C. J. (Carl J.) Buell.

The Minnesota Legislature of 1915 online

. (page 2 of 13)
Online LibraryC. J. (Carl J.) BuellThe Minnesota Legislature of 1915 → online text (page 2 of 13)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

rulings will hardly stand criticism. No one could charge
him with gross partiality or trickery; and yet he has not
been what could truthfully be called a good presiding officer.

He lacked experience, his knowledge of parliamentary pro-
cedure was very limited, his voice is not strong enough, and
he did not keep as good order as should have prevailed.

On the other hand he is a man of exceptionally good
personal habits, kind, considerate, clean and generous never
touches either tobacco or liquor and you will know him a
long time without hearing an oath or vulgar expression.

When the liquor interests organized the House, the
"powers that prey" held a jubilee and prepared for a feast;
but they have had to be content with very poor pickings
indeed they have gone away very hungry, and they are likely
to wander in the desert for some time to come.

This is largely due to the "non-partisan" Legislature.



Don't handle pitch. It is pretty sure to spoil your good

The child that plays with fire is apt to burn his fingers.

The member who makes a deal and gets patronage,
has put his foot into a trap that will be hard to get out of.

The representatives of the special interests know this
very well and lay their plans accordingly.

With the bait of patronage and committee appointments,
the members are led along. Little by little they become
entangled. The insidious influence of obligation is wound
about them. They do not realize it until it is too late. Then
they find themselves firmly bound and escape impossible.

George H. Sullivan of Stillwater is a bold, open, avowed
opponent of what is known as "progressive legislation."
Most of his work is above board, and he has the reputation
of being a fair fighter.

But George is long-headed and wise. If by means of
patronage he can tie up a large number of members,
several of them at least will be pretty sure to stay tied. Un-
consciously they will have leanings, and their votes will be
secured for measures that they would not otherwise support.

14 The Minnesota Legislature of 1915

The Patronage Bait.

There are sixty-seven members of the Senate. There are
not enough jobs to give each senator one place to fill.

Senators Lende and Sageng proposed that lots be drawn
and one half the senators be allowed to name employees for
the session of 1915, and that the other half be given the
patronage of 1917. This they contended would be ample
help to do the work of the session.

Sullivan and Putnam wanted more jobs to fill and offered
patronage to all who had been in either house before. Some
of the old members refused and then new members were
taken in.

After the Senate had elected, according to custom, a
chief clerk, a first assistant, an engrossing clerk, an enrolling
clerk and a sergeant-at-arms, Mr. Putnam offered a complete
list of all Senate employees, and moved the adoption of his

Mr. Sageng raised the point of order that the resolution
was contrary to the laws of the state, and therefore could not
be adopted, as the Senate had not yet adopted any rules pro-
viding for the appointment of employees.

Lieutenant Governor Burnquist ruled with Sageng, and
Putnam appealed from the ruling.

However, this was a little too raw to try to put over,
so the combine moved to take a recess till 4 P. M.

In the meantime they prepared two permanent rules
which would allow them to put through their patronage

The two permanent rules and the patronage resolution
were combined, and offered as a new resolution after they
had backed down from their appeal from the ruling of Burn-

Senator Alley offered a substitute resolution providing
for a much smaller force of helpers, but not naming them.

Alley's resolution was defeated and the program of the
combine was put over by the following vote, forty-seven to

Those who voted for fewer employees and economy were:
Alley Hanson Peterson, Clay

Bonniwell Hegnes Peterson, Meeker

Campbell, Henn. Holmberg Potter

Gandrud Jones Rustad

Gillam Lende Sageng

Gjerset Lobeck Vermilya

Griggs O'Neill

Those who stood for patronage were:
Adams Collister Handlan

Andrews Denegre Healy

Baldwin Dunn, Mille Lcs. Hilbert

Benson Dunn, Ramsey Jackson

Blomgren Duxbury Johnston

Buckler Dwlnnell Knopp

Callahan Gardner McGarry

Campbell, Mower Glotzbach Millett

Carley Grose Nelson

The Minnesota Legislature of 1915 15



Van Hoven








Sullivan, Stearns


Peterson, St. L.

