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´╗┐Title: Elements of Debating
Author: Lyon, Leverett S. (Leverett Samuel), 1885-1959
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Elements of Debating" ***

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A Manual for Use in High Schools and Academies



Head of the Department of Civic Science in the Joliet Township High School



This book pretends but little to originality in material. Its aim is
to offer the old in a form that shall meet the needs of young students
who are beginning work in debate. The effort has been made only to
present the elements of forensic work so freed from technicality that
they may be apparent to the student with the greatest possible economy
of time and the least possible interpretation by the teacher.

It is hoped that the book may serve not only those schools where
debating is a part of the regular course, but also those institutions
where it is a supplement to the work in English or is encouraged as a
"super-curriculum" activity.

Although the general obligation to other writers is obvious, there is
no specific indebtedness not elsewhere acknowledged, except to Mr.
Arthur Edward Phillips, whose vital principle of "Reference to
Experience" has, in a modified form, been made the test for evidence.
It is my belief that the use of this principle, rather than the
logical and technical forms of proof and evidence, will make the
training of debate far more applicable in other forms of public
speaking. My special thanks are due to Miss Charlotte Van Der Veen and
Miss Elizabeth Barns, whose aid has added technical exactness to
almost every page. I wish to thank also Miss Bella Hopper for
suggestions in preparing the reference list of Appendix I. Most of
all, I am indebted to the students whose interest has been a constant
stimulus, and whose needs have been to me, as they are to all who
teach, the one sure and constant guide.
























  I. The purpose of discourse

  II. The forms of discourse:
    1. Narration
    2. Description
    3. Exposition
    4. Argumentation

When we pause to look about us and to realize what things are really
going on, we discern that everyone is talking and writing. Perhaps we
wonder why this is the case. Nature is said to be economical. She
would hardly have us make so much effort and use so much energy
without some purpose, and some purpose beneficial to us. So we
determine that the purpose of using language is to convey meaning, to
give ideas that we have to someone else.

As we watch a little more closely, we see that in talking or writing
we are not merely talking or writing something. We see that everyone,
consciously or unconsciously, clearly or dimly, is always trying to do
some definite thing. Let us see what the things are which we may be
trying to do.

If you should tell your father, when you return from school, how
Columbus discovered America on October 12, 1492, and should try to
make him see the scene on shipboard when land was first sighted as
clearly as you see it, you would be describing. That kind of discourse
would be called description. Its purpose is to make another see in his
mind's eye the same image or picture that we have in our own.

On the other hand, if you wished to tell him the story of the
discovery of America, you would do something quite different. You
would tell him not only of the first sight of land, but of the whole
series of incidents which led up to that event. If he could follow you
readily, could almost live through the various happenings that you
related, you would be telling your story well. That kind of discourse
is not description but narration.

Suppose, then, that your father should say: "Now tell me this: What is
the difference between the discovery of America and the colonization
of America?" You would now have a new task. You would not care to make
him see any particular scene or live through the events of discovery
but to make him _understand something which you understand_. You would
show him that the discovery of America meant merely the fact that
America was found to be here, but that colonization meant the coming,
not of the explorers, but of the permanent settlers. This form of
discourse which makes clear to someone else an idea that is already
clear to us is called exposition.

And now suppose your father should say: "Well, you have told me a
great deal which I may say is interesting enough, but it seems to me
rather useless. What is the purpose of all this study? Why have you
spent so much time learning of this one event?" You would of course
answer: "Because the discovery of America was an event of great

He might reply: "I still do not believe that." Then you would say:
"I'll prove it to you," or, "I'll convince you of it." You would then
have undertaken to do what you are now trying to learn how to do
better--to argue. _For argumentation is that form of discourse that we
use when we attempt to make some one else believe as we wish him to
believe._ "Argumentation is the art of producing in the mind of
someone else a belief in the ideas which the speaker or writer wishes
the hearer or reader to accept."[1]

You made use of argumentation when you urged a friend to take the
course in chemistry in your school by trying to make him believe it
would be beneficial to him. You used argumentation when you urged a
friend to join the football squad by trying to make him believe, as
you believe, that the exercise would do him good. A minister uses
argumentation when he tries to make his congregation believe, as he
believes, that ten minutes spent in prayer each morning will make the
day's work easier. The salesman uses argumentation to sell his goods.
The chance of the merchant to recover a rebate on a bill of goods that
he believes are defective depends entirely on his ability to make the
seller believe the same thing. On argumentation the lawyer bases his
hope of making the jury believe that his client is innocent of crime.
All of us every day of our lives, in ordinary conversation, in our
letters, and in more formal talks, are trying to make others believe
as we wish them to believe. Our success in so doing depends upon our
skill in the art of argumentation.


1. Out of your study or reading of the past week, give an illustration
of: (1) narration; (2) description; (3) exposition; (4) argumentation.

2. During the past week, on what occasions have you personally made
use of: (1) narration; (2) description; (3) exposition; (4)

3. Explain carefully the distinction between description and
exposition. In explaining this distinction, what form of discourse
have you used?

4. Define argumentation.

5. Skill in argumentation is a valuable acquisition for:

(Give three reasons).






  I. The forms of argumentation:
    1. Written.
    2. Oral.

  II. The forms of oral argumentation:
    1. General discussion.
    2. Debate.

  III. The qualities of debate:
    1. Oral.
    2. Judges present.
    3. Prescribed conditions.
    4. Decision expected.

Now, since we have decided upon a definition of argumentation, let us
see what we mean by the term "debate" as it will be used in this work.

We have said that argumentation is the art of producing in the mind of
someone a belief in something in which we wish him to believe.

Now it is obvious that this can be accomplished in different ways.
Perhaps the most common method of attempting to bring someone to
believe as we wish is the oral method. On your way to school you meet
a friend and assert your belief that in the coming football game the
home team will win. You continue: "Our team has already beaten teams
that have defeated our opponent of next Saturday, and, moreover, our
team is stronger than it has been at any time this season." When you
finish, your friend replies: "I believe you are right. We shall win."

You have been carrying on oral argumentation.

If, when you had finished, your friend had not agreed with you, your
effort would have been none the less argumentation, only it would have
been unsuccessful. If you had written the same thing to your friend in
a letter, your letter would have been argumentative.

Suppose your father were running for an office and should make a
public speech. If he tried to make the audience believe that the best
way to secure lower taxes, better water, and improved streets would be
through his election, he would be making use of oral argumentation. If
he should do the same thing through newspaper editorials, he would be
using written argumentation.

Argumentation, then, may be carried on either in writing or orally,
and may vary from the informality of an ordinary conversation or a
letter to a careful address or thoughtful article.

What, then, is debate as we shall use the word in this work, and what
is the relation of argumentation to debate? The term "debate" in its
general use has, of course, many senses. You might say: "I had a
debate with a friend about the coming football game." Or your father
might say: "I heard the great Lincoln and Douglas debates before the
Civil War." Although both of you would be using the term as it is
generally used, you would not be using it as it will be used in this
book, or as it is best that a student of argumentation and debate
should use it.

The term "debate," in the sense in which students of these subjects
should use it, means _oral argumentation carried on by two opposing
teams under certain prescribed regulations, and with the expectation
of having a decision rendered by judges who are present_. This is
"debate" used, not generally, as you used it in saying, "I debated
with a friend," but technically, as we use it when we refer to the
Yale-Harvard debate or the Northern Debating League. In order to keep
the meaning of this term clearly in mind, use it only when referring
to such contests as these. In speaking of your argumentative
conversation with your friend or of the forensic contests between
Lincoln and Douglas, use the term "discussion" rather than "debate."

It is true that the controversy between Lincoln and Douglas conformed
to our definition of "debate" in being oral; moreover, at least in
sense, two teams (of one man each) competed, but there were no judges,
and no direct decision was rendered.

Since argumentation, then, is the art of producing in the mind of
someone else a belief in the idea or ideas you wish to convey, and
debate is an argumentative contest carried on orally under certain
conditions, it is clear that argumentation is the broader term of the
two and that debate is merely a specialized kind of argumentation.
Football is exercise, but there is exercise in many other forms.
Debate is argumentation, but one can also find argumentation in many
other forms.

The following diagram makes clear the work we have covered thus far.
It shows the relation between argumentation and debate, and shows that
the specialized term "debate" has the same relation to "discourse"
that "football" has to "exercise."

                  / Miscellaneous
                  | Swimming
           / Play | Skating
  Kinds of |      | Rolling hoop   / Other athletic games
  exercise |      \ Athletic games \ Football
           \ Work

            / Description
  Kinds of  | Narration
  discourse | Exposition
            \ Argumentation  / Written
                             \ Oral    / General discussion
                                       \ Debate


1. Be prepared to explain orally in class, as though to _someone who
did not know_, the difference between "argumentation" and "debate."

2. Set down three conditions that must exist before argumentation
becomes debate.

3. Have you ever argued? Orally? In writing?

4. Have you ever debated? Did you win?

5. Which is the broader term, "argumentation," or "debate?" Why?

6. Compose some sentences, illustrating the use of the terms "debate"
and "argumentation."



  I. The three requirements stated.

  II. How to make clear to the audience what one wishes
  them to believe, by:

    1. Stating the idea which one wishes to have accepted
    in the form of a definite assertion, which is:

      (1) Interesting.

      (2) Definite and concise.

      (3) Single in form.

      (4) Fair to both sides.

    2. Defining the "terms of the question" so that they
    will be:

      (1) Clear.

      (2) Convincing.

      (3) Consistent with the origin and history of the

    3. Restating the whole question in the light of the

To debate successfully it is necessary to do three things:

1. To make perfectly clear to your audience what you wish them to

2. To show them why the proof of certain points (called issues) should
make them believe the thing you wish them to believe.

3. To prove the issues.

Each of these three things is a distinct process, involving several
steps. One is as important as another.

It is impossible to prove the issues until we have found them, but
equally impossible to show the audience what the issues are until we
have shown what the thing is which we wish those issues to support.
First, then, let us see what we mean by making perfectly clear what
you wish to have the audience believe.

Suppose that you should meet a friend who says to you: "I am going to
argue with you about examinations." You might naturally reply: "What
examinations?" If he should say, "All examinations: the honor system
in all examinations," you might very reasonably still be puzzled and
ask if by all examinations he meant examinations of every kind in
grade school, high school, and college, as well as the civil service
examinations, and what was meant by the honor system.

He would now probably explain to you carefully how several schools
have been experimenting with the idea of giving all examinations
without the presence of a teacher or monitor of any sort. During these
examinations, however, it has been customary to ask the students
themselves to report any cheating that they may observe. It is also
required that each student state in writing, at the end of his paper,
upon honor, that he has neither given nor received aid during the
test. "To this method," your friend continues, "has been given the
name of the honor system. And I believe that this system should be
adopted in all examinations in the Greenburg High School."

He has now stated definitely what he wishes to make you believe, and
he has done more; he has explained to you the meaning of the terms
that you did not understand. These two things make perfectly clear to
you what he wishes you to believe, and he has thus covered the first
step in argumentation.

From this illustration, then, several rules can be drawn. In the first
place your friend stated that he wished to argue about examinations.
Why could he not begin his argument at once? Because he had not yet
asked you to believe anything about examinations. He might have said,
"I am going to explain examinations," and he could then have told you
what examinations were. That would have been exposition. But he could
not _argue_ until he had made a definite assertion about the term

Rule one would then be: State in the form of a definite assertion the
matter to be argued.

In order to be suitable for debating, an assertion or, as it is often
called, proposition, of this kind should conform to certain

1. It should be one in which both the debaters and the audience are
interested. Failure to observe this rule has caused many to think
debating a dry subject.

2. It should propose something different from existing conditions.
Argument should have an end in view. Your school has no lunchroom.
Should it have one? Your city is governed by a mayor and a council.
Should it be ruled by a commission? Merely to debate, as did the men
of the Middle Ages, how many angels could dance on the point of a
needle, or, as some more modern debaters have done, whether Grant was
a greater general than Washington, is useless.

The fact that those on the affirmative side propose something new
places on them what is called the _burden of proof_. This means that
they must show why there is _need_ of a change from the present state
of things. When they have done this, they may proceed to argue in
favor of the _particular change_ which they propose.

3. It should make a single statement about a single thing:

(Correct) In public high schools secret societies should be

(Incorrect) In public high schools and colleges secret societies and
teaching of the Bible should be prohibited.

4. It must be expressed with such definiteness that both sides can
agree on what it means.

5. It must be expressed in such a way as to be fair to both sides.

But you noticed that your friend had not only to state the question
definitely, but to explain what the terms of the proposition meant. He
had to tell you what the "honor system" was.

Our second rule, then, for making the question clear, is: In the
proposition as stated, explain all terms that may not be entirely
clear to your audience.

And in explaining or defining these terms, there are certain things
that you must do. You must make the definition clear, or it will be no
better than the term itself. This is not always easy. In defining
"moral force" a gentleman said: "Why, moral force is er--er--moral
force." He did not get very far on the way toward making his term
clear. Be sure that your definition really explains the term.

Then one must be careful not to define in a circle. Let us take, for
example, the assertion or proposition, "The development of labor
unions has been beneficial to commerce." If you should attempt to
define "development" by saying "development means growth," you would
not have made the meaning of the term much clearer; and if in a
further attempt to explain it, you could only add "And growth means
development," you would be defining in a circle.

There is still another error to be avoided in making your terms clear
to your audience. This error is called begging the question. This
occurs when a term is defined in such a way that there is nothing left
to be argued.

Suppose your friend should say to you: "I wish to make you believe
that the honor system should be used in all examinations in the
Greenburg High School." You ask him what he means by the "honor
system." He replies: "I mean the best system in the world." Is there
anything left to argue? Hardly, if his definition of the term honor
system is correct, for it would be very irrational indeed to disagree
with the assertion that the best system in the world should be adopted
in the Greenburg High School.

To summarize: _Define terms carefully;_ make the definition clear; do
not define in a circle, and do not beg the question.

As you have already noticed, terms in argumentation, such as "honor
system," often consist of more than one word. They sometimes contain
several words. "A term [as that word is used in debating and
argumentation] may consist of any number of names, substantive or
objective, with the articles, prepositions, and conjunctions required
to join them together; still it is only one term if it points out or
makes us think of only one thing or object or class of objects."[2] In
such cases a dictionary is of little use. Take the term "honor
system," the meaning of which was not clear to you. A dictionary
offers no help. How is the student who wishes to discuss this question
to decide upon the meaning of the term? Notice how your friend made it
clear to you. He gave a history of the question that he wished to
argue. He showed how the term "honor system" came into use and what it
means where that system of examinations is in vogue. This, then, is
the only method of making sure of the meaning of a term: to study the
history of the question and see what the term means in the light of
that history. This method has the added advantage that a term defined
in this way will not only be entirely clear to your audience, but will
also tend to convince them.

A dispute may arise between yourself and an opponent as to the meaning
of a term. He may be relying on a dictionary or the statement of a
single writer, while you are familiar with the history of the
question. Under those circumstances it will be easy for you to show
the judges and the audience that, although he may be using the term
correctly in a general way, he is quite wrong when the special
question under discussion is considered.

To make this more clear, let us take a specific instance. Suppose that
you are debating the proposition, "Football Should Be Abolished in
This High School." Football, as defined in the dictionary, differs
considerably from the game with which every American boy is familiar.
Further, the dictionary defines both the English and the American
game. If your opponent should take either of these definitions, he
would not have much chance of convincing an American audience that it
was correct. Or if he should define football according to the rules of
the game as it was played five or ten years ago, he would be equally

You, on the other hand, announce that in your discussion you will use
the term "football" as that game is described in _Spaulding's present
year's rule book for the American game_, and that every reference you
make to plays allowed or forbidden will be on the basis of the latest
ruling. You then have a definition based on the history of the
question. As you can see, the case for or against English football
would be different from that of the American game. In the same way the
case for or against football as it was played ten years ago would be
very different from the case of football as it is played today.

All this does not mean that definitions found in dictionaries or other
works of reference are never good; it means simply that such
definitions should not be taken as final until the question has been
carefully reviewed. Try to think out for yourself the meaning of the
question. Decide what it involves and how it has arisen, or could
arise in real life. Then, when you do outside reading on the subject,
keep this same idea in mind. Keep asking yourself: "How did this
question arise? Why is it being discussed?" You will be surprised to
find that when you are ready to answer that question you will have
most of your reading done, for you will have read most of the
arguments upon it. Then you are ready to make it clear to the

When you have thus given a clear and convincing definition of all the
terms, it is a good plan to restate the whole question in the light of
those definitions.

For instance, notice the question of the "honor system." The original
question might have been concisely stated: "All Examinations in the
Greenburg High School Should Be Conducted under the Honor System."

After you have made clear what you mean by the "honor system," you
will be ready to restate the question as follows: "The question then
is this: No Teacher Shall Be Present during Any Examination in the
Greenburg High School, and Every Student Shall Be Required to State on
Honor That He Has Neither Given Nor Received Aid in the Examinations."

Your hearers will now see clearly what you wish them to believe.

Thus far, then, we have seen that to debate well we should have a
question which is of interest to ourselves and to the audience. The
first step toward success is to make clear to our hearers the
proposition presented for their acceptance. This may be done:

1) By stating the idea that we wish them to accept in the form of an
assertion, which should be:

  a) interesting

  b) definite and concise

  c) single in form

  d) fair to both sides

2) By defining the "terms of the question" so that they will be:

  a) clear

  b) convincing

  c) consistent with the origin and history of the question

3) By restating the whole question in the light of our definitions.


1. State the three processes of successful debating.

2. What are the three necessary steps in the first process?

3. What qualities should a proposition for debate possess?

4. Give a proposition that you think has these qualities.

5. Without reference to books, define all the terms of this
proposition. Follow the rules but make the definitions as brief as

6. Make some propositions in which the following terms shall be used:
(1) "Athletics," (2) "This City," (3) "All Studies," (4) "Manual
Training," (5) "Domestic Science."

7. Point out the weakness in the following propositions (consider
propositions always with your class as the audience): (1) "Physics,
Chemistry, and Algebra Are Hard Studies." (2) "Only Useful Studies
Should Be Taught in This School." (3) "All Women Should Be Allowed to
Vote and Should Be Compelled by Law to Remove Their Hats in Church."
(4) "Agricultural Conditions in Abyssinia Are Superior to Those in

8. Compare the dictionary definition of the following terms with the
meaning which the history of the question has given them in actual

  (1) Domestic science.

  (2) Aeroplane exhibitions.

  (3) The international Olympic games.

  (4) Township high schools.

  (5) National conventions of political parties.



  I. What the "issues" are.

  II. How to determine the issues.

  III. The value of correct issues.

When you have made perfectly clear to your hearers what you wish them
to believe, the next step is to show them why they should believe it.
The first step in this process, as we saw at the beginning of Lesson
III, is to see what points, if proved, will make them believe it.

These points, as we call them, are better known as "issues." The
issues are really questions, the basic questions on which your side
and the other disagree. The negative would answer "No" to these
issues, the affirmative would say "Yes."

The issues when stated in declarative sentences are the fundamental
reasons why the affirmative believes its proposition should be

A student might be arguing with himself whether he would study law or
medicine. He would say to himself: "These are the issues: For which am
I the better adapted? Which requires the more study? Which offers the
better promise of reward? In which can I do the more good?"

Should he argue with a friend in order to induce him to give up law
and to study medicine, he would use similar issues. He would feel
that if he could settle these questions he could convince his friend.
Now, however, he would state them as declarative sentences and say:
"You are more adapted to the profession of medicine; you can do more
good in this field," etc. If the friend should open the question, he
would be in the position of a man on the negative side of a debate. He
would state the issues negatively as his reasons. He would say: "I am
not so well adapted to the study of medicine; it offers less promise
of reward," etc.

Each of these would in turn depend upon other reasons, but every
proposition will depend for its acceptance on the proof of a few main
issues. Perhaps this point can be made clearer by an illustration.
Suppose we should take hold of one small rod which we see in the
framework of a large truss bridge and should say: "This bridge is
strong because this rod is here." Our statement would be only
partially true. The rod might be broken, and although the strength of
the bridge as a whole might be slightly weakened, it would not fall.
But suppose we should say: "This bridge really rests on these four
great steel beams which run down to the stone abutment. If I can see
that these four steel beams are secure, I can believe in the security
of the bridge." So a mechanical engineer shows us that certain rods
and bars of the framework hold up one beam, and how similar rods and
bars sustain a second, and that yet other rods and bars distribute the
weight that would press too heavily on a third, and so at last we are
convinced that the bridge is safe. It is not because we have been
shown that several of the bolts and braces are strong, but because we
have been shown that the four great beams, upon which it rests, are

Thus it is with everything in which we believe. We do not believe that
taxes are just because the government must have money to pay the
president or to buy uniforms for the army officers. These things must
be done, but they are incidentals. They are facts, but they are like
the small braces of the bridge. We believe that taxation is just,
because the government must have money for its work. Paying the
president and buying uniforms are details of this more fundamental

In the same way we might say: "Athletics should be encouraged in high
schools because it will make John Brown, who will participate, more
healthy." That is a reason, but again only a small supporting reason.
We might rather choose a fundamental reason, which this slight reason
would in turn support, and it would be: "Athletics should be
encouraged in high schools because they improve the health of the
students that participate."

In a recent debate between two large high schools on the proposition:
"_Resolved_, That Contests within High Schools Should Be Substituted
for Contests between High Schools," one of the contesting teams took
the following as issues:

  1. Contests within high, schools will accomplish the real purpose of
  contests better than will contests between schools.

  2. Contests within high schools are the more democratic.

  3. Contests within high schools can be made to work successfully.

When these three facts had been demonstrated, there was little left to
urge against the claim.

