Anthropology Dept. Forms Eight Committees in Response to Harassment and Gender Bias Concerns
Harvard Cancels Summer 2021 Study Abroad Programming
UC Showcases Project Shedding Light on How Harvard Uses Student Data
Four Bank Robberies Strike Cambridge in Three Weeks
After a Rocky Year, Harvard Faces an Uncertain Economic Climate in 2021, Hollister Says
[Special Despach to the HARVARD CRIMSON.]
NEW HAVEN, CONN., May 10. - The first debate between the freshman debating societies of Harvard and Yale was held at Alumni Hall tonight, and resulted in a victory for Yale, after a very close contest. The audience numbered about five hundred persons and nearly filled the hall.
The subject for the debate was chosen by Yale and was: "Resolved, That the President's term be increased to six years and he be ineligible for re-election. Harvard chose the affirmative of the question.
The judges were Dr. William L. Phelps, Governor Coffin, ex-Governor Morris, and President Burton, of Trinity College.
The speaking was of a very high order and Harvard's representatives did themselves much credit. The Yale speakers showed remarkable and unexpected strength, though their delivery had noticeable faults. They were very much in earnest. The Harvard men spoke in better form, were calmer and more argumentative. Yale's argument showed a very great study of facts, although the bearing of the latter on the question was not always clearly shown. Still the argument was plausible. The Harvard speakers cited authorities more carefully, but their facts did not impress their hearers as strongly.
The first speaker for Harvard was Charles Grilk, of Davenport, Iowa. His speaking was easy and persuasive, but his delivery was rather slow.
Grilk showed by the records of the Constitutional Convention that the framers originally favored a long term with ineligibility for re-election, and only adopted four years with re-eligibility as an incident of the Electoral College; today they would probably favor the affirmative. The evils of the present arrangement are: use of office-holders by the president for political purposes as Harrison used them at Minneapolis; failure to veto bad bills for fear of offending a section of the party, as shown by pension legislation; impossibility of dignified or effective foreign policy with such frequent changes of officers; damage to business from uncertainty about legislation especially on the tariff caused by changes of party; in a word, instability and inefficiency in the government. De Tocqueville and Bryce have noticed these evils. The Confederate States recognized them and one of the changes they made in our constitution was to give the President six years and make him ineligible for re-election.
The debate was opened for the negative by C. E. Julin. He said in part that the constitutional convention of 1787 and the subsequent state convention which ratified the constitution thoroughly discussed this question and therefore it was the best system theoretically that could have been adopted. The four years term is not a perfect system but it is better than any other scheme already proposed. He then dwelt on the educational advantages to the people of frequent campaigns and pointed out the opportunities for corruption which a long term of office would offer to incompetent or unprincipled occupants.
Charles Eldridge Morgan of Germantown, Penn., was the second Harvard speaker.
Morgan briefly answered the arguments of the last speaker. He then showed how the proposed plan would remedy the evils already pointed out, emphasizing the fact that the thought given by the President to party politics is a distraction from public duties. Make him ineligible for reelection and you remove the temptation to cater to politicians for a renomination, while in the additional two years of his term he will give the government more experienced service. The change will increase the stability and efficiency of the government.
The second speaker for Yale was H. Bingham, Jr. He emphasized the advantages making the president eligable for a second term. With the prospect of re-election the President would be likely to perform his duties more conscientiously than if he was to serve but one term. In a time of peril it might be absolutely necessary for the safety of the country to re-elect a man who already understands the condition of the country and the duties of the President's office. He closed with a summary of the arguments against the proposed ineligibility amendment.
Hughes Turnley Reynolds of Rome, Ga., was the third speaker for Harvard.
Reynolds devoted much time to the Yale arguments, which he answered. He also discussed the effects of campaigns. Two in twelve years instead of three would cause less disturbance to business, while their educational benefits would be preserved, for the people would then regard presidential elections more seriously and would have time between them to consider state and local politics. The New York Herald, after the election of 1888, interviewed thirty-three prominent business men, of whom twenty-eight preferred a six-year term on this ground alone. Dr. Depew estimated the loss to business caused by that campaign at $500,000,000.
Yale's third representative was F. E. Richardson, who contested the arguments usually advanced in favor of the six year term. He maintained that a capable man and an incapable man should not have the same length of services and that civil service reform tends to lessen the President's power of putting into office men who will support him for re-election. He showed that the depression in business usually advanced as an argument against frequent elections, was greatly exaggerated and that business is more stable in America during these periods than in England during its elections. By the lengthening of the Presidents term he would become more dependent on Congress and less responsible to the people. Therefore he would be more likely to suffer impeachment at the hands of congress. Richardson closed by showing that in rendering the President more independent of the people, the policy of his party would be less likely to be carried out.
In rebuttal Charles Grilk made the first speech. He spoke energetically and summarized well the arguments and authorities of the affirmative. His rebuttal was strong but he did not analyze in a way to convince the audience.
C. E. Julin spoke in rebuttal for Yale. He made a very direct and forcible speech. He stated his arguments plausibly and carried the audience with him by his earnestness.
At ten o'clock the judges retired. While they were absent Mr. Phelps responded to repeated calls from the audience and spoke very highly of Harvard. He urged the value of debating and congratulated the Yale freshmen on the interest they had taken in it.
In giving their decision the judges complimented all the speakers highly, but decided in favor of the Yale speakers. Great cheering followed and the successful speakers were carried on the shoulders of the students to the New Haven House, where a banquet was given.
Want to keep up with breaking news? Subscribe to our email newsletter.