Sullivan, Wash.







Some of the members had got jobs for their friends,
and the process of tying them up had begun.

The Next Move President Pro Tern.

Who shall be the temporary president of the Senate may
not be a matter of much concern; and yet it may.

If the Lieutenant Governor is always there to preside,
the honor of being president pro tern, is an empty one or
nearly so except the prestige it gives; but if the Lieutenant
Governor should be sick or die, the place of president pro
tern, would carry with it much power.

The interests are always alert. Having tied up a large
number of members with the rope of patronage, the next
move was to make George H. Sullivan president pro tern, of
the Senate. And it worked.

True, not all of those who had secured plums of patronage
stayed put. The following revolted and refused to go any
further :

Andrews Jackson Rockne

Benson Nelson Rystrom

Blomgren Orr Turnham

Dwinnell Palmer

However, Griggs and Hegnes, who had not been in the
patronage deal, now joined the successful forces and helped
elect Sullivan president pro tern.

The opponents of Sullivan put forward Benson of Nicollet
county, who had been a consistent supporter of progressive
measures, but were unable to control enough votes to elect him.

The vote stood as follows:

For Sullivan

Adams Glotzbach Peterson, G. M.

Baldwin Griggs Putnam

Buckler Grose Ries

Callahan Handlan Steffen

Campbell, A. S. Hegnes Sullivan, J. D.

Carley Hilbert Swenson

Collester Johnston Van Hoven

Denegre Knopp Vibert

Dunn, R. C. McGarry Wallace

Dunn, W. W. Millett Ward

Duxbury Nord Weis

Gardner Pauly Westlake

Senator Healy should be credited as being for Sullivan,
though he was absent and could not be located.

For Benson

Alley Campbell, W. A. Gjerset

Andrews Dwinnell Hanson

Blomgren Gandrud Holmberg

Bonniwell Gillam Jackson

16 The Minnesota Legislature of 1915



Ry strom


Peterson, B. P.



Peterson, F. H.









If Griggs and Hegnes had stood out, and Vibert, Wallace
and Ward who are also supposed to be progressives, had voted
the other way, the results would have been thirty-three to
thirty-one for Benson.

Several senators who voted for Sullivan denied that it
meant anything, and insisted that they were still free and
independent. Maybe so, but we shall see later.

It is probable that Mr. Putnam and several others who
were in this patronage deal would disclaim any intention
to tie up members in order to use them; and we may
freely admit that their motives and intentions might have
been of the best; but the results are the same, whatever the
intentions, and new members especially are sure to be in-
fluenced in such ways as this.

A careful scrutiny of the votes on measures all through
the session will show that, this patronage deal at the start
did tie men up more or less effectively and influence their

After the session was over one senator remarked to a
friend, "Thank God, I'm a free man once more; I'll never get
tied up again."

In the House.

In the House it was the same. Some of the men who
had gone into the Flowers organization and received patronage
were plainly held in more or less bondage all the session.

Next to the evil of patronage and prestige, comes the
evil of local and special legislation. Many members come
with only one object in view some special law they want
passed, some local improvement they want to get at the ex-
pense of the whole state; or some state institution that they
want for their district. The demand for a new normal school
at Bemidji kept the members from that and surrounding dis-
tricts tied up all the session. Perhaps the school is needed,
perhaps not, but it was good trading stock all the session,
and was used for all it was worth. They did not get much
$25,000 for a foundation but once started it will go on.

But thru it all there was one kind of bondage that
was absent. The legislature was non-partisan. The party
lash could not be cracked, nor party superstition appealed to.


It is more important that people should have the right
to govern themselves than that they should govern themselves

Whence comes it this thing we call the right to vote?
this right to have a voice in our common affairs? this right
to take part in making the laws by which we are to be
governed ?

Is it a right at all, or is it a mere privilege that may be

The Minnesota Legislature of 1915 17

granted or withheld? If it is a privilege, who may grant it
who withhold?

