DEBATE OF MAY 2, 1888.Resolved, That the minority of the House of Representatives was justified in preventing the passage of the Direct Tax Bill by filibustering.
Brief for the Affirmative.E. L. Blossom, B. W. Palmer.
I. The bill was bad. (a) It was forced forward in an unjustifiable manner. (b) It was advanced from selfish, political and harmful motives. (c) It was an offer of plunder to the States; lobbyists were to get a large share. (d) It was part of a scheme to spend the surplus and prevent reduction of taxation. (e) It was a precursor of similar and worse bills. (f) The money was to go to States and not to people whence it came. (g) It would induce extravagance and waste like that of 1837. (h) It was a log-rolling measure and likely to pass without attention.
II. Filibustering is justifiable in such extreme cases. Filibustering was the only course (a) for a public-spirited legislator, (b) to defeat the bill, (c) to attract public attention.
III. Public opinion justified the filibustering and defeated the bill.
References: Congressional Record, April 3-13; New York Herald, April 3-13; Public Opinion, April 21; daily newspapers.
Brief for the Negative.J. A. Bailey and J. M. Gitterman.
Best single reference: Boston Globe, April 15, p. 12.
I. The refunding of the direct tax is morally, legally, and constitutionally just: Nation, April 12, 1888, p. 289; Congr. Record, 1888, p. 2935, etc.
II. The sentiment of the country was strongly in favor of the measure: Boston Globe, April 15; Congr. Record, April 3-13.
III. The bill passed the Senate almost unanimously; a large majority of the House earnestly favored the passage of the bill: Congr. Records.
IV. A small minority of the Democratic party, mostly from a single section, by "unmannerly and revolutionary filibustering," defeated the will of the majority, and blocked legislation for ten days: Daily papers, Public Opinion, Congr. Records.
V. Filibustering is a harmful and indefensible way of taking advantage of the rules of the House: Wilson, Congr. Govt., p. 80; Congr. Record, 1885-86, Feb. 24
VI. The filibustering against the refund of the direct tax will furnish an example and excuse for filibustering against tariff revision, and would justify similar action on every measure before Congress: Boston Journal, April 5 and 7; Boston Globe, April 15.