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Americanize the Capital as a Wise Measure of War Preparedness by Theodore W. Noyes, Editor of the Evening Star – The Washington Times, June 29, 1917
|| 11/7/2010 || 6:32 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Americanize the Capital as a Wise Measure of War Preparedness by Theodore W. Noyes, Editor of the Evening Star -  The Washington Times, June 29, 1917

Washingtonians have been urging a constitutional amendment which shall give them the status of citizens of a State, for the purpose only of representation in Congress and the Electoral College. They now urge only amendment which, as an irreducible minimum of justice, shall empower Congress in its discretion to give them this status.

War is upon us. World issues and vital national questions absorb attention.

Is this a time to redress the Capital’s political grievances?

Yes, says Washington. To Americanize the political aliens of the District of Columbia is to do justice and to relieve the nation of reproach and shame- achievements which, like the motion to adjourn, are always in order. And not only in a general but in a special sense is this Americanizing process peculiarity opportune, in that it reflects the very thought and spirit of the times and is an integral part of the legislation which springs naturally from the patriotic toward true preparedness.

I do not emphasize the unique patriotic service which Washingtonians have rendered, far surpassing in this respect all other Americans, in the creation, maintenance and upbuilding of the National Capital. I compare them with other Americans solely on the basis of the degree in which they and others have respectively met the general patriotic obligation that is common to all.

Washingtonians have paid their proportion of every national tax, direct or indirect, from the birth of the nation. The only national taxes that fall directly and in ascertainable amounts upon Americans are the internal revenue taxes, including the excise and income taxes. In total contribution in 1914 to these taxes Washington exceeds twenty-two of the States, though it exceeds in population only six of them. Its contribution is greater than those of nine of the States combined. The Washingtonians’ per capita contributions to these national taxes are greater than that of the citizens of thirty-six of the States.

Washington’s Blood Sacrifice.

Washingtonians have risked life and shed their blood in every national war. To preserve the Union the volunteers came from the Capital, and Washingtonians supplied a greater percentage of troops in excess of their quota than nearly every State in the Union. In the war with Spain they sent to Cuba a fine regiment exceeding their quota in numbers. The same response was made when the summons to the Mexican border came. At that time the percentage of men of military age enrolled in the organized militia was greater in the District than in any State of the Union. Washington sent more soldiers to the border than twenty-two of the States.

To every demand of devotion and self-sacrifice made upon Americans Washington has rendered, is rendering, and will always render full, hearty, and unstinted response.

National Burdens Impose; Rights Denied.

In a genuine representative government rights and privileges are inseparably wedded to obligations and responsibilities. How do Washingtonians, thus burdened with national obligations, fare in respect to American rights and privileges?

Before the judicial branch of the National Government they are, the United States Supreme Court says, less than aliens in the right to sue and be sued.

In relation to representation in the legislative branch and by the executive branch of the National Government they are on the same footing as aliens.

They are good enough Americans to pay taxes and go to war, but not good enough Americans to be represented in the Congress which taxes them and sends them to war.

In relation to national taxes their sole function is to pay. They have nothing to say, like other national taxpayers, concerning the amount and kind of taxes they shall pay and how the tax money shall be spent.

In relation to national war their sole function is to fight in obedience to command. They have no voice, like other Americans, in the councils which determine war or peace. They have no representation in the Government which requires them to fight, to bleed, and perhaps to die.

In all the expense of the continental and contiguous United States from ocean to ocean, from Canada to Mexico, every Territory has been exalted into Statehood, and the District of Columbia is the only remaining American community whose people are still compulsory occupants of the National Hospital for Politically Defective and Delinquent Americans.

No Excuse of National Necessity.

These gross discriminations against the Americans of the District of Columbia find no excuse in national impotency or national necessity.

These discriminations are not necessary to the constitutional control by Congress of the ten miles square. Correction of them, Americanizing the District of Columbia, does not destroy or diminish that control. Representation by one out of 436 in the House and by one out of ninety-seven or two out of ninety-eight in the Senate would obviously fall short of giving the District control of Congress. So small a tail could never wag so large a dog.

To give this national representation to the Washingtonians works no change in the local government or in the financial relation of nation to capital. Exclusive power is still in the hands of Congress representing the nation, and the change merely makes the District politically a part of the nation and gives the 360,000 Americans in the District representation in that Congress.

The present condition convicts the nation of paradoxical inconsistency. Inequality, un-Americanism, unpatriotic unpreparredness.

It involves injustice to the Capital and shame to the nation.

Saviors Abroad; Crucifiers at Home.

In the impressive and inspiring words of Present Wilson:
“We are glad * * * to fight thus for the ultimate peace of the world and for the liberation of its peoples, the German people included. * * * The right is more precious than peace and we shall fight for the things which we have always carried nearest our hearts- for democracy, for the right of those who submit to authority to have a voice in their own governments.”

