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Debate (continued)

( Originally Published 1922 )

I. Outlining the Debate

In 1917, when big, trained business men went to Washington to help carry on the work that had to be done to win the war, they found themselves hindered at every turn by the endless red tape that someway always seems to entwine itself about the running of government affairs. In many cases these men, used to doing things in the swift, direct fashion of modern business, broke loose from the coils that held them, and got something done in their own way. Sometimes I think that the outlining of debates has gone somewhat the way of a government business; it has got terribly tangled up in a maze of intricacy made to seem very involved and hard. The word brief itself sounds legal and formal, and the student comes to the task of making one in fear and trembling. There is, of course, no real cause for this anxiety. The truth is, it is just as natural and easy to outline a debate as any other speech.

In fact hundreds of well-arranged arguments that are made every day are not consciously outlined at all. The friend who talks you into giving up a day's work for a picnic; the teacher who persuades you to go to college; the family doctor who induces you to change climate for your health — none of these, no matter how logical his reasoning, writes out an outline for his talk, or even thinks of an outline. In other cases there may be a carefully thought-out outline, but it is not written. This is usually true where men of affairs, like engineers, corporation managers, or university presidents, appear before their respective boards and make arguments for some plan of action, or for funds. So with the trained salesman working for a big order or the editor at his desk debating with his readers for or against some proposition. Though not put on paper, the outline is there, in the orderly fashion in which trained minds work.

If these outlines were put into regular chart form they would be found very .simple, but very clear and to the point. For example, here might be the outline for the university president's appeal for money for more teachers --

I. The situation is this:

1. Our enrollment has increased sixty per cent over last year.

2. Our present teaching force cannot take care of these new students, for

a. Many of them were already overworked.

b. We had provided for only a twenty per cent increase in students.

II. My suggestion is :

1. A thirty per cent increase in our faculty.

2. A shift of funds from the building fund to the salary budget to pay these teachers.

III. The reasons:

1. We must furnish instruction to every student who wants it, for

a. It is our duty.

b. The public expects and demands it.

c. The good of our State and Nation requires it.

2. The proposed new buildings can wait, for

a. We can get along with what we have for the present, for

(1) We can make double use of many classrooms, for

(a) We are willing to suffer a little inconven-

ience rather than turn students away.

Now the value of an outline to young speakers is that it helps

them arrange their ideas in consecutive, logical order. And that is needed; for the student's mind, filled as it is with a great number of things picked up here and there, is likely to be, as Keats told a friend his mind was when he wrote his first long poem, Endymion, "like a pack of scattered cards." The outline helps bring the scrambled ideas together according to natural relationship. But let us not get the notion that there is any-thing terribly hard in doing this in debate. I think the reason it seems hard is that the emphasis is so often put on the wrong place. We make such an effort to get everything down on paper just right that we neglect the really big item; which is, first, to think the whole question out in a clear direct manner, then put the result of our thinking on paper. Too frequently we try the reverse of this operation.

Most of the great speeches you have read or heard about all your life were debates. Burke's Conciliation speech and Lincoln's Cooper Union address were arguments. So were the well-known speeches of Clay, Calhoun, Webster, Gladstone, Cobden, and Pitt. O'Connell's Repeal of the Union, Wendell Phillips' Toussaint L'Ouverture, Bryan's Cross of Gold speech, Carl Shurz's General Amnesty speech, and McKinley's plea for retaining the Philippines were all debates.

Of course this exact order is not followed in all great arguments. But some such simple, large divisions as these are pretty sure to be found. Here, for instance, is a bare outline of a speech made by President McKinley in 1898 in favor of keeping the Philippines

I. The situation: Under the providence of God the Philippines have been entrusted by the war to our hands. The question is, what shall we do?

