Digital History>eXplorations>Lynching>Anti-Lynching Legislation of the 1920s>Comments by Meyer London

CONGRESSIONAL RECORD-HOUSE Comments by Meyer London (January 18, 1922)

Mr. Meyer: As a Socialist, believing that the only salvation of the human race is love, guided by intelligence, and that the only process of human civilization should be obedience to the collective expression of an enlightened will, through the duly chosen representatives of the people, I repudiate every form of mob action.

Now a word as to the police power of the Nation. The expression "police power" is improperly interpreted by those who would give a narrow interpretation to the Constitution. The State has become a mere nominal unit of the Nation. The United States to-day is a Nation. It is not a confederacy of States. It is not an American league of nations, a league of 48 sovereign States. Industrial evolution, inventions, the economic course of society have obliterated State boundary lines. The city of Jersey City, in the State of New Jersey, is more a part of the city of New York, in the State of New York, than is Buffalo, although separated technically by State lines. State lines have disappeared. The National Government has such police power as is necessary to effectuate the purposes for which the National Government has been organized and for which it exists. The Nation can, if it desires, punish murder. It can, if it desires, punish mob action. The Nation which assumed the power to enter every home in every State of the Union and conscript every young man, can reach every criminal who deprives an American citizen of elementary rights guaranteed by the American Constitution and by every tenet of civilized society. [Applause.]

That power can not be denied. That power exists outside of the fourteenth amendment. That amendment, designed by its framers for the protection of the helpless, the submerged and unfortunate colored man, has by crooked lawyers been employed to serve for the protection of corporate interests. It has never been used to protect human life or human dignity.

Copyright Digital History 2021