the 
old and created the new government. 

It soon became apparent that the new form of government was not to 
prove a solution of the grave situation. A small clique of shrewd politicasters, 
seeing their opportunity, took over the active direction of the elections and 
became the political bosses of the community. They caused the elections of 
such legislators as they could control, and elected (appointed) a Delegate to 
Congress, a man little known to our people, who had but a short residence here, 
and who, having but little interest here, after the expiration of his term 
took up his residence in a distant State. He was a mere cipher in the 
Congress, as any successor must be. 

Among the devices for securing their control they divided the District 
into blocks or divisions and appointed a captain over each to take take charge 
of and control the votes of the ignorant people referred to. 

These captains, under pay and the hope of office, so terrified these ignorant 
voters that none was free to vote as he wished. The proceedings of a legis¬ 
lature so elected were, of course, directed by these bosses, and, of course, 
great scandals followed. 

This disgraceful legislature of the seventies, on its dissolution, was known 
as “The feather-duster legislature.” Its members personally appropriated 
and carried off every portable thing in the legislative halls—feather dusters, 
spittoons, stationery, soaps, brushes, etc. 

The files of the local newspapers of the period exhibit the character of that 
disgraceful body, of which its few respectable members were powerless. 

The scandals of that government became so great and the conditions so 
intolerable that the Congress was again appealed to by the citizens to change 
the form of government, recommending the original form of government by 
commissioners. The Congress then provided the present form of government, 


66 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


which has worked so well for the last 40 years—a government to which no 
scandals have attached, where no assembling of jobbers after contracts and 
office crowd the Municipal Building, and where all is order and quiet and 
efficiency. 

During and since the late war the undesirable, ignorant, and vicious element 
that came here during and after the Civil War has been largely increased, 
and now that part of the population is dangerous because of its great number. 
In any form of suffrage that element, must be reckoned with; its vote will 
be so potential that, when directed by shrewd, dangerous men and small poli¬ 
ticians, the interests of the citizens generally will be held in subjection by it. 
It is appalling to think of what the conditions here would be if the vote of 
that element be increased by woman suffrage. A Representative in the Con¬ 
gress, in the nature of things, can not advise and inform the committees of 
that body as to the needs ‘and affairs of the District which they require in 
providing for them. The commissioners, who are daily and continuously occu¬ 
pied with District affairs, necessarily know the needs of the government and 
are always prepared to give the needed information to such committees. 

It may be> well to add that I do not know any of the present commissioners 
nor their friends or associates. 

The Chairman. We have a number of communications in favor of suffrage, 
which will be placed in the record at the proper time. I think that is the 
only one against suffrage. 

Mr. Brandenburg. Can you give us any idea how to arrange for the pre¬ 
sentation of our argument in behalf of the Jones bill? We have a number 
of gentlemen who are very anxious to support that bill. 

The Chairman. You have your own system of presentation, of course. You 
will be granted two hours’ time at the next sitting of the committee. 

Mr. Brandenburg. Two hours at the next sitting of the committee? 

The Chairman. Yes. 

Mr. Brandenburg. And how can we arrange that time? 

The Chairman*. You must arrange that among yourselves. You still have 
four hours coming to you. 

Mr. Clayton. Four hours for those that support the bill? 

The Chairman. Four hours for those in favor of some bill for suffrage. 

The committee will stand adjourned until Friday at 2 o’clock. 

(Whereupon, at 4 o’clock p. m., the committee adjourned to meet again on 
Friday, the 18th day of November, 1921, at 2 o’clock p. m.) 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 1921. 

United States Senate, 
Committee on the District of Columbia, 

Washington, D. C. 

The committee met, pursuant to adjournment, at 2 o’clock p. m. in the 
committee room, Capitol, Senator L. Heisler Ball presiding. 

Present: Senators Ball (chairman), Capper, Jones, Gooding, King, and 
Sheppard. 

Present also: Col. Winfield Jones, representing those favoring the bill pro¬ 
viding for a delegate in the House of Representatives. 

Mr. E. C. Brandenburg, representing those favoring the adoption of the 
Jones resolution, providing for a Constitutional amendment. 

Mr. G. W. Ayers, representing those opposed to any form of suffrage in the 
District. 

The Chairman. The committee will come to order. 

SUPPLEMENTAL STATEMENT OF MR. JAMES T. LLOYD. 

Mr. Lloyd. Mr. Chairman, in my statement made on last Monday there 
seemed to be some question as to the correctness of my estimate of the voting 
population in the District. I stated that the population, as shown by the 
census, was over 435.000, and that of this number 85,000 were Government 
employees. I wish now to call your attention to the fact that 12,000 of these 
Government employees are residents of the District and have been accredited 
to it. 

Many of the older of the employees of the Government have lost their legal 
residence elsewhere. There is no way at present to determine the exact number 
of those who have thus lost a voting residence, but I feel sure that no one who 
has invstigated the matter will question that at least 20,000 of them are 
deprived of their votes because they have lost their residence. If this state¬ 
ment is correct, then the number of Government employees who have legal resi¬ 
dence here and a voting residence elsewhere would be 52,000, and this would 
reduce the bona fide legal residents of the District to 383,000, and would fully 
bear out the correctness of my former statement. 

I think I can present a more satisfactory and Convincing statement m 
another way. 

In 1910 the census shows that there were 103,761 males and 116,148 females 
in the District above the age of 21 years, or a total of 219,909 residents. There 
was an increase in population between 1910 and 1920 of approximately 30 per 
cent. If there is added to the number of persons of voting age in 1910 30 
per cent on account of the increase in the last decade, it would show a voting 
population at the present time of 275,881. Now there are 85,000 Government 
employees, as I have stated, but of this number 12,000 are accredited to the 
District. This would leave 73,000 who are not accredited to the District. 
There are probably 8,000 of these employees who are 21 years of age, which 
would leave as the outside voting population 65,000. Of this 65,000 at least 
35,000 are women, and of the women employed by the Government less than 
5,000 are married. Of the 30,000 men who are employed by the Government 
probably one-half are married, so that the married employees include not more 
than 20,000 of these employees. 

Suppose that the families of this married population would increase the vot¬ 
ing population by the same number, then the total number of voters in the 
District would be reduced by 30,000' male voters, 35,000 female voters, and 

67 



68 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


20.000 voters who are members of families of employees, or a total of 85,000 
voters here who are entitled to vote elsewhere. This would reduce the number 
of persons of voting age in the District from 275,881 to 190,881. There are 
always other deductions to be made from the number of those who are 21 years 
of age on account of various kinds of qualifications that are required of voters, 
but this would not reduce the number of voters in the District from those of 
legal age certainly by more than 40,000, so that there would be at least 150,000 
actual residents of the District who would, under any reasonable requirements, 
be entitled to vote here. 

The chairman stated that he was surprised to find the number who voted by 
mail in the campaign of 1920, but I feel sure it is safe to say that there are 
not more than 85,000 Government employees in the District, being the number 
I have estimated, who are entitled to vote in the States. 

I feel sure that the two methods used to reach the number of qualified voters 
in the District prove beyond any reasonable doubt that there would be at least 
150,000 legal voters in the District who would vote for electors and Members 
of Congress if under the law they might do so. 

Mr. Brandenburg. The joint citizens’ committee, advocating in the affirma¬ 
tive the passage of the Jones resolution, asks that Mr. Paul E. Lesh be first 
heard. 

The Chairman. He represents the City Club? 

Mr. Brandenburg. The joint citizens’ committee and also the City Club. 

STATEMENT OF PAUL E. LESH, ESQ. 

Mr. Lesh. Mr. Chairman, to make what I will say clear to the committee, I 
want to say that I speak in favor of the Jones resolution, Senate joint resolu¬ 
tion 133, and against Senate resolution 14 and Senate resolution 417, the Poin¬ 
dexter and Capper hills. 

Mr. William McK. Clayton. Mr. Chairman, may I interrupt, so that we 
may understand the situation? I understand they are the proponents of the 
Jones bill. 

Mr. Lesh, when you speak against the Capper bill are you representing the 
joint committee or not? 

Mr. Lesh. I am not. I wish myself to make that plain, and would have 
done so. 

I think it is important, Mr. Chairman, that when one appears in two capaci¬ 
ties, as some of us do now, we should make it plain who we are speaking for, 
because my own personal views might be of little importance. I happen to be 
a member of the committee on brief of the joint citizens’ committee, but I am 
appearing here to-day in my capacity as chairman of the suffrage group of the 
City Club, and anything I say against this Delegate bill I must say in that 
capacity, because the joint citizens’ committee has not taken a stand upon the 
Delegate bill. 

As to my authority to speak for the City Club, the chairman may be ac¬ 
quainted with the fact that the City Club is an organization of about 1,500 
professional and business men of the city of Washington. It was chartered 
just recently, in 1919, but for a purpose which included the discussion of such 
measures as this; specifically, to make the clubhouse a place for the discussion 
and development of that civic, literary, artistic, social, economic, and all other 
matters calculated to advance the welfare of Washington and the Nation at 
large. 

Twenty-five or more members may organize, who are interested in a particu¬ 
lar subject, within the City Club. The suffrage group, so-called, is the largest 
group in the club, consisting of about 290 members. 

It is so easy to say “ suffrage,” and not define what you mean, that we thought 
it important to define w T hat we stand for with some exactment. In August of 
1920, after considerable discussion, we adopted a platform, a printed single 
page document. We sent that platform to all our members in the club. We sent 
it with a single letter, and no follow-up, asking for the expression of opinion 
from those club members, whom I really think were representatives of the city 
of Washington, upon this platform. We got 17 responses of disapproval; we 
got over 500 responses of approval. 

The Chairman. Disapproval of what? 

Mr. Lesh. Disapproval of our platform, is all I can say. 

The platform reads as follows: 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


69 


PLATFORM OF THE SUFFRAGE GROUP, CITY CLUB, WASHINGTON, D. C. 

The objects of the suffrage group of the City Club include the discussion and 
consideration of measures proposed for the extension to the citizens of the Dis¬ 
trict of Columbia of the rights, privileges, and immunities of other citizens of the 
United States, and the advocacy of such measures as may be approved after con¬ 
sideration. 

After careful consideration, the group has adopted the following conclusions: 

Self-government is the American ideal, and is accomplished in the United 
States by the selection by the people from among their number, of the persons 
who make, execute, construe, and enforce the laws of the Nation, and of their 
respective States and municipalities. It is recognized as the right of the citi¬ 
zens of each municipality to govern its affairs, to participate in the government 
of the State, and to participate also in that of the Nation. The deprivation of 
the citizens of any municipality or political district of that right can be justfied 
only by reasons which are compelling. The people of the District of Columbia 
live in a political subdivision which is a part of the Nation, and is a munici- 
pal ty, but is no part of any State. 

The reasons which prompted the location of the seat of the National Govern¬ 
ment in a political subdivision, which should be no part of any State, are recog¬ 
nized, and therefore the setting up within the District of Columbia of a State 
Government is not approved nor advocated. 

The recognition of the principle of self-government in the affairs of the Dis¬ 
trict as a municipality is approved, but the practical application of the prin¬ 
ciple of municiple self-government to the municipality which is the seat of the 
Government of the United States, presents such difficulties of detail and is op¬ 
posed by so many citizens upon the ground that it would constitute an interfer¬ 
ence with the rightful jurisdiction of the Congress of the United States over its 
seat of government, that no measure of local or municipal self-government which 
has been proposed is approved or advocated. 

We approve, however, and advocate participation by the citizens of the Dis¬ 
trict of Columbia in the Government of the Nation, and the assumption by them 
of all the duties and the extension to them of all the privileges of other citizens 
of the Nation. Such a participation is free from all objections and particularly 
from those which are urged against the making of the District of Columbia a 
self-governing State or a self-governing municipality. The withholding from a 
half million of citizens of such privileges and duties is a plain violation, of the 
principles upon which the Nation was founded. The people of the District pay 
the Federal taxes, as well as their local taxes imposed by Congress, and they 
are, like all other citizens of the Nation, in other respects, subject to its laws. 
In the making of these laws, however, they have no voice whatever. 

The people of the United States generally participate in the National Govern¬ 
ment by electing the Members of Congress, and, indirectly, the President. They 
may invoke the national judicial power in proper cases by suing or being sued 
in the Federal courts. The grant of like privileges to the citizens of the Dis¬ 
trict can be accomplished only by an amendment to the Constitution. An amend¬ 
ment has been proposed, House joint resolution No. 11 of the Sixty-sixth Con¬ 
gress, which we approve. 

This was a postal-card canvass, a postal card accompanying the platform 
which indicated what we were after, but I must say that there was a total of 
17 dissents. We sent that circular to every member of the club. 

So that I think I can come before you with this platform and say that though 
I am only the chairman of a group of the City Club, this represents the views 
of the City Club upon this subject. 

The Chairman. A question has been submitted here: “ What were you after 
in the specific letter?” 

I suppose he means, how was that specific letter worded. 

Mr. Lesh. I can put a copy of it in the record. I loaned my only copy of 
it to a newspaper man the other night and do not have one here to-day. It 
was in substance that “The suffrage group has adopted the inclosed platform. 
We would like to have your views upon it. Kindly indicate them upon the 
inclosed postal card.” 

The inclosed postal card read: “I am ”—or “ am not.” in the alternative— 
“ in favor of suffrage in the District of Columbia as outlined in your platform. 
You may ”—or “ may not ”—“ enroll me as a member of your group.” 

When I say we received affirmative answers, I mean we received a post card 
signed by a man who said, “ I am in favor of suffrage in the District of Co- 


70 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


lumbia as outlined in your platform. You may enroll me as a member of youi 
group.” 

In order that what I say, as well as what appears in the record, may have 
some continuity, I want to say that this platform considered self-government 
in the District from three angles: Self-government of the municipality; self- 
government of it as a State; and self-government as a part of the Nation. We 
say that we recognize the reasons that dictated the location of the capital in a 
place which should not be subject to the jurisdiction of any State, and that 
therefore we do not advocate the setting up of a State in the District .of 
Columbia. We say that municipal self-government presents so many difficulties 
of detail, because of the national interest here, that we do not advocate what 
is ordinarily comprehended by the term “ municipal self-government,” but we 
say that every dictate of American policy and American practice is to the 
effect that we should be a part of the Nation, and that we feel that the Burrows 
resolution, which was the one referred to in this platform of last session, and 
the Jones resolution of this session, would for all practical purposes, for all 
working purposes, be satisfactory to our citizens, as making them a part of 
the Nation, and therefore that is what we advocate. 

Coming at this time, after we have heard from the negative to a certain 
extent on the general proposition of suffrage, I think the committee might be 
interested in having a brief statement of my views in the way of reply to some 
of the arguments that have been presented against the general proposition of 
suffrage. 

The Chairman. Might I make a suggestion? 

Mr. Lesh. Certainly. 

The Chairman. There are, of course, several phases of this subject. I think 
it would be well for the speakers discussing the proposition to discuss the 
phase of the constitutional amendment providing the right to vote for Presi¬ 
dent and Vice President and representation in Congress, as distinguished from 
statehood rights, because there is a very strong sentiment along that line. 

Mr. Lesh. I may say, Mr. Chairman, any sentiment which there might be 
against the granting of full Statehood rights I would sympathize with; any 
sentiment which there might be against giving us representation in the House 
of Representatives according to our numbers, and one or two Senators, is just 
the sentiment that I come here to combat and to overcome. To that sentiment 
I would like to address myself before I am through. 

The chairman had read into the record at the close of the last session a very 
interesting letter signed by Mr. John A. Baker, one of our respected individual 
citizens of the District. I have not had an opportunity to read that letter, only 
to hear it read at the last session, but Mr. Baker wrote a similar letter to the 
House committee, and for that reason I feel that in discussing that letter I 
am discussing his letter to this committee. 

What Mr. Baker argues against is not what we are advocating. He argues 
against a change in the national control of the National Capital. So far as the 
Nation’s control of its capital is concerned, the suffrage group of the City Club 
is in entire accord with that condition, as is also the Jones resolution. It 
does not detract one iota from that provision of the Constitution which says 
that Congress shall have exclusive jurisdiction in all cases whatsoever. Any¬ 
thing of interest or of value that the committee may find in that letter is at 
least no argument against the proposition that we bring before you. 

If there is read into Mr. Baker’s argument or any similar argument, which 
is based upon the experiences of the early seventies and the “ feather duster ” 
legislature, any argument against the qualifications of the people of the District 
of Columbia—if the argument really runs in this wise: That because we or 
our fathers may have elected in the seventies some persons to represent us in 
a municipal assembly who did not do us credit, that we would elect similar 
men to represent us in the House and Senate, it seems to me that such an 
argument need only to be stated to be answered. Every Senator on this com¬ 
mittee—not every Senator, because some may be rural Senators—but many 
Senators on this committee come from places where there are elected in the 
same election, by the same electorate that elected them, petty municipal 
officers. Many men have doubtless been elected in your State to municipal or 
local assemblies who would not grace the Halls of Congress. The quality 
of the place has a good deal to do with the quality of the candidate, and 
it is not fair to us to hold up the men, some of whom I am assuming because 
of what has been said, were not fortunate selections, as any evidence that 
we are not qualified to-day, as well as any other people in the United States 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


71 


are, qualified, to select representatives in the House and Senate and presidential 
electors, or to put it concretely and more practically, elect a President 
and Vice President. The difference between the qualities of our electorate and 
the qualities of the electorate of 1870 have already been developed and will be 
developed by other speakers. 

If any such speaker appearing in opposition means because we had an unfor¬ 
tunate experience with the municipal legislature, and because we were not well 
governed locally then, that he would rather live under a well-governed despotism 
than under a democracy, than under a government that he has anything to do 
with himself, with him I personally take flat issue. 

I would like in this connection to call to the attention of the committee what 
Mr. Bryce said in his work on the American Commonwealth. 

The Chairman. Would you like to have questions asked as you go along? 

Mr. Lesh. If it does not result in taking up more time than is warranted. 

The Chairman. This is not taking a position for or against any of these 
propositions, because my mind is open on all of them, but I think it is well to 
bring out matters that occur to me while you are talking, so that you may have 
a chance to answer them. 

Mr. Lesh. I would very much prefer it. 

The Chairman. I do not think the conditions are exactly the same, even 
though the voting population of Washington would be the same as the smaller 
States, when you come to an election of Senators and Representatives, for this 
reason : The District of Columbia would be the only State with voting Senators 
and voting Representatives that would be governed by that Congress; there¬ 
fore there are local matters that would come up in this government which 
would make, to my mind^some distinction between a Senator representing the 
District of Columbia—as we are dealing with the Senate now—and a Senator 
representing a State which is governed by a State government, over which that 
Senator has absolutely no influence or in which he has no voice except his per¬ 
sonal influence and voice as a citizen of the State. It makes, to my mind, a dis¬ 
tinction which I think you should take into consideration in presenting that 
phase and answering any questions that might arise. 

Mr. Lesh. Mr. Chairman, I don’t think any person who is trying to be fair 
could fail to appreciate the fact that there is that difference, but whether that 
difference is an argument against our proposition is another thing. It is rather 
an argument in favor of our proposition. If we have the only community that 
is governed directly by Congress, so much the more we ought not to be the only 
community that has no Representative in Congress. It is an anomalous condi¬ 
tion. I know what you have' in your mind. 

The Chairman. Let me put it in a different way. I want to impress upon 
you this matter as it appeals to me just now and see if you can analyze it. It 
came in my mind for the first time when you made that statement. 

Suppose the District of Columbia should send two Senators to the Senate and 
one of those Senators should become chairman of the District Committee, which 
has charge of the government of this District. He represents not much more 
than one-half of the people here, as you would be pretty nearly evenly divided, I 
take it. He may be elected from some particular interest, some particular 
class, because Washington is not a business city. Washington differs from every 
city and State in the Union in that respect. Your classes and occupations are 
different. The only business interest you have here is the real estate business. 
•The real estate business might elect a chairman of the District Committee, 
which would run this District in the interest of that particular line of business, 
to the detriment, it might be, of the people in general. That makes a distinc¬ 
tion between a Senator elected from any other State and a Senator elected from 
the District of Columbia. 

Mr. Lesh. Mr. Chairman, in the first place, though I feel your reference was 
half jocular to real estate, there are some other businesses in the District of 
Columbia; but your statement in general that we are not a manufacturing 
community, not an industrial community- 

The Chairman. Not a farming community. 

Mr. Lesh. Not a farming community, is certainly accurate, but I do not 
follow you to your conclusion. No one can hear you, Senator Ball, make that 
statement, without arriving at the conclusion that you are thinking about 
specific recent rental legislation in the District. 

The Chairman. No ; I was not thinking of that. The thing in my mind was 
that the population, to a very large extent, might be a foreign population. 
That was the thing I had in mind, but instead of bringing it out, I let it go 
as originally stated. It is a cosmopolitan population. 



72 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


Mr. Lesh. If you mean foreign in the sense of coming from foreign countries 
to the United States, I would say hardly that. There is as little of that here 
as there is anywhere in the country. 

The Chairman. But you have a different population from that of any State. 

Mr. Lesh. I want to say, in reference to the suggestion you have made, that 
I am confident the interests of all the people of the District of Columbia would 
be just as safe with a Senator elected from the District, if he happened to be 
in such an important position as chairman of the Committee on the District 
of Columbia, as they would be in the hands of any Senator elected from else¬ 
where. If he was elected by any particular interest, as lias happened elsewhere, 
which doubtless has occurred to you, and though the particular interest would 
be a local interest, as you point out, a Senator so elected who betrayed his 
trust would be removed, just as a Senator elected from any other place would 
be removed, by the natural process of the resentment of the people, and I think 
you would find that resentment would be just as potent in the District as any¬ 
where else. There may be other objections in your mind, in reference to the 
character of our population, and I will come to that a little bit later. 

I was about to put in the record, because it seems to me it is a thing that 
should be somewhere in this record, a statement by Bryce in his work on the 
American Commonwealth. It loses its force just a little, because it is somewhat 
disconnected. This is what he says: 

“ The District of Columbia is a piece of land set apart to contain the city 
of Washington, which is the seat of the Federal Government. It is governed 
by three commissioners appointed by the President, and has no local legislature 
nor municipal government, the only legislative authority being Congress, in 
which it is not represented. Being well administered, it is held up by un¬ 
friendly critics of democracy as a model of the happy results of an enlightened 
depostism.” 

The Chairman. I might say, on the question of local government here, that 
you have a commission form of government in the city, which, in my judgment, 
is probably the best form there is for a municipality. There is no idea of 
changing that form of government, either advocated by you or any other speaker 
I have heard. The only difference between your form and the ordinary com¬ 
mission form of government is that your commissioners are appointed by the 
President of the United States instead of being appointed by some State official. 
For that reason I do think that you certainly ought to have the.right to vote 
for President and for Vice President. 

Mr. Lesh. We need only take the chairman one step further and we will be 
in entire accord. 

Referring now to what has been said in opposition here, another speaker, 
Mr. Ayers, addressed the committee quite at length with what amounted to a 
plea that the District of Columbia should accept control by the Nation. As 
far as the group I represent are concerned, we accept control by the Nation. 
All that we ask now is that it be recognized that we are a part of the Nation. 
There is no intention on the part of those who advocate the constitutional 
amendment to upset the national control of the Nation’s capital. 

The point was made also that although the Declaration of Independence was 
an ideal document American practices had not followed it. It was pointed out 
that we have many forms of government applicable to our insular possessions. 
All such arguments are quite beside the mark. It may be that having become 
somewhat of an empire in the last 20 years we have had to adopt somewhat 
the practices of empires and govern some people without their consent- The 
fact remains that the District of Columbia is the only place in Continental 
United States that does not participate in the government of the Nation. There 
was one class of people pointed out the other day, the Indian, and perhaps 
other classes, which may have been disfranchised because of certain specific 
reasons, but the only place in Continental United States where people were 
disfranchised in the Nation’s affairs for geographical reasons is the District 
of Columbia, and I might say, looking at it from that point of view, I see 
nothing in the geography or history of the District of Columbia that justifies 
that exclusion. 

It was also said that we are analogous to a military reservation, and we 
ought to accept the situation. Historically, that is not true. This Capital was 
put here pursuant to a provision of the Constitution. That particular pro¬ 
vision in the Constitution has been so often read here the last few days that I 
am not inclined to read it as a whole, but I do want to call attention to the 
fact that this argument we are an arsenal or dockyard, or analogous to them, 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


73 


to be treated likewise, arises because this District and arsenals, dockyards, 
etc., are dealt with in the same section of the Constitution. Notice the differ¬ 
ence of the language in the first clause in relation to the District of Columbia, 
which says: 

“ To exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever over such District 
(not exceeding 10 miles square) as may by cession of particular States and the 
acceptance of Congress become the seat of the Government of the United 
States.” 

In the second clause of the section or paragraph it says: 

“And to exercise like authority over all places purchased by the consent of 
the legislature of the State 'in which the same shall be, for the erection of forts, 
magazines, arsenals, dockyards, and other needful buildings.” 

Something to which the United States holds title. 

We were concerned here in the District primarily with the cession of political 
sovereignty. 

And what happened after this Constitution was adopted? The cession of this 
land w r as procured from the original proprietors by the exhibition to them of a 
plan of a city, and the public buildings were very largely erected out of the 
proceeds of sale of those parcels of the land which were dedicated to public use. 

And so far from developing the city in any way analogous to a dockyard, 
what the President did under authority from Congress was to advertise 
lots for sale over this country and in foreign countries to induce settlers to 
come here and make it what Washington by his letter expected it to be—“ the 
greatest commercial emporium in the country.” Its location was put upon 
the banks of the Potomac, because it was expected there might be a commercial 
development here. It was not the idea that there would be a development 
of forts or arsenals or dockyards or military reservations that could be fairly 
compared with the administration of such a place. Any such argument as 
that goes out historically, and it must go out if we are to agree with the 
Supreme Court of the United States in a long line of cases. 

The question of what is the status of the District of Columbia is not a new 
question. I want to call your attention to a couple of quotations from deci¬ 
sions of the Supreme Court of the United States. The question in the first 
case I refer to was a question you might be concerned with in another branch 
of this argument, but I do want to call attention to a quotation from the case. 

In Hepburn and Dundas v. Ellzey (2 Cranch, 445) the question was whether 
plaintiffs who were residents of the District could sue the defendant, a resi¬ 
dent of Virginia, in the Circuit Court of the United States for the district of’ 
Virginia under the act giving jurisdiction in cases between the citizen of 
a State in which the suit is brought and the citizens of another State. The 
court said: 

“ On the part of the plaintiffs it has been argued that Columbia is a distinct 
political society, and is, therefore, 4 a State,’ according to the definition of 
writers on general law. 

. “ This is true.” 

Is that a dockyard, or is it a political society, a unit? 

In Bank of Alexandria v. Dyer (14 Peters, 141) the question was whether 
a resident of the county of Alexandria was “ beyond the seas ” within the mean¬ 
ing of the Maryland act of limitations which excepted persons *“ beyond the 
seas.” The court said : 

“ But the county of Alexandria, in this district, can not be regarded as stand¬ 
ing in the same relation to the county of Washington that the States of this 
Union stand in relation to one another. * * * The same principle must 

apply when the county of Alexandria has become united with a portion of 
Maryland, in which this act of limitation is in force, and forms with such 
portion one political community, united under one government. Such is not 
the condition of the counties of Washington and Alexandria, which together 
constitute the Territory of Columbia, and are united under one territorial 
government. They have been formed by the acts of Congress into one separate 
political community; and the two counties which compose it resemble different 
counties in the same State, and do not stand toward one another in the relation 
of distinct and separate government.” 

In the Metropolitan Railroad v. the District of Columbia (132 U. S.) the 
Supreme Court dealt with another question. 

The Chairman. What year was that? 

Mr. Lesh. That was the One hundred and thirty-second United States. 
Some of you older lawyers, how far back was that? 


74 


SUFFRAGE 1 1ST THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


Senator King. In the seventies or eighties. 

Mr. Lesh. The question involved in that case was whether the District of 
Columbia was such a municipal corporation as would be subject to the plea 
of the statute of limitations, and the court in arriving at its conclusion that 
it was such a municipal corporation said this: 

“ One argument of the plaintiff’s counsel in this connection is, that the Dis¬ 
trict of Columbia is a separate State or sovereignty according to the definition 
of writers on public law, being a distinct political society. This position is 
assented to by Chief Justice Marshall, speaking for this court, in the case 
of Hepburn v. Ellzey (2 Cranch, 445, 452), where the question was whether a 
citizen of the District could sue in the circuit courts of the United States as a 
citizen of a State. The court did not deny that the District of Columbia is a 
State in the sense of being a distinct political community; but held that the 
word ‘ State ’ in the Constitution, where it extends the judicial power to cases 
between citizens of the several ‘ States ’ refers to the States of the Union. It 
is undoubtedly true that the District of Columbia is a separate political com¬ 
munity in a certain sense, and in that sense may be called a State; but the 
sovereign power of this qualified State is not lodged in the corporation jof the 
District of Columbia, but in the Government of the United States. Its supreme 
legislative body is Congress. The subordinate legislative powers of a municipal 
character which have been or may be lodged in the city corporations, or in the 
District corporation, do not make those bodies sovereign. Crimes committed 
in the District are not crimes against the District, but against the United 
States. Therefore, whilst the District may, in a sense, be called a State, it is 
such in a very qualified sense.” 

Now, that is the expression of the Supreme Court which is more against the 
view I have presented to you. The view I am presenting is admitted by this 
quotation—that is, that we are a political organization, a political community, 
and are not analagous to a dockyard or military reservation. 

Senator King. Is not the right of Congress coextensive with its authority 
under the power of the Constitution to make any laws or regulations respect¬ 
ing territory belonging to the United States it may choose to, subject to the 
limitations imposed upon the act of cession of that territory to the Govern¬ 
ment? 

Mr. Lesh. In dealing with property of the United States, such as arsenals 
and dockyards, the power of Congress is absolute. In dealing with the Dis¬ 
trict of Columbia you are dealing not with property owned, but with people, 
and time and time again the Supreme Court of the United States has said 
that over the District of Columbia the ordinary constitutional guarantees ex¬ 
tend. 

Senator King. You understand that under the power to control territories 
belonging to the United States the Federal Government exercised control over 
them and granted organic acts, and that the power of Congress is unlimited 
in dealing with its territories, except there shall be embodied in its action 
the spirit of the Constitution of the United States. 

Mr. Lesh. I am inclined to grant what you say, with this qualification: That 
when we came to our insular cases and began to deal with Porto Rico, there was 
a wide difference of opinion. You will remember in that first case there were 
almost as many opinions as there were members of the Supreme Court. All 
of them united on just one thing, however, and that was that the expression in 
regard to the District of Columbia being a political community entitled to rights 
under the Constitution would be adhered to. They differed widely among 
themselves as to whether that expression was applicable to Porto Rico or not. 
Therefore, I say there is a distinct, perhaps not material to me here to-day, 
between the exclusive power of Congress over the District of Columbia and 
that power of Congress over a place like Porto Rico. If it were a question of 
direct taxation there might be a difference, but there is no difference that should 
cause any Senator on this committee to differ from any view I present, because 
my only point is that we are a politicial community and are not analogous in 
any sense that we are concerned with to dockyards of which the United States 
holds the fee, even though it happens to be in the same clause of the Con¬ 
stitution. 

Senator King. I think perhaps you would not be in a materially different 
position from that occupied by Territories, such as ^Wisconsin Territory, New 
Mexico Territory, and Utah Territory, before they became States, except there 
was a cession of territory by Maryland and Virginia, and there may be some 
limitation there. 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


7b 

We had a treaty with Mexico during the time of Guadalupe Hidalgo, and 
that imposed upon the Feneral Government certain restrictions with respect to 
the nationals of Mexico who became incorporated into the territory of the 
United States. There may have been some limitation or qualification of the 
sovereignty of the United States in dealing with the District of Columbia in 
the acts of cession by the States of Maryland and Virginia, but aside from 
that, if there is no limitation or qualification there, it would seem to me that 
the power of Congress to deal with the District of Columbia would be analogous 
to its power to deal with its territories. I am not speaking of its insular pos¬ 
sessions, but the Northwest Territory, the territory it acquired from Mexico 
under the treaty with Guadalupe Hidalgo. We incorporated that into Terri¬ 
tories, gave them organic acts, but our Supreme Court has held that even though 
the citizens of those Territories are entitled to the protection of the Bill of 
Rights contained in the Constitution of the United States, their legislatures 
may not abolish the right of trial by jury with a unanimous verdict either in 
criminal cases or civil cases. 

So, if I understand your argument, I do not disagree with you, namely, that 
you are a sort of political entity, and you are entitled to certain political rights, 
entitled to the protection of the Constitution of the United States; but as to 
whether you have the riglij to vote or not, it seems to me that is clearly within 
the powers of Congress. 

Mr. Lesh. Absolutely. 

Senator King. That you do not have, by reason of the mere fact that there 
was a grant of territory, the right to vote. 

Mr. Lesh. I quite agree with you, and I think everyone with me agrees with 
you. 

Senator King. Speaking for myself, I would not waste my time discussing the 
analogy between dockyards and the District of Columbia. 

Mr. Lesh. I would not either, but for the fact that there was only One 
speaker in opposition to our proposition, and it is very hard to shoot at nothing. 
The only speaker spent a large amount of time upon this analogy, and if the 
committee listened to him I want to answer it. 

Senator King. I want to apologize for not having been present at the previous 
sessions. I have been on other committees almost constantly and on the floor 
of the Senate. I regret that I was not here to enjoy the’ benefit of your argu¬ 
ment and presentation, but I shall read the report of the hearings very carefully. 

Mr. Lesh. There are a few other cases in this same series of cases, so that 
you will have my thought completely before you. 

In Geofroy n.* Riggs (133 U. S., 258) a question arose whether the District 
of Columbia was one of “ the States of the Union ” within the meaning of that 
term as used in article 7 of the consular convention of February 23, 1853, with 
France. The court said : 

“ This article is not happily drawn. It leaves in doubt what is meant by 
4 States of the Union.’ Ordinarily these terms would be held to apply to those 
political communities exercising various attributes of sovereignty which com¬ 
pose the United States, as distinguished from the organized municipalities known 
as Territories and the District of Columbia. And yet separate communities, with 
an independent local government, are often described as States, though the 
extent of their political sovereignty be limited by relations to a more general 
government or to other countries. (Halleck on Int. Law, eh. 3, pars. 5, 6, 7.) 
The term is used in general jurisprudence and by writers on public law as 
denoting organized political societies with an established government. Within 
this definition the District of Columbia under the Government of the United 
States is as much a State as any of those political communities which compose 
the United States. Were there no other Territory under the Government of the 
United States, it would not be questioned that the District of Columbia would 
be a State within the meaning of international law; and it is not perceived that 
it is any less a State within that meaning because no other States and other 
Territory are also under the same government.” 

I did not draw from that any inference that we have the right to vote. Some 
might misunderstand me and think I meant we had a right to vote. I drew from 
that only the inference I have stated from these other authorities, that we aie a 
political community and we are to be dealt with as such a political community 
composed of people, not a piece of property owned by the United States. 

Senator King Of course, the word “ State ” is generic and, as you know, is 
used by publicists as referring to any political body, even though the right of 
franchise is denied, or substantially so. 


76 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


Mr. Lesh. Precisely. 

Senator King. It is not tantamount to meaning they have the right of fran¬ 
chise or .the right to participate in the political affairs of their own Common¬ 
wealth. 

Mr. Lesh. I did not submit the authority beyond the point I have referred 
to—that we are in any way analogous to a military reservation. I do not 
think that argument will hold. 

There is another argument or suggestion of an argument that was made by 
the opposition, and that is with respect to our colored population. When a 
person argues against suffrage in the District of Columbia upon the broad 
ground that we have a large colored population, I take it that they are not re¬ 
ferring to what might be called the intelligent colored population. They must 
object to a man as a political unit not merely upon the ground of his color, 
but upon the lamentable fact that so many persons after the Civil War, and 
in a lesser degree in later years, were illiterates and shiftless, just exactly the 
kind of population that you would expect of a race that was held in slavery and 
recently freed. It is that type of the colored population that that argument 
must be addressed to. Surely they would not come before the Senate of the 
United States, which confirmed Robert R. Terrell as justice of the peace and 
afterwards a judge of the municipal court of the "'District of Columbia five 
times, three of which times he was nominated by a Republican President and 
twice by a Democrat, Woodrow Wilson; and which confirmed other colored men 
nominated for office in the District of Columbia. It is not that type of colored 
voters that they are afraid of. It can not be that the Senate is afraid of them, 
and it is the Senate which must take the entire responsibility, because we did 
not help elect you, and we did not have anything to do with it. You confirmed 
Judge Terrell, who, by the way, is an excellent judge, as a judge of our municipal 
court, before whom I and other lawyers have to practice in the District of 
Columbia. So it can not be any argument to you that that kind of a voter is 
dangerous. 

So I inquire what are the facts concerning the colored population of the 
District of Columbia from the point of view of literacy and progress? 

The returns as to illiteracy among the colored population in the census of 
1910 show that in the District of Columbia it was 13.5, or less than half the 
corresponding figure for the United States, 30.4, and less than the same per¬ 
centages for any one of 19 States—Indiana, Missouri, Delaware, Maryland, 
Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, 
Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, 
Texas, and New Mexico. 

The percentage of school attendance among the District’s colored population, 
59.3, is considerably above the corresponding percentage of the United States 
as a whole, 47.3, and exceeds that of any one of 28 States—New Hampshire, 
Vermont, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, Dela¬ 
ware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, 
Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisi¬ 
ana, Texas, Wyoming, New Mexico, Utah, Washington, and Oregon. 

Since 1870—and it is our voting in 1870 that is always referred to, because 
that is the last time we voted—as the successive decennial censuses show, there 
has been a remarkable increase in school attendance and decrease in illiteracy 
among the colored population. The proportion attending school increase from 
about 37.5 per cent of those 5 to 19 years of age in 1870, to 50.3 per cent of 
those 6 to 20 years of age in 1910. This increase being much more, propor¬ 
tionately, than the corresponding increase for the white population from 53.1 per 
cent in 1870 to 66.2 per cent in 1910. 

It is in the decline of illiteracy, however, that the most striking progress 
is shown. The percentage of illiterates among colored persons of 10 years of 
age and over decreased from 70.5 per cent in 1870 to 13.5 per cent in 1910, 
the latter percentage being less than one-fifth as great as the former. The 
proportion of improvement in white illiteracy for the same period is just about 
the same, from 7.3 per cent in 1870 to 1.5 per cent in 1910. 

Now, if that does not answer the argument, if there is anyone who will 
come to you and say, “ I don’t care whether the colored man is educated or 
not—'I don’t care what progress they are" making—a community that has a 
large percentage among their population is not an acceptable voting commu¬ 
nity,” then I do not understand the process of reasoning that leads anyone to 
that conclusion. 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


77 


There has been a marked decline in the proportion of the colored population 
in the whole population in the District of Columbia. It was approximately a 
third of the total population in 1870, 1880, and in 1890, and is now less than a 
fourth of the population, and in no one of 11 precincts, according to the most 
recent police census, did the colored outnumber the whites. 

Senator King. Is not the objection to suffrage more strongly emphasized by 
the opposition to it for these reasons: First, that the colored people and the 
large number of Federal employees are without property, and that to confer 
upon them the control—because together they would probably have control of 
the District—of this municipality or this District would, perhaps, result in com 
plications and conflicts between the government which they might set up, whether 
it be municipal or of whatever character it might be, and the United States, 
and, second, ought not the Government of the United States to have a place 
w r here its sovereignty, not only as to unimportant things but things affecting 
the welfare of the whole scope of the activities of the Government, is unchal¬ 
lenged? It is responsible for this District. It pays a large share of the taxes 
and will be compelled to pay a large share of the taxes. If you are to have a 
dual government, an emperium in emperio, it is contended that there will neces¬ 
sarily be conflicts, disputes, controversies, that will militate against the pro¬ 
gressive development of this city, not only intellectually, not only in a municipal 
w T ay or governmental way, but from an artistic and esthetic standpoint. 

Mr. Lesh. For myself and all those that I represent and the gentlemen who 
are sitting here representing allied organizations, I agree with you absolutely. 

Senator King. I express no opinion. Do not misunderstand me, I am stat¬ 
ing opinions that have been expressed by others. 

Mr. Lesh. We agree with what you have said. We are advocating the sub¬ 
mission to the States of a constitutional amendment which will permit us to 
elect Representatives in the House of Representatives according to our numbers 
and one or two Senators, as the Congress may determine by the enabling act, 
and also presidential electors. 

Senator King. You want statehood? 

Mr. Lesh. We want not qu te statehood, though I would have to spend quite 
a while pointing out the difference—you will find it in the record—between 
what we propose and statehood. We are not asking for municipal government 
at all. We are asking that the District of Columbia be made part of the 
Nation. 

Senator King. You are not even satisfied to be a Territory? 

Mr. Lesh. Not at all. We are not. 

Mr. Brandenburg. I would like to say to the Senator that at the last meet¬ 
ing, as chairman of the brief committee of the joint citizens’ committee, I 
went upon record quite fully and clearly that the great body of our citizenship 
is opposed to any change in the form of the local government, and feel and 
bel'eve that the best form of government is such as we have through the abso¬ 
lute control by the Federal Government of this municipality. 

Mr. Lesh. In this discussion of our voting population and its qualifications, 
this question is really further along. If Congress has the wisdom we believe 
it has, it will, in the enabling act that comes after the constitutional amend¬ 
ment, insert either a property qualification, a property and educational quali¬ 
fication, or a property or educational qualification, which will eliminate the 
shiftless, the wandering persons, the persons who ought not to vote. That ques¬ 
tion will not arise unless we are going to assume that the power of Congress 
in passing the enabling act will not be wisely exercised. 

We have spent a good deal of time upon conditions that are against the 
granting of suffrage. How about conditions for it, conditions from the point 
of view of our participation in the Government of the Nation? I think many 
of you do not appreciate the s ; tuation of the voteless subjects of the Nation. 
It is difficult to imagine that some of you men who enjoy voting privileges, 
while you may realize in an academic sort of way that we do not participate 
in the Government of the Nation, that you really appreciate how we feel about 
it. Take such occasions as this: Up in the City Club we have a weekly forum. 
Before that forum come men who discuss such measures as the proposed sales 
tax in substitution for some of the excess profits and other petty taxes. We 
listen to those men. We even have an humble thought on the subject. After 
we listen and after we think, a good many of us think this: “What is the 
use of a resident of the District having any opinion whatsoever upon a national 
subiect’ We have no power. Why waste our time thinking about such things? 
Why not just devote it to chasing the almighty dollar or some other profitable 


78 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


jccupation where we can make our thought effective? We discuss before 
that same forum such subjects as the future status of the Philippines, free speech 
on the one hand as against the espionage legislation on the other. 

National subjects concern us just as much as they concern you. They may 
not in dollars and cents. So far as I can discover, they do not take a dollar 
out of my pocket or put one in. The sales tax would; the Philippine Govern¬ 
ment might not. But I have as much right as you, in your individual capacity, 
not in your representative capacity, to have a voice in tha£ and to express my 
views through my representatives in a national assembly, a real voting repre¬ 
sentative, in the Senate and in the House. That is a deprivation that I have 
to suffer which you can hardly appreciate. 

Last Friday, a week ago to-day, you men of the Senate and those of the 
House followed the body of an unknown soldier up the Avenue. Why did you 
do it? To show respect, in order that the Representative from his district 
and the Senator from his State might follow him to Arlington. We of the 
District of Columbia have our unknown dead. How do you know you accom¬ 
plished what you set out to do? It may be that man came from this jurisdic¬ 
tion that has no Representative in the House nor a Senator. The thing hits 
we residents of the District almost every day, because we are here in the 
Nation’s Capital. We see the affairs of the Nation go on, and we feel we are 
separated from them. 

The gentlemen in Boston who dumped the tea in the harbor did not put 
it there for practical reasons. The tax on tea was a small affair. It was the 
sentiment of the thing. I feel that you men from the States, every day that 
you deprive us of the right to participate in the Nation’s affairs, are doing 
us an injury. You would not keep anything from ffs that belonged to us. If 
you owed us a dollar you would pay it. I feel, this is just as important as 
dollars. I would like, if it were in my power, to make you feel it so clearly 
that when you would go out to get on a street car and see the street car con¬ 
ductor you would feel ashamed to look at him because you would know you 
were depriving him of his right as an American citizen by not putting this 
resolution on its way. 

If he does not know, if he does not care or does not feel that deprivation, 
you have done him a greater injury .than if he did feel it. If by reason of 
the passage of years there are some residents of the District who are so dead 
to the American spirit that they do not care whether they have representation 
in the House or in the Senate or have anything to do with the election of 
President.'those men have been done the greatest possible injury. You ought 
to give that man what he is entitled to. You know it is right, and I know it 
is right. You know that it is an American heritage that he ought to prize, 
and if he does not prize it you should give it to him anyhow. 

Our real difficulty is in getting attention, getting some one to listen to us. 
You know how many members there are of this committee. You know how 
many members come here. You know the members who have come here have 
given a great deal more attention to this subject than will the other Members 
of the Senate. Very few are going to read this entire written record. That is 
our objection to these Delegates and ether voteless propositions. They are 
alternative, gentlemen; you can not get away from it. 

There has not been any legislation affecting the District of Columbia since 
N178—43 years. What legislation you pass to-day, or rather that you report 
and put on its way to be passed, is going to be legislation for to-day. If it 
is to be another 43 years before we can get anything else done, gentlemen, I 
will not and I am sure some of the older gentlemen here at the table will 
not have any interest in it. As a practical matter, I would not feel that we 
are being done any more injustice than is usually done when parties are not 
attending to other person’s rights. 

If any Senator concludes that “ if we give these people the Delegate that will 
settle it and I can dismiss the matter from my mind for a while,” that is what 
will happen. I flatly dispute the statement made here the other day that the 
people of the District are willing to accept the Delegate as a compromise. I 
stated rather clearly what my authority to speak at this meeting for the people 
of the District is, and I must say that everyone I represent feels that is not an 
acceptable compromise. It is not a compromise at all; it is a surrender. A 
Delegate will not give us a vote in the House; he has only a voice. A Delegate 
will not give us a vote in the Senate, not even a voice in the Senate; no control 
over the selection of the judiciary, which lies between the President and the 
Senate; and absolutely no access to the Federal courts. It would be really like 
coming here and asking for bread and being offered a stone to be told, “ We will 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


79 


give you a Delegate to represent you in the House, and see how that works for 
a while.” If you give us a Delegate you are going to see how that works for 
a while, and these whiles are too long. 

If it be called a step toward real representation, I object to it. We are not 
following the route that people follow who take those steps first. When they 
gave a Territory—any western Territory—a Delegate it was considered a step 
toward statehood. We are never going to arrive at statehood in the District of 
Columbia. Most of us feel we never will. Statehood means that we would have 
absolute local self-government. The Capital was put here to avoid being in a 
State. I don’t feel we are ever going to take that step. Then what is the use of 
taking a primary step to which statehood has been the second step? It is a step 
that leads nowhere. 

If we think of it from that point of view why were Territories given a Delegate 
first and full statehood afterwards? Because at the time they were given rep¬ 
resentation by a Delegate they did not have the population and did not have the 
resources for statehood. Every argument for a Delegate in the District of 
Columbia is an argument for the immediate passage of our proposition, because 
we do have the resources, we do have the population. There is no occasion for 
taking two steps in the District, because the reasons that operated in favor of 
two steps—lack of resources, the lack of population, the lack of preparation—do 
not exist in the District of Columbia. 

Thirdly, it is easy enough to say theoretically that we will have a Delegate 
elected by the people of the District of Columbia, but when you come to defining 
who are those people we find other difficulties, and the framers of these bills 
had to define who would be the voters of the District of Columbia. The framers 
of the bill had to exclude those who were voting in the States or those who 
claimed residence in the States. 

Suppose we have an election for Delegate in the District of Columbia, and 
exclude the voters in the States—the persons who have a vote in the States—who 
is going to vote at that election? What reasonable man is going to give up the 
substance for the shadow? Who would surrender his residence in a State to 
claim a residence here to elect only a Delegate? That means that the portion 
of our population which consists of persons who either claim residence in those 
State, or expect to claim one at some time in the future, will not vote in such 
an election. We would have a showing of our electorate here which would be 
used as an argument against an election for Senator and Representative. The 
people would not be very much interested. I am sure I would not. I think, 
because of my particular interest in the subject matter, I would probably vote, 
but a good many people would not be enough interested in the election of a 
Delegate to vote; however, they would if they were electing somebody who had 
a vote somewhere, who had the power of a vote. 

I say that persons who propose a Delegate as a step toward getting representa¬ 
tion in the House and Senate, though they are sincere, are mistaken. They are 
hurting us rather than helping us. It will bring out a test of our voting 
strength, which will not be our true voting strength in this community, but it 
will be argued that it was. 

' As far as those whom I represent are concerned, I will say to you that if you 
are unfriendly to the proposition to give us representation in the House and 
the Senate and a voice in electing the President through the constitutional 
amendment, then do not vote for the Delegate bill, because I think there is real 
danger in it. There is always a temptation to take the thing you can get—the 
easy thing. 

Senator Capper. There are three propositions—the Jones bill, the Poindexter 
bill, and the bill introduced by myself. If those three measures were sub¬ 
mitted to a referendum of the eligible electors here, male and female, what, in 
your opinion, would be the result? About what percentage of the vote would 
be cast for the various measures? 

Mr. Lesh. My opinion, based upon the expression of all organized opinion in 
the District, is that they would vote overwhelmingly for the Jones resolution. 
They would vote dividedly upon the Delegate proposition and upon the proposi¬ 
tion to elect the commissioners. I think—and I am sure I would do all in my 
power to bring it about, and the wish is sometimes father to the thought— 
I think that because those other two propositions would interfere with the get¬ 
ting of the thing that is most valuable to us, which is representation in the House 
and in the Senate, that the other two should be voted down. Any referendum, 
however would present the difficulty of qualified voters, voters from the States. 
I feel that we should have something that is of real substance. 

83480—22 -« 


80 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


1 have consumed about an hour of the committee’s t : me. If I have anything 
further to say, I will have to ask you to give me an opportunity on some sub¬ 
sequent day, as the chairman of the joint citizens’ committee desires to address 
you. I do not feel that I have really consumed an entire hour, because a good 
deal of the time was filled with very instructive and interesting questions. 
So anything further I have to say I shall hope on some subsequent day to be 
permitted to do so. 

The Chairman. Very well. 

STATEMENT OF EDWIN C. BRANDENBURG, ESQ. 

Mr. Brandenburg. Mr. Chairman, at a recent meeting you suggested that you 
wanted something concrete, something to show the real basis for the granting 
of this right of franchise to the citizens of the District of Columbia. I hope 
that in the very short time that I shall take I may be able to present some con¬ 
crete reasons, in addition to those presented by my associate, which will justify 
you in believing that the Jones bill should become a law. 

In the first place, I appeal' as the spokesman of the citizens’ joint committee 
on national representation for the District of Columbia, and as chairman of its 
committee on brief, which is an organization supported by the Washington 
Board of Trade of more than 2,300 members, the Chamber of Commerce with 
1,100 members and more, the Federation of Citizens’ Associations, comprising 
substantially all of the local citizens’ organizations, the Central Labor Union, 
Merchants and Manufacturers’ Association, City Club, Women’s Club, and many 
other organizations. I also appear as the direct representative of the Wash¬ 
ington Board of Trade. These organizations are all united in supporting the 
Jones bill, which is in all respects similar to the Burrows bill now pending 
before the House Judiciary Committee. The result is that I represent the 
views of the people of the city of Washington. 

We have listened with interest to each of the arguments presented in sup¬ 
port of the Poindexter and Capper bills. Not a word nor argument thus far 
presented in the least militates against the position which we take in support 
of the joint resolution of Senator Jones, but, on the contrary, is full and ample 
support and justification for the enactment into law of that bill. The advo¬ 
cates for a Delegate are not because of choice, but what seemsi to be of 
necessity. 

This denial of the right of franchise raises by no means a new question. 
It was agitated early in the last century, and as time passes and the country 
grows the demand is revived. This deprivation of the right of franchise was 
responsible for the retrocession to Virginia of that part of the District of 
Columbia orginally ceded to the Federal Government. Alexandria was a 
part of that territory. In 1846 the citizens of Alexandria in mass meeting 
adopted the following resolutions : 

“ That our citizens for a long series of years have been placed in a state of 
political degradation, and virtually beyond the pale of the Constitution, in 
having withheld from them the passage of needful and wholesome laws and in 
being denied the rights and privileges enjoyed by our fellow citizens of the 
Republic.” 

And further resolved: 

“ Then we cherish the highest hopes and have the utmost confidence that the 
Congress of the United States will break the political shackles which have so 
long bound us and again elevate us to the rights and privileges of free men by 
granting retrocession with relief.” 

In consequence of this unrest and dissatisfaction on the part of the citizens 
of Virginia, the Federal Government consented that such part of the District 
as had originally been ceded by Virginia should be returned to that State. 

Georgetown, a part of the land within the 10 miles square ceded by the 
State of Maryland as early as 1803, demanded retrocession of that part of the 
District to the State of Maryland for the same reason. This demand was 
repeated for years. 

The Jones bill does not advocate statehood, nor are we contending for any 
such status. The bill as framed simply asks that we be placed in substantially 
the same status as a Territory, and when Congress subsequently determines 
that we have reached the stage justifying the granting to us of a right of 
franchise and the right to representation in Congress, Congress shall then have 
the power, the same as it now has with reference to the Territories, of granting 
us the right to participate in the councils of the Nation. While this places ns 


SUFFBAGE IN THE DISTKICT OF COLUMBIA. 


81 


upon substantially the status of the Territory, it should be with this qualifica¬ 
tion, that the bill does not give us all of the rights of the States when repre¬ 
sentation is granted, but simply the right to participate in the councils of the 
Nation through our chosen representatives. The Jones resolution asks for 
nothing more and nothing less. It simply atnends the Constitution so that when 
the time arrives Congress may, if it sees fit, grant us these rights guaranteed 
under the Constitution. 

The question may well be asked why we do not seek in the first instance an 
amendment to the Constitution which when adopted by the States would give 
us the right of franchise and representation without further action on the part 
of Congress. While I personally would advocate a bill of that character, still, 
I defer to the judgment of my associates, many of whom believe that Congress 
is more likely to pass a resolution in the form now advocated, as it leaves for 
Congress at a later date, and after the, States have acted, to confer the right 
of franchise substantially in form as in the case of the admission of a 
Territory. 

The Chairman. I take it that it is your judgment that you should be granted 
statehood. 

Mr. Brandenburg. No. I say the question arises as to whether we should 
ask in the first instance by this resolution that the States shall amend the 
Constitution to give us the right of franchise. 

The Chairman. You further say it is your personal opinion, but you differ 
from the opinion of others. 

Mr. Brandenburg. No ; you misunderstand me. I said the question might 
well be asked why we did not seek in the first instance an amendment to the 
Constitution which, when adopted by the States, would give us the right of 
franchise and representation without having to wait for further action on the 
part of Congress. 

The Chairman. It is your judgment that the government of the District 
should be taken out of the hands of Congress? 

Mr. Brandenburg. Not at all. 

The Chairman. It would be when you were granted statehood. 

Mr. Brandenburg. I did not say “ statehood,” I said “ right of franchise.” 
I mean the direct right of franchise. 

The Chairman. When you have the franchise you have the right to elect your 
own officers. 

Mr. Brandenburg. No ; we do not want that. 

The Chairman. That is the reason I wanted you to make a specific statement. 
I would misconstrue your other statement. 

Mr. Brandenburg. Absolutely not. That is not what we want. We are abso¬ 
lutely opposed to any change in the form of the local gpvernment. 

Now let us see whether the District is entitled at the present time to partici¬ 
pate in the councils of the Nation through its chosen represenatives. We 
assume that the same consideration in this respect would apply to us as when 
a Territory knocks at the doors of Congress for admission to statehood 
privilG^GS 

While Washington thought that the Federal site might at some time in the 
future become a “commercial emporium,” and possibly the greatest m the 
country, we doubt whether he or his associates, with their wonderful vision as 
to the future, realized that its population would reach the proportions which it 
has, particularly when compared with the population of States covering a vast 


tel \n examination of the census of the year 1910 discloses the fact that the pop- 
nlotion of the District of Columbia was 331,069, which exceeded in number 
Nevada Vitha population of 91,375; Wyoming, 145.965; Delaware, 202,322; 
Arizona 204 364; Idaho, 323,994; and New Mexico, 327,301. The population of 
the District, therefore, in 1910 was greater than that of any one of six States 
of the Union, each being represented in the Senate of the United States with 
two Senators and a representation in the House commensurate with their pop- 


The Chairman. Would you reason along the same line that New York City, 
with a population of 7,000,000, should have separate statehood? 

Mr Brandenburg. Not at all. My argument is that when you consider the 
question of the admission of any Territory into the Union you then considered 
the question of its population and other qualifications, and I say that so far 
as the District of Columbia is concerned, it stands m the same status as a 
Territory. 


82 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


The Chairman. I remember hearing the discussion on the question of the 
admission of the last Territory, and Mr. Lloyd was also in Congress at the time. 
It was not the population that was so much taken into consideration as it was 
the character of that population and the possibilities of the future, the number 
of square miles the Territory contained, and matters of that kind relating to 
statehood. It was argued for some time against the creation of any smaller 
States. 

Mr. Brandenburg. That is true. 

The Chairman. They objected to the smaller States and it always created 
political troubles. The smaller States had political troubles. 

Mr. Brandenburg. That is true. 

The Chairman. Fortunately, perhaps, I come from one of those smaller 
States and I know something about their political troubles. That was the line 
of argument in the Senate in reference to the admission of the Territories of 
Arizona and New Mexico to statehood—whether they had the territory and 
the character of population. You have the population, and the character of 
population, but you have not the territory for a State. 

Mr. Brandenburg. That is true; but you do not for a moment contend that 
the State of Delaware will ever surrender its rights under the Constitution to 
full representation in Congress any more than any other small State? 

The Chairman. No. Delaware was one of the original 13 States. 

Mr. Brandenburg. True; but some of the other smaller States were not. 

The Chairman. No; I think all the smaller States were. 

Mr. Brandenburg. That is true. They all were. 

The Chairman. Rhode Island and Delaware are the small States in area. 
While others gre smaller in population, yet they have a larger area. 

Mr. Brandenburg. That is true. 

Senator Capper. What do you think we may expect in the way of increase in 
population in th Diestrict during the next 25 years? 

Mr. Brandenburg. I think the growth will be equal to what it has been during 
the last 10 years, if not more. 

A like census for the year 1920 shows that the population of the District 
of Columbia had grown to 437,571, which is greater than the population of any 
one of the following States, namely, Nevada, 77,407; Wyoming, 194,402; Dela¬ 
ware, 223,003; Arizona, 333,273; Vermont, 352,421, New Mexico, 360,247; and 
Idaho, 431,826. In addition to the States named, the population of the Dis¬ 
trict, as shown by the same census, was within 8,000 of New Hampshire, which 
had 443,083, and within 12,000 of Utah, which had a population of 449,446. 
While from the very earliest we find Presidents of the United States advocating 
the appointment of a delegate to represent the interests of the District in 
the Halls of Congress, this recommendation was not due to a lack of apprecia¬ 
tion of the rights of the citizens to full voting representation, but simply that 
at the times of such recommendations the population of the District was in¬ 
sufficient in the minds of the Chief Executives for the time being to justify 
full representation. These recommendations did, however, constitute a recog¬ 
nition of the fact that our people were deprived of the sacred right of repre¬ 
sentation guaranteed to all of the people of the United States. 

Senator Sheppard. What is the population per square mile of the District 
at present? 

Mr. Brandenburg. You would have to divide that population of 437,000 by 
66 square miles. 

Senator Sheppard. I just wanted to know if you had it. 

Mr. Brandenburg. No; I have not it at present. 

Senator Sheppard. I have just been furnished with figures showing that 
the District has a population per square mile of 6,630. j 

The Chairman. What is the population of New York per square mile? 

Mr. Ayers. The Literary Digest of two weeks ago gave the density of popu¬ 
lation of every State on the first page. 

Mr. Brandenburg. Now, coming to the question of Federal taxes, many peo¬ 
ple of the country labor under the impression that the citizens of the District 
live in that happy realm where no taxes are paid but are subjects of the 
bounty of Congress. Why this misconception should exist among even people 
of intelligence is difficult to say. The actual facts are far different from sucn 
impression. It is true that our taxes are not divided between State, county, 
municipality, and for schools and improvements, but a flat assessment is levied, 
based upon a two-thirds of the actual fair market value of the property, which 
valuation is determined and ascertained from a personal inspection of the 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


83 


property, as well as a comparison with the prices of property sold in the imme¬ 
diate neighborhood. While it is frequently said that the rate of taxation is less 
than in some other localities, we have fully disproved that fact by actual 
statistics in a hearing before, a joint committee appointed by Congress. W6 
pay, therefore, not only the taxes to support the local government, but we also 
pay the same character of taxes to support the Federal Government. Now, let 
us consider the amount of Federal taxes paid to the Federal Government by 
the citizens of the District through internal revenue, including income and 
corporation taxes, as well as those upon fermented liquors, customs, and other 
miscellaneous items for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1918. For that year the 
aggregate paid by the District was $1,506,699.27, which was greater than 
similar taxes paid by any one of 20 States of the Union. 

The Chairman. You do not put Delaware in that? 