II. The proposed plan: We will accept the trust.

III. The reasons:

1. It is the only practicable thing to do.

2. It is the only American thing to do.

Or look at this outline of O'Connell's 1843 Repeal of the Union speech:

I. Statement of what is wrong: The Union with England is wrong and every true Irishman wishes for its extinction.

II. Reasons: It is wrong, for

1. It is unnatural.

2. It is invalid.

3. It has saddled Ireland with England's debts.

4. It has been destructive to Irish industry and prosperity.

III. The Remedy: A peaceful constitutional restoration of the Irish

Parliament brought about by respectful petition to the

Queen and absolute readiness to follow O'Connell's lead.

IV. Why this remedy? We shall seek this remedy, for

1. It is what we want.

2. It is possible.

3. It will put an end to all our grievances.

Here is an outline used by a championship debating team as taken from the notebook of one of the men. The question was, "Resolved: That the employees and employers engaged in the operation of the railroads, the coal mines, and the steel industry should be compelled to settle their disputes in legally established tribunals of arbitration."

I. The situation:

A. Conditions demand a change, for

1. Recent events show that the public is at the mercy of the three key industries named.

2. Present methods have failed.

B. There is a growing feeling that some form of arbitration must be the cure for industrial strife. This is shown by the many arbitration laws already in operation both in foreign countries and America, and by the continued discussion of the matter.

II. Statement of proposed plan: Impartial arbitration tribunals to investigate and render decisions without, however, prohibition of strikes or compulsory acceptance of award.

III. This plan should be adopted, for

A. It is right in principle, for

1. It is the civilized method of settling disputes, for

a. It is simply applying to industry a principle already in operation elsewhere, for

(1) In all other disputes the rule of force has

long been replaced by legal processes.

2. It affords justice to all parties concerned, for

a. It is fair to labor,

b. It is fair to capital,

c. It is fair to the public, for

(1) Impartial tribunals and informed public opinion can be depended on to make and enforce just awards.

B. It is practicable, for

1. The plan will be easy of enforcement, for

a. The machinery is simple.

b. Just and impartial tribunals can be found.

c. It makes only reasonable demands on the parties concerned.

C. Our plan is the most desirable means of promoting indus-trial peace, for

1. It is more desirable than —

The British system of conciliation,

The Canadian arbitration plan, or

The Australian and New Zealand system, for

a. It combines the best features and eliminates the worst features of these plans.

2. It meets the needs of the time.

Such an outline as this might be worked out in greater detail. In fact, a brief for a debate may be so expanded that it merges gradually into the completed debate itself. But the above is a type of the working outline before the points are divided among the members of the team. In the foregoing, for example, the first speaker took I, II, and III down to 2 under A; the second speaker had 2 under A and all of B; the third speaker, all under C. Each then worked out his section as if it were a speech in itself, only, of course, being sure that it still fitted in with the. other speeches as a part of the complete, unified debate.

IL Building the Debate

1. LAYING A FOUNDATION

"A clear statement is the strongest of arguments." Many debaters fail at this point; they never let the audience know just what they are talking about. There are two things that need simple, clear explanation if those who listen are to be in any position to judge of the merits of the debate: First, the situation that is wrong or said to be wrong; second, the plan proposed to remedy the wrong. Even where the facts are supposedly well known, speakers can usually make their case stronger by a brief, forceful summary of the situation. The Apostle Paul had a habit of laying a solid foundation of Biblical fact upon which to build his framework of masterly logic. In some of his arguments from two-thirds to four-fifths of each speech is devoted to narrative and explanation, in preparation for his main point. The value of this is evident. It gives the audience a chance to understand the speaker's position; to follow him, to think and feel with him.

In 1920 everyone knew pretty well the situation as to the serious shortage of teachers and what this shortage meant to the nation; yet in arguments for remedies speakers found it worth while to review the facts and to reemphasize the need of keeping our schools fit. To paint a dark, alarming picture of teacherless schools, of ill-taught children, and of a future of illiterate voters served to arouse the interest and attention of the audience and to prepare their minds to approve any reasonable remedy suggested.

