29 votes

The Worst Law Ever Passed In The United States?

The APPORTIONMENT ACT of 1911 (Also known as Public Law 62-5), was passed by the U.S. Congress on August 8, 1911.

The law limited the number of members of the U.S. House of Representatives to 435, effective with the 63rd Congress on March 3, 1913.

This meant that effective immediately the House of the Representatives of the people would no longer grow with the population AS INTENDED BY OUR FOUNDERS.

The previous requirement for allocating U.S. Representatives (by our founding fathers) is found in Article One, Section 2, Clause 3 of the U.S. Constitution.

After the first census, Congress allotted U.S. Representatives to the states based on population for the next ten years (GEORGE WASHINGTON suggested 1 Representative per about 30,000 to 40,000 people).

But with ONE LAW (no surprise it happened in 1913), the very branch of the federal government designed to GROW with the population, was limited (against the advice of our founders), while OTHER UN-Constitutional parts of the government were allowed to grow to the Socialist/Communist type of monster it is today.

The House of the People (its representatives) was limited because the new order of that day didn't WANT the people to be represented.

CONSIDER that if the House of Representatives had been allowed to grow as designed, today it would be about 7,500 members, with each member representing the 30,000 to 40,000 people Washington advised.

But today (because of that law), each member of the House represents OVER 700,000 PEOPLE in their district!

I believe they did this because you can much more easily convince a smaller number of people to make bad laws than you can a larger number.

(For example, I might be able to convince 1 or 2 people to help me commit a crime, but I would have a much tougher time convincing 10 people to do the same).

Since that law limited the number of our representatives to 435, you only have to convince 218 members to vote for bad laws, and with that small number you can easily buy them off to vote your way.

But try convincing half of 7,500 (or 3,750) members to support bad legislation. It would be MUCH more difficult

But THAT'S the number of representatives we should have today based on our population growth since 1913.

Some argue that it would be impossible to get 7,500 people together in one place, but consider that the average college football game gets 60 or 70 thousand people together every weekend during the season.

So I contend that this may be the worst law ever passed and was designed to DE-Represent "we the people."

It used to be the PEOPLE'S House until that law. Now it is the House of the HIGHEST BIDDER.

This is utterly criminal and absolutely unacceptable in a Representative Republic.

More information on this terrible law here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apportionment_Act_of_1911

And here:
http://www.publiclaw62-5.com/

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Indeed

It's much easier to buy, blackmail and control 435 Congressman rather than 7,500.

Coincidentally, the Apportionment Act was passed nine months before another bad law, the Federal Reserve Act of December 1913.

We'd be better off with a ransom selection of eligible voters to represent us every two to four years than a gaggle of compromised, corrupt, career politicians.

couldnt the argument go the other way

much easier to hold 435 congressman accountable...

Let's pretend we were living in a distopian parallell universe where there were 7500 congressman and the same problems we have now. Someone could be making the exact opposite argument saying "there is no way on gods green earth a nation of 300000000 would let 435 guys run roughshod over them."

I think the root problem is the amount of power this entity is allowed to wield, not necessarily the amount of people who wield it.

You said: "I think the root problem is the amount of power...

...this entity is allowed to wield, not necessarily the amount of people who wield it."

Does this mean you don't like our system of government? Because our system allows for a representative legislative branch. They have the power to make law. I think it is a good system.

I disagree with your premise that 7500 members would be too many representatives.

In Washington's day there was roughly 1 representative per every 30,000 people. Today on average, each member of the House representants over 700,000 people in their district - and counting.

If as you say, that 435 members is good and more is not good, does that mean even less would be better?

If you keep going backwards, you would eventually end up with ONE representative of the people and that would be called tyramny - like the all-powerful kings of old, who could single-handedly declare any thing they chose as law.

Our founders set this government up so that it would be difficult to "get things done."

When I hear people say they wish congress was more effective at "getting more things done," I say, "But we don't WANT them to get more done easily."

"Getting things done" really means making more laws. But we have too many stupid laws as it is. Congress should spend the next several years UN-doing a bunch of bad laws.

"We have allowed our nation to be over-taxed, over-regulated, and overrun by bureaucrats. The founders would be ashamed of us for what we are putting up with."
-Ron Paul

I'll have to disagree.

While on the surface it sounds good, adding more people onto the government payroll will only increase the problem. Instead, let's do the opposite and abolish the House of Representatives altogether.

I've said it here before and I'll say it again...

Our so-called "Representatives" were born out of a practical necessity, at a time when it was logistically impossible for citizens to collaborate in self-representation.

This is no longer an issue with current technology. We The People can make our wishes known without the need for representation. Thus the House of Representatives should be eliminated. At least that would be a good start in my opinion.

