Today’s installment concludes The U.S. National Association of Governors Began,
the name of our combined selection from William G. Jordan and The Governors. The concluding installment, by The Governors from Letters to Colliers Weekly, was published in 1910.
If you have journeyed through all of the installments of this series, just one more to go and you will have completed five thousand words from great works of history. Congratulations!
Previously in The U.S. National Association of Governors Began.
Place: Washington D.C.
Charles S. Deneen, Governor of Illinois
The conservation of natural resources often necessitates the cooperation of neighboring States. In such cases, the discussion of proposed conservation work by the representatives of the States concerned is of great importance. It brings to the consideration of these subjects the views and opinions of those most interested and best informed in regard to the questions involved.
The same is true in relation to many subjects of State legislation in which uniformity is desirable. This is especially the case with regard to industrial legislation. The great volume of domestic business is interstate, and the industrial legislation of one State frequently affects, and sometimes fixes, industrial conditions elsewhere. An example of the advantage of cooperation of States in the amendment and revision of laws affecting industry is seen in the agreement by the commissions recently appointed by New York, Wisconsin, and Minnesota to investigate the subjects of employers’ liability and workmen’s compensation to meet for the joint discussion of these matters. The General Assembly of Illinois is now convened in extraordinary session, and has under consideration the appointment of a similar commission in order that it may meet and cooperate with the commissions of the States named.
Along these and other similar lines it seems to me that the House of Governors will be of practical advantage in the beneficial influence it will exert in the promotion of joint action where that is necessary to secure desired ends.
Frank W. Benson, Governor of Oregon
President Roosevelt rendered the American people a great service when he invited the Governors of the various States to a conference at the White House in 1908. The subject of conservation of our natural resources received such attention from the assembled Governors that the conservation movement has spread to all parts of the country, and has gained such headway that it will be of lasting benefit to our people. This one circumstance alone proves the wisdom of the conference of Governors, and it is my earnest hope that the organization be made permanent, with annual meetings at our national capital.
Such meetings can not help but have a broadening effect upon our State Executives, for, by interchanging ideas and by learning how the governments of other States are conducted, our Governors will gain experience which ought to prove of great benefit, not only to themselves, but to the commonwealths which they represent. Matters pertaining to interstate relations, taxation, education, conservation, irrigation, waterways, uniform legislation, and the management of State institutions are among the subjects that the conference of Governors will do well to discuss; and such discussions will prove of inestimable value, not only to the people of our different States, but to our country as a whole.
The West is in the front rank of all progressive movements and welcomes the conference of Governors as a step in the right direction.
Albert W. Gilchrist, Governor of Florida
I can only estimate the significance and importance of this conference of Governors by my experience from such a conference in the past. It was my good fortune to be for a week last October on the steamer excursion down the Mississippi River. The Governors held daily conferences. Several elucidated the manner in which some particular governmental problems were solved in their respective States, all of which was more or less interesting. Of the several Federal matters discussed, it was specially interesting to me to hear the various Republican Governors discussing State rights, disputing the right of interference of the General Government on such lines. It “kinder” made me smile. In formal discussions of such matters in public, in Washington, it is probable that such expressions would not be made.
The result of this conference made me feel as if I knew the Governors and the people of the various States therein represented far better than I had before. Such discussions, with the attending personal intercourse, naturally tend to give those participating in them a broader nationality.
The House of Governors will convene; there will be many pleasant social functions and many pleasant associations will be formed. Some of the Governors will speak; all of them will resolute. They will behold evidences of the greatness of our common country and the evidence of the greatness of our public men, as displayed in the rollicking debates in the House, and the “knot on the log” discussions of the Senate. Everything will be as lovely as a Christmas tree. The House will then adjourn.
Herbert S. Hadley, Governor of Missouri
During recent years, the development of the National idea has carried with it a marked tendency on the part of the people to look to the National Government for the correction of all evils and abuses existing in commercial, industrial, and political affairs. The importance of the State Governments in the solution of such questions has been minimized, and, in some cases, entirely overlooked, although Congress has been behind, rather than in advance of, public sentiment upon many questions of national importance. The Congressmen are elected by the people of the different Congressional Districts, and regard their most important duty as looking after the interests of their respective districts. The United States Senators are elected by the legislatures of the several States, and do not feel that sense of responsibility to the people that is incident to an election by the people. The Governors of the various States are elected by all of the people of the State, and they are more directly “tribunes of the people” than any other officials, either in our National or State Governments. These officers will thus give a correct expression of the sentiment of the people of the States upon public questions.
While these expressions of opinion will naturally vary according to the sentiments and opinions of the people of the various States represented, yet, on the whole, they will represent more of progress and more of actual contact with present-day problems than could be secured from any similar number of public officials. And the addresses and discussions will also tend to mold the opinions of the people and have a marked influence not only upon State, but also upon National legislation.
This ends our selections on The U.S. National Association of Governors Began by two of the most important authorities of this topic:
- The House of Governors (1907) and from The Craftsman by William G. Jordan published in October, 1910.
- Letters to Colliers Weekly by The Governors published in 1910.
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