Does the Consitution Function for the People? Octorber 25, 1936

S. Miles Bouton vs. John Spivak, Octorber 25, 1936

Bouton – YES: “The minority so scornful of the Constitution would not only change it in many respects – for one thing it would give the Federal Government very much more power. Not realizing that centralizing the power is one of the essentials of dictatorship. The best instrument loses its force in the hands of the bungler. It is the same with the Constitution. It functions only so long as there shall remain virtue in the body of the people. If it does not function, the fault is not the Constitution’s. It is our fault. It rests with our indifference. Yes, the Constitution functions – but it is only two often we who do not function.”

Spivak – NO: “It is my contention that the Constitution of the United States, from the day of this inception and its adoption, has been and is the greatest bulwark for the property classes that we have. It has been functioning at the expense of the overwhelming majority of the people. Which means the people of the United States. The Constitution functions to protect property rights at the expense of human rights. Nowhere in the Constitution of the United States have I been able to find, and I have searched for it, a statement that Negroes in the South should not be allowed to vote; nowhere in the Constitution have I been able to find a statement that says if you are a poor man, you can’t vote. And yet millions of American citizens of fighting pioneer stock, descendants of men who fought in the Revolutionary War and the Civil War, are unable to vote because they are too poor to pay a dollar for a poll tax.”

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