2. COMMON GROUND

In beginning a debate it is necessary to find a common ground upon which both debaters and audience can stand. Without this any amount of argument is wasted. The thing that makes it worth while for our courts to prove a man guilty of murder, for example, is that society has formed this general judgment: Murderers are dangerous and should be either imprisoned or hanged. When a suspected man is arrested, the judge, the lawyers, and the jury work on the common ground: If this man is found guilty of murder, he is dangerous, and should be either imprisoned or hanged. The general judgment is already formed; it only remains to prove that this man is guilty and the particular judgment relating to his individual case follows: This man is dangerous and must be hanged (or imprisoned).

In Lincoln's Cooper Union speech, in which he defended the right of the government to control slavery in Federal territories, he first sought a basis of common ground. He said:

In his speech last autumn at Columbus, Ohio, Senator Douglas said: "Our fathers when they framed the government under which we live understood this question just as well, and even better, than we do now." I fully endorse this, and adopt it as a text for this discourse. I so adopt it because it furnishes a precise and agreed starting point for a discussion.

Here was common ground. The if to be proved now simply was this, "If I can show that the fathers held the view that the Federal Government has a right to control as to slavery in Federal Territories, Senator Douglas, you, and every one must agree that the government has a right now under the constitution to control slavery in Federal Territories."

To be sure that all might be thinking together, Lincoln went

further; he defined all terms over which there might be dispute.

What is the "Frame of government under which we live?"

"The original Constitution of the United States with its Amendments?" Who were the fathers "that framed that Constitution?" The "thirty-nine" who signed the original instrument?

3. THE REMEDY OR STAND

The next step is to propose and explain the remedy offered or the stand taken. Each side owes it to the audience to explain fully and clearly what is included in the proposal. To fail here

is to deserve defeat. The writer has within the past six months heard three interschool debates lost by teams which proposed plans and gave eloquent arguments for them without once letting the audience or judges into the secret of just what

those plans were. It is especially necessary to explain a new plan. A debating team arguing for arbitration for settling disputes in public-utility corporations explained its plan as including these features:

1. The compulsory investigation of all disputes in the industries concerned.

2. A permanent arbitration board.

3. This board to be composed of representatives of labor, capital, and the public.

4. Complete publicity to be given to findings of board.

5. Strikes not to be prohibited pending investigation.

6. The award not to be compulsory.

7. Public opinion to be relied on to enforce just awards.

4. THE DISPUTED POINTS

Right here occurs the clash. "If we can prove that this plan of arbitration is the best, most just, and most practical way to do away with industrial disputes," says the affirmative, "we have won our case, and you must agree with us that our plan should be adopted." "But your plan is defective," says the negative, "it is weak and impracticable; we propose straight-out compulsory arbitration with prohibition of strikes and compulsory acceptance of the award."

When one has got thus far in the analysis of a question, he is ready to build his argument. To understand the need and the program of action proposed, to meet on common ground, to brush aside the non-essentials and come to a direct clash over the points of real difference of opinion is laying the foundation for the real debate.

5. A FIXED STAND

It is worth while to digress at this point to indicate that which reference to any great debate will show: that debate only is effective in which the speaker takes a simple, outright stand on a question and holds to it. The debater must show that he knows what he wants and why he wants it. He must not shift ground. That argument is best which can be summed up in a single sentence. There is no better advice to be given to any young debater than this: Fix upon the key idea of your argument, and then stick to it. It is worth much to bring it out in plain view of your audience, and then keep it there. Read Lincoln's speeches; you will find that he had a way of doing this that made his position as plain to the audience as his physical action would have been had he brought out a box, mounted it, and said, "From this point I shall speak to you."

6. THE PROOF

When debaters have locked horns over the points of dispute, the fun begins. It is now a question of making a more telling argument than your opponent. The best way to do this is to study the question so thoroughly that you can choose a few of the very best reasons and some of the most convincing facts to support your stand, and can draw conclusions that cannot be attacked.

