Reed, Thomas B.

1899 card signed by the powerful 1889-91 & 1895-99 Speaker of the House

Price: $25.00

Description:
(1839-1902) “Czar Reed”, Maine GOP US Rep, Speaker of the House of Representatives 1889–91 & 1895–99. While House Speaker served with greater influence than any previous Speaker, forever increased its power and influence. The Portland lawyer socialized with Henry Cabot Lodge, Theodore Roosevelt, Henry Adams, John Hay & Mark Twain. Elected Speaker after an intense fight with William McKinley, served as Speaker as well as Chairman of the powerful Rules Committee. He assiduously and dramatically increased power of the Speaker and sought to curtail ability of the Democrats to block business by refusing to answer a quorum call (the "disappearing quorum”), which, under the rules, prevented members from being counted as present even if they were physically in the chamber, forcing the House to suspend business. Reed's solution was enacted Jan. 28, 1890, the "Battle of the Reed Rules". Democrats attempted to block seating of a newly elected Republican from West Virginia. The motion to seat him passed 162–1, however, a quorum then consisted of 165 votes, and when voting closed Democrats shouted "No quorum," triggering a formal quorum count. Speaker Reed began the roll call; when members present in the House Chamber refused to answer, Reed directed the Clerk to count them as present. When Democrats tried to flee the Chamber, Reed ordered the doors locked. Democrats tried to hide under their desks and chairs; Reed marked them present anyway. The conflict lasted 3 days, Democrats delaying consideration by introducing points of order then appealing Reed's rulings to the floor. Democrats finally dropped their objections on Jan. 31, and Smith was seated 166–0. Six days later, with Smith seated, Reed won a vote on his new "Reed Rules," eliminating the "disappearing quorum" and lowering the quorum to 100 members. Democrats reinstated the "disappearing quorum" when they took control of the House in 1891, but Minority Leader Reed was so adroit at using the tactic against them that Democrats reinstated the "Reed Rules" in 1894. In 1889–90, Republicans undertook a last stand in favor of federal enforcement of the 15th Amendment to protect voting rights of blacks in the south. Using his new rules vigorously, Reed won House passage in 1890, but the bill was defeated in the Senate. Reed tried to obtain the 1896 GOP presidential nomination but McKinley's campaign manager, Mark Hanna, blocked his efforts. In 1898 Reed supported President McKinley’s efforts to head off war with Spain; when McKinley switched to support war, Reed resigned from the speakership and from Congress in 1899, Reed, Oregon, was named for him as is Reed House at Bowdoin College; Portland dedicated a statue of him in 1910. 2 3/4 x 3 1/2 card signed while Speaker of the House, adds date "10-1-1899", actually January 10, 1899.

Condition: Very good light toning, tiny pinhole at top center
Type:Signed card






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