THE Democratic appeal in 1904 is in behalf of national administration which fits the industrial democracy of our republic. The Republican appeal is, first, to that love of instant money-getting — that triumphant sense of money-having — which shuts out thought upon the conditions of abiding prosperity. Next it sets before the American people the vision of their dominant power, not as leader of moral and intellectual forces to an end of liberty and law and civic righteousness in the long future of the nations of men, but of selfish power, military and naval and diplomatic, to be secured forthwith. There is, it is plain, involved for those who vote next month, a true choice between ideals, — between rival causes, each far reaching in its results upon national character and career.
It is, first, the power of a party name which the Republican managers invoke in support of Mr. Roosevelt’s election and in behalf of the money-making and glory which they say it means. Is it not enough, they ask, for those to whom achievements of their party, when its impulse was humanitarian, seemed precious, to know that, although its doctrine to-day is utterly different, nevertheless the party name is unchanged, and the succession of party managers has been uninterrupted and legitimate ? It is, next, that old sophistry of post hoc ergo propter hoc which the Republican managers invoke, — that sophistry which has so often, and, for national welfare, so disastrously worn the laurel of partisan success. If, since their party came into power, American wealth and productivity of labor have increased, is not the fact that the increase has come during the continuance of that party power an all sufficient argument why the American people should again entrust their government to Republican hands, and thus maintain the high protective tariff which the Republican party declares to be its “cardinal policy ” ? For the body of our fellow citizens whose reason is in harness to their emotions, the President and his party have provided another motive in the glamour of “world power,” here taken in that lesser and less worthy sense that, with our diplomacy and our army and navy, we play some great part in the difficulties of foreign nations and races. So the energetic, virile, on-rushing character of the President himself, full of interest to most of us, — full of vivid color and even charm, — that also, like our swift dispatch hither and thither of warships, our sudden marching of armies and marines, the clattering spectacles of armed escorts crossing our own peaceful cities, and the rest of the new splendor the President has brought us, — that, also, has, no doubt, captured a following which, if not so large as it was during his campaign journeys of 1902 and 1903, is still a Republican asset of real value. For most of the constituency, however, which I shall reach in these pages, its first two arguments make the affirmative case of the Republican party of to-day. After all, are not Roosevelt and Fairbanks the candidates of the party of Lincoln ? Has not the rule of that party, with its rigorous maintenance of a high protective tariff, brought in our twentieth-century prosperity ? Are not, therefore, our conscience and our pocket honorably — ought they not to remain indissolubly — wedded? Are not they who oppose the Republican candidates, of that very Democratic party which stood for the extension of slavery, which opposed Lincoln, which advocated the free coinage of silver, which is ruled here and there by bosses declared to be justly offensive to high-minded Americans ?
Such is the Republican case. And with that I shall deal first, leaving until the last the Democratic case in behalf of liberty and of that observance of law and maintenance of order which make liberty a reality, — in behalf of a living and practical belief in the fundamental American doctrine of self - government and equal rights, wherever American sovereignty extends, — the Democratic case against the military temper of Mr. Roosevelt’s administration, against its autocratic disregard of public and international right, against the system of special privileges which supports it and which it supports.