7. TRUTH RELATIVE

Whenever there is honest difference of opinion, there is usually truth on both sides of the question. Of course, lawyers and officials can sometimes prove absolute guilt or innocence of accused persons, and investigating committees often prove public officers at fault on certain charges; but usually a debater can at best show only that the evidence and argument seem to point to the fact that the greater truth is on his side.

8. SELECTION OF MATERIAL

The writer once heard two young high school debaters in ten minutes each, "prove" twenty-one points. All foolishness! These speakers simply had no idea of balance and proportion, nor of the importance of centering on two or three basic reasons for a stand and making them count. There are literally scores of things that may be said in favor of or against almost any proposal. The big problem is one of selecting argument and fact that most closely touch the heart of the matter. Jefferson said of the Constitutional Convention, "I never heard Washing-ton or Franklin speak for over twelve minutes at once. But each laid his shoulder to the wheel of big things, knowing the little things would follow." This selection of the really vital things cannot be made until you have worked a long time on the question. That means that you cannot make an outline at the beginning and slavishly follow it, but that for a long time your outlines are merely trial guides to be changed over and over as your ideas grow and clear.

Re-read here what has been said about getting material in the chapter How to Get Material for the Speech.

In the outlines given in this chapter note how the speakers narrowed their choice of material.

9. CONCLUSIONS

Remember that all the reading you can do, all the notes you can take, all the facts you can muster, will be as "chaff that the wind driveth away" unless you can form sound judgments. Mr. Balfour of England not long ago made a wonderfully true remark about Germany that just fits this idea. "No country," said he, "had ever devoted so great an amount of industry, knowledge, and intelligence to the study of foreign affairs and foreign politics as Germany did before the war, but no country had ever more thoroughly misunderstood the temper and real character of other nations." The New York Times, in comment, remarked, "The truth of this is now known to all men. In their vast pigeonholes at Berlin the German General Staff and Foreign Office had accumulated reports and studies on foreign lands to an amazing extent ... not an item that one could imagine failed of being duly ticketed, yet the result ... was a series of gross and fatal misunderstandings on the part of Germany. All the books and monographs and private reports on earth will not enable a Foreign Minister to penetrate tp the secret of another nation unless he has the ability to discriminate between his sources and to estimate the accuracy and value of the information laid before him."

The trouble with Germany was that she made her conclusions first and then filled her facts into them. She drew wrong conclusions because she wanted to interpret all the facts she got in one way, her way. If they were square facts that would not go into any of the round holes of her preformed judgments she twisted and ground them down until they seemed to fit.

Don't be like Germany. Think hard; reason the thing out; be honest in your judgments. One of the biggest things you should learn from debate is that the stubborn facts of the world are not just as you would have them, that success consists in forming true judgments from facts as you find them.

Another thing: having studied to form a true judgment, learn to clinch your argument by making your conclusion stand out as inevitable from the facts and logic in the case; never leave your audience in doubt as to where your reasoning leads; drive your conclusions home with sledge-hammer blows of logic.

Debate must not be looked upon as a dull affair of dry statistics and uninteresting data. Here, as in every other form of speaking, there is room for concrete illustration and sentiment that will help grip the audience by getting what one is saying into their experience and arousing the emotions. One finds the great debates full of appeal to national and race pride, to love of home, loyalty to the flag, to instincts of self-preservation, and to sentiments of truth, honor, and religion. When Thurston made his great plea for intervention in Cuba before the United States Senate in 1898, he first painted a picture of the terrible sufferings of Cubans at the hands of the Spaniards and then appealed for action. "There is Boston, and Concord, and Lexington, and Bunker Hill; and there they will remain for-ever," cried Webster in his reply to Hayne. O'Connell stopped to assure the Irish, in his repeal speech, that if necessary the women of Ireland alone could repel any foe. And again he appealed to religious sentiment: " This is a holy festival in the Catholic Church — the day upon which the Mother of our Savior ascended to meet her Son." In Lincoln's "shortest brief," prepared for use in a suit to recover $200 held by an agent out of $400 pension money collected for a poor widow of a Revolutionary War veteran, it is evident that he coolly planned to exert the force of appeal to sentiment and emotion; for, following the headings to prove the illegal nature of the whole deal are these catchwords: "Revolutionary War — Describe Valley Forge Pl'ff's husband Soldier leaving for army."

