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Morgan, W. Scott. History of the Wheel and Alliance and the Impending Revolution . Ft. Scott, KS: J.H. Rice & Sons, 1891. [format: book], [genre: history; narrative; proceedings]. Permission: Northern Illinois University
Committee on Constitution reported amendments, which were taken up by sections, discussed and passed, then adopted as a whole, as follows:
OF THE FARMERS' ALLIANCE AND INDUSTRIAL UNION.
DECLARATION OF PURPOSES.
WHEREAS, The general condition of our country imperatively demands unity of action on the part of the
laboring classes, reformation in economy, and the dissemination of principles best calculated to encourage and foster agricultural and mechanical pursuits, encouraging the toiling masses leading them in the road to prosperity, and providing a just and fair remuneration for labor, a just exchange for our commodities and the best means of securing to the laboring classes the greatest amount of good; we hold to the principle that all monopolies are dangerous to the best interests of our country, tending to enslave a free people and subvert and finally overthrow the great principles purchased to the fathers of American liberty. We, therefore, adopt the following as our declaration of principles:
1. To labor for the education of the agricultural classes in the science of economical government, in a strictly non-partisan spirit, and to bring about a more perfect union of said classes.
2. That we demand equal rights to all and special favors to none.
3. To endorse the motto, "In things essential, unity; and in all things, charity."
4. To develop a better state mentally, morally, socially and financially.
5. To constantly strive to secure entire harmony and good will to all mankind and brotherly love among ourselves.
6. To suppress personal, local, sectional and National prejudices; all unhealthful rivalry and all selfish ambition.
7. The brightest jewels which it garners are the tears of the widows and orphans, and its imperative commands are to visit the homes where lacerated hearts are bleeding, to assuage the sufferings of a brother or sister; bury the dead, care for the widows and educate the orphans; to exercise charity toward offenders; to construe
words and deeds in their most favorable light, granting honesty of purpose and good intentions to others, and to protect the principles of the Farmers' Alliance and Industrial Union until death. Its laws are reason and equity, its cardinal doctrines inspire purity of thought and life, its intention is, "On earth, peace, and good will to man."
SECTION 1. This organization shall be known as the National Farmers' Alliance and Industrial Union.
SEC. 2. This organization possesses and shall exercise such powers as are delegated to it by charter from the Government of the United States, and such further powers as are herein expressed.
SECTION 1. The powers of this organization shall be divided into three branches, to wit: A Legislative, an Executive and a Judicial Department.
SEC. 2. The Legislative Department shall be supreme in authority, and its sessions shall be known as the Supreme Council of the Order.
SEC. 3. The Executive and Judicial Departments shall be of equal power and authority, and subordinate only to the Legislative.
Section 1. The regular annual meeting of the Supreme Council shall be on the first Tuesday of December of each year, and at such place as may be determined by majority vote of the body.
SECTION 1. It shall be the duty of the Supreme Council to make laws, rules and regulations governing its meetings and usages.
SEC. 2. The Supreme Council shall be composed of
the officers of the organization and delegates from the various State organizations elected by the States upon such basis of representation as the Supreme Council may prescribe. It shall be the duty of the Supreme Council to adopt rules governing such representation: Provided, That the delegates to the Supreme Council shall be not less than 21 years of age; and the basis of representation shall not allow more than two delegates from each State and one additional delegate for each 10,000 active members or majority fraction thereof. Active members under this section are such members only as have paid the regular yearly dues of 5 cents each.
SEC. 3. The Supreme Council shall elect at each regular annual session the following officers, who shall hold office until their successors are elected and qualified: A President, a Vice-President, a Lecturer, a Secretary, and a Treasurer.
SEC. 4. The President shall be presiding officer of the Supreme Council and the official head of the Executive Department.
SEC. 5. The Supreme Council shall provide laws and rules prescribing the powers, duties and methods of the officers, and may limit the term of office, fix salaries, etc.
SECTION 1. The President shall be the chief executive officer; he shall have power to direct and instruct all executive officers and all executive work in this department subject to the laws and regulations made by the Supreme Council.
SEC. 2. The President shall have authority to interpret and construe the meaning of the laws of the Order by official rulings, and such rulings shall have the force and effect of laws and be promptly presented to the Judiciary Department for consideration, and if the Judiciary
approve the ruling it shall then be the final construction of the law; but if the Judiciary refuse to concur in a ruling, then, and in that case, such ruling shall be held in abeyance until the next meeting of the Supreme Council, which shall decide the matter.