Mr. Hay, the Secretary of State, long in advance of the campaign, was, as we may infer, deputed by the President to affirm the identity in motive and beneficent tendency of the party of Roosevelt with that born in 1854; and in his oration entitled Fifty Years of the Republican Party he has done this, as all who have enjoyed his literary work knew that he would, with deft and animated eloquence. This, we are told, has been issued in even millions of copies, beautifully printed and upon fine paper, for the persuasion of a body of Republicans who, if they have not yet gone over to the Opposition, are dangerously lukewarm. It was easy for Secretary Hay to recall glories which in the past belonged to moral fervor and patriotism; but it was not easy — it was not even possible—for him truthfully and fitly to unite glories of that kind with the maintenance of a high protective tariff which is the first and controlling doctrine of latter-day Republicans. Nor was it easy or even possible to unite such moral glories with that other doctrine, which for them is second only to the protective tariff, — the doctrine that we are to subdue weaker and inferior peoples and rule them according to our more enlightened rule, — and that we may thus and otherwise become a great — why not, indeed, the greatest — figure in world politics and international affairs. This serves the Republican party as a counter irritant, to distract popular attention and thought from the actual monopolistic operation of some of the tariff schedules. Neither scholarship nor poetry has helped Mr. Hay to produce a single item of support for these things in the career of his party when it was led by Lincoln and Sumner and Chase. It was hardly, therefore, a worthy flight of rhetoric for him to say that “only those who believe in human rights and . . . who believe in the American system of protection . . . have any title to name themselves by the name of Lincoln or to claim a moral kinship with that august and venerated spirit.” Was the protective tariff talked of when South Carolina’s batteries rained shot upon Fort Sumter ? Did Lincoln deal with it in that senatorial campaign of 1858 from which he came out a defeated candidate and a victorious statesman ? Indeed not; nor in his Cooper Union speech of 1859. Nor did the Republican statesmen speak of it or, so far as we know, think of it, at the meetings fifty years ago when the Republican party was organized and the country aflame over the Kansas-Nebraska bill, or in the Fremont campaign, or in either of the Lincoln or Grant campaigns. Something said by Abraham Lincoln in behalf of a high protective tariff like that of to-day would of itself be for the Republican party a campaign argument of the first order. But there is nothing of his to quote. Lincoln did not speak of it in his letters of acceptance of 1860 and 1864, or in his memorable inaugurals of 1861 and 1865. The first Republican platform of 1856 mentioned neither protection nor the tariff, although if it had been then thought that there was anything to condemn in the Walker tariff, — the tariff which the Democrats in 1846 had enacted for revenue and not for protection, — and if the question had been in the public mind, the condemnation would surely have been uttered. The Republican platform of 1860 did, in a relatively obscure clause, contain a vague declaration that duties upon imports imposed to provide revenue should be adjusted “to encourage the development of the industrial interests of the whole country;” but this was consistent with low protective duties or even with free trade. In 1864 the Republican platform mentioned neither protection nor the tariff. Three years after the war had ended, the Republican party, when it nominated General Grant in 1868, said not one word in behalf of a protective tariff, but rather demanded “that taxation should be equalized and reduced as rapidly as the national faith will permit.” Secretary Hay pointed out that General Grant, who was then nominated, had been a Democrat, meaning, doubtless, that before the civil war he held to the Democratic creed. Whether it were for that reason or some other, it is certain that in his letter of acceptance he said nothing of a protective tariff.
The plain truth is that the maintenance of a high protective tariff, not merely to establish “infant industries,” but as the permanent foundation of our national economic policy, is a modern device, and only in later and worse years of the Republican party has been its “cardinal” doctrine. The new creed was the creature of the partnership established between a few great manufacturing industries on the one side, and, on the other side, the management of the Republican party. The partnership is a sheer bargain well kept. The manufacturers have contributed enormous sums to the party treasury; the party, in return, has given the manufacturers high monopolistic duties, — duties running far beyond justification in any purpose of Hamilton or Clay, or even Greeley, and far, also, beyond compensation for difference in wages between foreign countries and our own. These duties for monopoly have, out of excessive and unfair profits paid by the masses of the American people, built up very many great fortunes, — some of them the greatest the world has known.