Recently among the universities of a certain section, this question
was discussed: "_Resolved_, That the Federal Government Should Levy a
Graduated Income Tax." (Such tax was conceded as constitutional.) One
university decided upon these as the issues:

  1. Does the government need additional revenue?

  2. Admitting that additional revenue is needed, is a graduated income
  tax the best way of securing the money?

  3. Could a graduated income tax be successfully collected?

Here again if the debaters favoring a graduated income could show that
the government does need the money, that the proposed tax is the best
way to get it, and that such a tax would work in practice, they would
make the audience believe their proposition. If the speakers on the
negative side could show that the income of the federal government is
sufficient, that, even if additional revenue is needed, this is a poor
way to obtain it, or that this plan, though good in theory, is
impracticable, they would have a good case. Thus in every question
that is two-sided enough to be a good question for debate, there are
certain fundamental issues upon which the disagreement between the
affirmative and the negative can be shown to rest. When either side
has answered "Yes" or "No" to these issues and has given reasons for
its answer that will find acceptance in the minds of the audience and
of the judges, it has won the debate. It is easy, then, to see why
"determining the issues," and showing the audience what these issues
are, is the second step in successful debating.

Although there is no fixed rule or touchstone by which an issue can
immediately be determined, there are several rules which will aid in
finding them.

  1. In all your thinking and reading upon the question, constantly try
  to decide: (1) What will the other side admit? (2) Is there anything
  that I am thinking of in connection with this question that is not
  essential to it?

  2. Do not try to make a final determination of the issues until you
  are sure you understand the question.

  3. Be always ready to change your issues when you see that they are
  not fundamental.

With these general rules in mind, think the question over carefully.
This process of determing the issues can, and should, go on at the
same time as the process of learning what the question means. One
helps the other. Having decided what will be the issues of the debate,
set those issues down under appropriate heads; such as, "Is
desirable," "Is needed," "Would work well," etc. Whenever you think of
a reason why a thing is not needed, would not work, etc., put that
down in a similar way. Now read more carefully (see "Reading
References," Appendix I) on both sides of the question, and, whenever
you find a reason for or against the proposition, set it down as
above. The best method of doing this is to have a small pack of plain
cards, perhaps two and one-half by four inches. Use one for each
reason that you put down. As you think and read you will determine
many reasons for the truth or falsity of the proposition. Gradually
you will see that a great many of them are not so important as others
and that they do not bear directly on the question, but in reality
support some more important reason that you have set down. As you
begin to notice this, go through your pack of cards and arrange them
in the order of importance. Begin a new pile with every statement that
seems to bear directly upon the proposition and put under it those
statements that seem to support it. You will soon find that you have
all your cards in two or three piles. Now examine the cards which you
have on the top of each pile. See if the proof of these statements
would convince any person that you are right. If so you have probably
found the issues.

_Always think first, then read, then think again_.

If you have determined the issues wisely, it will be easy in the
debate itself to show the audience and the judges what those issues
are. You will have a tremendous advantage over your opponent, who in
his haste or laziness may have chosen what are not the real issues of
the question. He may present well the material that he has, but if
that material does not support the _fundamental issues_ of the
question, you are right in calling the attention of the judges to that

Few debates are won on the platform. They are won by thoughtful
preparation. Be prepared.


1. Give in your own words, as briefly as you can, a definition of the
term "the issues of a question."

2. Give one illustration of your own of the issues of a question.

3. What is meant by "determining the issues"?

4. Will the affirmative and the negative teams always agree on the

5. Can a question have two entirely different sets of issues? Why, or
why not?

6. If there can be only one correct set of issues for a question, and
you believe that you have determined those, what must you do in the
debate if your opponents advance different issues?

7. Think over carefully and set down what you believe are the issues
of one of the following propositions. Frame the issues as questions.

(1) a) Football Should Be Abolished in This [your own] School.

b) Football Should Be Installed as a Regular Branch of Athletics in
This [your own] School.

  (2) a) Manual Training  /Should Be Established in This
         Domestic Science \ [your own] School.

      b) Manual Training   /    /Boys   /Should Be Made Compulsory
                          | For|       |in This [your own]
         Domestic Science  \    \Girls  \  School.

8. Are there any terms in any of the above propositions which should
be made more clear to an average audience? Are there any terms on the
meaning of which two opposing teams might disagree?

9. Define one such term so that it would be clear and convincing to an
audience not connected with the school.

10. Give two reasons why you believe it is or is not beneficial to
study argumentation and debating.

11. If you were debating the question, "This [your own school] Should
Establish a School Lunch-Room," would you take as one of the issues,
"All students could obtain a warm meal at noon." Why, or why not?



  I.   What "proof" is.

  II.  A consideration of how "proof" of anything is accomplished.

  III. An infallible test of what the audience will believe.

  IV.  The material of proof-evidence.

  V.   Evidence and proof compared.

Having determined what the issues are, and having shown the audience
why the establishment of these issues should logically win belief in
your proposition, all that remains is to prove the issues.

Now it is clear that neither the audience nor the judges can be led to
agree with us and to accept our issues as proved, by our telling them
that we should like to have them believe in the soundness of our
views. Neither can we succeed in convincing them by telling them that
they ought to believe as we wish. The modern audience is not to be
cajoled or browbeaten into belief. How, then, are we to persuade our
hearers to accept our assertions as true? The only method is to give
them what they demand--reasons. We must tell _why_ every statement is
true. This process of telling why the issues are true so effectively
that the audience and judges believe them to be true is called the

Naturally, the reasons that we give in support of the issues will be
no better than the issues themselves, unless we know what reasons the
audience will believe. And how are we to know what reasons the
audience will believe? We can best answer that question by determining
why we ourselves believe those things which we accept. Why do we
believe anything? We believe that water is wet; the sky, blue; fire,
hot; and sugar, sweet, because in our _experience_ we have always
found them so. These things we believe because we have _experienced_
them ourselves. There are other things that we believe in a similar
way. We believe that not every newspaper report is reliable. We
believe that a statement in the _Outlook_, the _Review of Reviews_, or
the _World's Work_ is likely to be more trustworthy than a yellow
headline in the _Morning Bugle_. Our own experience, plus what we have
heard of the experience of others, has led us to this belief. But
there are still other things that we believe although we have not
experienced them at all. We believe that Columbus visited America in
1492, that Grant was a great general, that Washington was our first
president. Directly, these things have never been experienced by us,
but indirectly they have. Others, within whose experience these things
have fallen, have led us to accept them so thoroughly that they have
become our experience second hand.

If we are told that a man who was in the Iroquois Theater fire was
seriously burned, it seems reasonable to us because our experience
recognizes burning as the result of such a situation. But if we are
told that a man who fell into the water emerged dry, or that a general
who served under Washington was born in 1830, we discredit it because
such statements are not in accord with our experience. We are ready,
then, to answer our question: _"What reasons will those in the
audience believe?" They will believe those statements which harmonize
with their own experience, and will discredit those which are at
variance with their experience._ This experience, as we have seen, may
be first hand, or direct; or it may be indirect, or second hand.

In every case, the speaker's argument must base every issue upon
reasons that rest on what the hearers believe because of their own
direct or indirect experience. Suppose I assert: "John Quinn was a
dangerous man." Someone says: "Prove that statement." I answer: "He
was a thief." Someone says: "If that is true, he was a bad man, but
can you prove him a thief?" Then I produce a copy of a court record
which states that, on a certain day, a duly constituted court found
John Quinn guilty of robbing a bank. All my hearers now admit, not
only that he was a thief, but also that he was a dangerous person. I
have given them a reason for my statement, and a reason for that
reason, until at last I have shown them that my assertion, that John
Quinn is a dangerous citizen, rests on what they themselves
believe--that a court record is reliable.

Sometimes an issue cannot be supported by a reason that will come at
once within the experience of the audience. It is then necessary to
support the first by a second reason that does come within its
experience. Remember, then, as the fundamental rule, that the judges
and audience will believe the issues of the proposition, and, as a
result, the proposition itself, only when we show them, by the
standard of their own experience, that we are right.

The reasons that we give in support of the issues are, in debating,
called _evidence_. Evidence is not proof; evidence is the material out
of which proof is made. Evidence is like the separate stones of a
solid wall: no one alone makes the wall; each one helps make it
strong. Evidence is like the small rods and braces of the truss
bridge: no one alone supports the weight; each helps to sustain the
great beams that are the real support of the bridge.

Suppose we had the proposition: "The Honor System of Examinations
Should Be Established in the Greenburg High School." We assert: "There
is but one issue: Will the students be honest in the examination?"
Now, what evidence shall we use to show that they will be honest? We
may turn to the experience of other schools. After a careful
investigation we find evidence with which we may support the assertion
in the following way:

The Honor System should be established in the Greenburg High School,

  I. The student will do honest work under that system, for:

   1. Experience of similar schools shows this, for:

    (1)  This plan was a success in X High School, for:

      a) The principal of that school states [quotation from
               principal], for:

       (a) See _School Review_, Mar., 1900.

    (2)  This plan is approved by Y High School, for:

      a) Etc.

Here the statements used in support of the issue are evidence. If the
evidence is strong enough to bring conviction to the audience to which
you are speaking, it is proof.

But notice here an important point. Why should this tend to make those
in the audience believe that the honor system should be adopted?
Simply because we have shown them that it has worked well elsewhere,
and _their own experience tells them that what has been a benefit in
other schools similar to this will be a benefit here_.

And in its final analysis this evidence is no stronger than the words
of the men who state that it has worked in schools (X) and (Y).

_If the experience of the audience_ is that these men are untruthful
or likely to exaggerate, our evidence will not be good evidence. If
the experience of the audience is that these men are capable, honest,
and reliable, this evidence will go far toward gaining acceptance of,
and belief in, our proposition.

Many attempts have been made to put evidence into different classes
and to give tests of good evidence. There is but one rule that the
debater needs to use: _In judging evidence for a debate consider what
the effect will be on the audience and the judges. Will it be
convincing to them_? In other words, will it make their own experience
quickly and strongly support the issues?

Time is always limited in a debate. The wise debater will then choose
that evidence which will most quickly make his hearers feel that their
own experience proves him right. When the speaker has done this, he
has chosen the best evidence and has used enough of it.

In courts of law where witnesses appear in every case and testify as
to circumstances that did or did not occur, it is necessary that the
jury be able to distinguish carefully between what it should and
should not believe. Witnesses often have a keen personal interest in
the verdict and, therefore, are inclined to tell less or more than the
truth. Sometimes witnesses are relatives of persons who would suffer
if the case were decided against them and they have a tendency to give
unfair testimony.

In order that the jury may decide as fairly as possible what evidence
is sound and what is not, the attorneys on each side of the case make
out a copy of what are called instructions. These are given to the
judge who, provided he approves of them, reads them to the jury.
Usually these instructions urge the jurors to consider four things.
They must consider, first, whether or not the statements of the
witness are probable; that is, are they consistent with human
experience? Do they seem reasonable and natural? A second thing which
the jury is told to bear in mind is the opportunity which the witness
had of observing the facts of which he speaks. Was he in a position to
be familiar with the thing he describes? In this connection, the jury
is sometimes instructed to consider the physical and mental qualities
of the witness. Is he a man who is physically and mentally able to
judge what he observes under such circumstances? A third factor which
the jury must consider is the possibility of prejudice on the part of
the witness. Has he any reason to feel more favorably toward one side
than toward the other? Is the defendant his friend or relative or
employer? A final consideration is what is commonly called "interest
in the case." It is clear that if the witness will be benefited by a
certain verdict, he may be inclined to frame his evidence in such a
way that it will tend toward that verdict. All these considerations
are based on the rule of referring to experience. What a judge really
says in a charge to the jury is this: "Does your experience warn you
that the testimony of some of these witnesses is unsound? Determine
upon that basis in what respects these witnesses have told the whole
truth and in what respects they have not."

To summarize: The issues of a proposition are proved by being
supported with evidence. Since evidence is the material with which we
build the connection between the issues and the experience of the
audience, that evidence will be best which will receive the quickest
and strongest support from the experience of the hearers.[3]


1. In the following extract from a speech of Burke, the famous debater
has asserted that it is undesirable to use force upon the American
colonies. State the four main reasons why he thinks so. Under each
principal reason, put the reasons or evidence with which it is
supported. Is this evidence convincing? Why, or why not?

    First, Sir, permit me to observe that the use of force alone is but
    temporary. It may subdue for a moment, but it does not remove the
    necessity of subduing again; and a nation is not governed which is
    perpetually to be conquered.

    My next objection is its uncertainty. Terror is not always the
    effect of force, and an armament is not a victory. If you do not
    succeed, you are without resource; for, conciliation failing, force
    remains; but, force failing, no further hope of reconciliation is
    left. Power and authority are sometimes bought by kindness; but they
    can never be begged as alms by an impoverished and defeated

    A further objection to force is that you impair the object by your
    very endeavor to preserve it. The thing you fought for is not the
    thing which you recover; but depreciated, sunk, wasted, and consumed
    in the contest. Nothing less will content me than whole America. I
    do not choose to consume its strength along with our own, because in
    all parts it is the British strength that I consume. I do not choose
    to be caught by a foreign enemy at the end of this exhausting
    conflict; and still less in the midst of it. I may escape; but I can
    make no insurance against such an event. Let me add that I do not
    choose wholly to break the American spirit: because it is the spirit
    that has made the country.

    Lastly, we have no sort of experience in favor of force as an
    instrument in the rule of our Colonies. Their growth and their
    utility has been owing to methods altogether different. Our ancient
    indulgence has been said to be pursued to a fault. It may be so. But
    we know, if feeling is evidence, that our fault was more tolerable
    than our attempt to mend it; and our sin far more salutary than our

2. Wells's _Geometry_ gives the following proposition: "Two
perpendiculars to the same straight line are parallel." The evidence
given is: "If they are not parallel, they will, if sufficiently
produced, meet at some point, which is impossible, because from a
given point without a straight line but one perpendicular can be
drawn." Is this evidence sufficient to constitute proof? Does it
convince you? Why, or why not?

3. Set down as much evidence as you can think of in ten minutes, to
convince a business man that a high-school education is an advantage
in business life.

4. Support the statement that football has benefited or harmed this
school, with five truthful statements that are evidence. Indicate
which ones would be most effective, if you were speaking to the
students, and which would make the strongest impression on the

5. In the following statements of testimony, tell which ones would be
good evidence and which not. Tell why or why not in each case.

    (1) X, a student, was told that unless he should point out the pupil
    who had put matches on the floor, he would be expelled. X then said
    that Y was guilty.

    (2) James Brown, a teamster, asserts that the use of alcohol is
    beneficial to all persons.

    (3) John Burns, a labor leader, declares that labor unions are
    beneficial to trade.

    (4) F. W. McCorkle, a large manufacturer, states that labor unions
    have proved beneficial to commerce.

    (5) Professor Sheldon, a college president and profound student of
    economics, has declared that labor unions help the trade of the

    (6) Henry Hawkins, a student at the Johnstown High School, asserts
    that they have the best football team in the state.

    (7) M. Metchnikoff, chief attendant at the Pasteur Institute, says:
    "As for myself, I am convinced that alcohol is a poison." M.
    Berthelot, member of the Academy of Science and Medicine, states:
    "Alcohol is not a food, even though it may be a fuel."

    (8) Lord Chatham, a member of the English Parliament, said, in
    speaking of the Revolutionary War: "It is a struggle of free and
    virtuous patriots."

6. On the basis of your answers to 5, state three conditions that
would make a man's speaking or writing weak evidence as testimony;
three that would make a man's testimony strong.

7. In Exercise 5 is (3), (4), or (5) the strongest testimony in favor
of labor unions. Why? Which is next?

8. Can you see one danger of relying on testimony alone for evidence?



  I. What the brief is.

  II. What the brief does.

  III.  Parts of the brief:

    1.  The introduction in which--

      (1) The end desired is made clear.

      (2) The issues are determined.

    2. The proof, which states the issues as facts and proves them.

    3. The conclusion, which is a formal summary of the proof.

  IV.  A specimen model brief.

  V. A specimen special brief.

  VI. Rules for briefing.

When a builder begins the construction of a wall, he must have the
proper material at hand. When an engineer begins the construction of a
steel bridge, he must have metal of the right forms and shapes.
Neither of these men, however, can accomplish the end which he has in
mind unless he takes this material and puts it together in the proper
way. So it is with the debater. He may have plenty of good evidence,
but he will never win unless that evidence is organized, that is, put
together in the most effective manner.

The builder, if he were building a wall of concrete, would get the
correct form by pouring the concrete into a mold. So also, there is a
mold which the debater should use in shaping his evidence. When the
evidence has been put into this form, the debater is said to have
constructed a _brief_.

In a previous lesson we saw how we might prove that John Quinn was a
dangerous man by using the evidence of a court record. If we had put
that evidence in brief-form we should have had this:

John Quinn was a dangerous man, for:

  1. He was a thief, for:

    (1) The Illinois state courts found him guilty of robbing a bank,

       a) See _Ill. Court Reports_, Vol. X., p. 83.

The brief, then, is a concise, logical outline of everything that the
speaker wishes to say to the audience.

Its purpose is to indicate in the most definite form every step
through which the hearers must be taken in order that the proposition
may at last be fully accepted by their experience.

The brief is for the debater himself. He does not show it to the
audience. It is the framework of his argument. It is the path which,
if carefully marked out, will lead to success.

Now, as we have seen, there are three principal steps in debating:

1. Making clear what you wish the audience to believe.

2. Showing the audience why the establishing of certain issues should
make them believe this.

3. Proving these issues.

The first two of these steps constitute what in the brief is called
the _Introduction_.

The third step, proving the issues, is the largest part of the brief
and is called the _Body_ or the _Proof_.

In addition to these two divisions of the brief there is a sort of
formal summary at the end called the _Conclusion_.

The skeleton of a brief then would be as follows:


In which: (1) the desired end is made clear; (2) the issues are


In which the issues are stated as declarations or assertions and
definite reasons are given why each one should be believed. These
reasons are in turn supported by other reasons until the assertion is
finally brought within the hearers' experience.


In which the proof is summarized.

Of course no two briefs are identical, but all must follow this
general plan. Suppose we look at what might be called a model brief.


Statement of proposition.


  I. Definition of terms.

  II. Restatement of question in light of these terms.

  III.  Determination of issues.

    1. Statement of what both sides admit.

    2. Statement of what is irrelevant.

  IV.  Statement of the issues.


  I. The first issue is true, for:

    1.  This reason, which is true, for:

      (1) This reason, for:

        a) This reason.

        b) This reason.

    2.  This reason, for:

     (1) This evidence.

     (2) This authority.

     (3) This testimony, for:

        a) See Vol. X, p. --, of report, document, magazine, or

  II. The second issue is true, for:

    1. This reason, for:
      (1) This reason.

    2. This reason, for:

      (1) This reason.

      (2) This reason.

  III. The third issue is true, for:

    1. This reason, etc.

  IV. The fourth issue is true, for:

    1. This reason, etc.


Therefore, since we have shown: (1) that the first issue is true by
this evidence, (2) that the second issue is well founded by this
evidence; (3) that the third and fourth, etc.; we conclude that our
proposition is true.

Now, let us look at a special brief, made out in a high-school debate,
for a special subject.

The preceding is an affirmative brief and there were four issues. In
the following we have a negative brief, in which there were three
issues. Refutation is introduced near the close of the proof.

Of this we shall see more in the next lesson.




  I. Definition of terms.

    1. Contests, ordinary competitions in:

      a) Athletics.

      b) Debating.

    2. Intra-high-school contests (contests within each school).

    3. Inter-high-school contests (contests between different high

  II. Restatement of question in light of these definitions. Contests
      within each high school should be substituted for contests
      between high schools in Northern Illinois.

  III. Determination of issues.

    1. It is admitted that:

      a) Inter and intra contests both exist at present in the
          high schools of Northern Illinois.

      b) Contest work is a desirable form of training.

      c) Not all contests should be abolished.

    2. Certain educators have asserted that:

      a) The inter form of contests is open to abuses.

      b) The intra contests would be more democratic.

      c) Intra contests would be practicable.

    3. Other educators disagree with these assertions.

    4. The issues, then, are:

      a) Are the inter contests so widely abused in the high
          schools of Northern Illinois as to warrant their abolition?

      b) Would the proposed plan be more democratic than the
          present system?

      c) Would the proposed plan work out in practice?


  I. Contests between the high schools of Northern
  Illinois are not subject to such abuses as will warrant
  their abolition, for:

    A. If the abuses alleged against athletic contests ever
       existed, they are now extinct, for:

      1. The alleged danger of injury to players physically
         unfit is not an existing danger, for:

        (1) It has been made impossible by the rules
            of the schools, for:

          a) This high school requires a physician's
              certificate of fitness before participation
              in any athletic contest, for:
            (a) Extract from athletic rulings of
                 school board.

          b) Our opponent's high school has a similar
              regulation, for:

            (a) Extract from school paper of opponents.

          c) The X High School has the same ruling.

          d) The Y High School has the same requirement.

      2. The charge that athletic contests between high
         schools make the contestants poor students is
         without sound basis, for:

        (1) A high standard of scholarship is required of
            all inter-high-school athletic contestants, for:

          a) Regulations of Illinois Athletic Association.

    B. The evils charged against inter-high-school debating
       cannot be cured by the proposed scheme, for:

      1. They are due, when they exist, not to the form
         of contest, but to improper coaching, for:

        (1) "Too much training," one of the evils
            charged, is an example of this.

        (2) Unfair use of evidence, the other evil alleged,
            is simply an evil of improper coaching.

  II. The proposed plan would not be so democratic as the present
  system, for:

    A. The present plan gives an opportunity to all students, for:

      1. Its class and other intra contests give a chance to the less
         proficient pupils.

      2. Its inter contests afford an opportunity for the more
         proficient pupils.

    B. The proposed plan would deprive the more capable pupils of
       desirable contests, for:

      1. They can find contests strenuous enough to induce development
         only by competing with similar students in other schools.