SEC. 3. The President shall be the custodian of the secret work, and shall provide for its exemplification and dissemination. He shall be authorized to issue special dispensations and be held responsible for the same, all of which shall be matters of record.
SECTION 1. The Judiciary Department shall be composed of three Judges, one of whom shall, after the first year, be elected annually by the Supreme Council. Three Judges shall be elected the first year, one of whom shall be for a term of one year, one for two, and one for three.
SEC. 2. The regular term of office for the Judges of the Judiciary Department shall be three years.
SEC. 3. No person shall be eligible to office as Judge in the Judiciary Department who is under 30 years of age.
SEC. 4. The Senior Judge shall be called the Chairman, and shall be the presiding officer of the court.
SEC. 5. The Judiciary shall have authority to act upon the rulings of the President; to try and decide grievances and appeals affecting the officers or members of the Supreme Council; to try appeals from the State bodies.
SEC. 6.The decisions and findings of the Supreme Judiciary shall be a matter of record, and shall be preserved in the archives of the Order, a careful report of which shall be made to the regular annual session of the Supreme Council.
SEC. 7. For the purpose of carrying out the above
provisions and rendering the workings of the Judiciary Department effective, the Supreme Council shall provide rules and regulations.
SECTION 1. The Supreme Council shall fix such salaries for officers as may be a fair remuneration for services required, and for such expenditures of the various departments as may be consistent with strict economy.
SEC. 2. A per capita tax of 5 cents shall be paid for each male member into the National Treasury by each State organization on or before the 1st day of November of each year.
SEC. 3. The Supreme Council shall at each session fix the mileage and per diem to be paid the actual delegates to the body, subject to a limitation of not over 3 cents per mile each way by the nearest and most direct traveled route, and not over $3 per day for such days as are actually spent in actual attendance at the session.
SECTION 1. No person shall be admitted as a member of this Order except a white person, over 16 years of age, who is a believer in the existence of a Supreme Being, and has resided in the State more than six months, and is, either: First, a farmer, or a farm laborer; second, a mechanic, a country preacher, a country school teacher, or a country doctor; third, an editor of a strictly agricultural paper.
Provided, That each State and Territory shall have the right to prescribe the eligibility of applicants for membership in reference to color within the limits of the same. Provided, further, That none but white men shall be elected as delegates to the Supreme Council.
SEC. 2. It shall be the duty of the Supreme Council to enact a uniform eligibility clause for the various State
Constitutions, also to enact laws defining the eligibility of persons of mixed or unusual occupations or residence, subject to all the limitations of this article.
SECTION 1. A State organization may be chartered by the President in any State having as many as seven county organizations, provided, that any State containing less than seven counties may be chartered when one-third of its territory is organized.
SEC. 2. It shall be the duty of the President to issue a charter to any State organization qualified under section one of this article, when they shall file evidence that they have, first, adopted a Constitution that does not conflict with this Constitution, second, that they adopt the secret work and acknowledge the supremacy of the National Farmers' Alliance and Industrial Union.
SECTION 1. All rights and powers not herein expressly delegated are reserved to the State organizations severally.
SECTION 1. This Constitution can not be altered or amended, except upon a written resolution clearly setting forth the changes or additions to be made, which must be read in open session on at least two separate days and adopted by two-thirds majority.
The statutory laws were taken up, and, after discussion and amendment, were adopted, as follows:
SECTION 1. The basis of representation of the State organizations in the Supreme Council shall be as follows: Two delegates from each State and one additional delegate for each 20,000 active members or majority fraction thereof.
SEC. 2. Delegates to the Supreme Council will not be entitled to seats in the body unless settlement of the National per capita dues of 5 cents for each male member has been made by the State Secretary, accompanied by the proper amount of money to the National Secretary, and State Secretaries shall make such remittance and report promptly on or before the 1st day of November.
SEC. 3. The annual election of officers by the Supreme Council shall be by ballot.
SEC. 4. The President shall appoint from the actual delegates to the session of the Supreme Council a Chaplain, Assistant Lecturer, Door-keeper, Assistant Doorkeeper, Seargeant-at-Arms, and such other executive officers as the business of the session may require. The term of office for such officers shall expire at the close of the session; such appointed officers to receive nothing in addition to mileage and per diem as delegates.