EDIT: Why the down votes?

a) Is it because you think expansion of government by throwing more resources and money at the problem is the solution?

Or,

b) Is it because you prefer a "representative" do your bidding for you?

PLEASE EXPLAIN!

If men are good, you don't need government; if men are evil or ambivalent, you don't dare have one.

NO TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION

Who holds the purse strings?
Who votes to go to war?
Who holds the power to coin money?

Think this through. A stagnant government is better than an out of control government. Pretty hard lobbying 7500 people when one can be chased down by 40k.

I could go on, but won't.

I Was Getting Ready To Down Vote, BUT...

What you say makes a lot of sense. The people CAN be heard in today's age of technology. Imagine what would happen to Obamacare, or maybe even the Fed, if the people actually had their voices heard to compete with the bureaucrats.

But, I would say that I would never want there to be a system where our tallies our counted by the Feds, or having one unifying electronic system to cast our votes on any particular issue (we know all too well what has happened with electronic voting machines).

I could see having each congressional district having their own method of sending their representative their direct input, and that representative would be responsible for delivering the votes of the people in his district... kinda like an elected courier of sorts.

Current text of Article 1

The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at Least one Representative;

Has this ever been challenged? How could there be an argument that 1/30,000 is the legal requirement?

May I Suggest Rereading Your Post More Carefully?

It appears you understand the clause, "...shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, ..." to mean a representative cannot oversee a district with more than 30,000 people. How we wish that to be!

However the correct interpretation is that two or more representatives are prohibited from speaking for a congressional district of 30,000 people or less. So the 30,000 number is actually a minimum number not a maximum number which means a single representative can be responsible for more than 30,000. :)

It's clear that the intent of the Constitution was for...

...the House of Representatives to GROW with the population and it took a law to change that.

That law may have been the worst ever passed because it took power to legislate (which directly affects every citizen's life) out of the hands of the populace and into the hands of a very small minority of "representatives."

With such a small percentage of the population allowed to make the nations' laws, it's too easy for special interests to influence only 218 members to vote a certain way.

"We have allowed our nation to be over-taxed, over-regulated, and overrun by bureaucrats. The founders would be ashamed of us for what we are putting up with."
-Ron Paul

Actually, there may be a

Actually, there may be a counterpoint here.

"The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand"

It says the "number of representatives" shall not exceed... not the number of people being represented shall not exceed...

So 30,000 people may not have two representatives. If 3,000,000 people have one representative, that still falls within the bounds of the text above. There is not more than one representative for every 30,000. There is -fewer- than one representative per 30,000.

So under this text, a state -may- choose to have one rep per 30,000 people (or fewer). The law changed, however, to where states no longer have that choice.

Kill it in the courts?

Would it be possible to challenge this act in the courts?

One could claim legal standing on the basis that they're being denied sufficient representation in the House of Representatives.

Wow. I like that.

Nice idea.
BUMP.

HMMMM!!!!

Another totally unconstitutional law since the Constitution already specifies how the Representatives will be apportioned. I don't see an amendment changing the original apportionment so therefore this law is non existent. However, the sheep are blind to the fact. Just like most people will never read the federal firearms act and realize the law only applies to them if they are in Washington DC or on Federal Land within the various States.

Very Good Post - The American Oligarchy

As we all know, pure democracy rules by majority vote as did the Greeks in ancient history. Of course, the minority always suffered the consequences.

But is our current republican form of government (indirect democracy) any better? Especially as pawnstorm12 acutely pointed out, the ratio of representatives is far fewer than should be in America. The Apportionment Act successfully consolidated power in the hands of a few and powerful politicians are easily corrupted by money and stature.

The larger the ratio of representation to the general population, the greater the probably that tyranny will consume the people's freedom and liberty.

"I live in District 12, far from the center of government. Yet the anointed ones can reach out and impoverish me with a stroke of their pens and the muzzle of their guns."

Great post. I can only dream

Great post. I can only dream of such an America. You would personally know your representative and appreciate his/her views.

Thanks. It's true - we CAN only dream of it but at one time...

...it WAS the reality of the nation.

I shows again the genious of the foresight of our founders. We should have listened to them.

Why weren't the people outraged back in 1913?

So many bad laws were passed then including this one, the creation of the Federal Reserve System and the Federal INCOME tax.

ALL of these laws our founders would have been strictly against.

In addition, we've been at war in the world one way or another ever since.

That TOO was part of the designs of these laws I believe.

"We have allowed our nation to be over-taxed, over-regulated, and overrun by bureaucrats. The founders would be ashamed of us for what we are putting up with."
-Ron Paul