  III. The proposed plan would not be practicable, for:

    A. It is unsound in theory, for:

      1. No pupil has a strong desire to defeat his close friends.

      2. There is no desirable method of dividing the students for
         competition under the proposed plan, for:

         (1) Class division is unsatisfactory, for:

           a) The more mature and experienced upper classes win
               too easily.

         (2) "Group division" is not desirable, for:

           a) If the division is large, the domination of the
               mature students will give no opportunity to the younger

           b) If the division is small, it is likely to develop
               into a secret society.

    B. Experience opposes the proposed plan, for:

      1. College experience is against it, for:

        (1) N. University tried this plan without success, for:

           a) Quotation from president of N.

      2. High-school experience does not indorse it, for:

        (1) It is practically untried in high schools.


  I. The argument which the affirmative may advance, that the experience
     of Shortridge High School demonstrates the success of this plan, is
     without weight, for:

    A. It is not applicable to this question, for:

       1. The plan at Shortridge is not identical with the proposed
          plan, for:

         (1) Shortridge has not entirely abolished inter contests, for:

            a) _School Review_, October, 1911.

       2. Conditions in Shortridge differ from those in the high schools
          of Northern Illinois, for:

         (1) Faculty of that school has unusual efficiency in coaching,

            a) Extract from letter of principal.

         (2) Larger number of students, for:

            a) Extract from letter of principal.


Since there is no opportunity for serious abuse arising from contests
between schools, and since the adoption of contests within the schools
alone would lessen the democracy of contests as a form of education,
and since the proposed plan is impracticable in theory and has never
been put into successful operation, the negative concludes that the
substitution of intra for inter contests is not desirable in the high
schools of Northern Illinois.

From these illustrative briefs we can draw:


The introduction should contain only such material as both sides will
admit, or, as you can show, should reasonably admit, from the
phrasing of the proposition.

Scrupulous care should be used in the numbering and lettering of all
statements and substatements.

Each issue should be a logical reason for the truth of the

Each substatement should be a logical reason for the issue or
statement that it supports.

Each issue in the proof and each statement that has supporting
statements should be followed by the word "for."

Each reason given in support of the issues and each subreason should
be no more than a simple, complete, declarative sentence.

The word "for" should never appear as a connective between a statement
and substatement in the introduction.

The words "hence" and "therefore" should never appear in the proof of
the brief, but one should be able to read _up_ through the brief and
by substituting the word "therefore" for the word "for" in each case,
arrive at the proposition as a conclusion.


1. Turn to Exercise 1, in Lesson V, and carefully brief the selection
from Burke.

2. Is the following extract from a high-school student's brief correct
in form? Criticize it in regard to arrangement of ideas, and correct
it so far as is possible without using new material.



  I. Recent popularity of soccer.

    1. In England.

    2. In America.

  II. Soccer a healthful game, for:

    1. Develops lungs.

    2. Develops all the muscles.

  III. Issues.

    1. Soccer is a beneficial game.

    2. Would the students of "A" support soccer as a regular


  I. Soccer is a beneficial sport, for:

    1. It requires much running, kicking, and dodging, both
    in offensive and defensive playing, therefore--

      (1) It develops muscles.

      (2) It develops lungs.

    2.  It is played out of doors, therefore

      (1) It develops lungs.

  II. Students of "A" would support soccer as a regular sport, for:

    1. Who has ever heard of students who would not support
    soccer, baseball, basket-ball, and all other exciting

3. The following is the conclusion of an argument by Edmund Burke in
which the speaker maintained that Warren Hastings should be impeached
by the House of Commons. If it had been preceded by a clear
"introduction" and convincing "proof," do you think that it would have
made an effective "conclusion"?

    Therefore, it is with confidence that, ordered by the Commons:

    I impeach Warren Hastings, Esquire, of high crimes and misdemeanors.

    I impeach him in the name of the Commons of Great Britain, in
    Parliament assembled, whose parliamentary trust he has betrayed.

    I impeach him in the name of all the Commons of Great Britain, whose
    national character he has dishonored.

    I impeach him in the name of the people of India, whose laws,
    rights, and liberties he has subverted, whose property he has
    destroyed, whose country he has laid waste and desolate.

    I impeach him in the name and by virtue of those eternal laws of
    justice which he has violated.

    I impeach him in the name of human nature itself, which he has
    cruelly outraged, injured, and oppressed in both sexes, in every
    age, rank, situation, and condition of life.

4. Take any one of the following propositions and without other
material than that of your own ideas, state at least two issues, and,
in correct brief form, proof for belief or unbelief.

(1) High-School Boys Should Smoke Cigarettes.

(2) No One Should Play Football without a Physician's Permission.

(3) Girls Should Participate in Athletic Games While in High School.

(4) High-School Fraternities Are Desirable.

(5) Women Should Have the Right to Vote in All Elections.



  I. What the forensic is.

  II. How the forensic may be developed and delivered:
    1. By writing and reading from manuscript:
     (1) Advantages and disadvantages.
    2. By writing and committing to memory:
     (1) Advantages and disadvantages.
    3. By oral development from the brief:
     (1) Advantages.
  III. Style and gestures in the delivery of the forensic.

When the brief is finished, the material is ready to be put into its
final form. This final form is called the _forensic_.

As practically all debates are conducted by means of teams, the work
of preparing the forensic is usually divided among the members of the
team. The brief may be divided in any way, but it is desirable that
each member of the team should have one complete, logical division. So
it often happens that each member of the team develops one issue into
its final form.

The forensic is nothing but a rounding-out of the brief. The brief is
a skeleton: the forensic is that skeleton developed into a complete
literary form. Into this form the oral delivery breathes the spirit of
living ideas.

No better illustration of the brief expanded into the full forensic
need be given than that in Exercise I, Lesson V. Compare the brief
which you made of this extract from Burke with the forensic itself, a
few paragraphs of which are quoted there. Any student will find that
merely to glance through a part of this speech of Burke's is an
excellent lesson in brief-making and in the production of forensics.
First study the skeleton only--the brief--by reading the opening
sentences of each paragraph. Then see how this skeleton is built into
a forensic by the splendid rhetoric of the great British statesman.[4]

There are two ways in which the forensic may be developed from the
brief. Both have some advantages, varying with the conditions of the
debate. One is to write out every word of the forensic. When this is
done, the debater may, if he wishes, read from his manuscript to the
audience. If he does so, his chances of making a marked effect are
little better than if he spoke from the bottom of a well. The average
audience will not follow the speaker who is occupied with raveling
ideas from his paper rather than with weaving them into the minds of
his hearers.

The debater who writes his forensic may, however, learn it and deliver
it from memory. This method has some decided advantages. In every
debate the time is limited; and by writing and rewriting the ideas can
be compressed into their briefest and most definite form. Besides, the
speaker may practice upon this definite forensic to determine the
rapidity with which he must speak in order to finish his argument in
the allotted time.

At the same time this plan has several unfavorable aspects. When the
debater has prepared himself in this way, forgetting is fatal. He has
memorized words. When the words do not come he has no recourse but to
wait for memory to revive, or to look to his colleagues for help.
Again, the man who has learned his argument can give no variety to his
attack or defense. He is like a general with an immovable battery,
who, though able to hurl a terrific discharge in the one direction in
which his guns point, is powerless if the attack is made ever so
slightly on his flank. Perhaps the greatest disadvantage of this
method is that it does not give the student the best kind of training.
What he needs most in life is the ability to arrange and present ideas
rapidly, not to speak a part by rote.

It would seem, then, that this plan should be advised only when the
students are working for one formal debate, and are not preparing for
a series of class or local contests that can all be controlled by the
same instructor or critic. With beginners in oral argumentation this
method will usually make the better showing, and may therefore be
considered permissible in the case of those teams which, because of
unfamiliarity with their opponents' methods, can take no chances. This
plan of preparation is in no way harmful or dishonest, but lacks some
of the more permanent advantages of the second method.

The second method of developing the brief into the forensic is by
_oral composition_. This method demands that the debater shall _speak
extemporaneously_ from his _memorized brief_. This in no way means
that careful preparation, deliberate thought, and precise organization
are omitted. On the contrary, the formation of a brief from which a
winning forensic can be expanded requires the most studious
preparation, the keenest thought, and the most careful organization.
Neither does it mean that, as soon as the brief is formed, the
forensic can be presented. Before that step is taken, the debater who
will be successful will spend much time, not in _written_, but in
_oral_ composition.

He will study his brief until he sees that it is not merely a
succession of formal statements connected with "for's," but a series
of ideas arranged in that form because they will, if presented in that
order, bring conviction to his hearers. "Learning the brief," then,
becomes not a case of memory, but a matter of seeing--seeing what
comes next because that is the only thing that logically could come
next. When the brief is in mind, the speaker will expand it into a
forensic to an imaginary audience until he finds that he is expressing
the ideas clearly, smoothly, and readily. Pay no attention to the fact
that in the course of repeated deliveries the words will vary. Words
make little difference if the framework of ideas is the same.

This method of composing the forensic trains the mind of the student
to see the logical relationship of ideas, to acquire a command of
language, and to vary the order of ideas if necessary. In doing these
things, there are developed those qualities that are essential to all
effective speaking.

A debater's success in giving unity and coherence to his argument
depends chiefly on his method of introducing new ideas in supporting
his issues. These changes from one idea to another, or transitions, as
they are called, should always be made so that the hearer's attention
will be recalled to the assertion which the new idea is intended to
support. Suppose we have made this assertion: "Contests within schools
are more desirable than contests between schools." We are planning to
support this by proving: first, that the contests between schools are
very much abused; second, that the proposed plan will be more
democratic; and third, that the proposed plan will work well in
practice. In supporting these issues, we should, of course, present a
great deal of material. When we are ready to change from the first
supporting idea to the second, we must make that change in such a way
that our hearers will know that we are planning to prove the second
main point of our contention. But this is not enough. We must make
that change so that they will be definitely reminded of what we have
already proved. The same thing will hold true when we change to the
third contention.

The following illustrates a faulty method of transition: Contests
between schools are so abused that they should be abolished [followed
by all the supporting material]. The proposed plan will be more
democratic than the present [followed by its support]. The proposed
plan would work well in practice [followed by its support]. No matter
how thoroughly we might prove each of these, they would impress the
audience as standing alone; they would show no coherence, no
connection with one another. The following would be a better method:
Contests within schools should be substituted for those between
schools because contests between schools are open to abuses so great
as to warrant their abolition [followed by its support]. We should
then begin to prove the second issue in this way: But not only are
contests between schools so open to abuse that they should be
abolished, but they are less desirable than contests within schools
for they are less democratic. [This will then be followed with the
support of the second issue.] The transition to the third issue should
be made in this way: Now, honorable judges, we have shown you that
contests between schools are not worthy of continuance; we have shown
you that the plan which we propose will be better in its democracy
than the system at present in vogue; we now propose to complete our
argument by showing you that our plan will work well in practice.
[This would then be followed with the proper supporting material.]

Great speakers have shown that they realized the importance of these
cementing transitions. Take for example Burke's argument that force
will be an undesirable instrument to use against the colonies. He
says: "First, permit me to observe that the use of force shall be
temporary." The next paragraph he begins: "My next observation is its
uncertainty." He follows that with: "A further observation to force is
that you impair the object by your very endeavor to preserve it." And
he concludes: "Lastly, we have no sort of experience in favor of force
as an instrument in the rule of our colonies." He used this principle
to perhaps even greater advantage when he argued that "a fierce spirit
of liberty had grown up in the colonies." He supports this with claims
which are introduced as follows:

"First, the people of the colonies are descendants of Englishmen."

"They were further confirmed in this pleasing error [their spirit of
liberty] by the form of their provincial legislative assemblies."

"If anything were wanting to this necessary operation of the form of
government, religion would have given it a complete effect."

"There is, in the South, a circumstance attending these colonies
which, in my opinion, fully counterbalances this difference, and makes
the spirit of liberty still more high and haughty than in those to the
northward. It is that in Virginia and the Carolinas, they have a vast
multitude of slaves."

"Permit me, Sir, to add another circumstance in our colonies, which
contributes no mean part towards the growth and effect of this
untractable spirit. I mean their education."

"The last cause of this disobedient spirit in the colonies is hardly
less powerful than the rest as it is not merely moral, but laid deep
in the natural constitution of things. Three thousand miles of ocean
lie between you and them."

He finally summarizes these in this way, which further ties them

"Then, Sir, from these six capital sources; of descent; of form of
government; of religion in the northern provinces; of manners in the
southern; of education; of the remoteness of situation from the first
mover of government; from all these causes a fierce spirit of liberty
has grown up."

It may be well also to point out more clearly the somewhat special
nature of the first speeches on each side. The first speech of the
affirmative must, of course, make clear to the judges and the audience
what you wish them to believe. This will involve all the steps which
have already been pointed out as necessary to accomplish that result.
The first speaker can gain a great deal for his side by presenting
this material not only with great clearness, but in a manner which
will win the goodwill of the audience toward himself, his team, and
his side of the subject. To do this, he must be genial, honest,
modest, and fair. He must make his hearers feel that he is not giving
a narrow or prejudiced analysis of the question; he must make them
feel that his treatment is open and fair to both sides, and that he
finally reaches the issues not at all because he _wishes_ to find
those issues, but because a thorough analysis of the question will
allow him to reach no others.

The first speaker on the negative side may have much the same work to
do. If, however, he agrees with what the first speaker of the
affirmative has said, he will save time merely by stating that fact
and by summarizing in a sentence or two the steps leading to the
issues. If he does not agree with the interpretation which the
affirmative has given to the question, it will be necessary for him to
interpret the question himself. He must make clear to the judges why
his analysis is correct and that of his opponent faulty.

In presenting the forensic to the judges and audience forget, so far
as possible, that you are debating. You have a proposition in which
you believe and which you want them to accept. Your purpose is not to
make your hearers say: "How well he does it." You want them to say:
"He is right."

Do not rant. Speak clearly, that you may be understood; and with
enough force that you may be heard, but in the same manner that you
use in conversation.

_Good gestures help. Good gestures_ are those that come naturally in
support of your ideas. While practicing alone notice what gestures you
put in involuntarily. They are right. Do not ape anyone in gesture.
Your oral work will be more effective without use of your hands than
it will be with an ineffective use of them. The most ineffective use
is the making of motions that are so violent or extravagant that they
attract the listeners' attention to themselves and away from your
ideas. Remember that the expression of your face is most important of
all gestures. Earnest interest, pleasantness, fairness, and vigor
expressed in the speaker's face at the right times have done more to
win debates than other gestures have ever accomplished.



  I. Refutation explained.

  II. Refutation may be carried on:
   1. By overwhelming constructive argument.
   2. By showing the weakness of opponents' argument.

  III.  The time for refutation:
   1. Allotted time.
   2. Special times.

  IV.  The right spirit in refutation.

Our work up to this point has dealt with what is called the
_constructive argument_, i.e., the building up of the proof. But to
make the judges believe as you wish, you must not merely support your
contentions; you must destroy the proof which your opponents are
trying to construct.

As with the successful athletic team and the successful general, so
with the successful debater, it is necessary, not only to attack, but
also to repulse; not only to carry out the plan of your own side, but
to meet and defeat the plan which the other side has developed. In
debating, this repulse, this destruction of the arguments of the
opposition, is called _refutation_ or _rebuttal_.

There are two principal ways in which the refutation of the opponent's
argument can be accomplished. The first is _to destroy it with your
own constructive argument_. The second is _to show that his argument,
even though it is not destroyed by yours, is faulty in itself, and
therefore useless_.

Although only one of them is labeled "Refutation" in the model brief
in the sixth lesson, both types are illustrated there.

There the negative, believing that the first argument of the
affirmative would be, "Inter contests are open to abuse," makes its
first point a counter-assertion. It uses as the first issue: "Contests
between the high schools of northern Illinois are not subject to such
abuses as will warrant their abolition." Which side would gain this
point in the minds of the judges would depend on which side supported
its assertion with the better evidence.

If one side wished to raise this question again in the refutation
speeches, which close the debate, it could do no better than to repeat
and re-emphasize the same material which it used in its construction

The second method of refuting, i.e., showing an argument to be faulty,
is also illustrated in the brief in the sixth lesson. It is marked
"Refutation." This material was introduced because the negative felt
sure that the affirmative would attempt to use the experience of
Shortridge High School as evidence of the successful working of this
plan. It was shown to be faulty in that the experience of this school
would not apply to the question here debated.

The student's study of what makes good evidence for his own case will
enable him to see the weakness of his opponents' arguments. Apply the
_same_ tests to your opponents' evidence that you apply to your own.
What is there about the evidence introduced that should make the
audience hesitate to accept it? Point these things out to the
audience. It may be that prejudiced, dishonest, or ignorant testimony
has been given. It may be that not enough evidence has been given to
carry weight. Whatever the flaw, point out to the audience that, upon
a critical examination, experience shows the evidence to be weak.

In every debate there is a regular time allowed for rebuttal. This is,
however, not the only time at which it may be introduced. In the
debate, put in refutation wherever it is needed. One of the best plans
is, if possible, to refute with a few sentences at the opening of each
speech what the previous speaker of the opposition has said.

In all refutation, _state clearly what you aim to disprove._ When
quoting the statement of an opponent, be sure to be accurate.

Something like the following is a good form for stating refutation:

Our opponents, in arguing that labor unions have been harmful to the
commerce of America, have stated that they would use as support the
testimony of prominent men. In so doing, they have quoted from X, Y,
and Z. This testimony is without strength. X, as a large employer of
labor, would be open to prejudice; Y, as a non-union laborer, is both
prejudiced and ignorant. The testimony of Z, as an Englishman is
applicable to labor unions as they have affected, not the commerce of
America, but the trade of England.

A similar form is shown in the brief on inter-and intra-high-school
contests in refuting the experience of Shortridge High School.

In all refutation, keep close to the fundamental principles of the
question. Do not be led astray into minute details upon which you
differ. Never tire of recalling attention to the issues of the
question. Show why those are the issues, and you will see that the
strongest refutation almost always consists in pointing out wherein
you have proved these issues, while your opponents have failed to do

In order to be fully prepared, however, it is a good plan to put upon
cards all the points that your opponents may use and that you have not
answered in your constructive argument. Adopt a method similar to

Shortridge argument

  I. Will not apply for:
   (1) Not this plan.
   (2) Conditions differ, for:
     _a) School Review_, October, 1911.

Then if your opponents advance arguments that are not met in your
speech, merely lay out these cards while they speak, and use them as
references in your refutation.

The closing rebuttal speech is always a critical one. Here the speaker
should again point out every mistake which his opponents have made.
If their interpretation of the question has been wrong, he should,
while avoiding details, emphasize the chief flaws in their arguments.
On the other hand, he should summarize the argument of his own side
from beginning to end; he should make the support of each of the
issues stand clearly before the judges in its complete, logical form.

In these closing speeches, as in the opening of the debate, much may
be gained by an attitude which will win the favor of the hearers
toward the speaker and his ideas. An attitude of petty criticism, of
narrowness of view, is undesirable at any stage of the debate. The
debater who is inclined to belittle his opponents will only belittle
himself. To the judges it will appear that the speaker who has time to
ridicule his adversaries must be a little short of arguments.
Insinuations of dishonesty and attempts to be sarcastic should be
carefully avoided. These weapons are sharp but they are two-edged and
are more likely to injure the speaker than his opponent.

The right attitude for a debater is always one of fairness. Give your
opponents all possible credit. When you have then refuted their
arguments, your own contentions seem of double strength. It is said
that Lincoln used this method with splendid effect: He would often
restate the argument of his opponent with great force and clearness;
he would make it seem irrefutable. Then, when he began his attack and
caused his opponent's argument to collapse, its fall seemed to be
utter and complete, while his arguments, which had proved themselves
capable of effecting this destruction, appeared all the more powerful.

In your desire to do well in refutation, do not be led to depend upon
that alone. There is no older and better rule than, "Know the other
side as well as you know your own." Do not believe that this is in
order that you may be ready with a clever answer for every point made
by the other side. The most important reason why you should know the
other side of the question is the necessity of your determining the
issues correctly, and thus building a constructive argument that is
overwhelming and impregnable. Many a debate has been lost because the
debaters worked up their own constructive argument first, and only
later, in order to prepare refutation, considered what their opponents
would say. Had they proceeded correctly, they would have destroyed the
proof of their adversaries while they built up their own.

A clever retort in refutation often wins the applause of the
galleries, but an analysis of the question so keen that the real
issues are determined, supported by an organization of evidence so
strong that it sweeps away all opposition as it grows, is more likely
to gain the favorable decision of the judges.


1. What is the purpose of refutation? 2. What two principal methods
may be followed?

3. What must one do to refute correctly and well?

4. Do you think it better in refutation to assail the minor points of
your opponent or to attack the main issues?

5. A fellow-student in chemistry said to you: "The chemical symbol for
water is H_{4}0; two of our classmates told me so." You replied: "The
correct symbol, according to our instructor, is H_{2}O." Did you
refute his assertion? How?

6. A classmate makes an argument which could be briefed thus:

Cigarettes are good for high-school boys, for:

  I. They aid health of body, for:
    (1) Many athletes smoke them, for:
      a) X smokes them.
      b) Y smokes them.
      c) Z smokes them.

If you disagree with this assertion, do not believe they aid health,
and know X does not smoke cigarettes, how would you refute his

7. If your opponents in a debate quote opinions of others in support
of their views, in what two ways can they be refuted?

8. In a recent campaign, the administration candidate used this
argument: "I should be re-elected, for: Times are good, work is
plentiful, crops are excellent, and products demand a high price."
Show any weakness in this argument.

9. Show the weakness of proof in this argument: Harvard is better at
football than Princeton I. They defeated Princeton in 1912.

10. What general rule can you make from 9 concerning a statement
supported by particular cases?



_Teams_.--The opposing teams in a debate usually consist of three
persons each. A larger or smaller number is permissible.