In everyday debate this appeal to sentiment is as common and effective as in great speeches. Many of us can never forget the stories of Hun cruelty told by the recruiting officer and through moving pictures during the Great War. The advertiser, debating with his possible customer, displays a picture—the broken-down automobile with wheel smashed on the slippery pavement, the bluecoat gathering into his arms the limp form of the injured child; the driver with bowed head, hand before his eyes to shut out the sight, while the small brother points accusingly.—" If I had only put on Weed Tire Chains," the legend reads, and with many the argument goes home. "Think it over," reads the advertisement of a Builders' Ex-change, on the eve of a threatened strike of the Builders' Trades Unions, "A lay-off will not buy food and shoes for the wife and baby."

And in school debating there is a place for appeal to the emotions, if care, very great care, is used not to drag in sentiment for its own sake or to substitute it for argument.

A clever young debater had heard the plan urged by his team ridiculed as a makeshift, patchwork affair until he knew the patchwork idea must be effectively refuted or his side would be defeated. "My opponents have called our plan a patchwork plan because it includes some features from one system and some from another. Does that make it a poor plan? Friends, how many of you have seen Grandmother gather together the best pieces from John's old silk shirt, from Mary's discarded waist, from Father's old silk tie, from Mother's last year's skirt, and put them together — and after a long time the result was a beautiful, useful patchwork quilt under which you and I have slept comfortably. They call our plan a patchwork plan! Years ago in the Revolutionary days, our forefathers took the pure white of the snow, the beautiful blue of the sky, and the red of the heart's blood and put them together and we have our flag (Pointing to the flag — applause) — a patchwork flag — but who would have it any different?" Such argument is effective.

III. Tearing Down the Opponent's Argument

After the opening speech in a school debate there should be rebuttal by every speaker. In fact even the first speaker may do much in looking ahead to answer points that he is sure his opponents will make. I have heard good debaters devote practically all of a first constructive speech to attacking argument they expected the other side to advance. In the analysis of a question every possible point that may be made against your case should be listed and carefully studied, with rebuttal prepared for each argument. There will be times when no flaw can be found in an opposing contention. In such case better agree with your opponent here, and spend your energies on some really valid objection. Having found a weak point in the defenses of your enemy, center your attack there. Achilles had open to injury only one little spot on his heel no larger than the palm of a woman's hand, but when a poisoned arrow found that spot Achilles was a dead man. Find the Achilles' heel of your opponent's logic, and then aim at it your swift keen darts of rebuttal.

In the three or five minutes usually allowed for set rebuttals, you must clearly review and reëmphasize the arguments already given and you must destroy the force of the opposing arguments. These are not separate processes; by constantly holding up and pointing out the strength of your own reasoning as you demolish the defenses of your opponents, you accomplish your end. The best one thing to do is to draw clear-cut lines as to what has been done. Just how far has the debate proceeded? What were the issues to begin with? What remains the principal bone of contention? Where do you agree with your opponents, where you do disagree? In other words, exactly where does the debate now stand? Having shown these things, center your energies on the most important issue.