Mr. Brandenburg. I will come to Delaware in a moment. For the year end¬ 
ing June 30, 1917, the official records disclose the fact that the citizens of the 
District paid through the same sources the sum of $2,666,204.40, which was 
greater than any one of 19 States of the Union, including the great States of 
Georgia and of Iowa. It is also a fact that for this year the citizens of the 
District paid in Federal taxes twice as much as that paid by any one of 14 
States and four times as much as 8 States of the Un'on. For the year ending 
June 30, 1918, the citizens of the District contributed to the Federal Government, 
through the same sources of taxes, the sum of $12,862,474.08. For the year 
ending June 30, 1919, the District paid to the Government in satisfaction of 
like taxes the sum of $18,645,053, which amount was greater than the com¬ 
bined aggregate of similar taxes paid by the States of North Dakota, New 
Mexico, Nevada, Wyoming, and Vermont. In this connection it is interesting 
to note that the five States referred to have 18 votes in the upper and lower 
Houses of Congress, and have the right and the power to participate in de¬ 
termining how these taxes shall be raised and how disbursed, while the District 
of Columbia has absolutely no voice. The taxes paid to the Federal Government 
during this year were greater than any one of 15 States of the Un’on. As 
bearing out our claim of the injustice to the citizens of the District in denying 
them the right to have a voice in the levying of these taxes and in their dis¬ 
bursement, we desire to specifically refer to the States paying a less amount of 
taxes to the Federal Government than the District of Columbia and the num¬ 
ber of electoral votes which each State has. This table is as follows: 



Taxes paid. 

Electoral 

votes. 


Taxes paid. 

Electrical 

votes. 

District of Columbia. 

J18,645,053 
3,338,660 


Mississippi. 

SI 1,786,386 
12,556,192 
15,623,811 
6,669,794 
6,770,257 
9, 595,151 
14,709,318 
6,597, 515 

10 

North Dakota. 

5 

Arkansas. 

9 

New Mexico... 

1 968,009 

3 

Florida. 

6 

Nevada 

1,297,334 

3 

South Dakota. 

5 

Wyoming 

4,225,282 
6,700,148 
4,963, 264 
18,435,952 

3 

Montana. 

4 

Vermont 

4 

Utah. 

4 

Idaho 

4 

New Hampshire. 

4 

Alabama. 

12 

Arizona. 

3 





On the basis of taxation, therefore, we submit that the citizens of the Dis¬ 
trict have an undoubted right to demand a voice in the Halls of Congress. 

Strange it is that although the people of the District are denied those rights 
which are conducive to patriotism, the fact remains that when this great 
country of ours finds itself involved in controversy and war, that our people 
take a second place to none of the States in offering its sons to fight its cause. 

In the Civil War the District of Columbia sent 16,534 men to the front. Ac¬ 
cording to Government records, the District’s proportion of man power was 
0.35 per cent of the estimated loyal population of the country, as ascertained 
by the census of 1860, while as a matter of fact it actually sent into the serv¬ 
ice 0.62 per cent of a number about four-fifths greater than its share. 

In the Spanish War the same records disclose the fact that according to 
the census of 1900, the proportion of the man power of the District when com¬ 
pared with the United States as a whole should be 0.37 per cent, whereas it 
was actually credited with 0.46 per cent or a number about one-fourth greater 
than the number properly chargeable against the District. 

In the World War the record for the District is an enviable one. The total 
voluntary enlistments in the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps was 8,314, which 





























84 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


was greater in number than the States of Nevada, Delaware, Arizona, Wyom¬ 
ing, Vermont, New Mexico, and New Hampshire, and only a trifle less than 
three other States. The number of men inducted into the Army in the first 
and second registration was 9,631, making a total number of men entering the 
service of the Government 17,945. 

The proportion which the voluntary enlistments bear to the total number 
of enlistments and inductions by way of registration was greater for the Dis¬ 
trict of Columbia than for every State of the Union except Rhode Island, Ore¬ 
gon, Washington, California, and Maine, and more than one-third greater than 
the percentage for the country as a whole. 

The very idea that a demacratic government can declare war and call our 
sons into the service either voluntarily or by compulsion without a voice either 
in the election of the President or Vice President or in Congress is repugnant 
to every sense of decency and justice. Surprising it is that the citizens of the 
District have not long since rebelled against the existence of this anomalous 
condition. As stated by a distinguished Senator several years ago at a public 
gathering that the people of his State never for a moment would tolerate 
such a condition, but in a body would have marched to the Halls of Congress 
and demanded the right of representation. 

The Chairman. You refer to a “ democratic government.” We do not class 
this as a democratic government. We call it a Republican representative 
government. 

Mr. Brandenburg. Then, let me substitute the word “ Republican ” for 
“ Democratic.” 

The Chairman. I wish you would do that, for I think that distinction should 
be made. 

Mr. Brandenburg. Very good. I shall take very great pleasure in changing 
that, Mr. Chairman. 

Now, coming to Liberty bonds, the .District has not only contributed by its 
manhood in the defense in every war in which the United States has been 
involved, but has with the greatest liberality contributed in raising money 
to carry on these wars. 

I would like to have you give special attention to this. 

The Chairman'. I am giving attention to everything you say. Before you 
make that statement I want to recite one little incident that occurred. I was 
in Washington on business during the war and had to stay over during the 
night. I went to the theater, not being occupied that night. They raised a 
large amount that night—I do not remember how many thousand dollars— 
and I doubt whether any of that money was contributed by citizens of 
W ashington. 

Mr. Brandenburg. Why didn’t Delaware do the same thing? 

The Chairman. Delaware does not have the influx of population from other 
States. 

Mr. Brandenburg. You do not blame us for it. 

The Chairman. No ; I do not blame you for it, but it can not be argued 
that it was all given by the citizens of Washington. I made a contribution. 
I could not help it. Everybody did. We had to. 

Mr. Brandenburg. The fact remains that we did it. 

The Chairman*. You did your duty. I want you to understand that. But 
those figures do not represent amounts given by the citizens of Washington. 

Mr. Brandenburg. That may be true, Mr. Chairman. That may be true; 
but it was the result of the work of the citizens of Washington that it was 
donp. 

Senator Sheppard. You are undoubtedly entitled to credit for having gotten 
those subscriptions. 

Mr. Brandenburg. I think so, Senator. 

The Chairman. I am not taking any credit from you. 

Mr. Brandenburg. Anyhow, we raised the money, and we got it, and we 
feel very proud of it. 

The Chairman. You spoke of Delaware not doing her part in raising money 
and sending people abroad. 

Mr. Brandenburg. Delaware did her part. 

The Chairman. Of course, we have a number of wealthy people there. We 
had four people who paid $4,000,000 in 1919. 

Mr. Brandenburg. Delaware was not on the list. The amount assigned to 
the District as its quota of the first Liberty loan was $10,000,000, whereas its 
people actually subscribed, or raised, if you please, Mr. Chairman, $19,261,400. 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


85 


This makes a per capita subscription by the District of $52.50, which is nearly 
four-fifths greater than for the country as a whole, which was only $29.29, and 
exceeded that for each of the 12 Federal reserve districts except the second, 
which includes New York* 

The quota for the District on the second Liberty loan amounted to $20,000,000, 
While its people actually subscribed $22,857,050, a per capita subscription of 
$57.73, against $44.55 for the United States as a whole. 

On the third Liberty loan the quota for the District was $12,870,000, while its 
people actually subscribed $25,992,250. This makes a per capita subscription of 
$64.98, against $40.13 for the United States at large. This per capita subscrip¬ 
tion was considerably in excess of that for each of the Federal reserve districts 
except the second, which includes the State of New York. Our subscriptions 
on this loan were greater than any one of 18 States—namely, Alabama, Arizona, 
Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New 
Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, Utah, 
Vermont, and Wyoming. It is an interesting fact that in this loan the per¬ 
centage of the population of the District who subscribed was greater than any 
one of the 48 States, and was about twice as great as the percentage of the 
country as a whole which ranged from $29.07 from Iowa to $3.36 for North 
Carolina. 

On the fourth Liberty loan the quota for the District was $27,608,000, while 
the subscriptions of its people amounted to $51,262,100, or a per capita subscrip¬ 
tion of $127.61, as against $65.94 for the United States as a whole. I guess 
this is where they caught you, Mr. Chairman. In this loan the subscriptions 
of the District were greater than that subscribed in any one of 23 States— 
namely, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, 
Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, 
North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, 
Utah, Vermont, and Wyoming. The number of subscribers in the District was 
greater than any one of 25 States. According to the Treasury Department, the 
proportion of the population who subscribed to this loan was 65.8 per cent, 
which was much greater than any one of the 48 States and about three times as 
great as the corresponding percentages for the entire United States, which 
was 21.98. 

Of the war savings, the official records at the close of the year 1918 show 
that the per capita subscriptions for the District was $15.93, while West Vir¬ 
ginia followed with $11.35, &orth Carolina $8.66, Virginia $6.50, and Maryland 
$5.98. These figures, of course, relate solely to the fifth Federal reserve dis¬ 
trict in which the District is located. 

Now, let us consider the amount of postal revenue. Ignoring entirely the 
fact that three-fourths of the matter handled by the local post-office officials 
is franked, and from which no revenue is derived by the Government, we find 
that the receipts for the District of Columbia for the year ending June 30, 
1918, were $3,085,193.12, which was greater than the aggregate receipts from all 
of the post offices in any one of the following States, namely: Arizona, Ar¬ 
kansas. Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Maine. Mississippi, Montana, New Hamp¬ 
shire, New Mexico, Nevada. North Dakota. Oregon. Rhode Island, South Caro- 
linia. South Dakota, Utah. Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming. The amount 
paid the local office was greater than the aggregate receipts of all of the post 
offices in Delaware, Nevada, New Mexico, and Wyoming combined, which 
amounted to the sum of $2,897,047.05. 

The citizens of Washington appreciate the time and attention that individual 
Members of Congress have in times past given District affairs. We feel that 
we have been treated fairly, but it stands to reason that with the growth of 
the countrv and the increase of the constituency of the members of the House 
as well as of the Senate, that they can not individually devote the considera¬ 
tion and attention to District affairs that the rights of nearly a half a million 
people demand. The demand upon their time and to look after the. interests 
of their own constituents leaves but litte or none for the interests of the 
people 0 f the District. This is natural, and of which we can not complain. 
Anything they may do for the District will hardly enure to their benefit with 

their home people. „ _. 

Every law for the regulation and government of the people of the District 
must first be proposed in and adopted by Congress before it can be enforced. 
Every street or alley to be widened or eliminated, every item of expense for 
the maintenance of police, fire, or any other department of the local govern- 


86 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


ment must be authorized by Congress. Congress must declare what is an 
offense or crime. It regulates the operation of public utilities, it must 
authorize the use of the streets and parks for public demonstrations. Indeed, 
nothing can be done except with the approval of Congress. This being true, 
it is necessary that representation be provided in both Houses, who will not 
only have an intimate knowledge of the facts but able to follow up their 
convietiohs by a vote. Under existing conditions when any of our civic 
organizations, or others having the welfare of the community at heart, desire 
to have a bridge replaced or repaired, to develop its water power, or desire the 
enactment into law of some humane provision for the care of mental incom¬ 
petents, the construction of a school, the creation of parks or reservoirs, or 
indeed anything affecting the welfare of the District, we must seek the good 
offices of some Member of Congress, with no particular interest in the District, 
to introduce a bill, and then by personal solicitation, an:l often at great incon¬ 
venience and sacrifice to the Member, endeavor to enlist his support in a matter 
of no particular interest to his constituents at home. There is no Member of 
Congress to whom the District may appeal as a matter of right to father any 
piece of legislation for its welfare, with the result that time and again its 
rights have been denied. 

As early as 1880 President Andrew Jackson recognized these difficulties and 
made the following recommendation to Congress, which he repeated several 
times thereafter: 

“ Independently of the difficulty of inducing the Representatives of distant 
States to turn their attention to projects or laws which are not of the highest 
interest to their constituents, they are not individually nor in Congress col¬ 
lect‘vely well qualified to legislate over the local concerns of this District. 
Consequently its interests are much neglected and the people are almost afraid 
to present their grievances lest a body in which they are not represented, and 
which feels little sympathy in their local relations, would in its attempt to 
make laws for them do more harm than good. * * * Is it not just to allow 

them at least a Delegate to Congress, if not a local legislature to make laws 
for the District, subject to the approval or rejection of Congress? I earnestly 
recommend the extension to them of every political right which their interests 
require and which may be compatible with the Constitution.” 

If, therefore, representation in the Senate and House is provided for the 
District, we submit that while in the first place it does no more than to extend 
a right and privilege guaranteed to every citizen under the Constitution, it will 
offer relief and lighten the burden and labors of the Members of Congress and 
enable them to better exercise the power of “ exclusive jurisdiction, including 
taxation and the expenditure of public funds.” 

Now, of course, President Jackson was referring to a condition and time 
which were entirely different from to-day, and we feel very confident that the 
same conditions existed at that time, in 1880', when he sent that message time 
and time again to Congress, he would have recommended something along the 
line wh’ch we are now advocating. 

The Chairman. Do you think the affairs of the District are neglected by 
Members of Congress? 

Mr. Brandenburg. No. Those of us who have been more intimately con¬ 
nected with it think the contrary. 

The. Chairman. Do you think any Member of the House or Senate refuses to 
take up affairs of the District just as earnestly and conscientiously as those 
of his own State? 

Mr. Brandenburg. No. As I said before, we feel that Congress has been 
more than fair to us; but at the same time, Mr. Chairman, when we go to 
you or to anybody else to follow a piece of legislation for the District we 
realize full well that you have the interests of your own constituency at home, 
and that your time and attention must be devoted to their affairs, and you 
have not the time to give to us that attention. 

The Chairman. My dear man, get that out of your system. We are here 
to legislate for the Government, which is superior, in my judgment, to any 
State. The Government has control of this District. It is not a city belong¬ 
ing to the citizens of Washington. It is a national city. I am just as proud, 
and every Member of Congress is just as proud, of the city of Washington as 
any resident of Washington can be. We will do just as much for Washington; 
we are just as proud when we accomplish anything good for Washington as 
you are. I have just the same interest here that you have. You may have 
some financial interest that I have not, but so far as civic pride is concerned, 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


87 


so far as love of good government is concerned, and so far as everything that 
elevates the citizenship of Washington is concerned, the members of this com¬ 
mittee and the Members of Congress have just as much at heart as you have. 

Mr. Brandenburg. Mr. Chairman, it is because men of your caliber and your 
inclination are willing to make sacrifices that we have been as fortunate as we 
have in times past. And yet, if you will permit just for a moment to speak 
without any desire to reflect, here is a matter affecting an amendment of the 
Constitution of the United States, directly affecting half a million people; here 
is a great committee, and with only three or four of you gentlemen that have 
time enough to come out and sit and listen to our arguments. So that I say 
we are indebted to you for the interest which you gentlemen have/and your 
willingness to give your attention to these matters. 

Under the Constitution, as interpreted by the Supreme Court of the United 
States, we are to-day denied the same rights in a United States court that are 
guaranteed to citizens of the States, or for that matter, even to an alien. 
Under Article III of the Constitution defining the judicial powers, a citizen of 
one State may sue a citizen of another State in a United States court on the 
ground of diversity of citizenship, or if such nonresident is sued in a State 
court, he has the right to remove the same into the Federal court. This is a 
most valuable right and so recognized throughout the country. This provision 
of the Constitution, however, as construed by the Supreme Court of the United 
States, denied the same right to the citizens of the District. While the Supreme 
Court has held that for the purpose of direct taxation the District is a State, 
for other purposes it is not. 

The amendment of the Constitution proposed in the Jones bill gives us the 
same right in this regard as the citizens of any of the States. Is it possible 
that any argument can be found to support a continuance of the present dis¬ 
crimination between citizens of the District and the States so far as rights 
in the United States courts are concerned? As the law is now interpreted 
we have even less rights than an alien, because under the Constitution an alien 
may enter the United States courts. Before this right can be granted a citizen 
of the District of Columbia, the Constitution must be amended as set forth in the 
Jones resolution. 

Why should we, the citizens of the District of Columbia, be denied the right 
to vote for the President and Vice President? Why should we be denied the 
right to speak through-our chosen Representatives in the House and Senate as 
to the manner in which we shall be taxed and as to the disposition of those 
taxes? Why should we not be permitted through our chosen Representative 
in Congress and the President of the United States to say whether we should go 
to war or remain at peace? Why should we not have the right to participate 
in the councils of the Government to determine whether our sons shall be 
taken from our homes to be offered up as a sacrifice in contests as to which 
we have had no say? To none of these questions can a satisfactory answer be 
given. The very theory of the Government is that we were born free and 
equal. The American colonists in the Bill of Rights proclaimed to the British 
Government through formal resolution “ That the foundation of English 
liberty, and of all free government, is a right in the people to participate in 
their legislative councils.” This was followed by the Declaration of Inde¬ 
pendence, which declares: 

“ We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; 
that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that 
among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure 
these rights Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers 
from the consent of the governed.” 

While it will be observed that the declaration declares that government derive 
their just powers from the consent of the governed, that condition does not 
exist in the District of Columbia, nor would it exist by the giving to us of a 
voteless delegate. Our people have asked for bread and we are now offered a 
stone. 

It is a singular fact that of all. the Governments of the world the United States 
is the only one which denies to the people of its Capital the same national 
representation enjoyed by the people of the other cities. The three nations 
who have copied out constitutional provision for a national capital in a federal 
district controlled by the nation are Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico. Not¬ 
withstanding this control by the nation, they have found no difficulty in giving 
full national representation to the people residing in their capitals. 


88 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


In conclusion, therefore, we submit that as we ask no change in the local 
form of Government, no sound objection can be advanced for refusal to enact 
into law and submit to the States the Jones resolution. Our population justifies 
it, the amount of taxes paid in support of the Federal Government more than 
justifies it. The character and education of our people, their loyalty and 
support of the Government through Liberty loans and contribution of man 
power in the defense of the Nation, should constrain Congress without hesita¬ 
tion to enact into law the Jones resolution and grant to us the full rights of 
citizenship, and with a representation in both Houses of Congress equal to that 
granted to the several States. In all justice and fairness, there should be no 
place in the United States, of all nations, where it can be said that any of its 
people are subject to taxation without representation. Our people will no 
longer remain silent, but are now demanding through every organization in this 
city that our rights be recognized. In the language of the resolution adopted 
by the citizens of Alexandria in 1846, at the time of the retrocession to Vir¬ 
ginia of the part of the District granted to the Federal Government: “We 
cherish the highest hopes and have the utmost confidence, that the Congress 
of the United States will break the political shackles which have so long bound 
us, and again elevate us to the rights and privileges of freedom by granting ” 
not retrogression with relief as requested by them in that resolution, but the 
full rights guaranteed to every American citizen. . 

The Chairman. On what basis do you ask for representation in the two 
Houses. 

Mr. Brandenburg. We feel we are entitled to the same representation in the 
House, in accordance with the population, that is guaranteed to the States. 
We are putting it up to the Congress of the United States as to whether they 
* shall give us one Senator or two Senators. That matter was carefully debated 
and considered as to whether we should ask in the first place for two Senators. 
We reached the conclusion, with full knowledge of the attitude of the Senate of 
the United States with reference to the small States, that that was a matter that 
should be left to the Congress of the United States after the people have once 
acted. 

Now, Mr. Chairman, I want to refer to some resolutions and to read them to the 
committee. I want to read first a resolution adopted by the Washington Board 
of Trade on January 10, 1921. as follows: 

“ To the Congress of the United States: 

“ Your petitioners respectfully represent the 437,000 Americans of the District 
of Columbia constituted the only community in all the expanse of the continental 
United States—populous, intelligent, public spirited, of adequate resources— 
which is denied representation in the National Government. 

“ National representation is a distinctive basic right of the American citizen— 
in a Government of the people, by the people, for the people—in a Government 
which roots its justice in consent of the governed—in a representative Govern¬ 
ment, which inseparably couples taxation and arms bearing as a soldier with 
representation. 

“ Since the 437,000 Americans of the District pay national taxes, obey the 
national laws, and go to war in the Nation’s refense, they are entitled on Ameri¬ 
can principles to be represented in the National Government which taxes them, 
which makes all laws for them, and which sends them to war. 

In recognition and reaffirmation of the above-stated American principle we 
urge most earnestly the approval by Congress of House joint resolution No. 11, 
House joint resolution No. 32, and Senate joint resolution No. 52, proposing in 
identical terms a constitutional amendment empowering Congress to grant 
representation in House, Senate, and Electoral College to residents of the 
District of Columbia. 

“ Respectfully, yours, 

“Thomas Bradley, president; E„ C. Graham, first vice president; 
E. F. Colladay, second vice president; J. Harry Cunningham, 
secretary; Theodore W. Noyes (chairman), Frank Sprigg Perry, 
Frank .T. Hogan. W. B. Westlake, M. E. Ailes, Walter A. Brown, 
W. T. Galliher, Paul E. Lesh, C. J. Gockeler, Charles F. Crane, 
E. C. Brandenburg, Odell S. Smith, John Joy Edson, R. L. Neu- 
hauser, committee on national representation.” 

I now desire to offer to the connntitee an identical resolution adopted by the 
Washington Chamber of Commerce, signed by Robert N. Harper, president 
Washington Chamber of Commerce; A. E. Seymour, secretary; Albert Schul- 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


89 


teis chairman; A. Leftwich Sinclair, E. C. Graham, Theodore W. Noyes, Robt. 
N. Harper, James F. Oyster, Henry H. Glassie, Chapin Brown, Geo. C. Siebold, 
representatives on joint suffrage committee. 

I also wish to offer an identical resolution adopted by the Federation of 
Citizens’ Associations, signed by W. B. Westlake, president; Leland T. Ather¬ 
ton, secretary; Jesse C. Suker, chairman committee on Federal relations and 
civic betterment. 

I wish to offer an identical resolution adopted by the Central Labor Union 
on January 10, 1921, signed by N. A. James, president; Chas. Frazier, secre¬ 
tary; John B. Colpoys chairman suffrage committee. 

I now desire to offer an identical resolution adopted January 11, 1921, by 
the Association of the Oldest Inhabitants of the District of Columbia, signed 
by Theodore W. Noyes, president; Charles S. Bundy, vice president; Henry 
I. Bryan, vice president; Benjamin W. Reiss, recording secretary; John B. 
McCarthy, corresponding secretary; B. W. Summy, M. D., treasurer; John R. 
Mahoney, financial secretary; Matthew Trimble, marshal; Geo. W. Evans, 
historian; committee on national representation, Washington Topham, chair¬ 
man; James F. Oyster, G. W. Moses, Allen C. Clark, William Tindall, John 
Clagett Proctor. 

I also want to offer an identical resolution adopted by the subcommittee 
in political organizations of the citizens’ joint committee, signed by W. T. 
Galliher. E. H. Colladay, Robt. N. Harper, R. P. Andrews. 

The next is an identical resolution adopted by the Washington section of 
the Progressive Education Association, signed by May Libbey, chairman. 

Then there is an identical resolution adopted by the District of Columbia 
Congress of Mothers and Parent-Teacher Association, signed by Mrs. Giles 
Scott Rafter, president. 

I next wish to offer an identical resolution adopted by the Women’s Bar 
Association of the District of Columbia, signed by Ida May Moyers, president. 

The next resolution is an identical one adopted by the Washington Real 
Estate Board on January 10, 1921, signed -by Washington Real Estate Board, 
H. L. Rust, president; J. C. Weedon, vice president; John A. Petty, secretary. 

Then there is an identical resolution adopted by the Twentieth Century 
Club on January 3, 1921, signed by Mabel G. Swormstedt, president. 

I also wish to offer an identical resolution adopted by the Women’s City 
Club, signed by Mary O’Toole, president; Marie R. Saunders, recording secre¬ 
tary; Grace Ross Chamberlain, first vice president; Sara P. Grogan, corre¬ 
sponding secretary; Mrs. George W. Eastment. second vice president; Florence 
F. Stiles, secretary suffrage committee; Mrs. Kate Lunholm Abrams, Ethel 
M. Parks, Mrs. Frank Hiram Snell. 

I also wish to read the report of a special committee of the Washington 
Board of Trade on the political status of residents of the District of Columbia, 
which was adopted unanimously by the Board of Trade on April 24, 1916: 

“ The United States under the Constitution was, like all Gaul, divided into 
three parts: (1) States; (2) territory belonging to the United States (in¬ 
cipient States) ; and (3) the seat of the Government of the United States. 

“ (1) The Constitution itself defines indirectly the status of the citizen of 
a State and suggests his privileges, immunities, and obligations. 

“ (2) The Constitution gives to Congress the power to admit new States, 
carved out of the territory belonging to the United States, and to make all 
needful regulations respecting this territory before its people have been thus 
promoted by Congress to the status of citizens of a State. 

“(3) The Constitution (Art. I, sec. 8) creates a third subdivision which is 
neither a State nor Territory awaiting statehood. This subdivision is ‘ such 
district (not exceeding 10 miles sqaure) as may by cession of particular States 
and the acceptance of Congress become the seat of the Government of the 
United States,’ in respect to which Congress has the power to exercise exclusive 

legislation. „ 

“ The Constitution does not define the political status of the future popula¬ 
tion of 4 such district,’ and it does not explicitly and undeniably give the power 
to Congress to define or change this status so that it shall approximate 
gradually the status of the citizens of a State. 

“ in STATUS LESS THAN ALIENS. 

“ It has resulted from this unintentional omission or oversight that the resi 
dents of “ such district ’ have a standing as suitors in the courts of the United 
States which the Supreme Court has said is less than that of aliens, and a 


90 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


relation to participation in national legislation and presidential elections which 

is the same as that of aliens. . 

“It was not itended that ‘such district’ should remain uninhabited. I he 
United States advertised its Washington lots for sale not only in the Republic 
but in Europe, and attracted settlers and lot purchasers here by glowing 
assurances. George Washington predicted that the Capital’s population would 
in a century be certainly exceeded only by that of London. It was not intended 
that these inhabitants should be from any point of view permanently aliens. 

“ It was not intended that the people of the Capital should forever remain 
politically outside of the United States, no matter what the number and 
character of the population. Sympathetic commiseration of the District’s lack 
of national representation has been expressed in Congress and the White 
House at intervals from 1800 down to the present day. 

“When it had only the population and resources which entitled its people 
to the nominal representation of a Territorial Delegate, a voteless legislative 
agent, in the House (not contemplated by the Constitution), that representa¬ 
tion was vigorously urged by President Jackson, was heartily seconded by 
President Johnson, and was given under President Grant. 

“ DISTRICT NATIONAL REPRESENTATION. 

“ The words of these Presidents and of a long series of national legislators 
and other statesmen, who argued forcibly and convincingly for Territorial rep¬ 
resentation for the few residents of the District in their time, are to-day equally 
sound and convincing arguments for full national representation for the 
present District. In 1917 genuine and equitable American representation for 
the residents of the seat of the government approximates their status to that 
of citizens of a State and not of a Territory. A voteless, almost negligible, 
Territor al Delegate is obviously inadequate. 

1,1 The seat of government of the United States now has an intelligent, Ameri¬ 
can, public-spirited population exceeding those in 1910 (the latest national 
census) of six of the States-—Nevada, Wyoming, Delaware, Arizona, Idaho, and 
New Mexico. Its population then was 331,069. It is estimated now to exceed 
360,000. The population represented under the latest apportionment by each 
Representative in the House is 212,407. 

“ The time has now come when the Nation should by constitutional amend¬ 
ment either give direct to the residents of the seat of government the status 
of citizens of a State, for the purposes of national representation only, or 
should at least give to Congress the power to declare, in its discretion, when 
they shall have this status to the extent of enjoying this national representation. 

“ APPROVE CHAMBERLAIN AMENDMENT. 

“We heartily approve the Chamberlain amendment (S. J. Res. 32), which, 
retaining full and exclusive control of the Nat'on’s city by the Nation through 
Congress, for the purpose of national representation only gives the residents of 
the District the status of citizens of a State and entitles them to Senators, 
Representatives, and presidential electors. We urge that the District commit¬ 
tee of the Senate report this resolution favorably at an early day and that 
Congress promptly approve it and submit it to the State legislatures. 

“ If, however, this resolution is to be held in committee for further considera¬ 
tion and possible amendment, we suggest that the status of citizens of a State 
be given to residents of the District not only for the purpose of representation 
in Congress and the Electoral College, but for the purpose of suing and being 
sued in the courts of the United States under the provisions of Article III, 
section 2. The insertion of a very few words in the first section of the proposed 
amendment would accomplish what is sought. Thus insert in Senate joint reso¬ 
lution No. 32, after the words ‘ Vice President,’ in section 1 the words ‘ and for 
the purpose of suing and being sued in the courts of the United States under 
the provisions of Article III, section 2.’ 

“ If Congress will submit to the State legislatures the proposed constitu¬ 
tional amendment giving to the District, as part of its national representa¬ 
tion, two Senators, we heartily favor this course. We believe that the District 
is equitably entitled two Senators. But if that provision holds back the con- 
situtional amendment and the Senate will grant at this time only one Senator, 
then we assent to and urge such amendment of Senate joint resolution No. 32 
as will harmonize it on this point with the proposed constitutional amendment 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


91 


submitted by Senator Henry W. Blair in 1888, and subsequent years, which 
proposed only one Senator for the District. This, representation was sug¬ 
gested and ably advanced in pamphlet discussion by A. B. Woodward as early 
as 1800. 

“ Finally, if Congress finds itself unwilling to grant at this time, directly, 
through the Constitution either one or two Senators to the District, we urge 
that the Constitution be amended so as to give to Congress the power to grant 
this representation when in its judgment the conditions entitling the District 
to this status and this representation have been met. 

“ ANOTHER CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT. 

“ In other words, amend the Constitution of the United States by inserting 
at the end of section 3, Article IV, the following words: 

“ ‘ The Congress shall have power to admit to the status of citizens of a 
State the residents of the District constituting the seat of the government of 
the United States created by Article I, section 8, for the purpose of representa¬ 
tion in the Congress and among the electors of President and Vice President 
and for the purpose of suing and being sued in the courts of the United States 
under the provisions of Article III, section 2. 

“ ‘ When Congress shall exercise this power the residents of such District 
shall be entitled to elect one or two Senators, as determined by the Congress, 
Representatives in the House according to their numbers as determined by the 
decennial enumeration, and presidential electors equal in number to their ag¬ 
gregate representation in the House and Senate. 

“ ‘ The Congress shall provide by law the qualifications of voters and the 
time and manner of choosing the Senator or Senators, the Representative or 
Representatives, and the electors herein authorized. 

“ * The Congress shall have power to make all laws which shall be necessary 
and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing power.’ 

“ This provision giving Congress power to grant representation to the resi- 
' dents of the seat of Government (in respect to whom it has already the power 
to exercise exclusive legsilation) is appropriately inserted at the end of section 
3, Article IV, which gives to Congress power to admit new States and to make 
all needful regulations respecting the territory belonging to the United States 
from which these new States are carved. It is under this section that new 
Senators, Representatives, and Territorial Delegates come to the Capital. As 
we have seen, the three political subdivisions of the United States under the 
Constitution are States, Territories (incipient States), and the District con¬ 
stituting the seat of Government of the United States. When our proposed 
amendment is adopted this section will be rounded out and perfected, and the 
power of Congress in respect to national representation will be equitably ex¬ 
tended to all three of the parts into which the United States was thus in the 
beginning in effect divided. 

“ Our frankly avowed purpose in offering this alternative proposition is to 
secure quick congressional action upon a constitutional amendment which can 
at this session successfully run the gauntlet of the requirement of a two-thirds 
congressional vote and at the same time constitute a practical and substantial 
advance toward the goal of real national representation for the District. 

“ THE PSYCHOLOGICAL MOMENT. 

“ We think this is the psychological moment when the relations of the Capi¬ 
tal and Nation, both financial and political, are under earnest, thoughtful, 
intelligent, and sympathetic consideration to provide for Amercanizing the 
Americans living at the American seat of Government. 

“ Our alternative amendment does not directly and immediately give to 
Washingtonians national representation, but it takes that vital privilege from 
inaccessibility and places it within reach. After its adoption only a majority 
vote of Congress will be required to do equity in this matter, whereas now a 
two-thirds vote of Congress and a three-fourths vote of the State legislatures 
are necessary. 

“ We emphasize the fact that the sole effect of both proposed constitutional 
amendments is to remedy an acknowledged evil and to do equity by declaring 
or empowering Congress to declare the political and judicial status of the 
residents of the seat of Government. 


92 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OE COLUMBIA. 


“All of the controverted issues concerning the make-up of the local electorate, 
the qualification of voters, and the form of local government upon which Wash¬ 
ingtonians radically differ are postponed; to be decided by the majority vote 
of Congress after the great and vital question of the constitutional status of 
the Washingtonian has been answered. 

“ NO STRIFE-BREEDING FEATURES. 

“ Our proposition is so stripped of every strife-breeding feature and so 
centered upon a single principle of undeniable equity that all of Washington 
can and should enthusiastically get behind it and put it to success. It is so 
worded as to reduce to a minimum opposition to its immediate passage in Con¬ 
gress. Our legislators may reasonably be expected to favor this just enact¬ 
ment. 

“ Strict constructionists of the Constitution should not be opposed to this 
amendment. Any amendment of the Constitution is forbidden which shall de¬ 
prive a State, without its consent, of its equal suffrage in the Senate. Dela¬ 
ware and Rhode Island must always have in the Senate equal representation 
with New York. But enlargement of the Senate by admission of a new State 
with two Senators does not violate this prohibition, and the admission of one 
or two Senators to represent the seat of government would not have this effect. 
If the seat of government were allowed only one Senator, the disparaging in¬ 
equality of suffrage would exist only in respect to it and not to any State. No 
State would in this event, without its consent, be deprived of equal suffrage in 
the Senate. The fact that the seat of government is not a State would be 
emphasized by limiting it to a single Senator. And if it were construed in 
this connection and for this purpose as a State its deprivation of equal suffrage 
in the Senate would be with its consent. 

“APPEAL FOR UNITED ACTION. 

“ The appeal for harmonious local cooperation in this connection is irresist¬ 
ible. It is immaterial what form of local government we prefer, or what 
qualifications for voters we favor, whether we are for or against a voteless 
Delegate in the House, whether we are for or against votes 'for women, 
whether we are for or against the organic act of 1878—whether we are Demo¬ 
crats or Republicans, Progressives or Conservatives. 

“ We are all for Washington and for justice to the Washingtonian. 

“ Who is there in all the world who does not think that the 360,000 Ameri¬ 
cans in the seat of Government of the United States are entitled to representa¬ 
tion in the legislature which alone makes laws for them and taxes them and 
may send every man of them to war, perhaps to be wounded or killed? Who 
contends that these 360,000 Americans are not as intelligent, as patriotic, as 
public-spirited, as American, in short, as the same number of Americans any¬ 
where else in the United States, or as the smaller number of Americans col¬ 
lected in six of the States? 

“ What new State has ever been admitted to the Union which at the time 
of admission had so large, so intelligent, and so thoroughly American a popu¬ 
lation as the District? What new State at the time of admission, measured 
as to its taxable resources, was raising so much in local taxes, and contribut¬ 
ing so much in national taxes, as the District of Columbia? The District to¬ 
day is contributing in national taxes, to be disbursed by a legislature in which 
it is not represented, a greater amount absolutely than 22 of the States and a 
greater amount per capita than 36 of the States. 

“ STATEHOOD NOT DEMANDED. 

“ Though the District can make this showing of fitness for admission to the 
Union as a sovereign State, no demand for such admission is presented. Our 
proposed legislation confirms the national control of the Nation’s city arid the 
exclusive legislation clause of the Constitution is untouched. 

“ All that is asked is that the Constitution announce or empower Congress to 
declare that residents of the seat of government are on the same footing as 
citizens of the States in relation only to Congress, the Electoral College, and 
the court of the United States. 

“ This action, though it will Americanize a community, now politically alien, 
which is larger than Minneapolis, and will enlarge and empower Congress to 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 93 

enlarge the basis of congressional representation, does not bring into the Union 
a new sovereign State. 

“ Surely Congress will not quibble or delay in cooperating to secure by con¬ 
stitutional amendment the power to cure the evil and shame of completely non¬ 
representative government in the seat of Government of the great represenative 
Republic. The injury to the Nation from this condition is as great as that 
inflietd upon the de-Americanized community. The national shame is the 
greater. 

“ IS THE NATION IMPOTENT? 

“ It is sometimes suggested that the Nation is impotent to cure this evil ana 
this shame—that the conditions are unchangeable. 

“ This suggesion is an insult to American character and capacity. No other 
capital of any other nation is degraded below other cities in national representa¬ 
tion. No excuse is found in the fact that our capital is in a nation-controlled 
district. Mexico and Brazil and Argentina have copied this feature of the Con¬ 
stitution. As nations they control, like the United States, Federal districts 
in which their capitals are located, but they have not found themselves impotent 
to give full national representation to the residents of these capitals. 

“Is Washington in some wey defective or tainted and unfit to stand on the 
same representative footing as Buenos Aires, Rio, or Mexico City ? 

“ Is the American Republic less devoted to the principles of representative 
government and less capable of enforcing them than Argentina, Brazil, or 
Mexico ? 

“ Who will confess permanent national impotency to free residents of the seat 
of government from the class of defective and delinquent Americans? Or to rid 
the National itself of a canker at the heart of the body politic, collecting alien 
matter, and threatening blood poisoning? 

“ Let us all, as members of the board of trade and as good Washingtonians, get 
together, even at some sacrifice of personal prejudice, and make an irresistable, 
because united, appeal for the correction by Congress and the Nation of this 
obvious injustice and injury.” 

I would like to present to the committee a copy of our brief on national repre¬ 
sentation and would like to have it incorporated in the record 

(The document referred to is here printed in full, as follows :) 

National Representation for the Residents of the National Capital in 

Congress and the Electoral College With Access to the Federal 

Courts. 

I. The people of the District of Columbia, if qualified, as they are, by numbers, 
resources, intelligence, and patriotic character, should have voting representa¬ 
tion in Conrgess, which taxes and legislates for them, and in the election of 
the President of the United States who appoints their executive officers and 
judges (and also the right to sue and be sued in the Federal courts), and this 
national representation for the national capital always claimed, was omitted 
from the Constitution, not denied by it, and deferred by circumstances until 
the time for it should be ripe. 

WHAT WE ASK AS OUR RIGHT. 

We ask national representation for the people of the national capital. As 
the first step necessary, under the Constitution of the United States, we ask 
Congress to allow the people of the country to say whether Congress shall be 
empowered, by an amendment of the Constitution, to give residents of the 
District of Columbia representation in the electoral college and the Senate 
and House of Representatives of the United States, and also the right to 
sue and be sued in the Courts of the United States, in view of a decision of 
the Supreme Court denying that right. (Hepburn v. Ellzey, 2 Cranch, 445.) 
No change is proposed in the absolute control of the national capital by Con¬ 
gress, nor in the local government of the District of Columbia. 

There is general agreement among the residents of the District of Columbia 
in favor of national representation, but there is no such agreement upon other 
questions involving a proposed grant of the elective franchise. We urge the 
adoption of the proposition upon which we are united and defer those upon 
which we are not united. 


94 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


Tlie joint resolution embodying the proposition we advocate was introduced 
at the first session of the Sixty-sixth Congress in the House of Representa¬ 
tives by Mr. Burroughs of New Hampshire and Mr. Olney of Massachusetts, 
May 19, 1919 (H. J. Res. 11 and 32), and referred to the Committee on the 
Judiciary; and in the Senate by Mr. Chamberlain of Oregon, June 12, 1919 
(S. J. Res. 52), and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, and is as 
follows: 

Joint Resolution Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States giv¬ 
ing to Congress the power to extend the right of suffrage to residents of the District of 

Columbia. 

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of 
America in Congress assembled ( two-thirds of each House concurring therein), 
That the following amendment to the Constitution of the United States be 
proposed for ratification by the legislatures of the several States, which, 
when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the States, shall be valid 
as a part of said Constitution, namely, insert at the end of section 3, Article 
IV, the following words: 

“ The Congress shall have power to admit to the status of citizens of a 
State the residents of the District constituting the seat of the Government of 
the United States, created by Article I, section 8, for the purpose of repre¬ 
sentation in the Congress and among the electors of President and Vice Presi¬ 
dent and for the purpose of suing and being sued in the courts of the United 
States under the provisions of Article III, section 2. 

“ When the Congress shall exercise this power the residents of such District 
shall be entitled to elect one or two Senators, as determined by the Congress, 
Representatives in the House according to their numbers as determined by 
the decennial enumeration, and presidential electors equal in number to their 
aggregate representation in the House and Senate. 

“ The Congress shall provide by law the qualification of voters and the time 
and manner of choosing the Senator or Senators, the Representative or Repre¬ 
sentatives and the electors herein authorized. 

“ The Congress shall have power to make all laws which shall be necessary 
and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing power.” 

It will be observed that the proposed amendment does not in itself grant 
the representation and partial State status desired, but only empowers Con¬ 
gress to take such action. We ask Congress to let our fellow-countrymen say 
that Congress shall have power to provide for what we desire, believing that 
it will exercise that power with wise discretion, including the prescript 1 'on of 
proper qualifications of voters. This would give the now voteless resMents 
of the District equality in national representation with the citizens of the 
States of the Union now covering all the continental and ennfio- UO ns T T nited 
States territory, in which they alone are under taxation without representa¬ 
tion, which from the day of the Revolution has been called “ tyranny.” The 
Nation which has done justice to the voteless women of the country may be 
expected to do like justice to the voteless men and women of its National 
Capitol, who have now no voice in making the laws, which they must obey, 
or levying the taxes which they must pay. They can neither take part in the 
declaration of war nor in the making of peace, although they must respond to 
the demands of war, and have always done so generously, self-sacrificingly 
and with patriotic devotion. It is the only capital in the world, moreover, 
which has not representation in the national government like other cities, 
including Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, and Mexico City, which 'are like the 
District of Columbia, nation-controlled, Federal districts. 

THE DISTRICT DOES NOT ASK STATEHOOD THOUGH IT HAS QUALIFICATIONS. 

We do not ask statehood, and therefore there is no reason for asking the 
preliminary status of a Territory with a voteless Delegate in the House of 
Representatives—an experiment in representation which proved inadequate 
when tried by Congress between 1871 and 1874, in a form of government 
abolished as a failure. 

Yet the District has all the qualifications of population and resources for 
statehood, as well as high intelligence and public spirit in its citizenship. 
The District of Columbia, with 437,571 populaton (according to the census of 
1920), outnumbers each of seven of the States—Vermont, Idaho, New Mexico, 
Wyoming, Arizona, Delaware and Nevada; while New Hampshire and Utah 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


95 


have only slight additional population. Yet the District has no representation 
in the Electoral College or the National Legislature, in which those States 
are represented as follows: Vermont, 4; New Hampshire, 4; Idaho, 4; Utah, 
4; New Mexico, 3; Wyoming, 3; Arizona, 3; Delaware, 3; Nevada, 3. Okla¬ 
homa is the only new State which at the time of its admission had a larger 
population than that of the District of Columbia. 

Without any voice in levying the national taxes, the District of Columbia 
in the fiscal year 1919-20, paid in national taxes for national purposes $18,- 
645,053, which is more than that coptributed by each of 15 States. These 
States had in Congress, as in the Electoral College, these votes: Alabama, 12; 
Mississippi, 10; Arkansas, 9; Florida, 6; South Dakota, 5; Montana, 4; Utah, 
4; New Hampshire, 4; Idaho, 4; Vermont, 4; Arizona, 3; New Mexico, 4; 
Wyoming, 3; Nevada, 3; and contributed more that five of them put together, 
namely: North Dakota, New Mexico, Nevada, Wyoming, and Vermont. All 
combined these States paid in national taxes $17,529,433, and were represented 
by 18 Senators and Representatives in the decision as to the amount and 
kind of taxes that should be paid and also how the tax revenue should be 
spent. The District of Columbia had no voice in deciding any of these ques¬ 
tions. 

Although it had nothing whatever to say as to the declaration of war in 
April, 1917, the District sent 17,945 of is sons, an unusually large proportion of 
volunteers, and more in numbers than were contrbuted by any one of seven 
States—New Hampshire, Vermont, New Mexico, Wyoming, Arizona, Delaware, 
and Nevada—which were represented in the Congress: New Hampshire, 4; 
Vermont, 4; New Mexico, 3; Wyoming, 3; Arizona, 3; Delaware, 3; and 
Nevada, 3. 

The immortal documents, the Constitution and the Declaration of Independ¬ 
ence, are kept by the Government in the Department of State in the District 
of Columbia. Their principles of representative government of the people, by 
the people, for the people, resting on the consent of the governed and thereby 
justifying taxation and military service, should give the living inhabitants of 
the District of Columbia the same rights of national representation as their 
American brethren throughout the length and breadth of the land. The Con- 
stitition, which provided for a Federal district, omitted, uninentionnaly, pro¬ 
vision either for giving to the Americans who might reside within that District 
the right of representation in the National Government or for giving Congress 
power to grant that right. The constitutional amendment which we support 
supplies that omission, and is warranted by the growth of the population, by its 
character, by its contributions in taxes and in men in peace and in war, under 
laws which it obeys but takes no part in making. 

OUR REQUEST NOT AGAINST THE CONSTITUTION. 

There is nothing in the Constitution to preclude the amendment which is pro¬ 
posed. Even statehood could be provided for the District of Columbia by an 
amendment of the Constitution if that was desired, and there can be no ques¬ 
tion that there is no prohibition of an amendment looking to status of citizens 
of a State in specified particulars for the residents of the District of Columbia. 
The only provision of the Constitution which, it is contended, can not be 
amended is that which provides that no State shall be deprived of its equal rep¬ 
resentation in the Senate without its consent. The proposed amendment which 
we support does not affect the equal representation in the Senate of any of the 
States. 

As to the provision for the Federal District itself (Art. I, sec. 8), the terms 
are: 

“The Congress shall have power: To exercise exclusive legislation in all 
cases whatsoever, over such district (not exceeding 10 miles square) as may by 
cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat 
of the-Government of the United States.” * * * 

Roger B. Taney, as counsel in the celebrated case of Van Ness against the 
Corporation of Washington (4 Peters, 232), gives the definition generally ac¬ 
cepted when he says: 

“The Constitution of the United States declares that Congress shall have 
« exclusive legislation ’; but it does not require that the power shall be despotic 
or unlimited. It merely excludes the States from all interfering legislation.” 

But the proposed amendment does not in any way challenge the power of 
“ exclusive legislation.” On the contrary, it assumes that that power will 

83480—22—-7 




96 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


continue, and simply provides that representatives of the District of Columbia 
in the Senate and in the House shall have a vote in the exercise of that powei. 

THE RIGHT ALWAYS CLAIMED, NOT DENIED, ONLY DEFERRED. 

Nor is there anything in the history of the. dealings of the United States with 
the District of Columbia that shows an intention or desire to exclude per¬ 
manently the Americans living in the Federal District from the rights of rep¬ 
resentation in the Government of the Nation, possessed by the Americans in all 

Although at the beginning there were very few inhabitants in the District of 
Columbia, there was no question that the population would steadily increase 
until it became very large. George Washington, who was in every way the 
founder of the city, procured the site of the city from the 19 original proprietors 
partly by exhibiting a plan showing the division of the land into building lots, 
after streets and parks had been taken, which were to be sold to future citizens, 
between one-sixth and one-seventh of their original property being obtained by 
the original proprietors for that purpose, while the Government got far more 
than the amount required for erecting the public buildings from the sale of its 
portion The United States Government attracted buyers and settlers by adver¬ 
tising these Washington lots not only in this country but in Europe \\ ash- 
ington included in his city plan an unusually large area, much greater than 
that of Philadelphia, because he anticipated a large growth m later years, lhe* 
Year after he retired from the Presidency he made the prediction that a 
century hence, if this country keeps united (and it is surely its policy and inter¬ 
est to do it) will produce a city, though not as large as London, yet of a magni¬ 
tude inferior to few others in Europe, on the, banks of the Potomac. (Sparks, 
vol 1 p 237, May 16, 1798.) Washington, as is well known, thought that the 
Federal city might become a “commercial emporium,” the greatest m the coun¬ 
try. Neither he nor any of his contemporaries planned to keep its population re¬ 
stricted so that there could not be sufficient to claim national representation 

Inasmuch as until the census of 1870 the District of Columbia did not con¬ 
tain sufficient inhabitants to equal the number required in a State before it 
could be admitted to the Union, the question of national representation m 
Congress was practically an academic one before that year. It is true that it 
was claimed from the beginning that the District should have national repre¬ 
sentation, for a constitutional amendment for that purpose was advocated in 
1801 by Mr. A. B. Woodward, a resident of the District, and the agitation of 
citizens which led to the retrocession to Virginia of that portion of the District 
which she had ceded, including Alexandria, was based in part on the protest 
which had been made for years against their un-American condition. Alexan¬ 
dria citizens in mass meeting in 1846 resolved: n n . , , . 

“That our citizens for a long series of years have been placed m a state of 
political degradation, and virtually • beyond the pale of the Constitution, in 
having withheld from them the passage of needful and wholesome laws and m 
being denied the rights and privileges enjoyed by our fellow citizens of the 
Republic.” 

And further resolved: _, ,. , 

“ That we cherish the highest hopes, and have the utmost confidence, that 
the Congress of the United States will break the political shackles which have 
so long bound us, and again elevate us to the rights and privileges of free men 
by granting retrocession with relief.” 

Very little had been said on the subject of the political rights of District 
residents prior to the adoption of the Constitution. The most important state¬ 
ment was that of James Madison in the, Federalist (No. XLII) : 

“As the State,” he said, “ will no doubt provide in the compact for the rights 
and the consent of the citizens inhabiting it; as they will have had their voice 
in the election of the Government which is to exercise authority over them; as 
a municipal legislature for local purposes derived from their own suffrage, 
would of course be allowed; every imaginable objection seems to be obviated.” 

The “ voice in the election of the Government ” was, however, confined to the 
original inhabitants, but “a municipal legislature for local purposes derived 
from their own suffrage ” was allowed, in the form of municipal councils, until 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


97 


1871, and the lower branch of the legislature from 1871 to 1874. Madison’s 
statement indicates desire to give American rights and certainly does not con¬ 
template political slavery, although it does not mention national representation. 

MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENTS GIVEN UNSATISFYING. 

Congress actually made provision for municpal government for Washington, 
Georgetown, and Alexandria, continuing former arrangements in the two older 
cities and providing for Washington at different times prior to 1870 a mayor 
appointed by the President, afterwards elected by the councils, and later elected 
by the people, together with councils common to most American cities and al¬ 
ways elected here. 

This did not satisfy the political desires of either Georgetown or Alexandria. 
The citizens of Georgetown demanded retrocession to Maryland in 1803 ,and 
had considerable support in Congress, and they repeated it for years after¬ 
wards, while the Alexandria effort, begun early, was finally successful in 1846, 

Congress, however, knowing that there Was not a sufficient population in the 
District of Columbia for State representation in Congress, affected by the agi¬ 
tation for a removal of the Capital west, and finally absorbed in the questions 
growing out of slavery and their result—the Civil War—gave no serious con¬ 
sideration to the question of national representation even in the form of a 
Delegate in Congress, advocated by men in Congress as well as residents of 
the District. 

WHAT PRESIDENTS HAVE SAID OF DISTRICT REPRESENTATION. 

The first President to definitely recommend the grant to the District of a 
Territorial Delegate in Congress was Andrew Jackson in 1830. In the next 
year he repeated his recommendation and again in 1835. In his message of 
1031, President Jackson said: 

“ wa $ doubtless wise in the framers of our Constitution to place the 
people of this District under the jurisdiction of the General Government. 
But to accomplish the objects they had in view it is not necessary that this 
people should be deprived of all the privileges of self-government. Inde¬ 
pendently of the difficulty of inducing the Representatives of distant States 
to turn their attention to projects of laws which are not of the highest interest 
to their constituents, they are not individually nor in Congress collectively well 
qualified to legislate over the local concerns of this District. Consequently 
its interests are much neglected and the people are almost afraid to present 
their grievances lest a body in which they are not represented, and which 
feels little sympathy in their local relations, should in its attempt to make 
laws for them do more harm than good. * * * Is it not just to allow them 

at least a Delegate to Congress, if not a local legislature, to make laws for 
the District, subject to the approval or rejection of Congress? I earnestly 
recommend the extension to. them of every political right which their interests 
require and which may be compatible with the Constitution.” 

President Monroe, in 1818, had suggested some kind of representation for 
the District in Congress, or a separate legislature for the District. He said: 

“ By the Constitution the power of legislation is exclusively vested in the 
Congress of the United States. In the exercise of this power, in which the 
people have no participation, Congress legislates in all cases directly on the 
local concerns of the District. As this is a departure for a special purpose 
from the general principles of our system, it may merit consideration whether 
an arrrangement better adapted to the principles of our Government and to 
the particular interests of the people may not be devised which will neither 
infringe the Constitution nor affect the object which the provision in ques¬ 
tion was intended to secure.” 

William Henry Harrison was another President who realized and deprecated 
the political status of the people of the District, and said, in his message of 
1841: 

“Are there, indeed, citizens of any of our States who have dreamed of 
their subjects in the District of Columbia? Such dreams can never be real¬ 
ized by any agency of mine. The people of the District of Columbia are not 
the subjects of the people of the United States, bue free, American citizens. 
Being in the latter condition when the Constitution was formed, no words 


98 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


used in that instrument could have been intended to deprive them of that 
character. If there is anything in the great principle of inalienable rights so 
emphatically insisted upon in our Declaration of Independence, they could 
neither make, nor the United States accept, a surrender of their liberty and 
become the subjects—in other words, the slaves—of their former fellow citi¬ 
zens. If this be true—and it will scarcely be denied by any one who has a 
correct idea of his own rights as an American citizen—the grant to Congress 
of exclusive jurisdiction in the District of Columbia can be interpreted so far 
as respects the aggregate people of the United States as meaning nothing 
more than to allow to Congress the controlling power necessary to accord a 
free and safe exercise of the functions assigned to the General Government 
by the Constitution. In all other respects the legislation of Congress should 
be adapted to their peculiar position and wants and be conformable with 
their deliberate opinions of their own interests.” 

In 1866 Andrew Johnson followed Jackson’s example, saying in his message 
to Congress: 

“ Our fellow citizens residing in the District, whose interests are thus con¬ 
fided to the special guardianship of Congress, exceed in number the population 
of several of our Territories, and no just reason is perceived why a Delegate 
of their choice should not be admitted to a seat in the House of Representa¬ 
tives. No move seems so appropriate and effectual of enabling them to make 
known their peculiar condition and wants and of securing the local legislation 
adapted to them. I therefore recommend the passage of a law authorizing 
the electors of the District of Columbia to choose a Delegate, to be allowed 
the same rights and privileges as a Delegate representing a Territory.” 

In view of the size of the population the recommendations of these Presi¬ 
dents went as far in the direction of national representation as was then possi¬ 
ble. But their arguments are equally applicable to national representation as 
provided in the proposed constitutional amendment. 

Representative Dennis, of Maryland, speaking in the House in December, 
1800, said: 

“ If it should be necessary the Constitution might be so altered as to give 
them (the residents of the District) a Delegate to the General Legislature 
when their numbers should become sufficient.” 

As at that time there were no Territorial Delegates, and the title had not 
been invented, Mr. Dennis meant, of course, a full representative with the 
power to vote. And this was the attitude of others in Congress who believed 
that the people of the District should and would be entitled to representation 
in the National Legislature. 

THE TERRITORIAL DELEGATE. 

Therefore, it was natural that when Congress in 1870 came to consider the 
National Capital more seriously than ever before, it had no hesitation in giv¬ 
ing it a Territorial form of government, with a legislature and with the Dele¬ 
gate in Congress, who, however, like other Territorial Delegates, had no vote, 
and therefore no power. Circumstances that had nothing to do with the 
question of national representation of the District of Columbia brought about 
the abolition of that Territorial government and the substitution of the com¬ 
mission form of government, without any kind of representation in Congress, 
or in the Electoral College, or in the municipal government. 

The enactment of the organic act of June 11, 1878 (which is not affected by 
our resolution), providing a permanent form of government by commission for 
the District of Columbia, abolishing suffrage, and assuming for the first time 
the Nation’s share of the municipal expenses, which was placed at 50 per cent 
in a basic provision for a definite and regular contribution from the United 
States Treasury, dealt only with the local government and ignored the question 
of nat'onal representation. It utilized the power of “ exclusive legislation ” to 
the full for the protection of the national interest in the Capital. But all that 
it took from the citizens in respect to suffrage was the voting for a voteless 
Delegate and the lower house of a legislature, which had superseded the right to 
vote for mayor and councils in the cities of Washington and Georgetown. 

Real representation, national representation, the birthright of the American, 
had never been given, and therefore was not taken away. The question was 
simply postponed. Congress now has the opportunity to answer it satisfactorily. 


SUFFRAGE 11ST THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


99 


ADVANTAGES TO CONGRESS. 

Congress itself would obtain important advantages from tlie presence of duly 
elected Senators and Representatives from the District of Columbia. While 
it is the general duty of all Senators and Representatives to study and promote 
the interests of the National Capital, and while in every Congress there are men 
in both Houses who devote a great deal of time to this duty, the primary inter¬ 
ests of all Senators and Representatives are in their own States and their chief 
duty to the Nation at large. After they have done their duty to their constitu¬ 
ents and to the country generally most of them have neither the time nor 
strength for District affairs, in view of the great increase in their work. Even 
those who serve on the particular committees having to deal with those affairs, 
many of whom have rendered important services to the National Capital, per¬ 
form those special duties under the handicap of their circumstances as national 
legislators and as Representatives of particular constituencies. 

Moreover, only a resident of the District of Columbia can have the first-hand 
knowledge as to all its affairs and its public opinion, which would enable him 
to speak authoritatively as a representative in the Senate or the House. And 
such a District Senator or Representative would be able to give his colleagues 
in committee or on the floor accurate and valuable information on all District 
questions, which would lighten their labors, prevent them from making mis¬ 
takes, and enable them to better exercise the power of “ exclusive legislation,” 
including taxation and the expenditure of the public funds. 

Mr. Justice Stafford, of the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia, in 
an address at the dinner given to President Taft in May, 1909, by the citizens 
of Washington, well said of national representation: 

“ It is not alone for the District of Columbia that I bring the proposition for¬ 
ward. The interests of the Nation would be served as well. They would be 
served, first of all, by the increased efficiency and propriety of the laws that 
would be enacted; in the next place, by the fact that the Members from the 
District, being familiar with the local situation, and serving on the local com¬ 
mittees, would relieve the Members from other States of much of their present 
burdens, leaving them freer to perform the duties for which they were specially 
selected. Further, it would serve the Nation by adding to Congress men of 
weight and influence in national concerns. We should have here a constituency 
peculiarly rich in material for Representatives. But more, perhaps, than all 
the rest, the change would serve the interests of the whole Nation by recogniz¬ 
ing the grand principle of representative government here, in the most conspicu¬ 
ous position in the country, where hitherto it has been cast aside.” 


NO NEGATION, NO SURRENDER OF THE RIGHT. 

The creation of the Federal District under the exclusive control of Con¬ 
gress was intended, as the debates in Congress and the Constitutional Con¬ 
vention show, to give the National Government a separate seat free from any 
conflicting jurisdiction, where it could be secure from interference of any 
kind. Historically it was suggested by the experience of Congress in 1783 
at Philadelphia, then the Capital, with the riotous Revolutionary soldiers of 
the Pennsylvania line, whom neither Philadelphia nor Pennsylvania could 
control, and whose petitioning for their claims was so rough that it drove 
Congress into New Jersey. In the discussions, the suggestion of a State 
capital as the future seat of the National Government was treated as ob¬ 
jectionable because it involved a possible clash of authority. But in all the 
consideration of the matter there was no declaration or decision hostile to 
the thought that the future inhabitants of the National Capital would he 
given at some time when their numbers justified representation in the National 

Legislature and the Electoral College. . , 

There was no negation by the Nation and no surrender by the residents 
of the District of the hope that such representation would some day be given. 
There was no determination that the different measures of local self-govern¬ 
ment given the residents of the District took the place of national repre¬ 
sentation. No local self-government could,’with respect to the National Gov¬ 
ernment, afford the people of the District anything more than the right of 
petition which, and which alone, they already possessed as individual American 

citizens. 


100 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


THE RIGHT TO VOTE FOR PRESIDENT AS NECESSARY AS THAT TO VOTE FOR REPRE¬ 
SENTATIVES IN SENATE AND HOUSE. 

All the arguments in favor of the right of the National Capital to repre¬ 
sentation in Congress apply with equal force to its right to have a vote— 
a voice with power—in the election of the President and Vice President. The 
President of the United States appoints the executive government of the 
District of Columbia in the three commissioners, and appoints all the judges 
of the courts, from the lowest to the highest, and directly or indirectly all 
the other officers of the local government. This power is exercised necessarily 
without any effective expression of choice by the people. Obviously it affects 
vitally the life and property of every one of them. 

Can any citizen of any other city in the United States imagine what it 
would mean if by some marvelous transformation all the executive and judicial 
officers of his city should be appointed by the President of the United States, 
in whose selection he had no voice? Participation in the election of the 
President and Vice President would give the people of the District of Colum¬ 
bia a direct influence in the selection of the local government in all its 
branches. 

THE GREATER ANOMALY. 

It has been suggested that it would be an anomaly to have the District enjoy 
State representation in Congress without being a State in fact. But that 
would be a great improvement over the present anomaly of 437,000 Americans 
without the fundamental American right of representation in the body which 
taxes them and legislates for them. Moreover, the present anomaly includes 
the fact that the District of Columbia has been held by the Supreme Court 
(Geofroy v. Riggs, 133 U. S., 258) to be a State within the meaning of “ States 
of the Union ” in the treaty with France, reciprocally providing for the holding 
of real estate by the respective nationals; while the Supreme Court has also 
held (Hepburn v. Ellzey, 2 Crunch, 445) that the District is not a State within 
the meaning of the constitutional provision authorizing citizens of one State 
to sue and be sued by citizens of another State in the courts of the United 
States. Again, the Supreme Court has held (Loughborough v. Blake, 5 
Wheaton, 317) that it is a State for the purpose of direct taxation, although 
not for the purpose of apportionment of Representatives when provision for 
both purposes is coupled in the same clause of the Constitution. 