SEC. 5. The President shall be the presiding officer of the Supreme Council and shall conduct the business according to the accepted rules of parliamentary usages and the requirements of the ritual.
SEC. 6. The President shall have authority to call upon any executive officer or committee to make reports and showing of the business entrusted to him at such time as in his judgment it seems best.
SEC. 7. The President may, when notified of any deriliction of duty or violation of the rules of the Order suspend any officer or committee and summon them to appear before the Judiciary Committee to make showing to the Chairman either by oral or written evidence as to their guilt or innocence of the charges.
SEC. 8. The President shall have full authority to enforce order and decorum during the sessions of the Supreme Council.
SEC. 9. The President shall have power to call a meeting of the Supreme Council at such a time and place as in his judgment is for the good of the Order. When petitioned by one-fourth of the State Presidents in the jurisdiction of this Order, he shall call a meeting of the Supreme Council. He shall state in the call specifically for what purpose the meeting is convened.
SEC. 10. The Vice-President's duties shall be to assist the President, and in his absence to perform his duty. SEC. 11. The order of succession in vacancy shall be: President to Vice-President, and Vice-President to Chairman of the Executive Board.
SEC. 12. The Secretary's duty shall be to keep a record of the proceedings of the Supreme Council, conduct its correspondence, to receive all money of the Farmers' Alliance and Industrial Union and pay it over to the Treasurer and take his receipt for the same, to read all communications, reports and petitions in open Supreme Council when necessary, to affix the seal of the Farmers' Alliance and Industrial Union to all documents requiring the same, to prepare for publication a copy of the proceedings of each annual or called session immediately after adjournment. He shall have charge of the seal, books and papers of the Farmers' Alliance and Industrial Union. His books shall at all times be open to the inspection of the President, or any committee appointed by the President to inspect the same, to keep a correct account between each State and the Fanners' Alliance and Industrial Union. He shall furnish the Secretaries of each State Farmers' Alliance and Industrial Union with a blank book properly ruled, with suitable column heads for classifying and recording the contents of the reports from the Farmers' Alliance and Industrial Union. Also suitable blanks for making reports to his office and to the
Chairman of the Executive Committee. He shall also make a list of all the officers, standing and special committees of the Supreme Council, with name and post office address, which list shall be a part of the printed proceedings of the Supreme Council.
SEC. 13. The Treasurer's duty shall be to receive all money from the Secretary approved by the President. He shall file with the Secretary a bond for double the amount of money that is likely to pass through his hands.
SEC. 14. It shall be the duty of the Lecturer to visit each State in the jurisdiction at least once a year and hold himself in readiness at all times to visit such localities and perform such duties as may be designated by the President.
SEC. 15. There shall be elected by the Supreme Council an Executive Board composed of three members, who shall be an Advisory Board of the President, and shall represent the Supreme Council during recess. The Chairman of the Executive Board shall be located at the official headquarters of the Order in the city of Washington, and be ex-Officio Chairman of the Legislative Committee.
SEC. 16. It shall be the duty of the Executive Board to require and pass upon the bonds of Secretary and Treasurer, to audit all bills and accounts, to examine and audit the Secretary and Treasurer's books, and in a general way perform detail of executive work.
SEC. 17. The Secretary of the Executive Board shall be the crop statistician of the entire Order, and shall make such crop reports to the President as he may require.
SEC. 18. Each State body in this jurisdiction is requested to select and report, by the 1st day of January, a State crop statistician, who shall require such reports from county statisticians and make such reports himself as may be required by the Secretary of the Executive Board.
SEC. 19. The regular term of office for members of the Executive Board shall be three years, but of the Board first elected one shall be for one year, one for two years and one for three years, and thereafter one shall be elected each year.