1. FORMS OF FALSE REASONING

There are certain forms of false reasoning that one should always be on the alert to detect. Some of the more common ones are mentioned here.

a. Failure to Argue the Question

(1) Shifting Ground. A politician starts out to prove that the League of Nations should not be adopted. At the end of five minutes he has shifted to his hobby, the single-tax question, and does not once in an hour's talk return to the real issue. A student opposing the honor system denies that there is any great amount of cheating under the present plan. Later he admits there is cheating in examinations, but holds that the church and home are to blame; the honor system would not help. He ends by asserting that after all there is little harm in getting and giving a little help in examinations anyway; every-body does it, and always will, etc., etc.

(2) Begging the Question. A common fallacy is to take an argument for granted before it is proved. A speaker who takes the stand, "The criminal negligence of the health officers should be condemned," and goes on to show the awful effects of such neglect, but does not once touch the real point of dis-pute, which is, "Were these officers criminally negligent?" is begging the question.

(3) Arguing Beside the Point. Often a debater tries to win his case by appeal to passion, sympathy, or prejudice, ignoring the real question at issue. In a criminal case the lawyer for the defense spends hours showing that the accused has been a good neighbor, a kind husband and father, a hard-working, respected member of his community, and that his imprisonment will cause his family suffering and disgrace. And all the time the jury is asking, "Is the man guilty of this embezzlement?" This is a favorite method with real estate tricksters and promoters of fake oil companies, who usually paint alluring pictures of great riches, of quick profits and big dividends, but ignore the important items to be proved, "Is this investment safe, and will it bring in the wealth claimed?"

(4) Appealing to Tradition. One of the favorite "arguments" for resisting change or progress is, "This is new; we've never tried anything like it before." What a cry went up when a president of the United States for the first time visited foreign countries! "Think of it, doing something that had never been done before a president of the United States visiting in France and England!" As if it would not in common reason be a splendid thing for all our presidents to travel about a little and get better ideas of the nations they must deal with! "Let us do away with war; let us abolish the liquor traffic, let us prohibit licensed vice," we argue. "Foolish thought," protest the objectors, "we have had these things for all time; it would be silly to try to get rid of them." In all such cases the merits of the question are not touched upon; the appeal is merely to what has been.

Wherever a fallacy of failure to argue the question is detected, the refutation is simple. Point out clearly the defect in your opponent's method; then build up your own case. Make your own sound logic loom large beside your opponent's weak make-shifts for argument.

b. Faulty Conclusions

(1) Mere Assertions. It is the vice of the ignorant to assert mere notions and fancies as facts without any evidence to support them. The debater who states that he thinks or believes a thing, wastes his time unless he can show fact and reason to back up his beliefs. Against mere assertion, one need only draw sane conclusions from carefully presented fact and sensible reasoning to win his case.

(2) Insufficient Evidence. The affirmative show that in five cities where a certain plan has been tried it has been successful; the negative give statistics to prove that in twenty places the plan has failed. They show, too, that in the five cities mentioned by the affirmative, opinion is divided as to the success of the plan, some authorities regarding it as a complete failure.

The affirmative have jumped to a conclusion on insufficient evidence.

(3) Absurdities. A little care in tracing an argument out to its logical conclusion will often show it to be absurd. In his Second Inaugural, Lincoln pointed out that the extreme stand taken by those who held that a state might at any time secede from the Union, put into practice, would disrupt the Union—the minority always seceding until there would be merely a group of weak rival states in place of the one strong nation.

(4) False Analogy. In a true analogy the comparison must be complete. In answer to an argument that the arbitration system had failed in New Zealand and would therefore prove unsatisfactory for America, a debater pointed out that the success or failure of any system in a little island of the Pacific, argued nothing for or against the adoption of that system in the great United States where conditions are entirely different. And that was a good way to meet the argument.

(5) No Causal Relationship. Things that happen near each other in time or space do not necessarily have any logical connection. It is only when it can be shown that one is the cause of the other that there can be valid argument. A student argues that school work is bad for him; his eyes are inflamed, and he is losing weight. Investigation shows that this young man has been spending three nights a week at a dance hall, two nights at the movies, and the other two nights "just bumming around." It is found also that on the average he has not been putting two hours a day on his books. The conclusion he has tried to draw by making school work the cause of his physical condition is plainly silly.