Washingtonians are among “those who submit to authority.” Are not all Americans then fighting in this war for the Washingtonians’ right “to have a voice in their own government?” Or is there an implied proviso in our proclamation which causes us to fight in this war to establish representative government everywhere in the world except in the capital of the great representative republic?

Amendment Timely and Vital.

Consistency and justice; national pride and self-respect; the will to efface a shameful blot from the national escutcheon; the spirit of true Americanism and righteous hatred of autocracy in any guise; the patriotic impulse toward full preparedness of the nation as the champion of democracy and representative government everywhere in the world- all combine to make irresistible at this very moment our appeal for the adoption of a constitutional amendment giving suffrage to the citizens of the District.

Should not the nation, irrespective of the just pleas of the Washingtonians and purely as a national concern, abolish the evil and injury working paradox of non-representative un-American government of the National Capital territory under exclusive national control? At a time when all Americans are thrilling in response to the appeal for purer, higher, stronger Americanism and for more devoted and self-sacrificing spirit of American nationality will not the nation insist, in accordance with the spirit of the times and in its own vital interest, that there shall no longer exist at the very heart of the body politic this foul abscess of non-Americanism? Surgical relief to the nation from this threat of blood poisoning is an essential war measure, an urgent patriotic task. Cut it out unflinchingly? Cut it out at once.



This newspaper article was transcribed from a scan of the original newspaper article on Chronicling America. It is being republished here in order to continue my advocacy for full representation for the American citizens of the District of Columbia.



GOVERNORS PLEDGE AID IN FIGHT FOR D.C. VOTES – The Washington Times, March 5, 1919
|| 10/4/2010 || 10:32 am || + Render A Comment || ||

GOVERNORS PLEDGE AID IN FIGHT FOR D.C. VOTES - The Washington Times, March 5, 1919

The governors of twenty-eight States and the mayors of virtually every large city in the country today are preparing to carry Washington’s fight for votes throughout the nation.

These State and city executives here in reconstruction conference, have heard Washington’s appeal, and have been enlisted in the national campaign to win the right of suffrage for the people of the National Capital.

No poll has been taken yet to ascertain officially the views of each and every governor or mayor, but a meeting last night indicated that Washington can expect unanimous support by these governors and mayors in the suffrage campaign.

Harper Jubilant

“The friendship of the governors and mayors will do much influencing Congress to give suffrage to the District,” said Col. Robert N. Harper, president of the Chamber of Commerce, today. “With the support of these men, Washington may feel confident of a tendency on the part of the next Congress to grant suffrage to the District.”

The justice of the District’s appeal for suffrage was explained at a dinner in the New Washington Hotel last night in honor of the governors and mayors. The Washington Chamber of Commerce was host.

Every argument brought out by the speakers in favor of granting a franchise for the people of the National Capital was eagerly absorbed by the conferees.

Many of the governors and mayors made notes of the points scored by Colonel Harper, Henry B. F. Macfarland, Commissioner Brownlow, and other speakers for suffrage, and it was evident that they were storing up knowledge concerning Washington’s voteless condition for future use.

“We find sentiment in support of the District suffrage plea almost unanimous among the governors and mayors attending the conference,” said Colonel Harper today.

“Many of the men were at first almost unable to believe when they were told that Washington is the only capital in the world without representation in the National Government.

“But they have been told of the existing conditions, and District residents may feel sure that these governors and mayors will go to their States and their cities and spread the cry of Washington for ‘Suffrage.'”

Why British Laugh

Henry B. F. Macfarland struck a responsive note in the minds of his listeners last night when he said:

“No wonder the visiting Britisher laughs up his sleeve when we tell him we fought in the Revolution mainly because King George III tried to tax us without allowing us representation in Parliament– ‘taxation without representation is tyranny’ we cry; and then the Britisher smiles because he knows that Washington, the greatest capital of the greatest democracy in the world, the people are taxed without being represented.

“And the Englishman probably whispers to his countrymen, Is the United States living up to the principles of Americanism when 400,000 citizen– no, not citizens, inhabitants– of the National Capital of the United States, are deprived of the right to vote!”

“What is your answer going to be Mr. Governor and Mr. Mayor? — you Americans. Is it going to be taxation without representation for the people of your National Capital?”

There was silence for a moment: then a storm of applause swept through the room.

“No!” came the response.

Retain Present System

Mr. Macfarland also urged the audience to discourage any movement to remove the present half-and-half fiscal system from the District.

“The present system should be retained unless some plan better than that followed out since 1878 be evolved,” said Mr. Macfarland.

Colonel Harper told the governors and mayors during the meeting that it was not the intention of the people of Washington to appeal now for local self-government.

