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field agents to enforce it, and cost $111,000. There is no analogy between the two. The Volstead Act has to do with what multitudes of people regard as the control of their personal habits. Also, it involves an interest in which huge fortunes are invested. Whenever personal habits of huge fortunes are interfered with by law, that law will naturally be expensive and difficult of enforcement. Would a national child labor law have to buck similarly powerful social forces? During the thirty-five months' existence of our two national child labor laws there was no widespread or vociferous indignation against them, no scandal in their enforcement, no corruption in their administration. There were no parades of children insisting upon their freedom of contract, nor of families reclaiming their children from an "imperialist" government. No armored motor cars were used to pursue child labor "bootleggers," and a child labor three-mile limit was never drawn around our coast to protect us from an exploiter's invasion. In fact, one looks in vain for any analogy between the two problems, unless the employers of child labor wish us to believe that they want to violate child labor laws. We refuse to believe it. A national child labor law might, therefore, expect a much different history from that of the administration of the Volstead Act.
And finally, we claim that this amendment would not give the government power to dictate the kind and amount of education of every child. The amendment does not, in fact, confer on the government any power over education. That function is reserved to the states, and could not be exercised by congress without a specific grant of that power. Every constitutional lawyer knows this, whatever his interests may induce him to argue.
We believe, from twenty years' experience, that if this amendment is not ratified generations of children in many parts of our country will have to grow up without the protection you want for the children of your own state. This is why we urge its ratification. We believe our government ought to have power to protect its children, and we believe our government is worthy to be intrusted with such power.
RESOLVED THAT THE PROPOSED TWENTIETH AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES SHOULD BE RATIFIED
(DEBATE: NEGATIVE SIDE)
Hon. Charles S. Thomas, Denver
At the outset, let me warn you that it is not possible for anyone fully to present the objections to this proposed amendment in the short space of an hour. Half a day would barely suffice. I can therefore only touch what might be called the high points which convince me that this proposed amendment, miscalled a child labor amendment, is fraught with all the consequences, actual
and potential, which the distinguished speaker who preceded me says has affected the minds of some people who are opposing it. I may be mistaken. I do not pretend to be infallible-perhaps I am-nevertheless, I can cordially agree with the first proposition of the speaker, that the amendment is in no danger of immediate ratification, and I hope he will agree with me when I assert that the danger isn't even remote. The people have pronounced their opinion of it, and once his attention has been seriously given to it, every man of reflection realizes that popular opinion does not consist in what people say, but in what they do.
You will notice that the champion of this resolution was discreetly silent regarding the verdict of Massachusetts. Just before the last election, the legislature of that state submitted this proposition to the electorate of the most intelligent commonwealth in the Union, if we are to believe the confident assurances of the inhabitants of that commonwealth. The electorate of Massachusetts, after patiently listening to both sides, by a vote of three to one, consigned this amendment to the "demnition bow wows," where it properly belongs. The opposition carried every county, every judicial district, every congressional district, every legislative district, and every city in the state; since which time the complacent members of the Congress which voted to recommend it for ratification under the crack of the whip, the threats and entreaties of lobbyists and of classes, of groups, and of expectant bureaucrats, are now trying to explain to their constituents that they didn't know it was loaded. Of course, the movement still exhibits signs of life, just as did the beheaded terrapin whom an old Swede encountered one day. To an approaching stranger he said, "Look at that; his head is gone, and he is still alive. What does it mean?" And the stranger said, "Oh, the darn thing is dead, but it doesn't know it."
But my time is flying, so let me mention some of what I have called the high points of this discussion. At the outset, Mr. Lovejoy said that a sovereign nation or a sovereign government should be endowed with power to protect its own citizens. Certainly. We have forty-eight sovereign powers in this country, and each of them has the sovereign right to legislate as it sees fit upon this subject. The federal government never was sovereign, never was designed to be, and ought not to be sovereign, except as to those subjects which were specifically delegated to it for the common good. It is a government of limited powers, and the powers which were reserved to the states by the especial declaration of the tenth amendment include those which Mr. Lovejoy's amendment would transfer from them to the central authority. To do this, however, is radically and fundamentally to change both its character and purposes by reducing the states to the status of provinces, chiefly distinguishable from the general government and from each other by geographical boundaries.
