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Question: Resolved, That the present system of caucus nomination ought to be abandoned.
Brief for the Affirmative.
E. L. HOUSE and I. W. HOWERTH.Best general references: Nineteenth Cent., IV, 695 (Oct. 1878); New Englander XXXIV, 473 (July 1875); Ibid, 734 (Oct. 1875); Christian Examiner, LXXXVII 137 (Sept. 1869); Pol. Scl. Quar., III, 99 (M'ch. 1888); N. A. Rev., vol. 137, p. 257 (Sept. 1883); Atl. M. LII, 323 (Sept. 1883); Bryce, American Commonwealth, chaps. LVII - LXXIV; F. Whitridge, Econ. Tracts. No. 8.
I. It is opposed to democratic principles - (a) It prevents free thought and free speech: Nineteenth Cent., IV, 712. - (b) It defeats the people's will: Fort. R. XXX, 724 (1878). - (c) It centralizes power in the hands of a few: New Englander, XXXIV, 735.
II. It is demoralizing in its effects. - (a) Upon candidates: Atl. Mo., LII, 323. - (b) Upon voters: Nineteenth Cent, IV, 708. - (c) Upon legislators: New Englander, XXXIV, 736. - (d) Upon legislation: Ibid.
III. It is fatal to good government. - (a) It corrupts the public service; Christian Ex., LXXXVII, 141. - (b) It drives good men out of politics: N. A. Rev. vol. 137, p. 257. - (c) It favors the politician: Nineteenth Cent., IV, 710. - (d) It puts government into the hands of irresponsible parties: Christian Ex., LXXXVII, 141. - (e) It kills politically those who oppose it: Nineteenth Cent., IV, 706.
IV. It is unnecessary. - (a) Party government does not require it: New Englander, XXXIV, 476. - (b) A better system can be found.
Brief for the Negative.
F. W. DALLINGER and S. A. MCINTIRE.Best general references: Ford's American Citizen's Manual, Part I. pp. 91-97; Polit. Sci. Quart. III. 106; The Nation, vol. 8 p. 86; Penn. Monthly, III. 177-192; Roosevelt, Essays on Practical Politics, No. 2; Speech, Hon. Adin Thayer, Boston Sunday Herald, Oct. 9, 1881.
I. The caucus is a very old American institution; Gordon, Hist. of Am. Rev. vol. 1, p. 363. (a) It first appeared in New England because of the wide extension of suffrage, - (b) It has spread with the extension of the suffrage. - (c) Practically the only change has been the choice of delegates to conventions: Works of John Adams, Vol. 2, p. 144. - (d). This was a natural and necessary development: Am. Cit. Manual p. 93.
II. The caucus is the simplest and most practicable method of nomination ever yet devised. - (a) It is simply a "town meeting" of the party voters. - (b) The substitutes thus far suggested are impracticable. - (1) The system of self nominations would not be tolerated. (2) The system of primary elections involves a needless complication.
III. The evils complained of at present are not due to our present caucus system. - (a) These evils are nothing new: Niles' Register, vol. 31, pp. 85 and 363. - (b) The liability of their occurrence is inherent in human nature and in popular government. - (c) No system of nomination can make citizens do their duty.
IV. The true remedy for the existing evil of bad nominations is not an abandonment of the caucus system, but in reform. - (a) Civil service reform. - (1) The overthrow of the spoils system will remove the chief incentive to machine management of caucuses: R. H. Dana, Forum. II. 496. - (b) Introduction of state regulation of caucuses: Penn. Monthly, vol. 12, p. 184; Mass. Acts of 1888, chap. 441, Acts of 1889, chap. 413, sec. 3; Acts of 1892, chap. 416. - (c) Education of the voter: Hon. Adin Thayer's speech, Boston Herald, Oct. 9, 1881.
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