Are some of us so endowed by nature that we may
arrogate to ourselves all rights and powers over our fellow
men and women? that we may dole out to them such grants
of privilege as we may graciously see fit to bestow? that we
may deny and withhold anything or all things as best may
please ourselves?

Are some of us created kings and czars and overlords,
and the rest of us servants and subjects, serfs and slaves
who may have no voice nor vote, but, meek and humble,
must cringe and cower and obey?

Is the Declaration of Independence wrong when it de-
clares that "all men are created equal that they are en-
dowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights that
among these are the right to life, liberty and the pursuit
of happiness?"

Is that Declaration wrong when it asserts that govern-
ments are set up among men for the sole purpose of guarding
and protecting these rights, and that they derive all their
just power from the consent of the governed?

I believe in the Declaration of Independence. I believe
that it sets forth an eternal truth. All men are "created
equal," so far as their right to be in this world is concerned,
and to use its surface on which to live and from which to
draw the materials for their food, clothing and shelter and
all the other good things which their labor applied to the
earth's resources is capable of producing.

It is true that all men are not equally strong nor equally
intelligent; but they all have the same right to be in this
world and to work for their living.

These differences in strength and intelligence are Nature's
method for the improvement of the race. The strongest and
ablest will get the most, of course; but if all have the same
chance, each will get what his labor produces, and none will
have cause to complain.

Why Government at All?

Here then is the reason for government to secure to all
an equal chance a square deal. When governments fail to
do this, they fail in their first and most important duty, and
it is only too true that they have failed in the past and
do now fail.

For this reason we should mend our government, not
end it.

This is the reason why we should restore to the people
the rights that have been denied them, why we should amend
and repeal bad statutes and bring them into harmony with
the laws of Nature. She brings us all into the world naked
and empty-handed, but she has furnished us here a most won-
derful storehouse, full of all the things we need in the
pursuit of life, liberty and happiness.

It is the duty of government not to lock the doors of this
storehouse to any, but to see that they are open to all on
equal terms.

18 The Minnesota Legislature of 1915

Early Society Always Democratic.

Among all races, and in every part of the world, primitive
societies have always been democratic. All the people have
come together to talk over their common affairs and to decide
what shall be done. And in these primitive gatherings the
women as well as the men had their say and their vote.

Herbert Spencer, in his descriptive sociology, cites hun-
dreds of cases of this kind and other investigators confirm
his conclusions.

It is not until militarism supplants the primitive in-
dustrial society, that classes arise, that privileges are granted,
that some are set above others, and women denied their place
in the public council and their vote in the fmal decision.

It is the greatest problem of modern democracy to wipe
out these classes, to destroy privilege, and to restore to all-
men and women alike their equal and inalienable right to
be in this world, to use its material substance to get a living,
and to take part in the common affairs of their local com-
munities, the state and the nation.

The Scope of Government Limited.

To take part in the common affairs this is the scope of

Most of our affairs are not common. Most of the rela-
tions of men and women are personal and private and in
these fields government must not meddle.

Wherever it has so meddled it has made a mess of it.
. The human race is not yet as wise as it will be, and
hence our constitution and laws are imperfect. They must
be changed, if our civilization is to grow and expand.
The Bill of Rights.

All written constitutions contain a bill of rights an
enumeration of certain things that are the sacred rights of the
people with which governments must not meddle.

This is good so far as it goes; but until recently no con-
stitution contained any provision by which the people could
act directly. They all provided for what is called

Representative Government.

Now representative government is not democracy. It is
not self government, any more than monarchies and despotisms
are self government.

This is the reason why there is everywhere a demand
for a restoration to the people of their ancient and natural
right to govern themselves directly.

Not that any one desires to destroy representative gov-
ernment and supplant it with a system where the people shall
do all things directly; but that the people shall reserve to
themselves the right to act directly if their representatives
refuse or neglect to obey their wish.

Initiative, Referendum, Recall.

With the initiative the people themselves can start things.
They can propose and enact laws, or amend or repeal existing
laws, if the legislature fail or neglect to do so.