What was the occasion of the formation of the general government? And what the pressing need for it? It was the chaotic condition of Colonial affairs. These colonies had just acquired their independence, and conditions material,
political, and social were in hopeless conflict, threatening civil war. They had frequently flamed into rebellion, while commercial rivalries and resentments threatened the disintegration of the social fabric. A central government was absolutely essential to the general welfare, but its creation was a most formidable task whose performance was possible only by confining its prerogatives rigidly to national affairs-affairs affecting the people as a whole, as distinguished from those concerning the inhabitants and citizens of the different localities. The effort succeeded after many months of patient and seemingly hopeless effort, and the experiment triumphed only because it was founded upon the bed rock of local self-government.
Let me call your attention to some words of wisdom upon this subject which fell, less than two weeks ago, from the lips of the President of the United States. On Decoration Day, at Arlington, surrounded by the monuments of the dead, upon an occasion dedicated to the memory of those who died that the nation might live, he used this language:
Our country was conceived in the theory of local self-government. It has been dedicated by long practice to that wise and beneficent policy. It is the foundation principle of our system of liberty. It makes the largest promise to the freedom and development of the individual. Its preservation is worth all the efforts and all the sacrifices that it may cost.
It cannot be denied that the present tendency is not in harmony with this spirit. The individual, instead of working out his own salvation and securing his own freedom by establishing his own economic and moral independence by his own industry and his own self-mastery, tends to throw himself on some vague influence which he denominates society, and to hold that in some way responsible for the sufficiency of his support and the morality of his actions. The local political units likewise look to the states, the states look to the nation, and nations are beginning to look to some vague organization, some nebulous concourse of humanity, to pay their bills and tell them what to do. This is not local self-government. It is not American. It is not the method which has made this country what it is. We cannot maintain the western standard of civilization on that theory. If it is supported at all, it will have to be supported on the principle of individual responsibility. If that principle be maintained, the result which I believe America wishes to see produced inevitably will follow.
There is no other foundation on which freedom has ever found a permanent abiding place. We shall have to make our decision, whether we wish to maintain our present institutions, or whether we wish to exchange them for something else. If we permit some one to come to support us, we cannot prevent some one coming to govern us. If we are too weak to take charge of our own morality, we shall not be strong enough to take charge of our own liberty. If we cannot govern ourselves, if we cannot observe the law, nothing remains but to have someone else govern us, to have the law enforced against us, and to step down from the honorable abiding place of freedom to the ignominious abode of servitude.
The President concludes:
We have demonstrated in the time of war that under the Constitution we possess an indestructible union. We must not fail to demonstrate in the time of peace that we are likewise determined to possess and maintain indestructible states.
That is not the language of a state-rights Democrat, nor the fervid utterance of a public official appealing through the Congressional Record to his constituency upon a theme congenial to them. It is the formula of our scheme of government, voiced by its official head in warning against our sinister drift from its eternal
verities, and outlining the inevitable consequences of the absorption of the state by the national authorities.
I used to be a Democrat when I knew what democracy was, and if this message of Mr. Coolidge is not democracy, then I am in my dotage. It is sound doctrine for any party, a doctrine to which we must adhere if this nation shall continue for the future that majestic course which it has pursued since its foundation.
My friend has demonstrated the truth of the Shakesperian epigram that:
In law what plea though tainted and corrupt,
But seasoned with a gracious voice, obscures the show of evil.
