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Friday, January 9, 2009

The Lost Congressional Apportionment Amendment

Only politically connected insiders have a chance of getting elected to Congress. Even Ron Paul's presence in Congress is a fnord, because then the bad guys may say "Libertarians have a voice in Congress!" Ron Paul doesn't go around saying "The US government has no legitimacy at all!"

In the Constitution, there is a rule requiring each member of the House of Representatives to represent at least 30,000 people, subject to the restriction that each state has at least one Representative. (In 1787, some states had less than 30,000 people.) There was a "lost amendment" in the Bill of Rights, which was never ratified, that specified that each Representative could represent *AT MOST* 50,000 people. This means that, with approximately 200M adults in the USA, there would be approximately 4000 members of the House of Representatives. That would be tricky, but feasible to manage.

Here is the text of the "lost amendment". Unlike the "Titles of Nobility Amendment" or "Lost 13th Amendment", this one was never close to being ratified.

Article the first... After the first enumeration required by the first article of the Constitution, there shall be one Representative for every thirty thousand, until the number shall amount to one hundred, after which the proportion shall be so regulated by Congress, that there shall be not less than one hundred Representatives, nor less than one Representative for every forty thousand persons, until the number of Representatives shall amount to two hundred; after which the proportion shall be so regulated by Congress, that there shall not be less than two hundred Representatives, nor more than one Representative for every fifty thousand persons.

If there were only one Representative per 50,000 people, then the "average Joe" would have a decent change to get elected to the House. With only 50,000 people in a voting district, then it would be feasible for a candidate to personally meet each voter. A candidate would not need mainstream media backing in order to have a chance of getting elected to the House.

It never was the intention for the House to be an "elite organization", where you needed backing of lobbyists and lots of money to get elected. The "average Joe" was supposed to have a good chance of getting elected to Congress.

Until the 1910 census, Congress always enlarged the House as the size of the US population increased, to keep with the "approximately 1 representative per 30,000" custom. In 1910, Congress didn't enlarge the size of the House, even though the US population had increased. Congress fixed the size of the House at approximately its current size. Nobody complained, so Congress got away with it. (Did you notice how most severe erosions of freedom occurred around 1880-1913? That is not a coincidence!)

There's the obvious conflict of interest, when Congress chooses its own size. Currently, each Congressman represents approximately 600,000 people. Each Congressmen has 20x more power, compared to when each Congressman represented 30,000 people. The concentration of power increases their influence even further.

When Congress fixed its size in 1910, that is one of many ways that the protections of the original US Constitution were perverted. The text of the US Constitution does not require the "1 Representative per 30,000" rule to be followed, but it was the custom until 1910.


Anonymous said...

I have heard about this. I believe the reason given in 1910 for fixing the number of Congress folks was due to "lack of available office space."

This, from a government that spares no expense to house people in prisons, create unimaginably huge welfare/warfare bureaucracies etc etc.

Anonymous said...

Was the fact that the House capacity was restricted to 435 a conspiracy or just a set of bad decisions made by different people with different sets of intentions?

Anonymous said...

1 voice in 500 is hardly a voice.

Better than none? Yeah, that's about it.

Kickyourace said... is reporting on a SCOTUS case that says The Apportionment Amendment was ratified in 1792 and we had 80% of the states ratifing with Kentucky voting yes for all 12 of the Bill of Rights Amendment. It was a common but wrong belief that Connecticut never voted at all for the Bill of Rights. That belief is also wrong with the archivist of Connecticut declaring in 2011 that Connecticut did vote yes for this amendment in 1790 but lost the paperwork that confirmed it. That paperwork was discovered by Eugene Martin LaVergne and authenticated by the Connecticut Archivist.
Scott Neuman /

Kickyourace said...

You also mentioned that it wasn't close to be ratified. In fact, they were short one state and with Kentucky, they are at 80%. That's pretty close!

Kickyourace said...

In NJ, Congressman John Runyon of the 3rd congressional district handles close to 1 million people. The Apportionment Amendment needs the Archivist of the Congress to do his job and accept that 80% of the states have ratified the amendment and place it as our 28th amendment.

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