If the Republicans in this campaign truly declare the maintenance of the high protective tariff to be their “ cardinal policy,” they do not deny that next in their affections comes their “world power” doctrine. And what in support of that suzerainty over South American republics for which, in the President’s own phrase, we must “carry a big stick” and be always the “strong man armed,” — what in support of the military subjugation of alien and foreign peoples either for “benevolent assimilation” or for our own interest frankly avowed, — what in support of any part of our new imperial policy, can be cited from the declarations, or inferred from the acts, of the Republican party from 1854 to 1896 ? Under the Pierce and Buchanan administrations there was active in the Democratic party a boastful, aggressive Jingo element which procured the issue of the manifesto from Ostend declaring for our capture of Cuba by force. That element, having helped on the Democratic party to disaster, is now in the Republican party. The restrained and silent amazement with which Lincoln, a few weeks after his inauguration, received Secretary Seward’s suggestion that we plunge into a foreign war in order to escape our domestic troubles, accorded with all the responsible statesmanship of the Republican party down to the time when President McKinley, the Spanish war being over, yielded to what he deemed to be the enthusiasm of the Mississippi Valley and the West for more war, this time to be waged against the Philippine people. In 1856, on the other hand, the Republican National Convention declared that “the maintenance of the principles promulgated in the Declaration of Independence is essential to the preservation of our republican institutions,” and that “the highwayman’s plea” that “might makes right” would “bring shame and dishonor upon any government or people.” In 1860 came the like declaration, upon which Lincoln was first nominated, that the doctrine that governments “derive their just powers from the consent of the governed” is “essential to the preservation of our republican institutions.” Even in 1868 the Republican party, still in its conscience stage, declared its “sympathy with all oppressed peoples struggling for their rights,” and again repeated its solemn recognition of “the great principles laid down in the immortal Declaration of Independence as the true foundation of democratic government.” The truth is that a very apotheosis of physical force — that ravishment from democracy of her humanities and moral power, which fortyfour years ago well-nigh wrecked the party which had been organized and inspired by Jefferson — has to-day brought to deserve a like fate the party first inspired by Garrison and John Quincy Adams and Lincoln, but now controlled by a few great monopolistic interests in that economic policy which it declares to be “cardinal” with it.
No independent citizen who chooses to think and is able to reason will be misled by identity of party names or continuity of party organization. It is true history that the two great parties of our country have both materially changed from what they were forty-four years ago. Buchanan, the Democratic President of that time, had once been a Federalist; the doctrine that the Constitution of its own force carried slavery into the territories was essentially Federalist; the great body of pro-slavery Whigs had come into the party and helped commit it to that doctrine. Into the Republican party, on the other hand, had gone a large body of those Van Buren and Silas Wright anti-slavery Democrats who had joined with anti-slavery Whigs to put Charles Sumner and Salmon P. Chase in the Senate. The larger part of highly organized capital and of wealthy manufacturing and commercial interests was hostile to the Republican party; and for the very reason that its espousal of moral causes was deemed “dangerous to business.” The same class to-day supports the same party because it no longer endangers business by espousal of moral causes, but thinks to commend itself with business by disparagement and sneers for the moral and democratic causes which were dear to its founders. Many men to-day survive who vote for Republican candidates from the very same motive which brought their votes to Buchanan or Breckenridge or Bell or Douglas. Judge Parker’s campaign is supported not only by Carl Schurz and ex-Governor Boutwell, but by thousands of, those who voted for the “rail-splitter” candidate in 1860, and in 1864 for the author of the Emancipation Proclamation, because for them the Democratic cause to-day represents the same ideals of liberty and law and equal rights.
So again I say that the present political campaign is a struggle between tendencies,— between ideals, even more than over specific measures of governmental policy. It is not, in effect, confined to some single, concrete, immediately practical question, like slavery extension in 1856 and 1860, or vigorous prosecution of the war for the Union in 1864, or Southern reconstruction in 1868, or administrative reform in the Tilden-Hayes campaign of 1876 and that of ClevelandBlaine in 1884, or reform of the tariff in 1888 and 1892, or free silver coinage in 1896. To-day, as truly as in the competition between Jefferson and John Adams in 1800, there is involved the whole purpose of our government, — the very reason and end of our Constitution.
Mr. Root, Senator Lodge, and other chief Republican spokesmen, including the President himself, accordingly offer the general trend of Republican administration since 1897 as the thing to be accepted or rejected. The Republican platform admits only two points — and those minor ones — in which the public service can be bettered. What we have done, they say, that we shall continue to do. We cannot, they say, reduce duties; if we alter the tariff at all, its rigor must be increased. We cannot, they say, reduce public expenditure; there must be no suggestion of economy; on the contrary there must — at least in naval expenditure — be further vast increase. We cannot check our tendency to enter into foreign difficulties or entanglements; on the contrary, the Republican platform vindicates our military hold in the Philippines for the reason, among others, that it enables us to take a “decisive part in preventing the partition and preserving the integrity of China.” Our possession of the Philippines does, indeed, make easier for us foreign intervention on the coast of Asia; or, to put it in another and equally true fashion, that possession invites or provokes us to forcible intervention wherever on the Asiatic coast we think it beneficent. The new doctrine implies that every point convenient for offensive military or naval operations against other countries is definitely a point which we ought, if we can, to control. The Republican policy, upon which the American people is now called upon to pass, is that we shall hereafter— and more and more — use our naval power — so vastly greater and more costly of late — to intervene in the affairs and disputes of foreign nations wherever our trading citizens are thought to have an interest. Since there is no foreign country in which those citizens do not have an interest, the Republicans would, therefore, commit us for all time to the very contrary of that policy commended with signal and abiding wisdom by Washington, of keeping “our peace and prosperity” from “the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humor, or caprice.”