The candid advocates of this measure do not speak of it as he does. They tell us that its purpose is to nationalize our children. Victor Berger says so. A lady who enjoys the very suggestive, and perhaps very appropriate, name of Mrs. Helbent so declares. In the common parlance of the rank and file, it is the evident purpose, and must be the logical consequence, of this amendment, when it shall reach the stage of vigorous administration, to place under the domination of a federal bureau some 35,000,000 citizens of the United States under the age of eighteen years. This will not come at once, of course-revolutions of this sort never do. But the measure is an instance of what is called boring from within. Once it is ratified, the work will begin, and once begun, it will continue. Never in all the history of humankind has absolute power been conferred upon men or seized by monarchs but that sooner or later it has been exercised. I defy the gentleman to cite a single instance in history where unlimited authority has been wielded within the limits of justice and moderation. When our Constitution was finally framed, it was replete with checks and balances. Many objected to these because they were surplusage. “We are a liberty-loving and sensible people," they said. "We will not abuse power because it is unlimited. The restraints of public opinion and the lessons of the past will be at all times effective." "But," Mr. Madison said, "let us, in addition to those already agreed upon, enact, a bill of rights by appropriate amendments. Unrestricted power is always dangerous." His adversaries, who objected that a government of delegated powers needed no declaration of rights, were reminded that the original declaration of the English people encountered similar opposition. Madison carried the day. Since the Constitution has been in operation crises have arisen when, but for the safeguards of the great bill of rights embodied in the first ten amendments, the liberty of the citizens and the rights of the individual, both to person and to property, would have been jeopardized, if not destroyed. Time has thus vindicated the foresight of these far-seeing statesmen.
And, in this connection, let me emphasize the fact that the child labor amendment, if ratified, being later in date than the first ten amendments, will be superior to them, and the rights guaranteed thereby will be subject, if not
subordinate, to any legislation which Congress may enact to make this proposed amendment effective.
My friend says that all that is asked by this amendment is to endow the sovereign nation with the same powers that the states possess, and I was much surprised when he added that every state in the Union had the power wholly to prohibit the labor of persons under the age of eighteen. Never too old to learn. I deliberately affirm that no state in the Union has such power, and cannot have, without material changes in their constitutions. What? Our legislature, meeting here at the end of this street, can enact laws prohibiting all persons under age from engaging in any employment whatever? It is preposterous. Yet this is the sort of argument with which the amendment is advocated. No legislature of any constitutional government upon this continent possesses, or should possess, that power. Yet it is deliberately proposed to delegate it to the federal government.
Let me forecast some results of this measure should it receive your approval. I do not wish to appear sensational, not even in the opinion of my opponent, yet he said something about the child labor act which the Supreme Court very properly set aside. He reminded you that under its operation nothing revolutionary occurred. Certainly not. These gentlemen were very cautious. They had good reason to anticipate the probable decision of that court, and before going to extremes, they ceased gazing at the rainbows and looked down upon their feet for awhile. Hence they became temporarily prudent, and trod the path of moderation. What they did then affords no measure for what they would attempt to do once the Supreme Court can no longer pass upon the validity of child labor legislation.
In the decision invalidating the act, that court, speaking through Mr. Justice Day, said:
The far-reaching result of upholding the Act cannot be more plainly indicated than by pointing out that if Congress can regulate matters intrusted to local authorities by prohibition of employment of individuals in interstate commerce, all freedom of commerce will be at an end, and the power of the states over local matters will be eliminated, and thus our system of government will be practically destroyed.
This is not the frenzied declamation of some excited opponent of this amendment. Am I therefore unreasonable when I affirm that in view of this judicial decision, which warns us that such statutes, administered according to their terms, will result in the destruction of our system of government; that this amendment, whose operation can be limited neither by presidents nor judges, would inevitably produce the same results? The mere fact that it is an amendment, instead of a statute, only emphasizes the certainty of the consequences of its due administration.
Legislation and authority both grow by what they feed upon, and a swelling army of applicants desiring to aid in the administration of the law sooner or later gathers as employees of the government for that purpose. It is my deliber