“Washington now wants only representation in the Electoral College and in Congress,” said Colonel Harper. “There has been some objection to the suffrage movement in Washington on the grounds that self-government in the District would result in misunderstandings between Federal and municipal governments; but we do not wish to urge, at the present time, more than District representation in Congress, the Senate and in the Electoral College.

“Representation in the affairs of the Government is the birthright of all American citizens. Why should the residents of the National Capital be deprived of a right which is given to Alaska, the Philippines, and the Hawaiian Islands? There is no just reason!”

Brownlow Speaks

“We obey the laws passed by Congress; we pay taxes; and we respond with nothing but love of country in our hearts when asked to give of the life of our home on the battlefields,” said Commissioner Louis F. Brownlow. “We do all this because we are proud of being Americans. And since we are Americans why should we not have our constitutional rights?”

“In righting this obvious wrong we need the help of the American people; in the fight for a franchise we cannot help, but have the sympathy of every Congressman, every Senator, every voter in the country- for they are Americans and they do not wish to begrudge to others the rights which they themselves possess.

“There has been some criticism throughout the nation of the congested conditions in Washington during the war 1/8 but the National Capital handled the situation as best it could. In the space of twelve months, 90,000 persons came to Washington from all sections of the country.

“It was difficult to care for all these people, but the District responded to the emergency in a way, which I know, ultimately caused universal satisfaction throughout the nation.

Fed Have Gone Home

“Conditions in Washington are not quite as congested as before the signing of the armistice, but the need of further building in the District is still apparent. Of the 90,000 war workers who came here in the space of twelve months, but 4,100 have gone home since the armistice was signed.

“I have hear that all the war workers want to stay in Washington; so it is evident that living conditions in the National Capital are not as bad as you may have sometimes heard.

“About 17,000 District men have served or are serving in the army, navy, or marine corps during the present emergency. Of these 3,500 have returned and all have them have received back their jobs.”


This newspaper article was transcribed from a scan of the original newspaper article on Chronicling America. It is being republished here in order to continue my advocacy for full representation for the American citizens of the District of Columbia.



GOVERNORS TO AID D.C. VOTE FIGHT – The Washington Times, March 4, 1919
|| 9/30/2010 || 10:07 am || + Render A Comment || ||

Newspaper scan from Chronicling America

Sentiment among the 100 governors and mayors of States and cities throughout the United States, now in conference in Washington was today expressed as being solidly in favor of the District’s appeal for suffrage.

Feeling is running high among the conferees, most of whom were not aware of the voteless condition of District residents until they came to Washington to attend the conference.

Action by the governors and mayors in passing resolutions favoring the District suffrage movement and in pledging themselves to urge their constituents to instruct their Congressmen to give the vote to Washington is expected before the termination of the conference tomorrow.

The attitude of the visitors, who came from nearly every State in the Union, was best expressed today by Lieut. Gov. George Stephan of Denver, Colorado.

“The sense of justice and the democratic principles upon which the American nation is founded all demand that the people of the National Capital be given the right to vote,” he said.

Can’t Believe His Ears.

“There is no argument which can be used against the appeal of Washington for suffrage for its citizens. I could hardly believe my ears when I was told that the people of the National Capital of the greatest republic on earth were forbidden to vote.

“To think that the residents of the city of Washington, endeared in the hearts of American people for the past century and as the very heart of American democracy, should be deprived of the right of casting the ballot. It is beyond my understanding.

“Congress should take steps at the right the undemocratic conditions as regards the right to vote, existing in the National Capital.

West to Back Fight.

“I can safely say that the West, where the love of country and of the principles of true democracy are of first concern, will be solidly behind the National Capital in its campaign to win the right to vote.”

“The North, East, and South, I can also safely say, in behalf of the men from those sections of the country attending the conference, will support Washington’s plea, by instructing their Congressmen to permit the vote in the National Capital.

“I predict that when a bill to give suffrage to the District comes up in Congress, the ‘ayes’ will make it unanimous; for Congress is representative of the democratic ideals of the American nation, and Congress will see to it that American principles prevail throughout the whole country.

Should Introduce Bill.

“Washington should be given the right to vote, just as soon as it is possible to put a District suffrage bill through Congress.” said Daniel L. Keister, mayor of Harrisburg, Pa., and one of the conferees meeting at the White House today.

“‘Taxation without representation is tyranny,’ is as much of an Americanism today as it was in the time of Patrick Henry. It strikes me as rather peculiar that the National Capital, which has been justly idealized as the seat of American ideals, should be deprived of a constitutional right.

“Washington, I know, is glad to send her sons to defend the honor of the nation; Washington is glad to give her wealth to aid in upholding the strength of the nation, and Washington, I Know, rightfully resents having her citizens regarded as people without the ability to vote as American citizens.