_Time of Speaking_.--Each speaker is ordinarily allowed one
constructive speech and one rebuttal speech. The constructive speech
is usually about twice the length of the refutation. Twelve and six,
ten and five, and eight and four minutes are all frequent time-limits
for debates. Many debaters make shorter speeches.

_Order of speaking_.--The debate is opened by the affirmative. The
first speaker is followed by a negative debater, who, in turn, is
followed by a member of the affirmative team, and so on until the
entire constructive argument is presented. A member of the negative
team opens the refutation. Speakers then alternate until the debate is
closed by the affirmative. The order of speakers on each team is often
different in refutation than in constructive argument.

_Presiding chairman_.--Every debate should be presided over by a
chairman. His duties are to state the question to the audience,
introduce each speaker, and announce the decision of the judges. He
sometimes also acts as timekeeper.

_Timekeepers_.--A timekeeper representing each of the competing
organizations should note the moment when each speaker begins and
notify the chair when the allotted time has been consumed. It is
customary to give each speaker as many minutes of warning before his
time expires as he may desire.

_Salutation_.--Good form in debating requires that each speaker shall
begin with a salutation to the various personages whom he addresses.
The most common salutation is: "Mr. Chairman, worthy opponents,
honorable judges, ladies and gentlemen."

_Reference to other speakers_.--In referring to members of the
opposing team never say, "he said," "she said," or "they said." Always
speak of your opponents in the third person in some such way as, "my
honorable opponents," "the first speaker of the negative," "the
gentlemen of the affirmative," or "the gentlemen from X."

In referring to other members of your own team say, "my colleagues,"
or "my colleague, the first speaker," etc.

_The judges_.--There are generally three judges. Where it is
practicable, a larger number is desirable because their opinion is
more nearly the opinion of the audience as a whole. Needless to say
they should be competent and wholly without prejudice as to teams or

_The decision_.--The decision of each judge should be written on a
slip and sealed in an envelope provided for that purpose (see
Appendix IX, "Forms for Judges' Decision"). These should be opened by
the chairman in view of the audience, and the decision announced.



We have now completed our study of debating. We saw first that all
talking and writing is discourse, and that one great division of
discourse--that which aims to gain belief--is argumentation.
Argumentation we divided into spoken and written argumentation. We
found that it varies in formality but that, when carried on orally
under prescribed conditions and with the expectation of having a
decision rendered, it is called debating.

Successful debating we found to require three steps: showing the
hearers what belief is desired; showing them upon what issues belief
depends; and supporting these issues with evidence until we have
established proof.

We learned that the first of these steps could be taken by stating the
question in the form of a definite, single proposition; defining the
terms of this proposition; and then restating the whole matter. We
found that the second step required that the material that both sides
admit, together with all other material that is really not pertinent
to the question, should be first removed, and that the fundamentals of
the question should be stated as the issues. The last step, proving
the issues, we found to involve two processes. It was necessary,
first, to find and select evidence, and, second, to arrange that
evidence in logical order--the brief-form.


The accompanying diagram is one that has helped many students to
visualize more clearly what is attempted in a debate and to see how
the debate may be made successful.

The doubt that the audience very reasonably has of the new idea
proposed is bridged over by the proposition. But this proposition will
not be strong enough to cause the minds of the listeners to pass from
unbelief to belief unless it is well supported. The whole proposition
is therefore placed upon one or two or three great capitals--the
issues, under each of which is a pillar of proof. These pillars are
composed of evidence of every sort. The intelligent debater has,
however, before placing a single piece of this evidence in the proof,
tested it carefully. He has tested it with the question: "Will it help
bring conviction to the audience; how will it affect my hearers?"
Moreover, not satisfied with this scrupulous choice of evidence, he
has been careful not to pile it in regardless of position, but to
place each piece in the position where it will lend the strongest
support to the entire structure.

When this has been done, the bridge of proof is built solidly upon the
experience of the hearers, and, almost without their knowledge, their
minds have gone from unbelief to belief.


[Footnote 1: Baker, _Principles of Argumentation_.]

[Footnote 2: Jevons, _Primer of Logic._]

[Footnote 3: For a thorough discussion of the principle of reference
to experience, see Arthur E. Phillips, _Effective Speaking_, chap.

[Footnote 4: Edmund Burke, _On Conciliation with the Colonies_.]





Practically every subject that is interesting enough to be a good
subject for debate has been written about by other people. Every good
library contains the books on the following list, and with a little
experience the student can handle them easily. A general treatment of
every important subject can be found in any of the following
encyclopedias: _Americana, New International, Twentieth Century,

Everything that has been written upon every subject in all general,
technical, and school magazines, can be found by looking up the
desired topic in: _The Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature_, or
_Poole's Index_.

If the matter being studied deals with civics, economics, or
sociology, look in: Bliss, _Encyclopaedia of Social Reform,_ etc.;
Lalor, _Cyclopaedia of Political Science_, etc.; Larned, _History of
Ready Reference and Topical Reading_; Bowker and lies, _Reader's Guide
in Economics_, etc.

What Congress is doing and has done is often important. This can be
found in full in: _The Congressional Record_.

Jones's _Finding List_ tells where to look for any topic in various
government publications.

In studying many subjects the need of definite and reliable statistics
will be felt. These may be found on almost any question in the
following publications: _Statesman's Yearbook, Whitaker's Almanac,
World Almanac, Chicago Daily News Almanac, Hazell's Almanac, U.S.
Census Reports_.

Never consider your reading completed until you have looked for any
special book that may be written upon your subject in the Card
Catalogue of your Library.

Make out a Bibliography or Reading List (as illustrated briefly in
Appendix V) before you proceed to actual reading.



The two specimens that immediately follow are analyses of the same
question by students of the same university. The first is a selection
from the speech made by Mr. Raymond S. Pruitt in the Towle Debate of
Northwestern University Law School in 1911. The second is the
introduction to the speech made by Mr. Charles Watson of the
Northwestern University Law School in the 1911 debate with the Law
School of the University of Southern California. Students should
observe how the two speakers determine somewhat different issues.

_Resolved_, That in actions against an employer for death or injury of
an employee sustained in the course of an industrial employment the
fellow-servant rule and the rule of the assumption of risk as defined
and interpreted by the common law, should be abolished.

Mr. Pruitt, speaking for the affirmative:

    The question which we discuss tonight is partly economic and partly
    legal. By that I mean that viewing it from the standpoint of legal
    liability, we possibly can agree with the gentlemen of the Negative
    that the employer should respond in damages to his injured employee,
    only when the injury has been caused by the employer's own fault.
    But, on the other hand, viewing the same problem from an economic
    standpoint, you cannot deny, that, when through no fault of his own,
    a worker is injured in the course of an industrial employment, that
    industry should compensate him for the loss.

    Here then is the issue--the world-old-problem--established
    principles of law in conflict with changing social and economic
    conditions; and, as history shows, there can in such cases be but
    one solution. The decision of the court, the statute of the
    legislature, yes, even the constitution of the nation, must in turn
    yield to the march of progress and adapt itself to changing
    conditions until once more it shall reflect the sense of public
    justice in its own time. Hence, I say that in our discussion this
    evening, there can be no confusion of issues. The Affirmative,
    according to the wording of the question, are to advocate a change
    in our common law, while the Negative in duty bound are to oppose
    the proposition for change, and to defend as the Negative always
    defend, the order of things as they are.

    The Affirmative are to advocate such a change, the abolition of the
    common-law defenses of the employer. For the purposes of this
    debate, it is immaterial to us whether this change is brought about
    by a simple extension of the employer's liability, or whether it is
    accompanied, as in many of our states, by a system of workman's
    compensation. Likewise, it is a consideration extraneous to the
    issues of this debate, whether the employer shoulder this risk
    himself, whether he insure it in a private insurance company, or
    whether he be compelled to insure it in a company managed by the
    state. At all events, and under any of these plans, the proposition
    of the Affirmative will be maintained, the employer will be deprived
    of his defenses at common law, and the employee will recover his
    damages regardless of questions of fault.

    Assuming then the full burden of proof, the Affirmative propose to
    demonstrate that the assumption of risk and the fellow-servant rule
    as defined and interpreted by the common law should be abolished,
    first, because whatever reasons may have justified these doctrines
    in years gone by they have no application to industrial conditions
    in our day; and, secondly, because the abolition of these common law
    defenses will but place the burden of industrial loss, as in justice
    it should be placed, upon the ultimate consumer of the product of
    the industry.

Mr. Watson, speaking for the Negative:

    The proposed abolition of these two common-law defenses, like every
    change of law or any suggested reform, is brought to our attention
    by certain existing evils. The advocates of this reform have a
    definite proposition in mind and that proposition is definitely and
    clearly stated in the question. It is a question in which people in
    every walk of life are concerned. Since it is of such widespread
    interest, let us lift it from a plane of mere debating tactics, in
    which a question of this kind is so often placed, and where a great
    deal of time is spent in arguing what the Affirmative or the
    Negative may stand for according to the interpretation of the
    question, let us lift it from that plane, and consider it as
    practical men and women who are interested in the outcome of this
    great problem. It is, then, in its larger sense, a legal question
    and must be considered from the standpoints of justice and of

    It is not enough for the Affirmative to point out evils that exist
    under these two common-law rules, for there is bound to be some evil
    in the administration of all law; so they must further show that
    these evils which they have named are inherent in these two laws,
    and that the proposed change will remedy the existing evils. Now the
    Negative maintain that the evils complained of are not inherent in
    these laws, and we believe that the Affirmative plan is not the
    proper solution of the problem.

    I will show you that these common-law rules are founded on
    principles of justice and that their removal would be unjust to the
    employer; second that it would discriminate against the smaller
    tradesmen, and third that the proposed remedy does not strike at the
    root of the evil, since it would affect only a small percentage of
    industrial accidents.


(A bill being before Congress proposing to restore to leading
Southerners many of the privileges which had been denied them
following the war, Mr. Schurz determined the issue as follows:)

    _Mr. President_: When this debate commenced before the holidays, I
    refrained from taking part in it, and from expressing my opinions on
    some of the provisions of the bill now before us; hoping as I did
    that the measure could be passed without difficulty, and that a
    great many of those who now labor under political disabilities would
    be immediately relieved. This expectation was disappointed. An
    amendment to the bill was adopted. It will have to go back to the
    House of Representatives now unless by some parliamentary means we
    get rid of the amendment, and there being no inducement left to
    waive what criticism we might feel inclined to bring forward, we may
    consider the whole question open.

    I beg leave to say that I am in favor of general, or, as this word
    is considered more expressive, universal amnesty, believing, as I
    do, that the reasons make it desirable that the amnesty should be
    universal. The senator from South Carolina has already given notice
    that he will move to strike out the exceptions from the operation of
    this act of relief for which the bill provides. If he had not
    declared his intention to that effect, I would do so. In any event,
    whenever he offers his amendment I shall most heartily support it.

    In the course of this debate we have listened to some senators, as
    they conjured up before our eyes once more all the horrors of the
    Rebellion, the wickedness of its conception, how terrible its
    incidents were, and how harrowing its consequences. Sir, I admit it
    all; I will not combat the correctness of the picture; and yet if I
    differ with the gentlemen who drew it, it is because, had the
    conception of the Rebellion been still more wicked, had its
    incidents been still more terrible, its consequences still more
    harrowing, I could not permit myself to forget that in dealing with
    the question now before us we have to deal not alone with the past,
    but with the present and future of this republic.

    What do we want to accomplish as good citizens and patriots? Do we
    mean only to inflict upon the late rebels pain, degradation,
    mortification, annoyance, for its own sake; to torture their
    feelings without any ulterior purpose? Certainly such a purpose
    could not by any possibility animate high-minded men. I presume,
    therefore, that those who still favor the continuance of some of the
    disabilities imposed by the Fourteenth Amendment do so because they
    have some higher object of public usefulness in view, an object of
    public usefulness sufficient to justify, in their minds at least,
    the denial of rights to others which we ourselves enjoy.

    What can those objects of public usefulness be? Let me assume that,
    if we differ as to the means to be employed, we are agreed as to the
    supreme end and aim to be reached. That end and aim of our endeavors
    can be no other than to secure to all the States the blessings of
    good and free government and the highest degree of prosperity and
    well-being they can attain, and to revive in all citizens of this
    republic that love for the Union and its institutions, and that
    inspiring consciousness of a common nationality, which, after all,
    must bind all Americans together.

    What are the best means for the attainment of that end? This, Sir,
    as I conceive it, is the only legitimate question we have to decide.



The forensic which follows is the one which was used by the State
University of Iowa in its debates with the University of Wisconsin and
the University of Minnesota in 1908. In the form in which it appears
here it was given in a home contest a few evenings before the
Inter-State Debate. It is quoted here with the permission of the
Forensic League of the State University of Iowa.

_Resolved_, That American Cities Should Adopt a Commission Form of

Mr. Clarence Coulter, the first speaker on the Affirmative, said:

    It is not my purpose to picture the shame of American cities; that
    is well known; but I am to consider only those evils due to the
    present form of municipal government, an organization based on the
    separation of the powers into the legislative, executive, and
    judicial departments. The proper remedy for these evils will be
    secured only by adopting a form which concentrates the entire
    authority of city government in one definite and responsible body.

    It is a significant fact, that during the last quarter of a century,
    the tendency in municipal organization has been toward concentration
    of powers. Certain of our cities have recognized the wisdom of such
    action, but have unwisely attempted to concentrate only the
    executive power whereas the real solution lies in concentrating all
    governmental authority in one definite and responsible body.

    New York City tried such a plan and it has failed; failed because
    its separate legislative department has proved an obstruction to
    effective action. Consequently, there has been a continual tendency
    to deprive the council of all power, until today its only function
    is to vote on franchises and issue certain licenses. So evident is
    the imperative need of concentrating the legislative and
    administrative powers in one body, that there is now a charter
    revision committee meeting in New York whose great object is to
    consider the advisability of entirely eliminating the separate
    council, and creating in its place a small commission possessing
    both legislative and administrative authority. Practically the same
    condition obtains in the city of Boston.

    What is true of New York and Boston is equally true of scores of
    other cities. Memphis tried for years to reform her government with
    an isolated council. Today she is clamoring at the doors of her
    legislature for a commission charter. Within the past two years more
    than a dozen states have provided for a commission form of
    government, while within the past year more than a dozen cities have
    actually thrown away their old forms and assumed the commission

    The success of a separate legislative body in state and national
    government is the only excuse for its retention in our cities, yet
    the failure, for over a century in all its different forms and
    variations, proves that such a government is unsuited to them. There
    are several important and fundamental characteristics of the city
    that demand a different form of government and show conclusively
    that there is no need of a separate legislative body. In the first
    place, the city is not a sovereign government, but is subordinate to
    state and nation. There is no reason for a distinct legislature to
    determine the broad matters of policy, for they are determined for
    the citizens of the city as well as those of the country, by the
    state and national legislatures, in which both the city and country
    are represented. In the second place, the work of a city is largely
    administrative and of a business character, as my colleagues will
    show, and there is no necessity for a separate council to legislate
    when a commissioner is better able, as we shall show, to pass the
    kind of legislation characteristic of the city.

    In the third place, we do not find, as in the state, the necessity
    of a large and separate body to represent the various localities.
    The city has a large population living in a restricted territory; in
    the state it is scattered. The city is unified by means of its rapid
    communication and transportation facilities, and its interests are
    common. These, Honorable Judges, are some general reasons why there
    is no necessity for trying to maintain a separate legislative body
    at the expense of efficiency in administration and the fixing of
    individual responsibility.

    But let us now examine as to wherein this principle of separation
    fails to meet modern municipal conditions. In the first place we
    find that this system has failed to produce efficiency, because, in
    actual practice, it has been impossible to keep the legislative and
    administrative branches within their proper spheres of action. To be
    sure, such difficulty does not exist in state and national
    governments where the work is naturally divided. But in city
    government, where the work is of a peculiar kind, where it is
    unified in character and is largely administrative and of a business
    nature, it has been found impossible to maintain a separation. It is
    not at all surprising to find that in some cities, the mayor is the
    dominating factor in both legislation and administration. He is the
    presiding officer of the council with the deciding vote, and, in
    addition, is clothed with the veto power. On the other hand, there
    are scores of instances where the council assumes administrative
    functions. It names all appointments to office, and it creates and
    controls all the departments of city government. Under such
    circumstances the administrative department is subordinate to the
    council, because its officers can be both appointed and removed by
    that body and because it can carry on no work without the council's
    authority. Thus there is an inevitable tendency to concentrate the
    powers in one of the two branches, yet, at the same time, diffusing
    responsibility between them. Such a condition only goes to show that
    city government is gradually but surely working its way toward
    concentration in one body. But the trouble lies in the fact that the
    present system makes possible concentration of power, without a
    corresponding concentration of responsibility. From such a condition
    have grown two grave and inherent evils. First, it has entirely
    eliminated the system of checks and balances, which is a fundamental
    doctrine of the division of power. Secondly, it has utterly
    destroyed all effective responsibility. It is apparent at once, that
    when one branch of the government dominates, the checks and balances
    between the departments are immediately lost, and facts bear out
    what theory shows to be logically true. The system of checks and
    balances failed absolutely in New York, where the mayor is supreme,
    and where the city has been plundered of sums estimated at 7 per
    cent of the total valuation of real estate. It has failed in St.
    Louis, where the council dominated, and where "Boss Butler" paid
    that body $250,000 to pass a street railway franchise. Neither did
    it work in Philadelphia, which has been plundered of an amount equal
    to 10 per cent of her real estate valuation; nor in San Francisco
    under the disgraceful regime of Mayor Schmitz. So overwhelming is
    the evidence on this point that it is needless to dwell further upon

    In the second place, this domination of one branch over the other
    has resulted in a lack of responsibility and of co-ordination in
    city affairs. These two elements are indispensable where the work to
    be performed is of a local and business nature. We find that under
    the present system, no matter which branch of government dominates,
    there is always a notorious lack of responsibility. If the council
    makes a blunder in legislation, it immediately lays the blame upon
    the administrative officials, maintaining that it passed the measure
    upon recommendation of the administrative branch, or that branch
    failed to carry out its policy. If the administrative officials are
    neglectful, they shift the blame onto the council, and insist that
    the difficulty lies in insufficient legislation. Under such
    conditions, the average citizen has no way of telling where the
    blame really lies.

    At present, there is no attempt at co-ordination between the
    legislative, executive, and judicial departments. On the other hand,
    there is often open rupture between them. For years before the
    commission form of government was adopted in Galveston, there was
    open warfare between the legislative and executive departments,
    which saddled upon the city a bonded debt of many thousands of
    dollars. In our state, there is a municipality in which the two
    departments of government are defying each other. Both are
    exercising legislative and administrative authority until the
    citizens of that place are at a loss to know which is right. This is
    admittedly a deplorable state of affairs, yet it is the logical
    result of forcing upon the city a form of government entirely
    unsuited for its needs. Moreover, this lack of co-ordination and
    responsibility has resulted in the confusion of powers and the
    creation of needless boards and committees. A recent investigation
    in Philadelphia showed that it had four boards with power to tear up
    the streets at will, but none to see that they were properly relaid.
    Chicago finds herself possessed of eight different tax levying
    bodies, while in New York City there are eighty different boards or
    individuals who have power to create debt. Is it any wonder that
    inefficiency and graft infest such a maze of boards, councils and
    committees? We see, then, that the present system of separation of
    powers produces inefficiency through a confusion of functions; it
    does away completely with the system of checks and balances and
    results in utter lack of responsibility and co-ordination of

    Honorable Judges, if we are ever to arrive at a solution of our
    municipal problem, we must concentrate municipal authority; we must
    co-ordinate departments, eliminate useless boards and committees and
    fix absolutely and completely individual responsibility. This, we
    propose to do by establishing a commission form of government, where
    all governmental authority is vested in one small body of men, who
    individually act as the heads of administrative departments, but who
    collectively pass the needed legislation. Thus, instead of a council
    with restricted powers and divided authority, we have a few men
    assuming positions of genuine responsibility, as regards both the
    originating and enforcing of laws. My colleagues will show that such
    a concentration of powers in one small body is necessary and
    desirable, both from the legislative and administrative point of

    Such a concentration is desirable, since it is accompanied by a
    corresponding concentration of personal responsibility. This is
    secured in the commission system. Responsibility in administration
    is secured, because each commissioner is at the head of a
    department, for the efficient and honest conduct of which he alone
    is held personally responsible. Responsibility in legislation is
    secured, because, first, the body of legislators is comparatively
    small. Second, the very fact that each commissioner possesses
    information essential to intelligent action, places upon the
    commission itself absolute responsibility. Such a system makes it
    impossible to shift responsibility from one branch to the other, and
    guarantees to us better and more efficient administration of our
    municipal affairs for it eliminates all useless boards and
    committees and fixes absolutely and completely individual

Mr. Earl Stewart, the first speaker on the Negative, said:

    We wish it understood at the outset that no one deplores the useless
    boards and complicated machinery in many of our American cities more
    than do the Negative.

    Before going a step farther let us get right as to what we mean by a
    commission form. The gentlemen state that they are standing for a
    concentration of all power in one small body. Honorable Judges, they
    are standing for something different. It is possible to concentrate
    all authority in one body and yet have the different functions
    performed by separately constituted bodies. For example, the cabinet
    system of Germany, where all governing power is vested in the
    legislative body which in turn delegates all administrative
    functions to the cabinet. Thus the legislative body is directly
    responsible, having ultimate authority, yet the actual exercise of
    power is done by distinct bodies. Now how is it with the commission?
    There, not only does one body have ultimate authority, but it
    actually conducts administration as well as legislation. Quoting
    from Sec. 7 of the Des Moines charter, which is typical of every
    commission form charter in this regard, it says: "All legislative,
    executive, and judicial functions of the city shall be placed in the
    hands of the commissioners who shall exercise those functions." The
    Affirmative, then, are standing for fusion of functions, and not
    concentration of powers.

