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ous labors of our fathers, which ought to inspire the profoundest gratitude of their descendants to the latest ages. May the fabric of constitutional liberty, reared by their wisdom, never be demolished until the last sun shall set on the last eve of time !
Civil government in the United States is administered through thpee several departments ; viz. :
LEGISLATIVE; Civil Government. II. EXECUTIVE;
1.- LEGISLATIVE DEPARTMENT. All legislative power granted by the Constitution is vested in a Congress of the United States, consisting of a Senate and House of Representatives. 2.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.
ARTICLE I.- PROPORTION. 1. The number of representatives shall not exceed one for
every thirty thousand. 5. 2. Until the first enumeration was made, the States were
allowed to choose as follows :
North Carolina, 5.
South Carolina, 5.
§ 1. At the time of the formation of the Constitution, no census having been taken, there was no accurate information in possession of the members of the Convention in regard to the population of the several States respectively. There was considerable variety of opinion on the subject ; and, in fixing the proportion of representation in the House of Representatives, entire satisfaction was not secured.
§ 2. It was settled, however, without much difficulty, that, when ever the population should be accurately ascertained, the number of representatives should not exceed one for every thirty thousand inhabitants. It was believed that this proportion would give about sixty-five members in all, the number of which the House was to be constituted until the census could be taken.
§ 3. Fifty-six was proposed at first as the most convenient number ; but, in undertaking to assign to each State its equitable proportion of this number, the members of the Convention could not agree. Then it was proposed that the number be extended to sixtyfive; when Mr. Madison proposed that this number should be doubled. But finally the Convention adopted sixty-five, believing that this would give one member for about thirty thousand.
§ 4. The following table shows the ratio of representation in the House of Representatives through the several decades, from 1790 to 1890 inclusive :
1790–1800, ratio 33,000, number of members 106.
182. 1820-1830, 40,000,
213. 1830-1840, 47,000,
240. 1840–1850, 70,680,
233. 1850-1860, " 93,420,
234. 1860-1870, “127,316,
242. 1870-1880, “130,533,
292. 1880-1890, “ 151,911,
325. § 5. The number of members in each case is fixed by law of Congress, to take effect at the beginning of the following decade. But the law refers only to the aggregate number allowed to the States
in the Union at the time of the passage of the law, and to their respective proportions of that aggregate. Of course the aggregate number is increased by the admission of new States, as each State is entitled to at least one member.
$ 6. In the decade beginning with 1860, it will be observed, the number of members was fixed at 242. But, in 1861, many seats were vacated on account of the great Civil War which broke out in the early part of that year. All the representatives from those States that passed ordinances of secession resigned their seats; but since that time, the seceding States have returned to their former relations to the Union, and are now represented in this branch of Congress.
§ 7. On account of the vacancies caused by these acts of secession, the second session of the 39th Congress, numbered but 192 in the House.
Each organized Territory is allowed one delegate, who may participate in the discussions of the house, but is not permitted to vote. But this is not a constitutional provision: it is by act of Copgress.
HOW APPORTIONED. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respectivenumbers, which shall include, 1. The whole number of free persons, excluding Indians not
taxed; 2. Those bound to service for a term of years ; 3. Indians who are taxed ; and, 4. Three-fifths of all other persons. 5. (See app. to Anal. C.)
$ 1. One of the most perplexing of all the questions that came before the Constitutional Convention was that which related to the apportionment of members of the House of Representatives among the several States. So great a change was proposed in regard to the composition of the legislative branch from that which had existed under the Confederation, that this matter of apportionment became a very difficult question to settle.
§ 2. In the first place, under the Confederation, there was but one house of Congress. In that house, the States, large and small. had equal representation, and were equal in political influence and
power. The smaller States, as might reasonably be presumed, were reluctant to surrender that advantage.
§ 3. In the second place, it was now proposed to have two houses of Congress, in one branch of which the smaller States insisted on equality of representation. This was opposed by the larger States, as it was claimed that political power should depend on population, or population and property.
§ 4. Here was a direct conflict of interests. The smaller States recognized this proposition as a blow aimed at their State sovereignty, and one which, if successful, would be humiliating to their State pride : it woull greatly diminish their power in the national councils.
$ 5. A considerable number of the States were in favor of making wealth, or wealth and population combined, the basis of representation. The Southern States, at that time, were richer than the Northern ; and this question was one of sectional interest.
$ 6. The smaller States at length yielded the point, consenting that population might be accepted as the basis of representation in the House. The larger States consented to equality of suffrage in the Senate. But now the question was, Who shall be included, and who excluded, in the representative population? Shall all persons be counted ? or shall certain classes be omitted ? On this vexed question, there was probably more asperity of feeling demonstrated than on any other that came before the Convention.
$ 7. The question finally narrowed down to this : Shall the slaves be counted the same as free wbite inhabitants? The States having the most slaves said “ Yes ;” those having but few said “ No." All the States except Massachusetts at that time held slaves. But the Northern and Eastern States held but few comparatively; and it was apparent that even these few were rapidly diminishing in numbers.
§ 8. If slaves were to be counted as free persons, this would give the Southern States a great advantage. The South insisted that they should be included in the representative basis; the North, that they should not Here was a direct conflict of opinion, based on conflict of interest. It became evident, that unless concessions were made from some quarter, or all quarters, the labors of the Convention were at an end.
§ 9. It should be remarked here, also, that the foreign slave-trade became a proininent element in the discussion. The idea of counting negroes imported from Africa, as soon as they were landed on our shores, as so many white men would count, when they were merely property, and in no manner contributed to the intelligence of the population, and of allowing that count to increase the number of Southern representatives in the House, to the minds of many of the great men in that Convention was offensive in the extreme.
§ 10. It was substantially saying to any State, North or South (for North and South were alike involved in the traffic), “ The more negroes you will import, the more members you may have in the national council; and the more you will increase the slave population, the greater shall be your political power and influence.”
§ 11. On the other hand, those States in which the slaves were most numerous, and were likely to go on increasing, contended, that although there was a sense in which the slaves were property, yet they were something more : they were human beings, brought within the pale of civilized society, and ought to be counted with the representative population.
§ 12. It will be seen, that, if the basis of representation were fixed at one member for every thirty thousand inhabitants, a State having sixty thousand slaves would be entitled to two members on account of this slave population. Thus slavery would and should, the South contended, become an element of political power.
§ 13. As with many other questions in that Convention, this was finally settled by compromise, and on the following terms :1st. Five slaves were to be counted three
persons. 2d. The slaves were to be counted on the same basis for purposes of direct taxation for the support of the General Government; and direct taxation was to be imposed in proportion to the representative population.
3d. The Northern State3 consented to a clause in the Constitution prohibiting legislative interference with the foreign slave-trade prior to 1808.
4th. The Southern States consented to the imposition of a tax or duty on imported slaves, not exceeding ten dollars for each person.