In none of these things is change or reform promised by the party in power, but, rather, further and extreme progress on the same lines. The only new proposals which it declares to be worth while are, first, the grant of a subsidy to shipping interests, to be borne by the tax-payers of the nation, and, second, the Federal investigation of suffrage relations between the whites and blacks at the South. In all other things the Republican policy is that christened by the late Senator Hanna as the programme of “stand pat.”
A shipping subsidy as a direct bounty to one specially favored interest is of a piece with the indirect but far more oppressive bounties of artificially higher prices enforced by the protective tariff in favor of certain other special interests. Its proposal is not, therefore, a new departure, but another application of the “stand pat” policy. No doubt, investigation of suffrage at the South would, if it were seriously proposed, present a new question; but that plank of the Republican platform is not serious. It is intended only for the colored vote in New York, Indiana, West Virginia, and other states where that vote may, the Republicans hope, be the balance of power. It is an unworthy electioneering device; for the implied promise is not meant to be carried out. It is probable that the Fifteenth Amendment, having, through the prohibition of disfranchisement by any state on account of race, rendered that disfranchisement legally impossible, and, therefore, never legally to be recognized (whatever the local or personal violations of law), has, in effect, repealed the provision of the Fourteenth Amendment for reduction in Congressional representation wherever a state should practice such disfranchisement. Even if the Fifteenth Amendment had not thus made futile the suggested investigation, it would seem certain that governmental intervention by the North—by arraying the whites against the blacks, and by assuming, and thus tending to make permanent, the disfranchisement of the latter — would prevent the solution of the race problem on the South Atlantic and the Gulf. For that solution is coming surely, though slowly. It comes through the industrial education now promoted by the noble and able men in the Southern and General Education Boards, and by other noble and able men of the South, among them publicists and statesmen, including Booker T. Washington and other men of negro descent. It comes through the vast material interest of the South that its labor, which is so largely negro, shall be developed to intelligent and hopeful productivity. It comes through the certainty that that labor can be so developed only by assuring the negro full justice and equal civil and industrial rights. Even if these were not sufficient reasons to the Republican party to refrain from an attempt at governmental interference, none the less that party would refrain, and for the reason that the attempt — like the proposal of the Force bill by the Harrison administration — would be certain to alarm the special corporate and business interests upon which depends the life of the Republican party of to-day. Their veto would be certain, and with that party would be conclusive. They do not wish firebrands scattered within our country, although they may find advantage in brandishing them abroad. The two suggestions — and the only ones — of new action in the Republican platform, those upon the ship subsidy and suffrage intervention, do not, therefore, mean new policy. So that the net programme of the Republicans is a “standing pat” for the modern panem et circenses, — on the one hand offering to business interests support of the high protective system as both foundation and crown of our domestic policy, and, on the other hand, offering to the mass of citizens, who bear the burdens of that system, the distracting entertainment and compensating glory of an imperial and militant policy.