    The Negative do not defend the evils of present city organization.
    The Negative believe that far-reaching reforms must be instituted
    before we shall enjoy municipal success. The issue then is, does the
    commission form, or do the reforms proposed by the Negative, offer
    the more satisfactory solution of our municipal problems?

    The Negative propose, first, that the form of organization shall
    embody a proper correlation or departments.

    In the early council system the functions of the legislative and
    executive departments so overlapped that there was continual
    conflict of authority. Under the board system the two departments
    were almost disconnected, so that the legislative department could
    not hold the executive accountable to the will of the people. In
    many forms today, as the gentlemen have depicted, the relations
    between the departments are such that responsibility cannot be

    But, Honorable Judges, these instances of failure do not show that
    it is impossible to preserve a proper division of functions, for
    every conspicuous example of municipal success in the world is based
    upon the proper correlation between the legislative and
    administrative departments. Municipal success in Europe is an
    established fact. There we find the cabinet form. A similar form is
    in vogue in Toronto, Canada, which Mayor Coatswain says is most
    gratifying to the public. Says Rear Admiral Chadwick: "The city of
    Newport, Rhode Island, has now a form of government that awakens the
    interest of the citizens, keeps that interest awake, and conducts
    its affairs in obedience to the wishes of the majority." Charleston,
    S. C., Elmira, New York, Los Angeles, Cal., are but a few of the
    typical American cities which have successfully adopted the ordinary
    mayor and council form. Says Mayor Rhett, of Charleston: "I am the
    executive of a city that has been under a mayor and council for over
    one hundred years. It is quite as capable of prompt action on any
    matter as any business corporation." The National Municipal League,
    composed of such men as Albert Shaw, of New York City, and Professor
    Rowe of the University of Pennsylvania, appointed a committee to
    formulate a definite program of reform. This committee did not even
    consider the abandoning of distinct legislative and administrative
    bodies, but, after three years of unremitting effort, presented a
    working system, embodying, in the words of the committee itself, the
    "essential principle of all successful government," namely, the
    proper correlation between the legislative and administrative
    departments. That program has left marked traces in the constitution
    of Virginia, Alabama, Colorado, New York, Wisconsin, Michigan, and

    Proper correlation between departments is best facilitated in the
    cabinet form, because all governing power is vested in the
    legislative body, which in turn delegates all administrative
    functions to the cabinet. However, many cities have properly
    correlated mayor and council by utilizing the model charter of the
    National Municipal League. The Negative, therefore, is here to
    promulgate no specific form for all American cities: conditions in
    Boston may require a different mechanism from that in San Francisco,
    but whatever form, the underlying principle of a proper division of
    functions must be embodied. The Affirmative must admit that proper
    correlation of departments has brought about municipal success, as
    far as mere organization can do so, yet, notwithstanding that, after
    fifteen years of misrule under the commission form in Sacramento the
    freeholders by unanimous choice again adopted distinct legislative
    and administrative bodies; and that the commission form has lately
    operated but a few years in a few small cities, amid aroused civic
    interest. The Affirmative would abolish at one blow the working
    principle of successful city organization in France, Germany,
    England, Canada, and unnumbered cities in the United States.

    In the second place, evils in our cities are due to bad social and
    economic conditions. Harrisburg, Pa., was notoriously corrupt. A
    spirit of reform aroused the citizens, and Harrisburg stands today
    as a remarkable example of efficient government, yet the form of
    organization has been unchanged.

    In many of our large cities there is a feeble civic spirit, due, in
    part, to undesirable immigrants, the prey to the boss, and utterly
    lacking in inherited traditions so essential to the capacity of
    self-government. Another instance: the mutual taxing system has
    fostered public extravagance and loss of interest on the part of the
    taxpayer. Again, favor-seeking corporations have continually
    employed corrupt methods. James Bryce says that in the development
    of a stronger sense of civic duty rather than any change in the form
    of government lies the ultimate hope of municipal reform.

    A third cause of municipal ills is that of poor business methods.
    First, unjust election laws and lack of proper primaries have
    permitted the corrupt arts of the caucus politician. Second, lack of
    a uniform system of accounting has served only to conceal the facts,
    resulting in apathy on the part of the people, diffusion of
    responsibility, and widespread corruption among officials. Third,
    lack of publicity of proceedings has protected graft. Fourth, lack
    of civil service has perpetuated the spoils system.

    All these can and are being remedied. The Bureau of Municipal
    Research shows plainly that it is not necessary to change
    fundamental principles to secure business efficiency. It reorganized
    the Real Estate Bureau of New York that eluded all graft charges and
    made 100 per cent profits. The Department of Finance, heretofore
    unable to tell whether taxes were collected, is reorganized from top
    to bottom. Through the glaring light of publicity, the bureau
    collected more than a million dollars for paving done at the
    public's expense between the street-car company's rails. The old
    conditions, where examination of the books of any department
    involved weeks of labor, have given way to a uniform system of
    public accounting. In the words of the Springfield, Mass.,
    _Republican_, "The work of the Bureau of Public Research is far more
    fundamental than the question of substituting city organization with
    a commission."

    A fourth cause of evils is that of state interference in purely
    local affairs.

    In the United States the city may not act except where authorized
    expressly and especially by the state. In Europe the city may do
    anything it is not forbidden to do, and municipal success there is
    based on this greater freedom. The European city, though subject to
    general state law, makes its own local laws, not in conflict with,
    but in addition to, state law. But in the United States the state
    legislature, accustomed to interfere in matters of interest to the
    state government, failed to distinguish between such matters and
    those of exclusive interest to the cities themselves. To illustrate:
    The Cleveland Municipal Association reported in 1900 that
    legislators from an outside county had introduced radical changes in
    almost every department of their city government. In Massachusetts
    the police, water works, and park systems are directly under the
    state, and the only part the cities have is to pay the bills. In
    Pennsylvania for thirty-one years the state kept upon the statute
    books an act imposing upon Philadelphia a self-perpetuating
    commission, appointed without reference to the city's wishes, and
    with all power to erect a city hall and levy taxes to collect the
    twenty-million-dollar cost.

    State and national political parties, controlling the legislature,
    have meddled in the private affairs of the city, resulting in the
    decay of the city council and the destruction of the local autonomy.
    Professor Goodnow says that under these conditions a scientific
    solution of the vexed question of municipal organization has been

    The remedy lies in restoring to the city its proper field of
    legislation. Already thirty states have passed constitutional
    amendments granting greater legislative powers to the cities. Five
    states now allow cities to amend their own charters. But in direct
    opposition to this movement for municipal home rule, the commission
    form takes the last step in the destruction of the city's
    legislative body and fosters continued state interference. President
    Eliot says that the functions of the commissioners will be defined
    and enumerated by the state.

    Now, Honorable Judges, the basic principle of city government the
    world over is division of functions. It is the principle that the
    commission form attempts to annihilate. But we have pointed out the
    real causes of municipal evils and have shown they are to be
    remedied without tampering with the fundamental principles which
    time and experience have shown to be correct in every instance of
    successful city organization. The Affirmative say: change the
    fundamental principle; all changes in form and other remedies are
    insufficient. The Negative say: retain the principle of distinct
    legislative and administrative bodies, but observe a proper
    correlation between them which is done in countless instances as we
    have shown. We would remedy bad social and economic conditions,
    introduce better business methods, and, most important of all, give
    the city greater freedom in powers of local self-government.

Mr. Clyde Robbins, the second speaker of the Affirmative, said:

    It should be understood at the outset that the Affirmative desire
    all the local self-government for American cities that the Negative
    can induce the state legislatures to give them. But just what is
    home rule for cities? It is simply granting additional functions to
    the city by the state legislature. The only possible way home rule
    can affect the question under discussion is a consideration of which
    form of government is best suited to perform additional functions
    granted by the government. We maintain that the commission form can
    do this better because, first, it furnishes superior legislation,
    and second, it furnishes superior administration.

    The gentleman blandly assumes that the commission form is
    fundamentally wrong, because it fails to provide a separate
    legislative body as do the governments of the state and nation. An
    isolated legislative body is desirable for state and national
    governments. Is that a reason for applying it to city government?
    Here, social, economic, and political conditions are entirely
    different from those of either state or nation. The city is not a
    sovereign body. Its powers are exclusively those delegated to it by
    the state legislature. They are confined wholly to matters of local
    concern. Furthermore, we do not deny the legislative functions of
    the city, nor does the plan we advocate contemplate the destruction
    of the city's legislative body. It simply means that in place of the
    present notoriously inefficient, isolated council, we establish a
    commission council composed of the heads of the various
    administrative departments. The question at issue is not whether we
    shall have a city council, either system provides for that; but
    whether a commission council, or an isolated council will furnish
    better ordinances. We are contending that the commission council
    must furnish superior measures, because in the making of city
    ordinances there are at least three great essentials for which this
    commission council alone makes adequate provision.

    First the legislative and administrative work of the city must be
    unalterably connected;

    Second, the councilmen must have a direct and technical knowledge of
    the city affairs;

    Third, the councilman must be representative of the whole city.

    Consider, first, how the legislative and administrative work are
    connected. State and national legislation are general in their
    nature and scope. The extent of territory, and the variety in local
    needs have naturally created a separate law-making body. But in the
    city such conditions do not exist. The legislative acts of the
    council are specific in their nature. The very name reveals their
    distinctive character. They are ordinances as distinguished from
    other laws, and are designed to meet a particular kind of
    administration. The specific act and the particular administration
    of it go hand in hand. Hence, satisfactory measures can be enacted
    only when they come from the hands of a commission council.

    President Eliot recognized this fact when he said that the work of
    the city council is not concerned with far-reaching policies of
    legislation. There is no occasion for two or even one separate
    legislative body. Dr. Albert Shaw writes, that so indistinguishably
    blended are the legislative and administrative departments of the
    city, that it is impossible to separate one from the other.

    Second, a commission council is more effective because it furnishes
    a direct and technical knowledge of city affairs. An investigation
    in Des Moines showed that out of 370 acts performed by the council,
    32 were granting of saloon licenses and similar permits; 338
    concerned matters demanding technical knowledge. To have a street
    paved, shall one body legislate; a second group administer; and a
    third pass upon the validity of the whole thing? Rather the
    councilmen should know good paving; they should know how to draw up
    and enforce a business contract. These are the vital necessities.

    The commission council secures such results. Its membership is
    comparatively small. Its sessions are held daily. Its members have a
    direct knowledge of the city's needs for each one serves as the head
    of a department. Satisfactory legislation then becomes a mere
    business proposition. It is but carrying forward the work of each
    commissioner, for successful administration is impossible without
    competent legislation. Hence, a city commissioner would no more
    think of passing improper legislation than a bank director would
    think of advising unsound loans.

    The Cedar Rapids commission met to legislate on replacing an old
    bridge. The commissioner of public safety told in what respects the
    old structure was unsafe. The commissioner of public property knew
    how much land the city owned abutting the bridge. The commissioner
    of streets explained what alterations should be made in the
    approaches, and the commissioner of finance knew in just what way
    the city could best pay for the improvement. Honorable Judges, such
    men are in a position to legislate with thoroughness. They are a
    commission council, the very nature of which makes it inevitable
    that they act with intelligence and efficiency.

    Contrast now, the commission council with the isolated council. Here
    we find positively no co-ordination between the legislative and
    administrative branches, while a century of experience with the
    scheme of checks and balances has proved conclusively that it can
    not prevent municipal corruption. Moreover, legislation by the
    isolated council is not only chaotic in form but it is
    irresponsible, while in the case of the commission council the very
    fact that the head of each department possesses necessary
    information not only secures adequate legislation but fixes with
    certainty the entire responsibility.

    The isolated council is a large and unwieldy body. Each member of it
    has his own private occupation. Without special preparation of any
    kind he attends council not oftener than once a week. Intelligent
    action under such conditions is simply impossible. The only way this
    council has of securing reliable information is from the heads of
    the administrative departments. But even then responsibility is
    still divided between the legislative and administrative branches.
    This deplorable state of affairs has been synchronous with the
    growth of the isolated council in America.

    Is it any wonder that the old Des Moines council voted to construct
    a bridge only to find when the work was completed that the city did
    not even own the approaches, or that the old Cedar Rapids council
    let a similar contract at an exorbitantly high price, only to find,
    when the work was completed, that the contract called for no
    protecting wings or abutments, and the city was compelled to spend
    many thousands of dollars additional in order to make the structure
    safe? Such nonsensical legislation is a direct result of the
    isolated council. It fails to provide information essential to
    intelligent action. It does not permit a proper co-ordination of
    departments so vitally necessary in successful city government.

    Lastly, city legislation demands unbiased representation. In this
    respect a commission council is superior to an isolated council.

    In the commission council each member represents the entire city.
    Hence, there is no incentive to favor one ward at the expense of
    another. In fact, any such an attempt could result only in disaster
    to the commissioner himself. Furthermore, each commissioner is held
    individually responsible for his department. Consequently he is
    forced to insist upon an impartial representation of the entire
    city. This is well illustrated by the present situation in New York
    City. The Bureau of Municipal Research, admittedly the most
    practical organization of its kind in the country, is conducting its
    work along the line of effective competency in city departments. As
    a result of its investigations, the citizens of New York have been
    forced to the conclusion to which my colleague has already referred,
    namely, that the ultimate solution of their municipal difficulties
    will be reached only when they have disposed of their present
    inefficient and useless ward council and created in its place a
    commission council.

    Under the isolated council a member is elected to represent a
    certain section of the city. He must do this, no matter what may be
    the effect upon the rest of the city. For example, in legislating on
    the annual budget, each ward boss brings pressure to bear upon his
    own councilman to have certain levies reduced, and to secure
    stipulated appropriations for his own ward. In New York City last
    spring, Bird S. Coler, representing a part of Brooklyn, blocked
    every appropriation until he secured certain selfish measures for
    his own district. What is true of New York is an annual occurrence
    in practically every other ward-ruled American city.

    Furthermore, councilmen from one ward are shamefully unresponsive to
    the needs and desires of citizens in other wards. Just this summer
    the council of Duluth, Minn., granted saloon licenses for a ward in
    which 90 per cent of its citizens signed a written protest against
    such action. The councilmen representing that district were helpless
    to prevent the legislation and the citizens themselves had no
    recourse whatsoever. The grand jury in St. Louis reported that the
    wards of that city were an actual menace to decency and good

    With these instances before us it is well to remember that the
    scheme of ward representation is a necessary part of the practical
    operation of the separation of powers in government. This is
    exemplified in our national, state, and city organizations. In fact,
    the principal reason for an isolated legislative body is that the
    sentiments of the different localities may be expressed in
    legislation. The practical result is that 95 per cent of our city
    governments are based upon ward representation, nor can an instance
    be cited in all American political theory which shows the creation
    of a successful political organization based upon an isolated
    legislative body in which there has not been an accompanying
    representation by territorial districts. This principle is always
    the same no matter whether it be a congressional district of the
    national government or a ward of the city government. Hence, it is
    for this principle that the gentlemen must contend if they wish to
    argue for an isolated council in city government.

    In conclusion, Honorable Judges, a commission council is superior to
    an isolated council, because the work of city legislation and
    administration must be unalterably connected; because the councilmen
    must have a direct and technical knowledge of city affairs; and,
    because the councilmen must be representative of the whole city.

Mr. Vincent Starzinger, the second speaker on the Negative, said:

    The Affirmative continue to direct their attack against the "old
    form." Yet my colleague has suggested substantial changes in present
    city organization, changes which have brought about success
    wherever tried. Moreover, we wish to make it clear that we are not
    necessarily standing for a division of power. There may be
    separately constituted departments of government, one primarily for
    administration, the other primarily for legislation, yet a
    concentration of authority in one of them, as in the case under the
    cabinet system of Europe. The gentlemen of the opposition are
    advocating not only a concentration of power, but a fusion of
    functions as well. Their commission is at once the executive cabinet
    and the legislative body.

    We have heard much about the practical working of the new plan. Upon
    this matter, the Negative shall have a few words to say before the
    close of the debate. But granting for the sake of argument that the
    commission form has operated with some degree of success in a few
    small towns, especially when compared with the admitted inefficient
    machinery of government in vogue before its adoption and when
    favored by an aroused civic interest, nevertheless, it does not
    follow that it is adapted to the needs of the typical American city.
    There, administration is a matter of great complexity and of vital
    importance. Boston has pay-rolls including 12,000 and annual
    expenditure of $40,000,000. Successful administration under such
    conditions has necessitated the growth of city departments. The
    heads of the various departments constitute an executive cabinet.
    Under the commission form, this cabinet is established by popular
    election and made the single governmental body for the performance
    of both the legislative and the administrative functions.

    Such a fusion of functions must necessarily result: in poor
    administration; in the sacrifice of legislation; and in the ultimate
    destruction of local self-government.

    Consider the problem of administration.

    An efficient cabinet cannot, as a rule, be secured by popular
    election. Men who possess the ability to direct a city department
    acquire such capacity only after years of preparation, and such men
    will not endure the uncertainties of a career dependent upon the
    favor of the public. The commissioner of finance who understands the
    intricate problems of accounting will not coddle the people to
    insure his election. Popular judgment, no matter how enlightened,
    cannot be entrusted with the selection of such men. The old board
    system proves this conclusively. Here, the choosing of the heads of
    the important city departments was placed in the hands of the
    people. The system stands condemned.

    A commission form makes the additional blunder of uniting completely
    the two functions of legislation and administration in the same
    body. This makes the commissioners representative in character. But
    this condition is disastrous to successful administration. Whenever
    the people desire even the slightest change in their local policy,
    the stability and continuity of the city departments must be upset.
    Representation is secured at the expense of efficiency.
    Administration becomes saturated with politics.

    Again, Honorable Judges, the management of a city should be
    subjected to the criticism and control of a reviewing body. Both the
    welfare of the people and the interests of good administration
    demand it. Administrators, no matter how valuable their technical
    knowledge, make poor legislators. Being interested in their work,
    they very naturally exalt and magnify their departments. Just a few
    years ago, the city of Cleveland found it necessary to take even the
    preparation of the budget from the heads of the departments
    concerned and to place it with a board which could view with
    impartiality the demands of the various department chiefs. Think of
    turning over all the functions of a city like St. Louis to an
    executive cabinet without even the oversight or criticism of an
    impartial body.

    And, Honorable Judges, the whole experience of government proves the
    absolute necessity for a separate legislative department. Look where
    you will, and in each case there is an executive cabinet, based upon
    appointment, untrammelled by the burdens of legislation, and
    subjected to the criticism and control of a reviewing body. In
    Europe, the city councils are elected by the people, and the
    administrative departments are made up through a process of
    selection and appointment, together with the assurance of reasonable
    permanence of tenure, responsibility, and adequate support. Likewise
    in America, the larger cities are already organizing their cabinets
    upon a somewhat similar basis. The six largest cities of New York,
    all of the cities of Indiana, Boston, Chicago, Baltimore, and many
    others are securing their important administrative officials through
    appointment by the mayor. This is the general plan advocated by the
    National Municipal League. It centers responsibility for the
    administration in one man. On the other hand, some of the cities of
    Canada follow more closely to the German system. There the cabinet
    is selected by a representative council. In practically all of these
    instances, men of special ability have been obtained, the
    departments of administration have been properly correlated,
    responsibility has been concentrated, and the general principle,
    that successful administration depends upon a separately constituted
    legislative body, has been firmly established.

    It is plain then that a commission form violates the fundamental
    principles of successful administration. It first attempts to secure
    a cabinet by popular vote. It then upsets the stability of the city
    departments by completely uniting both the legislative and the
    administrative functions. Finally, it destroys the responsibility of
    that prime essential of successful administration, namely, a proper
    reviewing body.

    In the second place, Honorable Judges, the permanent adoption of a
    commission form must necessarily mean a sacrifice of legislation and
    the ultimate destruction of local self-government. Even though the
    city may be subordinate to the state, nevertheless, it has a broad
    field of independent action. Otherwise, why give it a separate
    personality and a separate organization? Cities are permitted to
    exercise vast powers of police and of taxation. It is idle to say
    that a few commissioners can give satisfactory legislation. They
    cannot represent community interests. Their executive functions will
    naturally bias their judgment. Moreover, each commissioner, knowing
    little of the needs of the other departments, will naturally take
    the word of its administrative head, especially since he desires the
    same freedom. This was actually the case in Sacramento, Cal., where
    the commission plan was tried for fifteen years and given up as an
    abject failure. Says the Hon. Clinton White of that city: "In almost
    every instance, the board soon came to the understanding that each
    man was to be let alone in the management of the department assigned
    to him. This resulted in there being in fact no tribunals exercising
    a supervisory power over the executive of a particular department."
    Honorable Judges, a reviewing and legislative body is indispensable
    in city government and a commission makes no such provision. Weak in
    administration, wholly lacking in matters of legislation, dangerous
    as a theory of government, it cannot help but result in the complete
    subjection of local government to the state. The inevitable result
    of its permanent adoption will be that the important local
    legislative functions will become a mere administrative board with
    discretionary power as in the case of Washington, D.C. In the words
    of Professor Goodnow: "The destruction of the city council has not
    destroyed council government. It has simply made local policy a
    matter of state legislative determination." If we wish to destroy
    the life of the city, make it impotent to discharge the functions
    for which it was organized, then, and then only, it might be
    feasible to place over it a commission.

    But, Honorable Judges, authorities are agreed that cities must be
    allowed greater freedom of action in local affairs, that municipal
    home rule is indispensable. The governments of our large cities have
    been dominated to such an extent by the state legislatures, usually
    partisan and irresponsible to the locality concerned, that in many
    cases self-government has become a term, hollow and without meaning.