“ It is,” said Chief .Justice Marshall, in his opinion giving the judgment of 
the Supreme Court in Hepburn v. Ellzey (2 Crunch, 445), “extraordinary that 
the courts of the United States, which are open to aliens and to the citizens 
of every State in the Union, should be closed upon them (District residents).” 
This “ extraordinary ” situation the Supreme Court held resulted from a 
necessary interpretation of the Constitution so that while the District was a 
State in the significance of the term in international law, it was not a State 
of the United States within the constitutional provision authorizing citizens 
of a State to sue and be sued in the Federal courts, hence the necessity for 
the proposed amendment to the Constitution that will give the people of the 
District the same right enjoyed by aliens and citizens of States. 

The United States fought in the great war against autocracy and for the 
principles of the Declaration of Independence. The United States contended 
not simply for democracy in general but for the direct representation of every 
people in their government. While it was fighting for these American prin¬ 
ciples, it was withholding the right of representation from the Americans living 
in the District of Columbia. This inconsistency was made more striking by 
the fact that so large a proportion of the manhood of the District of Columbia 
ivas fighting against autocracy under the banner of the Republic which denied 
them the very rights they were thus claiming for others. This greater anomaly 
the men and women generally of the National Capital now ask their brethren 
and sisters of the country, who enjoy the American right of representation, 
to remove. 

II. The time is now fully ripe, as shown by the population, intelligence, and 
national contributions in men and money, in war and peace, of the District of 
Columbia. 

POPULATION. 

The census for the year 1910 gives the population of the District of Columbia 
as 331,069, which surpassed in number Nevada, with 91,375; Wyoming, 145,965; 
Delaware, 202,322; Arizona, 204,354; Idaho, 325,994; and New Mexico, 327,301. 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


101 


At that time, therefore, the population of the District was in excess of that 
of six of the States of the Union, each having two Senators and Representa¬ 
tives in proportion to the population. The same census showed the population 
of Vermont, 355,956; Montana, 376,053; and New Hampshire, 430,572. 

The census for the year 1920 shows the population of the District of Colum¬ 
bia to be 437,571, which is larger than any one of seven States, namely, Nevada, 
77,407; Wyoming, 194,402; Delaware, 223,003; Arizona, 333,273; Vermont, 
352,421; New Mexico, 360,247; Idaho, 431,826. It also shows that the popula¬ 
tion is substantially as large as New Hampshire, with 443,083, and Utah, 
449,446. 

A comparison of the census of 1910 and 1920 shows that the ratio of in¬ 
crease of population has not decreased, but we have advanced ahead of Ver¬ 
mont and are rapidly approaching the population of Utah and New Hampshire. 

The fact that the population of the District is larger than any one of the 
seven States referred to in the light of the contribution of its people toward 
the maintenance of the Government emphasizes the justice of our demands 
for equal representation. 


FEDERAL TAXES. 

There is an erroneous conception, rather widespread, that the citizens of the 
District of Columbia are dependent largely, if not wholly, upon the bounty 
of the Federal Government and that in Some mysterious way they are relieved 
from taxation. Not only is this not true so far as the contribution of its 
citizens in taxes to the local government is concerned but it is equally untrue 
so far as their relation to the Federal Government is concerned. It has been 
demonstrated time and again that the taxes paid by the citizens of the District 
toward the maintenance of the local city government are largely in excess of 
like taxes paid by residents of cities comparable in size. The burdens im¬ 
posed upon them by way of taxes upon real estate, personalty, and intangibles 
are much higher than in many other cities. 

But the District citizens are not only giving to the support of the city, they 
contribute to the support of the Federal Government largely in excess of 
citizens of many of the States. 

The official records show that the District’s contribution to the Federal 
Government by way of internal revenue, customs, and miscellaneous payments 
for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1918, was the sum of $12,862,474.08. 

The records also show that for the year 1918 the citizens of the District 
paid to the Government in satisfaction of like taxes the sum of $18,645,053, 
made up of $8,928,755.77 of income and profit taxes and $9,716,298.20 miscel¬ 
laneous taxes, which amount was greater than the aggregate of similar taxes 
paid by the States of North Dakota, New Mexico, Nevada, Wyoming, and 
Vermont combined. In this connection it is interesting to note that the five 
States referred to have 18 votes in the two houses of Congress, while the Dis¬ 
trict has none. The same records show that the payments made by the 
District to the Government through the internal revenue, customs, and mis¬ 
cellaneous taxes for the year 1919 were in excess of any one of 15 States. 

The following tabulation shows the taxes paid by each of these 15 States, 
with the number of electoral votes to which they were entitled: 



Taxes paid. 

Elec¬ 

toral 

vote. 


Taxes paid. 

Elec¬ 

toral 

vote. 

District nf Columbia. 

$18,645,053 

3,338,660 

1,968,009 

1,297,334 

4,225,282 

6,700,148 

4,963,264 

18,435,952 


Mississippi. 

$11,786,386 
12,556,192 
15,623,811 
6,669,794 
6,770,257 
9,595,151 
14,709,318 
6,597,515 

10 

North Dakota. . 

5 

Arkansas... 

9 

New Mexico 

3 

Florida. 

6 

N evada 

3 

South Dakota. 

5 

Wyoming 

3 

Montana. 

4 

V ermont 

4 

Utah. 

4 

Idaho 

4 

New Hampshire. 

4 

Alabama 

12 

Arizona. 

3 






POSTAL REVENUE. 

During the period when all mails leaving from the Washington Post Office 
were weighed, it was determined that approximately three-fourths of the matter 
handled was official, from which no revenue is derived by the Government. 





























102 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


Had it been treated as paid matter, and assuming as the post office does, that 
the postage value would be of the same ratio as for commercial mailings, the 
revenues for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1918, would have amounted to 
$12,340,292.48, or a greater revenue than the aggregate postal receipts of 41 
States of the Union. 

By reference to the annual report of the Postmaster for the fiscal year end¬ 
ing June 30, 1918, it will <be seen that the receipts for the Washington office 
were $3,085,193.12, which was greater than the aggregate receipts from all of 
the post offices in any of the following States: Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, 
Florida, Idaho, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, 
Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, 
Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming. It also shows that the total 
receipts of all post offices in Delaware, Nevada, New Mexico, and Wyoming, com¬ 
bined, amounted to only $2,987,047.05, which is less than the receipts of the 
Washington post office. 

CONTRIBUTION OF TROOPS. 

. Civil War .—The support of the United States in times of war by the Dis¬ 
trict is not limited to patriotic expressions, or is contribution in money, but 
is evidenced more strikingly in the contribution of its sons in larger numbers 
than its cpiota. Thus, in the Civil War, the District of Columbia sent 16,534 
men to the front. The District’s proportion of man power according to the 
Government was 35/100 of 1 per cent of the estimated loyal population of the 
country as ascertained by the census of 1860, whereas it actually sent into 
service 62/100 of 1 per cent, or a proportion of about four-fifths greater than 
its share. 

Spanish War .—In the war with Spain, the proportion of men which should 
properly come from the District as represented by the population as shown by 
the census for 1900 was thirty-seven one-hundredths of 1 per cent, whereas it 
was actually credited with forty-six one-lnmdredths of 1 per cent of the total 
for the United States, or about one-fourth greater than the proportion properly 
chargeable to the District. 

World War .—In the war with Germany the District of Columbia has made a 
record of which the Nation should be proud. The total voluntary enlistments in 
the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps for the District were 8,314, a number greater 
than that in eight States, viz: Nevada, Delaware, Arizona, Wyoming, Vermont, 
New Mexico, and New Hampshire, and only a trifle less than three other 
States. The number of men inducted into the Army under the first and second 
registration was 9,631, making a total of voluntary enlistments and inductions 
into the service of the Government 17,945. In other words, the percentage of 
voluntary enlistments was 46.33 per cent of the total inductions into the service. 

The proportion which the voluntary enlistments bear to the total number of 
enlistments and inductions by way of registration was greater for the District 
of Columbia than for every State of the Union except Rhode Island, Oregon, 
Washington, California, and Maine, and more than one-third greater than the 
percentage for the country as a whole. 

The Congress has power to declare war and with that goes the power to call 
into the service of the Government either voluntarily or by way of conscription 
the man power to prosecute such war. But the 437.000 citizens of the District 
are denied the right to participate in the councils of the Nat on in determining 
whether we shall war or be at peace, while the rest of the country may speak 
through their representatives in Congress. The idea is repugnant to a liberty- 
loving people. From the beginning our people have regarded as a sacred privi¬ 
lege the right to participate in the councils of the Nation. The American 
Colonists in the Bill of Rights proclaimed to the British Government through 
formal resolution “ That the foundation of English liberty and of all free 
government is a right in the people to participate in their legislative councils.” 
This was followed by the Declaration of Independence, which declares: 

“ We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that 
they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among 
these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these 
rights governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from 
the consent of the governed.” 

While the people of the District of Columbia are as much a part of the people 
of the United States as any others, they are governed without their consent; 
while they are in fact created equal they are not so treated or recognized by the 
Constitution. The two instruments referred to are as sacred in the minds of the 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


103 


American people as any ever issued by any government. That these two docu¬ 
ments were fresh in the minds of the American people at the time of the adop¬ 
tion of the Constitution Can not be doubted; that they proposed and intended 
to treat all people as being created equal in the sight of the Government can not 
be questioned. This being true, it is self-evident that when the Constitution was 
framed the failure to provide the citizens of the District with the right of repre¬ 
sentation in the councils of the Nation was an oversight. That the people of 
the District of Columbia have so long tolerated the anomalous condition is no 
answer to the claim now made that they should in fact as well as in word be 
made the equal of all other citizens of this country. 

LIBERTY LOANS. 

In addition to large contributions of its manhood in every war in which the 
United States has been involved, the citizens of the District of Columbia have 
uniformly and liberally supported the Government with funds. Strange as it 
may seem, considering the extent of territory of the District and the anomalous 
relations of its citizens to the Government, this support has been largely in 
excess of that given by very many of the States of the Union. In each of the 
five Liberty loans, it far exceeded its quota. 

The amount assigned to the District of Columbia as its quota of the first 
Liberty loan was $10,000,000, while the amount subscribed was $19,261,400. 
The per capita subscription for the District was $52.20, which was nearly four- 
fifths greater than for the country as a whole, which was only $29.29, and ex¬ 
ceeded that for each of the 12 Federal reserve districts except the second, which 
includes New York. 

The quota assigned for the District of Columbia of the second Liberty loan 
amounted to $20,000,000, whereas the subscription amounted to $22,857,050, or 
a per capita subscription of $57.78, whereas for the United States at large it 
was only $44.55. . It is interesting to note that the per capita subscription for 
the District was in excess of 10 of the Federal reserve districts and less than 
the first and second districts covering the Boston and New York districts. 

Of the third Liberty loan, the quota for the District of Columbia was 
$12,870,000, whereas the subscription amounted to $25,992,250, or a per capita 
subscription of $64.98, while that for the United States at large was only $40.13. 
The per capita subscription was considerably in excess of that in each of the 
12 Federal reserve districts except the second, which includes the State of 
New York. 

Of the third loan, the District subscribed a greater sum than any one of 18 
States, viz.: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Maine, 
Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, 
North Dakota, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont, and Wyoming, while the number 
of subscribers to the loan was greater in the District than in any one of the 18 
States just named, excluding Arkansas but including in its place Tennessee. 
The proportion of the population which subscribed to the third loan was greater 
in the District of Columbia than in any of the 48 States, and was about twice 
as great as the percentage of the country as a whole, which ranged from 29.07 
for Iowa to 3.3 for North Carolina. 

The quota assigned to the District of Columbia of the fourth Liberty loan 
was $27,608,000, while the subscriptions amounted to $51,262,100, or a per capita 
subscription of $127.61, whereas the per capita subscription for the TTm'ted 
States as a whole was only $65.94. The per capita subscription for the District 
of Columbia was again largely in excess of that of every Federal reserve 
district except the second, which includes the State of New York. 

In the fourth loan the District subscribed a greater sum than any one of 23 
States, viz, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, 
Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, 
North Carolina. North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, South 
Dakota, Utah, Vermont, and Wyoming. The number of subscribers in the 
District was greater than in any one of 25 States, which included those just 
named, with the exception of Oklahoma, but including in addition Rhode Island, 
Tennessee, and West Virginia. The proportion of the population of the District 
of Columbia subscribing to this loan according to the Treasury Department was 
65.8 per cent, which was much greater than in any of the 48 States and was 
about about three times as great as the corresponding percentage for the entire 
United States, which was 21.98 per cent. The State percentage ranged from 
28.77 for Wyoming to 6.2 for North Carolina. 


104 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


Similar success was achieved in the campaign for the fifth or Victory loan, 
when the quota of the District of Columbia was $20,307,000, and the actual sub¬ 
scription was $28,307,000, and the number of local subscribers was 132,159. 

WAR SAVINGS. 

The District of Columbia is a part of the fifth Federal reserve district, which 
comprises also Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, and South 
Carolina. The official figures by the War Savings Organization at the close of 
the year 1918 show that the per capita record for the District of Columbia was 
$15.93. West Virginia followed with a per capita subscription of $11.35, North 
Carolina $8.66, Virginia $6.50, and Maryland $5.98. Considered as a unit, there¬ 
fore, the District of Columbia led all of the States within the fifth Federal 
reserve district in its war savings per capita record. 

INTELLIGENCE. 

The District’s percentage of illiteracy for all classes of its population com¬ 
bined, according to the United States Census of 1910, was 4.9; while the average 
for the country was 7.7. The District’s percentage was less than that of any 
one of twenty-five States, including Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, 
New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Vir¬ 
ginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, 
Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, 
Arizona, and Nevada. 

The percentage of illiteracy in native whites of native parentage was six- 
tenths of 1 per cent, while the average percentage for the United States was 
3.7. Comparing the District in this respect with individual States shows that 
its percentage of illiteracy in native whites of native parentage was less than 
half that of any one of 23 States: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode 
Island. New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, 
Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North 
Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, 
Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado, New Mexico, 
and Arizona. 

The returns as to illiteracy among the colored population in the Census of 
1910 show that in the District it was 13.5, or less than half the corresponding 
figure for. the United States, 30.4, and less than the same percentages for any 
one of 19 States: Indiana, Missouri, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Vir¬ 
ginia,-North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, 
Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico. 

The school attendance in the District of Columbia, according to the census 
of 1910, was slightly better than the average in the United States and better 
than that in 23 of the States. The proportion of its population of all classes 
6 to 20 years of age that attended school for any length of time between 
September 1, 1909, and April 15, 1910. was 64.2 per cent, while the average for 
the United States was 62.3 per cent. The District's percentage in this respect 
was better than that of any one of these States : Rhode Island, New York, 
New Jersey, Pennsylvania. Illinois, North Dakota, Delaware, Maryland, Vir¬ 
ginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, 
Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and 
Nevada. 

Confining the comparison to native whites of native parentage, the Dis¬ 
trict’s percentage, 66.7, is practically the same as that for the United States 
as a whole, 66.9, and is higher than any one of 15 States: Pennsylvania, Dela¬ 
ware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, 
Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, and New Mexico. 

The percentage of school attendance among the District’s colored population, 
59.3. is considerably above the corresponding percentage of the United States 
as a whole, 47.3, and exceeds that of any one of 28 States: New Hampshire, 
Vermont, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, Dela¬ 
ware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, 
Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisi¬ 
ana, Texas, Wyoming, New Mexico, Utah, Washington, and Oregon. 

The percentage of the District’s white population in 1910 who were natives 
of native parentage, 70.6, was much higher than the corresponding percent- - 
age, 60.5, for the United States as a whole, and was higher than that for 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


105 


any one of the 28 States: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, 
Rhode Island, Connecticut;, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illi¬ 
nois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, 
Nebraska/Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, Wash¬ 
ington, Oregon, and California. 

Since 1870, as the successive decennial censuses show, there has been a 
remarkable increase in school attendance and decrease in illiteracy among 
the colored population. The proportion attending school increased from about 
37.5 per cent of those 5 to 19 years of age in 1870 to 59.3 per cent of those 
0 to 2,0 years of age in 1910, this increase being much more, proportionately, 
than the corresponding increase for the white population from 53.1 per cent 
in 1870 to 66.2 per cent in 1910. 

It is in the decline of illiteracy, however, that the most striking progress 
is shown. The percentage of illiterates among colored persons of 10 years 
of age and over decreased from 70.5 per cent in 1870 to 13.5 per cent in 1910, 
the latter percentage being less than one-fifth as great as the former. The 
proportion of improvement in white illiteracy for the same period is just about 
the same, from 7.3 per cent in 1870 to 1.5 per cent in 1910. 

There has been a marked decline in the proportion of the colored population 
in the whole population in the District of Columbia. It was approximately a 
third of the total population in 1870, in 1880, and in 1890, and is now less than 
a fourth of the population, and in no one of its 11 precincts, according to the 
most recent police census, did the colored outnumber the whites. 

That the present condition exists under a Constitution framed by the people 
and for all the people is contrary to the policy of this Government in its deal¬ 
ings with other nations. In the World War, while the President wisely in¬ 
sisted that the United States would only deal with Germany through a repre¬ 
sentative form of government, it suffered to exist in the District of Columbia 
the very thing it criticized in Europe. Fully as loyal as any citizens of any 
section of the country, equally as willing to contribute with their substance to 
the support of the Government, and as highly intellectual, the District people 
have for years been put in the same category as mental incompetents, criminals, 
and aliens. That such a condition will be permitted by the Nation at large to 
continue to exist when the facts are brought home to its attention we can not 
believe. 

III. The objections raised are baseless in law and in fact. 

THE DISTRICT NOT A GOVERNMENT RESERVATION. 

It must be acknowledged that there exists an impression that the District of 
Columbia stands on the same footing as a fort, arsenal, dockyard, or other 
place over which the Federal Government possesses a similar power of exclu¬ 
sive legislation; that it is but a tract of land set apart for purely governmental 
purposes, where the inhabitants, if not, indeed, trespassers, are little more than 
tolerated sojourners. This view has found expression even in the public 
utterances of men of the highest station, one of whom said openly that if the 
people here did not like the sort of government established over them, let them 
go somewhere else. 

This conception of the District of Columbia as a sort of Government reserva¬ 
tion is unsound from every point of view. 

In the first place, it is thoroughly unhistorical. As long ago as 1804 Chief 
Justice Marshall, while holding, with manifest reluctance, that under the pro¬ 
vision giving Federal courts jurisdiction over controversies between citizens of 
different States, the citizens of the District could not be considered citizens of 
a “ State ” in the limited and special sense in which that term was used in the 
Constitution, freely conceded, on the other hand, that “ Columbia is a distinct 
political society and is, therefore, a State according to the definitions of writers 
on general law.” (Hepburn v. Ellzey, 2 Cr., 445, 452.) 

This clear recognition of the District as “ a separate political community,” 
possessing an organic, social, and political life of its own, has been reiterated 
in subsequent cases in which the Supreme Court has placed the District, for 
certain purposes, on the same footing as the self-governing States of the Union. 
(Geofroy v. Riggs, 133 U. S., 258, 259; Metropolitan R. R. Co. v. District of 
Columbia, 132 U. S., 1, 9.) 

Nor was it the intention of the founders that the great city which they 
expected to arise on the banks of the Potomac would be a mere site for Gov¬ 
ernment offices and a place of abode only for those who were required to work 


106 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


in them. Their purpose was precisely the reverse. As Washington expressed' 
it, the expectation was that the new city should not only be the political capital 
but “become the greatest commercial emporium of the country.” 

It was for this reason that the particular site was chosen. The determining 
factor was its situation at a natural meeting point for external and internal 
transportation. Its harbor, which was then regarded as one of the best in the 
country, would afford access, on the one hand, to the great highway of the 
sea; on the other, to that line of inland navigation and portage which Wash¬ 
ington's explorations had shown to be the shortest and most practicable route 
over the mountains to the tributaries of the Ohio. The location of the Capital 
is primarily due to his far-reaching plans for the development of the Potomac 
as the most convenient highway to the West, and therefore as the main channel 
for “ the extensive and valuable trade of a rising empire.” 1 

In this there was a political as well as a commercial object. The purpose 
was to bind the growing western settlements to the older communities along 
the seaboard. But the means relied upon to accomplish the political end were 
themselves economic, and such as would lead to the growth and development 
of the new city as a commercial center. On this basis it was planned and laid 
out. Changes, then unforeseeable, chief among them being the extraordinary 
development of the railroad, have operated to disappoint in large measure the 
economic expectations of the founders. But it never occurred to them to con¬ 
ceive that the inhabitants of the populous and busy metropolis, which they 
believed would outstrip in wealth and population all of the existing towns of 
the country, and ultimately rival London itself, were condemned in advance 
to live forever deprived of all political rights and all participation in their 
government. So far from such being the case, almost the first thing Congress 
did when it took over the actual government of the District was to constitute 
the inhabitants of the infant city “ a body politic and corporate,” with the 
rights, powers, and privileges immemorially appertaining to municipal cor¬ 
porations. 2 

It is true that the Constitution provided, among the other powers of Congress, 
that it should “ exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever over such 
district (not exceeding 10 miles square) as may, by cession of particular States 
and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the Government of the 
United States.” But the vesting in a given legislature, whether national or 
local, of the power of “ exclusive legislation ” is not in any sense a negation 
of political rights in the people to be affected by the legislation. That such was 
not the contemporary idea is demonstrated not only by the fact that the 
inhabitants of the new city were constituted a body politic, but also by the fact 
that the existing local governments of the towns of Alexandria and George¬ 
town were left with all their powers unimpaired. 

The form of government which Congress then provided for the people of the 
city proved an inadequate method of meeting the immense burdens cast upon 
them in the maintenance of a city laid out with such large views. But that cir¬ 
cumstance is not to the present purpose. What we are now endeavoring to 
discover is the attitude of the fathers toward the people who were being 
actively solicited to settle here and take part in the upbuilding of the Nation’s 
Capital. All the contemporary evidence shows that the existence of political 
rights on their part was not considered incompatible with exclusive Federal 
jurisdiction. Th notion that there is any incompat bility between them results 
from a failure to .grasp the real motives and purposes underlying the constitu¬ 
tional provision for exclusive Federal legislation in the territory ceded for the 
seat of government. 


THE ONLY PURPOSE OF THE CAPITAL. 

The experience of Congress in towns subject to the territorial jurisdiction of 
a State government had shown that such a situation offered opportunities for 
disturbing conflicts of authority. Now, for the first time in history, a Federal 
Government was about to be created whose laws would operate directly upon 
the citizens of its several constituent States. But this system of dual sov¬ 
ereignty was as yet an untried experiment. Up to that time it was the States 
which had been strong and Congress which had been feeble. Madison had 


1 See letters quoted in Washington’s Interest in the Potomac Company, by H. B. Adams. 
J. H. U. Stud. Hist. Pol. Sci., Ser. 3. 

2 An act to_ incorporate the inhabitants of the city of Washington, in the District of 
Columbia, approved May 3, 1802, 2 Stat., p. 105. 




SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


107 


expressed the view in the Federalist (No. XLIV) that the balance between the 
t ederal and State governments “ was much more likely to be disturbed by the 
preponderancy of the latter than of the former. Manifestly, then, the way 
to preclude all possibility of embarrassment from divided allegiance on the 
part of the people where the Federal Capital should be located was to establish 
the seat of government in a place where there would be but one political sov¬ 
ereignty, one law, and one authority. This was the purpose, and tbe only pur¬ 
pose, of the framers of the Constitution. They accomplished it by giving Con¬ 
gress the power of “ exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever ” over the 
Federal District; in other words, by giving it “ the combined powers of a Gen¬ 
eral and of a State government in all cases where legislation is possible ” 
(Stbutenburgh v. Hennick, 120 U. S., 141, 147; Capital-Tr. Co. v. Hof., 174 
U. S., 1, 5; Kendall v. United States, 12 Pet., 524, 619.) 


EXCLUSIVE CONTROL NOT DENIAL OF POLITICAL RIGHTS, NOT CHANGED BY NATIONAL 

REPRESENTATION. 

In a word, the object of the framers was unity of governmental powers, not 
negation of political rights. 

For it is manifest that every purpose for which the power of exclusive legisla¬ 
tion was conferred can be accomplished in the fullest measure without denying 
political rights to the inhabitants. To insure the supremacy of a single legisla¬ 
tive will, obedience to a single system of law, and the total exclusion of any 
possible claim to authority on the part of another sovereignty, it is not neces¬ 
sary in the least to shut out the citizens who are subject to that law from par¬ 
ticipation in the making of it. 

The legislative power of Congress over the District of Columbia will be no 
less exclusive, the authority of the National Government no less supreme, when 
the inhabitants shall have been admitted to be heard in Congress by their 
representatives, than it is now or has been at any time in the past. 

THE POLITICAL STATUS OF DISTRICT RESIDENTS NECESSARILY POSTPONED. 

It may perhaps be asked. Why did not the Constitution make express provi¬ 
sion for the political status of the inhabitants of the Federal District? The 
answer is that the problem was necessarily one for the future. The Consti¬ 
tution did not proceed to fix their status any more than that of the inhabitants 
of the Territories. The Northwest Territory had already been ceded to the 
Federal Government, whereas there was no certainty that any State would be 
found to cede territory for a Federal District. What the Constitution makers 
were concerned with was to invest Congress with the needful power in case 
the cession were made, just as they limited themselves to conferring a power 
to make all rules and regulations for the government of the Territories. The 
location of the District, its extent (within the limit set), the character and 
dens'ty of its population were all matters wrapped in the obscurity of the future. 
To the future, therefore, must be left the solution of their ultimate place in 
the governmental system when their numbers, their wealth, and the surrounding 
circumstances might render a solution necessary. 

Let it be remembered also that there was no voice authorized to speak on 
behalf of the unknown inhabitants of this conjectural domam. 

Since the attitude of many minds toward the National Government was still 
colored by the traditional view that it was but an agency exercising certain 
powers by delegation from the sovereign States, it is hardly to be expected that 
anyone in that day should propose that a territory to be thereafter created for 
Federal purposes out of some existing State or States should be declared in 
advance to possess the attributes of a State and to be entitled to admittance 
as such on a footing of equality with the original historic Commonwealths. 

But surely it is not a fatal bar to the reasonable aspirations of a populous, 
intelligent, and highly civilized community in the twentieth century that the 
territory it occupied was in the eighteenth century only a sparsely settled wil¬ 
derness. It is by no means strange that the constitutional convention of 1787 
should have omitted to provide a political status for a community yet unborn. 
But would it not be strange, indeed, if after a century of unparalleled national 
development the Congress of 1921 should decline to provide a political status 
for a community surpassing in population, in wealth, and in the magnitude of 
its national contributions a number of the States whose Senators and Repre¬ 
sentatives have their rightful places on the floor of the two Houses? 


108 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


The physical situation existing at the framing of the Constitution had not 
greatly changed when Congress tirst organized the government of the District 
in 1802. Although planned on the most extensive scale, and expected to become 
in time a great and populous center of commercial and industrial life, the 
infant city then hardly rose to the dignity of a country village. ’The local 
governments established and continued by Congress seemed to it, therefore, to 
afford all the participation in government which the population required. 

THE INADEQUACY OF THE MUNICIPAL AND TERRITORIAL GOVERNMENTS. 

The insufficiency of the old municipal governments having in the meantime 
been fully demonstrated, Congress sought to solve its difficulties by creating, 
in 1871, a territorial government for the District of Columbia, upon the legis¬ 
lature of which one branch, elected by popular suffrage, it conferred limited 
legislative powers for local purposes. But this form of government was doomed 
to failure. 

The validity of this congressional legislation does not seem to have been 
questioned during the life of the territorial government. After it was abolished, 
however, the Supreme Court was required to pass upon the conviction of a com¬ 
mercial agent or drummer who was lined for soliciting sales for a firm located 
outside the District without having first paid the license fee imposed by an act 
of the legislative assembly upon “ every person whose business it was to offer 
for sale goods, wares, or merchandise by sample, catalogue, or otherwise.” 
Upon principles already settled in cases of similar license legislation by the 
States, the court held that the local statute “ so far as applicable to persons 
soliciting, as Hennick was, the sale of goods on behalf of firms or individuals 
doing business outside the District ” was a manifest regulation of interstate 
commerce and necessarily void. 

The subject, said the court, was one “ which calls for uniform rules and 
national legislation, and is excluded from that class which can be best regu¬ 
lated by rules and provisions suggested by the varying circumstances of 
different localities ” ; whereas all that Congress had here attempted to do had 
been to authorize the District to exercise municipal power and “ prescribe 
local regulations.” (Stoutenburgli v. Hennick, 129 U. S., 141, 147, 148.) 

But its establishment, like that of the municipal government, nearly seventy 
years before, was a clear recognition by Congress that it did not regard the 
people of this community as foreclosed, by some iron degree of fate, from the 
exercise of political rights. 

In Van Ryswick v. Roach (Mac A. & M., 11 D. C., 171), the reasoning of the 
Supreme Court of the United States was carried still further by the Supreme 
Court of the District. An act of the late legislature assembly making judg¬ 
ments of that court liens upon equitable interests in real estate was held void 
upon the broader ground that Congress could not delegate any general legis¬ 
lative power to the local government. Admitting “ that the term ‘ exclusive * 
had reference to the States and simply imports their exclusion from legislative 
control of the District,” the court grounded its decision flatly upon the 
“ fundamental rule which forbids the delegation of legislative power,” as dis¬ 
tinguished from authority to pass ordinances and regulations for the internal 
economy of the community. 

Thus the general problem for which the creation of a territorial legislature 
was an attempted solution remains unsolved. The inability of Congress to 
deal, unaided, not merely with all questions of local legislation, but with sub¬ 
stantially all details of local government, has increased in a sort of geometrical 
progression with the increase, as well in complication and difficulty as in mere 
mass, of the volume of national legislation. Not even the most obdurate op¬ 
ponent of political rights for the people here would maintain that, as a practical 
matter, it is reasonable to expect Congress to continue indefinitely to act as- 
the local legislature of the District of Columbia unless some instrumentality 
shall be devised whereby the burden of that labor may be rendered more tolerable 
and in its execution more satisfactory to those who are constrained to per¬ 
form it. 

OUR SOLUTION SIMPLEST AND BEST. 

Some solution for the problem must be found. Whatever may be its nature, 
it necessarily involves some change in the Constitution. We can not but think 
that the one we offer is the simplest and the best. 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 109 


Instead of seeking, as in 1871, to transfer the whole or some part of the 
legislative function from Congress to another body, a constitutional amendment 
which would work radical changes in the power and position of Congress, we 
propose just the opposite. We propose to add to the present powers of Con¬ 
gress the further power to admit, whenever in its judgment the time therefor 
shall have arrived, the representatives of the people of the District to a seat 
in the National Legislature. 

By this method we preserve, unimpaired, intact, the primary purpose of the 
creation of a special Federal district for the seat of Government, namely, the 
absolute supremacy therein of a single legislative will. All conceivable con¬ 
flict between local authority and Federal authority will be impossible then, 
just as the framers of the Constitution intended that it should be impossible. 
Then, as now, there will exist but one judiciary, local and Federal; one execu¬ 
tive; one legislature. The National Government will continue, as now, supreme 
in every respect. But this supremacy will no longer be exercised at the cost 
of a humiliating repudiation of the principles of American Government. It 
will be maintained without the sacrifice of the rights of nearly half a million 
of law-abiding and patriotic American citizens. 

NO SOUND OBJECTIONS ON MERITS. 

What, then, are the grounds upon which this act of justice is to be denied? 

Is it on the score of numbers? This can hardly be, for the population of the 
District to-day is greater than that of any except one of the newly admitted 
States at the date of its admittance, and it is a population which is constantly 
increasing. Indeed, the population of the District is almost twice the present 
population of the ancient Commonwealth of Delaware; more than twice that 
of the new State of Wyoming. It is larger than New Mexico with its 360,287 
people, larger even than Idaho with 431,826. Its population exceeds the com¬ 
bined population of Nevada and Arizona. 

Is it then because of the character of our population? If that be the ground, 
may we not be perinitted to ask, where is the community of equal numbers 
which shows a higher level of intelligence and education, or a higher general 
standard of life? In truth, the existing population of the District of Columbia 
represents to no small degree the results of a process of selection. It is largely 
made up of people far above the average in every respect who have been 
drawn from every State and district in the Union. We have no backward 
counties, no congested sweat-shop districts, no untouched centers of recent and 
unassimilated immigration. By whatever test it may be customary or prac¬ 
ticable to gauge the intellectual, moral, social, or economic level of a community, 
by every such test the people of the District of Columbia will be found to rank 
among the first. 

Is objection made because of any failure on our part to contribute our full 
share to the maintenance, protection, and upbuilding of the Nation? Here 
again let any test one chooses be applied. In peace, and in war, the people of 
the District of Columbia have always done more than their full share, have 
invariably given, in blood and in treasure, more than was asked or expected 
of them. Such being the incontestible facts of the case, we can do no less than 
repeat the words of the historic address of the Virg'nia House of Burgesses to 
Governor Dunmore: “ To us it appears that those who bear equally the burdens 
of government, should equally participate of its benefits.” 

NO STATE DEPRIVED OF EQUAL SUFFRAGE. 

We are not aware of any objection to the merits of our cause which would 
warrant further discussion. It has been objected, however, that one provision 
of the Const!tuition presents an insuperable obstacle to an amendment admitting 
the people of the District to representation in the Senate. 

The point made is, that to do so would necessarily affect the guaranteed 
equality of the States in that body. What is relied on, of course, is the last 
clause of Article X, “ and that no State, without its consent, shall be deprived 
of its equal suffrage in the Senate.” 

But manifestly a State is not deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate by 
reducing its existing aliquot proportion of the total number of Senators exer¬ 
cising the lawmaking power. October, it would have to be conceded that 
the original States were deprived of their equal suffrage in the Senate by the 
admission of Vermont. And so on at each succeeding admission of a State. 


110 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


What, then, does equality here mean? It means that no State shall have 
greater representation in the Senate than any other State. In what way, we 
may ask, would the presence of one or two Senators from the District of Colum¬ 
bia operate to give any State greater representation than any other State? 
Clearly the amendment we propose will not deprive any State- of its equal 
suffrage. 

This clause in Article X is the sole provision in the text of the Constitution 
to which it is possible to point as offerng even an apparent bar to what we 
propose. 

REPRESENTATION NOT CONFINED TO “ SOVEREIGN ” STATES. 

There is a somewhat vague an delusive argument, not grounded on any par¬ 
ticular provision of the Constitution, which is frequently met with. It usually 
runs in this form: Nothing but a sovereign State can have representation in the 
Senate. Representatives of the District, therefore can not he admitted there 
unless, by a total repeal of the 10-miles square provision, the District is first 
made a full-fledged State. In order to accomplish that result, Congress would 
have to surrender its control of the Federal district. 

Now, this argument, let us repeat, is not grounded upon any specific pro¬ 
vision of the Constitution, much less upon one that is immune from amendment. 
It has its origin only in certain abstract and supposedly philosophical deduc¬ 
tions regarding the nature of a Federal Government. It will not bear analysis. 
Nor does it express any cardinal principle of our Constitution. 

To say that the Senate is now composed only of Members selected by the 
States is merely to declare an obvious fact. That is simply because the Consti¬ 
tution as it stands provides that “ the Senate shall be composed of two Senators 
from each State.” Formerly it went on to say “ chosen by the legislatures 
thereof,” but that is a thing of the past. What remains, however, is no less 
subject to amendment. There is no fundamental principle of our Constitution 
which forbids its amendment so as to admit into the Senate any more than 
into the House of Representatives Members who shall represent an integral 
part of the country, such as the District of Columbia, without any necessity 
of requiring that area to be for all conceivable purposes precisely like the 
existing States. In fact the existing States are not all on an absolute parity 
outside of their equal representation in the Senate, for the scope of the law¬ 
making power of several is limited by conditions in the acts by which they were 
admitted. 

The theory we are now discussing is plainly a survival of the exploded 
notion that Senators are, in essence, ambassadors from sovereign States. This 
notion was once regarded as a necessary corollary of the most extreme form 
of the State rights doctrine. 

There was, indeed, a certain historical excuse for it, so far as the original 
13 States were concerned. But whatever warrant it once had ceased altogether 
when new States began to be carved out of the western territory. In the 
admission of new States, such as Wyoming or Idaho, Arizona or Oklahoma, 
all basis for it vanished altogether. Especially now that Senators are elected 
by the people, there is no assignable reason why the national Senate should not 
include representatives of any territory occupied by an organized body of 
American people whose numbers and importance qualify them to be repre¬ 
sented. It is not at all necessary that such a body should have the same 
kind of local government as is possessed by the States. 

Since Senators are now everywhere elected directly by the people the people 
of the District of Columbia, to the extent of their right to do the same thing, 
would stand in the same position as the people of a State. For all purposes 
conneced with representation in the national Congress that is sufficient. State 
legislatures no longer elect Senators. It is manifestly immaterial, then, for 
the purpose that the District would have no legislature. In truth, State legis- 
laturs when they elected Senators did not act as legislatures in the real sence 
of law-making assemblies, but only as specially designated bodies of electors. 
In performing that function the members of the two houses of each State legis¬ 
lature acted without regard to the extent of, and wholly apart from, their 
functions as lawmakers for the local community. 

The fallacy of the whole contention under consideration consists in confusing 
the traditional conception of the States as a group of sovereign Common¬ 
wealths combining in their corporate capacities to form a limited Union, with 
the essential and permanent constitutional conception of representative gov- 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


Ill 


ernment by Houses composed of Representatives chosen by the people of de¬ 
fined territorial areas having such a socially organized life as constitutes them 
convenient and reasonable units of political action. 

The District of Columbia presents the case of just such a political unit. 
Neither in the fundamental framework of the Constitution nor in the text of 
any of its provisions is there anything incompatible with recognition as such. 

When Burke was warring with furious fervor against the doctrines of the 
French Revolution he declared, “ The rights of men in governments are their 
advantages.” We have come to realize that there must be a deeper basis for 
that irresistible desire of men everywhere for a voice in the governments 
which mold their destinies. 

SUMMARY OF ADVANTAGES EXPECTED. 

But since the question is one that may fairly be put to us^ it seems proper 
that we should sum up in plain words what we believe to be the advantages 
which will follow from granting the people of the District a voice in the 
National Legislature. Those advantages we conceive in the main to be three: 

In the first place, it will materially assist Congress in the dispatch of its 
business. Just as the presence of accredited Representatives from each and 
every State aids the general body in solving the problems which affect the 
people of each State, either directly or indirectly, as a member of the Union, 
so the presence of similar representatives of our people will necessarily aid in 
the disposition of the questions concerning the community which more and 
more press upon the attention of Congress in its capacity as the constitutional 
legislature of the District. The execution of its higher functions as the 
Legislature of the Nation will be just so much facilitated. 

In the second place, it will assist us to a better government. Participation 
in the work of legislation by men entitled by their own direct and intimate 
personal knowledge, as well as authorized by the mandate of the people, to 
speak and act in our behalf can not fail to insure the enactment of legislation 
suited to our real needs, the correction of neglected evils in our legal system, 
the due maintenance of our schools and public institutions, the passage of 
enlightened social legislation, the solution of the thousand and one problems 
of modern life which confront us just as insistently as they confront the people 
of Maine or Oklahoma. What sort of legislation would the good people of 
those States expect to get from a local legislature, however well disposed, from 
which their every inhabitant was rigidly excluded? 

Finally, we count upon this recognition of our rights as citizens to work a 
transformation in our own spiritual life. We expect to see a new birth of 
public spirit, of civic pride, of social energy, of democratic idealism, of all, 
in fine, that the world, in these latter times, has come to know and love and 
trust as Americanism. 

Nor need anyone fear that the beauty and grandeur of the Nation’s Capital 
will be marred or its prosperity retarded. We are deeply concerned with the 
material upbuilding of this community. We, too, wish to see full scope given 
to the energy, industry, and talent of our people. We look forward to a Capital 
which in beauty and splendor shall rival the most famous cities of the ancient 
and modern world. But material prosperity is not our sole preoccupation. 
Neither architectural magnificence nor increase in public wealth, nor even the 
widespread diffusion of material comfort is for us the real end of life. What 
we hope and pray for is that our National Capital shall be one of the great 
spiritual centers of the country; that it shall unite and express all that is best 
and worthiest in American life; that every section and element of our vast 
people shall here behold, as in a mirror, a reflection of whatever is finest and 
noblest in themselves. 

In what way, we ask, can this hope be fulfilled otherwise than by admitting 
the inhabitants, the citizens of the National Capital to their rightful partici¬ 
pation in the government of their own country? For a community debarred 
from the exercise of political rights, however cultivated or wealthy, can never 
truly reflect the national character of the American people. 

Representation in the Electoral College will yield results equally advan¬ 
tageous in the executive government of the Capital. 

IV. Every other national capital, including the other three Federal districts, 
has full representation in the national Government of its country. 


83480—22-8 



112 


SUFFRAGE 1ST THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


WASHINGTON THE ONLY NATIONAL CAPITAL WITHOUT NATIONAL REPRESENTATION, 

The United States is the only country in the world that does not give the 
people of its capital the same national representation which the people of its 
other cities enjoy. Most of the capitals are, of course—like London and Paris— 
not under the direct and specific control of the nation, as in this Federal District. 
Three countries—Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico—have copied our provision for 
a national capital in a federal district controlled by the nation, but they have 
found no difficulty in giving full national representation to the people residing 
in those nation-controlled capitals. Buenos Aires is represented by 2 senators, 
and in the Chamber of Deputies by 1 representative for each 33,300 inhabi¬ 
tants ; Rio de Janeiro by 3 senators elected for nine years and by 10 deputies 
elected for three years; Mexico by 2 senators, and in the Chamber of Deputies 
by 1 representative for each 60,000 inhabitants. All these vote, like other cities, 
for the executive officers of the national Government. 

In each case the executive is appointed by the federal Government. These 
countries have not only followed the example of the United States in establish¬ 
ing federal districts, but have set an example to the United States by providing 
for those capitals on republican representative principles and giving, in fairness 
and justice, representation in the national legislature to citizens who must obey 
the laws which that legislature exacts. 

We append a statement compiled from official reports and other authentic 
information as to the relations of nations of the world to their capitals: 


Relations of nations of the world to their capitals. 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


113 


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SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


119 


V. There is general agreement among the people of the District of Columbia 
in favor of national representation and this opinion is fully represented by the 
citizens joint committee. 

The general support for the proposed amendment among the citizens of the 
District of Columbia is indicated by the long list of important civic organiza¬ 
tions represented in the citizens joint committee. 

These organizations have advocated the proposed amendment with great 
earnestness. The citizens generally of the District of Columbia are not content 
to remain deprived of their American birthright of representation in their 
National Government. The organizations which are represented in the citi¬ 
zens’ effort to get national representation for the District of Columbia cover 
all sections of the national capital and all sections of its population. Wash¬ 
ingtonians differ radically as to other questions involving the granting of the 
franchise, including the form of the local government and the qualification of 
voters, but the constitutional amendment commands the support of the people 
generally and the controverted questions may well be postponed until after 
the vital matter of the national representation of the people of the District has 
been decided in their favor. 

The organizations represented in the Citizens Joint Committee on National 
Representation for the District of Columbia are as follows: 

Board of Trade (2,100 members). 

Chamber of Commerce (1,100 members). 

Federation of Citizens’ Associations, representing 41 sectional citizens’ asso¬ 
ciations, as follows: Anacostia, Benning, Brightwood, Brookland, Cathedral 
Heights, Central, Chevy Chase, Chillum Castle-Woodburn, Cleveland Park 
School-Community, Columbia Heights, Conduit Road, Connecticut Avenue, Con¬ 
gress Heights, Georgetown, Kalorama, Kenilworth, Lincoln Park, Mid City, 
Mount Pleasant, North Capitol and Eckington, North Washington, Northwest 
Suburban, Park View, Petworth, Piney Branch, Rhode Island Avenue Suburban, 
Randle Highlands, Sixteenth Street Highlands, Sixteenth Street Heights, South 
Washington, Southeast, Stanton Park, Takoma Park, Trinidad, West End, Wash¬ 
ington Civic Association, Washington Society of Fine Arts, American Insti¬ 
tute of Fine Arts, Arts Club of Washington, District of Columbia Society of 
Architects, Society of Nations. These associations cover nearly the entire Dis¬ 
trict, with an aggregate membership (estimated) of 20,000. Many 'of these 
sectional associations have, in addition to participation through the federa¬ 
tion, separately indorsed District national representation through constitu¬ 
tional amendment and have appointed cooperating campaign committee. 

Cetral Labor Union, representing 90 local unions and 7 local auxiliaries, with 
aggregate membership (estimated) of 85,000. 

Merchants and Manufacturers’ Association, 

Monday Evening Club. 

Bar Association. 

The Suffrage Group of the City Club. 

Association of Oldest Inhabitants. 

District Delegate Association. 

Citizens’ associations not represented in the federation, including East Wash¬ 
ington, Northeast Washington, and Southwest Citizens’ Associations. 

^Washington Real Estate Board of the District of Columbia. 

Advertising Club of Washington. 

Woman’s Bar Association. 

Manual Training Teachers’ Association. 

Citizens’ Committee of Forty in Favor of Popular Government for the Dis¬ 
trict of Columbia. 

Twentieth Century Club. 

COOPERATING ASSOCIATIONS. 

The local branch of the National American Woman’s Suffrage Association. 

The American Federation of Labor. 


EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE. 


Officers citizens’ joint committee: Chairman, Theodore W. Noyes; first vice 
chairman John Joy Edson; second vice chairman, A. Leftwich Sinclair; third 
vice chairman, Charles S. Shreve; treasurer, Robert N. Harper; secretary, Louis. 
Ottenberg; Ross P. Andrews, Joseph Berberich, George F. Bowerman, E. C. 


120 


SUFFRAGE IIST THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


Brandenburg, Chapin Brown, Walter A. Brown, William Clabaugh, Roy C. 
Claflin, William McK. Clayton, E. E. Clement, E. F. Colladay, C. J. Columbus, 
John F. Costello, C. F. Crane, Jesse P. Crawford, J. Harry Cunningham, Samuel 
de Nedry, John B. Dickman, Hugh D. Digney, John Dolph, W. T. Galliher, H. H. 
Glassie, C. J. Gockeler, Earl Godwin, William F. Gude, Harry A. Hollohan, 
Joseph D. Kaufman, James Hugh Keeley, Phil King, Wilton J. Lambert, John 
B. Larner, J. Wilmer Latimer, M. A. Leese, James T. Lloyd, A. T. Macdonald, 
Henry B. F. Macfarland, Arthur Marks, P. T. Moran, Mrs. Ellen Spencer Mus- 
sey, Roy L. Neuhauser, E. W. Oyster, James F. Oyster, Fred J. Rice, George H. 
Russell, Albert Schulteis, George G. Seibold, Odell S. Smith, Jesse C. Suter, 
Corcoran Thom, Washington Topham, William B. Westlake, and A. S. Worth¬ 
ington. 

Honorary members: Ex-Senator Henry W. Blair and Justice Wendell Phil¬ 
lips Stafford. 

This measure is presented as one of justice and equity which will make the 
people of the District of Columbia American citizens in fact, as well as in name, 
in rights as well as in duties. 


Respectfully submitted. 

Henry B. F. Macfarland, 
A. S. Worthington, 
Henry H. Glassie, 

E. C. Brandenburg, 
Chapin Brown, 


Edward F. Colladay, 

A. Leftwich Sinclair, 

John B. Larner, 

William McK. Clayton, 

Theodore W. Noyes, ex officio, 

Committee on Brief. 


Mr. Brandenburg. Mr. Chairman, with your permission and consent, I 
would like to have Mr. Glassie heard at this time. 

The Chairman. There are only eight minutes left. We all have appoint¬ 
ments at 4 o’clock. Do you desire to proceed for those eight minutes? 

Mr. Glassie. It will not take me very long, but there are some suggestions 
that have been made to which I should like to reply, and I should not feel 
like galloping through in eight minutes. It would not be fair to the committee 
or to myself. 

The Chairman. I think it would be better for you to be the first speaker at 
the next hearing on your side. 

Mr. Glassie. Very good. 

The Chairman. I think we will try to have a hearing on Monday at 2 
o’clock. Those opposing suffrage will be heard at that time. I do not sup¬ 
pose you will need the full two hours. 

Mr. Ayers. Not unless I have two other speakers here, but I think I will 
have them here and probably will consume the entire time. 

The Chairman. Those who are in favor of suffrage must divide the time 
betwten yourselves. You are divided into two distinct classes. You must 
divide this time to the satisfaction of both classes, because you all come 
under the heading of those favoring suffrage. It is not up to the committee 
to divide the time. It is up to you people to effect some sort of unanimous 
agreement, as we try sometimes to do in the Senate. 

Mr. Lloyd. There is a very important element of population in this city that 
the committee has not heard from yet, which I think should be heard from. 
Mr. Wallner is here to-day as the representative in part of that element, and 
is one of the best representatives of the colored element. He wants to be 
heard, and I am anxious that he shall have an opportunity to be heard at 
some time during the hearings. 

The Chairman. That is entirely up to the committee. I gave you 12 hours, 
and I think I have been very liberal. 

Mr. Lloyd. I do not think he will require a great deal of time, and I hope 
the committee can give him an opportunity to be heard. 

(Whereupon, at 4 o’clock p. m. the committee adjourned, to meet again on 
Monday, November 21, 1921, at 2 o’clock p. m.) 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF'COLUMBIA 


MONDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 1921. 

United States Senate, 

Committee on the District of Columbia, 

Washington, D. C. 

The committee met, pursuant to adjournment, at 2 o’clock p. m., in the com¬ 
mittee room, Capitol, Senator L. Heisler Ball presiding. 

Present: Senators Ball (chairman), Capper, Sheppard, and King. 

Present also: Col. Winfield Jones, representing those favoring the bill pro¬ 
viding for a Delegate in the House of Representatives; 

Mr. E. C. Brandenburg, representing those favoring the adoption of the Jones 
resolution, providing for a Constitution amendment; 

Mr. G. W. Ayers, representing those opposed to any form of suffrage in the 
District. 

The Chairman. The committee will be in order. Two hours to-day will be 
given to those opposed to any representation in Congress or any suffrage for 
the District. 

I would like to submit a statement for the record, made by Chief Justice Taft. 

Mr. Ayers. Is that the speech he made at the dedication of the City Hall? 

The Chairman. In reply to Justice Stafford’s address on the same subject. It 
reads as follows. 

President Taft began by speaking of himself as a “ has-been ” taxpayer and 
resident of Washington, had invested some money in land and had not seen a 
dollar come out of it; he had sent his children to the public schools ; lie had hung 
on the street car straps and he has bathed in the Potomac mud in his bathtub, 
prior to the period that Congress had given us our great filtration plant; and he 
claimed that he had been through the experiences that ought to give him some 
of the local atmosphere and the local feeling; and yet, with all that, he pos¬ 
sesses the views I wish to present to you, after years of constant study on the 
situation. 

In reply to Justice Stafford he stated: ~"~J 

“ It is a little difficult for me to realize that it was about Washington and the 
citizens were the slaves that Mr. Justice Stafford spoke. This city is the 
home of the Government of the Nation, and when men who are just as much 
imbued with the principles of civil liberty as anyone who have come after, 
Washington at the head, put into the Constitution the provisions with refer¬ 
ence to the government of the District of Columbia, they knew what they were 
doing and spoke for a coming possible 80,000,000 of people, who should in¬ 
sist that the home of the government of those people should be governed by the — 
representatives of that 80,000,000 people; and that if there were in that 
80.000,000 people men who desire to come and share in the grandeur of that 
capital and live in a city of magnificent beauty as this was, and enjoy all the 
privileges, then they come with their eyes open as to the character of the 
government that they were to have; and they must know that they must depend, 
not upon the principles ordinarily governing in popular government, but that 
they must trust in order to secure their liberty, to get their guaranties, they 
must trust to the Representatives of 80,000,000 of people, selected under that 
Constitution. 

“ Now, I want to say, let the citizens act by right of petition, using the right 
continually; and as they are not exercising that right all the time, is it not possi¬ 
ble to determine on the part of the committees of the House and the Senate what 
the attitude of the Washington citizens is? Why, the government that we have 
to-day in Washington everybody admits is a good government. Has it not been 

121 



122 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


brought about through the aid of those very committees in the House and Senate,, 
who you say know nothing about Washington and who make their knowledge or 
lack of knowledge ridiculous by showing it? We are all imperfect. We can not 
expect perfect government; but what we ought to do is to pursue practical meth¬ 
ods and not, I submit, with deference to Justice Stafford, make it seem as if 
the people of Washington were suffering from some great and tremendous load 
and sorrow, when as a matter of fact they are the envy of the citizens of other 
cities. 

“ Washington intended this to be a Federal city, and it is a Federal city, and 
it tingles down to the feet of every man, whether he comes from Washington 
city or Los< Angeles or Texas, when he comes and walks these streets and starts 
to feel that this ‘ is my city. I own a part of this Capital, and I envy for the 
time being those who are able to spend their time here.’ I quite admit that 
there are defects in the system of government by which Congress is bound to 
look after the government of the District of Columbia. It could not be other¬ 
wise under such a system. But I submit to the judgment of history that the 
results vindicate the foresight of the fathers. 

“ Now, I am opposed to the franchise in the District. I am opposed, and 
not because I yield to any one in my support and my belief on the principles 
of self-government, but principles are applicable generally. And then, unless 
you make exceptions to the applications of these principles, you will find that 
they will carry you to very illogical and absurd results. This was taken out 
of the application of the principle of self-government in the very Constitution,, 
and was intended to put that in force in every other part of the country; and 
it was done because it was intended to have the representatives of all the 
people in the country control this one city and to prevent its being controlled 
by the parochial spirit that would necessarily govern men who did not look be¬ 
yond the city to the grandeur of the Nation. And this is the representative 
of that Nation. 

“ I have got over being frightened by being told that I am forgetting the 
principles of the fathers. The principles of the fathers are maintained by 
those who maintain them with reason and according to the fitness of the thing, 
and not by those who are constantly shaking them before the mass of the 
voters for the purpose of misleading them. Now the question arises: What shall 
we do with the government of Washington? I am strongly in fa\or of main¬ 
taining the municipal form, so that everything which shall affect the city of 
Washington shall be done under the chief executive of that city and by that 
chief executive. In other words, I would give an entity to the city of Wash¬ 
ington, or the District of Columbia, and take all of that entity out of the opera¬ 
tion of the bureaus of the General Government. That is what I understand 
to be the government to-day; and the only question that has been mooted i& 
really whether one man should be put at the head of that government as a 
mayor, or whether you should have three. I agree that probably three men 
are better where you have real legislative functions to perform. I am inclined 
to think that where the legislative functions are reduced to a minimum and 
consist in little more than mere executive regulation that possibly the one¬ 
headed form is the better for executive purposes and to fix the responsibility; 
but I am only thinking out loud and only because we are here talking right 
out in meeting. I am telling you the reasons as they have been brought to me.” 

Right here President Taft referred to some things which have already de¬ 
veloped in the meantime under the supervision of these District committees, 
with especial reference to the speedway, Potomac Park, Rock Creek Park, our 
municipal golf links, polo grounds, etc. 

“ Then, the opportunities for playgrounds that there are in Washington. 
It just makes my mouth water for my poor city of Cincinnati when I look out 
and can see clear down to the Potomac, see six or seven baseball matches going 
on, with all the fervor of young America and nobody to say them ‘ nay ’; and 
to think that we had a genius 100 years ago, almost in his way as match¬ 
less as-Washington, to make the plan for a great capital, like the Frenchman, 
Pierre Charles E. de L’Enfant, and whose plans are hardly changed in the 
new plans made by Burnham and his associates. There has been a feeling 
that, perhaps, it was slipped on to us at one time and slipped in at another; 
but we all know^even my dear friend, Uncle Joe* knows that we are going to 
build up to that plan some day; and we ought to thank God that we have a 
plan like that to build to, so that when we go on with the improvements every- 
dollar that we put in goes to make Washington beautiful 100 years hence. 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT O'F COLUMBIA. 


123 


“ It is very true that the early statutes said that no building should be put 
on anything but the Maryland side of the river; and, perhaps, the people felt 
that, as we were not going to use that side for building, they did not need 
the Virginia side at all. I have never been able to satisfy myself that retro¬ 
cession was within the power of Congress to make. It was dodged by the 
Supreme Court; and it might be possible by agitating the question to induce 
another settlement by which we should get the only part of that that we 
would really like to have, and we own now in fee the 1,100 acres of the 
Arlington estate, and a great deal that is unoccupied, leaving Alexandria out 
and Falls Church, and taking in only that that is inhabited, so that we may have 
in the District, under our fostering control, where we can build roads and 
make the District still more beautiful that bank of the Potomac on the other 
side as you go up toward Cabin John Bridge. We will need it—the city will 
continue to grow. It may be, as Justice Stafford said: ‘ That there will be 
inaugurated a protest by the people living here that they have not political 
power.’ But I think that the Justice will find, when he comes to look into the 
hearts of the American people, that they will not be convinced when they 
come to Washington that Washingtonians are suffering to that degree that 
requires a reversement of the policy adopted with entire clearness of mind by 
the framers of the Constitution. Washington, who doubtless inserted that par¬ 
ticular provision in the Constitution, through his influence, also had L’Enfant 
draw the plans of Washington, and the plans of Washington were not adapted 
to a village like Alexandria and the village that was in the District at 
the time we came here; but was adapted to a city of magnificent distances and 
to a city of millions of inhabitants ; and, therefore, the clause was adopted know¬ 
ing that just such a city we would have here and that just such a city would 
have to get along relying upon the training in self-government of the Representa¬ 
tives of 80,000,000 people to do justice by it. 

“ I am deeply interested in the welfare of the District; I am deeply inter¬ 
ested in securing a good government to every man, woman, and child in the 
District, and to secure, so far as is possible with the original plans under the 
Constitution, such voice as the people of the United States may require in their 
local matters. 

“ When it comes to defining how this is to be given I can not be any more 
explicit than to say it must rest ultimately on the right of representation and 
petition. I do not see how you can do anything else.” 

Mr. Brandenburg. Mr. Glassie was the next speaker on our side. You re¬ 
member there was not quite time enough for him to address the committee 
when I concluded my remarks at the last meeting. He is very anxious to be 
heard this afternoon if possible. 

The Chairman. How long will it take you, Mr. Glassie? 

Mr. Glassie. It depends upon the number of questions that are asked me. I 
should say it would take me about 20 minutes. 

The Chairman. Are there any objections? 

Mr. Ayers. Yes, sir. I gave them one hour. I would prefer to open this 
myself, but if it is your judgment and desire to hear Mr. Glassie, of course 
that will be satisfactory to me. 

The Chairman. I will give you 20 minutes more after 4 o’clock if you will 
let Mr. Glassie make his address. He is a busy man and has been here every 

day. 

Mr. Ayers. I will be glad to do that. 

The Chairman. That will not come out of the time already granted. 

STATEMENT OF HENRY H. GLASSIE, ESQ. 

Mr. Glassie. Mr. Chairman, it is not my purpose to make a set speech or to 
consume any great length of time. If I had that desire, the patient courtesy 
with which the chairman and members of the committee attending the hear¬ 
ings have shown toward the other speakers would restrain me, because it is 
not my purpose to travel over the same ground. If I do appear to travel over 
it at all I shall do it with the purpose of trying to emphasize certain points 
from a different angle; also with the purpose of endeavoring, as far as I am 
able, to reply to some of the important inquiries that have been raised by the 
chairman and members of the committee. 

The thirteenth clause of the eighth section of Article I of the Constitution 
confers upon the Congress the power to exercise exclusive jurisdiction in all 


124 


SUFFRAGE I*N THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


cases whatsoever over the District, not exceeding 10 miles square, which shall 
by the cession of particular States and the acceptance of Congress become the 
seat of government. Those for whom I speak do not desire or intend to im¬ 
pair, to alter, or to diminish that sovereign power over the District of Colum¬ 
bia in any particular whatsoever. 

But it is not necessary, Mr. Chairman, to remind the members of a commit¬ 
tee composed of Senators sitting in the greatest deliberative body in the 
world, that the power of legislation, the great extensive power and function of 
legislation, falls into two well-known and fundamental classes: 

First, is the power of legislation as applied in creating, determining, de¬ 
fining the laws which should govern as between man and man; the law of 
property, the law of contracts, the law of master and servant, the law of land¬ 
lord and tenant, the law of employer and employee, the law of carriers and 
persons who are being carried, and the thousand other ordinary rules that 
govern the relations of men in society. 

The second well-known class of legislation is that which has for its object 
the enactment of law T s governing the organization and administration of the 
powers of government themselves. 

Now, those two classes are both found under the head of legislation, but they 
are still naturally and essentially distinct, although sometimes overlapping. 
The question I wish to put to the committee is this: How does the District of 
Columbia stand with respect to those two great fields or spheres of legislative 
activities ? 

Mr. Chairman, in the District of Columbia, there is no relation of life so 
small, so private, so personal, that your power as a legislator in this Congress 
does not extend to it. You are called upon, your predecessors have been called 
upon and your successors in all time will be called upon to mold, to frame, to 
alter, to improve the laws that determine the lives, the property, the fortunes, 
the domestic relations of every living soul within the District of Columbia. 
You have no such function, Mr. Chairman, with respect to the States. 

The Chairman. If there were no changes in the law that would be so. 

Mr. Glassie. Ah, but the law grows. If it was made for our ancestors and 
it did not grow, it would be a yoke upon us. If the law did not grow and de¬ 
velop and change in accordance with the economic necessities, then the do¬ 
mestic and social life of the people would not be what it is to-day. 

