National Geographic : 1964 Jan
The 17th Amendment made a basic change in the electoral process. In providing for di rect elections of Senators, instead of by the vote of state legislatures, it gave the people a far greater voice in their Government than the Constitutional fathers had ever envi sioned for them. Vinson Sets House Record-49 Years Last fall another veteran, Carl Vinson of Georgia, topped even the Rayburn record of service in the House, achieving 49 years. As chairman of its military committees for 30 years, Mr. Vinson has had a major role in raising and keeping U. S. military power at unprecedented peacetime levels. He shared in the labors and debates of the historic Con gresses that declared American entry into two World Wars; that ushered national prohibition in-and out; that voted New Deal innovations. He has seen the legislative process grow increasingly complex, he told me, as issues of the roaring twenties and depressed thirties gave way, in the forties, fifties, and sixties, to problems of atomic power, cold war, space flights, and civil rights. "To me, the two most notable events of that time," Mr. Vinson said, "were the declaration of World War I, and giving women the vote. "The war changed the course of American foreign relations, and pushed the country into tremendous economic and technical develop ment. As for the ladies, I recall how they pa raded and demonstrated. It caused a lot of excitement on the Hill. But the women were determined. A good thing, too. The suffrage act was fine legislation." As we sat in the House Restaurant, a small boy from Georgia came up for the Congress man's autograph. "Visitors find a changed Congress today," Mr. Vinson said after the boy left with his signed menu. "The average Member is young er now, and more casual. Fifty years ago, the Tobacco leaves adorn a capital in the Senate Small Rotunda (opposite). The designer, architect Benjamin Latrobe, also created a cornstalk col umn to honor New World products. Lincoln's Catafalque Lies in Washington's Unused Tomb On this black-draped platform have rested the coffins of all who have lain in state in the Capitol, begin ning with the Civil War President. Among those mourned: Garfield, Mc Kinley, Admiral Dewey, Pershing, the Unknowns of the World Wars and Korea, and a father and son, William Howard and Robert A. Taft. Congress planned the tomb for Washington, but heirs, heeding his will, kept the body at Mount Vernon.