    The gentlemen condemn the city council, yet they pass over the real
    cause for its decay. Restore to the city its proper legislative
    powers, confine the work of the council to legislation instead of
    allowing it to go into details of administration, reduce the number
    of councilmen, if necessary, adjust the method of representation,
    introduce needed electoral and primary reform, establish
    responsibility by means of uniform municipal accounting and
    publicity of proceedings, and we ask the gentlemen in all
    earnestness why American city councils will not take on new life
    just as the city councils of every other country have done in the

    The two great problems of American city government are: first,
    administration; secondly, municipal home rule. The solution of both
    depends upon the existence of two separately constituted departments
    of government. This principle is being emphasized by the leading
    scholars of political science, as illustrated by the program of the
    National Municipal League. In fact, Honorable Judges, every
    deep-seated reform in our large cities for the past quarter of a
    century has tended toward this cardinal doctrine of municipal
    success. The Ohio Municipal Code Commission, after two years of
    careful study and observation, presented a bill based upon the
    principles which we defend tonight, namely, a separation of
    administration from legislation, and secondly, municipal home rule.

    In direct opposition to this, the gentlemen present and advocate as
    a permanent scheme for the organization of American cities, both
    large and small, a commission form, a quasi-legislative and
    administrative board patterned to give mediocrity in the performance
    of both functions, success in neither; a form which destroys forever
    the possibility of developing an efficient executive cabinet and is
    entirely out of harmony with the advancing idea of municipal home

Mr. George Luxford, the third speaker on the Affirmative, said:

    It has been made very clear by my colleagues that the present
    shameful condition of many of our American cities is due in large
    measure to the peculiar form of the government patterned after a
    scheme which is adapted to a sovereign government like the state or
    nation. The Negative demand an isolation which history shows, so far
    as our American cities are concerned, leads to a complete confusion
    of functions, with a consequent loss of responsibility. Knowing the
    inadequacy of the scheme they then demanded municipal home rule; but
    we have shown that the Affirmative are thoroughly committed to
    municipal home rule which under the commission form alone can be
    safely intrusted to cities. State interference in city government is
    the child of the form of government for which our friends of the
    Negative are sponsors. Thus far the gentlemen have failed to
    disprove the points which we have presented that the theory of
    checks and balances when applied to American cities has failed; that
    the plan of concentrating municipal authority under one head as
    advocated by the commission plan is in complete harmony with modern
    industrial and social development, and that the plan is superior
    from a legislative standpoint. It shall be my purpose to show that
    it is superior from the standpoint of administration. We believe
    this because the commission lends itself to the application of
    business methods. The plan provides for a comparatively small body
    of men who meet in daily session and who give their whole time to
    the work of governing the city. At present, too often the real
    business of the officials is anything else. They give their spare
    time to the city and we have seen the results. Honorable judges, we
    claim that there is a special virtue in the very smallness of the
    number inasmuch as they are properly paid, devote all their time to
    their work, and are made in fact governors of the city. They have a
    great deal of work to do and they do it, while under our present
    systems the councilmen have comparatively little to do and they fail
    to do that little efficiently.

    The reason why this small body can administer with dispatch and
    efficiency is seen at a glance. Each commissioner is the head of a
    department for which he is personally responsible. He is not
    hindered as is the executive at present by an inefficient and
    meddling council which has more power, often, than the executive
    himself. He knows the laws for he has helped to make them. It is his
    business to see that they are executed, and if they are not, he
    cannot escape blame. He cannot plead ignorance, lack of
    responsibility, or lack of power as do present administrative

    Moreover, this body is admirably constituted for effective carrying
    out of city business. It is larger than the single headed executive
    and possesses, therefore, a division of work which makes the
    administration far more effective. At the same time it is smaller
    than the old council and for that reason is more efficient in
    enacting the city's peculiar kind of legislation. In actual
    practice, and that seems to be the real test of city government,
    both administration and legislation are accomplished with accuracy
    and dispatch. For instance, every spring for the last decade
    carloads of "dagoes" with their dirt and disease have come to Cedar
    Rapids. Every year protests have gone up to both mayor and council,
    but without result. Cedar Rapids has adopted a commission form of
    government. Last spring when the "dagoes" came the same complaints
    went up as usual, that because of their insanitary methods these
    people carried with them filth and disease. But the petitioners did
    not go to the city council which met once in two weeks, nor were
    they referred to a committee which met less often. They went
    directly to the commissioners who had charge of the city health and
    in less than twenty-four hours the "dagoes" had been notified to
    either clean up or leave, and they left the city. But, say the
    opponents of this plan, this could have been done under the old
    system. To be sure, but the burning fact remains that in spite of
    the protests of the people, it was not done.

    In Houston the government was both inefficient and dishonest. For
    years the annual expenditures had exceeded the income a hundred
    thousand dollars. The city adopted a commission form and a four
    hundred thousand dollar floating debt was paid off in one year out
    of the ordinary income of the city. At the same time the city's
    taxes were reduced ten per cent. In the health department alone
    there is a saving of from $100 to $150 per month, while a
    combination in the operation of the garbage crematory and pumping
    station saves the city $6,000 annually. These results have been
    accomplished under a commission plan by the application of common,
    everyday business principles.

    Galveston adopted a commission plan, and although its taxable values
    were reduced twenty-five per cent by the storm of 1900, yet within
    six years its commissioners not only put the city on a cash basis,
    made improvements costing $1,000,000 annually, but actually paid off
    a debt of $394,000 which had been incurred by the old council, and
    all this was accomplished without borrowing a dollar, issuing a
    bond, or increasing the rate of taxation. Other cities which have
    adopted a commission plan are accomplishing equally as beneficial
    results. Hence, we maintain that the commission form of city
    government is superior from the standpoint of efficiency in

    The commission plan is superior in administration for it is adapted
    to the city's financial problem. The same body of men are held
    responsible for the levying and collecting of taxes and for the
    spending of the money. This is desirable because the administrative
    body which is to spend money knows, accurately, the city's need of
    revenue. They are in a position to know; it is their business. A
    legislative body, whether council or a board, cannot know the city's
    needs for money without getting the facts from the administrative
    body. F.R. Clow says the council does not pretend to know the city's
    revenue problem and they adopt the recommendation of the
    administrative departments. The Negative's system of division of
    powers simply divides the responsibility between the legislative and
    administrative departments for the thing which in fact has been done
    by the administrative department itself. Since the administrative
    department really dictates the budget, it should be held directly
    responsible for it. Therefore, we contend that the commissioners,
    knowing best what the budget should contain because as
    administrators they know the city's need for money, are the body of
    men preeminently fitted to handle the city's budget.

    The commission plan is adapted to the city's financial problem
    because it fosters economy. Economy is the result of understanding.
    The commissioners knowing the city's government, not from the
    administrative side alone, but from the legislative side as well,
    are in a position to economize and in practice they have done so.
    The running expenses of Galveston under the commission plan have
    been reduced one-third. In Houston it costs $12,800 a year less to
    run the water and light plants than formerly, while by a combination
    of work in the different departments there is a saving of $9,000
    annually. In Cedar Rapids, since the adoption of the commission
    plan, there has been a reduction in the paving contracts let of ten
    and one-fifth per cent, in sewerage contracts, fourteen and
    two-sevenths per cent, and in water contracts, twenty per cent.
    Immediately after the adoption of the commission plan in Des Moines
    the annual cost of each arc-light was reduced five dollars. Reports
    from all the cities using the commission plan show that by the use
    of business principles the commissioners have economized in the
    administration of the city's government.

    The commission plan is adapted to the city's finances because it
    provides a superior safeguard. Legislative bodies in our cities have
    been depended upon to represent the citizens' best interest. In
    practice, as we have pointed out, they have not done so. Never in
    the history of our municipal affairs, says Henry D.F. Baldwin, has a
    legislative body stood out as the representatives of the people
    against the administrative department. Why then continue a
    representative body which does not in fact represent? Instead of the
    withered form of a council or legislative body standing between the
    citizen and his government the commission plan simply removes this
    useless obstacle and allows the citizen to participate directly in
    the government. This is directly in harmony with the
    well-established economic principle that the self-interest of the
    taxpayer will control where responsibility is fixed.

Mr. Charles Briggs, the third speaker on the Negative, said:

    It will be well while the matter is fresh in our minds, Honorable
    Judges, to make a brief examination of one matter of which the
    Affirmative are making a feature, that the commission form affords
    unusual safeguards for the financial and economic interests of the
    city. Now, in all fairness to the scheme which is doing quite well
    in a very few of our smaller cities, the question ought to be raised
    as to what other form of city government could be devised which
    would provide greater opportunities for graft and corruption. A
    little group of autocrats is the ideal form for which the ardent
    corruptionists might pray. They have it in the commission form.
    Exemplary men in office or a constant civic interest, may prevent
    the commissioners from becoming a band of robbers; but are these two
    preventives likely always to exist? Human experience says "No." The
    history of New Orleans and Sacramento confirm that decision. Civic
    interest is bound to subside; corrupt men are sure to become
    commissioners. Then the oligarchy advocated by the Affirmative
    becomes not a "safeguard" but a band of raiders equipped by the very
    form of government to loot the treasury. We must insist, at this
    point, that our opponents have failed in their assault upon our main

    First, that the evils in American city government are not
    attributable to the fundamental principles of that government;
    second, that the principles underlying the proposed form are in
    themselves wrong and are not consonant generally with American
    ideals. It remains to be shown that the commission form is
    impracticable as a general scheme for the government of all American

    We can very well agree that where the commission form of government
    has been tried it has been productive of some good results, and
    further, that in certain homogeneous communities of high culture and
    intelligence it might work with considerable success; but that the
    result obtained in cities where the commission form has been tried
    would warrant the universal adoption of it by American cities we
    must deny.

    We deny the wisdom of adopting the commission form for it results in
    inadequate responsibility; third, it could never work in the vast
    majority of American cities. These reasons are apparent from
    examinations of the commission form where it has been and is being
    tried, and are inherent in the plan itself.

    The tremendous centralization of power under this form of city
    government cannot escape a critical observer. A small body of men
    have absolute sway over the destiny of the city. They make all laws
    from the minutely specified contract for a water system to all
    important school legislation. All franchises are engineered by
    them. All contracts, great and small, are let by them. The city's
    bonded debt is in their hands; by them the city is taxed and
    incumbered. Parks, police, streets, education, public buildings,
    engineering, finance--everything from the smallest administrative
    duty to the all-engrossing functions of legislation devolves upon
    this commission. They can vacate any office, can create any office,
    and without limit fix any salary they choose. The entire
    officialdom, outside of the commission itself, and all the employes
    and the servants of the city are by law made the agents, servants,
    and dependents of the council. The possibilities for machine power
    with this autocratic centralization of authority are without
    condition. We can demonstrate this best by giving practical
    illustrations taken from the active operation of the commission
    form. We may preface these by saying that there is nothing inherent
    in the commission form or any of its attributes which can insure the
    selection of better men for office. The members of the commission
    will be about the same kind of men as the ordinary city official.
    Minneapolis by an election at large placed in the mayor's chair its
    most notorious grafter. This is proved by the personnel of the
    commissions where the system is being tried. The investigating
    committee appointed by the city of Des Moines, quoting their exact
    words, say that in Houston, where the commissioners are required to
    stay in the city hall every day, business men do not hold those
    positions, although the salaries are higher than the proposed
    salaries of the Des Moines commissioners. One commissioner was
    formerly a city scavenger, another a blacksmith, justice of the
    peace and alderman, a third a railway conductor, fourth a dry-goods
    merchant, and the mayor, a retired capitalist. Mr. Pollock of Kansas
    City says of the Des Moines commission, "The commission as elected
    consists of a former police judge and justice of the peace who is
    mayor-commissioner at the salary of $3,500; a coal miner, deputy
    sheriff; the former city assessor, whose greatest success has been
    in public office; a union painter of undoubted honesty and
    integrity, but far from a $3,000 man; an ex-mayor and politician,
    who is perhaps the most valuable member of the new form of
    government, but whose record does not disclose any great business
    capacity aside from that displayed in public office." The Des Moines
    committee says of the Galveston commission: "This is a perpetual
    body, a potentially perfect machine." There has been no change in
    the membership of the Galveston commission since it was organized.
    The extensive power of the commissioners have enabled them to
    control all political factions and to completely crush the
    opposition. The commissioners' faction is in complete control and
    even goes so far as to dictate nominations for the legislature and
    the national congress. In Des Moines we find evidences of this
    machine power in the very first session of the commission. Mr. Hume
    was appointed chief of police because he had delivered the labor
    vote to Mr. Mathis. The _Daily News_, the only Des Moines paper that
    supported the plan, was rewarded by having three of its staff
    appointed to responsible positions. Mr. Lyman was appointed
    secretary to Commissioner Hammery, Neil Jones secretary to Mayor
    Mathis. Another man was appointed to an important technical
    position. A brakeman was appointed street commissioner because he
    delivered the vote of the Federation of Labor.

    These are but a few of the instances where this great centralization
    of power has shown itself in practice to be a system permitting of
    unrestricted machine power and political grafting. New Orleans tried
    the system and abandoned it over 20 years ago because of this very
    reason. The inhabitants were afraid of this tremendous
    centralization of power.

    The friends of the commission idea claim for it the advantage of
    centered responsibility; but practice has proved that this form of
    city government is actually formulated to defeat responsibility. By
    the construction of this governing body each commissioner is held
    responsible for his respective department. But regulation for each
    department is made not by the commission as a whole but by the whole
    commission. This results in a confusion of powers. Thus in the city
    of Des Moines, Mr. Hume, the personal enemy of Commissioner Hammery
    was made chief of police by three other members of the commission
    for political reasons.

    Who is responsible for the mistakes of Mr. Hume? The people say
    Hammery. But Hammery says: "I had nothing to do with his
    appointment." It has actually happened time and again at the
    commission table in Des Moines that regulations for the financial
    department were made by the police commission, the street
    commissioner and the commissioner of parks and public buildings;
    that the police commissioner would have the deciding vote on some
    important school legislation; or the commissioner of education
    control the appointment of policemen. This defect has given rise to
    log-rolling. Bridges have been built as a personal favor to one
    commissioner whose vote is needed to construct a new schoolhouse.
    Large paving and building contracts are let simply because the
    police commissioner wanted to oust some unfaithful political
    dependent. In this way each commissioner gains great favor with the
    voters and at the same time can escape personal responsibility for
    technical mistakes by shouldering the blame onto the whole
    commission where his identity is lost. This department trading has
    found its way into the Galveston commission, claimed to have the
    best commission of any city under this form of government. Here we
    find that at the same time the prosecutor of the city cases in the
    police court is allowed the right to collect a fee of $10 for every
    criminal, drunk, or vagrant convicted, and $5 for every one who
    pleads guilty; a 50-year franchise is granted to the Galveston
    Street Railway Co. without a vote of the people, the city not to
    receive one cent of tax and no compensation.

    So, Honorable Judges, we must consider that, while the commission
    form may be a temporary success in a few small cities, its permanent
    success there is in grave doubt. Under these conditions we do not
    ask that it be abolished, but that under no circumstances its
    application be made general in this country where other forms of
    city government are in practice more successful and in theory more


Mr. Earl Stewart opened for the Negative:

    The gentlemen contend that the work of the city is almost wholly of
    a business nature. Honorable Judges, if the city does not have
    important legislative duties, what do we mean by local
    self-government? The courts have held again and again that the work
    of the city is primarily governmental. Says Judge Dillon: "The city
    is essentially public and political in character." Not a business
    corporation in this country could place vast sums of money in the
    hands of four of five men without the safeguard of some supervising
    body. Yet New York City has an annual expenditure of $150,000,000,
    equaled by the aggregate of seven other American cities of 400,000
    population; more than that of nations; three times that of the
    Argentine Republic; four times that of Sweden and Norway combined.
    Honorable Judges, the American people are too business-like ever to
    place the entire raising, appropriating, and extending of such vast
    sums of money, or the half, or the quarter, or the tenth of such, in
    the hands of five men without the adequate check and safeguard of
    some supervising and reviewing body, call it congress, legislature,
    or council.

    The gentlemen condemn divisions of powers because the city's
    functions are of such a mixed nature and no strict line of
    separation can be drawn. Granted. We have emphasized repeatedly that
    we are not standing for division of powers; we are standing for
    separately constituted bodies, which shall co-operate. We are
    defending no system of disconnected committees which the gentlemen
    have spent a whole speech in attacking, and we have shown,
    furthermore, that the evils are only augmented by going to the other
    extreme and completely confusing the functions in one small body.
    The gentlemen see no difference between principles of government and
    the form or mechanism which embodies, adequately or inadequately,
    those principles. They forget that the National Municipal League
    debated for three years over detail of form, never once disagreeing
    as to the essential principle of distinct bodies for legislation and
    administration. They forget that the model charter, which is
    efficient because it has a proper co-ordination of departments, is
    based upon the same principle of separately constituted bodies as
    the old board system with its disconnected departments and
    complicated machinery. Because the machinery has been inadequate,
    owing to causes which the gentlemen have ignored, they would abolish
    the working principle which is proved correct in every instance of
    successful city organization, wherever found.

    Just a word on this over-worked argument of centering
    responsibility. Accountability means that a man charged with the
    performance of a task shall be held undividedly responsible for it.
    Now the commissioners collectively legislate. They can not do this
    without constantly and seriously intruding upon the work of the
    several departments. The moment this is done, responsibility is
    diffused. The Hume incident, mentioned by my colleague, is abundant
    illustration of the way responsibility is fixed under a commission
    form. Says Professor F.I. Herriot, head of the department of
    political science in Drake University and statistician of the Iowa
    board of control: "A commission form cuts at the very roots of
    official accountability and responsibility and, strange enough, it
    is because its friends believe that it enhances fixing of
    responsibility that they propose it." This from a scholar who has
    watched the plan in operation. A commission form does not fix
    responsibility, but even granting for the sake of argument that it
    does, are we to sacrifice representative government for the sake of
    fixing responsibility? If so, then why not make it still more
    definite and establish one-man power? Honorable Judges, we have
    shown that responsibility is more effectively centered by
    establishing uniform accounting and publicity.

    The affirmative contend that the commissioners will furnish superior
    legislation. Now we do not say that knowledge of administration is
    of no benefit in legislation. But the necessary information can be
    secured without confusing the functions in a small executive
    cabinet. In Europe it is done by making the cabinet responsible to
    the council. In the United States, for example, Baltimore, it is
    done by having the cabinet meet and co-operate with the council.
    Nothing can be done by withholding the information, and as a matter
    of fact, the city secures all the benefit of the technical training
    of its administrators without the disadvantage of confusion of

Mr. Clarence Coulter opened for the Affirmative:

    It has been argued by the Negative that the success of the
    commission form of government is based upon the assumption of
    electing good men to office, and as an illustration, that the Des
    Moines commissioners are inefficient members of the old city hall
    gang. As it happens, however, one of the commissioners is a man with
    a national reputation as a municipal expert, a man whose honesty and
    integrity have never once been questioned. The commissioner of
    public safety has been trained for his position by long experience
    in municipal affairs and is a college graduate. Admitting, however,
    for the sake of argument, that the gentleman's contention is true;
    yet the unquestioned success of the Des Moines government proves the
    wisdom of the commission plan, for it so centralizes individual
    responsibility as to require honest and efficient performance of
    duty on the part of each commissioner.

    Now as to securing good men. In the first place, the negative did
    not, and cannot, cite a single city in which the commission plan
    has failed to secure good men. Better men are elected under the
    commission plan, for the number of elective offices is greatly
    decreased, while the responsibility and honor of the position is
    relatively increased. Moreover, the government is put on a business
    basis and the commissioners are given steady employment at a good
    salary. They have an opportunity to make a genuine record for
    themselves, as well as to serve the best interests of the city. On
    the other hand, the fact that responsibility is definitely centered
    on each commissioner will, in itself, prevent men of no ability or
    grafting politicians from seeking office. Political parties no
    longer have any opportunity of putting men of little ability into
    office, but instead, competent men with a genuine interest in the
    city affairs and with no party affiliations whatever, so far as
    municipal affairs are concerned, will be attracted to the position
    of commissioner.

    The opposition go further and charge that, even though efficient men
    may be elected to office, the commission plan makes impossible the
    fixing of responsibility. They failed, however, to point out a
    single instance in commission-governed cities to prove their point
    and made no attempt to show how responsibility could be better fixed
    under the present system. As a matter of fact, Honorable Judges, the
    fixing of individual responsibility, under the present system, is
    utterly impossible, as we have already shown, while it is the
    strongest virtue of the commission plan. In matters of pure
    administration it is absolutely impossible for the commissioner to
    escape individual responsibility, for he has full charge of the
    administration of his own department. In matters of legislation,
    where the majority vote of the commission may determine a policy
    affecting a certain commissioner, responsibility is not lost but is
    fixed upon those few who voted for such policy.

    It has been contended that the commission form of government is
    unpopular and that this plan has been rejected in both Sioux City
    and Davenport. That these cities rejected it is true. But why? Sioux
    City turned it down because the constitutionality of the plan had
    not, at that time, been determined. Davenport refused to accept it
    because the grafting politicians and the political ring so dominated
    the city's politics that they were able to defeat the new plan and
    retain the old, which was best suited to the furtherance of their
    own ends.

    The gentlemen of the opposition have argued that the present
    inefficiency of city government is due to the interference of the
    state legislatures and contend that the ultimate solution of the
    difficulty lies in greater municipal home rule. They are correct,
    Honorable Judges! The state legislature has interfered. But why?
    Simply because the city council has proved itself inefficient. New
    York City's council was in full possession of its powers when the
    state legislature began to interfere. Legislation by somebody was
    necessary. The council failed, and now the negative say, give back
    to the city its powers and let the council try again.

    According to the gentlemen themselves, the end to be achieved is
    less interference of state legislatures and more home rule. It is
    obvious, however, that this can be accomplished only when the city
    itself can put forth a capable and efficient legislative body.
    Honorable Judges, in our second speech we proved to you, that the
    commission provides a small but efficient legislative body, far
    superior to that of an isolated council. If you want municipal home
    rule, establish a form of government which makes it possible.