I want to show you, if I may, from a slightly different point of view from 
any I have heard here, how the object of this resolution bears upon this ques¬ 
tion. In your legislative capacity, sir. high, important as it is, in no other 
part of the United States do you exercise this function, not even in the Terri¬ 
tories which have been classed with the other property of the United States, 
because in those Territories it is the invariable custom, when there is any 
population at all, to set up a local legislature which shall deal with the lives 
and the fortunes and the customs of those people. Even in our foreign de¬ 
pendencies, such as Porto Rico and the Philippines, that same rule prevails. 

The Chairman. The distinction is that this District was laid out for a specific 
purpose. 

Mr. Glassie. Yes; I am coming to that. I have paid great attention to that 
specific purpose, not only for this discussion, but as counsel for the United 
States in a number of cases involving the laying out of the city where I have 
given some particular study to the purposes and objects, and what those objects 
sought to accompish, and I shall not pass them over. 

But what I am endeavoring to drive home, if I can, is this: That when you 
are legislating for the District of Columbia you are legislating for a group 
of human beings, bound up in a social bond, in a manner in which you do not 
legislate for any other class of people. 

Now, let us take the other division of your great legislative power. That is, 
as I said, the power in relation to the making of laws for the organization and 
administration of government itself. How does that stand with respect to 
the District of Columbia? You are called upon to determine all of the 
detailed life of a municipality; you are called upon to scrutinize appropria¬ 
tions; you are called upon to deal with new methods of taking and of using 
property in respect of roads, in respect of streets, in respect of bridges; you 
are called upon to deal with the charities; you are called upon to deal with 
educational matters; you are called upon to deal with public utility functions, 
and all of the other manifold functions of a great modern municipality. 
And again I say, Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, in performing that function 
you perform a function that you do not otherwise perform in respect to any 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


125 


other property or any other territory or any other part of the United States. 
You are a board of directors for this municipal corporation. What other munici¬ 
pality do you control in this detailed and intimate relation of life? None. 
So I say that in this second great division of legislative functions your legis¬ 
lative powers differ, not in degree only, but in kind from every other function 
that you perform by virtue of your great legislative office. 

Now, what is it that we ask? We ask simply that in performing this func¬ 
tion you shall perform it with the aid of duly accredited and legally constituted 
representatives of the people affected. 

Now, the question has been put to us, Mr. Chairman—and it is an important 
and searching question—“Are you dissatisfied with your present local gov¬ 
ernment? Why do you want to vote? Are you dissatisfied with your present 
local government?” I say, so far as the organization and general administra¬ 
tion of this local government is concerned, no. We accept the commission form 
of government, and we accept for present purposes the appointment of those 
commissioners in the present manner and the confirmation of the civilian 
commissioners by the Senate of the United States. 

But, Mr. Chairman, that does not solve the problem. While we are not 
seeking to overthrow the form of our local government, we do say that in 
the past, and we are therefore afraid In tbo future also, the spirit of that 
local government, the mode in which it has functioned within that form, the 
mode in which particularly it has failed to function, is such that we believe 
that you will perform your function, your duties, far easier and far better if 
you have this duly accredited voice. 

The Chairman. I would like to ask a few questions as you go along to bring 
out some matters suggesting the difference between your understanding and my 
understanding of that government. 

Mr. Glassie. Yes. 

The Chairman. What was the object of laying out the District of Columbia 
and making it what it is—the home of our Government and under the juris¬ 
diction of Congress? 

Mr. Glassie. May I answer that now? 

The Chairman. Yes; I shall be glad to have you do so. 

Mr. Glassie. I think I have read everything that has been said on this sub¬ 
ject by the founders, and I have read all the cases that have dealt with it, 
I think, and I answer your question this way: There was one supreme, con¬ 
trolling reason, and it was to have in the District of Columbia absolute legis 
lative power vested in the United States, and not divided between two con¬ 
flicting jurisdictions—the Federal Government and a State. 

The Chairman. We thoroughly agree on that. 

Mr. Glassie. Yes; there was no other reason. And the idea, Mr. Chairman, 
that because that was the purpose it was also the purpose to deprive the citizens 
of that territory of all the ordinary status of citizens is a mere delusion, and it 
is contradicted by the action of the very first Congress that ever dealt with 
the question. 

The Chairman. When this District was laid out as the site of our Govern¬ 
ment was it not intended that it should be a home for the Government and a 
home for those people who were to participate in the affairs of Government and, 
I might add, to take care of those who participated in the Government? 

Mr. Glassie. May I answer that, now? 

The Chairman. Yes. 

Mr. Glassie. I say I think I know perhaps as well as most people the history 
of that in detail. The intention was to make this not only the seat of govern¬ 
ment, so far as legislative power and authority extend, but. in founding this 
enormous Capital, this Capital of magnificent distances, with streets wider than 
anybody had any use for, with miles and miles and miles of blocks—it. was the 
intention of Washington in laying out the city, it was the intention of the com¬ 
missioners, it was the intention of everybody concerned, as I can prove by their 
very words, to make a city here which should rival in wealth, in population, and 
in commerce the city of London itself. Why did they select this place here? 
Look at the records and maps and see what is written on the location maps of 
this city. 

As Ellicott said, this was the greatest harbor of that tune for sailing ships, 
the greatest harbor on the Atlantic coast., and the natural exchange point, as 
Washington demonstrated, between deep-sea commerce and the commerce of 
the mountain region. There was no idea that this place should be a reservation 
of Government officials and Government clerks when this very building that we 


126 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


sit in here was built, sir, out of the money that was derived from advertising 
this real estate scheme. They sent into Holland, into the Netherlands, into the 
country which is now Begium—it was not Belgium then—the low countries, into 
every commercial port in Europe, and advertised these lots and these squares 
for the purpose of inviting merchants here, foreign merchants, to do business 
and to build up a great commercial emporium. Washington used those specific 
words, that it should be “ The greatest commercial emporium in the United 
States.” He got on his horse and rode 600 miles through the country back of 
here for the purpose of demonstrating that the Potomac with canal improve¬ 
ments would greatly enhance the value of all that land, and that it would be 
the great avenue between the coast and what he called in his own words “ The 
rising empire of the West,” the Ohio region; that the natural, proper, shortest, 
best, most economical line of communication between those parts of the country 
was through the Potomac River, and the Government was seated at this junc¬ 
tion here for that particular purpose. 

The Chairman. Did those reasons finally determine that the Government 
should be seated here? 

Mr. Glassie. Yes, sir; they were the controlling reasons. 

The Chairman. Or was it not a compromise between Hamilton and Jefferson? 

Mr. Glassie. There has been talk about that, that it was the effect of the 
compromise of the debt. It was not a big enough question for that. 

The Chairman. It was a big question at that time. 

Mr. Glassie. The location of the city was not a question comparable with the 
question of a putjic debt, That was a practical political problem. 

For 10 years after this city was founded there was a continuous lobby, con¬ 
tinuous propaganda, to prevent it being moved here at the time appointed, and 
they hurried the construction of the buildings and the sale of lots for the pur¬ 
pose of forestalling the opposition that developed against locating it here. 

The question of whether it should go north or south was the question that 
affected the compromise of the debt, not the question of whether ti should be 
placed at the junction of the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers. There were any 
number of places offered for it, but that was the thing that determined its 
location on this flat. The city of Washnigton, with the exception of Capitol 
Hill, was located in an alluvial flat, because it was hoped it would be a com¬ 
mercial center, a great center of social and human life. It was never intended 
to be a reservation inhabited by Government officials and persons deprived of 
all semblance of ordinary citizenship. 

The Chairman. Was not this land dedicated almost entirely to Washington? 

Mr. Glassie. No ; it was not dedicated. That is another mistaken notion. 
That land was “ donated ” for a price. 

The Chairman. Donated for a particular purpose? 

Mr. Glassie. Yes; the city, not the District. But how was it donated? 
When they started out, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Jefferson was Secretary of State. 
His idea was to get enough land to build the public buildings, but that was not 
all. They wanted more than that. Why? Because they wanted a city, not 
merely a site for public buildings. They said, “ Here is a plan of a city ”— 
not a public building site. It ’was to be a city bigger than any other existing 
city in the country. Isn’t that a significant fact, that they planned a city 
which was to be larger than any other city then in the United States? 

They said, “ We want you to give us the land to build the city. You will 
give all of the land. We will take half of that land and you take the other 
half. We will both sell it.” No one, no people, would want to live in the coun¬ 
try. “ We will take the proceeds of our half and we put up the public build¬ 
ings ; you take the proceeds of your half and put it in your pocket.” 

Why were they willing to do that? Because the location of the city, not of 
a public building site, raised the price of farm lands, and they would make a 
profit from their half of the unearned increment, and the United States 
would make a profit from its half of the unearned increment, and out of that 
this building was primarily built; not at first, because they couldn’t sell it 
quite fast enough, but Maryland loaned them the money. 

But that was the great cardinal fact. It was a donation for a common pur¬ 
pose. “ You give your land and we will put a city on it. Your land will go up. 
We will get half the city and you will get the other half.” And they sold it. 

As to the public buildings, the ground for the public buildings was not 
donated. That is another delusion, due to the fact that many people w T ill talk 
about things and not take the trouble to inquire into them. The land for this 
building, the land for the public reservation, was paid for by the United 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


127 


States out of the proceeds of the sale of its half of the lots at a fixed price. 
Iliat is the way the city was founded. You can read the evidence found on page 
after page, in letter after letter, memorandum after memorandum, of the com¬ 
missioners for the laying out of this city, and you can not escape the conviction 
that the whole purpose was to make a great Capital; that the original idea 
of simply putting up the buildings was abandoned; and that it was the inten¬ 
tion of everybody to make this Capital a place where people should live like 
other human beings. Of course, at the outset there was only a handful here. 

The Chairman. A\ hy was it necessary to have the home in the Capital? 
You say it was intended to make it a big city, and not a home for the Govern¬ 
ment. 

Mr. Glassie. Oh, no. It was intended to be a big city in which the home of 
the Government should be located. 

The Chairman. I want to ask you a few concrete questions. 

Mr. Glassie. Yes, sir. 

The Chairman. Why was it necessary at all to locate the Capital in some city 
over which Congress had control. 

Mr. Glassie. Because they wanted control. They wanted Congress to have 
control, and we want Congress to have control. 

The Chairman. But were they not compelled to do it to preserve order? You 
are familiar with the history of New York and the history of Philadelphia, 
where there was a conflict at all times between different authorities? 

Mr. Glassie. Quite true. It was because of that. Mr. Madison answered it. 

The Chairman. They wanted a place where the Government would be 
supreme. 

Mr. Glassie. Exactly. They wanted it, Mr. Chairman, because then the 
States were strong and old and the Federal Government was weak and new. 
That is the point which must not be overlooked. It was the clear purpose of the 
founders to have a territory in which there should not be any lawmaking power 
except their own. Why? Because they did not want to have the two law¬ 
making powers; they did not want to be under the pressure of local legisla¬ 
tures, like the Pennsylvania Legislature, that was turned out by the soldiers; 
they did not want a divided sovereignty; they did not want a divided legis¬ 
lative power. Why? Mr. Madison tells you why. He said in the Federalist, 
No. 44, that the balance between the Federal and State governments “ was 
much more likely to be disturbed by the preponderancy ” of the latter than of 
the former. 

Just think how that sounds to-day, gentlemen, with the power of the United 
States, and what has happened in a hundred years. Yet Madison’s idea was 
that the preponderancy of the States was more likely to prevail than the pre¬ 
ponderancy of Congress. Therefore, Congress wanted an asylum. It wanted a 
place where it spoke, and nobody else spoke. That was the reason, and it was a 
good reason. We still believe in it. AYe still believe it should be a place where 
Congress alone speaks. 

But that does not mean that a class of people shall be denied a voice in Con¬ 
gress and that another class shall be given a voice in Congress. The whole 
thing boils right down to this point, and you are right, Mr. Chairman, in 
emphasizing it, for this reason among others: This whole discussion turns back 
inevitably in the minds of all here to the question of what the founders wished. 
You are not naturally inclined to say to 500,000 people: “I do not think you 
should have any voice in government.” That is not your natural inclination, 
sir, if I may take the liberty of so expressing myself. You would say: “My 
people at home, myself, we have a voice.” And so we want a voice. Every¬ 
body wants a voice. 

The Chairman. You must remember that while the population of Washing¬ 
ton is about 450,000, perhaps half of that population are not bona fide residents 
of Washington. It differs from any other city in the United States or in the 
world. 

Mr. Glassie. I am going to come to that. I think I can find something on 
that point. I want to cover that point. I shall endeavor to answer that. 
I trust you will believe me when I say I shall not attempt to evade anything. 
If there is any reason that can be urged against me, I want to try to deal with 
it. I don’t care how much it hurts. But I want to come now to the point where 
I can clear the ground of this fundamental objection that everybody seems lo 
have to giving these people the right to vote. 

You say, “ The fathers did not give it to you, and did not intend to give it 
to you. and therefore, though I believe human beings should be represented in 

83480—22-0 



128 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


a representative republican form of government, and you are human beings, 
are intelligent, have property, lead decent lives, we feel we ought not to give 
it to you for that particular reason.” That reason is the thing that is much 
mentioned here. That idea that the exclusive power of legislation, which was 
given to make the voice of Congress the only voice in the District, means that 
the people of the District should have no part in that voice is the thing I want 
to direct myself to. The fathers wanted to have one voice here, one .jurisdic¬ 
tion here, one everything here, and they got it; and we say they ought to have 
it. But that does not imply that the people here should be a voteless people. 

The Chairman. You will find in the original grant that this land was given 
for a specific purpose. “ We, the subscribers, in consideration of the great 
benefit we expect to derive from having the Federal city laid off upon our land, 
do hereby give and bind ourselves, our executors, and administrators,” etc. 
That land was given for the specific purpose of the location of the seat of our 
Government. 

Mr. Glassie. For the city. What kind of a city did that plan cover? A city 
that was bigger than any existing city in the United States. 

The Chairman. It was not for the foundation of a city, but for. the founda¬ 
tion of the seat of the Government of the United States. 

Mr. Glassie. Exactly; but it was to be a city. The Government was not to 
be in the wilderness. 

The Chairman. What reason could be conceived for creating such a city in 
the United States unless the specific purpose of that was for the seat of our 
own Government? 

Mr. Glassie. It was, of course. 

The Chairman. That was the sole reason. 

Mr. Glassie. It was for the seat of government, but that leaves the question 
open of what kind of a seat you are going to have. When you say, “ Seat of 
government,” you have not solved the problem. Of course, the whole thing was 
for the seat of government, but what kind of a seat of government? Would the 
seat of government be located in a village? Would the seat of government be 
located in a set of public buildings in a forest? When they went to those 
people to get the land, they got it on those terms. They laid down the map. 
Mr. Chairman, just as I would come to you and say, “ I am going to take your 
farm.” What did the map show? It showed that the purpose of the United 
States was to have for its seat of government the biggest city then on the 
continent. What did that mean? You can not separate the ideas, the city and 
rhe seat of government. The city is the seat of government, was intended to be 
the seat of government, but was intended to be a city. And you can not have a 
city without people; you can not have a city with people in it unless those 
people are like other American people. There was no reservation. There was 
no backstairs business. It was to be a great city. That fact is too big for 
anybody to get away from. When they presented their plan what was it for? 
A city. What kind of a city? Why, a city bigger than New York, a city bigger 
than Philadelphia, a city bigger than Charleston, a city bigger than Boston, a 
city bigger than any other city in the United States. What did they mean 
by that? 

The Chairman. For what purpose was that city created? For what purpose 
was that land laid off in the city? 

Mr. Glassie. To be the Capital of this Nation. 

The Chairman. To be the Capital of this Nation? 

Mr. Glassie. Yes. 

The Chairman. Exactly. 

Mr. Glassie. That is what it ought to be. 

The Chairman. To be the Capital. By whom should that Capital be con¬ 
trolled? 

Mr. Glassie. By Congress. 

The Chairman. By the people interested? 

Mr. Glassie. No ; by Congress. The Constitution speaks with a voice that can 
not be mistaken when it says “ Congress.” You are the government of the 
District of Columbia, and you can not escape the responsibility. 

The Chairman. There was no intention that it should be a home for those 
who were employed by the Government in dealing with administrative duties? 

Mr. Glassie. Yes; but not exclusively that. Other people had to be here to 
feed and clothe them. The first thing they did was to sell out the water front 
at a special price per front foot. To help the Government? No. To bring 
Mr. Barry here; to bring all these other people here who were specially invited 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


129 


to come and invest their fortunes, many of them soldiers of the revolution. 
A\ ashington put it in these words: “ To become,” he said, “ the greatest com¬ 
mercial emporium of the country.” Washington was a man of sagacity, a far- 
seeing man. Not only a commercial emporium, Mr. Chairman, but the greatest 
commercial emporium. And when L’Enfant made his survey of this hill, and 
Lllicott came here and took his observations, they studied the harbor and on 
the map is written “ Here is the harbor; here is the place.” 

I say we have an instinctive feeling that the fathers did not want this, but 
we do not stop to consider what they said. That is the best evidence of what 
they wanted, what they said, and what they did. 

Now, in connection with that I want to emphasize this point: The idea of the 
founders was that there should- not only be a total, complete, national sover¬ 
eignty here, which has always existed here, but that these people were not to 
be a voteless people. What, in fact, did they do for the Virginia side of the 
river and for Georgetown? They created municipal corporations, and they 
elected their own officers. And they did something further than that. As soon 
as the control of Maryland dropped out and Congress actually moved here the 
lirst thing it did was to establish for the city of Washington a municipal cor¬ 
poration, governed by the people in the city. 

We are not asking for a revival of that. Don’t misunderstand me. We are 
not asking here for a municipal corporation, but I am putting that to you, sir, as 
an evidence—in my humble opinion evidence which is as clear as day—that 
they never contemplated these people here as being a voteless people; they 
never contemplated them as being stripped of all political attributes and politi¬ 
cal powers. They didn’t take anything from the power of Congress. 

What was the population of this place? It was a mere handful, Mr. Chair¬ 
man. As the population grew and grew we find the Presidents, one after an¬ 
other, saying that these people should have representation. Representation in 
what? In the National Government. They already had representation in the 
local government. And the Presidents, one after the other, said these people 
now are numerous enough and important enough to have a voice in the National 
Government. 

The Chairman. There is no doubt that what the framers of the Government 
had'll! mind was that the District of^ Columbia should have the best govern¬ 
ment that could be given it. 

Mr. Glassie. Something more, sir. The best government, the best municipal 
government, was the government of the German experts. Every writer on 
municipal government that I have ever heard of, particularly that great and 
good modern social Democrat, who was formerly commissioner of immigration 
in New York, everybody who has ever written of municipal government, has 
borne testimony to the fact that the best administered municipalities were the 
German municipalities administered by a man appointed by the Kaiser who 
knew the business of city government. We say that is not the only kind of gov¬ 
ernment. It may be good for sewers and streets, but it is very bad for human 
beings. 

The Chairman. I want to ask you whether, when you had your own municipal 
officers and local government, that government was as satisfactory to the citi¬ 
zens as the government by Congress? 

Mr. Glassie. I will answer that to the best of my ability. In comparing 
things you must compare them with reference to time, place, and circumstance. 
I might ask any man here, “Are you as good a man as your great-grandfather? ” 
He would know a good many things his great-grandfather did not know, and 
could do a good many things his great-grandfather could not do; and maybe 
there were some things his great-grandfather could do that he could not do, or 
that his great-grandfather knew that he does not know. The question is not 
between the government by Congress to-day and the government of this little, 
struggling, wretched municipality 80 years ago. But I could answer that in 
more detail, Mr. Chairman. 

One of the reasons why the local government was not a success when it was 
a municipality-r • 

The Chairman (interposing). I want to ask you a question right in that con¬ 
nection. 

Mr. Glassie. Very well. 

The Chairman. Who controlled the government of Washington from the be¬ 
ginning of the seat of Government up to 1870? 



130 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


Air. Glassie. It was to a large extent the people, the local municipal officers. 
That subject is very full to anyone who has studied it. Allow me to answer it 
in my own way. 

The Chairman. The point is that it was not. until 1870 that you elected your 
local officers. 

Air. Glassie. I beg your pardon. We elected our common council 70 years 
before. 

The Chairman. You probably did in part, but you never had a mayor and 
local officers of your government until that time. 

Air. Glassie. Oh I beg your pardon, sir. We elected our mayor and common 
council before then. It was a reguar municipality, established by the act of 
1802, amended by the act of 1809. That was a regular municipality, established 
under the law. Georgetown was a regular municipality, established under the 
law, just as much a part of the District, but established under the Maryland 
law like every other town in Alaryland. Alexandria was a full-fledged town 
under the laws of Virginia. 

The Chairman. In Washington the land was given for a specific purpose. 
There was a different government for Georgetown, which had not been taken 
in as a part. 

Air. Glassie. Not essentially. They were essentially the same kind of gov¬ 
ernment. two towns in the same county. 

The Chairman. Three towns. 

Air. Glassie. No ; one in Virginia and two over here. There was no essential 
difference between the government of the city of Washington as a local munici¬ 
pality and the government of Georgetown as a local municipality. Congress 
and the President were over both. 

You say, “Was it a good government?” I say yes, as far as the resources of 
those people went. It had a wonderful set of mayors and a wonderful set of’ 
public-spirited officers in those years. 

P>ut here was the trouble. Air. Chairman: The trouble was that, the United 
States was a heavy property owner, a large property owner. It has no regular 
basis for contributing to local expenses. It largely dumped onto the local mu¬ 
nicipality the maintenance of these magnificent broad streets, which were in¬ 
tended for a great city, and this little struggling municipality was swamped year 
after year by a burden which it could not have maintained alone and did not 
maintain alone. But it had an honest government. It had a government that 
was satisfactory to its people. 

And the government of Alexandria was satisfactory to its people, except in 
this, that it only went to streets and sewers and sidewalks and poles and such 
as that; but the great function of government, the great law-making function of 
government, was still in Congress, and Congress slept on it. 

We waited here, sir, for a century for a code of laws that would relieve us 
from the common jest of the profession. We had a system of laws prevailing 
here, coming down from the common law through Alaryland. with a few con¬ 
gressional statutes thrown in, and some local regulations, and the statutes of 
Maryland passed from the time of its early history down to the time of 
cession—a jumble of confufeion. If we had been in Delaware the Delaware 
Legislature would have given us a modern system of laws. If we had been in 
New York the New York Legislature would have given us a modern system of 
laws. Every State in this Union had a modern code, had a modern procedure. 
The older lawyers of this country pointed the finger of scorn at the District 
of Columbia and said. “ If you want to find out the law of the seventeenth 
century, go to the District of Columbia. If you want to know what the law is 
there, you have to get the English statutes and find somebody who knows which 
are in force and which are not in force; you have to look at the law of Alary¬ 
land. and look at the bill of rights in Alaryland, and look up the statutes be¬ 
tween revolution and cession, and look at every act of Congress or the index 
of all its acts before you can say what is the law.” 

Why did we suffer under that? Because Congress is the Congress of the 
United States,•and its great legislative functions are so wide that it has no 
time to deal with those things in the absence of advice and instructions from 
our representative. 

And that system which I have described is growing again, growing again. 
Our system of laws governing man and man, our system of laws that deal 
with employer and employee, that deal with landlord and tenant, that deal 
with master and servant, that deal with husband and wife, and all those 
thousand things needs recasting in modern terms and with modern ideas. 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


131 


Our landlord and tenant law, except for the changes made in the Ball Rent Act, 
has many ancient threads clinging to it and coming down from the time of Lord 
Coke. It has never been recast in the District of Columbia. You can’t do it if 
there is nobody here to tell what we need and what we want. I mean to have 
the kind of voice that you have, a voice accredited, that speaks of right, that 
speaks by the mandate of the people behind it. 

You ask me whether we are satisfied with our government. I say yes, we 
are satisfied with the form of the local administration; we are satisfied with 
the commission form of government. We are satisfied with all that, but 
that is only scratching the surface of the problem. We have a very good 
civil administration here. It is honest, and I think very efficient. It is 
probably not as good as the administration by the German burgomasters 
under the direction of the Royal Prussian Government, because it is not as 
expert as that. 

But there are times, Mr. Chairman, when the people of this District are 
threatened with this present government, not because of the form of it, but 
threatened by virtue of the fact that they are without representation here, 
threatened with great injury. You may remember the great controversy that 
occurred some years ago about the schools, the question of the transfer of- the 
schools from the normal and American method of a board of education to a 
mere department of the city government. It took the whole town to rise in 
unison and in desperation to come here to the Halls of Congress and have 
hearing after hearing before you and your colleagues to save the situation. 
It took almost an insurrection in public opinion to save what the people be¬ 
lieved, and time has shown to be, the best organization, the best form of 
organization. 

All that would have been unnecessary if you, sir, had been elected by us, or 
any other member of this committee had come from this town with the man¬ 
date of the people here, with the power of personal knowledge of that problem. 
So I repeat that while we do not object to the form of our local government, we 
are not asking any change in it, we are satisfied with the scheme of the organi¬ 
zation, we say that government would function better, that Congress as the 
board of directors of this government would be able to function better, that 
Congress, having the power that it lias over the lives and fortunes and habits 
and customs of these people, would function better, if you had somebody on 
your floor, sir, who had come from these people, who knew these people, was 
bred among these people, and was able to say to you what these people need 
authoritatively, in a legal way, through a legal channel, and not by mere 
vociferation, not by lobbying, not by the thousand other agencies to which 
they are necessarily driven to accomplish those purposes. 

Now, it was said, and very pertinently said. “ You have a population here of 
437,000 people, and you have an area of 80 square miles.” And it was asked, 
and very pertinently asked, “ What is the ratio of population to the square 
mile? ” Then it was argued or suggested that no other State which had been 
admitted had a population so dense. Then a suggestion came, and, if I am not 
mistaken, it came from the chairman, “ Would you be in favor of separating 
ilie city of New York from the State of New York and creating that munici¬ 
pality into a State? ” 

Now, Mr. Chairman, the question is a little different from that, I submit. 
The city of New York is already represented in both Houses of Congress and 
in the electoral college, along with the rural part of the State, and the ques¬ 
tion of separating the city from the rest of the State is a question of creating 
two States. It is a question of giving representation to people already repre¬ 
sented. Allow me to put the question this way: 

If by some accident the five or six million people constituting the population 
of the city of New York, in an area no greater than ours, had no representation 
in Congress, no representation in the House or Senate, no representation in the 
electoral college, would anybody say that those five million people should not 
be represented because, forsooth, there is a density of 6,000 to the mile or 
10,000 to the mile? 

The Chairman. I do not think anybody claimed that you should not have 
representation on account of the density of population of the city, but it was 
claimed that Washington is not in the same category as any other city in the 
United States. You have stated in your remarks that Washington was not 
created solely for the seat of the Government. It was the expression of, I 
think, a member of the committee that it was created for that purpose. You 
claim it was created to be a great city and incidentally the seat of government. 


132 


SUFFRAGE IX THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


Mr. Glassie. No; not incidentally. It was created to be the seat of govern¬ 
ment, but what kind of a seat of government? A city seat. A s‘eat of govern¬ 
ment located in a city, and a great city. That is the point, and I can prove 
that statement by the words of Washington, that it was intended it should be a 
rival city of London, the seat of government of the Kingdom of England or 
the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. 

The Chairman. It was created for that purpose. 

Mr. Glassie. Paris is a seat of government. Does the fact that Faris has 
5,000,000 people make it any less the sent of government? Is not the power of 
the United States in the District of Columbia,- being exclusive in matters of 
legislation, as great, as supreme, as paramount, as exclusive as the French 
power over Paris? It is a question of exclusive legislative power that the 
Constitution founders had in their minds, and no other question except that. 

They had a Federal Government for the first time, Mr. Chairman, in the 
history of the world whose laws operated directly upon the citizens of the 
State. Every other federal government tried before from the time of the Greek 
federation down were federal governments operated by the states and not 
operated by the citizens. Now, we have a system of government set up for the 
first time in the history of the world, Mr. Chairman; for the first time we 
have a Government set up here which will operate on me as a citizen of 
Maryland and a citizen of the United States, upon you as a citizen of Delaware 
and a citizen of the United States. You have had a dual responsibility in 
view of that fact that these people in this District owe one allegiance, are 
bound by one law, which is our law. I say that is right, and that is what you 
have had and that is what you will always have. 

But what has that to do with the question of whether it is a big city or a 
little city, or whether the people in it shall be a voteless people or a people with 
votes? That is my point, sir. 

The question was asked here by the Senator, “ Do you want to have an 
imperium in imperio in the District of Columbia”? I say of course not. But 
what would give you an imperium in imperio, an imperium of government 
within an imperio of government? It would be another government. And 
what the founders did, Mr. Chairman, came near to creating another govern¬ 
ment than what we propose, because, they kept alive that local government 
which had powers and officers of its own, executives of its own, a legislature 
of its own. But how could the effect of that be an imperium in imperio, how 
can anybody say we are asking for an imperium in imperio, when what we 
ask is not that there shall be a new government, a different government, but 
only that these people, like the rest of God’s creatures in this country, shall 
be represented in that same Government? 

Now, I started to take up this question of population. I quite agree with 
you that it is not a question of the density, of population. People form gov¬ 
ernments, and people are no less entitled to representation in their governments 
because they live in cities than because they live in the country. The argu¬ 
ment that because our density of population is high compared with our area, 
and that we should go forever unrepresented, is nothing but an argument 
that city people are not entitled to share in government when the same people 
scattered over a larger area would be entitled to share in government. We 
are not asking to be a State. A State means' you have a self-government. 
Every State in this Union has self-government. There are two governments 
there. When a man goes to the post office to mail a letter he knows every 
moment of the time he is subject to two powers—the Federal power and the 
State power. We are not asking any such thing here. Therefore the question 
of whether or not the States which have been admitted had more or less area 
is, I think, beside the mark. 

But if it was the idea of Congress that nothing should be admitted as a 
State, with permission to share in the duties and responsibilities of the Senate 
and House, but those bodies of organized human beings resident in territory 
which would be large enough ultimately to rival the original States in popu¬ 
lation, Congress, I am sorry to say, has been grossly deceived by that which is 
stronger then everything else, namely, time. If they thought that about 
Wyoming they were deceived, sir, for under the census of 1920 Wyoming now 
has a population of 194,402. If that was their idea with respect to Nevada 
they were again deceived, sir, for Nevada now, after all these years of state¬ 
hood, by the census of 1920 has a population of 77,407. Not only that, sir, 
but a great State like Vermont, for economic reasons, instead of going on has 
gone down in its population until we have outstripped her, and if you look to 


SUFFRAGE I FT THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


133 


the future and what is likely to develop we will continue to outstrip her, and 
to one addition to the population of Vermont we will have two. 

Now then, if the argument is that our density of population is so high that 
we are not entitled to representation, then this extraordinary consequence 
ensues—that the richer, the more populous we become, the less we are entitled 
to have the right of human beings, because if our density of population is now 
so large, what will it be when we have a million, and you have a real human 
beehive of a million people, still unrepresented? The question of population in 
that connection, I submit, has nothing to do with it. Cities are entitled to 
representation just as the country is. Paris is entitled to representation just 
like the Provinces and Departments of France are. London is entitled to rep¬ 
resentation, just as the people in the rural districts are entitled to representa¬ 
tion. I say “ London ”—I mean the human beings in London are entitled to 
representation just as the people of Northumberland; but nobody would dream 
of denying to those people participation in their government. 

How can anybody sit down and dream about the ill effects and the terrible 
consequences of it? What would they be? Here is a little handful of people 
as against the United States. Instead of the States having the preponderancy, 
as our great-grandfathers thought, the United States has the absolute prepon¬ 
derancy. Why, the thing is a dream. It is almost a joke now. Here is this 
great United States of 105,000,000 or 110,000,000 people confronted with this 
group of 400,000 people and saying to them: “ If we give you a voice in our 
Government the Lord only knows what will happen.” 

The Chairman. Mr. Glassie, you may answer this question or not, as you 
choose. 

Mr. Glassie. I will try to do so to the best of my humble ability. 

The Chairman. The committee has not taken any position or expressed any 
opinion in regard to the question of density. I do not think that has anything 
to do with the question. But there is one thing that might have something to 
do with the question, in reference to the population of Washington, is to 
whether there are real Washingtonians, as to how many of this 450,000 are 
citizens of other States. A large part of them are. Can you give me any idea 
in regard to the number? 

Mr. Glassie. I have lived here all my life, sir. I will give you the best in¬ 
formation I have on the subject and what I believe to be the absolute truth 
about it. 

The District of Columbia being made up, so far as its clerk population is 
concerned, largely by people coming in through the civil service, and prior to 
that time by appointment, drawn from the population of the entire United 
States. 

The Chairman. That is about 100,000. 

Mr. Glassie. Not at present. The normal population in that class was 35,000 
before the war. And they are not all strangers. The situation is this, Mr. 
Chairman: Young people come here. Formerly old people came, but now it 
is generally young people. They come here from the States, and they keep a 
nominal State representation for political protection. 

It reminds me of a story about Admiral Dewey, when he was in command of 
the Navy, in regard to a man assigned to certain duties in the Navy who claimed 
to have been appointed from Wyoming. The people in Wyoming went up to 
the admiral and said. “This man never saw Wyoming. He is not a citizen of 
Wyoming.” Dewey sent for him and asked him about it. He told him he was 
and had lived in his early youth. Dewey said, “ How long since you have been 
there? ” He said, “ I have not been there for 10 years.” Dewey said, “ I think 
you had better go back now and then and take a look at the old homestead.” 

That is the attitude of mind of many of these people who come here. They 
feel they are bound to keep, and that it is right for them to keep, a political 
foot in the State from which they come. But, Mr. Chairman, that is a very 
small part of the population of the District. And as those people stay in the 
Government service, and marry and have Children and send them to school, 
that supposed relation to the outside State becomes thinner and thinner and 
thinner. And if these people had representation, if they had a voice in the 
affairs of their Government, they would give it all up. They keep that relation 
to the States* because that is largely one way in which they feel they are still 
American. 

I will illustrate that situation by myself. I was not born here; I came here 
as a child : I have lived here all my life. This was the center of my life; and 


134 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


I have deliberately moved my home over the State line. I never would have 
done it had I had the right of a human being within the limits of the District 
of Columbia. Thousands of people are in the same condition. If they had a 
real right of an American citizen, they would be joined and mixed and mingled 
with the great mass of the population. 

This idea that the great mass of the city of Washington is made up of people 


who vote elsewhere is a delusion. When an election occurs in the former 
State of any of those people, and they are asked to vote, many of them will 
vote, but that number is growing less all the time. It is a situation that can 
not survive against the man with a home, who marries and brings up his chil¬ 
dren, and whose children are born here. It is all very well to talk about people 
who came here, but lots of them came here when merely children. Thousands 
of people were born here, have not known any other life except Washington. 
This is their home. As Mr. Chief Justice Marshall said 80 years ago: “This 
is a social political community just like any other.” Mr. Brandenburg calls 
my attention to the fact that three or four thousand was the maximum number 
of people who went back to vote in the presidential election out of a population 


of 400,000. 

The Chairman. I think lie must be in error in regard to that. 

Mr. Glassie. I do not vouch for that, but I know from personal observation 
there were very few. 


The Chairman. In Iowa and New York, where they are allowed to vote 
without going home, I know there were a great many. I think there Were 
several thousand in Iowa. 

Mr. Brandenburg. The figures we give are those who actually went back home. 

The Chairman. The reason I made that statement is that I have a neighbor 
who was formerly a citizen of Iowa, and he voted in that way. I asked him 
how many Washingtonians voted in Iowa, and it was a surprisingly large num¬ 
ber to me. I should think, if the number of people here from other States reach 
anything like the number from Iowa, that it would be twenty-five or thirty 
thousand. 

Mr. Glassie. Let us grant that. The present population is less stable in that 
regard than the population has been since the Civil War. Every great war 
makes a difference in the life of Washington. Men came to Washington after 
the Civil War. They kept their political connections with the States when they 
found they could not vote, but when they married and their children were 
born and they went into their professions or businesses that all evaporated, and 
it is bound to evaporate. It would evaporate more if you did not force it, 
because of the very fact that you say to these people, “ You shall not be per¬ 
mitted to vote here.” And especially when the States will say, “ We will not 
only permit you to come home and vote, but we will let you write home and 
vote,” they will take that opportunity. It is no argument against the per¬ 
manency of the population. People who own their homes in Washington, the 
people you trade with, the people you meet at church, the people you meet at 
the clubs or in society, the people you meet in business—the great mass of those 
people are rooted here just as you gentlemen are rooted in your homes and your 
own States. Some of us are tempted to flee for the very reason that we do not 
have what we can easily have by moving away. 

The Chairman. If the right to vote should be granted to the people of the 
District of Columbia, what provision would you make for those people who are 
officers in the Army and Navy ? There are a great many officers who are here 
probably six months or a year or so and are transferred from place to place. 
They are disfranchised, or the majority of them are, from the fact that they 
have no home. Would you make this a home at which they could vote, if they 
so desired? 

Mr. Glassie. I will answer that in this way, if I may: This resolution pro¬ 
vides that Congress shall establish the qualifications of voters. That is a ques¬ 
tion, when the power is granted Congress by this amendment, for the exercise 
of the legislative discretion of you gentlemen of Congress, and Congress will 
then have a discussion and debate and consideration of that question. 

The Chairman. It is one of the contingencies that will arise. 

Mr. Glassie. I should hope that Congress, in determining the qualifications of 
electors, would do very much as the States did and establish tests of residence, 
and also tests of intelligence and education. 

The Chairman. Very few States have that now. 

Mr. Glassie. No ; but let us hope something of that kind may be done. That 
is a distinct legislative question. Once you have the power, of course, you will 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


135 


establish such sane and safe tests of qualifications as your legislative judgment 
dictates, and, of course, residence will be one of them. This floating population 
you describe will be driven either to accept residence here or to retain their 
allegiance to their former home, just as we treat a citizen of any foreign 
country. We say, “ You may return to your own home if you so desire.” France 
said after the war, “ You may continue to live in Alsace.' If the Germans want 
to go back to Germany, let them go. Those who want to remain in France may 
do so.” Those who want to vote in Delaware or Wyoming or Iowa will have 
that privilege and m^y retain their citizenship in those States under the local 
law. But you will set a standard. You will prescribe residence for a certain 
period, a certain age for the voter, educational qualifications, or whatever 
tests you think should be proper, and it will be automatic. It will solve the 
question automatically. Army officers should have the privilege of retaining 
their home residence somewhere. They can do it more easily in some States 
Ilian in others. That is a question to be settled by Congress—one of the details 
Congress will have to deal with once the power is granted. 

I was speaking for a moment of the question regarding that portion of the 
population composed of clerks and Government employees. I feel that while 
that is a problem that ought to have attention, the idea of the floating character 
of that population is greatly exaggerated. Of the 35,000 people who constituted 
the normal civil service just before the outbreak of the war, the great mass of 
those people had been taken in gradually by individual appointments and had 
been merged into the great mass of population, particularly the older ones. 
Now, this sudden increase which took it from 35,000 up to 100,000—it went up, 
as I remember, to 105,000 or 106,000 or 107,000. 

The Chairman. One hundred and forty thousand. 

Mr. Glassie. At the very peak the best figures I have seen was an increase 
of between 60,000 and 70,000. 

The Chairman. At the peak there were 142,000 employed in the District. 

Mr.- Glassie. It made an increase of approximately 100,000 people. That 
increase was largely temporary. It was largely made up of young people— 
young girls. That has been eliminated to a large extent. Those people who have 
been appointed and have lost their places have either gone away, gone back 
to their homes, or they have sought employment in civil occupations, in business 
life, and have been merged into the population. 

Now, of the 77,000 remaining, by far the largest bloc is composed of the 
employees who were here before and are essentially a part of the ordinary 
life of the city. It is a mistake, Mr. Chairman, I submit, to consider those 77,000 
people as outsiders. They are largely our own boys and girls, graduated in our 
own high schools, many of whom have been employed temporarily by the Gov¬ 
ernment. There is no man around this table who does not know that. They 
come from Georgetown, from the Conduit Road, Wisconsin Avenue. I know 
those people. We have people like that employed in our own offices who have 
gone out of the Government service and come back into ordinary business. 
Thousands and thousands of those people are Washington people. 

So out of the 77,000 by far the greater majority are just as much citizens of 
the city, living and dying in the city, as any other class of people. Out of the 
remainder, those who keep up a political connection with the States from which 
they came will keep it more under the present condition than they will under the 
other condition. So you can not take the absence of voting as a test of what 
would happen if we had a vote. That would not be right. You could not tell 
what this room would be like if you reduced its temperature to zero when its 
temperature is not zero. If you give these people a vote, of course, it is going 
to be much more attractive for them to vote at home, where they can take part 
in the discussion and hear the speeches in the presidential election, than it would 
be to go and vote by mail a thousand miles away. 

So you will have a power, you will require an election of residence, and you 
will provide for that in your law. It will not be a difficult thing to do. You will 
provide just as our forefathers did when they said, “ You shall have an op¬ 
portunity to retain your British citizenship or rather your status as a British 
subject.” So you will say to these people, “ If you want to vote in Iowa you 
can continue to do so, but if you want to vote here you must do what we say, you 
must obey our regulations, you must surrender your vote elsewhere, you must 
pay a poll tax, or whatever test we choose to give you.” And that will put an 
end to that problem. 

While I am on this, let me touch upon another question that is always diffi¬ 
cult, and that is the race question. I don’t want to blink anything. If I didn’t 


136 


SUFFRAGE IN THE. DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


believe what I was saying I would not take the time to come here and trouble 
you with it. That is a difficult question. I am a Democrat, Mr. Chairman, 
and I was born in Tennessee. That has nothing to do with the discussion, of 
course, except to show that I want to be frank about it. 

If the question here were the question of setting up an independent govern¬ 
ment, if it were a question of a Territorial legislature with power to vote on 
men’s affairs, or a municipality with self-governing powers, there might be some 
question as to whether it would be wise in any community with a large popula¬ 
tion of a distinct class—and I am not casting any aspersions on that class—of a 
distinct race, where it may give rise to race problems or control or balance of 
power. It might be a question whether it is wise to restore a State legislature 
or a Territorial legislature or a municipality under a popular vote. But that is 
not the question. There is no balance of power here to be used to control prop¬ 
erty, to tax property out of existence either directly or by the pretense of local 
improvements. All it means is that you would have a general mass of voters 
entitled to cast a vote for a representative in this august body. 

Now, whether it went to one party or the other is a thing that people inter¬ 
ested in partisan politics must look out for. Whether it means that any par¬ 
ticular party or some other party will, or will not have a majority is a part 
of the vicissitudes of political life in America. But a question of race control, 
of race domination, could not conceivably arise under a vote which is given 
for Federal purposes alone. And it does not make any difference whether you 
agree with Mr. Lesh as to the character of the Negro population or whether 
you take the opposite view of it. Much is to be said on both sides. We have 
extraordinarily fine Negro citizens here, judges and officials to some slight 
extent and doctors and people of that kind who practice among their race, 
people of land and property. We have another kind of population that is 
worthless, but you have them everywhere. It is not here a question of a single 
racial unit dominating a local situation which is a question that men fight 
about in the part of the world where I was born. It might be well to take a 
position against the possibility of the social and domestic life of the commu¬ 
nity being controlled by a racial element holding the balance of power, but 
that has no more to do with this question than the question of whether Lithu¬ 
anians are Poles. It is a question entirely removed from this subject we are 
now dealing with. Who would have the hardihood to say that the great mass 
of people in this city are going to follow control by the Negro race? It has 
nothing to do with local government or voting for local officers. Not even a 
dogcatcher’s election would come under the control of these people. It would 
not make any difference if the Negro voted along with the white man, with 
the same qualifications. That is the question which you will deal with in 
your wisdom at the proper time. 

Mr. Chairman, I realize that I am trespassing unduly upon your limited 
time and indulgence. 

The Chairman. It is a very interesting discussion. 

Mr. GLassie. I feel that I have talked longer than I ought to talk, but I am 
talking straight from the heart and mind and mean every word I say. 

The question is raised as to the past experience in the Territorial legislature. 
They say, “Do you want to come back to the feather-duster legislature?” and 
all that. Why, no, no, a thousand times no! The feather-duster legislature 
was the result of an effort made after the Civil War, during the period of 
reconstruction in the Southern States, contemporaneous with reconstruction in 
South Carolina and reconstruction in Mississippi, to attempt to give a local 
self-government vote to these people and to allow the newly enfranchised Negro 
to participate in that vote. Washington was filled with them, who had flocked 
here as refugees from the South, from Maryland and Virginia. Many of them 
I have known personally, and know how they came and when they came and 
why they came. Worthy Negroes, many of them, of course, but a new class 
of people, never before exercising the right of suffrage, never before given 
any share in the government. We came along and dumped those people in, 
and Congress gave us control of local operations, or a local government. 

What has that to do with our being now, even if conditions were the same, 
given a vote with respect to Federal and National Government? If we had a 
local government, and the balance of power was controlled by a worthless 
minority, or a racial bloc, or any other kind or set of people, we would have 
that problem to deal with as men and citizens. We would have to unite to 
defeat it, if we could, and I am free to say the passions of the Civil War have 
all evaporated, and the Negro has been put on a good deal better status, a 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


137 


better plane, and men no longer are divided by the shout and sound of partisan 
politics. The people of the District of Columbia would come pretty near to 
handling that question if they were confronted with it, but they are not con¬ 
fronted with it. They do not ask to be confronted with it. And, therefore, I 
say, with great respect to those who have indulged in it, that all the discussion 
in regard to that is based upon a false premise. It is based upon the premise 
that you are setting up a territorial, local, autonomous, self-government. You 
are not doing anything of the kind, and you are not asked to do anything of 
the kind. 

Now, Mr. Chairman, I think there are one or two points I should like to 
cover, and I shall be happy to conclude and give an opportunity to somebody 
else. 

One point comes from a qhestion that was propounded—I don’t know that I 
grasped it fully—by one of the members of the committee, perhaps the chair¬ 
man himself, at the last meeting. It ran this way, and I say it has to be con¬ 
sidered. All these questions are searching questions. They ought to be con¬ 
sidered and ought to be answered. But if we do answer them the answer ought 
to be taken along with the question. 

It was suggested that we would be in a peculiar situation here; in other 
words, that we would be only “ State,” if the District is represented in Congress, 
which would be directly governed by Congress. It is a very searching question. 
I think it is not so much a question as it is a suggestion. It was an expression 
of opinion. 

It is true. There is no escaping that. It is perfectly true. There is that dis¬ 
tinction. But let us examine it, if I may, a little more in detail. We would be 
the only State represented in Congress which is directly controlled by Congress. 
There is a good deal in that word “ State.” We would not have any of the char¬ 
acteristics of a State, except representation in Congress. Now, that representa¬ 
tion. under the modern election of Senators by popular vote, comes down to say¬ 
ing that we would be a body of people represented in Congress, the only body of 
people represented in Congress, directly controlled by Congress. Then I say, if 
you state it that way, what difference does it make whether we are or not? The 
more intensive the control of Congress, the more duty Congress has in a legisla¬ 
tive capacity with respect to that group of people, the more reason that group of 
people should have a representative to leaven the mass. It is still a question of 
control. Why put ourselves back in our ancestors’ position and begin to think 
about something preponderating over the United States? Think of a State 
preponderating over the United States. Not all the States, mind you, Mr. 
Chairman, but any State. There was a time when Mr. Jay resigned the posi¬ 
tion of Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States to become 
governor of the State of New York. 

Men are honored now to be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United 
States after they have been President of the United States. It is not a question 
of “ preponderancy,” to use Mr. Madison’s phrase. If that had anything 
to do with it we might pause; but all there is to it is that there would be a 
body of people casting individual votes for a Representative, or, if the popula¬ 
tion was sufficient, for two Representatives, and casting a vote for a Senator. 
And your reasons for not granting that arise from the fact that the body— 
not the Senator, not the Representatives themselves—but the great, august 
body in which those people want a representative, controls those people. 

So I say the fact is incontrovertible. The point is a searching point, but 
when you look at it closely there is no danger, no evil consequences. And so 
it is nothing except an accentuation of the dire necessities of these people 
and their desire to have some little voice, a one-four hundredth in the House 
or one ninety-ninth part in this great body which is compelled to directly 
govern those people whereas you do not directly govern even the Territories, 
because you set up other agencies, and do not directly govern the dependencies, 
because you set up legislative tribunals to deal with the problems which affect 
those people. 

Mr. Chairman, I remember not so long ago walking down the street and meet¬ 
ing a noted builder in Washington and discussing the rental situation and 
housing situation with him. I will not mention his name, but I will vouch for 
the truth as to this little incident. He said to me, “ The great trouble in the 
city of Washington is the difficulty and expense of getting the capital now to 
build. It is the price of money, as much as the price of building materials.” 
He turned to me a little more as we were walking along and said, “ Who raised 
the legal rate of interest in the District of Columbia to 8 per cent?” I said, 


138 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


“Congress.” He said, “ I don’t mean that.” He said, “Who was behind it? 

I do not take a position for or against it being raised. I am' only illustrating* 

it. He said, “ Did you ever hear of it before? ” I said, “ No. I will admit 

that there were amendments to the code which, so far as I had seen, related 
to some matters of procedure, certain more or less detailed amendments to the 
code, and I never saw it myself.” He said, “ I didn’t either, and I have 

never found a man in Washington who could tell me where the original 

notion came from of changing the legal rate of interest from 6 to 8 per cent.” 

What does that prove? I don’t say it was right or wrong; but consider the 
deep consequence to this city of not knowing that it was contemplated to 
make a great economic and legal alteration like that. 

If we came to you now, sir, with a new code, a modern code of procedure, 
and came, here with modern laws dealing with all these great relations of life, 
what time would you have to deal with it, especially when you are unin¬ 
structed by any authorized Representative? Why should you listen to me 
or these gentlemen or anybody else? We are but volunteers, after all, even 
if we represent, as many of us do, large organizations. That is not the way 
to create a government. That is a kind of sovietism, if you look at it from 
the standpoint of political philosophy. It is an attempt to govern by groups— 
so-called plural sovereignty. Every interested group comes in and says, 
give us this or that or the other. American, republican, constitutional gov¬ 
ernment emphasizes the fact that the citizen of such a Government, irre¬ 
spective of what group he belongs to, what societies he belongs to, should 
have a voice through a direct political channel, speaking constitutionally and 
legally in the representative body. 

And you want us to come here and hang on your lapels and your coat tails 
and say, “ Do this and do that.” And you may be confident that I am telling 
you the truth, but you do not know how far, honest as I may be, that I or 
any of these gentlemen in advocating a particular thing may not have in our 
minds an unconscious mental bias, deep-seated, economic, complex, which 
affects our judgment. In representing and speaking for this mass of human 
beings, as I said before, if there was that direct authority, that duly elected 
constitutional representative to speak for these people, you would not hesitate 
to say, “ Of course, I do not believe any such group of people should be in 
political slavery in the twentieth century.” Go back and examine our laws 
and history and tell me where there is any legal historical basis for treating 
these people as a voteless people? 

Now. Mr. Chairman, not only do we think it is a question primarily of 
political rights, but 1 am trying to deal with it from the standpoint of govern¬ 
ment rather than the standpoint of the individual. All the people here—either 
those for a Delegate or those for representation in the real sense of the word— 
travel the same road together a little way. Then, of course, they separate into 
bypaths; but they are actuated fundamentally by the same desire, the same 
belief that the existing condition is not the best condition. When we come to 
that point, we find those who believe that nothing will serve the purpose but 
a real Representative. If you will allow me to ask you. what would it signify 
to you if you were given the same power to debate, the same power to confer 
that you now have, but were stripped of your vote as a Representative of the 
great historical State of Delaware? 

We can not help thinking, sir, that a government is something besides those 
with a voice in this Senate, and that what is necessary is a man who stands on 
an equality in the council chamber with everybody else; and it is only the power 
to vote that makes the Senators equal, gives the Senators equal suffrage to carry 
out that constitutional requirement that the States shall be entitled to equal 
suffrage in the Senate. That makes a Senator. That power is essential, and 
can not be exercised by the mere voice. What we mean here is to have a man 
who can deal with you on terms of equality; who can, if necessary, vote against 
you, sir, just as you would feel it your right and privilege to vote against 
him. That great master in government, Burke, said, “All government is the 
result of compromise.” He said, in effect, “ In all my political experience I do 
not recall a single measure in Parliament that was not better after debate 
and mutual concession and compromise than it would have been if any single 
element engaged in its composition had controlled it alone.” That is recog¬ 
nized as a great truth, and everybody who has had any experience in politics 
and business knows it. 

What we want is a man who can talk to you face to face on your own footing, 
whom you will know is delegated by some constitutional, legal means to speak 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


139 


to you in that way and to deal with you and vote with you or against you, if it 
is necessary, in that capacity. And so we all stand here for real representa¬ 
tion, and not the shadow of representation by a Territorial Delegate. 

And a Territorial Delegate is merely a device. He has no relation to this 
Government of ours here. The Territorial Delegate is an American device to 
represent a people not in a permanent status. We are in a permanent status. 
If it is changed, we will he in another permanent status. AVe are not in the 
process of development from a Territory into a future State. The Delegate is 
an invention devised to give the people in their infancy, their political incipiency, 
so to speak, a chance to have some kind of voice, because it was deemed 
monstrous that even people like those should he deprived of every voice in the 
control of the Nation. Those people went along with a Territorial legislature, 
and they took care of their temporary legal problems and social problems under, 
of course, the general control of Congress. The Delegate is a part of a scheme 
of government which contemplated local self-government, and, for the tenth 
time, I say we are not contemplating local self-government. The Delegate is 
not a part or parcel of the system of government that we are asking for. You 
are now and forever the law-creating body for this mass of human beings. 
You are now and forever the organic ordinance-making, government-making 
power for these same people, and you can not escape that. What we want is a 
voice in it—not against it, not outside of it—a voice in it. A Delegate does not 
give us anything but an echo. He gives us no voice, because he gives us no 

p'W e» 

In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, we believe that when you have sitting beside 
you in committee, or when you have talking with you in the cloakroom, or 
when you have voting or debating on the floor of the Senate, a man that you 
•can know is the representative of the needs and necessities of those people, 
or whom you can take as knowing them, at any rate, he will be a great help 
to you. For whether he does or does not represent them, he must and will 
come to a test. He may misrepresent them. It is possible that he will, but 
you will have the right to say, “ Here is a man selected in a constitutional 
manner to represent these people, and this responsibility is his primarily.” 

So it will be an advantage to you. AA T e think it will be just as great an 
advantage to us, just as in this body every State is represented. Every con¬ 
gressional district in every State has a man to represent it in this body. Yet 
Congress does not directly control all of those people, only in Federal aspects. 
There is no other part of the great continental United States that has not got 
a man with you who knows the effect which legislation of the kind contem¬ 
plated would have on the industries of his own district and the people of his 
own district, and you can take council with him. So we say, as this helps 
every congressional district, every State, it will help 11 s. 

AVe are not fighting our local government; we are not fighting Congress; 
but the things that are important in this world are often unseen. You 
take a strike. AVhat is the effect of a strike It is the effect of what is not 
done. It is the invisible destruction of wealth that goes on while wheels stand 
still. 

AVe may well be proud when we consider the fine records here, but think 
wliat it would have been if from the beginning we had been large and popu¬ 
lous enough to have had an accredited representative in this body who could 
speak for us. There are thousands of things that ought to have been done, 
that might have been done, that remain to-day to be done, that have not been 
done because of the objections to them. AA 7 hat is the argument here about 
that? It reminds me of the objections that have been made to all the great 
constructive legislative acts of this generation, like the farm loan bill, em¬ 
ployers’ liability for carriers in interstate commerce, regulation of rent, and 
a thousand other things. The moment they are suggested somebody says, “ Oh. 
that is unconstitutional.” And very few of them could determine what is or¬ 
is not unconstitutional. They simply say the founders didnt’ do it, and there¬ 
fore we shouldn’t do it. 

I submit that the founders would have done it if they had been confronted 
with the same situation. If the founders had fixed upon New York, as they 
were asked to do; if the founders had fixed upon Philadelphia, as they were 
asked to do, for the seat of Government, and the State of New York or the 
State of Pennsylvania could have been induced to make a cession of the terri¬ 
tory which would have, given Congress the same exclusive power that it lias 
over the District of Columbia, would Congress then not have dealt with the 
problem of the votes of those people in a different way from the way in 


140 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


which they dealt with the people in this little struggling village? Our popu¬ 
lation to-day, if I am not wrong, is equal to if not greater than that of any one 
of the original States in the beginning of this Government, with the exception 
of what are known as the great States, such as New York, Pennsylvania, and 
Virginia. 

Mr. Chairman, it may be well to suggest here, sir, that in the Constitutional 
Convention the Virginia plan provided for the election of Senators from sena¬ 
torial districts, which would have been groups of population of approximate 
equality, and it was voted down. Who voted it down? Delaware voted it 
down; Connecticut voted it down; New Jersey voted it down; Maryland voted 
it down. Why? Because they realized that while they were not as large as 
these other States—I think Virginia’s population was something like seven or 
eight hundred thousand at that time, if I am not mistaken, while Delaware, 
Maryland, Connecticut, and New Jersey were smaller States—they realized 
that two or three hundred thousand people or four hundred thousand people 
constitute a society-^constitute a political society—and that the best brains, 
the best men, in the world were well employed in dealing with the laws and 
problems of those places. Here we have a similar group of people, just as in¬ 
telligent, just as important, and we are told, “ We did not give you the vote 
when you were nobody and you shall not have it now.” 

I thank you very much. 

Mr. J. Milton Waldren. Mr. Chairman, I have been here for several ses¬ 
sions. I have asked the privilege of representing a class of people that have" 
been frequently referred to, but I have not had a voice. I would be pleased if 
the committee would allow me to speak before you adjourn to-day. 

The Chairman. I understand you are favorable to granting the franchise. 

Mr. Waldren. I am favorable in a way, but I want to express the ideas and 
views of the colored people. 

The Chairman. This session was reserved for those opposed to suffrage, and 
while I permitted two hours to be consumed on the other side by those in 
favor of suffrage I feel I must now allow those who are opposed and have 
come prepared to speak to now proceed. I will promise to hear you at the 
next hearing. I can not tell when it will be. If those opposed will not keep 
us too late, I will hear you to-day. 

Mr. Waldren. I appreciate your right and I do not want to take the rights- 
of anybody else. 

The Chairman. I feel I must allow the people who came here with the dis¬ 
tinct understanding that they should have the time to-day to proceed now 
with their argument. 

Mr. Waldren. I would not have arisen, but I thought they gave way to the 
other speakers and I thought possibly they might give way to me. 

Mr. Ayers. The chairman requested that we allow Mr. Glassie to speak. 

The Chairman. You may proceed. 

STATEMENT OF G. W. AYERS, ESQ. 

Mr. Ayers. I would imagine, of course, that Mr. Glassie is a lawyer. I would 
have answered later what I am going to answer now when I answered the 
questions of Mr. Lesh, but I will take it up immediately. 

I believe it is an axiom of law that the written instrument itself is the only 
thing we can go by in equity law, if I am phrasing that properly. I am not 
a lawyer. They say this is a question of constitutional law. From the things 
that Mr. Glassie said, I don’t see how we can say the fathers intended either 
one thing or the other. It simply was not done. It was left out of the Con¬ 
stitution and therefore has no place in the organic law and may not be read 
into it under any circumstances. That answers that feature of dt./^,,. t <L‘ 

Now, Mr. Glassie wants{a change in the local government here?to the extent 
that we may have one or more Senators, etc. That immediately, I should im¬ 
agine, would affect what we might call the 50-50 plan of taxation, would dis¬ 
turb that, and there would be one man in the Senate and a number in the House 
who would have more power over the Federal Government in directing legisla¬ 
tion and in consequence continually inclipd to make the Government pay more 
and more and more of the cost of operation of the local government,/ It would 
be the most natural thing in the world to do it. 

Mr. Glassie said something about the rate of interest being 8 per cent. I am 
a little familiar with that myself. 4wo builders told me not long ago at the- 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


141 


Powhatan Hotel that Washington, D. C., and Galveston, Tex., are the two cities 
to which they could come and get a square deal from the city government, and 
would not have to ask anybody what they could do or pay anybody any money. 
Now, mind you, these two builders were national builders, not local, as the 
gentleman he referred to must have been. 

I see no reason why the laws of the District of Columbia, the codes that we 
now have, could not be codified and brought up to date. There is no reason 
why they should not. It has been done before w T ith reference to other laws 
over which the General Government has control. A commission might be 
formed with local representatives by Members of Congress, by local experts, 
by the bar association and local courts, and that presented to Congress for 
its consideration. I think that covers that point. 

Now, with reference to the getting together of certain cliques or races or in¬ 
terests, and not representing the city as a whole. I think the Federation of 
Citizens’ Clubs here comes very near being a representative body of all the 
people in the District. I just recently joined it. At least, I was asked to 
join and paid my money, and I have not heard from it. For all I know it is 
very representative of the citizens of the District. 

[A number of Senators own property in the District, have lived here from 2 
to 15 or 18 or 20 years. One of the members of this committee, I understand, 
is interested in a very large financial transaction in the District of Columbia,.) 
which will possibly eventuate in the near future. fX member of the District 
Committee is a member of the Federation of Citizens’ Clubs here. I think sev¬ 
eral Members of Congress are members of the Federation of Citizens’ Clubs. 
So Congress is a part of the city of Washington, perhaps as much as those of 
us who live here, maybe not so much so, but they are enough so that they 
catch the local spirit and the local needs.) 

Mr. Glassie said that Burke said all legislation was better because of debate 
and compromise. I agree with Mr. Glassie and Mr. Burke also on that. I 
think Burke represented the American Colonies about as well as any man that 
could have been sent to the Parliament in London. In fact, there were three 
men there, Fox, the elder Pitt, if I remember rightly, and Mr. Burke, who were 
good representatives of the Colonies. And soil think the men on this com¬ 
mittee, who have lived here from 2 to 25,,years, and those also in the House, 
represent the District very satisfactorily.) 