The limits of this article prohibit discussion of the theoretic or historic merits of the high protective system. It is well known that President Roosevelt himself once condemned it; and his earlier speeches after he became President showed restlessness under it. But in his speech accepting his present nomination he went fully over to the extremest “ stand pat” view of the full rigor of the tariff. He declared that “its minimum rate of duty should be” sufficient to cover the difference “between the labor cost here and abroad.” Here is the President’s own confession that, in general, the rates exceed the supposititious difference in labor cost. But, in no important “ protective” schedule is the duty rate fixed at that minimum. The more important rales run far above it. How insincere is the claim that the duties are based upon the difference in wages-cost was crucially demonstrated when Judge Gray, now of the United States Circuit Court, as Senator from Delaware, offered in July, 1897, an amendment to the Dingley bill (which became the present tariff law), requiring a reduction of rates of duty upon any article which should be “in excess of the entire cost of the wages which were paid or payable on the manufacture of such article,’ so that the duty should not exceed such entire cost of wages, the amendment was voted down by the Republican majority (Congressional Record, vol. 30, page 2427). It is fit to ask into whose pockets go these increases of prices caused by the tariff, over the asserted differences of labor cost which, we are told, go to labor. Since they are not the pockets of labor, whose pockets are they ? And ought they to be filled at the cost of American consumers ?
The Republican argument is that the whole edifice of our prosperity depends upon high protective or prohibitive duties, and that to them is due our industrial progress. Is it not, indeed, a disparagement of the self-depending faculties of the American people thus to affirm that, in spite of their marvelous advantages, they would have failed in industrial life unless by force of law they could have prevented the competition with them of other peoples ? It is only by the sophistry to which I have referred that this disparagement is justified. It is that old argument of veritable folly that, because event Z follows event W, as it follows events A and B and many besides A, therefore W is the sole cause of Z. Theory or no theory, the Republicans say that we have in fact grown rich by protection, because in our country prosperity and protective duties have existed together. They ignore every inconvenient fact. They would have us forget that each of the industrial depressions of 1873-78 and 1893-96 followed long operation of a high protective tariff. They ignore the contribution of soil and climate to our prosperity, the vast increase which modern inventions and improved carrying facilities have, the world over, brought to the productivity of labor, and here in the United States have brought more than anywhere else. They ignore the superior skill and alertness of the American workman and the wonderful extent to which he has been stimulated by the conditions and ideals of our democracy. They ignore the freedom of trade, which, since 1789, the Federal Constitution has made operative over our entire country, — by far the most important area of free trade ever known, — and which every one to-day knows to be a prime condition of the prosperity of our forty-five commonwealths. Have not the states, quite as really as if they were foreign nations, wide differences in soil and climate, in cheapness and skill of labor, in density of population, and other industrial conditions, including those differences in age of settlement between the older and the newer states, which, if they were separate nations, protectionists would deem of themselves a justification of tariff prohibitions? The Republicans content themselves with showing from tables of statistics that, while in 1860, just before the enactment of a high protective tariff, our population, wealth, products, exports, were only so much, now, according to the figures of 1900, after three or four decades of such a tariff, they have come to be so much more. How worthless is their argument from statistics, or, rather, how clear it is that statistics point to an opposite conclusion so far as they point to any, may be seen from a comparison of the rates of increases since 1860 with those prevailing before that year, that is to say, before the high protective tariff was enacted, — and especially during the decade from 1850 to 1860, when the Walker tariff for revenue only was in force, — increases made, it ought to be added, in spite of the serious blight of slavery from which American industry was then suffering. Look, for instance, at this table compiled from the Summary of Commerce and Finance for May, 1904, issued by the Bureau of Statistics.1
|Increase 1850-1860.||Rate per decade.||Increase 1860-1900.||Rate per decade.|
|Total wealth||$7,000,000,000 to||128%||$16,000,000,000 to||116%|
|Wealth percapita||$307.69 to $513.93||67%||$513.93 to $1,235.86||35%|
|Value of farms and farm property||$3,967,000,000 to||100%||$7,980,000,000 to||39%|
|Corncrop||592,000,000 to||42%||838,000,000 to||37%|
|838,000,000 bu.||2,105,000,000 bu.|
|Wheat crop||100,000,000 to||73%||173,000,000 to||54.8%|
|173,000,000 bu.||552,000,000 bu.|
|Exports of agricultural products||$108,000,000 to||137%||$256,000,000 to||56.5%|
|Total domestic merchandise exported||$134,900,000 to||135%||$316,000,000 to||83.5%|
|Ship tonnage in foreign trade||1,585,000 to||60%||2,546,000 to||16%|
|2,546,000||826,000.— a decrease|
|Ship tonnage in domestic trade||1,949,000 to||44%||2,807,000 to||13%|
|Railroad mileage||9021 miles to||239%||30,626 miles to||136.6% 2|
|30,626 miles||194,334 miles|
If the comparison of the 1850-60 decade were made, not, as above, with the average of the four decades of 1860-1900, but with the last decade, 1890-1900, the result would be greatly less favorable to the Republican claims. In 1890-1900 the increase in total wealth was 44.6 per cent3 as against 128 per cent in 1850-60; in wealth per capita 19 per cent 4 against 67; in value of farms and farm property, 25 per cent5 against 100; in corn crop 41.3 per cent6 against 42.4; in wheat crop 30.8 per cent7 against 73; in total domestic merchandise exported 62 per cent8 against 135; in ship tonnage in foreign trade a decrease of 14 per cent9 in 1890-1900 against an increase of 60 per cent in 1850-60; in tonnage in domestic trade an increase of 24 per cent10 in 1890-1900 against 44 per cent in 1850-60.