“By all means, let the residents of the National Capital vote. When their campaign for suffrage comes up in Congress, they will surely find all of the strength and influence of the rest of the nation behind them in their please for their constitutional rights.”


This newspaper article was transcribed from a scan of the original newspaper article on Chronicling America. It is being republished here in order to continue my advocacy for full representation for the American citizens of the District of Columbia.



PRESIDENT OPPOSED TO SUFFRAGE IN DISTRICT – The Washington Post, May 9th, 1909
|| 10/4/2009 || 9:40 am || 2 Comments Rendered || ||

PRESIDENT OPPOSED TO SUFFRAGE IN DISTRICT


Mr. Taft, in Speech at Dinner,
Favors One-Man Rule.


ANSWERS JUSTICE STAFFORD


Jurist Had Made an Eloquent Plea for Votes for Citizens of Washington– Executive Defends Wisdom of Early Statesmen in Denying Right of Ballot to Capital City– Declares That People Here Are Envied by Those of Other Municipalities.



With great vigor and with that clear insight into the ultimate meaning of the Constitution of the United States which has made him reckoned one of the foremost constitutional lawyers of the country, President Taft defended last night that provision of the Constitution which places the District of Columbia under the Federal government. He declared unequivocally that the whole people of the United States should have in its charge the government of the District, through its representatives in Congress, and that the people of the District must bow to the wisdom of the forefathers who declared in favor of this plan of government for the National Capital. The President stands, therefore, absolutely opposed to granting to the people of the District the right of suffrage.

President Taft made it equally clear that he is inclined to favor a single head for the District government as opposed to the triumvirate form of government which now exists here. He said, indeed, that he has not yet made up his mind just what changes in the form of government for the District he will recommend to Congress next fall. But he declared, in discussing the merits of the single head and the triumvirate, that he was convinced the single head was preferable where the functions of that head were merely executive. If legislative functions were attached to the head of a government, he said, the triumvirate was the better. Inasmuch as the head of the District government is merely executive, without legislative functions, the inference is clear that the President favors “one-man” rule for the District.

The President’s speech was delivered at the banquet tendered him in the New Willard ballroom by the business men of Washington. It was a dramatic finale of what resolved itself into a joint debate between the President of the United States and Justice Stafford, of the Supreme Court of the District. Justice Stafford, in an eloquent speech brought forth round after round of applause and made the blood tingle in the veins of every Washingtonian who heard him, pleaded for a voice in the national government for the people of the District. He pleaded that the 350,000 people of the District be not cut off forever from their birthright of freedom and no taxation without representation.

He asked the people be allowed to elect a senator and two representatives, who should have equal rights with other members of Congress. The people, he declared, are becoming slothful, unmindful of their duties, under the present system, but he predicted that there would come a day when, a million strong, the people of the District would not remain quiescent under the present scheme of government.

When President Taft arose to make the reply to Justice Stafford, who, as spokesman for the people, had voiced his idea of the greatest need of the District, there was the keenest interest evinced in his reply. The several hundred prominent men of affairs of the District were not kept in doubt long. The President, without a moment’s hesitation, launched into a vigorous defense of the Constitution, so far as it relates to the government of the District. He laughed at the argument of Justice Stafford, that the people of Washington were slaves, and declared that they were the envied of the peoples of all other cities of the Union.

Nevertheless, it appears that the President and Justice Stafford did not join issues directly in their debate. For Justice Stafford argued, not for suffrage in municipal government of the country and for a voice in those separate interests which directly concern the people here. The President, on the other hand argued that the framers of the Constitution had precluded all idea of the District of Columbia being governed directly by the people of the District.

List of Guests

Those who sat at the raised table at the west of the room were:

John Joy Edson, chairman of the joint committee; President Taft, Vice President Sherman, J.H. Small, president of the Board of Trade; W.F. Gude, president of the Chamber of Commerce; Speaker Cannon, Postmaster General Hitchcock, Theodore W. Noyes, Charles -J. Bell, Representative J. Van Vechten Olcott, Secretary of Commerce and Labor Nagel, Arthur C. Moses, Scott C. Bone, Representative Samuel W. Smith, Representative Vreeland, James F. Oyster, Allen D. Albert, j.r., Representative Philip Campbell, Commissioner Macfarland, Edward McLean, Representative George A. Pearre, Commissioner West, Charles C. Glover, Representative A. S. Burleson, Commissioner Judson, Clarence F. Norment, D.J. Callahan, Representative Edward L. Taylor, A. Lisner.



…secondary list was not transcribed…



This newspaper article was transcribed from a scan of the original newspaper article. The document was obtained from the Washington Post archives and is in the public domain. It is being republished here in order to continue my advocacy for full representation for the American citizens of the District of Columbia.





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