Now, when Mr. Glassie compares New York and Philadelphia to Washington, 
with reference to having the seat of Federal government, I don’t think there 
is any comparison whatsoever, in any way, fashion, manner, or form. 

There have possibly been, if I am thoroughly informed in respect to history, 
something like two or three thousand different forms of government, both local 
and national. The Republic of Rome, or the Roman Republic, was not a 
republic in the sense in which we now have a republic. There is no analogy 
between the two. The Roman Republic had dependencies and‘local forms of 
government which had no control over their own immediate neighborhood or 
city, or whatever you might wish to term it. So, I do not think that should 
hear any relation to the District of Columbia, unless it goes to prove a republic 
can have a seat of government over which it has absolute control in every 
way. 

It is just possible that the form of government under which the District of 
Columbia lives is an accidental discovery of a new form of government, just 
as many other forms of government have been discovered in the past, possibly 
by accident. Anyway, all forms of government are matters of growth, and 
whether the Fathers or framers of the Constitution intended they should have 
a vote or not would have little to do with it. I think the present form of local 
government is a new form, and the most efficient form of government that any 
c\Py can possibly have, and I believe we wish to continue it. 

\So far as the schools are concerned, and the need of a man in Congress to tell 
Congress what to do and what might be done and to give them information, I 
doin',t think that would have amounted to a great deal, and surely could not 
have done any more than was done recently when there was; no vote, where by 
moral persuasion, when we had a president, of the board of education who w r as 
an outsider,)whom we did not like here,fwho wanted to be a commissioner, 
whom the then President would have appointed commissioner; but through 
force of public opinion the President did not appoint him. I think that is as far 
as anv body of voters could possibly have gone.)} 

I think I have finished, so far as I care to answer what Mr. Glassie had to say. 

Now. the Times speaker the other day said 90 per cent of the people of the 


142 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


District wanted suffrage, and 10 per cent didn’t want it. Those were inspired 
figures', and maybe that man was talking in large headlines, like the Times 
always does talk. Whether it is 50 per cent or 90 per cent he does not know, 
and neither do I, but from the inves^feation I have made I am inclined to believe 
at least 50 per cent do not care for any form of suffrage. Others may. 

I don’t know who the second speaker was, but he quoted President Lincoln as 
being in favor of suffrage. He didn’t say for whom, whether for the Negro or 
the white man, or for everybody, or for just the District of Columbia. Anybody 
is in favor of suffrage. I am. 

He also quoted Joe Folk. Joe Folk is the ex-governor of Missouri, and for¬ 
merly one of the attorneys of the United States Government. He quoted Joe 
Folk as saying that all large cities are venal. I think Joe Folk knows. I know, 
too, for I lived over there. Joe Folk was city attorney of the city of St. Louis. 
This gentleman here likely knows him well. He became governor because he put 
a lot of crooks out, and then they would not let him serve any longer because he 
was apparently honest. 

Several speakers have quoted Chief Justice Marshall in favor of suffrage for 
the District of Columbia. I can’t say that he did not favor it. I have not seen 
the record, and I presume it must be true. A little later I had intended to quote 
Chief Justice Taft on that subject, but I understand it is to be written into the 
record. 

The Chairman. The address of Chief Justice Taft will be incorporated into 
the record. 

Mr. Ayers. I want to say I favor everything which the Chief Justice said. 

Another man in this committee room asked me why I didn't take the idea of 
a voteless community back to Indianapolis and Terre Haute. It might be a good 
thing. Right now, if I remember correctly, several of the former public offi¬ 
cials of Indianapolis and Terre Haute are in the Leavenworth penitentiary. 

A lady asked me how 1 knew anything about local conditions if I had not lived 
here but about 10 years. I have been reading. I was relying on the Constitu¬ 
tion for information—I don’t think she was—but I got my information from 
about the same sources, I presume, that she did. 

Now, Mr. Lesh said the City Club has about 1,500 members, to whom he sent 
a letter. I believe he said he got 17 replies opposing suffrage and that 500 
favored suffrage of some kind; that 250 voted as a group for statehood. Am I 
correct? 

Mr. Lesh. No ; you are not correct. 

Mr. Ayers. I have my figures to that effect. 

Mr. Lesh. Do you wish me to correct you now? 

Mr. Ayers. I do. 

Mr. Lesh. We sent the letter to something over 500 members, accompanied by 
a postal card; that out of that number, 17 opposed our platform and the balance 
favored it; that in response to the second question on the postal card, 290 not 
only favored our platform but joined our group. 

Mr. Ayers. Well, at best that is one-third of the total membership. I think 
that will come very near approximating the number in the city as a whole that 
are in favor of any kind of suffrage, either one or the other kind or both. 

Those men who belong to the City Club are not members of that club exclu¬ 
sively, but belong to other organizations in the city. Some of these gentlemen 
come here and claim to represent certain organizations with such and such a 
number of members, while perhaps practically the same men belong to all of 
the organizations, or many of the other organizations. That may be true of the 
City Club. I might call them repeaters, if they wanted to vote in every one of 
these different organizations and try to show the committee how many are in 
favor of suffrage. Of course I will not do it. I figured that I would divide 
that number by half, and half would be for local self-government, or statehood 
modified* and half against any suffrage at all. 

Infc Lesh saysfa Federal city is not a reservation, nor a dock, nor a naval 
base, nor a national park, nor a camp—can not be compared with those. I merely 
refer him bark to the records of the city, where we have celebrations and 
funerals and conferences and city riots and race riots, and see if the Federal 
Government does not very nearly step in and take a hand with the soldiers and 
marines. They always have done it, and very likely will continue to do it.) 1 
hope so^ 0 ^ 

Mr. Lesh cites three South American republics whose capital cities have suf¬ 
frage. ) That is as far as he went.Q None of those capital cities were built as a 
Federal city, and even now one of them is considering building a Federal city 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


143 


away from its seat of government.; I think that is Argentina. At least I have 
read so. 

The Chairman. I would like to ask you how many city governments exist in 
cities governed entirely by the Federal Government? 

Mr. Ayers. Every one, I think, that I know of, with that one exception. 

I beg your pardon if I did not get your question. 

The Chairman. How many cities are there, in which is located the seat of 
Government, which are governed by that Government alone? 

Mr. Ayers. None that I know of. 

The Chairman. None? 

Mr. Ayers. None. I may be mistaken. Mr. Glassie would know, but I don't. 

Mr. Lesh. Not that the matter is important, but what Mr. Ayers is referring 
to came up in Mr. Brandenburg’s remarks, not mine, and he is more familiar 
with the subject than I am. 

We have in the brief that we filed with the House committee—and it may be 
of interest for the record before this committee—a schedule of the participation 
of the capitals of a number of nations in the government of those capital cities. 
I have no doubt we could take that schedule from the brief and put in the 
record, if you wish it.(^ y ^ ncu< tL$J 

Mr. Ayers. Mr. Lesh^also says the denial of suffrage is repughani to the Con¬ 
stitution.^ Here is a work called the “ Constitutional History of the American 
People,” by F. N. Thorpe. On page 209, under the subtitle of “ Stern functions 
of the State,” the writer says, after having summed up a history of the Common¬ 
wealths prior to the revolution and just after our Constitution had been per¬ 
fected : 

“ From this brief survey of one aspect of the political estate at the opening 
of this new century, it appears that government, in American democracy, was 
at this time in the hands of the few who were conventionally restrained from 
political wrongdoing by social, religious, and property qualifications. The mass 
of the population was excluded from the estate. Yet few escaped taxation. The 
value of property, not the votes of electors, controlled the democracy of the 
day. Property was the electoral check and balance.” 

And yet, with that being true^tliere was not a colony, there was not a State, 
that did not have some very drastic qualification for suffrage, very drastic; 
just as the Constitution prohibited all women from voting, just as the Con¬ 
stitution prohibited all slaves from voting, just as the Constitution prohibited 
any man from voting under 21 years of age; just as the Constitution prevented 
any Indian from voting, and does even to-day,"jus I said the other day. f So it 
is not altogether repugnant to the Constitution. ^It may be to-day as we have 
grown up, but it was not then, imder the circumstances; and Mr. Lesh can not 
cite any authority to prove it. sThe law as written in the Constitution is the 
sum total of their opinions, and you can not go back of the law as written. 
You may take the opinions of Chief Justice Marshall, of Abraham Lincoln, of 
President Madison, but after all the Constitution designated who shall votej 

Now,(the makers of the Constitution deliberated many months before fney 
signed it; there were many compromises before they signed it. Hamilton and 
Jefferson and others went up and down the country four or five months debat¬ 
ing the Constitution. Never once did they say anything about not having suf¬ 
frage in the District of Columbia. So as long as the other side continually 
harps on the idea that the fathers did intend we should have it, I have a right 
to say they positively did not intend we should have it, because they did not 
give it in the Constitution. 

All the State legislatures deliberated before they accepted the Constitution. 
Nine accepted it, and New York accepted it by a very close margin, and it was 
some time before the other four States finally accepted it. Evidently they 
argued every phase and condition possible before they eventually accepted it 
as written. And nowhere does it say we have the right of suffrage in the District 
of Columbia. In no amendments since that time has it been given the right/) So 
how any lawyer can contend that the law implied we should have it I don’t 
«know. 

! ” 'As far as Andrew Jackson advocating suffrage in the District is concerned, I 
think anyone knowing his history will believe that he was likely to advocate 
most anything once and stand pat on it, whether he was right or wrong. 

I am not as familiar with the local history of this plot of ground as Mr. 
Glassie is. I do feeLthat I have a little knowledge of it, however, and from 
some of my reading (I am inclined to believe that had this Federal Government 
been strong and powerful at the time that it was laid out for a Federal District, 

83480—22-10 



144 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


it would have reserved to itself every foot of ground in the original District, 
or at least in the city proper, so that no one could have anything to say at any 
time but the Government which controls it. 

In Philadelphia, where the city administration would not give the fathers any 
protection, where the State of Pennsylvania would not give them any protection, 
they certainly must then have felt that* they would like to have a little spot 
of their own. Had they had the money, doubtless they would never have sold 
one lot in the District of Columbia to anybody. They had to sell themJP 

Now 7 , here is a little thing. Robert Morris, w'ho financed the Revolutionary 
War, was one of the men who tried to finance the District of Columbia. He 
went broke because they could not loan him any money in Holland, and they 
took him over to Philadelphia and cast Robert Morris in the city jail, and he 
died there after three years in a debtor’s cell. 

Mr. Brandenburg gave some statistics as to how many bonds w r ere bought by 
local citizens and how many soldiers volunteered from the District and how 
many were drafted. I have here a book entitled “ Principles and Acts of the 
Revolution,” by Hezekiah Niles, Baltimore, Md. This work is a compilation 
of the acts, newspaper articles, and public speeches by different citizens of all 
of the Colonies. These articles-are all arranged under each Colony. Under the 
head of “ Pennsylvania ” w T e find the following: 

“At a critical period of the Revolutionary War, when there was great danger 
of the dissolution of the American Army for want of provisions to keep it to¬ 
gether, a number of patriotic gentlemen gave their bonds to the amount of about 
£260.000 in gold and silver for procuring them. The provisions were provided, 
the Army w as kept together, and our independence w r as finally achieved. The 
amount of the bonds was never called for, but it is well to keep in remembrance 
the names of those who in the times that tried men’s souls stepped forward and 
pledged their all toward the support of those who were contending for our 
liberty. The following is a list of some of their names, with the sums respec¬ 
tively subscribed by them.” 

And it is headed by the name of Robert Morris for £10,000. So I think the 
District of Columbia during this late war gave no more than any other like 
community would have done, had it been able to do it. We had quite a few' 
dollar-a-year men here. We had men here from other States who volunteered 
from the District of Columbia, but should have been credited to the other States. 
So the proportion here was very likely about the same as in any other State, 
because there w r as a good deal of patriotism in Indiana, where I came from, 
and I venture to say in California and Mississippi and a few 7 other States. So 
I don’t think w 7 e should brag very much about how many volunteers we had here 
or how 7 much money w 7 e gave. Other men did the same thing. My father 
fought four and a half years in the Civil War on the Union side and was in 
the front line all the time. He didn’t brag about it. He just went out and 
did his duty and loved his country, the same as I do. 

Mr. Brandenburg quoted Washington as saying this would be a very large 
city some day, as also did Mr. Glassie. Well, suppose it does become a million 
population. What is the difference? It is still a Federal city. It is very evident 
that the Federal Government is paramount here, no matter how' large it is 
or may in the future be. Down in the archives of this building are some plans 
for public buildings for this immediate neighborhood. If it ever goes into 
effect the space occupied wall be five times as large as it is right now 7 . We don’t 
know what this Government is coming to, how large the city is going to be, 
how 7 many buildings the Government itself might wish to occupy at some time 
in the future. It wmuld not be very long until the business interests would 
run clear to the District line, and then all you fellow's can live in Maryland, 
and you will not have to have any vote here, and the Government will ow 7 n it 
and run it. 

Mr. Brandenburg also quoted that famous saying, “ Taxation without repre¬ 
sentation.” I will get to that in a few 7 minutes, but not in direct reply to Mr. 
Brandenburg. 

\ With reference to voteless delegates in the District, Alaska, I should imagine, 
is about 90 per cent American, with a voteless Delegate. I would say Hawaii 
has more Japs than natives and Americans put together, and it has a voteless 
Delegate. The Philippines are about 5 per cent American, with a voteless 
Delegate. Porto Rico I don’t think has over 1 per cent Americans, and it has 
a voteless Delegate. Each one of them has a voteless Delegate. 

We don’t consider that representation here. It is merely expediency and 
efficiency.^ And that is the whole basis of my talk, no matter what l might 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


145 


say. fit is a question of efficiency and expediency in the General Government, 
irrespective of who might live here. } I don’t see that anybody is suffering at 
all in the District of Columbia from any cause whatever with reference to 
government. 

I am too much of a Scotchman to want to make a change or to rock the boat 
when it is already good. Will Rogers, in the Belasco Theater a week or two 
ago, in speaking of the peace conference, said the English would come over 
in their own sea; the Japs would come over in their own war vessels; the 
Irish would have sent somebody over but they didn’t know what they wanted; 
and the Scotch would have liked to have sent somebody over, but they wanted 
transportation paid both ways. I think we have a pretty good form of govern¬ 
ment, and until some one shows me a better form I am not willing to change. 

t Here r isone littlq feature not touched on very much, except Mr. Glassie 
mentioned it." Tha-t-is taxes. As a concrete^ in^ance of those who have the 
good fortune to live here—^andfl am going to/identify myself with the District 
of Columbia, lust as Mr. Lloyd has and Mr. Glassie is now identified—ft he torch 
of jewel if'Was built two weeks ago. It cost $30,000 to build. The Government 
loaned us $250,000 worth of equipment to make that torch of jewels a thing 
of beauty. If it had been in New York, we would have had to spend the money 
from our own treasury, or in Philadelphia, or any other city the same way. 
Many such instances we profit by because we live here. It does not cost us 
a cent. The General Government pays that expense. The fellows in the plates 
pay an equal share with you. I think we are very fortunate to live here.} 

I don’t think {when it comes right down to a concrete proposition of either 
having a Representative inCongress, voting or voteless, or an increase in taxes, 
that theaLverage man willow ant. any representation in Congress. I don’t believe 
flie will'quit means any increase in taxes, and doubtless it will mean an increase 
in taxek ;There is scarcely any doubt about it at all. 

(There are two factions here. One wants a modified form of State govern¬ 
ment and the other wants local control.') When either side gets up each speaker 
talks as though he were talking for 90 per cent of the people. I don’t believe 
either side has any specific figure on which to base any contentoin of that nature. 

And suppose it should be true, andfsuppose we do get a local legislature as 
we had in 1835. The B. & O. Railroad was built into the city then, and we had 
the telegraph at that time. The B. & O. wanted to run its poles into the 
streets and the local government would not let them. ') Somebody wanted to 
be satisfied, probably; I don’t know. That is usually the method. (The Fed- 
oral Government finally erected the telegraph polos itself and then allowed 
the local city government and the railroad company to fight it out, and you 
gentlemen who are familiar with local history know the controversy was about 
30 years in being settled. That is just one sample of what might occur pro¬ 
viding we had the local form of government. I don’t know what might even¬ 
tuate if we had a Senator and Representative in the House. 

Now as to whether or not one side or the other does represent a large ma¬ 
jority of the people of the District of Columbia, I will recite another concrete 
instance that came under my personal observation. Immediately after the 
meeting in the House before the Judiciary Committee last winter, there was 
a meeting of the Mid-City Community Center at L and Thirteenth. It was 
widely advertised in that community center that Mr. Burroughs would speak 
in favor of District suffrage, especially in favor of his bill. I attended the 
meeting to hear what he might have to say. There were 65 people present, 
of which I was one, Mr. Burroughs another, five or six children, seven or eight 
women; and at that time women did not vote in the community centers, I believe. 

That left, I will say, 50 people who had the privilege of voting at the meet¬ 
ing. I When the vote was taken one man voted against suffrage in the District, 
and all the rest voted for suffrage in the District. That was published in the 
Star as the unanimous vote of the Mid-City Community Center, and I found 
out they had 1,200 members. And yet that goes in, and people take the Star 
and read that it was the unanimous’ vote, but there were only 65 persons present. 
It was published over the country as the unanimous vote of that particular 
community center, and that center has 1,200 members. 

Mi-. Lesh. Will Mr. Ayers submit to one question? I would like to inquire 
if he knows what was the usual attendance? 

Mr. Ayers. I do not. I never attended before. I went up simply because Mr. 
Burroughs was the speaker. 


146 


SUFFRAGE IN TFIE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


It seems to me(it would be a practical if we would come up to 

Congress and ask the Senate Committee on the District of Columbia or the 
House Committee on the District of Columbia for what we want through the 
voice of our Federation of City JClubsl) then we would get Just as much as we 
are entitled to. ((These SenatorsJdon’t'wear horns. They (a re elected to serve 
us as well as their own particular communities, and I base my statement that 
we are likely to get as much through them under the present form of govern¬ 
ment as we are through any local form we might have, on my e xnor^pc ;e with 
a number of other cities, where it was necessary to go before Uie common 
council and hang on to the tails of their coats) as Mr. Classic said (in order to 
get something, far more than it has been necessary to do it here. /Not only 
that, but frequently I had to pay over a few dollars or promise to swing votes 
for him next time. You don’t have to vote for the chairman of this committee 
at all. You will get what you come after on the basis of whether it is right or 
\p-ong, that you should have it. and that is all that is necessary^ 

( For fear some people might think that we never again could have the kind 
of local government here that existed in 1870, because times have changed, 
because people are more intelligent, more honest, more virtuous, and all that— 

I want to say that does not follow .) The New York Times of October 30 has 
an article about former City Attorney Jerome, some 12 or 13 years retired, 
and again back in the saddle lighting Hylan. the Democratic mayor of the 
city of New York. This article says: 

“ Campaigning in behalf of the Republican-Coalition candidates in the 
Erasmus Hall High School and the Manual Training High School 167 in 
Brooklyn last night, William Travers Jerome said that Mayor Hylan had 
been shown to be the companion of ‘ crooks and convicts.’ He said that this 
was true in the mayor’s early business training, when he associated with Alfred 
Goslin, and again after he became mayor, when he had dealings with John 
Hettrick, who was convicted in connection with the building-trades scandal. 

“ ‘ I have hitched Hylan up in his early business career to a convict and a 
crook,’ said Mr. Jerome, ‘ and Samuel Untermyer last night took up his career 
since he became mayor. He hitched him up to another convict and crook, 
Hettrick. He can’t seem to keep away from them. He has an attraction for 
them. He had it in the old days, and he can’t break it off.’ ” 

(’There is no difference in the citizenship of the District of Columbia and 
the city of New York.) I can’t see much difference. 

The Chairman. What connection does that have with the subject matter 
before the committed? 

Mr. Ayers. That (if any local form of government should be given the city ; 
of Washington or the District of Columbia these conditions could again arise./ 
I say they can. Mr. Glassie said it would be impossible. The gentleman over 
here asking for local suffrage say the same thing. I want to show that those 
conditions could exist again, because they do exist in other cities. Louisville 
had six murders on election day of the city administration November 2, 1921. 
The mayor was taken out of a hotel, manacled, and put in a patrol wagon and 
taken to the police station. Five Republicans were killed and one Democrat 
wounded. 

The Chairman. Do you advocate the Federal Government taking over the 
control of the government of those cities?/ 

Mr. Ayers. No; that does not follow. (i dan’t - think there is any doubt but 
what the government of the District of Columbia is ably and honestly govern¬ 
ing the District at this time.) My contention is that we want no change in the 
form of government whatsoever. That was merely to recite the fact that those 
things have occurred within two weeks. It is not a question of 1870; it is 
right now. . ^ 

Here is another phase of this same proposition :(Some want suffrage here, but 
how many men will go out and work in order that we may have the proper can¬ 
didates for the people to vote for? And after we do, if we have a primary, 
how many will go out in the general election and vote for them?) In that con¬ 
nection here is an article from the Washington Star, dated New l T ork City, 
November 4, 1921: 

“Despite the fact that there are several hundred, thousand unemployed men 
in New York, 5,000 good jobs—for one day—were going begging to-day. John 
R. Voorhis, president of the board of elections, announced that for the first time 
in his memory it had been found necessary to advertise for poll clerks, ballot 
clerks, and canvassing inspectors for next Tuesday’s municipal election. Poll 
clerks get $10 and the others $6.” 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


147 


They won’t do the work, let alone vote, without being paid for it. That is 
only a few days ago. 

Here is an article from the Herald that. I should also like to read to the com¬ 
mittee : 

“ But one famous institution that still survives at Tammany Hall is ‘ dough 
day.’ To-day was ‘ dough day,’ and by all reports it was a prosperous ‘ dough 
day,’ for Tammany Hall has been running affairs here for the last four years, and 
when Tammany runs things the big chiefs are supposed to collect much wam¬ 
pum. On ‘dough day ’ the subordinate leaders come in from their respective 
bailiwicks and receive the cash for ‘ necessary expenses ’ of election day. They 
did so Monday, and there is no really certain way of checking up on the exact 
nature of these ‘ necessary expenses.’ It is understood that in a prosperous 
year a faithful individual voter of proven loyalty, who stands right with his 
district leader, may expect a $10 bill for ‘ services ’ to the party candidate in 
the campaign.” 

Here is an Associated Press article in the Washington Star. The Chicago 
Tribune had been sued by the city administration of Chicago for $10,000,000 for 
libeling it. The case was thrown out of court. The charges made by the Chi¬ 
cago Tribune were these: 

“Thirty-six news items or editorials, published by the Tribune between .June 
15 and September 15, 1920, are cited by the city attorneys as the basis for the 
suit. Many of them declared flatly that the city was ‘ broke.’ Others referred 
to the use of scrip for paying city employees. In several instances it was stated 
that the city treasury faced a huge deficit, and one item quoted Lieut. Gov. 
Oglesby, a candidate for the gubernatorial nomination, as fixing this figure at 
$16,000,000. 

“ The Chicago Tribune gave out the following statement, last night in regard 
to the suit against it: 

“ ‘ At the time of filing this suit the city hall machine controlled the mayor’s 
office of Chicago, the Chicago city council, and the newly elected governor. 

“ ‘ It had made its plans, which afterwards proved successful, to elect the 
speaker of the house of representatives and to control both branches of the 
Illinois Legislature. It confidently expected to nominate and elect the entire 
circuit court of Cook County, giving it substantial control of the nisi prius 
judges, the Cook County appellate courts, and the jury commissioners. It has 
already openly threatened the supreme court of Illinois. 

“ ‘ The rich men and corporations of Chicago were under duress to con¬ 
tribute to its support and to its leaders, while various reform and civic 
associations had been intimidated into inactivity. There remained but the 
Tribune, fighting its complete dominance of the community. 

“ ‘ To coerce, or destroy the Tribune was the immediate purpose of this suit, 
the intimidation of all newspapers, and prevention of free speech, its second 
objective, and as the Tribune has evidence to prove, the overturning of the 
republican form of government was the ultimate goal. 

“ ‘ The Tribune meets the issue in full confidence that all the constitutional 
guarantees to the individual will be preserved unimpaired, and that this attack 
upon our republican form of government will be overthrown as completely as 
its predecessors.’ ” 

The Chairman. Your argument is against all popular forms of government? 

Mr. Ayers. My argument is against all popular forms of government in the 
District of Columbia. 

The Chairman. I do not think that is entirely pertinent to this question. 
This committee is not going to hear arguments as to whether our present 
government is a wise government or not. It is merely a question of whether 
we shall extend our present government in its limited form to the District of 
Columbia. I think you have taken up unnecessary time by those comparisons. 

Mr. Ayers. Those in favor of suffrage have had many hours of time. 

The Chairman. It is not a question with respect to the wisdom of popular 
forms of government. While I want to give you all the time necessary to present 
your case thoroughly, it seems to me that those quotations and articles from the 
* papers regarding the administration of the laws of other cities are scarcely 
pertinent here, because all the advocates of suffrage have admitted that the 
government of Washington at present, under its present form, is good, and they 
do not recommend any change in the local form of government. 

Mi*. Ayers. The Capper bill does. 

The Chairman. There has not been a single speaker in favor of the Capper 
bill. 


148 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


Mr. Clayton. Our contention is that bill does not change the form of local 
government. It simply changes the appointing power. We are united in favor 
of that. 

The Chairman. The Capper bill provides for the election of part of the com¬ 
missioners. I did not know anyone was advocating the Capper bill. You may 
proceed in your own way, but I just called your attention to that fact. 

Mr. Ayers. I think at present the government is so efficient that I must 
argue broadly, because I must argue against three hills before this committee—• 
two providing for a local form of government and one for national representa¬ 
tion. I can not confine myself, as Mr. Classic did. to one phase of the subject, 
or at least one bill. He is opposed to the two, and said so while he was 
speaking. Those gentlemen talked for an hour and a half the other day in favor 
of the Capper bill and not against it. 

Now, with reference to taxation without representation, that is very important 
and is often quoted. I want to read something from “A Literary History of 
America,” by Barrett Wendell. Before taking up the literary history over any 
period of time, he gives a resume of the political conditions at that time, par¬ 
ticularly a time or a short time preceding that. It is in the chapter entitled 
“The American Revolution,” at page 106: 

“ To modern scholars of the critical kind, too, the Revolution is becoming 
more of a puzzle than it used to he. The distortion of tradition which has 
represented it rather as a war against an alien invader than as a civil war is 
not our only popular error. American writings, in general, tell only one side of 
the story; and we have been accustomed to accept their ex parte, though sincere, 
assertions as comprehensive. So much is this the case that few remember the 
origin of a phrase which from a political letter by Rufus Choate in 1856 .has 
passed into idiomatic use. This phrase, ‘ glittering generality,’ is commonly 
used of empty rhetoric. Mr. Choate used it of a piece of rhetoric which Ameri¬ 
can tradition is apt to believe the least empty in our history. His words were: 

‘ The glittering and sounding generalities of natural right which make up the 
Declaration of Independence'. Now, to describe the Declaration of Independ¬ 
ence as a tissue of glittering generalities is by no means to tell its whole story ; 
but so to describe it is probably as near the truth as to accept it for a sober 
statement of historic fact. Not that Jefferson, who wrote it, or his compatriots 
who signed it were insincere: the chances are that they believed what they said. 
But the fact that in a moment of high passion a man believes a thing does not 
make it true. And when under the cool scrutiny of posterity fervid convictions 
prove somewhat mistaken, the vital question is from what they arose. 

“ Prof. Tyler collects and arranges as never before material which may help 
one to hazard an answer to this question. , Although in pure literature the 
Revolution has left no more permanent record than was left by the century and 
a half which came before, it was almost as fruitful of publication hearing on 
contemporary fact as were those civil wars of England which resulted in the 
execution of King Charles I. and the momentary dominance of Cromwell’s 
Puritanism.” 

And a little further on it continues: 

“Take, for example, one of the best remembered phrases of the period—‘ no 
taxation without representation.’ What does this really mean? To the Ameri¬ 
can mind of to-day, as to the mind of the revolutionary leaders in King George’s 
colonies, it means that no constituency should he taxed by a legislative body to 
which it has not actually elected representatives, generally resident within its 
limits.” 

Here is the point I want to bring out: 

“ To the English mind of 1770. more than 60 years before the first reform bill, 
it meant something very different. In England to this day, indeed, the notion 
that a representative should he resident in his constituency is as strange as to 
any American it is familiar. Not only was this the case in eighteenth century 
England but many boroughs which returned members to Parliament had hardly 
any residents; while some of the chief cities in the kingdom returned no mem¬ 
bers at all. In King George’s England, we see, the question of representation 
-had little to do with actual suffrage. What no taxation without representation* 
meant there was that no British subject should be taxed by a body where there 
was not somebody to represent his case. This view, the traditional one of the 
English common law, was held by the loyalists of America. 

“ When the revolutionists complained that America elected no representa¬ 
tives to Parliament the loyalists answered that neither did many of the most 
populous towns in the mother country; that the interests of those towns were* 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


149 




perfectly well cared for by members elected elsewhere; and that if anybody 
should inquire what members of Parliament were protecting the interests of the 
American colonies the answer would instantly satisfy any complaint. This 
contention is really strong. Among the men who defended the American cause 
in the House of Commons were the elder Pitt, Fox, and Burke. It is doubtful 
whether New England or Virginia could have exported to Parliament represen¬ 
tatives in any respect superior.” 

So taxation without representation in those days maybe did not mean the 
same as we speak of it to-day and as some of the speakers here have spoken of 
it. They talk about the “ crown of thorns and the cross of gold,” and Patrick 
Henry’s “ Give me liberty or give me death.” People will say, “ Give me lib¬ 
erty or give me death,” and will come over here to blow the Capitol up because 
it don’t suit them. When the speakers argue here that taxation without repre¬ 
sentation meant to the people years ago what it means to-day I think they are 
mistaken. 

\ Brian’s History of the District of Columbia, in two volumes, published in 
1916, ^ believe,(gives plenty of evidence of discontent in the District against 
the very incompetent local forms of government and, if my memory serves me 
right, we have had approximately 20 different forms of local government since 
1800. No radical changes have been made, but changes, nevertheless, in the 
form of government. Maybe the one that we now have is the best we could 
possibly have. It is mjVunpression that this is true.7 

In 1830 Georgetown and Washington and Alexandria went bankrupt, or 
nearly so. Because of these incompetent local legislatures this Government had 
to pay about $15,000,000 for the canals and other things that these people one- 
half completed. In 1870 a similar condition prevailed. In 1878 it was pretty 
bad again. That was due to the local forms of government. Congress has not 
been spending any money injudiciously in the District. Practically every cent 
Congress ever appropriated for the District has been well spent in the inter¬ 
ests of the District. ) That is what I get from a good many authorities. Some 
of the speakers who have spoken here say so and I am taking their word for 
it, not my own. 

In 1870 they used to import Negroes from Baltimore to vote here, and in 
1870, I think it was, they had a cannon on Seventh Street, pointed south, full 


of nails, shot it, crippled two people, injured a great many more. 

Mr. Bradshaw. Mr. Chairman. I have lived in the District of Columbia all 
my life, been active in its politics since 1868. This gentleman has given me 
some information that was new to me and new to every citizen of the District 
of Columba, and where he gets that from I would be pleased to have him tell us. 

Mr. Ayers. I can give it to you and a lot more of the same kind. (The old 
tire department was a hotbed of politics and fights. J)They Rad individual com¬ 
panies and fire apparatus and if they happened to meet in the street they 
would stop, quit the fire department apparatus, and fight. Time and again that 
has come about. I can show you 40 pages of that in Bryan’s History. I will 
loan you a copy. \ 

j( I am going to touch on the race question Jjust a minute. In the meetings 
before the House Judiciary Committee 1 asked one gentleman if he believed 
in suffrage for the Negro. One man said point blank, “ \\ e will not allow them 
to vote.” r think that is verbatim. Another gentleman answered my question 
categorically, and said, “Down in the Pacific Ocean there is an island with 
5,000 Negroes and 41 white men, and when they have an election there are 41 
votes cast.” That is the way he answered it. Anyone can draw his own con¬ 
clusions. {friiey have ideas in their own minds about suffrage in the District 
f 0r everybody, and yet they would deny a certain large element the right of 
suffrage, and only have given it to women recently. For that reason I think 
any local form of suffrage might not result in a square deal, and these colored 
men might not get a square deal. They can not get political equality, they can 
not get economic equality, and there is no social equality. Social equality is 
the ultimate ambition of all races of men, and it should be. Unless he has that 
ambition, he certainly is not fit to exercise the right of suffrage. And so we 
say he shall not have social equality, and we then almost automatically deny 
Rj m all other forms of equality. I would not say he should not have it. I do 
sav he should fight for it, as long as my ancestors fought for it, and then 
maybe he will know what it means; but to give it to him in the course of 50 
vears, when he has been for centuries without it, and then expect him to use it 
intelligently—I <4+u+^ think he will/v^he individual may, a small percentage; 


150 


SUFFRAGE IX THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


yes. The colored man must feel lie basket to carry that burden. I think lie 
should feel himself fortunate that he lives in these United States instead of 
where his ancestors originally came from. That is with due respect to him.y 
I think I am a good friend of the colored man, and Mr. Glassie, who is from 
the South, is a good friend of the colored man. I think we are as good friends 
of the colored man as any man on the face of the earth. We may disagree as 
to the methods with reference to the colored man, but I am not against the 
individual colored man. 

I have an amendment to any bill that might be presented that I would like 
to present to the committee. 

The Chairman. That will be by written communication to the committee. 
Send it to the chairman and it will receive consideration. 

Mr. Ayers. I want to tell these gentlemen who are here what it is. It will 
take only a second to read it: 

“That any qualified voter within the meaning of the term as generally 
understood who fails to vote, at any election provided for the District of Colum¬ 
bia in any act of Congress, and who can not establish the necessary proof why 
he did not vote as shall be provided for in the act by appropriate legislation, 
shall, upon conviction, be sentenced to not less than one year at hard labor in 
the penitentiary.” 

I will see whether you fellows really want suffrage or not. 

The Chairman. What is the idea of presenting that amendment to this bill, 
when no State in the Union has such a provision? 

Mr. Ayers. There are 4S States, and in every State the qualifications for 
voting are different. 

The Chairman. But there is no penalty for not voting. 

Mr. Ayers. I know it. I want a penalty. It is now being agitated among 
those who are giving study to legislation and science of government. You will 
find a good deal about it in a magazine-called “Commission form of Govern¬ 
ment.” Some advocate six months’ penalty and some a fine. The idea is not 
new to me at all. It has been talked about for the last 10 years. 

The Chairman. Along that line, if I was going to advocate a provision for 
penalty for not voting, I would make that penalty apply to the primaries of 
the respective parties. If you can get the best element of the parties to vote 
at the primaries, you will always get good men, high-class men. But the 
trouble with our primaries to-day, where you have the primary system, is that 
a few politicians control the nominations. 

Mr. Ayers. It has been my experience that it cost thousands of dollars to con¬ 
duct the primary. You have to take taxicabs to haul fellows from their jobs 
down to vote. And in February and in January more than once I have been 
in the back end of a barber shop or a saloon or upstairs in a dinky lawyer’s 
office in a precinct or ward fixing candidates for the primary. Not only that, 
but at the primary elections the average voter is not of the best class, and lie 
nominates for us, the better element, you might say, the men whom we shall 
vote for at the general election. I have talked to 500 men in the last three or 
four months who are not in favor of District suffrage and asked them to come 
to this meeting, and yet I am almost the only one to appear. Only one man 
has been up here that did not want suffrage. 

Mr. Lloyd. Mr. Chariman, it is getting late, but I would like very much if 
you would be kind enough to allow Mr. Waldron to make his statement. 

The Chairman. This will be the last hearing before the regular session be¬ 
gins the 5th of December, but I am willing to give you continuous hearings 
until all reasonable sides have been presented. I do not mean an interminable 
hearing, because we have not the time for that, but so long as there is any 
phase of this proposition that has not been presented in the minds of citizens 
here who think it should be, I am willing to continue the hearings further. 

Mr. Waldron. Mr. Chairman, I want to thank you for the opportunity of 
being heard at this time, and to thank my friend, ex-Congressman Lloyd, along 
with the others, for pressing the point. Not that you were not willing to 
hear me. 

The Chairman. How long will it take you? 

Mr. Waldron. I think I shall be through in half an hour with all the ques¬ 
tions you may want to ask. 

The Chairman. Proceed. 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


151 


STATEMENT OF REV. JOHN MILTON WALDRON. 

Mr. Waldron. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, my name is John Milton Wal¬ 
dron. I am a resident of the District of Columbia, a clergyman by calling, and 
the pastor of the Shiloh Baptist Church of this city. I represent the Alley Im¬ 
provement Association, the Committee of Seven, and the National Race Con¬ 
gress—all colored organizations. The members of the first two organizations 
are all residents of the District of Columbia and most of the officers and many 
of the members of the race congress are residents of the District of Columbia. 

I have been instructed by these organizations to assure you that they favor 
the granting by Congress of the franchise and self-government to the people 
of the District of Columbia. These organizations feel that the white and col¬ 
ored citizens of the District are loyal Americans and have always been true 
to our National Government and have*borne more than their share of the 
burdens of the Nation, both in peace and in war. The organizations I repre¬ 
sent are in favor of both the Jones and the Capper bills now before your com¬ 
mittee. We don't see how you could pass one without the other, the Jones or 
the Capper bill. 

The Chairman. The Capper bill provides for the election of local officers, to 
a very great extent. 

Mr. Waldron. Yes, sir. 

The Chairman. It takes the local government out of the hands of Congress. 
Mr. Waldron. As I understand, it does not take the control, but is simply an 
expression of what they desire. 

The Chairman. It takes the control from the hands of Congress. 

Mr. Waldron. Of course, Congress can veto it, if they feel so disposed. 

The Chairman. It undoubtedly does take the control from Congress. 

Mr. Waldron. Our idea is that Congress still holds the veto power, and the 
citizens are bound, of course, within certain limits. 

The Chairman. They would not hold any veto power if you raised all your 
own revenue. 

Mi-. Waldron. We take that up as we go on further. 

The Chairman. I think there can be no question about that. 

Mr. Waldron. They regard the two bills as being complementary the one 
to the other, and feel that they ask for the people of the District of Columbia 
nothing more than what is just and right, and nothing more than the Con¬ 
gress of the United States ought to grant to said citizens. They believe further 
that the Jones and Capper bills ask for nothing more than the Members of 
Congress themselves would ask if they lived in the District of Columbia rather 
than in the States from whence they come. 

We do not see why the people in the District of Columbia should be required 
to give ui> the most sacred right possessed by an American citizen, namely, 
the franchise, because they by accident or by force of circumstances, are com¬ 
pelled to live at the Capital of the Nation. The people living in the State capi¬ 
tals are not required to make any such sacrifices. 

There was a time when the District of Columbia possessed the franchise and 
governed herself. During that period the welfare of the Nation was not 
interfered with, nor was the safety of the Republic in any way jeopardized. 
This country fought an eight-year bloody war to establish the right to 
representation where there was taxation, and when we think of our con- 
difon in the District of Columbia relative to the franchise, we can not help 
feeling that our National Government stultifies itself in that it taxes us and at 
the same time allows us no voice in our own governmental affairs and no voice 
in the election of the President and Vice President and the Members of Con¬ 
gress. 

The Chairman. Do you feel you have no voice in your own governmental 
affairs? 

Mr, Waldron. We do Senator; and I am in the habit of saying that we live 
in a District that is run by a fuss, and we can get nothing in the District without 
having some kind of a row. 

The Chairman. You have three commissioners appointed, who control the 
District. 

Mr. Waldron. Yes. 

The Chairman. Those three commissioners must have been residents of the 
District of Columbia for a certain number of years before they are eligible to 
appointment? 



152 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


Mr. Waldron. Yes. 

The Chairman. They are generally appointed by the President on the recom¬ 
mendation of local people. I think in a measure you have some representation, 
although it is not representation by a right to vote. 

Mr. Waldron. That is what the American people want. That is what we 
want. 

The Chairman. It is hardly fair to say you have no representation. 

Mr. Waldron. That is not the representation that is contemplated by the Con¬ 
stitution or by any of the States. We feel the time has come to either give us 
what we are entitled to or say you will not give it to us. We are asking for all 
we ought to have, hoping we may at least get something. 

The Chairman. I do not fully agree with you. I am not taking any position, 
because my mind is open, and it will remain open, but I see objections to both 
sides of it. I think you are in a measure represented. I do not think the privi¬ 
lege of voting is a right, even in the United States. It is limited in many States. 
It has but recently been granted to the women of the United States. It is only a 
privilege. This is a representative form of government, and you elect representa¬ 
tives to carry out the laws or make the laws of your country. If we had a demo¬ 
cratic form of government everybody would have a voice in the administration 
of those laws. It is a republican, representative form of government, and while 
you have not what I know you feel you ought to have- 

Mr. Waldron. And what I think you feel we ought to have. 

The Chairman. Yet you should not say you have no representation, for I think 
you have, in a measure. 

I remember very well on last election night I came to Washington. I had to 
start West early the next morning on business for the Government. The one 
thing that impressed me when I came into Washington was the fact that nobody 
had a vote, nobody had participated in that great national election, and they 
were all feeling as though they had been deprived of something. It impressed me 
more than I have ever been impressed on entering a city under such conditions. 

Mr. Waldron. Mr. Chairman, may I say that if it is a privilege, it is just what 
we want. You say it is not a right. 

The Chairman. It is not a right; it is a privilege granted by law. 

Mr. Waldron. If it is a privilege, why should we be denied it and other people 
be given it? 

The Chairman. I am not saying you should be. 

Mr. Glassie. Will you permit me to make one observation? 

The Chairman. Certainly. 

Mr. Glassie. On all sides we agree that the individual right to' vote is a 
privilege so far as a man is concerned, but we think it is a right so far as the 
community is concerned. 

The Chairman. I think you are right about that. 

Mr. Waldron. What does the fourteenth or fifteenth amendment mean, if 
it is not a right? Does that not confer it upon the ex-slaves? 

The Chairman. It only extends it so far as race or color is concerned. 

Mr. Waldron. I tin not see how you can give a thing and take it away at the 
same time. 

The Chairman. That is not my construction of it. 

Mr. -Waldron. I can understand that construction. What we want is what 
we believe we are going to get, and we believe you feel as we do. I am glad 
you came to the city of Washington on election night, because you saw the situa¬ 
tion and felt to some extent as we felt—that we were being denied what is 
justly due us. 

The citizens of the District of Columb'a can not help feeling humiliated at 
their position and there is always lurking suspicion in their breasts that they 
are not justly treated by the Nation, and these convictions do not make for the 
safety of the National Government and they may at some future time engender 
such a contention and strife that may embarrass the National Government. 

Further, the anomalous position occupied by the citizens of the District of 
Columbia in the matter of the franchise is not conducive to the development of 
usefulness, love, and loyalty to our beloved country, neither on the part of our¬ 
selves nor of our children. We teach our children that America is the greatest 
country in the world and that the franchise is the most sacred r'ght an Ameri¬ 
can citizen can possess, and they learn from everyday events as well as from 
history that the people living in the District of Columbia have always borne 
their part of the burdens incident to national and local government and have 
responded freely to every call made by the Nation for money, service, sacrifice. 



SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


153 


and men, and yet these children and their parents are not even allowed to vote 
for the humblest official in the District government, and notwithstanding they 
are heavily taxed, they have no representation in the Government they sustain 
and love. This state of affairs argues either that the principles of the Declara¬ 
tion of Independence and the Constitution are a falsehood or that the citizens 
of the District of Columbia are only half loyal and are therefore not to be trusted 
with the franchise. 

At these hearings the question has been frequently asked. “ Have you a good 
government in the District of Columbia?” The answer has been usually in 
the affirmative. But while we may have a good government in a way, that does 
not seem to us to be an argument in favor of refusing the franchise to the citi¬ 
zens of the District of Columbia. We notice that the citizens everywhere else 
in'this country clamor for the right to elect their own Government officials, and 
when that right is taken from them or refund them they feel they have been 
wronged. People learn to govern themselves by selecting their own officials 
and by running their own Government, and it is a great deal better in a Re¬ 
public that they should do this even though they might be governed better in 
some respects by a monarchical form of government. A child in the arms of its 
mother might reach a certain destination quicker than it would by walking, yet 
it is much better for the child that it walk. We feel that we have a fairly good 
government of its kind, but we are sure that the kind of government we have 
is not the best for the development of people of the District of Columbia into 
responsible, loyal, and stalwart citizens of a Republic such as ours. 

We have lived in the District of Columbia for nearly 15 years, and during 
all that time we have heard only two real objections advanced why the people 
of the District of Columbia should not be given the franchise. The first is, that 
“There is a large colored population in the District: and if the franchise is 
bestowed upon the people here, the colored people must be allowed to vote, and 
they would invariably vote the Republican ticket and always keep the Repub¬ 
lican Party in control of the government of the District of Columbia.” That was 
one reason why self-government was taken from the District of Columbia by the 
Democratic Party. They felt that the colored people were always going to vote 
with the Republican Party. 

The Chairman. That is the first time I ever heard that the Democratic Party 
failed to limit that vote in the States. 

Mr. Waldron. They took it away from those here. 

The other reason is: “If the people of the District of Columbia are given 
the franchise and self-government it would increase the taxes of the citizens 
of the District.” 

It seems to me, in discussing tl.e matter of the vote of the colored man, that 
most of us have got to come to the point where we will look at a man as a man and 
not at the color of his skin, and must be willing to treat other people as we would 
like them to treat us. Until we are willing to do that we will not succeed in Con¬ 
gress, in the disarmament conference, or anywhere else where we attempt to 
deal with human beings. The Golden Rule and the new commandment of 
“Love one another” are the things in my mind that we have got to come to to 
solve Ibis great problem that disturbs us so much, and there is no use trying to 
get any other solution, because there is none. 

With regard to the colored vote, it ought to be said that of the colored adult 
citizens in the District of Columbia, 90 per cent of them can read and write and 
70 per cent of this number have had a common-school education ; that, as a 
class, ’he colored people of the District of Columbia own more property than any 
other equal number of colored citizens in this country, or perhaps in the world. 
The colored citizens of the District of Columbia for 40 years or more have been 
educated to take an intelligent and discriminating interest in affairs pertain¬ 
ing- to the welfare of our Nation, and a large part of them are in one way and 
another connected with the District and National Governments. At every crisis 
in our Nation during the past 50 years the colored citizens of the District of 
Columbia have done more than their share in assisting and protecting the 
Nation Whether literate or illiterate, whether owners of property or without 
property they have always shown themselves loyal, self-sacrificing, and intelli¬ 
gent when the interests of the District and the National Governments were at 

If that had onlv been followed we would have had the vote to-day. While I 
refer to the fact that the Democrats took self-government away from the Dis¬ 
trict I don’t know that I have any condemnation for them, except to leel that 
thev did not perhaps use all the wisdom they ought to have used in making these 


154 


SUFFRAGE IX THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


people see it is their duty and business to divide their vote. When we get the 
vole of the colored people divided in the South, when they no longer vote as a 
unit, when they divide their vote as the white man divides his vote, you will 
no longer have a solid Democratic South and a black Republican vote in the 
North. 

The Chairman. I think it is very unwise to bring the politial aspect into this. 
There is another phase of it that might affect the votes of many Members in 
Congress. That would be that the administration in power would generally 
have the balance of power in the District of Columbia. I think it is better to 
keep the political aspect out entirely, from the effect it might have on the vote 
in the Senate and the House. 

Mr. Waldron. I am not trying to bring that up, but every time a demand is 
made for the colored man it is sought to make it appear that he will not do the 
thing that is fair and right. Even a member of the committee made the argu¬ 
ment, saying, of course, he did not express any opinion. I don’t believe we are 
going to be able to deceive the Democrats any longer, and I don’t believe we 
want to; nor do I believe we can deceive the Republicans. 

The Chairman. We do not want to deceive anybody. This should be decided 
upon what is the best for the government of the District of Columbia. 

Mr. Waldron. That is what I am trying to do. So far as trying to bring in 
politics is concerned, it is a political question, and I don't see how we can take 
hold of it unless we do refer to it. Forty years have passed since the District 
of Columbia governed itself. 

Mr. Bradshaw. I wish to correct the speaker. 

The Chairman. The rule is that the speaker shall not be interrupted. You 
will have a right to speak in your own time. 

Mr. Bradshaw. He is entirely wrong. 

ME. Waldron. I don’t want to be corrected in this way and at this time, Mil 
C hairman. 

The Chairman. He has a right to his own opinion and you have a right to 
your opinion, which you can state to the committee at the proper time. 

Mr. Bradshaw. I am not stating my opinion. I just wanted to give him some 
information. 

Mr. Waldron. I will be very glad to have it when I get through. 

The Chairman. Proceed. 

Mr. Waldron. Forty years have passed since the District of Columbia gov¬ 
erned itself, and these 40 years have made wonderful changes in the life, 
opinion, and conditions of the colored citizens in the District of Columbia and 
of the colored citizens of the entitle country. In many places in the United 
States the colored people have for years voted freely and in considerable’ num¬ 
bers with the Democratic Party and with coalition and independent political 
parties. The colored citizens have learned that political parties are simply 
means to the securing of desired ends in local, State, and National Governments, 
and they have also come to the point where they divide their vote if they live 
in communities where the white people divide theirs, so that the Democrats nor 
any other party that may have candidates in the field need have no fear of a 
solid black Republican vote in the District of Columbia. If we understand cor¬ 
rectly the history of self-government in the District of Columbia the franchise 
and the right to govern themselves were taken from the people of the District 
by the Democratic Party simply because the colored voter was at that time 
always solidly Republican. 

I have been informed it was not done that way, so I would like to have that 
changed. I have been told by people who live here. 

This bugaboo need not stand in the way of conferring the right of self- 
government and the franchise upon the people of the District of Columbia, for 
the colored voters can now be depended upon to vote in the same way that other 
citizens vote, namely, for measures and men best fitted to carry forward the 
Government for the welfare of all; the day of a solid black Republican vote in 
the District of Columbia or anywhere north of the Mason and Dixon line has 
passed by forever. 

And, finally, the colored citizens are in favor of and prepared to submit 
to any qualification of the franchise that is honest and legal and that shall be 
made to apply alike to all of the citizens of the District of Columbia. It is 
well to remind this committee and all others concerned that neither the colored 
people of the District of Columbia nor any other part of this country have 
ever used their votes, money, or numbers to in any way injure or embarrass 
the National Government. The Federal Government found on one occasion. 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 155 

at least, that it could trust the colored citizen when it could not trust some other 
citizens. 'You know when you were guarded here by colored troops at the 
United States Treasury and White House until they could pick out certain people 
from the Army and send certain others here they could depend upon. 

The colored citizen has never used the franchise in the District of Columbia 
nor anywhere else in the Nation to injure or embarrass the National Govern¬ 
ment, and he never will so long as our General Government believes in and 
strives to live up to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. 

With regard to the claim that taxes will be increased in the event that self- 
government is granted the District of Columbia, this need not deter anyone from 
desiring the franchise and self-government for the District, for it is more than 
probable that the District of Columbia under self-government would cost less 
than it now costs under a commission form of government, and, further, if 
all the property in the District of Columbia—that owned by individuals and 
that owned by the Nation—was assessed and taxed at its fair value the United 
States Government would likely have to pay considerably more toward the 
support of the District government than it does now. I am only contending that 
all property be taxed alike and let each side bear its own proportion. 

The Chairman. It would be about 42 per cent. 

Mr. Waldron. And in any event the people of the District of Columbia would 
pay no more taxes under a government of their own choosing than other cities 
of the same size in this country are now paying; and if the franchise and self- 
government are what we claim it is, the people of the District of Columbia 
ought to be willing to agree to a slight raise in taxation, if it should be neces¬ 
sary, in order to be blessed with the privilege of saying who shall govern them 
and of having a hand in electing the President and Vice President and the 
Congress of the United States. 

For the reasons mentioned above your petitioners request you to urge upon 
Congress the duty and necessity of granting to the citizens of the District of 
Columbia the franchise and the right and privilege of governing themselves. 

I want to thank you, Mr. Chairman, for hearing me this afternoon. 

The Chairman. There will be no hearing until after the regular session of 
Congress begins on December 5. We will notify you through the papers. We 
will then continue the hearings until all sides have presented their case. The 
committee will adjourn subject to the call of the chairman. 

(Whereupon, at 6 o’clock p. in., the committee adjourned, subject to the call 
of the chairman.) ... ... 












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SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


TUESDAY, DECEMBER 13, 1921. 

United States Senate, 

Committee on the District of Columbia, 

- Washington, D. C. 

The committee met, pursuant to call, at 10 o’clock a. in., in the committee room, 
Capitol; Senator Wesley L. Jones presiding. 

Senator Jones. The chairman of the committee. Senator Ball, could not be 
present this morning and asked me to preside. I understand there are two 
hours this morning to be given to those who favor either one or all of the propo¬ 
sitions now pending before the committee. Mr. Fairbairn has asked to be heard 
first, and we will give him that opportunity. 

STATEMENT OF A. D. FAIRBAIRN. 

Senator Jones. Mr. Fairbairn, for whom do you appear? 

Mr. Fairbairn. I appear on behalf of the District press committee on suf¬ 
frage. I understand I represent a number of my colleagues in the press gallery, 
not officially, however, because there have been no official instructions given. 

I appear for suffrage for the District of Columbia. 1 am not here to tell you 
what the fathers had in their minds, because I do not know what they had in 
their minds. The committee has been entertained by a lot of historical in¬ 
formation which it could have obtained simply by reading a history of the United 
States. It has been entertained, in my judgment, by a lot of irrelevant matter. 
The members of the committee have been told why the fathers of the country 
laid out this city and selected it as the Capital of the Nation. All we have 
to do is to admit that this is the Capital of the Nation, that there are approxi¬ 
mately 500,000 people living here, and that the residents are denied any voice 
in the conduct of their own affairs. These are facts that can not be contro¬ 
verted. The only question for the committee to settle is whether we are en¬ 
titled to some consideration in that way and whether the committee ought to 
present to the Senate legislation giving us some relief in the way of a limited 
amount of suffrage, at any rate. 

You have been told that this city is the Capital and that the Capitol was 
built here so as to take the Government away from the influence of Phila¬ 
delphia. If that is true, the fathers exercised very good judgment, because 
anybody who will get away from the influence of Philadelphia shows that he 
is sound. 

1 have read a good deal recently in the Star with reference to this question, 
and, among other things, some of Mr. Noyes’s very able and very eloquent 
disquisitions on the District of Columbia. Mr. Noyes takes the position that 
a Delegate is wholly inadequate and he wants all or nothing. He wants the 
Burroughs bill, which calls for submission of this question to the people upon 
a constitutional amendment, so we may have two Senators or one Senator and 
two Representatives, as the case may be. That is a long process, and it is 
very questionable, in my mind, whether Congress at the present time, or at any 
time in the near future, would submit such a question to the people. Then it 
would mean an immensely long campaign to get the vast majority of the 
States, three-fourths of the States, to ratify what Congress had done. In 
the meantime we want something. 

Those who demand full suffrage or the Burroughs bill or nothing remind me 
of the man in San Francisco who went to a Chinese restaurant and asked the 
proprietor if he you Id have something to eat. This was on Monday morning, 
and the man said he was starving and needed immediate relief. The Chinaman 

157 



158 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


said, “ Vely well, you likee fish?” He said, “Yes; I am very fond of fish.” 
The Chinaman said, “ All light, you come around Fliday.” 

Now, if the committee please, we do not want something in the far and dis¬ 
tant future. We want something now, and if we can only get a Delegate or 
two Delegates, one in the House and one in the Senate, or if we can get a 
limited voice in the conduct of our affairs, we will accept that. We are not 
saying that we are going to be satisfied with that. After we get something we 
are going to agitate for more and we are going to keep on agitating until we 
get what the majority of the citizens of this town believe is adequate represen¬ 
tation. 

Personally, I do not believe that in the history of this Congress we have ever 
had a more faithful District Committee than we have in the Senate at this 
time. Senator Ball—I can say this in his absence—is about the finest man 
we have ever had as chairman of this committee. He has at heart the interests 
of this city. Pie has occupied his mind with some matters of the smallest de¬ 
tail, matters which a United States Senator, with his vast interests to take 
care of, is not ordinarily expected to look into. So we have no complaint 
regarding the work that the District Committee is doing, neither have we any 
complaint of the action of a majority of the Members of Congress in both 
branches beyond saying that they have not so far seen fit to give us any kind 
of representation in this body or in the lower branch of the American Congress. 

The question has been asked me on several occasions, “ What do you want a 
change for? Have you not one of the finest governments on the face of the 
earth?” I say truly that we have in the District of Columbia one of the finest, 
most faithful of municipal governments that was ever created for the care 
of the affairs of man. But that is not a full answer to the question which we 
have. This does not fully answer our objections. You may give us a tax-free city 
if you like, you may say to us, “Congress will take care of all your expenses; 
The country, outside of the District of Columbia, will see that you do not have 
a dollar to pay for the upkeep of your parks, for the care of your streets, for 
the care of your lighting system, or for any other public utility that you may 
have. You can have all those things, but you can not have any voice in the 
conduct of your own affairs.” We would not be satisfied with that because we 
are unwilling, in the first place, to live upon the charity of the country. We 
are unwilling to live upon the charity of Congress. Even if you gave us a 
veritable elysium in the shape of a municipality we would not be satisfied, 
if you were to say to us, “ You can have this, but you can not have any right 
in the selection of the men who are to rule you.” 

Evidently, from what he said at a previous hearing, Senator Ball inclines to 
give us a Delegate. We want more. We want the privilege of electing our 
commissioners, subject, I presume, to the approval of Congress and the ap¬ 
proval of the President. We want a voting Delegate in the House of Repre¬ 
sentatives and we want one or probably two in the Senate. We want them, but 
evidently we can not have them at the present time. Evidently, from the 
temper of the committee and from the sentiment prevailing in Congress, it is 
impossible for us to obtain the right to elect our own commissioners and to 
create our own municipal government. But there must be a general inclination 
in Congress to give us a Delegate without a vote. I say there must be, because 
I believe there is. Mr. Noyes has said that is entirely inadequate. I quite 
agree with Mr. Noyes that it is entirely inadequate, but we are not going to 
refuse to accept that crumb of bread simply because we can not get a whole 
loaf. 

It has been said that if we get a Delegate Congress will say to us, “ Well, 
you have somebody in Congress at the present time, and that is all you will 
get; that is all you will require,” and that any agitation for more representa¬ 
tion and more complete suffrage would die out. Very well; if agitation is per¬ 
mitted to die out, then we of the District of Columbia must be responsible for 
its death. 

I do not think that argument is founded upon good logic. It does not answer 
fully the statement that if we can not get all we want we will take all we 
can get. I am asking the committee for the very best they are able to give us, 
for the very best Congress is able to give us. There are bills pending requir¬ 
ing action by the various States on a proposed constitutional amendment. Very 
well; I am for them. I am for the Burroughs bill, I am fcfr the .Tones bill, 
I am for the Capper bill, 1 am for the Poindexter bill, I am for anything that 
will get for the people of the District of Columbia some voice in matters which 
directly concern them; but I am also for anything, if the committee please, 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


159 


tliat your body is able and willing to give us at the present time. I would sug¬ 
gest that whatever you give us, you give us as quickly as is consistent with due 
and proper deliberation upon a subject of such vast importance. 

I think we ought to have something to say about the election of the Presi¬ 
dent and Vice President of the United States. We do not feel that as citizens 
who are ordinarily intelligent—and I believe the standard of intelligence in 
the city of Washington is about as high as it is in any city in the United 
States or in any community in the United States—should be subjected to the 
constant and continual humiliation of feeling conscious of the fact that we 
have had no voice in putting a man in the White House or electing some one 
to preside over the deliberations of your distinguished body. I have been here 
long enough as a member of the press gallery to have conceived a very high 
regard for the personnel of the Senate and also of the House. In my judgment, 
it is a collection of men which could not be equaled anywhere in the world for 
intelligence, for devotion to the interests of the country, for industry. For all 
those qualities which go to make up greatness, the Congress of the United 
States can not be excelled, can not be equaled, in my judgment. For that 
reason, knowing that we have such a Congress and knowing that we have such 
a fine collection of statesmen to deal with, I feel confident that they will try 
to do us justice. 

I know that in the multitude of duties which you have to perform here, 
matters of small importance or comparatively small importance, such as the 
deta Is of the government of a municipality, will escape your minds. The only 
difficulty is that the Senate Distr ct Committee is having to give any attention 
at all to the affairs of the District of Columbia. Each one of you distinguished 
Senators represents a whole State, some with millions of inhabitants, and 
all with diversified interests. With the people of the United States calling 
upon you every day for action upon something of national or international 
import, the wonder to me is that you have time at all to give any attention 
to the affairs which vitally affect our intersts. That being the case, why not 
give us a man or two men or three men who will devote their entire time to 
the interests of the District of Columbia? Why no!; relieve yourselves of those 
details? We call Senator Ball the mayor of the city of Washington and the 
other members of the District Committee are the city council. Why not have 
one, two, or three men devoted to the people’s interests, elected to the Senate 
and to the House, men who will give their time, their entire time and their 
whole attention to the affairs of the District? 

Of course, some of them have brought in the color question here. I think 
Congress can take care of the color question. In fact, I understand we 
have three men for every colored man in the District, and I do not think an 
issue of that kind will ever come up. It will be a question of good government. 
It will be a question of good streets, of good sewage, good lighting, of health 
and sanitation, and all those things which vitally concern a progressive city 
like the city of Washington. 