By means of the referendum the people can veto bad laws
that their representatives may have passed.

The Minnesota Legislature of 1915 19

We now invest the Governor with the power of the veto.
The referendum would add to this a veto by the people.
Perhaps then the Governor's veto would not be needed.

By means of the recall the people can put out of office
and retire to private life any public servant who goes wrong.

These three simple measure give back to the people those
inherent rights that all arbitrary and even representative
governments have denied them. As President Wilson so aptly
put it, "They are the gun behind the door." They will not
need to be used very much. The simple fact that they are
there will usually be enough. But it is well to have them

The legislature of 1913 submitted to the people constitu-
tional amendments providing for the initiative and referendum
and for the recall.

Both these amendments received enormous majorities,
the initiative and referendum over four to one, and the recall
nearly four to one, but they both failed because it is so very
difficult to amend our state constitution.

Why it is so hard is fully set forth in the section on
amending our constitution.

The bill to submit to the people again the initiative and
referendum amendment came up in the House on March 3rd
and was very hotly opposed by a few reactionaries.

Larimore and Carmichael eloquently defended our sacred
representative system, and declared the initiative and referen-
dum a failure.

Mr. Steen rather took the wind out of them by demanding
to know if they had been a failure in Switzerland.

Mr. Larimore replied that the legislature is good enough,
and Mr. Gilman expressed great fear of the people; but they
had few supporters when it came to the roll call.

The bill was passed 106 to twelve, as follows:
Adams Ferrier Lee

Anderson Flinn Lennon

Baker Frye Leonard

Baldwin Gill McGrath

Barten Gordon McLaughlin

Bendixen Grant Madigan

Bernard Guilford Marschalk

Bessette Hafften Marwin

Bjorge Haislet Miner

Bjorklund Hauser Minnette

Bjornson Hinds, E. R. Morken

Boehmke Hynes, J. H. Mueller

Borgen Hogenson Murphy

Burrows Holmes Nelson

Christiansen Hompe Nietze.1

Corning Hulbert Nimocks

Dare Indrehus Nordgren

Davis Johnson, J. T. Norton

Dealand . Johnson, M. Novak

Devoid Kneeland Olien

Dunleavy Kuntz Parker

Dwyer Larson Pendergast

Erickson Lattin Peterson, A.

20 The Minnesota Legislature of 1915

Peterson, A. M.




























Teigen, L. O.



Thompson, A. L.

Mr. Speaker


Thompson, H. 0.



Those who voted in the negative









Harrison, J. M.





The following

twelve members

did not vote: Boyd

Brown, Green, H. H. Harrison, Knutson, Konzen, Malmberg,
Moeller, North, Pratt, Southwick and A. F. Teigen. Mr. Knut-
son did not have much faith in the bill but would have voted
"Yes" if necessary to pass it.

All of the others would have voted for the bill if they
had been present.

Mr. Boyd had been sick for sometime. Konzen, North
and Teigen were away on an important legislative investiga-
tion, and some of the others had been excused.
In the Senate.

As it came from the House and with some amendments
by the Senate, the bill was liberal and fair, not radical by any
means. It provided a method by which the constitution could
be amended somewhat more easily than at present; but only
a little more easily. It still required an affirmative vote of
three-sevenths of all those voting at the election to carry
an amendment to the constitution; and it also required that
four-sevenths of all those voting on the question should be
in the affirmative.

The first attack was made by George H. Sullivan in an
amendment requiring a majority of all voting at the election
to vote for the amendment in order to pass it.

This is the present system under which we have found
it so nearly impossible to change our fundamental law.

Sullivan and Duxbury spoke long and earnestly defending
our "sacred representative system" and the "wisdom of our
ancestors" who created the "perfect document," our "won-
derful constitution."

They carefully refrained from explaining, that this par-
ticular feature of our constitution which they were defending
was slyly slipped in by the liquor interests in 1898, when the
people were not looking.

Senator Sageng showed up this feature .of the constitu-
tion as a system that takes all the ignorance and stupidity
of the state all the voters who are too careless or too stupid
to vote at all and carefully counts them just as if they had
intelligently voted "no" on the proposition.