(6) Faulty General Judgment. A young man starts out in life with the idea that happiness is to be found in "sowing wild oats" and in a continual round of pleasure. A debater argues against any League of Nations on the grounds that war is a necessary evil and that every nation must look out for itself and has no responsibility for the welfare of other nations. Arguments based on such false assumptions cannot lead to the truth.

(7) Poor Authority. Sometimes persons are quoted as authority on a subject when their opinion is of no value because of prejudice or lack of knowledge. If it can be shown that this is true, or if much better authority can be cited, such evidence is destroyed. For instance, the local editor and a state senator are quoted on an economic question; but it is shown that Professor Taussig of Harvard, Professor Seager of Columbia, and Professor Fisher of Yale hold opposing views; the judges must naturally accept the word of these recognized experts.

We need to train ourselves as a people in refutation. The thing necessary here is a rapid analysis of an argument and a quick conclusion as to its truth and value. Then if the facts are distorted, or insufficient, and the logic and judgments false, there must come the ready answer in accurate statement and sound reasoning to expose the fallacy.

Every day hundreds of honest men and women throw away their money in silly investments because they have not been able to detect and get behind the trickery of some clever agent's selling talk. And at every election time thousands of well-meaning citizens march to the polls and vote for men and measures they would not in full knowledge for one moment support; they simply have allowed themselves to be fooled by the most empty substitutes for argument in the form of appeal to prejudice, passion, sectional vanity, or some equally cheap species of demagoguery. We Americans are all too ready to swallow whole, ready-made conclusions, such as those too often offered in misleading newspaper headlines, which, inspired by partisan interest, misinterpret fact and utterance — the editors relying on the easy credulity of the public to accept opinions others have formed, rather than to read, think, and, culling out and discarding the false, to draw true conclusions of their own.

This is too bad; we need to reform; it is the work of the educated man to form independent judgments.

2. How TO LEARN TO REFUTE

There is no power in man that can be more rapidly developed than that of forming critical judgment. Form the habit of weighing the truth of conclusions from the evidence given and finding counterargument that will hold; this continued for some time will work wonders. Listen carefully; think; let your mind run ahead of the speaker to form a logical judgment based on the facts he is using. This is the secret of good rebuttal.

IV. Gathering Material

LEAVES FROM DEBATERS' NOTEBOOKS

ARBITRATION PROVISIONS OF THE CUMMINS-ESCH RAILROAD BILL

Literary Digest, Vol. 64:16 (Feb. 28, 1920)

In the revised bill jurisdiction over labor disputes threatening to tie up interstate commerce is given a board of nine members representing equally employers, employees, and the public, appointed by the President. A majority award is sufficient, but the majority must contain at least one member of the public group. There is no provision for penalties to enforce the board's rulings. It seems to the Boston Globe that this compulsory arbitration plan, which compels Labor to arbitrate without compelling it to accept an award except through pressure of public opinion, is an important step in the right direction.

OBJECTION TO ARBITRATION Encyc. Brit. 2:335

Another objection on the part of some employers and workmen to unrestricted arbitration is its alleged tendency to multiply disputes by providing an easy way of solving them without recourse to strikes or lockouts, and so diminishing the sense of responsibility in the party advancing the claims.

OPERATION OF INDUSTRIAL DISPUTES INVESTIGATION

Act of Canada, Bulletin of the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, No. 233, pp. 118, 119.

During the period March 22, 1907, to December 31, 1916, there were 204 illegal strikes and lockouts affecting 3,015,844 working days.

From April 1, 1917, to March 31, 1918, there were 59 disputes referred under the Act, only one in which a strike was not averted. 98.3 per cent of disputes referred were settled without a strike.

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