Mr. Charles Briggs replied for the Negative:

    My colleague has proved that whatever the form of government, there
    must be a body capable of wise legislation, in fact, that there must
    be a body that is primarily legislative in character no matter what
    its connection or relation with the other departments of government.
    That a small commission, burdened with administrative and judicial
    functions, is not a proper legislative body is at once apparent. My
    colleague has demonstrated that this confusion of powers must result
    in inefficiency. But further than this, it is our contention that a
    body such as is the commission, without respect to the confusion of
    powers, without regard to the administrative duties weighing upon
    it, that this commission, of itself, is not suited to legislation.

    There is no more reason for placing the legislation of the city of
    Chicago in the hands of five men than that the state legislature of
    Minnesota should be reduced to five members. It is true that, in
    many respects, the legislation of a city differs from that of a
    state, but it is, nevertheless, legislation, and in the larger
    cities particularly it is necessary that there be a representative
    legislative body. Five men no more constitute a proper legislative
    body for 800,000 or a million people of a city than for that many
    people outside the city. It is contrary to the fundamental
    conception of a legislative body that it be composed of a few. In no
    country of free institutions is a legislative body so constituted.
    My colleague has proved, and it cannot be successfully controverted,
    that in the city, as well as in the state, there is a large field
    for legislation. Why, then, should there not be a legislative body
    to perform the work of legislation? Why place the work in the hands
    of a body that is primarily administrative in character?

    This objection alone must forever prevent the larger cities of the
    United States from adopting the commission plan. Or, if adopted, it
    must, for this reason alone, prove itself a failure.

Mr. Robbins replied for the Affirmative:

    The Negative argue that the mechanisms of government in Boston may
    differ from those of San Francisco. This is not a discussion of the
    mechanisms of government. It involves deep and fundamental
    principles relative to a given form of city organization. The
    gentlemen have not, nor cannot, cite one iota of evidence that the
    underlying principles of organization in the governments of Boston
    and San Francisco should be different. The allusion to changing
    mechanisms is no excuse for their failure to set in operation a
    definite and positive form of organization. Yet the gentlemen have
    ingeniously endeavored to evade this duty. Why have they done so?
    Because every system of municipal organization based upon the
    separation of powers--for which the gentlemen are contending--has
    proved an admitted failure.

    Do not the citizens of Brooklyn and San Francisco, as the citizens
    of every American city, like to drink pure water? Don't they desire
    good transportation facilities, and aren't they glad when they have
    clean streets and honest administration? Why, then, don't the
    gentlemen come forward, as the Affirmative has done, with a specific
    form of organization which provides for the successful
    administration of the underlying features of city government?
    Instead, the gentlemen seem to delight in wandering across the seas,
    telling what might happen if we would be indulgent enough to pattern
    our form of organization after that of France, Germany, or Bohemia.
    Yet they glibly refuse to consider that the city problem of this
    country is distinctly American and is due to conditions peculiar to

    As a matter of fact, the gentlemen have held before us the salient
    features of a half dozen opposing forms of organization, none of
    which have succeeded individually, and the combined features of
    which can make nothing more than a conglomeration of theories and
    dogmas. Yes, the gentlemen have been painfully careful not to put
    their scheme into practical operation.

    They talk blandly of more home rule, when it is evident that such a
    matter is actually beside the question at issue. In the same way
    they speak at length of the cabinet system of England, forgetting
    that the form the Affirmative is advocating involves the underlying
    features of the cabinet system altered to meet conditions peculiar
    to America. The commission form, Honorable Judges, is an evolution
    of the cabinet form.

    Likewise they have talked much of the need for a separate reviewing
    body, citing the insurance scandals of New York state legislature to
    prove their contention. Why don't they give instances where a
    municipal reviewing body has checked fraud? The reason is obvious.
    As Henry Baldwin writes, "Never has there been an instance in
    American municipal history where the council has stood out against
    the corruption of the administrative department." Rather these
    so-called "reviewing bodies" are hand in hand with graft. Look at
    the shameful conditions of the "reviewing bodies" of Philadelphia,
    St. Louis, Cincinnati, and Pittsburgh, with their hands in the city
    treasury up to their elbows, and we realize something of the
    absurdity of the argument for a separate reviewing body to preserve
    efficiency and honesty in the city government. The people should be
    the reviewing body of their government. Its organization should be
    so simple, yet so complete, that every citizen from the educated
    theorist to the humblest day laborer, can review its facts with ease
    and understanding. This is the kind of government the commission
    form supplies. Why don't the gentlemen come forward with an
    organization equally as simple and complete?

    Then the gentlemen go on to tell how they will compel the
    administrative officials to confer with their isolated "reviewing
    body," and thus secure a proper co-ordination that has failed for a
    century. Automatic mechanism in government can never take the place
    of simplicity and responsibility. Such schemes are futile. The men
    who can make mechanisms can break them. What we must have is a
    government that compels efficiency and honesty, not one which
    attempts to produce such results through theoretical contrivances.

    Finally, the gentlemen claim that the commission form has failed in
    New Orleans and Sacramento. Will the gentlemen give their authority
    for the statement that these cities had a commission government?
    Every authority upon the subject which the affirmative has found
    points to the conclusion, that the form of government employed by
    these cities was not a commission form.

Mr. Starzinger closed for the Negative and said:

    The Affirmative have mentioned our authority. What we have said in
    regard to Sacramento, Cal., is based upon excerpts from an article
    by the Hon. Clinton White, published in the Cedar Rapids _Evening
    Times_. Most of our facts concerning the southern cities which
    adopted the new plan are taken from the reports of the Des Moines
    investigation committee, headed by the Hon. W.N. Jordan. We would be
    glad to submit these pamphlets to the gentlemen for examination. The
    mere fact that Des Moines adopted the commission form does not
    disprove the integrity of the authorities.

    It is claimed that our stand is indefinite. True, we have not
    offered a panacea for all municipal ills. But we have advocated
    numerous reforms and have pointed out countless instances of
    municipal success under various forms, yet all based upon the same
    fundamental principle, that there be separately constituted
    departments of government. One of the fatal objections to the
    gentlemen's proposition is that they are attempting to blanket the
    whole country with one arbitrary form, regardless of differing
    conditions. They have completely ignored our cases of successful
    city government. We demand that they explain them.

    The gentlemen have said that state interference has been
    precipitated by the decay of the city council. Yet they advocate its
    complete destruction. Nothing could be more incorrect than to say
    that special legislation was brought on as a result of an inherent
    weakness in council government. Under the early council system,
    there was practically no state interference. About the middle of the
    last century, the board system was introduced and the councils were
    shorn of their dignity and much of their legislative power. Right
    there state dominion in local affairs began. These are the unbiased
    facts as given by Professor Goodnow in his book on city government.

    In conclusion, Honorable Judges, the solution of the American city
    problem will be best promoted by a program of reform which strikes
    at the real causes of the evils, instead of the universal
    overturning of all traditions and theories of government in the hope
    of finding a short-cut road to municipal success. Give the city a
    proper sphere of local autonomy. Co-ordinate the departments of
    government, so as to establish responsibility and secure harmonious
    action. Simplify present city organization without destroying the
    two branches of government. Introduce new and improving methods,
    such as non-partisan primaries, civil service, uniform municipal
    accounting, and publicity of proceedings. Remedy bad social and
    economic conditions. Arouse civic interest. Do this, and there is no
    necessity for such a radical and revolutionary change as the
    universal adoption of a commission form.

    The new plan means, not alone a change in the form of government,
    but a positive overturning of the working principle of successful
    city organization the world over. Its experience has been in the
    small towns for a short time, under unusual conditions, amid aroused
    public sentiment. Even here it has shown fatal weaknesses which the
    gentlemen have not satisfactorily explained. It was abandoned by the
    only large city that ever tried it; and cast aside as an abject
    failure by Sacramento, Cal., after fifteen years of operation. In
    the face of these facts, the gentlemen would have all American
    cities turn to this form as the final goal of municipal success; a
    form which attempts to revive the old board system of selecting
    administrative heads by popular vote; which, in addition, centers
    the whole government of a city in a small executive cabinet, without
    review or oversight; a form which, in the words of Professor
    Fairlie, of the University of Michigan, "is in direct opposition to
    the advancing idea of municipal home rule."

Mr. Luxford closed the debate for the Affirmative, and said:

    The case for the Negative is now closed. It has been indefinite from
    start to finish. They acknowledge the success of the commission form
    but refuse to accept it as the proper form toward which American
    cities should work. They have none to offer except a form which is
    completely unknown in American cities and successful alone in Europe
    under totally dissimilar conditions. We have shown that every vital
    move for city improvement today is toward a commission form, both in
    practice and theory. The gentlemen have sought to overthrow the
    argument for the commission form, and yet suggest no possible
    American substitute.

    But the position is not only indefinite, but it is inconsistent. At
    one time they say, "the commission form is working well in small
    cities." In another they declare that the commission form ignores
    the only principles which are at the basis of successful city
    government the world over. Putting these statements together we must
    conclude that the gentlemen who made the second statement failed to
    hear the gentlemen who made the first. If they grant that the
    commission form is successful anywhere in the world how can it be
    that it is ignoring the only principles of successful city
    government the world over?

    But we would not be unjust to the gentlemen. They are not perhaps
    altogether indefinite. They would keep the old mayor and council
    plan but would have non-partisan primaries, uniform municipal
    accounting, and publicity of proceedings. Non-partisan primaries and
    publicity of proceedings they have stolen bodily from the
    commission. We are grateful to the gentlemen for this hearty
    indorsement of the material features of the commission form. As to
    uniform municipal accounting, while it is just as possible under the
    commission as under any other form of city government, its advocacy
    by the gentlemen is inconsistent with their insistent demand for
    municipal home rule. Who but the state can supervise a uniform
    accounting of all cities? And the gentlemen have deplored state

    Not only that, but the commission plan provides the necessary
    responsibility whereby the citizens may know and participate in the
    city government. In the first place the publication of monthly
    itemized statements of all the proceedings is required. Every
    ordinance appropriating money or ordering any street improvements,
    or sewer, or the making of any contract shall remain on file for
    public inspection at least one week before final passage. Franchises
    are granted not by any legislative body but by direct vote of the
    people. Similarly the citizens retain the right to reject any
    ordinance passed, or to require the passage of any needed
    ordinance. And finally, the citizens by direct vote may remove any
    commissioner at any time.

    Thus we see that the commissioners know both the legislative and
    administrative side of the city's work, and the responsibility of
    doing both is fixed upon them.

    Lastly, Honorable Judges, the Affirmative rest their cases upon
    these fundamental arguments: that the whole tendency in American
    city government is toward centralization of power in one body; where
    this concentration has been partial, city government has failed.
    This failure is due largely to the fact that, while power has
    centered, responsibility has been diffused. This unfortunate
    condition has been obviated by the adoption of the commission form
    which is found to be a success because it awakens civic interest,
    secures competent officials, and provides in the best possible
    manner for the legislative and administrative work of the city,
    centering power and responsibility in one small body of men.





(The House having under consideration the bill [S. 7031] to codify,
revise, and amend the laws relating to the judiciary.--From the
_Congressional Record_, March 3, 1911.)

_Mr. Speaker_: In the ten years of my membership in this House I have
seldom taken advantage of the latitude afforded by general debate to
discuss any question not immediately before the House. But there is a
question now before the country, particularly before the people of the
state I have the honor to represent in part upon this floor, upon
which I entertain very positive convictions, and which, I believe, is
a proper subject for discussion at this time and in this place. That
question, bluntly stated, is this: Is representative government a
failure? We are being asked now to answer that question in the
affirmative. A new school of statesmen has arisen, wiser than
Washington and Hamilton and Franklin and Madison, wiser than Webster
and Clay and Calhoun and Benton, wiser than Lincoln and Sumner and
Stevens and Chase, wiser than Garfield and Elaine and McKinley and
Taft, knowing more in their day than all the people have learned in
all the days of the years since the Republic was founded.

And they tell us that representative government is a failure. They do
not put this declaration into so many words--part of them because they
do not know enough about the science of government to understand that
the doctrines they advocate are revolutionary, and the rest of them
because they lack the courage to openly declare that it is their
intention to change our form of government, to subvert the system upon
which our institutions are founded. But that is in effect what they
propose to do.

Every school boy knows that in a pure democracy the people themselves
perform directly all the functions of government, enacting laws
without the intervention of a legislature, and trying causes that
arise under those laws without the intervention of judge or jury;
while in a republic, on the other hand, the people govern themselves,
not by each citizen exercising directly all the functions of
government, but by delegating that power to certain ones among them
whom they choose to represent them in the legislatures, in the courts
of justice, and in the various executive offices.

It follows, therefore, that to substitute the methods of a democracy
for the methods of a republic touching any one of the three branches
of government is to that extent to declare that representative
government is a failure, is to that extent subversive and

Now, it does not follow by any means that because a proposed change is
revolutionary it is therefore unwise. Taking it by and large, wherever
the word "revolution" has come into human history it has been only
another word for progress. Because a nation has pursued certain
methods for a long time it does not at all follow that those methods
are the best, although when a nation like the United States, so bold
and alert, so little hampered by tradition, so ready to try
experiments, has clung to the same methods of government for 130
years, a strong presumption has certainly been established that these
methods are the best, at least for that particular nation.

But is the new system wiser than the old--in the matter of making
laws, for example? The old system vests the law-making power in a
legislative body composed of men elected by the people and supposed to
be peculiarly fitted by reason of character, education, and training
for the performance of that duty. These men come together and give
their entire time through a period of some weeks or months to the
consideration of proposed legislation, and the laws they enact go into
immediate effect, and remain in force until set aside by the courts as
unconstitutional or until repealed by the same authority that enacted

The new system--taking the Oregon law, for example, and it is commonly
cited as a model--provides that 8 per cent of the voters of a state
may submit a measure directly to the people, and if a majority of
those voting upon it give it their support it shall become a law
without reference to the legislature or to the governor. That is the
initiative. And it provides that if 5 per cent of the voters are
opposed to a law which the legislature has passed, upon signing the
proper petition the law shall be suspended until the next general
election, when the people shall be given an opportunity to pass upon
it. That is the referendum.

Now, there are several things about this plan which I believe the
people of this country, when they come really to consider it, will
scrutinize with a good deal of care and possibly with some suspicion.

It is to be noted, in the first place, that a very few of the people
can put all the people to the trouble and expense of a vote upon any
measure, and the inquiry may well arise whether the cause of settled
and orderly government will be promoted by vesting power in the
minority thus to harass and annoy the majority. In my own state, for
example, who can doubt that the prohibitory amendment, or some one of
the statutes enacted for its enforcement, would have been resubmitted
again and again if the initiative had been in force there these past
twenty-five years.

Again, it will be observed that still fewer of the people have it in
their power to suspend a law which a legislature may have passed in
plain obedience to the mandate of a majority of the people, or which
may be essential to the prompt and orderly conduct of public affairs,
and when they come to think about it the people may wonder if the
referendum might not make it possible for a small, malevolent, and
mischievous minority to obstruct the machinery of government and for a
time at least to nullify the will of the majority.

In the third place, it is to be remarked that a measure submitted
either by the initiative or the referendum cannot be amended, but must
be accepted or rejected as a whole, and we may well inquire whether
this might not afford "the interests" quite as good an opportunity as
they would have in a legislature to "initiate" some measure which on
its face was wholesome and beneficent but within which was concealed
some little "joker" that would either nullify the good features of the
law or make it actively vicious, and which, through lack of
discussion, would not be discovered. Every day we have new and
incontestable proof that "in the multitude of counselors there is
wisdom." But that wisdom can never be had under a system of
legislation which lays before the people the work of one man's mind
to be accepted in whole or rejected altogether.

Once more let us observe that under this system, no matter how few
votes are cast upon a given measure, if there are more for it than
against it, it becomes a law, so that the possibility is always
present that laws may be enacted which represent the judgment or the
interest of the minority rather than the majority of the people.
Indeed, experience would seem to show that this is a probability
rather than a possibility, for in the last Oregon election not one of
the nine propositions enacted into law received as much as 50 per cent
of the total vote cast, while some of them received but little more
than 30 per cent of the total vote.

And finally and chiefly, without in the least impeaching the
intelligence of the people, remembering the slight and casual
attention the average citizen gives to the details of public
questions, we may well inquire whether the average vote cast upon
these proposed measures of legislation will really represent an
informed and well-considered judgment. In his thoughtful work on
democracy, discussing this very question, Dr. Hyslop, of Columbia
University, says:

    People occupied with their private affairs, domestic and social,
    demanding all their resources and attention, as a rule have little
    time to solve the complex problems of national life. The referendum
    is a call to perform all the duties of the profoundest
    statesmanship, in addition to private obligations, which are even
    much more than the average man can fulfil with any success or
    intelligence at all, and hence it can hardly produce anything better
    than the Athenian assembly, which terminated in anarchy. It will not
    secure dispatch except at the expense of civilization, nor
    deliberation except at the expense of intelligence. Very few
    questions can be safely left to its councils, and these only of the
    most general kind. A tribunal that can be so easily deceived as the
    electorate can be in common elections cannot be trusted to decide
    intelligently the graver and more complicated questions of public
    finance or private property, of administration, and of justice. It
    may be honest and mean well, as I believe it would be; but such an
    institution can not govern.

That is the conclusion reached a priori by a profound student of men
and of institutions; and there is not a man who hears me or who may
read what I am now saying but knows the conclusion is sound.

But, fortunately for the states which have not yet adopted the
innovation, we are not obliged to rely upon academic, a priori
reasoning, in order to reach a conclusion as to the wisdom of the
initiative and referendum, for the step has already been taken in
other states and we have their experience to guide us.

There is South Dakota, for example, where under the initiative the
ballot which I hold in my hand was submitted to the people at the
recent election. This ballot is 7 feet long and 14 inches wide, and it
is crowded with reading matter set in nonpareil type. Upon this ballot
there are submitted for the consideration of the people six
legislative propositions. Four of them are short and comparatively
simple. But here is one referring to the people a law which has been
passed at the preceding session of the legislature dividing the state
into congressional districts. How many of the voters of South Dakota
do you suppose got down their maps and their census reports and
carefully worked out the details of that law to satisfy themselves
whether or not it provided for a fair and honest districting of the
state? They could not amend it, remember, they had to take it as it
was or vote it down. In point of fact, they voted it down; but who
will say that in doing this they expressed an enlightened judgment or
merely followed the natural conservative instinct to vote "no" on a
proposition they did not understand? And here is a law to provide for
the organization, maintenance, equipment, and regulation of the
National Guard of the state. This bill contains 76 sections. It
occupies 4 feet 4 inches of this 7-foot ballot. It would fill two
pages of an ordinary newspaper.

And here is a copy of the Oregon ballot, from which it appears that
the stricken people of that commonwealth were called upon at the late
election to consider 32 legislative propositions. Small wonder that it
was well onto a month after election before the returns were all in.

And here is another constitutional amendment in which the people are
asked to pass judgment on such simple propositions as providing for
verdict by three-fourths of jury in civil cases, authorizing grand
juries to be summoned separately from the trial jury, permitting
change of judicial system by statute prohibiting retrial where there
is any evidence to support the verdict, providing for affirmance of
judgment on appeal notwithstanding error committed in lower court and
directing the Supreme Court to enter such judgment as should have been
entered in the lower court, fixing terms of Supreme Court, providing
that judges of all courts be elected for six years, subject to recall,
and increasing the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. Is it any wonder
that with questions such as those thrust at them so large a percentage
of the voters took to the "continuous woods where rolls the Oregon"
and refused to express a judgment one way or the other? Now, with all
possible deference to the intelligence and the diligence of the good
people of Oregon, is it conceivable that any considerable proportion
of the voters of that commonwealth went to the polls with even a
cursory knowledge of all the measures submitted for their

As to the practical working of the referendum, I have seen it stated
in the public prints that four years ago nearly every appropriation
bill passed by the Oregon legislature was referred to the people for
their approval or rejection before it could go into effect. As a
result, the appropriations being unavailable until the election could
be held, the state was compelled to stamp its warrants "not paid for
want of funds," and to pay interest thereon, although the money was in
the treasury. The university and other state institutions were
hampered and embarrassed, and the whole machinery of government was in
large measure paralyzed. In other words, under the Oregon law a
pitiful minority of the people was able to obstruct and embarrass the
usual and orderly processes of government, and for a time at least to
absolutely thwart the will of an overwhelming majority of the people.

A system of government under which such a thing as that is not only
possible, but has actually occurred, may be "the best system ever
devised by the wit of man," as we have been vociferously assured, but
some of us may take the liberty of doubting it.

But the initiative and referendum, subversive as they are of the
representative principle, do not compare in importance or in possible
power for evil with the recall. The statutes of every state in this
Union provide a way by which a recreant official may be ousted from
his office or otherwise punished. That way is by process of law, where
charges must be specific, the testimony clear, and the judgment
impartial. But what are we to think of a procedure under which an
official is to be tried, not in a court by a jury of his peers and
upon the testimony of witnesses sworn to tell the truth, but in the
newspapers, on the street corners, and at political meetings? Can you
conceive of a wider departure from the fundamental principles of
justice that are written not only into the constitution of every
civilized nation on the face of the earth, but upon the heart of every
normal human being, the principle that every man accused of a crime
has a right to confront his accusers, to examine them under oath, to
rebut their evidence, and to have the judgment finally of men sworn to
render a just and lawful verdict.

Small wonder that the argument oftenest heard in support of a
proposition so abhorrent to the most primitive instincts of justice is
that it will be seldom invoked and therefore cannot do very much harm.
I leave you to characterize as it deserves a law whose chief merit
must lie in the rarity of its enforcement.

But will it do no harm, even if seldom enforced? It is urged that its
presence on the statute books and the knowledge that it can be invoked
will frighten public officials into good behavior. Passing by the very
obvious suggestion that an official who needs to be scared into proper
conduct ought never to have been elected in the first place, we may
well inquire whether the real effect would not be to frighten men into
demagogy--and thus to work immeasurably greater harm to the common
weal than would ever be inflicted through the transgressions of
deliberately bad men.

