Obrázky stránek
PDF
ePub

Cl. 3. Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union according to their respective numbers, which shall be determined by [adding to] the whole number of (free) persons, [including those bound to service for a term of years, and) excluding Indians not taxed [three-fifths of all other persons). The actual enumeration shall be made within three years after the first meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent term of ten years, in such manner as they shall by law direct. The

[graphic]

CHAMBER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES IN THE CAPITOL AT

WASHINGTON

number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty thousand, but each State shall have at least one Representative: and until such enumeration shall be made the State of New Hampshire shall be entitled to choose three; Massachusetts, eight; Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, one; Connecticut, five; New York, six; New Jersey, four; Pennsylvania, eight; Delaware, one; Maryland, six; Virginia, ten; North Carolina, five; South Carolina, five; and Georgia, three.

Cl. 4. When vacancies happen in the representation from any

State the executive authority thereof shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies.

Cl. 5. The House of Representatives shall choose their Speaker and other officers; and shall have the sole power of impeachment.

7. The Nature of the House of Representatives.—The members of the House of Representatives are elected directly by the people; that is, each voter casts his ballot for the person he desires to have chosen. This branch of Congress represents the will of the people directly expressed, and is, therefore, directly responsible to them. It is often spoken of as the “popular” branch of Congress. The term of office was made comparatively short in order that the political opinions of the people may be fre. quently expressed. A member who performs his duties conscientiously and intelligently should be reëlected, because it requires at least one term to learn the rules well enough to take a prominent part in legislation. The House of Representatives has no executive function unless it be to appropriate the money necessary to carry out treaties in some cases. It has a judicial function in .the power of impeachment.

8. Who May Vote for Representatives. There are only two classes of United States officials elected by the people: members of the House of Representatives and (as will be seen farther on) members of the Electoral College. When the Constitution was made religious and property qualifications were variously required of an elector (voter) by the States. So diversified were these qualifications that if the Constitutional Convention had fixed upon some common test to be applied to all the United States, great dissatisfaction would have been caused. Therefore, it was left to the States to decide

who should vote for the Representatives in Congress. Any elector to whom the State has given the right to vote for a member of the most numerous branch (House of Representatives) of the Legislature is entitled to vote in that State at a Congressional election. The reason for this provision, at the time it was made, was that theri many men who could not vote for a Senator could vote for a Representative in a State legislature, owing to a difference in the qualifications as to age and wealth. That fact then made the lower House of Congress more truly representative of the people. Now no such differences in the qualifications of electors exist. The same persons that vote for a Representative also vote for a Senator of the State legislatures. In Idaho, Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming women who enjoy full suffrage in those States may vote for Congressmen.

9. The Residence of a Representative.-A Representative may live in any part of a State, though custom has decreed that he must be a resident of the district which he represents. In Great Britain candidates for the House of Commons often stand for election outside of the district in which they live.

10. The Federal Ratio.-The words "three-fifths of all other persons” are known as "the Federal ratio," and they constitute the second great compromise made in the Constitutional Convention (see p. 34). The phrase “all other persons” was used to avoid the word slave, which is not found in the Constitution outside of the Thirteenth Amendment.

II. Parts Void and Dead. That part of Clause 3 providing for representation by the three-fifths rule, and also the word "free" have been made void by the Thirteenth

Amendment. The part relating to the laying of direct taxes was left standing, but it is void along with the other. Clause 3 in conjunction with the Thirteenth Amendment now omits the parts enclosed by brackets.

The part providing for the number of Representatives to be elected by each State until the first census should be taken is dead. The total number was sixty-five. The largest possible number in the Continental Congress had been ninety-one. There were now to be twentysix Senators. Subtracting twenty-six from ninety-one the framers of the Constitution took the remainder to constitute the total number of members in the House of Representatives until a census should be taken.

12. Direct Taxes.—A direct tax is not defined in the Constitution; but the Supreme Court has decided that the term must be applied to a poll or capitation tax and to a tax on real or personal estate or the income therefrom. No poll tax was ever laid by Congress; but other direct taxes have been laid on three occasions-in 1798, when war with France was imminent, in the war of 1812, and in the Civil War. In laying a direct tax Congress fixes the amount to be raised, divides it by the population of the United States, and multiplies the quotient by the population of each State. The result is the amount each State must pay.

13. Apportionment of Representatives.- In the earlier apportionments Congress used to decide first upon the number of people that a member should represent. After the first census the number was made 33,000. Now the first and most important thing to be decided on is the number of Representatives. The entire population of the States, according to the last census, is

divided by this number when it has been determined; the quotient obtained is the ratio of representation. The population of each of the States entitled to more than one Representative is then divided by this ratio of representation. The quotients will be the number of members these States will have respectively, except that each State having more than half a ratio unrepresented gets an additional member. By the apportionment based on the census of 1900 the ratio of representation is 194,182. The number of Representatives is 391. The House has been made larger, for some years, with every apportionment, in order not to diminish the representation in the States that showed no increase in population and yet give increased representation to those that had become more populous.

14. Congressional Districts. The Constitution says that Representatives shall be elected by the people of the several States. Until 1842 some States elected their Representatives by districts, others at large. Since then Congress has required them to be elected by districts. The districts are made by the State legislatures, usually at the session following a new Congressional apportionment; they must be made up of contiguous territory, and contain, as nearly as possible, a population corresponding to the ratio of representation.

To gain party advantage the districts are sometimes made with much unfairness. The party in control of the Legislature at the time the districts are made maps out the State in such a way that as few districts as possible will be of the opposite political complexion. consequence some very oddly shaped districts are made. This method of districting a State is called

As a

« PředchozíPokračovat »