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Suffrage in the District – The Washington Post, January 24, 1880
|| 10/2/2009 || 8:52 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Suffrage in the District

The Washington Post, January 24, 1880

We cannot understand how any man who believes in the fundamental principles of republican government can seriously contend for the continued denial of suffrage to the inhabitants of the District of Columbia.

If it be true that governments derive their just power only from the consent of the governed, what justice is there in ruling this great community– a population equal to that of the State of Nevada– by a system that does not ask consent, and which assumes the right to defy the wishes of the people?

If our fathers of the Revolution were justified in protesting, rebelling, and fighting against taxation without representation, if they were not criminals, rather than heroes, for going to war on such a question, if their memories should be revered and their example held up as worthy of imitation by their descendants, how can taxes be gathered, year after year, from the property-holders of this District, who have no more votes than the negro babies Central Africa, no representation than the mummies in the Smithsonian institution?

We can conceive of no circumstances under which a Democratic Congress can deny the right of suffrage and local self-government to a peaceful, law-abiding community without direct violation of the very essence of the Democratic creed. While it is true that the Constitution devolves on Congress the duty of providing a government for this District, while it is true that the people have no recourse but to accept such provision as Congress makes, it will not be contended by any sane man that Congress has a right to violate the spirit of the Constitution and set up the most detested features of despotic systems of government in the Capital of this Republic.

Here, if anywhere on the continent, we ought to be able to present to all the world a fair illustration of the practicability and advantages of Republican institutions. But we can’t do this in cities that are denied the ballot. And when we say that this great and intelligent community is incapable of self-government and not fit to be trusted with the ballot, we present a strong condemnation of the basis of our whole system; we direct encouragement to the opponents of free institutions.

It is said that suffrage has been abused here. Granted. There isn’t a doubt that it was shamefully abused. There is no question that great wrongs were perpetrated and that numerous evils prevailed under the system that was abolished in 1874. But where is the city, where is the State, in which suffrage has not been abused? Where is the community in which righteousness has always been voted up and iniquity always voted down? Where are the people who have made no mistakes in the selection of officers? Where, on this continent, shall we look for a town, city, county or State in which the ballot has always worked for the greatest good of the greatest number? If suffrage is to be denied to all who fail to use it always with wisdom and justice, let us call in a king and down with the ballot-box.

There is reason to believe that many of the evils of the past will not be repeated here when self-government is re-established. When corruption had its carnival here it was having an equally jolly time in many other places. That era is past. All over the country there has been great improvement in municipal management. Public plunderers have been brought to grief and better men have been put in authority. With the experience of the past as a warning and guide, the people of this District would avoid the reproaches and scandals which caused the last radical change in their government.

But because it is a right; because it is a republican, because it is democratic, because it is in accordance with the great principles on which this Republic stands because no Democrat can consistently deny it, we are compelled to favor the demand that the ballot be restored to this community.


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.



A Gigapan of West Sahara Lake Circles Quilt #2
|| 3/10/2009 || 11:25 pm || + Render A Comment || ||


Last month I decided to upload my map of the New York Public Library to Gigapan to see what it looked like. Today I uploaded my most recent map for you to check out. I’m not sure if I’ll continue to upload my maps here because it takes a long time to open them up and resave them as jpegs, but I find them quite fun to look at. Maybe the next one I’ll have something hidden in the map and make it into a quasi-Where’s Waldo style game.


If you are subscribed to my RSS feed and are reading this on through your RSS reader, please click here to view it on my website or click here to view it on the Gigapan website.


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West Sahara Lake Circles Quilt #2
|| 3/8/2009 || 4:59 pm || Comments Off on West Sahara Lake Circles Quilt #2 || ||

: rendered at 18,000 X 12,000 :
West Sahara Lake Circles Quilt #2 by Nikolas R. Schiller

Using this portion of West Sahara Lake Circles Quilt to make this derivative map.

Upon closer inspection of the aerial photography, I think I know where all that water from Lake Mead went. Swimming pools!

View the Google Map of the West Sahara Lake neighborhood in Las Vegas, Nevada

: detail :

View the rest of the map details:

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West Sahara Lake Circles Quilt
|| 3/4/2009 || 1:05 pm || Comments Off on West Sahara Lake Circles Quilt || ||

: rendered at 18,000 X 12,000 :
West Sahara Lake Circles Quilt by Nikolas R. Schiller

Last night, after watching the video in my previous posting, I decided to look around the satellite/aerial imagery of Las Vegas to gauge the level of sprawl. Upon further inspection I discovered how much of Las Vegas is composed of large tracts of suburban, low-density housing. I knew there was a lot of this type of development, but it wasn’t until I started looking closely did I see the pattern of the development.

The neighborhood of Las Vegas that I chose to use for today’s map is called West Sahara. It’s a large retirement community that allows only people aged 55 or older to be residents. I guess you could say that I’m happy that I’m not even allowed to live there for at least 27 years. But as I mused before, will there be any water left in 2036 when I qualify to live in neighborhood? I jest, I would never live there– put me in the mountains or a city, but not in a cookie cutter house surrounded by only people my age.

Anyways, I chose the location because it features one of my favorite transportation designs, the traffic circle. I might make a derivative map of this location later today…

View the Google Map of the West Sahara Lake neighborhood in Las Vegas, Nevada

: detail :

View the rest of the map details:

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YouTube Video of Landsat Satellite Images of Las Vegas (1984-2009)
|| || 12:23 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

I came across this animated slideshow last week and felt it was worthy to share here. I have an old USGS book that uses earlier Landsat satellite imagery showing roughly the same thing, but this version is newer and shows more growth. What I thought was the most interesting, beyond the fact that human growth looks like cancer, is seeing Lake Mead shrink considerably over the years. When you watch the video above, look closely at the lake on the far right side to see what I’m talking about. This begs the question, as Las Vegas grows and Lake Mead shrinks, will or should the city stop growing when the water runs out? Since its a man-made reservoir, I doubt it will go dry up anytime soon, but I guess the larger issue to me is how sustainable can living in the desert really be? There is quite a bit of space in the Las Vegas area that has yet to built on, but should it be? Should there be a limit to the growth of the city so that the city become less dominated by low-density housing? If people want cookie cutter houses I can’t say much about their tastes, but I will say that there is a carrying capacity of all environments and I’m curious about when and if Las Vegas will reach that level.


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Nikolas Schiller is a second-class American citizen living in America's last colony, Washington, DC. This blog is my on-line repository of what I have created or found on-line since May of 2004. If you have any questions or comments, please contact:

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  • thank you,
    come again!