SEC. 20. The eligibility clause of the Constitution is hereby declared to apply to persons of the following classes and conditions as herein expressed: Persons engaged in farming, who live upon their farms and whose greatest interest is that of farming, may be admitted and retained as members, even though they conduct a small mercantile establishment located upon the farm, which receives the support and endorsement of the nearest Sub-Union, and be controlled by an Executive Board of Sub-Unions. Farmers, in fact, who are personally engaged in farming shall not be debarred from membership, even though they may own stock in a banking or other corporation as a means of investment, but in no wise devote their personal attention to the business of such corporation; provided, that the bank stock owned shall not exceed more than one-fifth of agricultural investment. Persons selected to buy and sell as agents of the Order are eligible, but persons engaged in the practice of law, banking, insurance, railroading, manufacturing, speculating, merchandising, brokerage or commission are not eligible. Merchandising under this section shall mean such persons as give their personal attention to mercantile pursuits as a means of profit and leading source of revenue, as distinguished from those who conduct stores on the farm for the benefit of those in the neighborhood, and controlled by a Board of the Order. Land agents, canvassers and all kinds of solicitors for machinery or commodities, or purchasers of farm produce for speculative purposes are ineligible.
SEC. 21. All persons who are ineligible for membership
who make application should be notified of the facts in the case, and no ballot or action taken. When members of the Order engage in an occupation that would have rendered them ineligible before initiation, they shall, upon sufficient evidence, be immediately dismissed by motion of the President in open lodge, and shall be granted a withdrawal card.
SEC. 22. Each Supreme Council shall, when convened, fix the mileage and per diem of its members, subject to the restrictions of the Constitution.
SEC. 23. The salary of the President of this organization shall be $3,000, office expenses and $900 for a stenographer, with headquarters at Washington, D. C., and traveling expenses.
SEC. 24. The salary of the Secretary shall be $2,000 and office expenses.
SEC. 25. The salary of the Treasurer shall be $500.
SEC. 26. The salary of the Lecturer shall be $3,000 and actual traveling expenses.
SEC. 27. The salary of the Chairman of the Executive Board shall be $2,000.
SEC. 28. The salary of the members of the Executive Board shall be $500 each, and actual expenses while in actual service.
SEC. 29. No State Organization or member of this Order shall, under any circumstances, be allowed to print or distribute the rituals of the Order, except as the Executive Board shall cause them to be, and they shall be distributed as the President may direct.
SEC. 30. All charters for State, County and subordinate bodies in unorganized States must emanate from and contain the signature of the National President, and those for bodies under State jurisdiction shall be issued by the
President and Secretary of the State body having jurisdiction over them.
SEC. 31. It shall be the duty of the Executive Board to secure from each of the States copies of their forms of reporting from Sub, County and State Secretaries, and endeavor to secure a uniform system of quarterly reports throughout the entire Order.
On motion the convention proceeded to the election of officers, with the following result:
L. L. Polk, of North Carolina, was elected President; B. H. Clover, of Kansas, Vice-President; J. H. Turner, of Georgia, Secretary; H. W. Hickman, of Missouri, Treasurer; Ben. Terrell, of Texas, Lecturer.
On motion a committee from the Northwestern Alliance was received, and considerable time given to a conference with this body.
Brother Polk was asked to take the chair to receive the committee.
Adjourned to meet at 7:30 P. M.
Convention called to order at 7:30 P. M. President L. L. Polk in the chair.
On motion the body proceeded with the completion of the organization.
The election of three Judges resulted as follows:
R. C. Patty, of Mississippi, for a term of three years; Isaac McCraken, of Arkansas, two years; Evan Jones, of Texas, one year.
The Committee on Demands made the following report on confederation with the Knights of Labor. Adopted.
"St. Louis, Mo., Dec. 6, 1889.
"Agreement made this day by and between the under-signed committee representing the National Farmers' Alliance and Industrial Union on the one part, and the undersigned committee representing the Knights of Labor on the other part, Witnesseth, The undersigned committee representing the Knights of Labor, having read the Demands of the National Farmers' Alliance and Industrial Union, which are embodied in this agreement, hereby endorse the same on behalf of the Knights of Labor, and for the purpose of giving practical effect to the demands herein set forth, the Legislative Committees of both organizations will act in concert before Congress for the purpose of securing the enactment of laws in harmony with the demands mutually agreed.
"And it is further agreed, in order to carry out these objects, we will support for office only such men as can be depended upon to enact these principles in statute law uninfluenced by party caucus.
"The demands hereinbefore referred to are as follows:
"1. That we demand the abolition of national banks and the substitution of legal tender treasury notes in lieu of national bank notes, issued in sufficient volume to do the business of the country on a cash system; regulating the amount needed on a per capita basis as the business interests of the country expands; and that all money issued by the Government shall be legal tender in payment of all debts, both public and private.