Then, again, the people will take a special pride in their city. When I 
came here years ago I was struck with and, in fact, I wrote articles about 
the total absence of a civic spirit in Washington. But that was before I began 
to live here. It was the result of a superficial observation. As soon as I 
lived here my mind began to change and my views have changed, but before 
that I had written a series of articles upon what I called a total absence of 
civic spirit. It was then my view that there was no civic pride, and I at¬ 
tributed that condition of mind to the fact that the people of the District 
had nothing to do with their own government. 

We have the most beautiful streets in the world and the most magnificent 
parks. There is no building on earth, in my mind, especially when the search¬ 
lights are playing upon the dome at night, which appeals more to the imagina¬ 
tion than the building in which we are holding this hearing. There is noth ng 
which appeals to the imagination and to the poetic instinct more than the 
broad avenues and the magnificent parks of the city of Washington. Yet, if 
you talk to the average Washingtonian he does not seem to have more than 
a passing pride in all these achievements—and why ? It is because Congress 
has done it all for him and he has done nothing for himself. That is the idea. 
Give us a chance to do something for ourselves, give us a chance to develop 
under some kind of responsible government, and not to be the mere wards 
of the Nation, never to be commended for anything we do but only to be 
spanked when we do not do anything. 


83480—22-11 



160 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


It is a marvelous thing to me that men, because they can not get all they 
are seeking, will oppose a limited suffrage. Please get this into your minds, 
that I am not pleading for limited suffrage. I want full suffrage. That is 
my goal; but I want now what you are able to give us now and I want you 
to give it to us as quickly as you possibly can. I am perfectly willing that 
the Jones bill or the Burroughs bill be submitted to the people for ratification— 
perfectly willing—but, in the meantime, I want a voice and I want a man 
or two men or three men selected by the people of the District of Columbia 
to come and advise with you, to take some of the burdens off your shoulders, 
to relieve you of the onerous duties of taking care of the whole of this city. 
You each have a State to take care of. You have the finances of the Nation 
to look after. You have to provide for the Army and for the Navy. You 
have to provide for peace treaties and for our relations with foreign nations. 
You have all these gigantic tasks to take care of, so why not delegate some of 
the detailed work with reference to the District to people who know exactly 
the conditions in the District of Columbia? 

Senator Ball, the chairman of the committee, and the other members of the 
committee, have studiously investigated conditions in Washington. How you 
have ever found the time to do it is a mystery to me, and it will continue a 
mystery to the people of this city. It shows that your capacity for work and 
your devotion to the popular interest is really sublime and great and that you 
are ready to make real sacrifices for the benefit of the people of the Nation. 
But why not relieve yourselves from much of this detailed work so that you 
can give your whole time to matters which concern the hundred and twenty 
millions of people in this country? 

The grandeur of this country .appeals to me this morning more than it has 
ever done, and yet the grandeur of the Senate that is able to leave the vast 
international affairs, the great things of this Nation, for some time and devote 
itself to mere matters of improving streets and improving our lighting system 
and taking care of our parks, and little things of that kind, is something beyond 
my comprehension. That appeals to me also. 

However, as I said, let us have men who will advise you, men who will take 
care of the affairs of the District of Columbia. I do not want any ward system. 

I do not want any ward heelers. We have a commission plan of government 
in the District of Columbia. I think the commission plan of government in 
the District of Columbia has proved a model upon which hundreds and perhaps 
thousands of cities of this country have founded and built their new forms 
of city government. But let us have more to say about how that city govern¬ 
ment shall be created and how it shall function. Let us have personal pride in 
being able to say, “ Well, we voted for the Delegate who advised this, we 
voted for the President of the United States who approved this, we voted for 
the Vice President of the United States who presided over your deliberations in 
the Senate which finally passed the bill so vastly affecting our interests.” 

Mr. Chairman, that is all I have to say. Give us what you can, give us as 
much as you can, and give it to us as quickly as you can. I thank you. 

STATEMENT OF EVAN H. TUCKER. 

Senator Jones. Mr. Tucker, do you appear in a representative capacity or in 
your individual capcity? 

Mr. Tucker. Mr. Chairman, I appear as president, of the Northeast Washing¬ 
ton Citizens’ Association. When I say the Northeast Washington Citizens’ Asso¬ 
ciation I would like not to be considered as representing a section remote from 
this building. The geographical sections of the District of Columbia are 
divided by the Capitol Streets, North Capitol, East Capitol, etc. The north¬ 
east section includes, therefore, one quarter of this building which we are in, 
and includes, I may say, the room in which we now are. That is the section I 
am representing here. As representing that section, I wish to extend an invita- 
titon to all the members of the committee to become members of our association 
and help us in the good work we are doing. 

Mr. Chairman, I am here this morning with a message direct from our people. 

I have here a resolution which was adopted at the November meeting of the 
association indorsing the Jones bill in toto. The resolution was unanimously 
adopted by the meeting. 

Senator Jones. Do you desire to have that incorporated in the record? 

Mr. Tucker. Yes; I do. 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


161 


(The resolution referred to is as follows:) 

Northeast Washington Citizens’ 'Association, 

Washington, D. C., November 17, 1921. 
The Committee on the District of Columbia, 

Senate of the United States. 

Gentlemen : At the last meeting of this association the following resolution 
was unanimously adopted: 

u Resolved by the Northeast Washington Citizens' Association (in regular 
meeting assembled this 14th day of November, 1921), That it heartily indorses 
Senate joint resolution 133, proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the 
United States, providing for representation of the District of Columbia in the 
Congress of the United States, and for other purposes, and earnestly hopes for 
its.adoption by the Congress of the United States and its ratification by the sev¬ 
eral State legislatures.” 

Respectfully, 

Roscoe Jenkins, Secretary. 

Attest: 

Evan H. Tucker, President. 

Mr. Tucker. Mr. Chairman, I have no formal address to make, and I have 
not prepared any set speech. 

Senator Jones. May I inquire, Mr. Tucker, how many people were present at 
that meeting when this resolution was adopted? 

Mr. Tucker. I did not count them, but I asked two members afterwards, one 
of whom said there were 50 and the other said 35. I judge somewhere between 
those two numbers would be about correct, probably 40 members being present. 
It was about the usual attendance. 

The people of the District of Columbia, as you know, enjoy only the right ofi' 
petition. We have no voice in our Government whatever. In exercising that 
right it is necessary to come to Congress, Congress'being the legislature of the 
District of Columbia. We have no complaint to make of our local government. 
We believe we have the best local city government in the United States. We 
are not asking for the right to elect commissioners. We have had very able 
commissioners appointed by the President. We would like to have a voice in 
the election of the President of the United States who appoints those commis¬ 
sioners, and representation in the Senate which confirms them. There have 
been cases where we felt that if we had had representation in the Senate prob¬ 
ably some of the men who had been appointed would not have been confirmed; 
but generally speaking the commissioners have been entirely satisfactory to the 
people of the District of Columbia. 

It has been my duty, as the chairman of our committee on legislation, to 
represent our association before Congress and before the committees of 
Congress for nearly 30 years. My experience in that line has been very large. 

I have had an opportunity to see a great deal of the way in which legislation 
is worked out. I have been in a position to see things that others have not; 
probably more than most citizens of the District of Columbia. It has been 
my duty to come and knock at the door of Congress and ask for the legislation 
that we should have and beg Members of Congress to appropriate the money 
that we pay in taxes in the way that we would like to have it appropriated. 
We have had to come and beseech you. 

I am not a lobbyist in the sense that the term is ordinarily u$ed. I have never 
been. I have come here and exercised the right of petition as I am doing here 
to-day. I have appeared before the committee and made my arguments. I 
have requested Senators and Members of the House to do what my association 
has asked to be done, and in every legitimate way have represented our 
association. I will say now, so there will be no misunderstanding as to whether 
I might be a lobbyist or not, that that service has been readily given for 
nearly 30 years without a single penny of compensation. 

The gentleman who spoke preceding me, Mr. Fairbairn, may say there is no 
public spirit in the District of Columbia, but I can assure the committee that 
there is no local community in the United States that is better organized to-day 
than is the District of Columbia. These civic bodies are a sufficient answer. 
We have no other way than to come before you as members of the committee 
and knock at your doors and beseech you to give us what we need to conduct 
our city government. 


162 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


I do not wish to be construed in anything I may say as criticizing any Mem¬ 
bers of Congress, any Senator, or the Congress itself, but we have come here 
asking for a certain thing. You gentlemen are considering this question. 
You are anxious to do what is right for us. We believe that now, and have 
always believed it. When I come here representing my organization and 
always believed it. When I come here representing my organization and asking 
you to do this thing it is proper for me to give you some reasons why this should 
be done. It is proper to go about it in that way. You naturally want to know 
why these people are so anxious to secure this representation. The query 
naturally ar.ses, Have we not represented them all right in the past? As I 
said, I do not wish to be considered as criticizing anybody. It is not my 
intention to do so. I have had very pleasant relations with the Members of the 
House and with Senators and with congressional committees, and they have 
done a great deal of good work for the District. At the same time we have 
reasons, very good reasons, why we would like to have representation in this 
body that makes our laws, imposes our taxes, and appropriates our money. 

It has been apparent to me in the past that it is very difficult for Congress 
properly to represent this District. In the first place the Senators and Members 
are not familiar with the details of District affairs. There is no one in the 
Congress who has the time to become really intimate with the detail of 
District affairs. As the years pass on, and as I said it is a matter of 30 years 
with me—and I was representing another organization before this—I have 
seen the growing mass of work that is imposed upon Senators and Members, 
national and State, to say nothing of the little District of Columbia. The mere 
fact that you, Senator Jones, are sitting here alone to-day is evidence that it is 
almost impossible for the busy Senators of the United States to give the time 
even to this the most important and vital question that we have, ever brought 
before you. 

I have been in the House of Representatives on what they call District day. 
Over there they have a day that is designed to give attention to District legisla¬ 
tion. I have been there on some of the District days and counted as many as 
seven Members of the big House of Representatives sitting there and giving 
their attention to District affairs. All of these things, Mr. Chairman, make it 
apparent that it is almost impossible for Congress to give proper attention to 
District affairs. You need a guiding hand in the Senate and in the House to 
show what is right and to help you get it through. 

There is another phase of the question that appeals to me because I have been 
so intimately connected with this work that I have seen all these things. 
Especially in the House, and possibly in some cases in the Senate, the Members 
are almost fearful of paying strict attention to District affairs for fear of 
losing their seats. I can cite several instances where Members have lost their 
seats because they were especially active in promoting some matter pertaining 
to the District of Columbia. Let me cite just one or two. 

When we had up in the District the fight for legislation involving the dollar 
gas. bill many years ago, there was a gentleman from Indiana in the House who 
fathered the bill and gave his attention to it. The Association of Gas Engineers 
of the United States got together and flooded his district with literature against 
him, saying he was here fighting a corporation in this District and asking, 
“What has he done for his district in Indiana?” He was left at home, 
naturally. 

I remember the honorable chairman of this committee at one time had a very 
big fight to retain his seat in the Senate because of his activities in behalf of 
certain measures in the interest of the District of Columbia. 

Members of Congress should not be placed in a position where they would 
have to father these bills and jeopardize their interests in that way. We 
should have a man in Congress representing the District of Columbia whose 
duty it would be to father the bills and who would be responsible to us, the 
people here, and not of those of any State. 

I wish to call your attention to some of the acts of Congress that were con¬ 
sidered very unsuitable for conditions in the District of Columbia, if not detri¬ 
mental to the interests of the people, in which we were deprived even of the right 
of petition. Just think of that. The only right given to us by the Constitution 
of the United States was taken away by the way Congress manipulated this 
legislation. 

Tlie act of July 1, 1914, known as the Borland amendment, is the first one to 
which I call your attention. The District appropriation bill had been introduced 
in the House. When it came up on the floor Mr. Borland, of Missouri, got up, 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


163 


and lie thought he was doing the right thing. They had this method of doing 
things in Kansas City, where he came from, but Kansas City is not the District 
of Columbia. There is a different situation entirely. However, he offered the / 
amendment to the District appropriation bill providing that the whole cost of \f 
paving the roadway or streets, in the District of Columbia should be assessed 
against the abutting property owners. The bill went through the House with 
that amendment on it. Where was our right of petition? 

We did not have a chance to say a word. The bill passed in that way and 
came to the Senate. When it came before the Committee of Appropriations of 
the Senate I immediately asked for a hearing for our association, as I \vas 
directed to do. There we had a hearing and we absolutely convinced the Com¬ 
mittee on Appropriations of the Senate that the legislation was vicious legisla¬ 
tion and did not suit the District of Columbia in any way and was not proper 
and did not fit. It was extreme injustice here, even if it did fit in Kansas 
City, Mo. 

The Senate Committee on Appropriations immediately struck out that item 
from the bill. The bill went into the Senate and passed without that item in it. 
Then, the bill went to conference, where again we were unable to be heard 
and where we had no right of petition. In that conference the Senate con- 
frees stood for our rights until the last minute, but when it came to about the 
last day of the session, I think Senator Gallinger told me it was the last day 
of the session, in order to secure the appropriation of money to run the District 
and pay the salaries of our employees and pave the streets, in order to get a 
single cent appropriated, it was necessary for the Senate conferees to yield 
and make a compromise on that item, which they knew was wrong and unjust 
to our people, but they had to do it in order to give something to run the Dis¬ 
trict with and so they split the difference and made it one-half, providing that 
we should pay half of the cost of paving the roadways of our streets. It is one 
of the most unjust measures ever passed by the Congress against the interests 
of the people of the District of Columbia. Thereby we were deprived even of 
the right of petition which is guaranteed us by the Constitution of the United 
States. 

On June 26, 1912, an act was passed providing that in the future whenever 
appropriation is made for the purchase of public parks in the District of Co¬ 
lumbia not less than one-third of the cost of those parks should be assessed 
against abutting property. Think of the justice of that after thousands of 
dollars had been appropriated for parks in the northwest section and other 
sections. This item was tacked onto a bill which provided for the purchase 
of two little tracts over here in East Washington. When they found that poor 
section of the city, East Washington, was to get a little bit in the way of a 
public park, they said, “ You must pay for it out of your pockets.” Now, 
where is the justice in that? If that system had been followed in the past 
when you were appropriating half a million dollars for Meridian Hill Park, 
which is up on a hill, and is costing hundreds of thousands of dollars to hold it 
there, then, there would have been a little justice in saying, when the people 
in East Washington wanted a park, that they should be assessed at the same 
rate that was assessed against those in the northwest where the aristocrats 
live. 

We are not, as I said, criticizing any Member of Congress. We are only tell¬ 
ing you the facts and some of the reasons why we need somebody to look after 
our interests in te Senate and in the House. 

The next act to which I wish to call your attention is the act of July 21, 
1914, in which an appropriation was made for the reclamation of the Anacostia 
Flats over in east Washington 4gain. They added an amendment to the bill 
cutting out our right of petition again. I think this was done probably in the 
conference committee. It provided that there should be 1 an assessment of 
benefits for that improvement. After they had made improvements all over the 
city without any such provision whatever, then when it came to getting a little 
bit in east Washington, the poor section of the city, they said, “ You shall have 
the benefits assessed against your little home to pay for it” 

Again, there was the act of September 1, 1916, assessing the intangible per¬ 
sonal property'in the District of Columbia. There is a measure which I think 
Congress would not ever have passed if they had had somebody in Congress who 
really knew the situation in the District of Columbia and could explain the 
measure. It was put on in this case as an amendment to the District appro¬ 
priation bill in the Senate after the bill had passed the House without it. The 


164 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


bill came to the Senate, and some Senator got up and made a motion to add 
this amendment. He probably thought it was all right, but it did not fit here 
and it is unjust. Let me explain why: 

The man who has a mortgage on his home, for instance, is not only paying 
taxes on his property but he has to pay a tax again on his mortgage on that 
property. Where is the justice in that? He is paying double taxation, and the 
poor man has to stand while the rich man who owns the note behind the 
mortgage goes tax free on that note. There is no justice in that. I do not mean 
that the Senate intended to be unjust. They were just misinformed and did 
not know. They needed guidance. 

There are other measures of that sort, but I shall not take your time to go 
into them further. You all know these are facts, and if there is any question 
about it they can be ascertained easily. 

Then, of course, there have been any number of acts of omission on the part 
of Congress, where they have failed to make provision for the District, that we 
think should have been made. For instance, take the school situation to-day. 
If Congress had been guided by the requests of the citizens in the past, the 
present condition would not exist. We have been before you, knocking at your 
door and requesting appropriations for the schools. Thirteen years ago I went 
before the Committee on Appropriations and asked for an appropriation for a 
new Eastern High School. There was a beautiful plot of ground at that time 
which was locally situated exactly right for that building. It was offered for 
sale at $75,000. The board of education requested its purchase, and we went 
before the committee and asked for an appropriation of $75,000 for the purchase 
of that site. Congress failed to make the appropriation. In the next two or 
three years speculative builders bought the whole square, subdivided it, and 
built it up solidly with residence property. We lost that site. About eight years 
later, when Congress finally saw that they must make appropriation for a site 
for a high-school building, they found it necessary to appropriate $150,000 in 
order to buy a site, and then we had to go away out a great deal farther 
than was really proper to accommodate the people who the school was to serve. 

That school building was needed then when we asked for it 13 years ago. It 
is now being built, and we hope to have it occupied in the course of a year or 
so. But that incident shows the way those things go. We need that guiding 
hand, somebody to explain the school situation and everything else so that Con¬ 
gress will be absolutely familiar with the situation. We are not blaming Con¬ 
gress for these things, because it is dfficult for all the Members of Congress to 
understand and see just what our stuation is. 

In regard to the school question further, you are probably familiar with the 
fact that we have nearly $5,000,000 in the Treasury of the United States to our 
credit that has never been appropriated. If we had carried on our school pro¬ 
gram, if we had provided for the increase in our water supply, and those other 
things that have been asked and pleaded for by our citizens there would have 
been no need for any surplus in the Treasury, because that $5,000,000 would have 
been matched with an equal $5,000,000 by the Federal Government and we could 
have used the money to carry on the necessary things in the interest of our city. 

These, I think, are fair reasons why we should have District representation. 
However, there is another phase of the question that appeals especially to me, 
and if you will pardon me I would like to use myself in this case as an example 
of how it works. 

I am a native of the District of Columbia. My father was born here in 1819, 
102 years ago. He was a native of the District of Columbia. As a boy when I 
was growing up I felt that I was an American citizen. I was told that every 
citizen of the United States had a vote and had a right to vote for President 
and even to be President and to be a Member of Congress or a Senator. I sup¬ 
posed that I was a real American citizen, just like anybody else in the United 
States. After a wh'le, when I got a little older and became able to study a little 
into the conditions here, I found that I had been deprived of my birthright and 
that I was not an American citizen. I did not have the rights of other American 
citizens. I felt badly about it. I felt as though it. was no fault of mine that I 
was born in the District, that my father was a native of the District, etc. 

You gentlemen and a great many other people in Washington tvho come from 
the States have a great deal of pride and reverence for your home town, for your 
home State. You talk about what it is back home. I have even heard some of 
them say it is God’s country, and things of that sort. You like that home. 
Probably your ancestors are buried in the soil in some little churchyard or some 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


165 


cemetery back there. You have reverence for that ground. You love that 
ground. I have the same feeling for my home in the District of Columbia. My 
ancestors are buried here. My grandfather, when he came back here from serv¬ 
ing the country in the War of 1812, settled in the District of Columbia. He 
and my grandmother are buried in this soil. My parents are buried in this soil. 
I have all of those feelings, all that reverence for home, that you people from 
the States have and I have more, too, because your home town is not the Capital 
of the greatest Nation on the face of the earth. 

I take great pride in being a citizen of the District of Columbia, because I 
am a citizen of the Capital of the greatest Nation on the face of the earth. I 
take pride in that. I wish to improve it. I want to make it the most beautiful 
Capital and the most healthful Capital and the _great educational center and 
everything that it should be to be appropriate for the Capital of the greatest 
Nation on the face of the earth. I have that pride in it. 

Now, in order to enjoy the rights of other citizens of the United States I must 
leave this city, my home, leave this soil, leave the home of my ancestors, leave 
all my friends and all my business relations and everything else, in order to ex¬ 
ercise the right to vote, the right that was granted every American citizen. 
Now, is that right? Is that just? Would you gentlemen feel that you ought to 
leave your home town that you love so well in order that you might be American 
citizens and exercise that right? I feel that that is a point that should not be 
overlooked. Should there be any place in this Nation where a person born in 
a town should have to go away to exercise the right of American citizenship? 

Mr. Chairman, that is all I have to say. I tliank you. 

STATEMENT OF DONALD MACPHERSON. 

Senator Jones. Mr. Macpherson, do you come in a representative capacity or 
just as an individual? 

Mr. Macpheeson. I come as an individual. I am under the impression that 
I possibly represent a good many unorganized persons. I do not come here 
with a finished address nor of any particular length, but I knew from the 
observations of the discussion for a long time, both in the newspapers in the 
District and of individuals who have verbally discussed the matter before Sen¬ 
ate committees, that my views might be expressed in a little different manner. 

I want to call attention to the generic principles which I think the com¬ 
mittee will recognize and citizens who are here will recognize as being very 
valid. I do not intend to go to the extent of analyzing my views or the axioms 
or dogmatic statements that may seem to compose my propositions, but I 
think they will all tie together and be recognized as having some considerable 
validity. The statement which I have to make to you simply consists of brief 
suggestions of which I have made note, without much analysis or perhaps 
literary cohesion, but I think, Mr. Chairman, they will all tie together in a 
way that will appeal to the hearer as being valid. 

For the purpose of calling attention to a group of ideas, the first I entitle 
“ Psychic influences.” For my views respecting the influence of and results 
of suffrage and representation in Congress, see pages 48 to 53 in the brief of the 
joint citizens’ committee before Congress, January, 1921. I refer to that in 
this way to save the time and the labor of organizing my thoughts. As to that 
influence and purpose it has my approval and I accept it as a part of my dis¬ 
cussion. 

The quality of the people; that is, the citizens, of the District of Columbia 
depends upon the exercise of functions, privileges, and obligations. The exer¬ 
cise of functions produces power. The possession of power induces effort. The 
exercise of effort, produces power which may mean mental complexity and 
ability which may mean culture, which means efficiency. 

Progress depends on the exercise of effort and no efficient effort can be made 
without due quantity and quality of power or ability. 

Effort alone will not be made without the stimulus of the hope of reward. 

I hope I do not need to analyze and to expend upon what reward means, not 
here. What is deemed a reward depends upon the social state, that is the civi¬ 
lization of society or the individual. 

A society or the individuals composing it will be formed or influenced by the 
general conditions, heredity and environment. They are generic and cosmic. 
The environment—the Congress and official life in this case—will reciprocally 
be improved. 


166 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


The next thought is “ the law of the land.” The supreme law under cosmic 
evolution is the law of survival. The evolution of society is cosmic and can 
not be suppressed. It must be expressed or exhibited in some form or manner, 
either by progress or by degradation, sometimes called conservatism. I would 
here make reference to a remark made by Lord Roseberry. While that does 
not make it, it suffices as a way of introduction. I would call attention to Lord 
Roseberry’s Reflections Upon the Suppression of'Human Rights. The so-called 
conservatism of society or government is the most unsafe and dangerous exer¬ 
cise of government or law. 

The next thought is “ the fathers and the Constitution.” 

Senator Jones. May I suggest, Mr. Macpherson, that there are two or three 
others who desire to be heard this morning and our time is very limited? I 
would suggest that you pass over the general propositions and come down to 
your specific reasons. 

Mr. Macpherson. I am coming right to them now. 

Senator Jones. Very well. • 

Mr. Macpherson. The Constitution and laws with their conceptions have 
changed both by amendment and conception and through judicial decisions. 
They must change and be changed. When the evolution of society is unduly 
prevented evil results in some form—inferiority, degradation, and even revolu¬ 
tion. In some degree, for the purpose of this discussion, it is immaterial as 
to what the fathers intended in all respects as to the ultimate use and des¬ 
tiny of the District of Columbia. I am reciting this for the purpose of show¬ 
ing that whatever they did was done necessarily, to use a term which I have 
previously used, for the purpose of survival, for the social welfare and gen¬ 
eral welfare of the people of the United States. That is why they established 
the District of Columbia. But I desire also to have you understand that not¬ 
withstanding that the results upon the citizens can not be otherwise than 
prejudicial. 

It must submit to cosmic social evolution that could not be known at the 
time of the convention. 

“ Good government ” is the next thought. A good government is a relative 
matter and not easily defined or understood. In its progress or development 
it will necessarily be changed and the society requires a different form and 
different quality. Government, or a good government of high quality, as I 
have said heretofore, involved the development and complexity of the indi¬ 
vidual. I tried to have you understand when I began that I did not care 
to go over the ground that other people have covered, but they do neglect the 
generic and cosmic principles which I think are not any too well known. It 
is the effect upon the individual and characteristics that it produces in society, 
in subordinated and subjugated persons who are employees of the District 
especially before the enactment of the civil-service law. There is no disputing 
the fact that the employees of the bureaus and of the Government were a sub¬ 
ordinate and impaired citizenship. 

A good government can not be the result of what Mr. Herbert Spencer called 
a benevolent despotism. A government under the control of either a political 
or ecclesiastical despotism is a bad and an unworthy government. There must 
be the struggle for the survival of the fit—moral, ethical, and physical suprem¬ 
acy—and the superior should survive. The right to aspiration and the reward 
of variation due to aspiration and efficiency is a manifestation of good gov¬ 
ernment. Good government is not innocent simplicity or stupidity and a regard 
under subjection, mental or more, to the laws. 

In this connection I would cite a chapter by G. Archibald Reid, a distinguished 
scientist and physician of London, discussing the twenty-third chapter of his 
work entitled “ Heredity.” I am not presuming that the committee or anybody 
else will read it, but it would give a very large amount of valuable information 
if it should be read. General principles are more worthy of consideration by 
this committee than details of domestic matters. 

Now, I come to the question of “ a Delegate in Congress.” A Delegate in 
Congress for the District of Columbia is unnecessary and would have no value. 
It would not be superior to or equal our present status, for we now have a good 
system of representation so far as Delegates are concerned, for we now have 
three excellent Delegates, the three commissioners. That they are appointed 
by the President as commissioners or Delegates is immaterial. They, as such, 
had better be selected in that manner. As such, the citizens do not need to vote 
for them, or the board of education; at is of no value. It would be no mani¬ 
festation or exercise of power. I want it to be understood, Mr. Chairman, that 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


167 


I am German in this respect, perhaps, but I want the exercise of power. I want 
to have Members of Congress and Senators who can be peers and exerc.se the 
power. It would furnish no prestige—and I want this point particularly noted— 
to the constituency, the citizens of the District of Columbia. That is not 
suffrage. Parenthetically, I have heard it stated frequently by citizens of the 
District of Columbia that we had suffrage here a number of years ago and they 
voted for somebody for some purpose or other. That is utterly without value as 
furnishing a correct precedent. 

I now come to the question of “ representation in‘Congress.” Suffrage and 
representation in Congress would greatly add to the efficiency and prestige of 
the District of Columbia. 

Mr. Chairman, I hope that you and others will now begin to see that my con¬ 
clusions are all tied up to my axioms set forth in the beginning of my statement. 

I repeat, that suffrage here and representation in Congress would greatly 
add to the efficiency and prestige of the District of Columbia. Congress itself 
would, in some degree, be aided or added to by its further association with equal 
or competing peers or legal equals. What I have said' heretofore I need not 
repeat, but I think it is necessary to say that analysis is not necessary to enforce 
that proposition—not now. 

They would be required to respond to the sentiment and wishes of their 
constituents, the citizens of the District of Columbia. Their relation to the 
District of Columbia and to the United States would be substantially or rela¬ 
tively the same as that of other Senators and Members of Congress in propor¬ 
tion to their number. Naturally and necessarily they could and would respond 
to the legitimate demands and requirements of their constituents. 

I come next to “ the right to a forum.” Now, the citizens have no forum or 
right to a forum in the District of Columbia. What they receive now is a mat¬ 
ter of grace, suffrance, or permission. The newspapers and journals of the 
District or elsewhere represent their owners, editors, and stockholders. When¬ 
ever expression is given to the citizen through the journalism of the District 
it will be only as an incidental matter—that is, that it happens to meet the 
approval of the owners of the corporation, the newspaper. That is perfectly 
natural and likely legitimate. They must conduct the r own enterprise, and its 
success in some degree depends upon conformation to public approval and 
sentiment. 

My next thought has to do with “ the necessities and benefits of the exercise 
of suffrage.” It is immaterial whether some of the citizens of the District of 
Columbia desire to vote or not, as the implication is in my previous statement, 
because it becomes their duty to exercise that function. Not to desire to exer¬ 
cise such a function and assume responsibilities of government is to concede 
individual and social inferiority and degradation. That has been referred to 
in early times by Macaulay in the history of English suffrage. In certain of the 
•election districts of England under the condition of intellectual and moral 
depression the citizens had no desire to vote. At that time they were required 
or compelled to exercise the suffrage in certain cases. The implication and 
expression by Mr. Macaulay was that it was an indication of very low state of 
the people of those election districts. 

I next come to some concrete cases which I deem of the least importance, so 
far as I am concerned, in the discussion and for the action of the committee. 
Possibly almost everything can be reduced to dollars and cents, morally and 
ethically. 

The brief that has been referred to is worthy the consideration of the com¬ 
mittee. There are legislative needs in the District of Columbia—many that can 
not very well be given the attention of Congress in its present form—that would 
likely receive more adequate attention by the representation which I have 
implied. It is not necessary for me to enlarge upon that. Mr. Tucker has very 
fully, and hundreds of others have likewise, given expression to the details. 
Some acts of Congress probably would not have been approved if representation 
in Congress were in a position to receive the desires and instructions of their 
constituents and other matters might be enacted that would be beneficial that 
can not be or are not considered now. 

To cite one instance—there should be a snow and ice law for the removal 
of snow and ice from the sidewalks. They are in winters here found in very 
dangerous condition. Were an inventory taken of the damages and injuries 
caused to people by falls upon the sidewalks of the District, the category would 
be a long and serious one. I am a personal example of that myself. I have a 

broken hip, had three months in the hospital, and have an injury for life. 

0 


168 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


There was also passed an act called the Borland amendment to the District 
appropriation bill. It is a bad law, injurious particularly to the suburbs of the 
District. It is not likely that such, a law would have been passed if their rep¬ 
resentations could have been made by an exponent of the District in the manner 
to which I have previously referred. 

The Torrens land-title system should be established in the District of Colum¬ 
bia. The public or the State should furnish or insure title at a nominal expense 
to the applicant. The present system in the District of Columbia is exceedingly 
expensive, which is entirely unnecessary. I have that by personal experience 
also. The Torrens system is established in most of the States of the Union and 
in other countries of the world. 

Mr. Chairman, I can say in conclusion in a general way that I am in favor of 
representation by not one Senator, but two Senators, a representation in Con¬ 
gress to pro rate the same as any other of the Commonwealths of the country. 
The legislation respecting the details of the municipal or State governments I 
at present am not interested in. I think that its exercise is about as good as it 
can be under the present management so far as the municipal domestic exer¬ 
cise is concerned. 

That is the limit of my statement, Mr. Chairman, and I am very much obliged 
for your patience. 

STATEMENT OF MRS. FRANK HIRAM SNELL. 

Senator Jones. Mrs. Snell, do you appear in a representative capacity or as 
an individual? 

Mrs. Snell. I represent the Women’s City Club. More than a year ago a 
suffrage. committee was selected from the membership of the club. We had 
several meetings and various gentlemen came to the meetings to explain their 
plans for suffrage and to urge us to adopt a certain course of action. The com¬ 
mittee evolved a resolution, and I offered it to the club at the regular monthly 
business meeting. The resolution was to the effect that we approved of suffrage 
and that we urged active support of the joint committee which was working 
upon the constitutional amendment. So the club was by that resolution com¬ 
mitted to this particular form of suffrage. 

Then, for reasons which it is not necessary to particularize at this time, be¬ 
cause they have been so very ably presented in the last hearing before this com¬ 
mittee, I thought that possibly that resolution was a little too limited, and in 
my own private capacity, not as a member of the suffrage committee, I offered 
a resolution as comprehensive as I could make it, and, of course, perfectly 
simple in its language, providing that “ We favor the granting of national and 
local suffrage and representation. in the Electoral College to the residents of 
the District of Columbia.” 

So I say, Mr. Chairman, that the Women’s City Club is committed to suffrage, 
in whatever form the Senate committee produces it. This vote was not taken 
at great effort; in fact, it was just taken in the ordinary course of a regular 
business meeing. I rose and offered the resolution. The motion to adopt it was 
seconded. There were no speeches; there were no remarks. “All those in favor 
will say ‘Aye.’ ‘Aye.’ Contrary minded? Nont at all.” So that it was a unani¬ 
mous vote in both cases. It must represent, and does represent, the very solid 
and enduring opinion of the Women’s City Club—nothing transient, nothing 
temporary. 

No effort was made, nobody was called up by telephone and asked to come and 
support the resolution; nobody had been whipped into line by being told, “If 
you do not vote for this we will not vote for you or for your plan,” or anything 
of that kind. It was simply in the ordinary course of business at the regular 
business meeting. Therefore I think it must be considered that it represents 
the enduring and solid opinion of the membership of the Women’s City Club. 

This vote was taken a year ago, and at that time the membership of the 
Women’s City Club was between 2,200 and 2,300. That is a very large organi¬ 
zation. Our organization is most comprehensive. There is nothing else in the 
city of Washington which is so comprehensive, so all embracing as our club. 
For instance, there are various women’s clubs and we have many of them and 
they are all splendid but all limited in scope and membership. There is the 
League of American Pen Women. You know what that means. We have pen- 
women in our club, but our members are not entirely penwomen. There is the 
National Association of University Women. That scope is shown by its name. 
We have university women in our club, but they are not entirely university 
women. Then there is the College Women’s Club, still more limited in scope 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. . 


169 


than the University Club. We have college women in our club, but they are 
not entirely college women. There is the Arts and Crafts Club, which takes in 
members of both sexes, I think. We have members from that club. We have 
members from the Washington Club and from the Congressional Club. We have 
members, I think, from every club in the city. 

Then we include what for want of a better word I call every class of women. 
We have women who sing for a living, who play the piano for a living, who 
lecture for a living. We have women who lecture not so much for money as 
from the urge for effort which seems to be apparent among all the women now, 
especially if they are connected very closely with other women who earn their 
living. We have those women. We have women who work on F Street. We 
have women who are in the real estate business. We have women who are in 
the insurance business. We have women who are dentists, and we have women 
who are in business of every kind. We have many women lawyers, of course; 
that would be natural. We have many women who work in the departments of 
the Government. We have women whose incomes are very large and who spend 
them on what they call serious objects. Then, we have women who spend their 
incomes on what we call quite frivolous objects. We have women who live on 
their incomes, and those incomes are so small that they live in one room, and 
their only entertainment and social life comes from our club. 

I have gone into this with some particularity, Mr. Chairman, because it seems 
as if it must show that the Women’s City Club is a city club not only in name 
but in fact. It takes in every kind of women that come into the city of Wash¬ 
ington. Any woman who is 18 years of age or over and who is vouched for by 
two members can become a member. 

So when we say we are for suffrage it does seem to me that our influence should 
be very carefully considered, since our membership is so all embracing. Not only 
that, but I think I must say that many of the women are married, and I think 
I may fairly infer that many of their husbands may not agree with them. I 
know in the old days some people used to tell us that the wives would vote with 
their husbands, and the husbands would represent their wives. We do not quite 
agree to that, and I perhaps may now say that many of the wives would represent 
the opinions of their husbands on the question of suffrage. That would increase 
that vote of 2,200 or 2 300 by, I should think it could be fairly stated, many more 
hundred. 

I think I have saW all that I need say. I may repeat that I represent the 
Women’s City Club. I am on the suffrage committee, and I am here to fell you 
this message. We beg you, we beseech you, to give us some favorable report. 

I was thinking the other day when Senator Ball sat here with what was so 
aptly called his patient courtesy, how I had first met Senator Ball. I had been 
up and down the Atlantic coast in charge of the actual work of organization, and 
I finally found myself in that very quaint, charming town with its almost oldest 
courthouse in the country, its delightful and very, very old houses, and its charm¬ 
ing square—Dover, Del. Senator Ball and I were there on the same errand; I 
very obscurely and he in the full splendor which a United States Senator always 
has in his own State. He labored very earnestly with those State legislators 
and with the utmost conviction, and we were all perfectly assured, we women 
who were there in numbers, that Senator Ball was doing bis very utmost to get 
what we wanted. His efforts came to most splendid fruition later. We were on 
opposite sides of the political fence at that time and we still are, but Senator 
Ball, of course, treated me with the same intelligent and patient courtesy with 
which he has treated those people who have come before him. 

So now, Mr. Chairman, I hope that Senator'Ball as chairman of your committee 
will really and earnestly recommend some form of suffrage for the District. 

Senator Jones. May I inquire how many were present at the meeting when 
these resolutions were passed? 

Mrs. Snell. This was the regular business meeting of the club which comes 
on Monday night. I may understate it, but there were perhaps 150 women—I 
dare say there were 200. You know what the membership would be. It is 
the regular monthly meeting, with no call for anything special. 

STATEMENT OF FRANK SPRIGG PERRY. 

Senator Jones. You may proceed, Mr. Perry. 

Mr. Perry. If the committee please, I would at the beginning in a measure 
introduce myself to the committee. I have been practicing law in Washington 
for 20 years. I was at one time assistant United States district attorney here. 
I am at the present time an assistant professor of constitutional law at George- 


170 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


town University, a member of the Cathedral Heights Citizens’ Association and 
of the Cleveland Park Community Service, and also a member of the committee 
of the National Representation of the Board of Trade. I am here simply in 
my individual capacity and not speaking for any of these organizations. 

I feel that I would be derelict in my duty in opening any remarks on District 
of Columbia suffrage without paying some tribute, small though it may be, 
to Mr. Henry B. F. Macfarland, who but recently passed away. Mr. Macfarland, 
as we all know, was a District’commissioner for many years and labored very 
earnestly as an advocate of suffrage. It is to be hoped by all those who favor 
suffrage that the life and example of Mr. Macfarland may weigh strongly with 
this and every other committee before which the suffrage issue of the District 
is presented. 

My name is not Dawes and I was not a brigadier general in the United States 
Army during the war, but I served eight months in France, and I became 
more or less familiar with the brand of emphasis that Gen. Dawes used before a 
recent committee of the House of Representatives. When I come to consider 
the relationship which the people of the District of Columbia bear to the Na¬ 
tional Government I can only say that it is an outrage that 437,571 citizens of 
the District of Columbia are deprived of all representation in the National Gov¬ 
ernment or in their local affairs. It is an outrage that this great Government 
of ours welcomes every year to our shores hundreds of thousands of foreign 
immigrants, urges them to settle in the various States, urges them to acccept 
a United States citizenship, to handle their own affairs and become voters, and 
at the same time refuses that right to native-born, intelligent citizens of Wash¬ 
ington. I understand that during the fiscal year which ended June 30, 1920, 
the number of immigrants who came into our country was 430,001, just a few 
thousand less than the citizenship of Washington, and during the last fiscal 
year the number exceeded 800,000. 

Mr. Chairman, I am in favor of the principles of each one of the several bills 
which have been presented to this committee—the bill which has been presented 
by yourself, Senator Jones, the bills which have been presented by Senator 
Capper and Senator Poindexter. The principles of each one of those bills are 
in favor of some measure of suffrage for the District of Columbia, and I am 
for the principles of each and every one of them. It will be observed that the 
elements of suffrage of Statehood are twofold. Statehood consists of a na¬ 
tional representation in the councils of the Nation and in voting for the President 
and Vice President of the United States. Statehood also bears with it a local 
significance—that by which each State manages its own individual affairs with¬ 
out reference to the other States of the Nation or without reference to the 
Federal Government. 

The bill providing for national representation picks out one portion of this 
element of a State—that is, national representation—and lays emphasis on 
that and seeks to have that passed by Congress independent of the other ele¬ 
ments of statehood. In like manner the Poindexter and Capper bills pick out 
other elements of statehood and they attempt to have those elements of state¬ 
hood passed by Congress to the exclusion of the national aspects. If we take 
these several bills together, it will be found that combined in their underlying 
principles they simply make a State of the American Union. In other words, 
if all file parties presenting suffrage before this committee were present 
urging their particular choice measures, their united voice would spell but one 
word, and that would be statehood. 

We have all agreed in a measure that national representation is a most 
desirable thing. The bill providing for a constitutional amendment by which 
the District of Columbia would have some representation in Congress or in the 
Senate and House has been acted upon favorably by all, or practically all, of 
the civic bodies of Washington. The great difficulty with that bill is the fact 
that it provides for a constitutional amendment, which requires a two-thirds 
vote in each House of Congress and the ratification by three-fourths of the 
legislatures of the various States. This is a most cumbersome method. It is 
respectfully suggested to the committee that statehood would be a much more 
simple and direct form by which this most desirable object could be secured 
and that the State of Columbia could be erected simply by an act of Congress, 
with, perhaps, the consent of the Legislature of the State of Maryland. 

During the course of these hearings the chairman of the committee, Senator 
Ball, took occasion to refer to the element of local self-government as one 
which had been peculiarly committed by the Constitution to the Congress of 
the United States. He suggested that if the local self-government were urged 



SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


171 


by the various organizations here, perhaps such an effort would defeat their 
ends to secure other and more desirable methods of suffrage. I would suggest 
to the committee if there was one solemn promise made to the citizens of the 
District of Columbia by the founders of the Constitution, it was that they 
should have local self-government. 

As we all know, the series of articles which were presented and collected in 
the Federalist were issued about the time that the Constitution was being con¬ 
sidered by the various State conventions which were called to ratify that instru¬ 
ment. Article 43 of the Federalist was prepared by James Madison, who sub- 
sqeuently became the fourth President of the United States. He was one of 
the signers of the Constitution and was in fact the man who proposed the very 
clause in the Constitution by which the District of Columbia was erected. In 
this article 43 of the Federalist James Madison stated specifically that local 
suffrage would be granted as a matter of course to the inhabitants of the Dis¬ 
trict of Columbia. That, as I said, was not only an authoritative statement 
coming from one of those who had presented this matter to the constitutional 
convention, but it was also in a measure almost a promise to the inhabitants, 
because this article was presented in order to obviate any difficulties that 
might be met with in the adoption of the Constitution. So I say local self- 
government was promised to the District inhabitants. 

Senator Jones. That promise was not embodied in the Constitution, how¬ 
ever, was it? 

Mr. Perry. It was not embodied fn the Constitution, if the chairman please, 
but as I wish to urge upon the committee the Federalist is considered as an 
exponent of the Constitution. It is the most authoritative statement outside 
of the wording of the Constitution that can be found. The article in the 
Federalist to which I referred, Article 43, was written by James Madison, 
subsequently fourth President of the United States and one of the signers 
of the Constitution. He stated in his argument for the adoption of the 
Constitution that “as a municipal legislature for local purposes derived 
from their own suffrages will of course be allowed them.” That was in 
reference to the inhabitants of the District of Columbia. That promise was 
acted upon until 1871 and there were a long line of mayors of Washington who 
were elected by the local inhabitants of the city. 

To come again to local self-government, what possible objection can there 
be to having local self-government for the inhabitants of the District of Colum¬ 
bia? We speak of national representation, we speak of local self-government, 
the two elements of statehood. We know that national representation receives 
almost the unanimous support of the District and has met with quite favorable 
response before the members of this committee and before the Members of 
Congress. In other words, there is no serious objection to national representa¬ 
tion other than what would be developed in connection with the admission of 
any new State into the Union. 

In regard to local self-government, what possible interest has the Congress 
of the United States in the local affairs of Washington? I brought with me 
the Code of the District o'f Columbia as amended to March 4, 1911. Members 
of the committee can take the code and read it from cover to cover. You can 
take the table of contents and glance over that. There is not one single 
article in that code which in any way affects the authority of Congress or in 
which Congress is in any way interested. What difference does it make to Mem¬ 
bers of Congress what our laws are for the distribution and de cent of property, 
whether or not if a man steals $35 or under or over he is convicted of petty 
larceny or grand larceny? Those are matters merely of local concern. Conse 
quently it seems to me that as a matter of local self-government there is no 
good reason why Congress should not grant local self government to the District. 

In fact, in the very able argument made by Mr. Glassie at a previous hearing 
before this committee, Mr. Glassie referred to the fact that it was necessary 
for the District to have some representative in both the Senate and the House, 
preferably a representative with a vote, a representative who would be heard 
and listened to. Why? Because it was necessary, as he stated, for that 
representative to inform the Members of Congress, Members of the Senate and 
Members of the House of Representatives, of the local needs of the people. 
I carry Mr. Glassie’s argument one step further. I say that it does not appear 
to me that Members of Congress hav' any interest whatsoever in these local 
affairs of the District, that it is a matter purely and simply for the residents 
of the District, and that they can be entrusted with and given authority to 
govern these matters as they see fit. 


172 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


What interest then has Congress in the District of Columbia? It would seem 
to me that the only interest, the only possible interest that Congress may have 
in the District of Columbia as such—that is, apart from the other portions 
of the United States—is for the protection of Federal property and Federal de¬ 
liberations and for the distribution of public funds in the District. These are 
the two objects which the Congress has in view in retaining control over the 
District of Columbia,- and the only two objects that the Congress need concern 
itself with so far as the District of Columbia is concerned. 

That being so I would respectfully suggest to the committee that if a State 
is erected out of the District of Columbia, the vital national interests can be 
protected by reservations in the" enabling act creating that State, or if the 
committee wishes to grant statehood to the Disrtict of Columbia in a little 
different form, it can return to the State of Maryland the District of Columbia 
and at the same time reserve those vital national interests. Of course, as a 
resident of the District of Columbia I consider that the best method of securing 
statehood for the District would be by the erection of a sovereign State, the 
State of Columbia. 

There can be no possible conflict of jurisdiction between the Federal Govern¬ 
ment and the State government if the State of Columbia were erected here. The 
inhabitants or the citizens of Olympia in the State of Washington are not at 
dagger’s points with the rest of the State, nor do the inhabitants of the City 
of Austin in Texas have constant disputes with the balance of the State of 
Texas as to their respective rights and privileges; nor indeed do the citizens 
of Dover in Delaware have constant conflict with the other citizens of Dela¬ 
ware. There is harmony, and in the same way, if the District of Columbia 
should.be erected into a State, there would be no reasonable conflict between 
the two. 

Congressman Welty is quoted as having given an excellent illustration of 
the peculiar situation in which the District of Columbia finds itself. It ap¬ 
pears that a young boy of Italian extraction was brought before the juvenile 
court in New York City. The father urged the judge to send the boy to the 
reform school, arid stated that he was utterly unable to restrain him at home. ' 
The judge then took upon himself to question the youngster. “ Guiseppe,” he 
said, “why is it that you do not obey your father? Why is it that whenever 
your father attempts to correct you you insist upon fighting and striking him?” 

“ Well, sir,” said the boy, “ it is this way. You see I was born in America and 
my father was born on the other side. I am an American and I don’t like to 
have any damned foreigner whip me.” 

That is pretty much the situation in which the inhabitants of the District of 
Columbia find themselves. They were born here, many of them ; they have 
their interests in Washington; and while they have the same paternal love and 
affection for the great National Government which all of the citizens of our 
country have, nevertheless they do feel some local pride in their city and 
they do wish to have some participation not only in the National Government 
but in the local affairs of Washington. 

There is a striking analogy between the fight for'District suffrage and the 
fight which the women made for national suffrage. For many years the flame 
of woman suffrage was kept alight by a band of a few women, just like in 
the District of Columbia for many years the flame of District suffrage has been 
kept alive by such of our leaders as Mr. Theodore Noyes, and Mr. Henry B. F. 
Macfarland, and others. 

It was said, of course, in regard to woman suffrage, just as it has been 
said in regard to District suffrage, that the large majority of the women or 
a large majority of the inhabitants of the District were opposed to suffrage in 
any form. It was said in regard to woman suffrage, just as it has been said in 
regard to District suffrage, that a small and select body of propagandists had 
organized this campaign for their own purposes. Nevertheless, in spite of 
force, and threats, and jails, the women secured their suffrage, and not only 
suffrage for one State but full national representation. I hope and I pray 
that neither the District of Columbia jail nor the workhouse at Occoquan will 
ever be a gathering place for the sons and daughters of the State of Columbia, 
but, Mr. Chairman, this is a serious question with us. We are dead in earnest. 
Many of us are willing to go to the utmost extreme to convince the Congress 
of this proposition that we do wish something done in the way of securing 
American citizenship. We are tired of being wards of the Nation, and we do 
wish representation in some form or other. 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 173 

Mr. Chairman, I have two articles here on the question of statehood which I 
would like to have incorporated as a part of my remarks. 

Senator Jones. Very well. 

(The articles referred to are as follows:) 

[Published in Washington Law Reporter of Sept. 3, 1920.] 

Statehood for the District of Columbia. 

Memorandum prepared by Frank Sprigg Perry, August, 1920. 

The various civic organizations in the District of Columbia adopted certain 
resolutions to be presented to the Democratic and Republican National Con¬ 
ventions in June, 1920. These resolutions set out the “ basic right ” of every 
following: 

“ We urge most earnestly the inclusion of a plank in the Democratic (Repub¬ 
lican) platform of 1920 which shall recognize and reaffirm the above-stated 
American principle and shall approve a constitutional amendment granting or 
empowering Congress to grant representation in House, Senate, and Electoral 
College to residents of the District of Columbia.” 

The resolutions were signed by James F. Oyster, president Washington Board 
of Trade; Robert N. Harper, president Washington Chamber of Commerce; 
Philip King, president Merchants & Manufacturers’ Association; W. B. West- 
lake, president Federation of Citizens’ Associations; E. Lester Jones, chairman 
Veterans’ Committee for District of Columbia Suffrage; John B. Colpoys, 
chairman Labor Committee for District of Columbia Suffrage; Winfield Jones, 
chairman National Press Committee for District of Columbia suffrage; Luther 
C. Steward, president Federation of Federal Employees; and Theodore W. 
Noyes, chairman Citizens’ Joint Committee on National Representation for the 
District of Columbia. 

Too great praise can not be extended to these organizations and to those de¬ 
voted citizens who have for years worked for suffrage in the District of 
Columbia. 

As a citizen of the District of Columbia and one whose interests are deeply 
affected I wish earnestly to submit another method for securing the suffrage for 
our people, a method which may be found to be more plain, simple, and direct 
than that of a constitutional amendment. 

The Congress can comply with the demand of the people for suffrage by 
erecting-out of the present District of Columbia 

THE STATE OF COLUMBIA. 

This method will not require the adoption of an amendment to the Constitu¬ 
tion. An act of Congress with, perhaps, the consent of the legislature of the 
State of Maryland, can form a State out of the District of Columbia. Need¬ 
less to say, this method would probably obtain suffrage more quickly than 
through a constitutional amendment. A constitutional amendment would re¬ 
quire not only the passage of an act of Congress by a two-thirds vote of each 
House, but the consent of the legislatures of three-fourths of the 48 States. 

An example of the difficulties and delay in the way of securing the adoption 
of an amendment to the Constitution is found in the fact that the Susan B. 
Anthony amendment providing for womens’ suffrage was introduced in Con¬ 
gress in 1878 and adopted in 1920. Forty-two years would be a long time to 
wait for suffrage in the District of Columbia if some ether method will avail 
more quickly. 

AUTHORITY. 


Under the Constitution, Congress has the right to erect new States and 
admit new States into the Union. This can be done from any Territory over 
which Congress has exclusive jurisdiction, and it matters not whether that 
Territory has an organized Territorial government or is an unorganized terri¬ 
tory While many States were admitted only after they had been organized as 
Territories one State, California, had no pevious territorial or State gov¬ 
ernment before its admission. Vermont, Maine, Kentucky, and West Virginia 
were formed from parts of other States with the consent of the legislatures of 
the States affected. There is no provision in the Constitution limiting or 


174 


SUFFRAGE IU THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


defining the territory of the United States which may be erected into a State; 
nor is there any provision which prohibits Congress from erecting the State 
of Columbia out of the District of Columbia. 

The District of Columbia is territory belonging to the United States and it 
can be considered as an organized or unorganized Territory. In either case 
Congress exercises exclusive jurisdiction over such Territory and has the right 
to admit it into the Union as a State. 

There can be no question of the authority of Congress to erect the State 
of Columbia out of the District of Columbia. Uniformly, the Supreme Court of 
the United States has considered the District of Columbia as a species of a 
Territorial form of government. Mr. Justice Harlan, in the case of Callan v. 
Wilson (127 U. S., 540), held in regard to certain personal rights: 

“We can not think that the people of this District (of Columbia) have, in 
that regard, less rights than those accorded to the people of the Territories of 
the United States.” 

In 1903 Mr. Justice Brewer said in the case of Binns v. United States (194 
U. S., 486) : 

“ It must be remembered that Congress in the government of the Territories 
as well as of the District of Columbia has plenary power, save as controlled by 
the provisions of the Constitution.” 

In the opinion of the court in the Employers’ Liability Cases (207 U. S., 500), 
Mr. Justice White, in 1907, said that the legislative power of Congress over the 
District of Columbia and the Territories was “ plenary.” 

The word “ plenary ” is defined in the Standard Dictionary as being: 

“(1) Full in all respects or requisites; entire; absolute; also, complete, as 
embracing all the parts or members; as, plenary authority; plenary inspira¬ 
tion. Plenary is opposed to partial. 

“(2) Having full powers; as a plenary council.” 

In the consideration of the Insular Tariff cases after the Spanish War, Mr. 
Justice Brown, in writing the opinion of the court in the case of De Lima v. 
Bidwell (182 U. S., 196), said: 

“Under this power (to govern and control the Territories) Congress may 
deal with territory acquired by treaty; may administer its government as it 
does that of the District of Columbia; it may organize a local territorial gov¬ 
ernment ; it may admit it as a State upon an equality with other States; it 
may sell its public lands to individual citizens or may donate them as home¬ 
steads to actual settlers. In short, when once acquired by treaty it belongs to 
the United States and is subject to the disposition of Congress.” 

There are numerous other cases in the reports of our highest court which 
emphasize the fact that Congress in general exercises over the District of 
Columbia the same kind and degree of authority it exercises over other terri¬ 
tory subject to the disposition of Congress. In accordance with this power 
Congress can erect a State out of such territory. Under the same power and 
by the same means Congress can erect a State out of the District of Columbia— 
the State of Columbia. 

ADVANTAGES. 

A constitutional amendment granting suffrage to the Distr'ct of Columbia 
has no advantages over statehood and, in fact, has’ many disadvantages. Such 
an amendment must provide for some sort of voting representation in Con¬ 
gress and in the Electoral College.' The least acceptable representation under 
this scheme would be one Senator and one Representative. As a State, the State 
of Columbia would have two Senators and poss bly one or two Representatives. 
The practical difference, then, between a constitutional amendment and state¬ 
hood, so far as representation in Congress is concerned, is whether the District 
of Columbia should be represented by one or by two Senators or Representa¬ 
tives. In local affairs a State government would have absolute control and 
cou]d provide for the qualifications of its voters. In the case of a constitutional 
amendment only a limited control of suffrage and of local affairs might be 
granted. 

It may be objected that the District of Columb ; a, having a total land area of 
about 60 square miles, is too small in size to be erected into a State. The 
measure of a State should be the measure of the manhood and womanhood 
of that State and not the mere measure of land area Can it be sa'd that 100 
people living in an apartment house are less patriotic than the same number 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


175 


living in 20 houses ? Measured by population, the District of Columbia is larger 
than 10 States of the Union. Measured by patriotism and Americanism and 
self-devotion to the Union the District of Columbia stands second to none. 

SEASONS FOR CLAUSE. 

There were two reasons for the insertion of the clause in the Constitution 
giving Congress exclusive legislative authority over the District of Columbia. 
It was feared that if the very ground on which the Capital City was located 
was owned by one of the States, this State might exercise a predominant 
influence over the affairs of the Nation. It was also thought that such an ex¬ 
clusive grant would protect Congress from “ open violence or lawless in¬ 
trusions.” 

These reasons were potent at the time of the adoption of the Constitution. 
It was a wise provision for the first hundred years of the Nation’s existence 
that its Capital City should be free from outside influences and located on 
ground the exclusive jurisdiction over which was vested in the Nation. Formed 
and fashioned by our forefathers with such care, this fledgling among the 
nations was very young and needed protection from misguided friends and open 
enemies. The Eagle of the United States has now grown mighty and stands 
supreme, and its wings cover vast States, and its talons defy all enemies. 

The reasons for the grant of exclusive jurisdiction to Congress which ob¬ 
tained in Revolutionary days have no basis of fact at the present time. 

It would be absurd to argue that the State of Columbia, the smallest State in 
the Union, could exercise a predominant influence because of locality over the 
deliberations and actions of Congress. 

In Revolutionary days the Federal Government was largely dependent upon 
the militia of the various States for its protection and for the protection of its 
property. No standing army of any size was maintained by ‘the Federal 
Government. At the present time “ open violence or lawless intrusions ” on 
any grounds owned by the United States in the State of Columbia or elsewhere 
would be met by the United States Army, a military force stronger than the 
militia of any State. The Federal Government can protect its property wher¬ 
ever located. The mere fact that jurisdiction over the affairs of the District 
is transferred from Congress to the State of Columbia would in no way affect 
this power or afford less protection. 

NO CONFLICT OF JURISDICTION. 

There should be no conflict of jurisdiction between the Federal and State 
Governments in the State of Columbia. In practically all of the countries of 
the world the citizens of the capital cities vote and exercise the other rights 
of citizenship and conduct their municipal affairs. The citizens of Paris and 
London vote for representatives in the French Chamber of Deputies and in the 
English Parliament. The inhabitants of Albany, the capital of New York 
State, the inhabitants of Austin, the capital of the State of Texas, and the 
inhabitants of the capital cities of the other States vote as citizens of those 
States and manage their local affairs. In view of these striking examples, it 
can not be said that there is any reason to believe that the inhabitants of 
Washington, as citizens of the State of Columbia, would be less patriotic than 
they now are or that they could or would interfere with the orderly conduct of 
national affairs. 

It is unseemly that the inhabitants of the city of Washington, the Capital 
City of the greatest democracy in the world, should have no voice in their own 
or their country’s affairs. Mr. Bryce, in his great work on “ The American 
Commonwealth,” strikingly illustrates this anomalous situation: 

“ The District of Columbia is a piece of land set apart to contain the city of 
Washington, which is the seat of the Federal Government. It is governed by 
three commissioners appointed by the President, and has no local legislature 
nor municipal government, the only legislative authority being Congress, in 
which it is not represented. Being well administered, it is held up by un¬ 
friendly critics of democracy as a model of the happy results of an enlightened 
despotism.” 

The clause in the Constitution which gives Congress exclusive legislative au¬ 
thority over the District of Columbia gives like authority over forts, magazines, 
arsenals, dockyards, and other needful buildings. It would seem that the 
purpose of the framers of the Constitution in erecting the District of Columbia 

83480—22-12 


176 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


was not to provide for some separate, independent sovereignty over which 
Congress could reign supreme, but to provide needful ground for buildings and 
other necessary appurtenances of the Federal Government. The independent 
sovereignty was merely incidental to the desired protection of Government 
propety. No one at that time contemplated that the city of Washington would 
grow to be larger in population than 10 States of the Union. No one con¬ 
templated the total disfranchisement of over 400,000 citizens living on territory 
formerly embraced within the State of Maryland. The Federal Government 
should retain title to all of its public buildings and grounds in the city of 
Washington, just as it does over its post office buildings, camps, and navy 
yards in the States. It should have the right to secure such other land as may 
be necessary at any time for public purposes. But why should it retain this 
independent right of sovereignty over the balance of the District of Colum¬ 
bia? Why should the citizens of Washington, three-fourths of whom are not 
employed by the Federal Government, be deprived of the right of suffrage, 
the inestimable heritage of free men and women? 

A man is employed and works in a post-office building or an arsenal or 
navy yard in a State and lives outside the building or grounds. Such man is 
entitled to vote as a citizen of the State where he lives. Why should a man 
or woman working in the War Department or Navy Department or Post Office 
Department be disfranchised if they live in Washington? Why should those 
citizens of Washington who have no connection with the Federal Government 
be disfranchised? In each State or city where there are buildings or grounds 
owned by the Federal Government, the jurisdiction of the United States is 
confined to the buildings or land actually owned by it. The same principle 
could very readily be applied to the District of Columbia and there would be 
no more conflict in the one case than in the other. 

CONSENT OF MARYLAND. 

It may be said that the State of Columbia can be formed only with the 
consent of the State of Maryland. This present consent of the State of Mary¬ 
land may or may not be necessary according to the interpretation placed upon 
the original cession from Maryland and the exercise by Congress of exclusive 
jurisdiction over the District of Columbia. It is apparent, however, that it will 
be more satisfactory for the people of the District of Columbia, with the 
consent of Congress, to go before the Legislature of Maryland with their 
petition than it will be to go before the legislatures of all 48 States. Indeed, 
if necessary, and the State of . Maryland is willing, Congress can return the 
District of Columbia to Maryland and permit the inhabitants to petition 
Congress under that clause in the Constitution providing for the erection of a 
new State out of the territory of another State. 

There is another method by which representation can be secured without a 
Constitutional amendment. Congress can return to the State of Maryland the 
District of Columbia. This, of course, would not convey title to any of the 
land actually occupied by public buildings or reserved by the United States. 
This method might be more satisfactory in some respects than the present 
government of the District of Columbia and finds its authority in the return 
of Alexandria County to the State of Virginia. The interests, however, of 
the people of the District are not identical with those of the people of Mary¬ 
land and the most satisfactory method is an independent State—the State of 
Columbia. 

THE STAR OF COLUMBIA. 

Such representation as is proposed by a Constitutional amendment is some¬ 
thing new, something entirely foreign- to our system of Government. A re¬ 
quest for this amendment must start out with an apology—a statement that 
the people of the District of Columbia are not entitled to the full measure of 
self-government of statehood and hence should be granted some inferior or 
modified form of representation. 

