Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Post Constitutional Era! Part III

Article I, Section 2: House of Representatives

Representatives are elected every two years by the people of their state. They must be at least twenty-five years old and have lived in the U.S. for at least seven years. States have one Representative for every 35,000 residents. As the U.S. population increased, the size of the House was fixed at 435 members by law.

I have a question. If the Constitution states that the "States have one Representative for every 35,000 residents", how can Congress change that with mere passage of a law?

"The number of representatives with full voting rights is 435, a number set in effect since 1913."
 
“There are still 435 members of the House of Representatives a century later because of the the Permanent Apportionment Act of 1929, which set that number in stone. The Permanent Apportionment Act of 1929 was the result of a battle between rural and urban areas of the United States following the 1920 Census. The formula for distributing seats in the House based on population favored "urbanized states" and penalized smaller rural states at the time, and Congress could not agree on a reapportionment plan.”

"After the 1910 census, when the House grew from 391 members to 433 (two more were added later when Arizona and New Mexico became states), the growth stopped. That’s because the 1920 census indicated that the majority of Americans were concentrating in cities, and nativists, worried about of the power of 'foreigners,' blocked efforts to give them more representatives," wrote Dalton Conley, a professor of sociology, medicine and public policy at New York University, and Jacqueline Stevens, a professor of political science at Northwestern University.

So, instead, Congress passed the Permanent Apportionment Act of 1929 and sealed the number of House members at the level established after the 1910 census, 435."

Each House member now represents about 700,000 people; clearly this was not the intent by the Founding Fathers. They wanted to make sure the House members were in touch with their constituencies and in order to do that the number they represented was deliberately made small. This was changed in 1913. What other two serious changes took place that year? The passage of the sixteenth and seventeenth amendments. All three of these actions were clearly part of an effort by Progressives of the era (Especially Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson – both of whom believed the Constitution was an impediment to human progress and the philosophy of, l'├ętat, c'est moi) to increase the power of the central government.   The Post Constitutional Era actually began in 1913 and has grown ever  since to the point that now it's obvious what' s happening. 
 
Just one more thought.  Although I don't know who they may have been; I would be surprised to find there weren't people back in that era who warned where this was heading.  I wonder if they were laughed as a "conspiracy theorists"? 

 

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