We have demagogues enough now, heaven knows, when election to an
office assures the tenure of it for two or four or six years. But if
that tenure were only from hour to hour, if it were held at the whim
of a powerful and unscrupulous newspaper, for example, or if it could
be put in jeopardy by an affront which in the line of duty ought, we
will say, to be given to some organization or faction or cabal, what
could we expect? Is it not inevitable that such a system would drive
out of our public life the men of real character and courage and leave
us only cowards and trimmers and time servers? May we not well
hesitate to introduce into our political system a device which, had it
been in vogue in the past, would have made it possible for the Tories
to have recalled Washington, the copperheads to have recalled Lincoln,
and the jingoes to have recalled McKinley?

In all the literature of the age-long struggle for freedom and justice
there is no phrase that occurs oftener than "the independence of the
judiciary." Not one man could be found now among all our ninety
millions to declare that our Constitution should be changed so as to
permit the President in the White House or the Congress in the Capitol
to dictate to our judges what their decisions should be. And yet it is
seriously proposed that this power of dictation shall be given to the
crowd on the street. That is what the recall means if applied to the
judiciary; and it means the destruction of its independence as
completely as if in set terms it were made subject to the President or
the Congress.

Do you answer, "Oh, the recall will never be invoked except in an
extreme case of obvious and flagrant injustice"? I reply, "How do you
know?" It is the theory of the initiative that it will never be invoked
except to pass a good law, and of the referendum that it will never be
resorted to except to defeat a bad law; but we have already seen how
easily a bad law might be initiated and a good law referred. And so it
is the theory that the recall will be invoked only for the protection
of the people from a bad judge. What guaranty can you give that it
will not be called into being to harrass and intimidate a good judge?
There never yet was a two-edged sword that would not cut both ways.

Mr. Chairman, I should be the last to assert that our present system
of government has always brought ideally perfect results. Now and then
the people have made mistakes in the selection of their
representatives. Corrupt men have been put into places of trust, small
men have been sent where large men were needed, ignorant men have been
charged with duties which only men of learning could fitly perform.
But does it follow that because the people make mistakes in so simple
a matter as the selection of their agents, they would be infallible in
the incomparably more complex and difficult task of the enactment and
interpretation of laws? There was never a more glaring non sequitur,
and yet it is the very cornerstone upon which rests the whole
structure of the new philosophy. "The people cannot be trusted with
few things," runs this singular logic, "therefore let us put all
things into their hands."

With one breath we are asked to renounce the old system because the
people make mistakes, and with the next breath we are solemnly assured
that if we adopt the new system the people will not make mistakes. I
confess I am not mentally alert enough to follow that sort of logic.
It is too much like the road which was so crooked that the traveler
who entered upon it had only proceeded a few steps when he met himself
coming back. You cannot change the nature of men, Mr. Chairman, by
changing their system of government. The limitations of human judgment
and knowledge and conscience which render perfection in representative
government unattainable will still abide even after that form of
government is swept away, and the ideal will still be far distant.

Let it not be said or imagined, Mr. Speaker, that because I protest
against converting this Republic into a democracy therefore I lack
confidence in the people. No man has greater faith, sir, than I have
in the intelligence, the integrity, the patriotism, and the
fundamental common sense of the average American citizen. But I am for
representative rather than for direct government, because I have
greater confidence in the second thought of the people than I have in
their first thought. And that, in the last analysis, is the
difference, and the only difference, so far as results are concerned
between the new system and that which it seeks to supplant; it is the
fundamental difference between a democracy and a republic. In either
form of government the people have their way. The difference is that
in a democracy the people have their way in the beginning, whereas in
a republic the people have their way in the end--and the end is
usually enough wiser than the beginning to be worth waiting for.

We count ourselves the fittest people in the world for
self-government, and we probably are. But fit as we are we sometimes
make mistakes. We sometimes form the most violent and erroneous
opinions upon impulse, without full information or thoughtful
consideration. With complete information and longer study, we swing
around to the right side, but it is our second thought and not our
first that brings us there. Our intentions are always right, and we
usually get right in the end; but it often happens that we are not
right in the beginning. It behooves us to consider long and well
before we pluck out of the delicately adjusted mechanism by which we
govern ourselves the checks and brakes and balance wheels which our
forefathers placed there, and the wisdom of which our history attests
innumerable times.

The simple and primitive life of civilization's frontier has given
way to the most stupendous and complex industrial and commercial
structure the world has ever known. Incredible expansion, social,
political, industrial, commercial--but representative government all
the way. At not one step in the long and shining pathway of the
Nation's progress has representative government failed to respond to
the Nation's need. Every emergency that 130 years of momentous history
has developed--the terrible strain of war, the harrassing problems of
peace--representative government has been equal to them all. Not once
has it broken down. Not one issue has it failed to solve. And long
after the shallow substitutes that are now proposed for it shall have
been forgotten, representative government "will be doing business at
the old stand," will be solving the problems of the future as it met
the issues of the past, with courage and wisdom and justice, giving to
the great Republic that government "of the people, for the people, and
by the people" which is the assurance that it "shall not perish from
the earth."




Below are several questions with issues suggested which should bring
about a "head on" debate. They should be useful at the beginning of
debating work or when time for preparation is somewhat limited. A
brief bibliography is in each case appended.



  I. Woman wants the ballot.

  II. Woman is capable of using the ballot wisely.

  III. Where woman has had the ballot, the results have been beneficial
  to the state.


  I. A majority of women do not want the ballot.

  II. Woman is incapable of using the ballot wisely.

  III. A benefit has not resulted in those states which have given woman
  the right to vote.


"Success of Woman's Suffrage," _Independent_, LXXIII, 334-35 (August
8, 1912).

"Suffrage Danger," _Living Age_, CCLXXIV, 330-35 (August 10, 1912).

"Teaching Violence to Women," _Century_, LXXXIV, 151-53 (May, 1912).

"Violence in Woman's Suffrage Movement: A Disapproval of the Militant
Policy," _Century_, LXXXV, 148-49 (November, 1912).

"Violence and Votes," _Independent_, LXXII, 1416-19 (June 27 1912).

"Votes for Women," _Harper's Weekly_, LVI, 6 (September 21, 1912).

"Votes for Women," _Harper's Bazaar_ XLVI, 47, 148 (January, March,

"Votes for Women and Other Votes," _Survey_, XXVIII, 367-78 (June 1,

"What Is the Truth about Woman's Suffrage?" _Ladies' Home Journal_,
XXIX, 24 (October, 1912).

"Why I Want Woman's Suffrage," _Collier's,_ XLVIII, 18 (March 16,

"Why I Went into Suffrage Work," _Harper's Bazaar_, XLVI, 440
(September, 1912).

"Woman and the State," _Forum_, XLVIII, 394-408 (October 1912).

"Woman and the Suffrage," _Harper's Weekly_, LVI, 6 (August 17, 1912).

"Woman's Rights," _Outlook_, _C_, 262-66 (February 3, 1912).

"Woman's Rights," _Outlook_, _C_, 302-4 (February 10, 1912).

"Concerning Some of the Anti-Suffrage Leaders," _Good House-keeping_,
LV, 80-82 (July, 1912).

"Expansion of Equality," _Independent_, LXXIII, 1143-45 (November 14,

"Marching for Equal Suffrage," _Hearst's Magazine_, XXI, 2497-501
(June, 1912).

"Woman and the California Primaries," _Independent_, LXXII, 1316-18
(June 13, 1912).

"Woman Suffrage Victory," _Literary Digest_, XLV, 841-43 (November 23,

"Woman's Demonstration; How They Won and Used the Votes in
California," _Collier's_, XLVIII, 17-18 (January 6, 1912).

"Recent Strides of Woman's Suffrage," _World's Work_, XXII, 14733-45
(August, 1911).

"Woman's Suffrage in Six States," _Independent_, LXXI, 967-20
(November 2, 1911).

"Women Did It in Colorado," _Hampton's Magazine_, XXVI, 426.

"Woman's Victory in Washington" (state), _Collier's,_ XLVI, 25.

"Are Women Ready for the Franchise?" _Westminster_, CLXII, 255-61
(September, 1904).

"Argument against Woman's Suffrage," _Outlook_, LXIV, 573-74 (March
10, 1900).

"Check to Woman's Suffrage in the United States," _Nineteenth
Century_, LVI, 833-41 (November, 1904).

"Female Suffrage in the United States," _Harper's Weekly_, XLIV,
949-50 (October 6, 1900).

"Ought Women to Vote?" _Outlook_, LVIII, 353-55 (June 8, 1901).

"Outlook for Woman's Suffrage," _Cosmopolitan_, XXVIII, 621-23 (April,

"Woman's Suffrage in the West," _Outlook_, LXV, 430-31 (June 23,

"Movement for Woman's Suffrage," _Outlook_, XCIII, 265-67 (October 2,

"Why?" _Everybody's_, XXI, 723-38.

"Woman's Rights," _Twentieth-Century Encyclopedia_.



  I. The scattered possessions of the United States demand the
  protection of a large navy.

  II. The expense of the proposed navy would be a judicious investment.

  III. The proposed enlargement of the navy would be a step toward
  universal peace.


  I. The geographical situation of the United States makes a large navy

  II. The expense entailed, if the proposed plan were put into practice,
  would embarrass the United States.

  III. To carry out the proposed plan would be to increase the chances
  of war.


"Relative Sea Strength of the United States," _Scientific American_
CVII, 174 (August 31, 1912).

"For an Adequate Navy in the United States," _Scientific American_,
CV, 512 (December 9, 1911).

"Humble Opinions of a Flat-Foot; Frank Criticism and Intimate Picture
of Our Navy, by a Blue-Jacketed Gob," _Collier's_ L, 14-15; P., XIX,
22-23 (December 7, 1912).

"Importance of the Command of the Sea," _Scientific American,_ CV, 512
(December 9, 1911).

"The United States Fleet and Its Readiness for Service," _Scientific
American,_ CV, 514 (December 9, 1911).

"Battle-ship Fleet in Each Ocean," _Scientific American_, CII, 354
(April 30, 1910).

"Naval Madness," _Independent_, LXVIII, 489 (March 3, 1910).

"Our Naval Waste," _Nation_, XCI, 158 (August 25, 1910).

"Our Navy As a National Insurance," _Scientific American_, CII, 414
(May 21, 1910).

"American Naval Policy," _Forum_, XLV, 529 (May, 1911).

"If We Had to Fight," _Cottier's_, XLVIII, 18 (November 18 1911).

"Panama Canal and the Sea Power in the Pacific," _Century,_ LXXXII,
240 (January, 1911).



  I. Other methods of dealing with the liquor problem have failed.

  II. Local option is consistent with American ideas of government.

  III. Local option is a proved success.


  I. Local option is undesirable in theory.

  II. Local option has not succeeded where tried.

  III. There is a better method of dealing with this problem.


"Local Option; A Study of Massachusetts," _Atlantic_, XC, 433-40.

"Principle of Local Option," _Independent_, LIII, 3032-33 (December
19, 1901).

"When Prohibition Fails and Why," _Outlook_, CI, 639-43 (July 20,

"To Dam the Interstate Flow of Drink," _Literary Digest_, XLIV, 106-7
(January 20, 1912).

"Psychology of Drink," _American Journal of Sociology_, XVIII, 21-32
(July, 1912).

"World-Wide Fight against Alcohol," _Review of Reviews_, XLV, 374.

"Drink and the Joy of Life," _Westminster_, CLXXVI, 620-24 (December,

"Drink Traffic," _Missionary Review_, XXXII, 337-39 (May, 1909).

"Efforts to Promote Temperance since 1883," in L. B. Paton, _Recent
Christian Progress_, 446-71.

"Fight against Alcohol," _Cosmopolitan_, XLIV, 492-96, 549-54 (April,
May, 1908); _Harper's Weekly_, LII, 6-7 (April 25, 1908).

"Foreign Anti-Liquor Movements," _Nation_, LXXXVI, 230 (March 12,

"March of Temperance," _Arena_, XL, 325-30 (October, 1908).

"Social Conditions and the Liquor Problem," _Arena_, XXVI, 275-77
(September, 1006).

"Temperance Question," _Canadian M._, XXXII, 282-84 (January, 1909).

"Local Option Movement," _Annals of the American Academy_, XXXII,
471-5 (November, 1908).

"Results of a Dry Year in Worcester, Mass.," _Map Survey_, XXII, 301-2
(May 29, 1909).

"Local Option and After," _North American_, CXC, 628-41 (November,



  I. Capital punishment does not accomplish the purpose for which it is

  II. Capital punishment is inconsistent with the teachings of modern

  III. There are other methods of punishment far more beneficial than
  the death penalty.


  I. Capital punishment decreases crime.

  II. The cruelty of capital punishment has been greatly exaggerated.

  III. Society has found no crime deterrent so powerful as the death


"Does Capital Punishment Prevent Convictions?" _Review of Reviews_,
XL, 219-20 (August, 1909).

"Does Capital Punishment Tend to Diminish Capital Crime?" _Harper's
Weekly_, L, 1028-29; _Review of Reviews_, XXXIV, 368-69 (1909).

"Meaning of Capital Punishment," _Harper's Weekly_, L, 1289 (September
8, 1906).

"Plato on Capital Punishment," _Harper's Weekly_, L, 1903 (December
29, 1906).

"Should Capital Punishment Be Abolished?" _Harper's Weekly_, LIII, 8
(July 3, 1909).

"Whitely Case and Death Penalty," _Nation_, LXXXIV, 376-77 (April 25,

"Death Penalty and Homicide," _American Journal of Sociology_, XVI,
88-116 (July, 1910); _Nation_, VIII, 166; _North American_, CXVI, 138;
_ibid._, LXII, 40; _ibid._, CXXXIII, 534; _Forum_, III, 503; _Arena_,
II, 513.

"Capital Punishment and Imprisonment for Life," _Nation_, XVI, 193.

"Capital Punishment Anecdotes from Blue Book," _Ecl. M._, LXVI, 677.

"Capital Punishment Arguments Against," _Nation_, XVI, 213.

"Capital Punishment by Electricity," _North American_, CXLVI, 219.

"Capital Punishment: Case Against," _Fortnightly Review_, LII, 322;
same article in _Eclectic Magazine_, CXIII, 518.

"The Crime of Capital Punishment," _Arena_, I, 175.

"Failure of Capital Punishment," _Arena_, XXI, 469.

"Why Have a Hangman?" _Fortnightly Review_, XL, 581.

"Punishment of Crimes," _North American_, X, 235.




Many of these, because of their local application, will be found
useful for class practice where time for preparation is necessarily

1. Coeducation in colleges is more desirable than segregation.

2. Textbooks should be furnished at public expense to students in
public schools.

3. The adoption of the honor system in examinations would be desirable
in American colleges.

4. Final examinations as a test of knowledge should be discontinued in
X---- High School (or college).

5. All American universities and colleges should admit men and women
on equal terms.

6. The national government should establish a university near the
center of population.

7. The X---- College (or High School) should adopt courses which more
definitely fit students for practical careers.

8. Intercollegiate football does not promote the best interests of
competing schools.

9. Intracollegiate athletic contests would be a desirable substitute
for intercollegiate athletics.

10. Secret societies should be prohibited in public high schools.

11. National fraternities do not promote the best interests of
American-colleges and universities.

12. A college commons would be a desirable addition to X---- College.

13. A lunchroom should be established in the X---- High School.

14. Athletic regulations should not debar a student from playing
summer baseball.

15. No student in an American college should be eligible to compete in
intercollegiate athletics until he has begun his second year's work.

16. All studies in the X--- College (or High School) above those of
the Freshman should be entirely elective.

17. In all public high schools training in military tactics should be

18. Public high schools should be under state supervision.

19. Admission to American colleges should be allowed only upon

20. Academic degrees should be given only upon state examinations.

21. The library of X--- College (or High School, or city) should be
open on Sunday.

22. A plan of self-government should be adopted for the X--- College (or
High School).

23. The terms "successful" and "failed" as the only indication of
grade work should be adopted by the X--- School in place of the
present plan or working.

24. Gymnasium work should be required in X--- School.

25. Training in domestic science should be required of all girls at
X--- School.

26. Manual training should be a requirement of all boys at X---


27. The influence of the five-cent theater is beneficial.

28. A state board with power to forbid public exhibition should
exercise stage censorship.

29. Children under sixteen years of age should be prohibited from
working in confining industries.

30. Children under fourteen years of age should be prohibited from
appearing on the stage.

31. A minimum wage for women employees of department stores should be
enacted by the state of X---.

32. Public ownership of saloons would be a desirable method of dealing
with the liquor problem.

33. The English system of old-age pensions should be adopted by the
United States government.

34. Vivisection should be prohibited by law.

35. The publication of court proceedings in criminal and divorce cases
should be subject to a board of censorship.

36. Education under the direction of a state board, should be required
in the state prisons of X---.

37. The laws of marriage and divorce should be uniform throughout the
United States (constitutionality conceded).

38. Local option is the best method of dealing with the liquor

39. The army canteen is desirable.

40. A system of compulsory industrial insurance should be adopted by
the state of X---.

41. An eight-hour law for all women workers should be enacted by the
state of X---.

42. Immigration should be restricted according to the provisions of
the Dillingham-Burnett bill.

43. Free employment bureaus should be established by the city of X---.

44. Free employment bureaus should be established by the state of


45. A permanent national tariff commission should be established.

46. The constitution should be so amended as to make more easy the
passing of amendments.

47. The restrictions on Mongolian immigration should be removed.

48. The President of the United States should serve one term of six

49. Complete public reports of all contributions to political
campaign funds should be required by law.

50. The Monroe Doctrine as a part of American foreign policy should be

51. The interests of labor can best be represented by a separate
political party.

52. The naturalization laws of the United States should be made more

53. Aliens should be forbidden the ballot in every state.

54. The state of California is justified in her stand against land
ownership by aliens.

55. Permanent retention of the Philippine Islands by the United States
is not advisable.

56. The United States navy should be maintained at a fighting strength
equal to any in the world.

57. Direct presidential primaries should be a substitute for the
present method of presidential nomination.

58. Corporations engaged in interstate business should be compelled to
operate under a national charter.

59. The Panama Canal should be fortified.

60. The initiative and referendum in matters of state legislation
would be desirable in the state of X----.

61. From the standpoint of the United States the annexation of Cuba
would be desirable.

62. The fifteenth amendment to the Constitution of the United States
should be repealed.

63. The President should be elected by the direct vote of the people
of the United States.

64. Proportional representation should be adopted in the state of

65. The plan of proportional representation in present vogue in the
state of X---- should be abolished.

66. The use of voting machines should be required in all elections in
cities having a population of more than 10,000.

67. Public interest is best served when national party lines are
discarded in municipal elections.

68. Suffrage should be limited to persons who can read and write.

69. Ex-Presidents of the United States should become senators-at-large
for life.

70. Ex-Presidents of the United States should be pensioned for life at
full salary.

71. The United States should adopt a plan of compulsory voting.

72. The national government should purchase and operate the express
systems in connection with the parcel post.

73. Federal judges should be elected by direct vote of the people.

74. Two-thirds of a jury should be competent to render a verdict in
jury trials in the state of X---.

75. The state of X--- should adopt a plan for recall of state judges.

76. The state of X--- should adopt a plan allowing a referendum of
judicial decisions.

77. The appointment of United States consuls should be under the merit

78. American vessels engaged in coastwise trade should be permitted
the use of the Panama Canal without the payment of tolls.

79. All postmasters should be elected by popular vote.

80. The bill requiring ----, which is at present before the X--- city
council (X--- state legislature, or Congress) should be defeated.


81. The Underwood tariff bill of 1913 would be a desirable law.

82. The federal government should undertake at once the construction
of an inland waterway from the Great Lakes to the Gulf (or from X to

83. All raw materials should be admitted to the United States free of

84. A state law should prohibit prison contract labor in the state of

85. Federal government control of all natural resources would be

86. Municipal ownership of street railways would be an advantage to

87. The Henry George system of single tax would be practicable in the
United States.

88. A graduated income tax would be a desirable addition to the
federal taxing system.

89. The boycott is a justifiable weapon in labor strikes.

90. The federal government should enact a progressive inheritance tax.

91. The coal mines of the United States should be under federal

92. Employers of labor are justified in demanding the "open shop."

93. Irrigation projects to reclaim the arid lands of the West should
be undertaken by the United States government.

94. Courts for the compulsory settlement of controversies between
labor and capital should be created by Congress.

95. Industrial combinations commonly known as "trusts" are an
economical benefit to the United States.

96. The United States should establish and maintain a system of
subsidies for the American merchant marine.

97. No tax should be levied on the issue of state banks.

98. Permanent copyrights should be extended by the national

99. The judicial injunction as an instrument in labor controversies
should be made illegal.

100. A law gradually lowering the present tariff, so that in ten years
the United States will be committed to a policy of free trade, would
be economically desirable for the United States.



The first of the two following forms is a simple and commonly used
one; the second is more formal and is desirable when the schools wish
to point out carefully the principles upon which the decision is to be
based. A form such as the first, which allows the judge entire
freedom, is becoming the more popular.


In my opinion, the better debating has been done by the
____________________ team.



[In rendering a decision, the judges are asked to act without
reference to their own opinion on the merits of the question. They are
not to consider that either contesting party necessarily represents
the actual attitude of themselves or of their school. They are to act
without consultation. A decision is desired based solely on the
quality of debating.

In determining the quality of debating, the judges are asked to
consider both matter and form. Grasp of the question, accuracy of
analysis, selection of evidence, and order and cogency of arguments
should be considered in judging matter. Bearing, voice, directness,
earnestness, emphasis, enunciation, and gesture should be considered
in judging form.]


Considering the above instructions, I cast my ballot for the

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