The people of the District are entitled to suffrage or they are not' so en¬ 
titled. If they are entitled to suffrage our Constitution provides the method— 
statehood—the State of Columbia. It is not wise to go outside of the Constitu¬ 
tion if it can be avoided. The rights flowing from statehood are well known and 
need no explanation or apology. This makes a clear-cut, definite issue. No 
apology or excuse should be offered by the citizens of the District in their 
demand for the right of suffrage. 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


177 


The method of securing statehood is by a petition to Congress from the people 
of the District of Columbia. It may be necessary to secure also the consent 
of the Legislature of the State of Maryland. It is needless to say that the 
most glorious, political existence to-day is that of a State in our Union and 
statehood is worthy of the best efforts of all of our citizens. 

The people of the District of Columbia should unite and place their star in 
the blue firmament of our Nation’s flag—the State of Columbia. 

[Reprinted by permission from April, 1921, issue of Georgetown Law Journal, George¬ 
town University, Washington, D. C.] 

The State of Columbia—Can a State be Erected Out of the District of 
Columbia Without a Constitutional Amendment? 

Frank Sprigc Perry, Associate Professor of Constitutional Law. 

In the great tide of statehood which has flowed westward over continental 
United States there has been left on the Atlantic seaboard a small area which 
may be called a “ backwater ” of American political life. From Canada to 
Mexico and from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific all are sovereign States with 
the single exception of the District of Columbia. The city of Washington bears 
the proud title of the Capital of the greatest democracy on earth. And yet how 
hollow is the sound of political liberty to the disfranchised inhabitants living in 
the very shadow of the Dome of the Capitol. 

This article will discuss the power of Congress without a constitutional 
amendment to erect a State out of the District of Columbia,—the State of 
Columbia. 

The permanent seat of the Federal Government was authorized by Article I, 
section 8, clause 17, of the Constitution: 

“ Congress shall have power— 

“ 17. To exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever over such Dis¬ 
trict (not exceeding 10 miles square) as may by'cession of particular States and 
the acceptance of Congress become the seat of the Government of the United 
States and to exercise like authority over all places purchased by the consent 
of the legislature of the State in which the same shall be for the erection of 
forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards, and other needful buildings.” 

The land for this purpose was ceded by the States of Maryland and Virginia, 
and the District of Columbia became vested in the United States in December, 
1800. The land ceded by the State of Virginia comprised the county of Alexan¬ 
dria and was retroceded to that State by an act of Congress of July 9, 1846. 
(9 Stats., 35, 1000.) The political organization of the District of Columbia em¬ 
braces the city of Washington and covers at the present time the land ceded by 
the State of Maryland. 

The people of the District of Columbia are totally disfranchised. The gov¬ 
ernment is in the hands of Congress, which acts as a national as well as a local 
legislature. A board of commissioners appointed by the President is the execu¬ 
tive head. The people have no Representative or Delegate in the Senate or 
House of Representatives, nor can they vote for the President or Vice President 
of the United States, nor have they a voice or vote in the selection of their board 
of commissioners. 

The District of Columbia has a population of 437,571 by the census of 1920, 
a number in excess of each of the seven States of Vermont, Idaho, New Mexico, 
Wyoming, Arizona, Delaware, and Nevada, and it possesses all of the other 
qualifications of statehood. It is conceded that a constitutional amendment 
could give statehood or any modified form of government to the District. On 
the other hand, it has been questioned whether Congress can by a legislative 
act and without such amendment create the State of Columbia, even with the 
consent of the State of Maryland. An amendment to the Constitution would 
require a two-thirds vote of both Houses of Congress and a subsequent ratifica¬ 
tion by the legislatures of three-fourths of the States. An act of Congress cre¬ 
ating a State government would require a majority vote of both Houses of 
Congress and the signature of the President. 

reason for exclusive authority. 

There were several reasons which induced the framers of the Constitution to 
provide for the power in Congress to exercise exclusive legislation over the seat 
of the Federal Government. During the Revolutionary period the Federal au- 


178 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


thority was feeble; and as there was no standing Army, the Continental Con¬ 
gress had been forced to depend for protection upon the militia of certain of the 
States. On June 21, 1783, some armed and mutinous soldiers appeared before 
Congress in Philadelphia, Pa., and insultingly demanded their overdue pay. The 
authorities of the State were appealed to, but they made no sufficient attempt 
to afford protection. Congress moved its seat to Princeton, N. J., a few days 
after this incident occurred. In addition to the necessity for protection, the 
Federalist, No. 43, also urged in support of this clause that the establishment of 
this Federal District would free Congress from any imputation of awe or undue 
influence on the part of the State authorities. 1 

Needless to say, neither of these reasons has any force at the present time. 
The Federal Government has grown sufficiently strong to protect its property 
wherever located. There can be no imputation of awe or undue influence on 
the part of a State to-day, as the United States, through the concentration of 
Federal powers in Congress and in the executive branches of the Government, 
has reached a position of almost supreme authority. The transfer of juris¬ 
diction to the State of Columbia would not prevent the Federal Government 
from protecting its property, nor could the State of Columbia, of such limited 
area, exercise a predominant influence over the affairs of the Nation by reason 
of its locality. 

In Revolutionary days the danger was that the Federal authority would be 
too weak to coordinate and control the necessary functions of national life. 
The danger to-day is that this Federal authority has become so powerful it 
threatens to smother the separate existence of the several States. In Story’s 
Constitutional Law, section 1220, reference is made to a criticism urged in 1803 
against the exclusive control by Congress over the District of Columbia as 
tending to foster an oligarchy and diffuse important changes through our 
democratic Government. The growth of the Federal authority may be attrib¬ 
uted in no small degree to its separate and independent existence in the Dis¬ 
trict of Columbia. The creation of the State of Columbia would check further 
Federal growth along these lines and would add another Commonwealth to 
jealously guard State life. 

POWER TO CREATE NEW STATES. 

The admission of new States into the Union is provided by Article IV, sec¬ 
tion 3, clause 1, of the Constitution: 

“ 1. New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no 
new State shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other 
State; nor any State be formed by the junction of two or more States, or parts 
of States, without the consent of the legislatures of the States concerned as 
well as of the Congress.” 

No limitations are placed upon the powers of Congress to admit new States 
except as provided in this clause. No other clause of the Constitution limits 
those powers. Nowhere is it stated that Congress can admit a new State only 
after it has fulfilled certain requirements. Nowhere is it stated that Congress 
can admit only States to be carved out of the then existing “ Northwest Terri¬ 
tory.” New States can be carved out of any territory or other property over 
which the United States exercises jurisdiction or control. An independent 
nation can be admitted into the Union as a new State by an act of Congress 
alone, as was done in the case of Texas. (Acts of Mar. 1 and Dec. 29, 1845; 

5 Stats., 797; 9 Stats., 108.) 

There is no clause in the Constitution which expressly authorizes Congress 
to erect a State out of the land upon which the Federal city is located. There 
is, however, no clause which prohibits Congress from erecting the State of 
Columbia out of this area. 

It may be considered that the grant of justidiction over the District is so 
absolute and unconditional as to empower Congress to erect out of the Dis¬ 
trict any form. of government, even a State government. The insertion of 
qualifying words in this sweeping clause would destroy the power of exclusive 
legislation. 

It has been held by some that Congress is invested with a peculiar and 
high authority over the District and that this power is inalienable. This argu¬ 
ment was unsuccessfully used before Congress in opposition to the retroces- 


1 Fort Leavenworth R. R. v. Lowe (114 U. S., 529). 



SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


179 


sion of Alexandria County to the State of Virginia. If this authority is in¬ 
alienable, no State can be erected out of the District without an amendment 
to the Constitution. If, however, Congress exercises political powers over the 
District similar to those which it exercises over the territory or other property 
of the United States, then a legislative act can create the State of Columbia. 

THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE PARTIES. 

The construction which the parties place upon a contract by their acts and 
deeds at the time that they entered into it is always considered of vital force 
in determining the meaning of the contract. The territory of the District 
was ceded to the United States by the States of Maryland and Virginia in 
accordance with the terms of the Constitution and contemporaneously with its 
adoption. 

The State of Maryland under date of December 23, 1788, offered to cede 
territory for the seat of the Federal Government. In the act of the general 
assembly of that State of December 19, 1791, ratifying the cession and fixing 
the boundaries of the ceded area it was provided in clause 2: 

“ That all that part of the said territory called Columbia which lies within 
the limits of this State shall be, and the same is hereby, acknowledged to be 
forever ceded and relinquished to the Congress and Government of the United 
States, and full and absolute right and exclusive jurisdiction, as well of soil as 
of persons residing or to reside thereon, pursuant to the tenor and effect of the 
eighth section of the first article of the Constitution of Government of the 
United States.” 

The State of Virginia on December 3, 1789, in the act of its general assembly 
ceding this territory to the United States, enacted: 

“ That a tract of country, not exceeding 10 miles square, or any lesser quan¬ 
tity, to be located within the limits of this State, and in any part thereof as 
Congress may by law direct, shall be, and the same is, forever ceded and 
relinquished to the Congress and Government of the United States, in full and 
absolute right and exclusive jurisdiction, as well of soil as of persons residing or 
to reside thereon, pursuant to the tenor and effect of the eighth section of the 
first article of the Constitution of the Government of the United States.” 

The territory so conveyed was accepted by the United States in the spirit 
in which it was ceded. (Act of Congress, July 16, 1790, 1 Stats., 130.) No 
limitations were attached to the cession, certainly so long as it remained the 
permanent seat of the Federal Government. These States severally yielded all 
the political jurisdiction they possessed over this territory to the United States 
and the United States accepted this unconditional grant of sovereignty without 
qualification. One of the political powers so yielded and accepted was the 
right to erect a separate State out of this area. 

The Representatives of both the States of Maryland and Virginia had been 
most actitve in framing the Constitution, and these several grants show the 
interpretation all parties placed upon clause 17, section 8, Article I. So far as 
the original contemporaneous interpretation of this clause by the parties them¬ 
selves affords a guide, there is no prohibition upon Congress to erect a State 
out of this area, particularly if the consent of the State of Maryland be secured. 

COMPARISON OF CLAUSES. 

Comparison has sometimes been made between the clause conferring power 
on Congress of exclusive legislation over the District and the clause giving Con¬ 
gress power to govern the territory and other property of the United States. 
This latter clause is Article IV, section 3, clause 2: 

“ The Congress shall have power to dispose of and make all needful rules and 
regulations respecting the territory or other property belonging to the United 
States.” 

The power of Congress to erect a new State out of such territory is unques¬ 
tioned. It has been argued that if these two clauses were intended to convey 
similar powers they would have been framed in similar terms. This argument 
loses sight of the conditions under which each clause was inserted in the Con¬ 
stitution. 

At the time of the adoption of the Constitution Congress had received by ces¬ 
sion from all but two of the original thirteen States the unsettled lands which lay 
beyond their territorial limits. This was termed the “ Northwest Territory,” and 
Congress exercised the absolute right to and the exclusive legislative authority 


180 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


over the Territory. Hence there was no need to insert in the Constitution a 
clause conferring such exclusive authority over the Territory, as Congress was 
at the tinje actually exercising this exclusive authority. In fact, the ordinance 
for the government of the Northwest Territory was passed by the Continental 
Congress in 1787, prior to the adoption of the Constitution. This celebrated 
ordinance is regarded, after the Declaration of Independence, as the most impor¬ 
tant act of the Continental Congress and furnished for a long period the model 
after which other Territories were organized under the Constitution. The 
clause in the Constitution dealing with the territory of the United States simply 
confirmed in Congress the power “ to dispose of and make all needful rules 
and regulations ” respecting this and other territory. 

In the case of the territory to be occupied as the seat of the Federal Govern¬ 
ment, just as in the case of forts, magazines, arsenals, and dock yards, it was 
necessary for the Constitution to go further than in the case of lands actually 
under the exclusive authority of Congress. The seat of the Federal Govern¬ 
ment was to be formed out of land limited to 10 square miles, to be ceded in the 
future by the States, and which at the time was actually a part of those States 
and under their, exclusive authority. It was necessary to provide that this 
exclusive authority should be taken out of the States ceding such lands and 
that it should become vested in the United States. A like necessity existed with 
reference to the land upon which should be erected forts, magazines, arsenals, 
and dock yards. The sweeping provisions of Article I, section 8, clause 17, were 
adopted for these purposes. 

In each of these two clauses apt and appropriate words were used to carry into 
effect the intention of the framers of the Constitution. In the one case it was 
deemed proper to confirm in Congress the right to made needful rules and regu¬ 
lations over territory and other property owned by Congress. In the case of the 
district for the seat of the Federal Government, it was necessary to provide 
for exclusive legislative authority over land which would be ceded by certain 
States and which had, up to that time, been exclusively under State jurisdiction. 
In each case the effect is the same, and Congress exercises exclusive jurisdic¬ 
tion over all such areas. 


NO DELEGATION OF AUTHORITY. 

The case of Stoutenberg v. Hennick (1888) (129, U. S., 141) is sometimes 
cited as an authority which would prevent the delegation of legislative authority 
over the District by Congress. The erection of the State of Columbia would 
involve a surrender of jurisdiction and would not be a delegation of legislative 
authority. Moreover, an examination of the opinion shows that the court went 
no further than to hold that Congress could not delegate the power to regulate 
interstate commerce to the legislative assembly of the District (10 Fed. Stats. 
Ann., 2d ed., 469). 

Even if this transfer of jurisdiction to the State of Columbia could be con¬ 
sidered a delegation of authority, the United States Supreme Court in 1878, in 
Welch v. Cook (97 U. S., 542) decided that Congress could invest the District 
legislature with that power. This case was decided only 10 years before the 
case of Stoutenberg v. Hennick and was not overruled in this later case. The 
court said: 

“ It is not open to reasonable doubt that Congress had power to invest and 
did invest the District (of Columbia) government with legislative authority, 
or that the act of the legislative assembly of June 26, 1873, was within that 
authority/’ 

JURISDICTION OVER FORTS. 

The clause empowering Congress to exercise exclusive legislative authority 
over the seat of the Federal Government also confers a like authority over forts, 
magazines, arsenals, dockyards, and other needful buildings. The jurisdiction 
which the United States must exercise over its military and naval reservations 
is of necessity an exclusive one. The fact that the same clause confers a like 
authority in Congress over the District is strong evidence that no limitation upon 
this power was intended. 

Where a State cedes certain land to the United States and reserves a rever¬ 
sionary interest in the property in case it is not used as a fort, the exclusive 
authority of the United States ceases when the property is leased for other 
purposes. The cession of such territory has been held to be of necessity tem¬ 
porary and to be exercised only so long as the place continues to be used for 



SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


181 


public purposes. When it ceases to be so used the jurisdiction reverts to the 
State. The right reserved by a State to tax certain property in the reservation 
or to serve civil or criminal process has not been considered in violation of the 
exclusive jurisdiction of Congress. 1 

These illustrations make it clear that this power of “ exclusive legislation ” 
is not of such a peculiar character nor of such high authority as to create 
separate and independent political areas forever under the jurisdiction of the 
Federal Government. Territory or other property acquired by the United 
States, whether by conquest, purchase, or by cession of the legislature of a 
State, is subject to the exclusive legislative authority of Congress. This ex¬ 
clusive legislative authority can be surrendered and the property returned to the 
State which ceded it, or a new State can be erected out. of such territory. The 
creation of a new State is subject to this limitation, that if erected out of 
land within the jurisdiction of any other State, it must be with the consent of 
the legislature of that State. 

TERRITORIAL AUTHORITY. 

The power granted Congress to “ exercise exclusive legislation in all cases 
whatsoever ” over the District, does not confer any greater political authority 
than Congress can exercise over “ the territory or other property belonging to 
the United States ” or over places purchased with the consent of the State 
legislatures for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, and dock yards. In 
each case there exists under the Constitution that jurisdiction, absolute, exclus- 
sive, unqualified, which is the sovereign authority to make, decide on, and exe¬ 
cute laws. (Wedding v. Meyler, 192 U. S., 573.) 

There is no express provision of the Constitution which authorizes Congress 
to enlarge the national domain or acquire new territory by annexation, cession, 
conquest, or in any other manner. This power, has, however, always been con¬ 
sidered as one of the attributes of sovereignty and as such has been continu¬ 
ously exercised by Congress. As an inevitable consequence of the right to 
acquire territory, there follows the power to govern the territory. (Rasmus¬ 
sen v. U. S. 197 U. S., 516.) The power to pass law for the Government so ac¬ 
quired has sometimes been asserted on the strength of Article IV, section 3, 
clause 2 (supra). On whatever ground this authority to govern rests, there 
can be no doubt of its existence and of the fact that under it Congress has the 
right of exclusive legislation over such territory and can dispose of and make 
all needful rules and regulations respecting it. This sovereign right of ex¬ 
clusive legislation is similar to that exercised by Congress over the District. 

As has been said, if the title to property be absolute, the mode of its acquisi¬ 
tion is unimportant. [Petition to Congress from committee from town of 
Alexandria, Va., accompanying House Report 325, 29th Congress, 1st session.] 
Whether it be by gift, purchase, conquest, or cession from a State, Congress 
possesses but a complete title to the area. 

It might have been argued that because the Constitution authorized Con¬ 
gress to make “ all needful rules and regulations ” respecting the territory 
of the United States, Congress could never divest itself of that power. In 
other words, that Congress could never carve States out of such territory be¬ 
cause by so doing it would surrender the power to make the “ needful rules 
and regulations.” It is a sufficient answer to say that the Constitution has not 
been so construed. The admission of 34 States in the Union from such terri¬ 
tory is ample proof of this' fact. 

The fact that the Constitution expressly confers upon Congress powers of 
exclusive legislation over the District does not thereby carry with it the im¬ 
plication that all other powers are denied, if there are any such other powers. 

A striking example of this rule of construction of the Constitution is found in 
tbe Legal Tender cases (12 Wall., 457). In this case the constitutionality of 
an act of Congress making paper money legal tender for the payment of debts 
was attacked because there was no express authority for such law. 

It was contended that the clause of the Constitution which conferred upon 
Congress power “ to coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign 
coin,” contained an implication that nothing but that which is the subject of 
coinage, namely, precious metals, could ever be declared by law to be money 
or legal tender. This argument was pecious and persuasive. The fallacy of 


1 Story Constitution Law, Sec. 1127: Palmer v. Barrett (162 U. S. 299) ; Fort Leaven¬ 
worth R. R. Co. v. Lowe (114 U. S. 525) ; 10 Federal Statutes, Ann., 2d ed. 841-845. 



182 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


the contention, as the court observed, was that the Constitution has never been 
construed that way. The court held that the enumeration of certain govern¬ 
mental powers, did not thereby exclude the existence of other governmental 
powers not enrmerated. The court said: 

“ * * * It is not claimed that any express prohibition exists, but it is 

insisted that the spirit of the Constitution was violated by the enactment. 
Here those who assert the unconstitutionality of the acts mainly rest their 
argument. They claim that the clause which conferred upon Congress power 
‘to coin money; regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin,’ contains an 
implication that nothing but that which is the subject of coinage, nothing but 
the precious metals can ever be declared by law to be money, or to have the 
uses of money. If by this is meant that because certain powers over the cur¬ 
rency are expressly given to Congress, all other powers relating to the same 
subject are impliedly forbidden, we need only remark that such is not the 
manner in which the Constitution has always been construed. 

“ * * * In most cases, if not in all, when it was intended that govern¬ 

mental powers, commonly acknowledged as such should cease to exist, both in 
the States and in the Federal Government, it was expressly denied to both, as 
well to the United States as to the individual States. And generally when one 
of such powers was expressly denied to the States only, it was for the purpose 
of rendering the Federal power more complete and exclusive.” 

In like manner, the enumeration in the Constitution of certain powers con¬ 
ferred on Congress with reference to the District of Columbia, does not by im¬ 
plication take away other governmental powers. One of the governmental 
powers which Congress exercises over all territory of land of the United States 
is the right to admit such area in the Union as a State. This power not having 
been expressly or by implication taken away with reference to the District of 
Columbia still exists in Congress. 

In the case of the First National Bank v. Yankton County (101 U. S., 129), 
the court discussed the power of Congress to legislate for the Territories. It 
was said: 

“ In other words it (i. e. Congress) has full and complete legislative authority 
over the people of the Territories and all the departments of the territorial 
governments.” 

In discussing the relationship which Congress bears to the Territory of 
Alaska and to the District Columbia, the Court of Appeals of the District in 
United States ex. rel. Humboldt S. S. Co. v. Interstate Commerce Commission 
(37 App. D, C., 274), held: 

“ Congress, in the government of the Territories, has plenary power, except 
as limited by the Constitution. The particular form of government it shall 
establish is not prescribed. It has, for example, prescribed one form of govern¬ 
ment for New Mexico, another for the District of Columbia, and still another for 
Alaska. * * * While Congress in the government of the District of Colum¬ 

bia is limited by the provisions of the Constitution not applicable to other terri¬ 
tory of the United States, the same power exists of establishing local govern¬ 
ments.” 

In the case of the Corporation of Latter Day Saints v. United States (136 U. S., 
32, 42), it was held: 

“ The power of Congress over the Territories of the United States is general 
and plenary.” 

While there may be some fundamental guarantees of life, liberty, and property 
under the Constitution which are applicable to the District of Columbia and not 
to the Territories nevertheless in political matters Congress exercises “ plenary ” 
power over both. 1 

In the case of Callan v. Wilson (127 U. S., 540), the court held with reference 
to a trial by jury: 

“ We can not think that the people of this District (of Columbia) have in that 
regard less rights than those accorded to the people of the Territories of the 
United States.” 

The extent of the authority which Congress exercises over the District and 
over the Territories was clearly discussed in the case of Binns v. United States 
(194 U. S., 486). The court held that Congress exercised plenary power, and 
Mr. Justice Brewer, in writing the opinion of the court, said: 

“ * * * It must be remembered that Congress, in the government of the 

Territories as well as of the District Columbia, has plenary power, save as 


1 Employers Liability cases (207 U. S., 500) ; Barnes v. D. C. (91 U. S., 540). 



SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


183 


MWm by the provisions of the Constitution; that the form of government 
it shall establish is not prescribed and may not necessarily be the same in all 
the Territories. We are accustomed to that generally adopted for the Terri¬ 
tories, of a quasi State government, with executive, legislative, and judicial 
olhcers, and a legislative endowed with the power of local taxation and local 
expenditures; but Congress is not limited to this form. In the District of Co- 
lumbia it has adopted a different mode of government, and in Alaska still an¬ 
other. It may legislate directly in respect to the local aifairs of a Territory 
or transfer the power of such legislation to a legislature elected by the citizens 
of the Territory. It has provided in the District of Columbia for a board of 
three commissioners, who are the controlling officers of the District. It may 
intrust to them a large volume of legislative power, or it may, by direct legis¬ 
lation create the whole statutory law applicable thereto. For Alaska Congress 
has established a government of a different form. It has provided no legis¬ 
lative body, but only executive and judicial officers.” 

In the insular-tariff cases after the Spanish War Mr. Justice Brown, in 
writing the opinion of the court in the case of De Lima v. Bidwell (182 u’ S 
196), said: 

“ Under this power (to govern and control the Territories) Congress may deal 
with territory acquired by treaty; may administer its government as it does 
that of the District of Columbia; it may organize a local Territorial government; 
it may admit it as a State upon an equality with other States; it may sell its 
public lands to individual citizens or may donate them as homesteads to actual 
settlers. In short, when once acquired by treaty it belongs to the United States 
and is subject to the disposition of Congress.” 

Compare also Downes v. Bidwell (182 U. S., 244). 

In the great case of Cohens v. Virginia (6 Wheat, 265) there was involved 
the validity of a lottery law enacted by Congress with reference to the District. 
Daniel Webster was one of the counsel, and argued (page 435) that the clause 
of the Constitution relative to the District conveyed powers so peculiar and 
specific that no other city in the Union could be given such a charter by Con¬ 
gress, and if every Federal power granted in the Constitution were destroyed 
this power over the District of Columbia would remain. But Chief Justice Mar¬ 
shall held that the power of exclusive legislation over the District was con¬ 
ferred on Congress as the Legislature of the Union, and that feuch powers could 
be exercised in no other way: 

“ In the enumeration of the powers of Congress which is made in the eighth 
section of the first article we find that of exercising exclusive legislation over 
such district as shall become the seat of government. This power, like all others 
which are specified, is conferred on Congress as the Legislature of the Union; 
for strip them of that character and they would not possess it. In no other 
character can it be exercised. In legislating for the district they necessarily 
preserve the character of the Legislature of the Union, for it is in that charac¬ 
ter alone that the Constitution confers on them this power of exclusive legis¬ 
lation.” 

These decisions of our highest court plainly show that the political power 
which Congress exercises over the District is plenary; that it is full and 
absolute, and is similar to that exercised over the territory or other property 
of the United States. Congress may in each case create a State out of such 
area. 

RETROCESSION OF ALEXANDRIA COUNTY, VA. 

The land secured from the State of Virginia was retroceded to that State by 
the act of Congress of July 9, 1846. If Congress had the right to divert itself 
of the power of exclusive legislation over a portion of the District by this retro¬ 
cession Congress can erect the State of Columbia out of the remaining area. 
It wits argued that this act was unconstitutional and that the exclusive juris¬ 
diction over the seat of the Federal Government could not be surrendered. The 
act was passed in spite of this objection, and the retrocession has stood without 
successful challenge for a period of 75 years. As this is essentially a political 
question, it is very doubtful whether this act of retrocession can ever be con¬ 
sidered by the courts. In the case of Phillip v. Payne (1875) (92 U. S., 130) 
an attempt to raise this question was refused. 1 

In like manner the erection by Congress, with the consent of the State of 
Maryland, of the State of Columbia would be a purely political question, and 
the courts would have no jurisdiction to consider it. 


1 Wilson v. Shaw (204 U. S., 24) ; Luther v. Borden (7 How., 1, 42). 




184 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


From a study of the wording of the Constitution and of the original grants 
of this territory from the States of Maryland and Virginia, from an examination 
of the decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States, and from the action 
of the political branch of the Government in retroceding a portion of this area to 
the State of Virginia, it must be consided that the weight of precedent and 
authority is in favor of the proposition that Congress has authority, with the 
consent of the State of Maryland and without a constitutional amendment, to 
erect out of the District of Columbia a sovereign State—the State of Columbia. 

STATEMENT OF MRS. MARY WRIGHT JOHNSON. 

Mrs. Johnson. Mr. Chairman, I am chairman of the civic committee of the 
Women’s Club of the District of Columbia. I am speaking this morning for 
the housekeepers’ alliance in behalf of that organization and by direction of 
the president, Mrs. F. L. Ransom. I am also speaking for the Anthony League, 
as chairman of the civic committee of that organization. 

These organizations merely wish it to appear on the records of this committee 
that they favor this moyement for suffrage for citizens of the District of 
Columbia. 


FURTHER STATEMENT OF PAUL E. LESH. 

Mr. Lesh. Mr. Chairman, the citizens joint committee have been listened to 
very patiently by the committee, but we thought before we asked for more 
time that it was proper for us to stand aside for the moment and let others 
occupy a part of the affirmative time. We do wish, however, about an hour and 
a quarter more time as we estimated. Mr. Noyes, whose name, has been men¬ 
tioned several times in the proceedings this morning, wishes to be heard, and 
one other speaker wishes to be heard briefly before we close our case. We had 
not expected to have an opportunity to speak to-day, because there were so 
many independent persons favoring suffrage, who wished to be heard, that we 
thought we had better not intrude upon the committee at this session. I 
inferred from what Senator Ball said, as the previous meeting adjourned, 
that additional time would be granted if it was needed. 

Senator Jones. I do not know what action the committee will take in 
reference to this request, and I do not know what the plans are for the future. 
The request will be called to the attention of the committee, however. The 
committee will now stand adjourned subject to the call of the chairman. # 

(Whereupon at 11.50 o’clock a. m. on Tuesday, December 13, 1921, the com¬ 
mittee adjourned subject to call of chairman.) 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


THURSDAY, JANUARY 12, 1922. 

United States Senate, 
Committee on the District of Columbia, 

Washington , D. C. 

The committee met in the committee room, Capitol, Senator L. Heisler Ball (chair¬ 
man) presiding, at 10.30 o’clock a. m. 

Present: Senators Ball, Jones, and Sheppard. 

Present also: Col. Winfield Jones, chairman of the National Press Committee, 
representing those favoring the bills pending before the committee providing for 
suffrage for the District of Columbia. 

Present also: Mr. E. C. Brandenburg, chairman of the Brief Committee of the 
Citizens’ Joint Committee on National Representation for the District of Columbia, 
representing those favoring only the Senate joint resolution proposing a constitutional 
amendment empowering Congress to grant national representation to the District. 

The Chairman. The committee will come to order. We want to finish the hearings 
to-day. We will give you practically all day, if it is necessary to do it. Of course, 
we may be interrupted some by being required to go into the Senate to vote or answer 
a roll call. 

We would like for you to divide your time in proportion to the people here desiring 
to testify. I do not think it wise to have all the morning devoted to one side and all 
the afternoon to the other. I think it is better of you would interlace, although it 
makes no difference to me. Of course, they are all printed, but it gives one side a 
chance to reply to the other if necessary. 

Is there anybody here opposed to suffrage of any kind in the District? There appear 
to be none present. We will go on with those in favor. 

Mr. Brandenburg. Mr. Chairman, those of us in favor of the constitutional amend¬ 
ment would like to have Mr. Lesh close his argument. He was interrupted some 
time ago before he had an opportunity to conclude. He will probably take 20 minutes. 

The Chairman. I had promised Mr. Oyster the privilege of speaking first. He has 
been here at several hearings and asked to be heard, and for various reasons has been 
denied that privilege each time, and we promised to hear him as the first speaker 
to-day. 

Mr. Brandenburg. Very good. 

The Chairman. I would like to have the summing up as concise as possible to-day. 
It is more of a summing up than anything else, unless you have some new material 
to present. Then, of course, we would like to have all of it. 

We will now hear from Mr. Oyster. 

STATEMENT OF MR. E. W. OYSTER. 

Mr. Oyster. Mr. Chairman, my Washington address is No.. 727 Quebec Place NW. 
My legal residence is Sunbury, Northumberland County, Pa., where I have voted at 
every congressional and presidential election since I became of voting age. 

I have been a resident of the District of Columbia for 55 years, and have taken a 
prominent part in many of the movements for its welfare and betterment—the wiping 
out of its saloons and slums, for free textbooks for the public schools, for equitable and 
just taxation, for a reduction in the hours of labor and better conditions for working 
men, women, and children, for the establishment of an American form of government, 
including representation in Congress and a vote in the electoral college, and a fair 
share in the administration of the District’s municipal affairs, etc. 

Therefore, it will probably be conceded that I know at least a little something 
about affairs here, and how they have been administered by men appointed by 
Presidents to rule over the people since 1870. 


185 



186 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT. OF COLUMBIA. 


Mr. Chairman, you have been told many times that there is no local government 
like ours in operation in the capital of any other nation, but, so far as I know, you 
have not been reminded that there is one nation where an effort was once made to 
adopt a similar form. In Canada, on January 7, 1907, a vote by the people of Ottawa, 
was taken on a proposition to adopt a form of government similar to the present form 
in this District. Notwithstanding the fact that the proposed form was supported 
by the Chamber of Commerce, the Board of Trade, and numerous clubs composed 
of “best citizens,” and by all the newspapers of Ottawa, except the Evening Journal, 
the proposed “federal plan” was defeated by a large majority. Commissioner Mac- 
farland of Washington accepted two invitations from the “best citizens” of Ottawa 
to visit that city and speak in favor of the proposed plan, and he made a number of 
speeches there in its favor. 

On December 29, 1906, commenting editorially on the issues of the campaign, the- 
Evening Journal said: 

“While the only vital issue to the Journal’s mind in the federal district question 
is the volunteering to barter the franchise for government pottage, an unsolicited 
offer to sell ourselves which we imagine ought to bring a blush to the cheek of every 
rightly constituted man the inheritor of freedom from his fathers. * * * No claim 
has been more frequently or arrogantly made here than that Washington has a civic 
administration beside which we in Ottawa ought to hang our heads in shame. Nothing 
could be more untrue or more disloyal to this city. If the Washington newspapers 
are to be trusted, few cities in the United States can have much less satisfactory 
municipal conditions than Washington. As for Canada., there seems to be less public 
growling in the average city in a month about the municipal administration than 
there is in Washington in a week. * * * Let us cite a few things from Washington 
newspapers. In the first place Washington appears to be full of citizens’ associations 
which keep hollering for reforms which as a rule they either don’t get or get only after 
deplorable delays.” 

The Journal then quoted several columns of complaints made in citizens’ associa¬ 
tions as printed in the Star, the Post, the Times, and the Herald, in regard to our 
school conditions, the police force, our slums, our inequitable and unjust assessments, 
etc. 

On January 8, 1907, the day after the election, commenting editorially on the result,, 
the Journal said: 

“A black eye for a bad principle. To many people in Ottawa the overwhelming 
defeat yesterday of the federal district proposition must be a surprise. The question 
was put on the ballot paper in the most advantageous way to the proposition. It 
simply asked the people here whether they were in favor of a district to be governed 
by commission. There was no word of the sacrifice of the franchise; there was no 
indication that the proposition was not one offered to Ottawa by the Government, 
but was simply an attempt to get Ottawa to voluntarily offer itself for sale; there 
was no word of any alternative proposition which would combine the advantage of 
a district with the retention of the franchise. That a large majority should be recorded 
against so ingenious an invitation as the one placed on the ballot paper is a gratifying 
illustration of both the intelligence and independence of the electors. * * * It 
is a gratification to find that the Journal voiced justly the determined opposition of 
a majority of the people of this city to barter their votes and rights as freemen for a 
dubious gain in Government money, the price of administration of our affairs by a 
politically appointed board of petty tyrants. 

“There is every just reason why the Dominion Government should contribute here 
fairly to civic revenue. Similarly there is every reason why in that case the Govern¬ 
ment should be represented in the administration of the city. ‘ No taxation without 
representation ’ is as good a principle for the Government as for the people of Ottawa, 
and the administration, of this city by a commission, composed for instance of two 
men elected for the people, two men appointed by the Government, and an elective 
mayor, constituting a governing board of five, with the corollary that the Government 
should contribute to civic revenue an amount proportionate to the value of its property 
here, would, we believe, be the best and most equitable principle of administration 
of the Capital. But any proposition which involves the sale by Ottawa of its fran¬ 
chise is rotten no matter how speciously the idea may be gilded.” 

Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, in my letter requesting an oppor¬ 
tunity to be heard I stated that I favored the joint resolution introduced by the Senator 
from Washington, Mr. Jones, the bill introduced by Senator Poindexter, and that I 
would also favor the bill introduced by Senator Capper, if radically amended, so as 
to give the people of the United States representation in the local government, and 
the election of fewer officials. 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


187 


In view of the fact that the interests of the United States in the District of Columbia 
are paramount, and that they will continue to become more and more so as the years 
go by, I do not have the least idea that Congress will turn the municipal government 
of Washington over to the people who alone claim residence here, and unless the people 
■of the United States are to take par tin it by representatives of their own appointed 
by the President and confirmed by the Senate, there ought not, in my judgment, be 
any change in the local government at present. I am opposed to the election of the 
school board, the public utilities commission, or any other part of the local government. 

The Chairman. You would have three elected by the people? 

Mr. Oyster. I would have three elected by the people and three appointed by 
the President. About twelve years ago I prepared a proposed plan, which was adopted 
by the citizens’ associations in convention assembled, that the people should elect 
five and the President appoint five and the people elect the mayor or governor. It 
is immaterial what you call him. 

The Chairman. That "would give you the local government control. 

Mr. Oyster. That would; but since that time, in view of the fact that the inter¬ 
ests of the Government, are evidently so paramount, I have changed my views in 
that regard . 

However, should a proper change in the local government be contemplated—and I 
favor that—I suggest that the people who claim residence here be given the right to 
elect three commissioners, who shall have been residents of the District of Columbia 
not less than three years, and the President be given authority to appoint three, 
regardless of residence, to represent the people of the United States, and that the 
President also be given authority to appoint a governor, who should exercise all the 
executive power now exercised by the board of commissioners and such other power 
as Congress may delegate to him, and preside over the meetings of the commission, 
with the right to vote when necessary to break a tie or to make a quorum. The com¬ 
mission should exercise all the legislative power now excerised by the board of com¬ 
missioners and such other powers as Congress may delegate to it. 

The Chairman. Your present plan takes the control of the government out of the 
hands of the residents of the District of Columbia. The President appoints three 
who are not residents of the District, and the District elects three who are. I want to 
be sure I understand you. 

Mr. Oyster. Yes, sir. 

The Chairman. The President also appoints a fourth man, who is the mayor or 
governor and is not a resident. That gives the control to the Government entirely, 
places it entirely in the hands of nonresidents, while now the President is compelled 
to appoint commissioners from among the citizens of the District, who have at least 
a certain number of years’ standing as such. 

Mr. Oyster. Yes, sir; but he often appoints men who are not recommended by all 
of the people. The people really have no say as to who shall be appointed as com¬ 
missioners. I will get to that a little later, when I quote from Mr. Macfarland. 

Some years ago I drew up a similar plan, which was adopted by a considerable 
number of citizens’ associations by delegates in convention assembled. At that time 
a similar plan was also unanimously approved by the Central Labor Union. 

Mr. Chairman, it has been iterated and reiterated many times since the beginning 
of these hearings that it was not intended by the framers of the Constitution of the 
United States that the people of the District of Columbia, the seat of Government, 
should ever have any part in the municipality or ever have representation in Congress. 
In other words, would never be permitted to vote, because that privilege is not granted 
by, and as Mr. Ayres claims, can not be written into the Constitution. 

I will not attempt to make a constitutional argument, for the reason that I shall 
ask permission to quote from others much better able to interpret that great document, 
in my judgment, than any of the gentlemen who have spoken here during these 
hearings. 

Suffice it to say that as early as 1802, under certain restrictions, the people were 
granted suffrage, which was extended from time to time for nearly three-quarters of 
a century, and given the opportunity to vote for a board of aldermen and for members 
of the common council, and that from 1812 to 1870 they were also permitted to elect 
the mayors of Washington, who, from 1802 to 1811, were appointed by the President. 

On February 28, 1871, Henry D. Cooke, of Georgetown, became governor of the 
District, by appointment of President Grant, under the Territorial form of govern¬ 
ment, which had just then started on its stormy career. We have had a superabund¬ 
ance of talk, some of it wise, but very much of it foolish and stupid, in regard to that 
particular form and its “feather duster” legislature, out of which a labored effort has 
for many years been made to build up a very large mountain out of a very small 
molehill. That ‘ * feather duster ” scarecrow can no longer be used to frighten intelligent 


188 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


persons, for they have long since learned that the people had very little, if any * 
power or influence in that form of government under which the President appointed 
the governor, the hoard of public works, the board of health, and the council or upper 
branch of the legislative assembly, comprising 11 members. The citizens were given 
the privilege to elect the lower branch—-the house of delegates—'Composed of 22 
members. 

The people were not ruled by the house of delegates, but by the bosses appointed 
by the President and confirmed by the Senate. Gov. Alexander It. Shepherd was 
a perfect boss. I say this in no offensive sense, for I greatly admired him in many 
ways. I always believed that he was personally honest, and I know that he was 
courageous. No doubt many things were done which ought not to have been done, 
and many done in the wrong and most expensive way, but the Congress that passed 
the law and the men appointed by the President to administer it, not the people, 
were responsible for all things done under the territorial form of government from 1871 
to 1874. 

Under the form of government created by Congress in 1874 it was evidently not the 
intention to forever deprive the people of the District of Columbia of their rights as 
freemen, as will be seen by reference to House Report No. 647, Forty-third Congress, 
first session, pages 28 and 29. The report, in conclusion, reads as follows: 

“The testimony discloses that the District treasury is practically exhausted in all 
its departments. 

“Your committee, therefore, recommend the abolition of the executive, the secre¬ 
tary of the District, the legislative assembly, the board of public works, and the office 
of Delegate in Congress. They do not mean, by recommending the abolition of the 
legislative assembly, to preclude the idea that there should not be some representative 
body in the District of Columbia, but they believe the one now existing, with the 
powers conferred, is not such a one as is contemplated by the Constitution or as the 
wants of the District require. * * * 

“The committee recommends the appointment of a commission to manage the 
affairs of the District, under limited and restrained powers, because there is not 
sufficient time to prepare a proper system of framework for the government of the 
District, and have it fully discussed and passed upon at the present session of Con 
gress. * * * 

“Your committee have unanimously arrived at the conclusion that the existing 
form of government of the District is a failure; that it is too cumbrous and too ex¬ 
pensive; that the powers and relations of its several departments are so ill-defined 
that limitations intended by Congress to apply to the whole government are construed 
to limit but one of its departments; that it is wanting in sufficient safeguard against 
maladministration and the creation of indebtedness; that the system of taxation it 
allows opens a door to great inequality and injustice and is wholly insufficient to secure 
the prompt collection of taxes; and that no remedy short of its abolition and the sub¬ 
stitution of a simpler, more restricted, and economical government will suffice. Your 
committee have, therefore, reported a bill for a temporary government, until Congress 
shall have time to mature and adopt a permanent form.” 

It was clearly not the intention of that committee to entirely overthrow every 
representative body in the District, but to allow “some” representative body and 
permit the people to elect the commissioners. This was the opinion held by Senator 
Sherman of Ohio, Senator Morton of Indiana, Senator Wright of Iowa, and many others. 

The Chairman. What year was that report? 

Mr. Oyster. 1874. 

The Chairman. The other government was only in vogue for three years? 

Mr. Oyster. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Theodore W. Noyes. Had that report reference to the so-called temporary 
government of 1874, or the so-called permanent form of government of 1878? 

The Chairman. I understand that is a report on the failure of that local government. 

Mr. Oyster. On the territorial form of government. 

The Chairman. I want to know how long the territorial form of government was 
in vogue before they declared it a failure. 

Mr. Noyes. As Mr. Oyster knows, as well as anybody else, there was a temporary 
government substituted in 1874. 

Mr. Oyster. That is what this committee says. 

Mr. Noyes. I had in mind the same thought which is in the mind of the chairman, 
to ascertain whether what is said in that report had reference to that District tempo¬ 
rary form of government or to the form of government which was known as the so-called 
permanent form. 

The Chairman. As I understand you, that government was in vogue from 1871 to 
1874, when it was declared a failure and a temporary form of government took its 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 189 

place until the government of 1878 was substituted, which was practically the gov¬ 
ernment, in a measure at least, that we still have. 

Mr. Oyster. Mr. Chairman, the territorial form of government was not established 
as a temporary form of government. That was as much permanent at that time as 
any other. 

The Chairman. I understand that, but the temporary government replaced that 
in 1874. 

Mr. Oyster. Yes. 

Mr. Noyes. The report refers to the temporary government and not to the so-called 
permanent government of 1878. 

Mr. Oyster. The criticism of the committee does not refer to the temporary form of 
government. It refers to the territorial form of government, which was not adopted 
as a temporary form, but was abolished, as this committee recommended. 

Mr. Noyes. I don’t want to take up the time, but I understood that the report 
referred to something they recommended in place of the territorial government. 

Mr. Oyster. Yes. 

Mr. Noyes. Which was temporary. 

Mr. Oyster. The territorial form. 

The Chairman. You mean the government that was to replace the territorial form 
of government, because it had proved a complete failure and they substituted a tem¬ 
porary form, which was considered only temporary? 

Mr. Noyes. Yes; which was referred to as only temporary in that report. 

Mr. Oyster. Yes. The committee’s report from which I have quoted referred to 
the territorial form, which was abolished by Congress in 1874. 

Mr. Noyes. I wanted to ascertain whether that comment upon the form of govern¬ 
ment that was presented as temporary referred to the 1874 government, which was 
treated as temporary, or to the so-called permanent government of 1878? 

Mr. Oyster. That 1874 government had not yet been established. It could not 
refer to anything else but the territorial form of government. I have stated that 
clearly. 

Mr. Noyes. There is no difference of opinion as'to the reference. The date itself 
will show which form of government was referred to. 

Mr. Oyster. Indeed, it was believed that President Grant would veto the bill, 
and that-he approved it only when assured that a municipal government in harmony 
with the spirit of our institutions would be reestablished in the Nation’s Capital 
when Congress had more time during its next session to consider the subject. It was 
currently rumored at that time that the bill would be vetoed by President Grant. 
There were strenuous efforts made by both sides to induce the President to veto it, 
and it was a general belief and talk about the Capitol on the Senate side that the bill 
would be vetoed. 

The Chairman. Then there was a strong feeling that, notwithstanding that local 
government had been very expensive, it was not a failure? 

Mr. Oyster. No; that was not it. The objection then was that it was to overthrow 
by striking down suffrage the very principle upon which this Government was founded. 
That was the reason. They were not objecting to a change in the form of government, 
but were objecting to a change as it was made. 

Mr. Chairman, in considering any change from our present local government, we 
should carefully consider what kind of a government we are now living under, and 
whether it is as good, as excellent, as so many thousands of persons seem to think it is, 
so perfect that it is sacrilege to even criticize it. Yet there are few cities in the United 
States where the local authorities have been more freely, and, in very many cases, 
justly criticized. Our schools, our street lighting, our street railroads, our assess¬ 
ments, garbage and ash collections, our slums, which enormously increased our death 
rate for many years to the extent that only two cities in the United States had a 
higher death rate than Washington, have all been severely criticized and have 
deserved, in most cases, all of the criticism and censure they have received in Con¬ 
gress and in the newspapers and the many citizens’ associations throughout the 
District. 

Now, what kind of a local government is it under which we have been living for 
nearly 50 years? Let me call on one who, for many years, aided in its administration 
to properly describe it. 

“The present form of government,” said Henry B. F. Macfarland, president of the 
Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia for many years, in Everybody’s 
Magazine for August, 1901, “is an absolute autocracy.” 

‘ ‘ In form the present government of the District of Columbia is an absolute autoc¬ 
racy, not legally responsible to the people” said Commissioner Macfarland. “Nor 
have the citizens of the District of Columbia the legal right to say who shall exercise 


190 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


the power of a commissioner, nor how he shall do it, nor for what object. Theoreti¬ 
cally, they have no voice in the selection of their servants or of their tasks, and no 
power to reward or punish them. 

“Can the self-government of the District of Columbia, thus roughly outlined, be 
adapted to other municipalities in the United States? At first blush it would seem 
that such a form of government would be impracticable outside of the Federal Dis : 
trict, with its peculiar status and conditions. But it may be worth while to consider 
carefully, in view of the success of the District system and the failure of municipal 
government elsewhere in the United States, whether government by a commission 
on a similar plan could not be profitably established in our large cities. It would, 
perhaps, not be so difficult as itseems. The main obstacle would be the average man’s 
pride in possessing the right to vote, even though he knows it is useless and half the 
time is not even exercised.” 

Commissioner Macfarland in his address on “District Day” at the Buffalo Exposi¬ 
tion on September 3, 1901, said: 

“Twenty-three years’ experience has proved that this is the ideal form of govern¬ 
ment for the District of Columbia. * * * The fact that it is an exception to all 
other governments in the United States is that it provides for taxation without repre¬ 
sentation and is autocratic in form, grieves some good people in the District who care 
more for sentiment [principle] than for substance. * * * Self-government of the 
most direct and effective character is the possession of the people of the District of 
Columbia. * * * The government of the District of Columbia is, therefore, 
admittedly the best in the United States, because it is a government by the best 
citizens.” 

Webster’s definition of autocracy is “supreme, uncontrolled, unlimited authority; 
a despotism.” 

Aristocracy he defines as “government by the best citizens; a privileged class.” 

The Chairman. Do you think it is autocratic? 

Mr. Oyster. Do I? Yes; as I will demonstrate a little later on. 

A democratic or republican form of government Webster defines as “a government 
by the people: a form of government in which the supreme power is retained and 
directly exercised by the people; * * * a State in which the sovereign power 
resides in the whole body of the people, and is exercised by representatives elected 
by them; a Commonwealth.” 

Mr. Chairman, which of these forms of government would be most becoming or 
desirable or beneficial or consistent in the Capital of a free people? There can be but 
one reply to this question from those who sincerely love republican institutions—a 
republican form of government; “a government of the people, by the people, and for 
the people,” for the establishment and preservation of which tens of thousands of 
brave and patriotic Americans sacrificed their lives on the battle fields of the Republic, 
and on the sanguinary fields of France to make this country and the world safe for 
democracy. 

The Chairman. The whole principle of this Government, upon which it is founded, 
is that it is a republican form of government, and not a democratic form of government. 
It is a representative government, and not a government by the masses of the people. 

Mr. Oyster. Yes, I understand the distinction between the two, and Webster says 
“a democratic or republican form of government.” 

The Chairman. Whether Webster defines it that way or not, it is not so taken. 
There is certainly that distinction between a republican form of government, which 
is a representative form of government, and a democratic form, one in which all the 
people meet to transact all of the business, which is impracticable in any large city 
or large country. 

Mr. Oyster. I recognize that distinction. 

The Chairman. They used to have it in Greece and Rome at one time, but our 
Government is administered purely by those people elected to represent the masses. 

Mr. Oyster. Yes, sir. 

The Chairman. The President represents them. The legislatures of the States 
and the National Legislature are elected to represent and transact the business for the 
people, instead of the masses meeting to pass their laws. Now, the District is con¬ 
ducted to-day by that representative form of government. I am not arguing for or 
against the election, but you must make the distinction between a democratic gov¬ 
ernment and a republican government. 

Mr. Oyster. I certainly do, Mr. Chairman. I fully understand the distinction, 
and I know it is almost impossible, certaintly impracticable, to have a pure democracy 
where the people in convention assembled pass their laws, and so whenever I have 
advocated a change in the form of government I have advocated a change to a repub- 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 191 

lican form of government, because this country is a republic, and is the greatest and 
best Nation on the face of the earth to-day. 

Therefore, it would seem that in the Capital of the greatest Republic on this earth we 
should not only have a republican form of government but a model form of such 
government, and thus set a good example to all other cities of the world. 

Abraham Lincoln said from the steps of the White House in November, 1864, “ We 
can not have free government without elections. ’ ’ He was then and is now absolutely 
right. They had elections in Washington at that time. 

In 1907 President Roosevelt called to Washington a Mr. Reynolds, for the purpose 
of making an investigation of the District government, as his agent, and report to him 
direct what changes, if any, should be made in it. After an investigation covering 
several months, among the changes he recommended was that one man be placed at 
its head, and that he alone should be held responsible for its success or failure. 

In regard to Mr. Reynolds’s recommendations, the Washington Herald asked this 
question: 

“Is anything really the matter with the District’s form of government, which the 
President’s agent, Mr. Reynolds, is seeking to change?” and requested its readers to 
answer the question. I accepted the invitation, and under date of August 3, 1907, in 
the Trade Unionist, of this city, in a lengthy article, I answered the Herald’s question. 
The following is taken from the said article: 

“Yes. In the judgment of a majority of the disfranchised, there are many things 
really the matter with the District’s ‘autocratic ’ form of government, but the strongest 
objection to it can be condensed to three words—unrepublican, undemocratic, 
un-American. 

“When republican government was overthrown here in 1870 the great mass of the 
people were not consulted—were not given the opportunity to express their opinion 
through the ballot box.” 

After giving many reasons which, in my judgment, warranted a change, I concluded 
as follows: 

“Why is it that the defenders of our un-American form of government are con¬ 
tinually straining their eyes to discover the motes in the eyes of other municipalities, 
but, with all their keeness for the faults of others, fail to detect the beams, some of 
them as big as sawlogs, in their own municipal eyes? ‘ Why beholdest thou the mote 
that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not thq beam that is in thine own eye? ’ 

“Yes, there is really something radically and fundamentally wrong with the Dis¬ 
trict’s form of government, but when a change is made it should not be from one 
‘autocracy not legally responsible to the people’ to another of the same kind. The 
change should be made rather in the direction of the form of municipal government 
recently adopted by the city of Des Moines, Iowa, which provides for the election of 
a mayor and four councilmen, with the initiative, referendum, and recall in the hands 
of the people. Of course, the people of the United States, as owners of one-half of the 
property in the District of Columbia, must be represented in any government estab¬ 
lished here, and it is suggested that five commissioners appointed by the President 
and responsible to him, and five commissioners elected by the people of the District 
and directly responsible to them, would be a proper body to govern the District, 
under a charter to be granted by Congress. ” 

After further consideration, since the above article was written, I have come to the 
conclusion that a smaller body would answer every need and render better service. 

Under the heading of “Commissioner Macfarland answered,” 1 ask to insert without 
reading some quotations from Lincoln, Jefferson, Madison, John Randolph, Seward, 
and Choate. 

On the constitutional question, which I said I would not pretend to argue, I quote 
from Madison, Stry, Chief Justice Woodward, of Pennsylvania; Samuel J. Randall, 
Senator Morton of Indiana, Senator Logan of Illinois, Senator Edmonds of Vermont, 
and Senator Wright of Iowa, who discuss the constitutional questions relative to the 
District. 

Under the head of “Opposed to destruction of suffrage,” I submit quotations from 
Senator Sherman of Ohio, Senator Morton of Indiana, and Senator Spencer, who was 
a member of the joint select committee to frame a permanent form of government for 
the District of Columbia. 

I ask that these quotations be incorporated in the record. 

The Chairman. They may be so incorporated. 

(The data referred to by the witness is here printed in full, as follows:) 

COMMISSIONER MACFARLAND ANSWERED. 

Allow all the governed an equal voice in the government; that, and that only, is 
self-government. * * * Finally, I insist that if there is anything that it is the 

83480—22-13 


192 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


duty of the whole people to never intrust to hands other than their own, that thing 
is the preservation and perpetuity of their own liberties and institutions. (Abraham 
Lincoln, Howell’s Life, p. 284.) 

It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us; that 
from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they 
gave the last full measure of devotion; that we here highly resolve that these dead 
shall not have died in vain; that this Nation, under God, shall have a new birth of 
freedom, and that the government of the people, by the people, and for the people 
shall not perish from the earth. (President Lincoln’s memorial address at Gettysburg, 
Nov. 19, 1863.) 

We can not have free Government without elections. (President Lincoln’s response 
to a serenade at the White House, Nov. 10, 1864.) 

President Jefferson, in his first inaugural address, urged his countrymen to exercise 
“a jealous care of the right.of election by the people—a mild and safe corrective of 
abuses which are lopped by the sword of revolution where peaceable remedies are 
unprovided.” 

The right of suffrage is certainly one of the fundamental articles of republican gov¬ 
ernment, and ought not to be left to be regulated by the legislature. A gradual 
abridgment of this right has been the mode in which aristocracies have been built 
on the ruins of popular forms. (Madison, Elliott’s Debates.) 

A ruler independent of the people over whom he presides is abhorrent to the prin¬ 
ciples of free government. (Joseph Warren, Josiah Quincy, and others.) 

Who are a free people? Not those who do not suffer actual oppression, but those 
who have a constitutional check upon the power to oppress. (James Lovell, Apr. 2, 
1772, Principles and Acts of the Revolution.) 

Political slavery, which has been well defined to be that state in which any com¬ 
munity is divested of the power of self-government and regulated by laws to which its 
assent is not required and may not be given. (John Randolph, of Virginia, in House 
of Representatives, Feb. 9, 1803.) 

In accordance with the opinion adopted as early as any political opinions I ever 
had, and cherished as long, I maintain that the right of suffrage is not a mere con¬ 
ventional right, but an inherent natural right, of which no government can rightly 
deprive any adult man who is subject to its authority and obligated to its support. 
(William H. Seward.) 

On November 16, 1901, Joseph Choate, ambassador to England, was the guest of 
the Lotus Club, in New York City, at a reception and dinner given in his honor. On 
that occasion, among other things, he said: 

“After all that I have seen of other countries, it seems to me absolutely clear that 
the cardinal principles upon which American institutions rest—the absolute political 
equality of all citizens, with universal suffrage—is the secret of American success. 
Aided by that comprehensive system of education which enables every citizen to 
pursue his calling and exercise the franchise, it puts that county on that plane of 
success which it has reached. It passes my comprehen ion how any American can 
go abroad and not return a warmer lover of the institutions of his native land.” 

THE CONSTITUTIONAL QUESTION. 

Madison’s opinion of the meaning of the “exclusive legislation ” clause of the Con¬ 
stitution is found in the Federalist, No. 43: 

* And as it is to be appropriated to this use with the consent of the State ceding it; 
as the State will no doubt provide in the compact for the rights and the consent of 
the citizens inhabiting it; as the inhabitants will find sufficient inducements of inter¬ 
est to become willing parties to the cession; as they will have had their voice in the 
election of the Government which is to exercise authority over them; as a municipal 
legislature for local purposes, derived from their own suffrages, will of course be 
a lowed them; and as the authority of the legislature of the State and the inhabitants 
of the ceded p'art of it to concur in the cession will be derived from the whole people 
of the State in their adoption of the Constitution, every imaginable objection seems 
to be obviated.” 

Of the local governments established by Congress in the District of Columbia prior 
to 1871, Mr. Justice Story, in his Commentaries on the Constitution, section 1223, 
says: 

“In point of fact, the corporations of the three cities (Washington, Georgetown, 
and Alexandria) within its limits possess and exercise a delegated power of legislation 
under their charters, granted by Congress, to the full extent of their municipal wants, 
without any constitutional scruple or surmise or doubt.” 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


193 


Chief Justice Woodward, of Pennsylvania: 

“Exclusive legislation—exclusive of what? Exclusive of the legislation of the 
States. That is the plain meaning of that portion of the Constitution.” (Cong. 
Globe, 4l£t Cong., pt. 1, p. 644.) 

Hon. Samuel J. Randall, of Pennsylvania: 

“I am inclined to believe, judging from the rules of common sense, that this is 
correct, especially in view of the citation from Judge Story, which clearly establishes 
the right of Congress to delegate the legislative power in reference to this District. 
* * * Nothing can be feared, in my judgment, from delegating this power to the 
people.” (Cong. Globe, 41st Cong., p. 645.) 

Senator Morton, of Indiana: 

1 ‘ The word ‘ exclusive ’ there means that it shall be entirely taken from the States 
which cede it; that the States ceding it shall lose all control over it; that it shall be 
exclusively in Congress, so far as the States ceding it are concerned; but it never 
meant that all legislative power or all government should be directly exercised by 
Congress.” (Cong. Record, 43d Cong., vol. 3, pt. 1, p. 121.) 

Senator Edmunds, of Vermont: 

‘ ‘ That is what I think.’ ’ 

Senator Logan, of Illinois: 

‘ ‘ I maintain that the same principle applies as to the question of the rights of citi¬ 
zens in the regulation of their municipal affairs in the city of Washington that applies 
to all other cities. * * * The rights of the citizens here are the same as the rights 
of citizens everywhere else in cities.” (Cong. Record, vol. 3, pt. 1, p. 123.) 

On February 11, 1875, the Senate having under consideration a bill (S. 963) for the 
better government of the District of Columbia, Senator Wright, of Iowa, said: 

“Mr. President, the amendment pending is that of the Senator from Indiana, which 
asserts the principle that it is both constitutional and expedient to give the people of 
this District the election of their local officers. Much that I shall say will be in sup¬ 
port of this proposition, more especially of the power to thus legislate. * * * 

‘ ‘ Some things have been said in this discussion, and on other topics bearing thereon 
during the present session, which have a significance and importance beyond any pos¬ 
sible vote upon these propositions, to which I propose to allude, with the indulgence 
of the Senate, before I take my seat. 

“In a very elaborate speech, prepared evidently with great care, my esteemed 
friend, the Senator from North Carolina (Mr. Merrimon), when this subject heretofore 
engaged the attention of the Senate, maintained, as will be remembered, that to author¬ 
ize the people of this District to elect any of their officers would be outside of and 
beyond the power of Congress under the Constitution. * * * 

“He further proceeds to argue that Congress may create an office, that of mayor, or 
regent, or commissioner, any office it may see fit for the District, but can not elect 
that officer nor empower the people to elect him. 

“Stripping these propositions of all verbiage and reducing them to their logical 
elements, they mean that the people of this District can not be given the ballot, for 
no power can confer it but Congress. Congress, as the Senator says, can not; therefore, 
it can not be given in any form or for any purpose. 

“Mr. President, if these propositions and this argument to the extent stated be 
sound, then I confess that I have read the Constitution to but little purpose, and the 
fathers of the Republic and the wisest and best men of the succeeding years have been 
woefully ignorant of its provisions, unmindful of their sacred obligations, and have 
been stumbling along in thick darkness without a light to their feet or a glimpse of 
that radiance now shed upon the Constitution by my distinguished and esteemed 
friend from North Carolina. * * * 

“Referring now to the Senator from North Carolina and entertaining, as I do, the 
most profound respect for his opinions and judgment, and especially upon legal and 
constitutional questions, I beg to refer him for a moment, before reaching an examina¬ 
tion of the Constitution itself, to what has been enacted in a few [numerous] instances 
under its provisions; and it is remarkably strange, 1 may be allowed to say in advance, 
with this history and these instances before us, dating from the very existence of the 
Government—acts by Congress after Congress, approved by Executives of every 
conceivable political opinion almost—I say it is most remarkable that just now we 
are to be told that the people can not elect their municipal officers in this District, 
but that it rests with the President alone to appQint. ” * * * 

Senator Wright, after referring to the acts of 1802, 1804, and 1805, establishing and 
extending self-government in the District of Columbia, said: 

“I only remark, in passing, to my friends from North Carolina and Nevada, who 
insist upon their strict construction of the Constitution, that all of these acts were 



194 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


approved by Mr. Jefferson, who, they will pardon me for suggesting, is presumed to 
have known something of the meaning of that instrument and the powers of Congress 
under it. ” 

Senator Wright also referred to acts of 1820, 1843, 1848, 1855, 1862, 1864, 1866, 1867, 
and 1869, extending the right of suffrage in the District, and said: 

“And now, Mr. President, if anything can be established by the uniform current 
of legislative action, then th ese acts—and others on all fours with these might be cited— 
show conclusively that the Senator must be mistaken in his construction of the Con¬ 
stitution, and that its provisions are not violated when we give to the people of this 
District the power to select their own officers. It has been done, as I have said, 
under almost every President, by almost every Congress, by those of almost every 
shade of political opinion. ” 

“The United States shall guarantee to every State in this union a republican form 
of government.” (Constitution.) 

