Fighting Liberal: The Autobiography of George W. Norris

By Arthur M. Schlesinger; George W. Norris | Go to book overview

13
THE UNHORSING OF SPEAKER CANNON

GREAT POWER tends to make men contemptuous of opposition. In the early hours of the struggle to strip Speaker Joe Cannon of those official prerogatives which enabled him to bend the House of Representatives to his will, Mr. Cannon probably failed to sense any grave danger in the challenge which the insurgent group tossed to him.

He and the loyal regular Republican organization were taken by surprise in that St. Patrick's Day uprising of 1910. Arrogance-- born of a firm belief that the long-standing rules of the House would continue in force without substantial change-blinded them.

The factor of surprise contributed generously to the success of the fight I led against Cannonism, while millions of Americans looked on.

Now, more than thirty-four years later, I think the country gave us credit for more than actually was accomplished in reform, probably because, for the first time, there had been a challenge to the autocratic power of the Speaker of the House. Even then the nation did not understand the technicalities and the parliamentary peculiarities of that struggle. It knew that Boss Cannon had been beaten, and that was enough for it. Since then, other millions of men and women have come to voting age; and to them that battle of March, 1910, is but a fleeting memory of an event long past.

In its essence, though in different form, that same fight goes on constantly in this country. The individuals participating are of only

-107-

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Fighting Liberal: The Autobiography of George W. Norris
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Foreword George Norris and the Liberal Tradition v
  • Acknowledgment xvii
  • Introduction xxi
  • Contents xxv
  • Illustrations xxvii
  • 1 - An Ohio Farm 1
  • 2 - My Mother 9
  • 3 - Early Education 20
  • 4 - On to Valparaiso 29
  • 5 - The L.U.N. (lunatics Under Norris) 39
  • 6 - Washington Territory 46
  • 7 - A Law Practice 53
  • 8 - An Ardent Republican 59
  • 9 - Conceptions of Justice 69
  • 10 - Marriage and Home 78
  • 11 - Reluctant Decision 88
  • 12 - Payne-Aldrich Tariff Bill 99
  • 13 - The Unhorsing of Speaker Cannon 107
  • 14 - The Archbald Impeachment 120
  • 15 - The Party Rawhide 129
  • 16 - For the Grand Old Party 142
  • 17 - No Friendly Atmosphere 154
  • 18 - Hetch Hetchy 162
  • 19 - Death Kiss by Filibuster 173
  • 20 - Declaration of War 188
  • 21 - Defeat of the League 202
  • 22 - Senate Seat for Sale 214
  • 23 - Teapot Dome 224
  • 24 - Lonely Pilgrimage 234
  • 25 - A Second Emancipation 245
  • 26 - Tva in Existence 260
  • 27 - Relief for the Farmer 278
  • 28 - Grocer Norris"" 286
  • 31 - The Lame Duck Amendment 328
  • 32 - Unicameral Legislature 344
  • 33 - Limitations Upon Voting 356
  • 34 - America Taking Shape 368
  • 35 - Steps Toward Peace 379
  • 36 - Lend-Lease 390
  • 37 - Inflation 396
  • 38 - By Way of Farewell 401
  • Index 411
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