The Facts of Reconstruction eBook

John R. Lynch
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 248 pages of information about The Facts of Reconstruction.

The full committee was then convened by which the unanimous report of the sub-committee was adopted without opposition and without change.  But I had anticipated a renewal of the effort to change the basis of representation in future National Republican Conventions, and had, therefore, made some little mental preparation to take a leading part in opposition to its adoption.  Such a proposition had been submitted at nearly every National Convention of the party since 1884.  That a similar effort would be made at this convention I had good reasons to believe.  In this I was not mistaken.  It was introduced by Senator Quay, of Pennsylvania.  His proposition, like the others, was that in the future delegates to the National Convention should be apportioned among the different States upon the basis of the votes polled for the party candidates at the last preceding national election, instead of upon the basis of the States’ representation in Congress.  On the first view this proposition seems to be both reasonable and fair, but it cannot stand the test of an intelligent analysis.  As soon as I sought and secured the recognition of the chair, I offered an amendment in the nature of a substitute, declaring it to be the judgment of the party that in all States in which there had been an evasion of the Fifteenth Amendment by State action, that there should be a reduction in the representation in Congress from such State or States in the manner and for the purpose expressed in the Fourteenth Amendment.  A point of order was immediately made against the amendment, but the occupant of the chair, Senator Lodge, stated that he would hold his decision in reserve pending an explanation by me of the amendment I had submitted.  At that time a suggestion was made that the whole subject be postponed until the next day, to which I assented, and then yielded the floor.  But it was not again called up, hence my speech was never delivered.  Since it may be of some interest to the reader to get an idea of what I had in mind, I shall here set down in the main what I intended to say on that occasion had the opportunity been presented.

“Mr. Chairman, while there may be some doubt, in a parliamentary sense, as to whether or not the amendment I have submitted can be entertained as a substitute for the original proposition, it cannot be denied that it relates to the same subject matter.  I hope, therefore, that the Convention will have an opportunity in some way of voting upon it in lieu of the one that has been presented by the distinguished gentleman from Pennsylvania.  It is a well-known fact that under the present system each State is entitled to double the number of delegates that it has Senators and Representatives in Congress.  The plan now proposed is that the apportionment in future conventions be based upon the number of votes polled for the candidates of the party at the last preceding National election, according to what is known as the ‘official returns,’

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The Facts of Reconstruction from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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