The Minnesota Legislature of 1915


"Does this tend to intelligent citizenship? Let us make
it a little easier to amend this document"

When the votes were counted Sullivan had succeeded
thirty-five to thirty-two, as follows:

Those who voted in the affirmative were:









Sullivan, G. H.



Sullivan, J. D.





A. S. Johnston

Van Hoven




Dunn, R.

C. McGarry


Dunn, W.

W. Nelson









Peterson, G. M.


who voted in the negative




Peterson, E. P.



Peterson, F. H.








W. A. Jones



















Duxbury next attacked the provision which placed this
amendment first upon the ballot. It had been first in 1914,
for the reason that it was regarded as the most important.
And if this could be passed it would make it easier to pass
other much needed amendments.

Duxbury, Sullivan and other howled against favoritism
and secured five votes that had refused to go with them on
the first amendment Andrews, Collester, Gardner, Hegnes
and Millett. Griggs refused to go this time and voted with
those who thought this amendment worthy of first place.

The line of cleavage was nearly the same as on county

Only five "wets" voted for the liberal bill: Bonniwell,
Carley, Collester, Gardner and Millett.

Eight of the dry men went with Sullivan: Bob Dunn,
Duxbury, Gjerset, Griggs, Nelson, Vibert, Wallace and Ward.

Only eight voted against the bill on final passage:
Bob Dunn, W. W. Dunn, Duxbury, Healy, Knopp, Ries, Steffen
and Van Hoven.

At first Handlan voted no, but changed to yes before the
vote was announced.

These eight may be set down as utterly opposed to
the initiative and referendum opposed to any return to dem-
ocratic government and the, rule of the people.

Duxbury admitted that he had voted for county option
against his personal convictions, but because his constituents
required it of him.

22 The Minnesota Legislature of 1915

Sageng showed that Duxbury's district had cast more
votes in favor of the initiative and referendum than for Dux-
bury himself, but this did not phase the doughty champion of
things as they are.

In the long drawn-out contest only four men attacked the
bill: George H. Sullivan, R. C. Dunn, W. W. Dunn and

On the side of the people and greater liberality of amend-
ment were Sageng, William A. Campbell, Gillam, Alley, P. H.
Peterson, Rockne, Putnam and Dwinnell, al\ of whom spoke
favorably for the bill.

The House refused to concur in the Senate amendments,
and the conference finally agreed on a bill almost exactly like
the one voted on in 1914.

This bill gives the people at least three considerable gains
over the present system.

First, it is considerably easier to amend the constitution.

Second, it gives us a practical working initiative, fair and
reasonably easy to operate.

Third, it establishes the referendum with easy working

Let every one help and this will be adopted in 1916.

Equal Suffrage.

If the initiative, referendum and recall are an essential
part of self government, then surely equal suffrage for women
is more so.

If "governments derive their just powers from the con-
sent of the governed," what shall we say of a system that
denies to one-half the governed all opportunity to vote?

In the Senate on March 4th the matter came up in the
form of an amendment to the constitution. The men of the
state were to be permitted to vote on the question.

As Senator P. H. Peterson of Moorhead put it, "What is
before us? We are the court. The voters are the jury. We
have no right to hold this case away from the jury."

Senator Putnam: "It is with you. It will not down.
Send it to the men. Let them decide."

Senator Jones: "The federation of labor, 38,000 strong,
demand it. You can't afford to ignore them."

Senator Dwinnell: "I have seen it work. It works well.
It has brought good results where it has been tried. Submit
the question to the men. Let them settle it. It is not our
right to decide, but the right of the voters."

Pauly, George H. Sullivan and Duxbury did most of the
speaking in opposition.

None of them said anything on the real question at issue
to let the male voters of the state decide but all went into
long arguments against votes for women.

Mr. Pauly had a carefully prepared speech which he read

2 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

Online LibraryC. J. (Carl J.) BuellThe Minnesota Legislature of 1915 → online text (page 2 of 13)