Sunday, July 20, 2014

A Little Group of Willful Men, Woodrow Wilson

 In the immediate presence of a crisis fraught with more subtle and far-reaching possibilities of national danger than any other the Government has known within the whole history of its inter-national relations, the Congress has been unable to act either to safeguard the country or to vindicate the elementary rights of its citizens.
 More than 500 of the 531 members of the two houses were ready and anxious to act; the House of Representatives had acted by an overwhelming majority; but the Senate was unable to act because a little group of eleven Senators had determined that it should not. The Senate of the United States is the only legislative body which cannot act when its majority is ready for action. A little group of willful men, representing no opinion but their own, have rendered the great Government of the United States helpless and contemptible.

(From the Address to the Country, March 4, 1917, when eleven Senators blocked a bill, passed by the House, for the arming of merchant ships)

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