Mr. Chairman, can this wise provision be interpreted to mean that the United States 
is to guarantee to every State a republican form of government, but that Congress 
is empowered to strike down and annihilate every vestige of such government in the 
Capital of the Republic—the political heart of the Nation? 

No. Such an inconsistent interpretation can not be maintained. The fact that 
self-government was established in the District of Columbia as soon as possible after 
it became the “seat of government, ” and that such government was maintained and 
extended from time to time for 70 years, is proof positive that the framers of the Con¬ 
stitution did not intend that the people in the Capital of the Nation should be de¬ 
spoiled of their inalienable right to take part in their government. 

OPPOSED TO DESTRUCTION OF SUFFRAGE. 

On February 10, 1875, the Senate having under consideration a bill for the better 
government of the District of Columbia, Senator Sherman, of Ohio, said: 

“ Although I do not believe it is wise in our system of Government to confer all the 
powers in a municipal government upon persons appointed by executive authority, 
yet I prefer to vote for this bill rather than defeat all measures on the subject. At the 
next session of Congress I have no doubt whatever, if Congress has the time, * * * 
it will take away from the President of the United States the power of appointing 
these commissioners and trust their election to the people who are to be affected by 
their authority.” 

Senator Morton, of Indiana, said: 

“Mr. President, as I offered this amendment providing for suffrage in the District, 
before the vote is taken I desire to call the attention of the Senate to its importance 
and to the great principle that is involved. In a bill which passed Congress at the 
close of the last session suffrage in this District was stricken down, and the government 
committed to three commissioners to be appointed by the President and confirmed by 
the Senate. That bill passed hastily, without much consideration, and under what 
seemed to be an apparent necessity at the time; but it was understood to be temporary; 
that it was simply to bridge over the interregnum until this session of Congress, when 
another form of government would be considered and devised. If it had been under¬ 
stood then that suffrage in the District was to be permanently destroyed, I do not 
believe the bill could have been passed with all the pressure and the apparent necessity 
for its passage. That bill has been made a stepping-stone, and we now have the 
proposition permanently, for a long series of years, to destroy the right of suffrage both 
of white and black people. I am opposed to this upon principle; I am opposed to it 
upon the ground of expediency; I believe it is wrong in every way; and, if it should 
become a law, it is a precedent that will come back to plague us. * * * 

“ As I said before, this is against the very spirit of our institutions. It is contrary to 
the theory upon which our Government is based. * * * 

“There is no safety in that form of Government. The principle of it is wrong. 
There is no occasion for its application. I reject it utterly except where it may be an 
absolute necessity, and I know of no such necessity here. ' * * * 

“Therefore I beg those who do not wish to concur in the effectf and the policy of 
this example to consider well before they vote for this bill.” 

NO RIGHTS WHATEVER EXCEPT TO BE TAXED. 

On January 11, 1877, Senator Spencer, from the Joint Select Committee to Frame 
a Permanent Form of Government for the District of Columbia, submitted a minority 
report (S. No. 572), from which the following extracts are taken: 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


195 


“The bill reported from the majority of the committee proposes that the District 
of Columbia and the property and persons that may be therein shall be subject to 
the government of three persons, styled ‘commissioners.’ * * * 

“The people retire from legal consideration, but not from legal responsibility. 
The commissioners constitute the municipality, less its obligations. The people are 
no part of the municipality; they only bear its burdens and continue accountable 
for its liabilities. The people retain under this bill no rights whatever, except the 
right to be taxed. 

“This plan of government is repugnant to American principles of administration. 
It substitutes executive for republican forms. It is a retrogression to monarchic 
theories.. It is a return to the system of plenary powers which the advanced nations 
of mankind have forever rejected. It is dangerous to public and private rights; 
it is inimical to the local institutions of the country. * * * 

“The people of the District of Columbia, equally with other citizens of the United 
States, must be held to possess certain inalienable rights, which have never been 
delegated, and never can be delegated, either by themselves or by anybodv else 
for them, neither to Congress nor to any authority or power whatever. What is 
inalienable can not be alienated. Among these rights is that of a common partici¬ 
pation in common affairs. It is the right of local self-government. 

“It is further, a part of the American common law that ‘overnments derive their 
just powers from the consent of the governed.’ The people of the District have never 
consented that the right to manage their local affairs should be taken from them. 
The - people of the several States could not give that consent. It was not theirs to 
give. The consent has not been given. * * * 

“That Congress i : authorized to erect over the District of Columbia a system of 
government and a line of abuses which the American colonies rose in arms to over¬ 
throw is not, in the opinion of the minority, a tenable proposition. * * * 

“ It is the opinion of the minority that the highest duty of Congress is to preserve 
to the people of this country their free institutions in entirety and in perpetuity, 
and that in this regard the people of the United States can not afford to have an 
unrepublican system of government established in the District of Columbia. * * * 
“The danger to republican institutions arises from power over the people, not from 
power in the people. The whole people are honest; they have no interest in de¬ 
frauding themselves. The whole people are solvent; they have no motive in their 
own bankruptcy. It is individual greed only which seeks to defraud the public. 
Individuals only would bankrupt the community to aggrandize themselves. Power 
in the hands of the people is always safe so long as they themselves do not relinquish 
it or permit themselves to be despoiled of it. Power over the people is always dan¬ 
gerous, however achieved or however derived. 

“It is the conclusion of the minority that the people of the District of Columbia 
have a clear, incontrovertible right to a local government derived from their own 
free suffrages; that no inhibition against the exercise of such right is contained in 
the Constitution of the United States, neither in the intendment nor in the letter 
of that instrument; but, on the contrary, that Congress is itself inhibited by its con¬ 
stitutional restrictions and public obligations from denying or abridging that right, 
or from providing for the District any form of local government other than a govern¬ 
ment republican in form and in harmony with the customary municipal institutions 
of the country.” 

On March 28, 1878, the House having under consideration a bill (H. R. No. 3259) 
providing a permanent form of government for the District of Columbia, Hon. Jacob 
D. Cox, of Ohio, said: 

“I insist on it, we shall be held before the country to have declared the utter failure 
of republican institutions as applied to municipal organizations if we pass at this time 
such a bill as this. * * * 

“What ought to be the municipal government of a city of some 200,000 inhabitants, 
made up of the mixed population we have here?” Such a government the citizens 
of Washington have a right to. The fact that Congress may, if it will, play the petty 
part of a city council does not make it either necessary or right to do so. The fact 
that it may, if it will, disfranchise the people is no justification for doing so. They 
have an inalienable right to the freest, the most popular form of municipal organiza¬ 
tion which is compatible with the safety of life and property, with the preservation of 
good order, and the security of the national property which is here. For us to give 
them less will be to be false to the most fundamental principles of American liberty.” 
Taxation and representation ought to go together. (Chief Justice Ellsworth.) 


196 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


REPRESENTATION IN CONGRESS AND THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE. 

In 1890 representation in Congress and the Electoral College was advocated by com¬ 
mittees of one hundred. “Your memorialists,” said these committees, “believe that 
a great majority of the citizens of the District are dissatisfied with the present local 
government.” 

On September 17, 1890, the Senate having under consideration joint resolutions pro¬ 
posing an amendment to the Constitution to give representation to the District of 
Columbia in the two Houses of Congress and the Electoral College, Senator Blair, of 
New Hampshire, said: 

“* * * It would be difficult to imagine a more striking evidence of the real 
political inconsequence of the manhood of the District of Columbia than is furnished 
by the treatment which this measure has received, supported as it is by the committee 
of one hundred and the great mass of the people of the District. * * * 

“It would be supposed that the Government of the.United States would be admin¬ 
istered in the republican form; that the capital of the foremost republic on the face 
of the earth, that one spot exclusively under its control, would itself be a model 
republic, without the trace of despotism or of aristocracy; that in such locality as 
might contain the seat and creative arena of government activity the people them¬ 
selves would be free; that such a community would illustrate in the highest possible 
form the practical workings and the superior blessings of a democratic and repre¬ 
sentative form of government; that in such a specific locality, if nowhere else, govern¬ 
ment of the people would be by the people and for the people; that it would be 
founded upon the consent of the governed; that life, liberty, and property would be 
protected and secured by laws founded upon the principles of that Constitution 
which applies to the country generally; that there would be no taxation without 
representation; that the executive power would be derived, if not immediately, at 
least remotely, from those upon whom the law is executed, and that an enthusiastic 
admirer of free institutions from lands ridden by tyranny might come to the capital 
of free America to behold the great object lesson of liberty in its practical operation 
among the masses of the people. * * * 

“Our fathers who declared their independence, who achieved it by arms, who 
established the Government upon the principles which they had vindicated in battle 
and consecrated in blood, never dreamed that by the establishment of the Federal 
District, in order that the National Government might have a secure, unfettered field 
for its operations, they were laying the foundation of a vast community of political 
slaves. They understood that the people of the District of Columbia would possess 
all the rights and liberties which belonged to other American citizens, and that resi¬ 
dence here would be a political blessing, not a political curse. 

“In advocating the adoption of the Constitution, Madison and Hamilton asserted 
that the people of the District would, as a matter of course, be entitled to the functions 
and advantages of local self-government; and, as a matter of fact, until the year 1871, 
the District of Columbia possessed a republican form of government in all local affairs. 
It was the home, to that extent, of a free people. * * * 

“It seems to me incomprehensible that after nearly a century of actual local self- 
government, such as it was, that the American Congress as late as the year 1878 should 
have proceeded to subvert whatsoever there was of republicanism and democracy 
actually existing in a community which then had attained to the number of at least 
160,000 souls—more than that of many of the States at the time of their admission 
into the Union—and to remand the whole community for its present, and apparently 
for its future, to a condition of political vassalage. 

“I venture to say that no act of more stupendous and dangerous inconsistency has 
ever been perpetrated by the legislative power of any free people in violation of the 
principle of their own form of government since the foundation of the world; that, 
considering the political enlightenment of the age in which this was done, no such 
example of incomprehensible and fatal violation of the first truth of governmental 
theory laid down by Montesquieu as of universal application has ever been known. 

“If this state of things has been protracted, lo, now these 12 years, against the 
unheard and, to a great extent, the suppressed remonstrances of the masses of the 
people of this city, and if daily the control of this community is becoming more and 
more absolute in the possession of leaders of factions and combinations and rings and 
syndicates which derive their strength from unholy or indifferent relations to and 
with the representatives of national power who are intrusted with the government 
of the District, or if there is danger that this may now be or may become so, then it 
is high time, indeed, at once to call a halt, to seek the hospital and attack this cancer¬ 
ous growth at once with medicines, or, they failing, with the knife. * * * 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


197 


‘‘This is no trifling matter, and I verily believe that it constitutes 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. 

“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 number 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,” said Senator Blair, in conclusion, “the sub¬ 
ject 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.” 

Mr. Oyster. Senator Blair was a farseeing statesman as well as a true patriot, for in 
every succeeding Congress the voice of the people demanding their rights and their 
liberties has been growing louder and louder, and will no doubt continue to increase 
in volume until their just demands are complied with. Mr. Chairman, the select 
committee to inquire into affairs of the District of Columbia, in its reports on June 
16, 1874, recommending the abolition of the territorial form of government, said: 

“Your committee have unanimously arrived at the conclusion that the existing 
form of government is a failure, * * * that the system of taxation it allows opens 
a door to great inequality and injustice, and is wholly insufficient to secure the prompt 
collection of taxes,” which was no doubt absolutely true. 

But if complaints and criticisms in regard to the inequality and injustice in assess¬ 
ments of real estate and personal property by residents and by Congress had any founda¬ 
tion, and I personally know that thousands of them were absolutely justified, there 
can have been little, if any, improvement made in this regard since the present form 
of government for the District of Columbia was established, at least until recent 
years. 

I want to say that at the present time the District of Columbia has the best assessor 
it has ever had, the only really expert man who has ever occupied that position, who 
understands his business and is honestly endeavoring to assess the property of the 
District according to law. The criticism has been made that ve do not have any 
inheritance tax or income tax in the District. With that the assessor and the District 
Commissioners have nothing to do. Congress is the lawmaking body. If they want 
an inheritance tax or income tax, it is up to Congress. Congress has no right to 
criticize the District for not having those laws, for that body alone has authority to 
enact such a law. 

I discovered by personal inspection of a large amount of property—land and improve¬ 
ments—in the District, and also by inspection of official assessment records, covering 
a period of many years, that very much of it was inequitably assessed and taxed; 
that nearly all of the mansions of the rich were assessed much lower in proportion to 
value than the humble homes of the poor; that land was assessed very much lower in 
proportion to the value than improvements, and that vacant land held out of use for 
speculation was assessed very much lower in proportion to \alue than improved 
land. 

In the same manner I discovered that all of the breweries in the District were 
outrageously underassessed; that most of our large hotels, and many of our large 
apartment houses and business houses and the ground on which they stand were 
greatly underassessed. 

It gives me great pleasure to inform the committee that, as a member of the board 
of assistant assessors from August, 1913, to October, 1918, I aided in the correction of 
many, if not all, of the most glaring inequalities Which I had discovered and publicly 
pointed out prior to the time I became a member of the board. It also gives me 
pleasure to say it, because it is true, that the board of assistant assessors had the very 
valuable assistance of Mr. William P. Richards, the best and most efficient assessor the 
District of Columbia has ever had, in bringing about the good results accomplished 
during the above period and that he is now honestly, without fear or favor, endeavoring 
to carry out the law of Congress in regard to taxation of all kinds of property in the 
District. 

The incompetent and unlawful assessment of property for nearly 40 years under the 
present form of government deprived the District of many millions of dollars justly 
due as taxes. It may not have been considered dishonest, it may not have been 


198 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


considered “graft,” as that odious word seems to be interpreted these days, but the 
effect on the District, so far as I can see, by wrongfully holding that large sum out of 
its treasury, is about the same as if it had been wrongfully extracted after it had been 
paid in. In one case about $75,000, which had been paid in as special improvement 
taxes, was stolen by a clerk, who had been permitted to deposit District funds in bank 
in his own name. The loss to the District would not have been any greater had it 
been lawfully withheld from its treasury by underassessments. “A rather peculiar 
manner of conducting business in‘the best-governed city in the United States,’ ” I 
have heard many people remark. 

Mr. Brandenburg. May I interrupt just a moment? There are one or two other 
gentlemen here who want to be heard. This is a matter which is not relevant or 
germane to the question before the committee. The gentleman has already spoken 
55 minutes, and it seems to us this might be omitted, if agreeable to the chairman, so 
these other gentlemen might be heard. I understand you want to conclude these 
hearings to-day. 

The Chairman. We are going to give you all day. 

Mr. Brandenburg. I see he has a good many papers to present yet. 

Mr. Oyster. They all bear on this question. 

The Chairman. How much longer will it take? 

Mr. Oyster. I think it will take but a short time for me to conclude. 

The Chairman. Proceed and complete your argument as soon as possible. 

Mr. Oyster. On January 11, 1902, Senator McMillan, then chairman of the District 
Committee, in a statement printed in the Washington Post said: 

“Wealthy residents will not be driven from Washington by a tax on personal prop¬ 
erty. When their property is taxed in other cities, it will not he the purpose, as far 
as I have anything to do with a tax law, to tax them again on the same property here 
in Washington. Such people will continue to come to Washington and reside here. 
It is only fair that they should pay their just share of taxes, as other citizens are 
supposed to do.” 

This was Senator McMillan’s statement yesterdav about some criticisms of his effort 
to secure a fairer system of taxation in the District of Columbia, said the Post. 

“There has been some.misunderstanding of my attitude,” declared the Senator. 
“I am not seeking to oppress the people of the District. We all know the strong 
sentiment that has been developed in Congress from time to time for equitable taxes 
of personal property here, such as prevail elsewhere in the country. I am seeking 
to investigate this subject that we may take fair and timely action lest eventually 
Congress, once aroused ovqr the question, imposes upon the District tax legislation 
really severe in its character. I am rather striving to protect the people here by 
securing equitable taxation sufficient to raise money for the local government. 

“It is very plain that there ought to be a common basis of valuation for taxing 
purposes for all realty here. That is not the case now. I believe that property in 
the eastern section of the city is taxed up to its full valuation. The same is true 
to a considerable extent of the residence property in the western part of the city. 
But in the business section property is undervalued and pays taxes in far smaller 
amounts than ought, to be the case. Different arguments have been used to justify 
this. Often it is said that the owner is using the property in his business. Never¬ 
theless, there is no reason why this property should not, like the rest of the property 
in Washington, be assessed for its reasonable valuation. There is no difficulty in 
ascertaining this. There are transactions almost daily that fix a basis of the value 
of property in all parts of the city. Then city property should not be assessed as 
agricultural property.” 

Mr. Oyster. I will state that at one time the land outside of the city proper was 
assessed as agricultural property, large, masses of it being held for purely speculative 
purposes by land grabbers. 

Mr. Noyes. Might ask the date of that last matter? 

Mr. Oyster. January 11, 1902. 

Mr. Noyes. What you said doe3 not refer to assessments at the present time? 

Mr. Oyster. No. I stated that. 

“Senator McMillan,” said the Post, “was asked about the provisions of the bill 
drawn by Assessor Darneille and what program he proposed to follow, but he answered 
that he had not gone into that measure very thoroughly yet, proposing to give it further 
study.” 

“The Senate District Committee, of which Mr. McMillan is chairman,” said the 
Post, “has in its files numerous instances of the manner in which local property is 
assessed. There is a land company owning about 540 acres adjoining the city, the 
total assessment of which is $112,000, averaging about $200 per acre. Last November 
7.46 acres of this property, which is assessed for $1,492, was sold for $25,000.” 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


199 


Mr. Oyster. This is only one example out of hundreds of such flagrant under¬ 
assessments which continued many years after the date of Senator McMillan’s criticism. 

These flagrant violations of law in the assessment of property in the District of 
Columbia covering a period of so many years reminds me that some years ago I read an 
address delivered by ex-President Harrison on the 22d of February, 1898, before the 
Union League Club in Chicago, Ill., in which, among other things he said: 

“The great bulk of our people are lovers of justice. They do not believe that pov¬ 
erty is a virtue or property a crime. They believe in an equality of opportunity and 
not of dollars. 

’ “The men who have wealth must not hide it from the tax gatherers and flaunt it on 
the street. Such things breed a great discontent. All other men are hurt. Thev 
bear a disproportionate burden. A strong soldier will carry the knapsack of a crippled 
comrade, but he will not permit a robust shirk to add so much as his tin cup to the 
burden. 

“The special purpose of my address to-day is to press home this thought upon the 
prosperous, well-to-do people of our communities and especially of our great cities, 
that one of the conditions of the security of wealth is a proportionate and full contribu¬ 
tion to the expenses of the State and local governments. It is not only wrong but it is 
unsafe to make a show in our homes and on the street that is not made in the tax returns. 

“It is a part of our individual covenant as citizens with the State that we will, 
honestly and fully, in the rate of proportion fixed from time to time by law, contribute 
our just share to all public expenses. A frill and conscientious discharge of that duty 
by the citizen is one of the tests of good citizenship. To evade that duty is a moral 
delinquency, an unpatriotic act * * *. I want to emphasize, if I can, the thought 
that the preservation of this principle of a proportionate contribution, according to the 
true value of what each man has, to the public expenditures, is essential to the main¬ 
tenance of our free institutions and of peace and good order in our communities. 

“Mr. Lincoln’s startling declaration that this country could not continue to exist 
half slave and half free may be paraphrased to-day by saying that this country can 
not continue to exist half taxed and half free. 

“We have too much treated the matter of a man’s tax return as a personal matter. 

“We have put his transactions with the State on much the Same level with his trans¬ 
actions with his banker, but that is not the true basis. Each citizen has a personal 
interest, a pecuniary interest, in the tax return of his neighbor. We are members of 
a great partnership, and it is the right of each to know what every other member is 
contributing to the partnership and what he is taking from it.” 

[Congressional Record, Vol. 4, pt. 3, p. 2716, Apr. 24, 1876.] 

The House of Representatives having under consideration a bill (H. R. 2676) to 
regulate the assessment and collection of taxes for the support of the government of 
the District of Columbia— 

Mr. Neal, of Ohio. Mr. Speaker, in offering this bill as a substitute for the one 
presented by the majority of the committee, I am actuated by no spirit of hostility 
to them, but by a simple desire to distribute more equally than they propose the bur¬ 
den of taxation in this District. * * * 

Equality in the imposition of taxes is one of the cardinal principles of every just 
system of taxation. * * * 

If the bill of the committee had been drawn in the special interest of the capitalists 
of this District it could not have been made to answer their purposes more completely 
than it now does. It seems to be based upon and is clearly an attempt to enforce and 
carry out by law the idea so prevalent here, that this Capital must be made the 
grandest and most beautiful city upon the continent, and that in furtherance of this 
project men of wealth from all parts of the country must be induced to come and take 
up their residence here by exempting their moneys, credits, and personal property of 
almost every kind from taxation. I desire to enter my emphatic protest against 
any such legislation. * * * I will resist to the utmost of my feeble powers all 
efforts to ingraft upon our statute books any law which, under any pretext whatever, 
strikes from the tax lists property in the hands of those who receive the greatest benefit 
from the protection of the Government. * * * 

An objection put forward by the gentleman from Missouri to my substitute is that 
the people of the District are opposed to the taxation of personal property. I ask that 
gentleman who are the people of this District? 

Mr. Buckner. The taxpayers. 

Mr. Neal. The taxpayers? 

Mr. Buckner. On real estate. 

Mr. Neal. If a few wealthy gentlemen who claim to carry in their breeches pockets 
the entire city of Washington and District of Columbia are the only taxpayers, then 


200 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


I will assent to the proposition of the gentleman that the people are opposed to this 
system of taxation, but otherwise I will not. * * * 

This substitute of mine proposes that all moneys, credits, personal property of 
every kind, tangible and intangible, belonging to those who are residents of this 
District shall be taxed; that all, rich and poor, shall be required to contribute accord¬ 
ing to the value of their property for the support of the District government; while 
the bill of the committee declares that property of this kind, with the exceptions I 
have named, shall be entirely exempt. * * * 

Mr. Speaker, I will only say in conclusion that if there is any discrimination to be made 
in this matter of taxation it ought to be made in favor of the poorer class of citizens, 
not in favor of those who are rolling in wealth and luxury and are best able, and are 
most bound by every rule of common honesty and justice to contribute of their wealth 
to the support of the government which protects them. 

[Congressional Record, vol. 4, pt. 5, p. 4122, June 24, 1876.] 

The Senate having under consideration a bill (H. R. 2676) to regulate the assess¬ 
ment and collection of taxes for the support of the government of the District of Colum¬ 
bia and for other purposes— 

Mr. Hamlin of Maine. Mr. President, I am very glad that there was at least one 
member of the committee from which this bill came to us who did not agree to it. 

I have had a little experience in legislation here, and of all things that ever came 
into this body asking for a favorable consideration I think this exceeds anything I 
ever saw. I have no command of language to characterize the thing as I think it 
deserves. * * * 

Now, sir, a bill which does not impose a tax upon the personal property of the 
citizens of this District I hold to be unjust and outrageous. 

Mr. Spencer. The commissioners inform me that it is utterly impossible to collect 
a personal tax. 

Mr. Hamlin. Then let us appoint another board of commissioners who will not tell 
us that. 

Mr. Sherman. If my friend will allow me, I desire to say that the greater body 
of the personal property of this District, especially the bonds, are held by corpora¬ 
tions and parties who can not move out of the District; and, therefore, there is no 
difficulty in collecting the tax here just as we do in Ohio; and the failure to collect 
this tax one year ago was a palpable and shameless repudiation of a law of the United 
States. * * * The nullification of an act of Congress by the assessors in this 
District was one of the most indefensible and outrageous acts I have ever seen in the 
course of my public life. Congress deliberately, after full investigation, declared 
that personal property in this District should be taxable as it is in nearly all the States 
of the Union; that those wealthy people who own property and those large corpora¬ 
tions who administer property in the District should pay taxes just like the humble 
poor or the middle class who own real estate. That was the deliberate judgment of 
Congress, and Congress is the lawmaking power of this District. * * * The law 
was plain and expressly declared that there should be levied a tax of 1^ per cent on 
certain real estate in this District and on all personal property. That law was openly, 
flagrantly, and without excuse violated and entirely nullified and made void. * * * 
That these assessors should disregard it seemed to me a pretty high-handed proceed¬ 
ing, and, therefore, I think we ought to try these assessors again; we ought to make 
it the express and bounden duty of the commissioners to see that this law is executed; 
and if an assessor fails for a single day to perform his duty, we should require the com¬ 
missioners on their responsibility to remove him promptly and to see that the law is 
enforced. 

The District assessor, Mr. H. H. Darneille, in his report for the fiscal year ending 
June 30, 1900, said: 

“Being well satisfied that an equitable enforcement of the law relating to personal 
property is absolutely impossible, I deem it my duty to make recommendation for 
its repeal. I claim that this law is wrong in principle, that it invites perjury, and is 
calculated to demoralize the standard of public morality.” 

" [From the Washington Times, Jan. 8, 1902.] 

SYMPOSIUM OF VIEWS ON PROPOSED PERSONAL-PROPERTY TAX MEASURE. 

Bank presidents, real estate brokers, merchants, lawyers, and business men gen¬ 
erally expressed themselves yesterday in positive and caustic terms against the 
proposed personal property law. They charge that— 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 201 


It would be inequitable, meddlesome, vicious, unjust, and impracticable. 

It would be inequitable because it would tax some classes of the community more 
than others, and impose taxes that some would pay or could be forced to pay and 
that others could evade. 

It would put a tax on honesty and a premium on trickery and evasion. 

It would destroy one of the chief advantages of the Capital City—the providing of 
homes for millionaires from other parts of the country who come to Washington to 
escape inquisitorial and meddlesome laws in their own States and cities. 

It would be such a drain on the incomes of the capitalist class that in order to live 
on their incomes they would increase their rents and interest rates, and thus indirectly 
tax the classes that would be least able to bear further taxation. 

It would be a blow at progressiveness and expansion of business by making the 
merchants pay taxes on the amount of their stock in trade. 

It would be such a severe tax on building associations that properly conducted 
organizations of this character would be forced out of business. 

In such organizations it would tax the savings of the poor and tend to prevent 
saving and frugality. 

It would be unjust to the people of the District, who already pay as high taxes as 
other communities, although they have no voice in the government of the District. 

It would add another burden to the business men of Washington, who already are 
handicapped because the wealthy residents remain here only while Congress is in 
session. 

It is defective and could not be enforced. 

Mr. Oyster. Mr. Chairman, reference might be made to a number of other mu¬ 
nicipal problems, the handling of which by the District executives in the past 40 
years do not by any means reach that high state of business perfection claimed by the 
admirers and worshipers of our un-American form of government; but I shall refer 
only to a few of them at this time—our street railways, which have been incompe¬ 
tently handled, to the detriment of the people, financially and otherwise: the saloons, 
those hell holes which were reduced from 500 to 300 by the Jones-Works bill, with 
little help from the District authorities, and which several years later were wiped out 
entirely by the Sheppard prohibition bill, one of the best pieces of legislation ever 
passed by Congress for the benefit of the National Capital, and I take this occasion to 
say that the Senator deserves the thanks of every man, woman, and child who wishes 
to see Washington not only become the most beautiful city in the world, but also the 
most moral city, neither of which results could take palce had the saloons remained 
in operation. 

Mr. Chairman, there is a live question now before the people of the District, and 
that is our alley condition. I think efforts are being made by certain parties to have 
the alleys vacated. 

The Chairman. That has reference to the housing proposition. There is going to 
be a separate hearing on that. If you are going to take up the question of providing 
for the alleys, I would suggest that you withhold that portion of your remarks and let 
it be presented in the hearing covering that subject. A request has been made for a 
hearing on that subject, and I would suggest this matter be brought up at that time. 

Mr. Oyster. Very well; I will take it up at that time. 

In the Senate, on December 2, 1902, Senator Gallinger introduced a joint resolution 
proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, giving the people 
of the District of Columbia representation in Congress and a vote in the Electoral 
College. 

The joint resolution above referred to was indorsed by the American Federation of 
Labor, representing 1,500,000 workingmen at that time, now 4,000,000; by the Union 
Veterans’ Union, a national organization of soldiers of the Civil War; by the Central 
Labor Union, representing the organized workingmen of the District, and by a large 
number of the most prominent men of Washington, and there is no doubt in my mind 
that a large majority of the people of the District would have voted for the proposed 
amendment had they been given the opportunity, and I have no doubt whatever 
that a very large majority of them are in favor of the joint resolution introduced by 
Senator Jones, now being under consideration by your committee. 

Mr. Chairman, on March 11, 1903, a memorial which I had the honor to write was 
taken to the Vdiite House and presented to President Roosevelt with the request that 
he recommend the approval of the Gallinger amendment by Congress and the States. 
He received the delegation courteously, and said he would be pleased to give the 
subject consideration, but no action was taken by him or by Congress. I trust the 
Jones resolution will meet with better success. 


202 


SUFFRAGE IUST THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


“The fight must go on. The cause of civil liberty must not be surrendered at the 
end of one or even one hundred defeats/ ’ said Abraham Lincoln. 

Yes, Mr. Chairman, the fight must go on, will go on, until the efforts of those who 
are struggling for the reestablishment of an American form of government in the capital 
of the American Republic are crowned with success, as- they surely will be in the end* 

For Freedom’s battle once begun, 

Bequeathed from bleeding sire to son, 

Though baffled oft, is ever won. 

Mr. Oyster subsequently said: 

Mr. Chairman, when I was before the committee yesterday I had tables, prepared 
by the District assessor, which I intended to present on the question of taxation, as 
Congress seems to be so badly informed in regard to our taxes and how they are raised. 
These tables show clearly just what the taxes are and how enormously they have 
increased in late years, both the real estate and personal property taxes, tangible 
and intangible. These are statements prepared by the District assessor and they are 
official. I thought it would be well to insert them in connection with my statement 
in regard to taxes which I previously made before the committee. 

Senator Sheppard. Why do you say that Congress seems to be badly informed? 

Mr. Oyster. When the tax bill was discussed recently in the Senate, some Senators 
did not know that we were taxing intangible personal property. That statement 
was made on the floor of the Senate. I do not think, therefore, that some Senators 
and many Representatives are aware of the immense increase which has been made 
in the assessment on property in the District. The tables which I present show 
clearly the increase from year to year, and I think they will be very valuable. 

The Chairman. The tables will be inserted in the record at this point. 

(The tables referred to are as follows:) 

[By Mr. William P. Richards, assessor.] 

Collections and expenditures, District of Columbia , 1920-21. 


Penalties and reimbursable tax. $61, 912. 00 

Miscellaneous sources. 99, 958. 71 

Rents and tax on Highway Bridge. 79, 697. 55 

Sales of garbage and old material. 120, 983. 67 

Insurance taxes and licenses. 207, 798. 24 

Assessment and permit work. 296, 551. 98 

Police court fines and juvenile court. 322, 906. 96 

Licenses, motor vehicles, etc. 442, 360. 17 

Miscellaneous receipts to United States. 515, 010. 55 

Water fund (rents, assessments, etc.)..,. 1, 070, 339. 49 

Personal property: 

Tangible... 2, 843,091. 98 

Intangible. 916, 583. 41 

Real estate. 8, 024, 344. 80 


Total revenue.,. 15, 001, 549. 51 


Public-service enterprise. 7, 287.18 

Interest and debt. 975, 408. 00 

Water department. 1, 027, 660. 58 

Miscellaneous. 1, 756, 507. 34 

Recreation. 1, 921, 524.12 

General government. 1, 928, 888. 83 

Health and sanitation. 2, 219, 691. 89 

Highways. 2, 736,118. 76 

Charities and corrections. 2, 999,127. 92 

Protection to life and property. 3, 532, 489. 23 

Education. 5, 676, 454. 74 


Total expenditure. 22, 961,160 14 
































SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


203 


[Compiled by Mr. Wm. P. Richards, assessor.] 

Assessment on real estate in the District of Columbia from 1883 to 1922. 


Assessment. 

1883 . $ 92 , 533,665 

1884 . 90 , 848 , 674 

1885 . 93 , 502 , 464 

1886 . 96 , 053,329 

1887 . 108 , 302,101 

1888 . 111 , 744,830 

1889 . 115 , 485,353 

1890 . 137 , 626,419 

1891 . 141 , 609,891 

1892 . 145 , 481,278 

1893 . 147 , 024,276 

1894 . 191 , 417,804 

1895 . 192 . 555,046 

1896 . 188 ; 922 , 343 

1897 . 180 , 376,908 

1898 . 181 , 256,284 

1899 . 183 , 156,371 

1900 . 176 , 567,549 

1901 . 180 . 334.641 

1902 . 182 ', 525 ', 608 


Taxation in the 


Assessment. 

1903 .$ 208 , 519 , 436 

1904 . 213 , 250,418 

1905 . 217 , 608,296 

1906 . 239 , 461,985 

1907 . 247 , 306,494 

1908 . 255 , 324,834 

1909 . 277 , 570,952 

1910 . 285 , 153,771 

1911 . 294 , 767,547 

1912 . 330 , 322,487 

1913 . 339 , 198,990 

1914 . 345 , 124,144 

1915 . 390 , 309,278 

1916 . 394 , 209,904 

1917 . 402 , 099,232 

1918 . 410 , 173.609 

1919 . 414 , 610,691 

1920 . 426 , 498,370 

1921 . 434 , 796,786 

1922 . 472 , 945,805 


ict of Columbia. 


[Compiled by Mr. E. W. Oyster.] 


Year. 

Land and improvements. 

Year. 

Land and improvements. 

Assessment. 

Amount of 
tax. 

Assessment. 

Amount of 
tax. 

1875. 

$98,875,041 

93,502,624 

145,481,278 

147,024,276 

191,417,804 

192,555,046 

188,922,343 

180,376,908 

181,256,284 

183,156,371 

$1,468,126 
1,392,539 
2,182,219 
2,205,364 
2,871,267 
2,888,325 
2,833,835 
2,705,654 
2,718,844 
2,747,346 

1900. 

$176,567,549 
180,334,641 
182,525,608 
217,608,296 
255,324,834 
294,767,547 
345,124,144 
402,099,232 
426,623,630 
434,794,786 

$2,648,503 

2,705,020 

2,737,884 

3,264,124 

3.829.862 
4,421,513 

5.176.862 
6,031,488 
6,399,354 
8,478,498 

1885. 

1901. 

1892. 

1902. 

1893. 

1905. 

1894. 

1908. 

1895. 

1911. 

1896. 

1914. 

1897. 

1917. 

1898. 

1920. 

1899. 

1921. 




[Compiled by Mr. E. W. Oyster.] 
Taxation in the District of Columbia. 


Year. 

Assessment. 

Tax. 

Tangible personal property: 

1877. 

$15,429,873 
9,028,812 
12,795,934 
9,532,851 
14,391,438 
25,192,361 
34,530,823 
43,140,336 . 
66,821,047 


1883. 


1885. 


1897... 


1900.. 


1910. 


1915. . 


1918 . . . . 


1920. 

$1,002,316 
i 1,634,974 

i 1,472,027 

969,094 
i 971,849 

1921... . . . 

1921 (in lieu of tangibe gross earnings of banks, trust companies, 
and pnhlin sorviro norporatinnsl .... 

* 

Intangible personal property (at $0.30 per $100): 

1920. . 

323,031,277 

1921. . 

Total tangible and intanpiti’o 1920. 



3,089,799 
4,078,849 

Total tanvihip. and intanaihle 1921. 





1 Assessor’s report for 1921, p. 7 












































































































204 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


STATEMENT OF PAUL E. LESH, CHAIRMAN SUFFRAGE GROUP OF 

THE CITY CLUB, AND MEMBER, BRIEF COMMITTEE, CITIZENS 

JOINT COMMITTEE ON NATIONAL REPRESENTATION. 

Mr. Lesh. Mr. Chairman, I think I stated my name and my connection when you 
heard me briefly the other day. My name is Paul E. Lesh, a lawyer by profession. 

Mr. Winfield Jones. Mr. Lesh was heard once before. We have four speakers who 
would like to be heard. I think he took an hour and a half or two hours before. 

Mr. Lesh. You are mistaken. I was heard briefly, but I was stopped long before I 
had completed what I had planned to say. I spoke a bare half hour, as I remember it. 
I have been here every day waiting an opportunity to complete my statement. 

The Chairman. How long will you require? 

Mr. Lesh. Twenty-four minutes is my estimate. 

The Chairman. Twenty-four minutes are granted you. 

Mr. Lesh. We came here several weeks ago advocating a constitutional amendment 
to enable the residents of the District of Columbia to participate in the election of 
President, of one or two Senators and of representatives according to population, and 
access to the Federal courts. The Chairman several times in the course of the hearings 
intimated that he would favor our proposal if it included only participation iH the 
election of President and did not go to the extent of including the election of Repre¬ 
sentatives and Senators. We hope that the committee is by now prepared to accept 
our proposition as a whole, but it may be thought by some that it would be good 
policy for us to modify our proposal to include only the election of the President in 
order to enlist the powerful aid of those who would go this far and no further with us. 

But it would be impossible for us, as we see it, to accept or advocate any such 
modification of our proposal, for the following reasons: 

Whatever relief we get at this time, whether it be by simple legislation within the 
present constitutional powers of Congress or the submission by Congress of a proposed 
constitutional amendment, such relief as we get is likely to be the only legislation 
affecting the form of our government for years to come. It was 1878—43 years ago—■■ 
that Congress last made any change in the form of government of the District. The- 
time of Congress is certainly as much taken up, in fact it is much more taken up, by 
other affairs to-day than it has been during most of the past 43 years. I expect that 
whatever we get as a result of our present propaganda will be ali that we will get for,, 
say, 40 years to come, even if what we get is simple legislation such as is advocated 
by some of the persons who appear here. 

If, however, what we get is any sort of a proposal to amend the Constitution and 
such a proposal to amend is passed by both Houses of Congress, it must be submitted 
to the States for adoption and we must advocate its adoption there; and when it is 
finally adopted, I think that you must agree with me that we would be practically 
precluded within the lifetime of any of us and perhaps forever from going to the States 
with an additional or further amendment. If therefore we modify our proposal and 
gain support by doing so, what we would accomplish would not be progress toward 
anything more, but would be a practical finality by way of change by constitutional 
amendment in the political status of the citizens of the District. We are compelled 
therefore to think about the suggestion that we ask for power to participate in the- 
election of the President only as a substitute for our proposal, not as a step toward it. 

If I correctly understand what was at first in the mind of the chairman, it was this: 
That the President appoints our commissioners, who, in common parlance and some¬ 
what inaccurately are said to ‘ ‘ rule ’ ’ the District of Columbia. The Presiden t appoints 
our judges and other local officials. The President therefore has so direct and intimate 
a relation with the affairs of the District that it is particularly fitting that we should 
have some voice in his selection, and if we did, it could not be said that we are wholly 
without power in our own government. 

As against these considerations I submit the following: . 

Such a line of thought overlooks entirely our claim to a right to participate in national 
affairs. In saying this, I am not overlooking the fact that the President is a national 
official. I mean that the reasons that have been suggested for selecting the 
President as the one national officer we should elect, are local reasons. It is because 
of his peculiar relatipn to the local government of the District of Columbia. On the 
other hand, what we want is not only a share in the government of the District of 
Columbia, which, as the chairman has several times properly pointed out, is an affair 
of national concern, but also a share in all of the other affairs of the Nation. 

When the committee was good enough to allow me time to talk the other day, every¬ 
thing that I had to say bore upon this single point: That we of the District are a part 
of the Nation and entitled to our share of its powers and responsibilities. The time 
that the committee has put at our disposal is too short to indulge in the luxury of 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


205 


repetition, but I want to remind the committee that if Congress should decide to 
substitute a sales tax for an excess-profits tax, that decision would affect the citizens 
of the District and their bank accounts and pocketbooks just as truly and just as 
much as it would affect the citizens elsewhere in the Nation—if Congress should de¬ 
cide that the time has arrived for the Philippines to have a greater measure of inde¬ 
pendence, that decision is one in which we of the District have as much right to 
participate as any other citizens of the Nation—in the deliberations of the Senate about 
to be had upon the recently proposed treaties, we should be heard through our Senator 
or Senators and have as much right to be heard because we are as much affected by the 
result as any other citizens of the Nation. If the result is a prevention of war, it is the 
young men of the District as well as the young men of the rest of the Nation who will 
be saved from going. It is the people of the District as well as the people of the rest 
of the Nation who will be called upon to foot the bill of a war in higher Federal taxation. 

We are not placing our proposal for a constitutional amendment solely, or so far as I 
personally am concerned, even principally, upon a demand to be allowed to participate 
in the local affairs of the District of Columbia, but upon the ground that we want to be 
heard upon the affairs of the Nation . 

If our claim is a just one, then surely no member of the Congress and certainly no 
committee of the Senate should say to us that it is sufficient that we should help to 
elect the President. We have seen and deplored a growing tendency on the part of 
Congress to place in the Executive or in tribunals or commissions selected by him, a 
portion of the powers of Congress, but surely no one here is ready to accept the propo¬ 
sition that the Congress or the Senate is a comparatively unimportant branch of our 
Government. 

You might think that what I have just said by way of parenthesis of a tendency 
of legislation in recent years has no place in such an argument as this. I think you 
might go further, so long as the existing status of citizens of the District remains; you 
might say that it is an impertinence for any man born in the District and always a 
resident here to have any views whatever about what Congress has done or is doing 
with national problems. We ought to realize perhaps that we are outsiders, strangers, 
almost foreigners to the American Government and that our thoughts about it are 
unimportant. Certainly anything that is impotent is unimportant, and the fact that 
we have no way to make our views or thoughts on national affairs of any effect is 
almost a discouragement to have any thoughts at all. 

But even considered from the local point of view, it is not sound to say that our 
desire to participate in our local government would be fairly satisfied by allowing 
us to participate in the election of the President. 

It is true that the President nominates our commissioners, but it is not true that 
the commissioners rule the District of Columbia. Congress is our local legislature. 

This is true to-day and will always be true, if for no other reason, for the single one 
that Congress has and will continue to have the power to hold the purse—the power 
of taxation and appropriation. Even if it could constitutionally be done, no one who 
hears this or reads it and gives consideration to the matter can imagine Congress 
delegating to the commissioners or to anyone else the power of appropriating what 
must come out of both the local revenues and the National Treasury, the money for 
the conduct of our local affairs. If you have an imagination wild enough to conceive 
of Congress permitting the commissioners or any local tribunal to determine a rate 
of taxation to be levied on Government buildings and upon industries of the Gov¬ 
ernment carried on here, or to determine the rate of contribution from the National 
Treasury to our local government, then you might conceive of the power of taxation 
being delegated, but I can not. And the same considerations apply to the power 
of appropriation, and certainly you gentlemen with practical experience in the 
affairs of the Government know that whoever determines how much money shall 
be spent by any governmental agency determines, or ultimately controls, what shall 
be done by that governmental agency. 

Aside from the matter of taxation and appropriation, Congress is our local legis¬ 
lature for all purposes and in all vital local matters. 

As has been mentioned by one of the speakers who preceded me, Congress deter¬ 
mines the local rate of interest for the District of Columbia. It determines such 
intimate and local matters as marriage and divorce, the employment of child labor, 
the public instruction in the public schools—even such matters as the periods of 
limitation of legal actions and other matters of procedure in our local courts. We 
have an ancient and barbarous method of handling our lunacy cases. We have no 
modern and enlightened statute permitting the conservation of the affairs of old and 
infirm persons excepting by the finding of a jury that the person is insane. We can 
get a change in any of these matters only by congressional action. 


206 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


Now, then, except by a participation in the election of the House and Senate, can 
we get any real share in the government of the District of Columbia? 

In Coughlin against the District of Columbia, reported in 25 Appeals D. C., 251, a 
question rose as to the validity of a regulation promulgated by the Commissioners of 
the District of Columbia in 1905 as a police regulation regarding the removal by citi¬ 
zens of snow and ice from the sidewalks of the city of Washington. The regulation 
was held void because not within the power of the commissioners, but only within 
the power of Congress itself. The court said: 

£ ( That varions municipalities may have exercised such power as appears from various 
municipal ordinances collated in the brief on behalf of the appellee is not to the point. 
Municipalities are usually vested with quasi legislative powers, among them the 
sovereign power of taxations and assessment, and from the fact that municipal ordi¬ 
nances are elsewhere to be found, analogous to the so-called regulation here in ques¬ 
tion, it is not to be inferred that similar powers exist in the Commissioners of the 
District of Columbia. The commissioners are not the municipality, but only the 
executive organs of it; and Congress has reserved to itself not only the power of legis¬ 
lation in the strict sense of the term, which it can not constitutionally delegate to 
anyone or to any body of men, but even the power of enacting municipal ordinances, 
such as are within the ordinary scope of the authority of incorporated municipalities. 
It has delegated to the commissioners simply the power of making ‘ police regulations,’ 
and only such police regulations as are usual and commonly known by that designa¬ 
tion.^’ 

In this connection we call attention to the fact that it was decided in a case arising 
soon after we had a legislative assembly here that Congress could not constitutionally 
delegate to such a legislative assembly its power to legislate for the District of Colum¬ 
bia. I refer to the case of Roach v. Van Riswick, reported in McArthur and Mackey, 
at page 171, decided by the general term of the Supreme Court of the District of 
Columbia in 1879. The court found that it was the intention of Congress by the act 
of February 21, 1871, to delegate to the legislative assembly for the District an ab¬ 
solute and final power of legislation, but that that intent was inoperative because 
unconstitutional. The court said: 

The Chairman. The acts of that legislature, the house of delegates and governor, 
and so forth—the house of delegates being elected by the people and the other house 
appointed by the President—were declared by the Supreme Court unconstitutional? 

Mr. Lesh. Not by the Supreme Court of the United States, but in the only case in 
which their acts were questioned, in the general term of the Supreme Court of the 
District of Columbia in 1879, after the government had been abolished which only 
existed for a brief period. In that case it was held that legislation by that so-called 
Territorial legislature was unconstitutional, or was void because unconstituticnal. 

Mr. Noyes. That is general legislation? 

Mr. Lesh. General legislation. 

Mr. Noyes, As distinguished from municipal legislation. 

The Chairman. -They could not pass any general legislation. It would only be 
general legislation for the District. 

Mr. Lesh. For the District. 

The Chairman. They had no power to legislate outside the District. 

Mr. Noyes. That was a license case and affected salesmen from Baltimore. 

Mr. Lesh. No. You have in mind the Stoutenburgh case in the One hundred and 
twenty-ninth United States. There the distinction you have indicated was the true 
distinction, but this case before the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia in 
general term was a case in which the local legislature had declared judgments to be 
liens on equitable interests in real estate. It was legislation for the District of Colum¬ 
bia, and it was held in that case that it was void because unconstitutional. 

The Chairman. What court was that? 

Mr. Lesh. The Supreme Court of the District of Columbia in general term, which 
was the court corresponding to our present court of appeals. It was the court of last 
resort in the District of Columbia, from which an appeal lay only to the Supreme Court 
of the United States. 

The Chairman. According to that decision the District of Columbia could not have 
a local government. 

Mr. Lesh. If that decision is correct, sir, that is true. 

The Chairman. And it was the intention of the Constitution, whether explicitly 
expressed or not, that the government of the District of Columbia should be absolutely 
under the control of Congress. 

Mr. Lesh. That it was a part of the legislative powers of Congress, and that there¬ 
fore it could not be delegated to another body. 

Mr. Noyes. Are you going to discuss the Stoutenburgh case? 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 207 


Mr. Lesh. I was going to mention it. 

What the court said in the case I have mentioned was: 

“Our conclusion, on the whole, is that the act of the District legislature declaring 
judgments rendered by this court to be liens on equitable interests in land, was an 
act of legislation which it was only competent for the Congress of the United States 
to pass, and was in itself totally inoperative and void, and the decree rendered by 
the court below must be reversed.” 

In order that there may be no misunderstanding, I want you to realize that the court, 
in the formal portion of that opinion which I have not quoted here, held flatly that 
it was not the intention of Congress by the act of 1871 to delegate to the legislative 
assembly for the District the absolute and final power of legislation. 

The Chairman. I am not a lawyer, but I take it from that that it would require a 
constitutional amendment to delegate that power. 

Mr. Lesh. To delegate general legislative power for the District. 

The Chairman. Is that your understanding? 

Mr. Lesh. That is correct. I would be very glad if the lawyers on the committee 
would look at that case. It is the only decision on this subject. 

A decision by the United States Supreme Court which bears upon the same question 
and is not inconsistent with this conclusion is that of Stoutenburgh against Hennick 
(129U. S., 141), decided January 14,1889. The question arose in a criminal case con¬ 
cerning the validity of an act of the legislative assembly of the District of August 23, 
1871, amended June 30, 1872, providing that persons in certain trades should be 
required to obtain a license including commercial agents who offered for sale goods, 
wares, merchandise, by sample or catalogue. 

The court held through Mr. Chief Justice Fuller: 

“This provision was manifestly regarded as a regulation of a purely municipal 
character, as is perfectly obvious, upon the principle of noscitur a sociis, if the clause 
be taken as it should be, in connection with the other clauses and parts of the act. 
But it is indistinguishable from that held void in Robbies v. Shelby Taxing District 
(120 U. S., 489), and Asher v. Texas (128 U. S., 129), as being a regulation of interstate 
commerce, so far as applicable to persons soliciting, as Hennick was, the sale of goods 
on behalf of individuals or firms doing business outside the District. 

******* 

“ In our judgment Congress, forthereasons given, could not have delegated the power 
to enact the third clause of the twenty-first section of the act of assembly, construed to 
include business agents such as Hennick, and there is nothing in this record to justify 
the assumption that it endeavored to do so, for the powers granted to the District 
were municipal merely, and although by several acts Congress repealed or modified 
parts of this particular by-law, these parts were separably operative and such as were 
within the scope of municipal action, so that this congressional legislation can not 
be resorted to as ratifying the objectionable clause, irrespective of the inability to 
ratify that which could not originally have been authorized.” 

It is significant that in the several proposals that are before this committee, some 
of which are brought forward as measures for local self-government, there is no pro¬ 
posal to take away from Congress any of its legislative powers. It is proposed by one 
measure, Senate 417, known as the Capper bill, to elect the commissioners of the Dis¬ 
trict and the school board by the residents of the District, but it is not proposed by any 
bill to enlarge the powers of the commissioners or those of the school board. If, 
therefore, we are correct in our assertion that legislative power is in Congress only and 
not in these municipal boards, and will there remain, then the only method by which 
we can secure any participation in this legislative power is by our constitutional 
amendment proposing the election of such Members of the House as our number 
justifies and one or two Senators. 

In connection with the power of the President to appoint our commissioners and 
our judges and other local officials, there is a consideration which occurs most strongly 
to us because of our experience in the past and must occur to Members of the House' 
and Senate who have had a wider experience in such matters. It is true that the 
power to nominate these local officials is vested in the President, and it is true that 
his nominations are almost invariably confirmed by the Senate. But the power of 
confirmation or rejection rests in the Senate. That power is reckoned with by the 
President before the nomination is made. You know, as we do, that in determining 
whom to nominate for such a position, for example, as a judge of the Supreme Court 
of the District of Columbia, the President consults or is consulted by members of 
the Senate. That court is our principal court of original jurisdiction. Of the six 
judges of that bench, one is from New Jersey, one is from Vermont, two are from 
Maryland, one is from Tennessee, and one is from the District of Columbia. Of the 

83480—22-14★ 


208 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


three judges of the court of appeals, all are from the States; not one from the District 
of Columbia. 

The Chairman. In your local courts they are from the District of Columbia? 

Mr. Lesh. Our court of appeals is our local court of last resort. The Supreme Court 
of the District of Columbia is the only court of local jurisdiction. We have our minor 
local courts, in which the jurisdiction is limited in amount, corresponding to a magis¬ 
trate. 

The Chairman. I refer to those courts that are limited to District matters. 

Mr. Lesh. There are no such courts. Our Supreme Court of the District of Colum¬ 
bia handles District and national matters indiscriminately. If you sue me in the 
District of Columbia for any respectable amount on a promissory note, or anything 
else, you sue me in the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia, to which I have 
just referred. It is our court of original jurisdiction. 

Mr. Brandenburg. And on that bench we only have one judge from the District. 

Mr. Lesh. On that bench we only have one judge from the District, and we have 
none on the court of appeals, to which appeals go from the Supreme Court of the Dis¬ 
trict of Columbia. You must have had in mind the municipal court and police court. 
The municipal court is limited in amount, and the police court handles only petty 
offenses, being a committing magistrate binding over to the grand jury. Appeals 
from those courts go to the court of appeals, on which we have three splendid gentle¬ 
men all from the States. 

Mr. Brandenburg. Even on the police court one of the judges is not from the 
District. 

Mr. Lesh. Even on the police court one of the judges is not from the District. We 
never heard of him until he came here. 

The Chairman. I wanted to know whether these judges appointed outside of the 
District have Federal jurisdiction. 

Mr. Lesh. They do, sir. The District of Columbia is peculiar in that it is a part of 
no other Federal district. Our Supreme .Court of the District of Columbia is also our 
United States Court. 

The Chairman. It is a district in itself? 

Mr. Lesh. It is a district in itself. 

The Chairman. That answers my question. 

Mr. Lesh. It is our United States court for this District, and the bar of this District 
is very poorly represented upon that court. In other words, when we say they are 
taken from outside the District, we mean they are taken from outside the Federal 
district as well as outside the local District. 

Senator Sheppard. What circuit is the District a part of? What Supreme Court 
circuit is it a part of? 

Mr. Lesh. It is not a part of either. 

Mr. Brandenburg. It is not a part of any circuit. 

Senator Sheppard. Not a part of any circuit of the United States? 

Mr. Brandenburg. No; it is not. 

Mr. Lesh. It corresponds to other circuits, other districts, but is of itself a district. 

The Chairman. It is a district of itself? 

Mr. Lesh. It is a district of itself. 

Mr. Brandenburg. We would really be a part of the fourth circuit, if we were 
assigned to any circuit, because Maryland is part of the fourth circuit. 

Senator Sheppard. You are not assigned to any circuit? 

Mr. Brandenburg. We are not. 

Mr. Lesh. We would be a part of the fourth circuit, if we were assigned to any 
circuit, because of our geographical location. 

Mr. Brandenburg. Maryland and Virginia and North Carolina are in the fourth 
circuit. 

Senator Sheppard. You are a circuit of your own? 

Mr. Lesh. Yes, sir. 

Mr. William McK. Clayton. I think the speaker should refer to the court of 
appeals in making that statement. It does consider patent cases, and they are essen¬ 
tially more national than local. 

Mr. Lesh. And the court of appeals is trying to get rid of them. 

Mr. Clayton. I understand. 

Mr. Lesh. I am glad that was called to my attention, because I want to be fair. 

It is true that after our judges have been in office for some years, though they retain 
a political connection, I believe, with their home States, they become, some of them, 
real residents of the District of Columbia. In fact, one of them is one of the strongest 
advocates of our proposal. 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


209 


I want to meet fairly any possible argument to the contrary, and I want to suggest 
to the committee that some one may say that our local courts have so often to do with 
national questions that the Nation as well as the local community should be repre¬ 
sented on its bench. But who will say that the proportion of national questions in 
our local courts justifies the proportion of eight out of nine of our principal judges. 
And if it is true the cases of national importance are frequently in our local courts, 
it is true also that our local bar is one particularly trained for the handling of just such 
questions. Why then would it not be more logical to appoint the members of the 
bench from the members of the local bar rather than practically exclusively from bars 
which have no such national outlook. 

There is no logical justification for this method of appointing our local judges. 
It is, as perhaps you gentlemen know from experience, a matter of practical politics. 
A Senator from a State wants to get something for his State. One of the offices at 
the disposal of the President is appointment to the bench of the District of Columbia. 
The Senator requests the appointment of his candidate and the President nomi¬ 
nates him and the nomination is confirmed. The few nominations of residents of 
the District of Columbia are the result of personal acquaintances or of tremendous 
effort on the part of our citizens. 

It is not true to say that if we had a share in the election of the President we would 
have our rightful share or control of these nominations. We will get our rightful 
share only when we have our delegtion in Congress and in the Senate who can de¬ 
mand it for us with the same authority that the members of the Senate now demand 
it for their constituents. 

The proposal to elect our commissioners by the people of the District has not been 
much advocated in these hearings, but since it is before the committee I think we 
should let the committee have our views upon it. We are primarily concerned in 
advocating the constitutional amendment and are interested in this other proposal 
principally as it affects our proposal. I would therefore first put the matter in this 
way: That if we citizens of the District can get the power to participate in the elec¬ 
tion of the President and Members of the House and Senate, then, since we would 
be truly a part of the Nation and the commissioners are the Nation’s agents in ad¬ 
ministering its capital, it would be more logical to ha\e the commissioners appointed 
by the Nation as they are to-day; that is, appointed by the President and confirmed 
by the Senate. I am confident that our local interest in their selection would be 
looked out for by the President, who would then be our President as well as the 
States’, and by our delegation in Congress. The existing law requires the District 
Commissioners to have been for three years prior to their nomination residents of 
the District of Columbia. A number of our people do not believe that this law has 
always been observed but with a voting representation in Congress from the District 
I am confident that it would be. And I am confident that we would by reason of 
our proximity to the Capital and by reason of the greater familiarity of our own Repre¬ 
sentatives and Senators, with local conditions, get our full share in the control of 
local affairs. 

But the election of the commissioners is advocated by some persons who believe 
that our proposal is the ideal, but is difficult to obtain, and will not be obtained for 
years to come, if ever, and such persons feel that pending the adoption of a constitu¬ 
tional amendment it would be well to give the citizens of the District this much 
participation in the affairs of the city. Personally, I think that most persons who 
advocate the election of the commissioners do it under the delusion that it means 
self-government, which it does not at all. In the more substantial matters of govern¬ 
ment the commissioners are only the persons who lay requests and recommendations 
before those who have the real power. 

Those who have the real power here are the President and Congress. Under exist¬ 
ing law the President and the Senate select these commissioners and have, or should 
have, a certain loyalty to their administration. Personally I believe that a com¬ 
missioner appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate will have the 
confidence of the President and the Senate to a greater degree, and is able to influence 
their action to a greater degree, than a commissioner not so selected. In regard to our 
commissioners, Mr. Chairman, if I may be permitted to interrupt with a question, I 
would like to say that most bills introduced in Congress are referred to the commis¬ 
sioners for hearing and report before any action is taken on them. Congress is anxious 
to know the opinion of the commissioners. 

Mr. Wm. McK. Clayton. If we elected our commissioners, would not the report 
of the commissioners on those bills be based more on what they believed the people 
of the District of Columbia thought of them than they are now? 

Mr. Lesh. Presumably, yes. Their report would come more authoritatively as a 
report of the people of the District. 


210 


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 


The Chairman. I may differ from both you gentlemen in respect to that. Any 
person serving in public life must come to this conclusion: They are there in a 
representative capacity, to do what they believe to be right and fair and just to the 
people, irrespective of the demands from their constituents. Never was that im¬ 
pressed more on my mind than in some legislation we have had, as far as treaties are 
concerned, within the last two years. The commissioners are in a better position to 
know what is best for this District. They look at it with an unbiased mind. Inter¬ 
ested individuals can come to them and say do this or do that, or in case of propaganda 
four or five hundred people can go out and get signatures to letters and send to those 
commissioners to influence them. A man in public life has the responsibility for 
his acts, and he is held responsible for them. The man who has no responsibility 
will do things he would not think of doing if he did not have to answer for them after¬ 
wards. So I think your commissioners, if they are the proper commissioners for the 
District, would act on their judgment after, of course, hearing all sides, as they do 
now; but they must take the responsibility for those acts themselves and stand for it. 
It is very easy to say do this or do that, by a person who has no responsibility, but 
the man who has to cast that vote or render that decision must answer for it after¬ 
wards, and if he is an honest man he will make up his mind what is right and best for 
all before he does that. Your commissioners would be acting purely in a representa¬ 
tive capacity on their own judgment. 

Mr. Clayton. What I had in mind was instances in the District where there could 
be no question but what the people had reached a conclusion on certain matters, 
everybody being for or against it; yet, notwithstanding that fact, the commissioners 
undertook to oppose the whole District of Columbia and come to Congress in opposition. 

The Chairman. I never found the District unanimous on anything. 

Mr. Clayton. That was the idea I had in mind. 

Mr. Lesh. I may say, so far as I agree with you, I agree with you only because 
their functions are executive. There is merit in what you say, because they are 
executives after all, and not legislators. . 

The Chairman. The responsibility is just as great on a legislator as on an executive. 

Mr. Lesh. There is a different sort of function, But I can not pursue that without 
taking more than my 24 minutes. 

But this last is only a personal view and is therefore less important. The funda¬ 
mental objections that we have to the bill for the election of the commissioners are 
the same as those already mentioned with regard to the bill to elect a Territorial Dele¬ 
gate. The danger is that the bill will be regarded, if not by the committee then by 
Congress as a whole, as an alternative to our proposal. Congress will feel, if it should 
enact such a bill, that it had done something for the citizens of the District of Colum¬ 
bia and that it is entitled to turn its attention to other matters for, perhaps, another 
period of 43 years. Also, there is the same objection or difficulty with regard to the 
voting electorate as has been mentioned in connection with the