"2. That we demand that Congress shall pass such laws as shall effectually prevent the dealing in futures of all agricultural and mechanical productions; preserving a stringent system of procedure in trials as shall secure the
prompt conviction, and imposing such penalties as shall secure the most perfect compliance with the law.
"3 That we demand, the free and unlimited coinage of silver.
"4. That we demand the passage of laws prohibiting the alien ownership of land, and that Congress take early steps to devise some plan to obtain all lands now owned by aliens and foreign syndicates; and that all lands now held by railroad and other corporations in excess of such as is actually used and needed by them, be reclaimed by the Government and held for actual settlers only.
"5. Believing in the doctrine of ‘equal rights to all and special privileges to none,’ we demand that taxation, National or State, shall not be used to build up one interest or class at the expense of another.
"We believe that the money of the country should be kept as much as possible in the hands of the people, and hence we demand that all revenues, National, State or County, shall be limited to the necessary expenses of the Government economically and honestly administered.
"6. That Congress issue a sufficient amount of fractional paper currency to facilitate exchange through the medium of the United States mail.
"7. We demand that the means of communication and transportation shall be owned by and operated in the interest of the people as is the United States postal system.
"For the better protection of the interests of the two organizations, it is mutually agreed that such seals or emblems as the National Farmers' Alliance and Industrial Union of America may adopt, will be recognized and protected in transit or otherwise by the Knights of Labor, and that all seals and labels of the Knights of Labor will in like manner be recognized by the members of the
National Farmers' Alliance and Industrial Union of America.
S. B. ERWIN, Chairman,
T. V. POWDERLY,
Committee Representing the Order of the Knights of Labor.
The Committee on Cotton Tare and Bagging reported as follows:
"MR. PRESIDENT Your Committee on Cotton Bagging and Tare on Cotton Bales beg leave to submit the following report:
"We recommend to this body that you demand that all future cotton crops be sold at net weight with actual tare and the advance in price over the present tare that is just and equitable; and that each State Alliance or Union in the "Cotton Belt" secure from their respective Legislatures such legislation as will enforce this demand.
"Your Committee further recommend that all cotton producers connected with this organization be required to use cotton bagging as a covering for cotton, or any other fiber than jute, and that said cotton bagging shall be 44 inches wide and not less than twelve ounces per yard in weight, and of the same texture as the Odenheimer cotton bagging.
"And we further recommend that each State Alliance or Union be required to manufacture or secure bagging sufficient for the use of their respective States, and that the President, for the time being, shall be charged with the appointing of all committees or other necessary arrangements to secure said bagging for their respective States.
"We suggest also that seven yards of bagging be used as a covering for a bale of cotton, and that all pack-ages shall be neatly and securely fastened at the ends of the bales.
"We most earnestly protest against the wasteful and extravagant method of sampling cotton; also the unjust weights and classification of cotton, as now being practiced.
"We also recommend and require of our National and State Legislatures to enact such laws as will effectually and entirely prevent the selling of cotton or grain futures except when actual delivery and a bona fide sale shall have been made, or intended delivery shall be expressly a condition of such sale.
"Your Committee further recommend that cotton producers be advised not to contract any debt in the future that will obligate them to deliver their cotton on a given day, sooner than the 25th of December.
"Your Committee also recommend that no cotton from an Alliance man or Union, grown or controlled, shall be shipped or sold to any point or party antagonistic to our demands hereinbefore set forth.
"We hereby tender the thanks of this committee to the Cotton Exchanges of this country that endeavored to assist us this season, and respectfully invite all Cotton Exchanges in the United States to join us in the future in securing our demands as hereinbefore set forth.
"Your Committee desire, through this body, to congratulate the brotherhood that so faithfully adhered to cotton bagging for the present season, and thereby demonstrated that farmers could and would make any reason-able effort or sacrifice to maintain the high ground taken by the National Alliance and Co-operative Union at Birmingham.
"Your Committee recommend that the foregoing enactments and resolutions be published in our official organs at the earliest period practical, and a copy sent to each State President calling his attention to his duties in the premises; also to the Presidents of the Cotton Exchanges of the United States.
L. E. LIVINGSTON, Georgia,
Morgan, W. Scott. History of the Wheel and Alliance and the Impending Revolution . Ft. Scott, KS: J.H. Rice & Sons, 1891. [format: book], [genre: history; narrative; proceedings]. Permission: Northern Illinois University
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=morgan.html