We all have seen the violence that erupts in some country’s legislative bodies….the fist fights, the kicking, the head butts, the chair throwing, the yelling, the throwing of other objects besides fists….
And we Americans are so glad that it does not happen in this country…that we are more “civilized” than some countries…..
The most infamous floor brawl in the history of the U.S. House of Representatives erupted as Members debated the Kansas Territory’s pro-slavery Lecompton Constitution late into the night of February 5-6. Shortly before 2 a.m., Pennsylvania Republican Galusha Grow and South Carolina Democrat Laurence Keitt exchanged insults, then blows. “In an instant the House was in the greatest possible confusion,” the Congressional Globe reported. More than 30 Members joined the melee. Northern Republicans and Free Soilers joined ranks against Southern Democrats. Speaker James Orr, a South Carolina Democrat, gaveled furiously for order and then instructed Sergeant-at-Arms Adam J. Glossbrenner to arrest noncompliant Members. Wading into the “combatants,” Glossbrenner held the House Mace high to restore order. Wisconsin Republicans John “Bowie Knife” Potter and Cadwallader Washburn ripped the hairpiece from the head of William Barksdale, a Democrat from Mississippi. The melee dissolved into a chorus of laughs and jeers, but the sectional nature of the fight powerfully symbolized the nation’s divisions. When the House reconvened two days later, a coalition of Northern Republicans and Free Soilers narrowly blocked referral of the Lecompton Constitution to the House Territories Committee. Kansas entered the Union in 1861 as a free state.
Of course a redneck from Mississippi had to be part of this “brawl”…..
We can take some solace that it was that one time and we moved beyond that….
Nice dream…but it struck again…..
The we come to 1902 But this time it was the Senate……
The Senate floor became a fight arena again on February 22, 1902. South Carolina Democratic Sen. John McLaurin accused fellow South Carolinian and Democrat Ben Tillman, the senior member, of making “a willful, malicious, and deliberate lie.”
Tillman turned around and punched McLaurin in the jaw. At that point a riot broke out on the floor as members attempted to separate the two southerners. Both men, as well as bystanders, were injured. Previously a political ally of Tillman, McLaurin strayed toward the Republicans who controlled Congress and the White House at the time.
Tillman exploded at McLaurin when his colleague changed his position to favor Republicans on a treaty. Regardless of the reasons behind the fight, both members were censured and the Senate added the Rule XIX six days after the ruckus on the floor.
Now have we really moved past such shenanigans?
I would say yes….for none of the reps we have now have the nuts to fight an opponent….they prefer to run out to a camera and lie.
A good fist fight would make these toads more interesting than they are now…..most are as boring as watching flies f*ck.