AS THE SPEAKER OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES HE FOUGHT FOR FEDERAL ENFORCEMENT OF THE FIFTEENTH AMENDMENT TO PROTECT VOTING RIGHTS OF BLACKS IN THE SOUTH
Thomas Brackett Reed (1839-1902) Rare Handwritten Letter Signed, "Truly yours, T. B. Reed", 1pg, 5 x 8, Portland, ME, 9 Nov 95 (written while Speaker of the House), regarding an article he wrote, in part: "...I enclose article suggested by your letter...which I hope will suit you. I should have like to have been nearer the Library of Congress but perhaps I should have found little to add. There were other points but the article seemed rather long already....", by the American politician from the state of Maine, and was a member of the Republican Party. He was elected to the United States House of Representatives 12 times, first in 1876, and served as Speaker of the House, from 1889–1891 and again from 1895–1899. Occasionally ridiculed as "Czar Reed", he had great influence over the agenda and operations of the House, more so than any previous speaker. He increased the Speaker's power by instituting the "Reed Rules," which limited the ability of the minority party to prevent the establishment of a quorum. In 1889 and 1890, Republicans undertook one last stand in favor of federal enforcement of the Fifteenth Amendment to protect the voting rights of blacks in the Solid South. Reed took a special interest in the project. Using his new rules vigorously, he won passage of the Lodge Bill in the House, which sought to protect African American voting rights in the Southern United States, but the bill failed to pass in the Senate and never became law. In fine condition, with a couple of minor smudges and the usual mailing folds.