Lodge Bill

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The Lodge Bill or Federal Elections Bill or Lodge Force Bill of 1890 was a bill drafted by Representative Henry Cabot Lodge (R) of Massachusetts, and sponsored in the Senate by George Frisbie Hoar; it was endorsed by President Benjamin Harrison. The bill would have allowed the federal government to ensure that elections were fair. In particular, it would have allowed federal circuit courts (after being petitioned by a small amount of citizens from any district) to appoint federal supervisors of congressional elections. Said supervisors would have been in charge of many duties, including: attending elections, inspecting registration lists, verifying doubtful voter information, administering oaths to challenged voters, stopping illegal aliens from voting, and certifying the vote count.[1]

The bill was created primarily to guarantee blacks, predominantly Republican at the time, the right to vote in the south. The Fifteenth Amendment already formally guaranteed that right, but white Southern Democrats had found loopholes to effectively prevent blacks from voting. The bill was successfully filibustered in the Senate, without much action by the President of the Senate, Vice President Levi P. Morton, while Silver Republicans in the West traded it away for Southern support of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act.[2]

Julius Caesar Chappelle (1852-1904) was one of the earliest black Republican legislators in the United States in Boston, Massachusetts from 1883-1886. On a Friday in early August of 1890, one of Julius Caesar Chappelle's popular political speeches for the right of blacks to vote occurred at an "enthusiastic" meeting in Boston, Massachusetts in Faneuil Hall to support the Federal Elections Bill, and appeared in The New York Age newspaper as "At the Cradle of Liberty: Enthusiastic Endorsement of the Elections Bill" in the August 9, 1890 issue, on the front page. [3] The Republican Party was founded by abolitionists.

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  1. ^ Alexander Keyssar, "The Right to Vote: The Contested History of Democracy in the United States," Basic Books, 2000 p. 86.
  2. ^ Wendy Hazard, "Thomas Brackett Reed, Civil Rights, and the Fight for Fair Elections," Maine History, March 2004, Vol. 42 Issue 1, pp 1–23
  3. ^ “At the Cradle of Liberty,” The New York Age, front page, Saturday, August 9, 1890.