It is true that, by reason of our civil war and the imposition of high protective duties, there was, between 1860 and 1870, a sudden and large increase in manufacturing product at the cost of other industries, some of whose misfortunes were made evident in the financial crisis of 1873-78. But, in the long run, even the comparison of manufacturing rates is unfavorable to the Republican claim. For, in the decade from 1850 to 1860 the increase was from $1,019,000,000 to $1,885,000,000, or at the decade rate of 84 per cent, while from 1890 to 1900 the increase was from $9,372,000,000 to $13,039,000,000, or at the decade rate of only 39.2 per cent. In the highly prosperous years, 1880-90, the increase was from $5,369,000,000 to $9,372,000,000, or at the rate of 74 per cent.
If the evidence of statistics, to which the Republican apologists like Mr. Hay and Mr. Root give the first rank in probative force, be that the Republican administration and the protective tariff, although they may have stimulated some special industries at the expense of others, have, in the net, thus tended to reduce the rates of increase in general prosperity, it is also clear that they have produced other effects for proof of which we do not need to go to statistics. This country, with its vast natural and human resources, would have grown enormously richer, tariff or no tariff, protection or free trade. If the volume of our exports be, as it is, far less— and especially if our exports of manufactured goods be, as they are, far less — than they would be without those protective duties which prevent our accepting pay for our goods in foreign goods, that result is far less harmful than other results. For,
First. The dominant protective policy of the Republican party has introduced into our government and politics that profound corruption which inevitably arises in legislatively governed countries when opportunities are systematically presented to some men or some interests to make themselves rich by force of law. It is idle to upbraid steel and iron interests, and all of the others in which great fortunes have been made under monopolistic opportunities created by the tariff, because they avail themselves of those opportunities when created, or because they subsidize that party in consideration that it continue to them those opportunities, or, perhaps, enlarge them. Human nature being what it is, such interests will inevitably so act ; and a political party which has been aided with money by special interests will tend to exhibit its gratitude — especially that gratitude which is a lively sense of favors to come — by giving to those interests the legislation which they desire. The result is plain. If some citizens are thus permitted to make great fortunes out of politics, why should not other citizens be permitted to do the same thing ? And if the public is to be fleeced in one way, why should it not be fleeced in other ways? The idea has, therefore, run all through American politics, — that that field of public life which ought to be one for noble and patriotic competition is one chiefly for the making of money by the use of governmental power. The corrupting effect of this is far deeper and more serious than of all the bosses and municipal wrongdoings of our country put together.
Second. The Republican party has enormously increased the burden of taxation. The total expenditure in President Roosevelt’s last fiscal year, ending July 1, 1904, was $582,000,000, or, if the $50,000,000 paid on account of the Panama Canal and the $4,000,000 paid to the St. Louis Exposition be deducted, the total expense was $528,000,000, or at a per capita rate, in time of profound peace, of $6.57, the highest rate ever known in the history of our government, except only the expenditure in 1863, 1864, and 1865, when we had a million men under arms, — an expenditure measured in the depreciated paper currency of the civil war,—and the expenditure in 1899 during the worst of the Philippine war. Without the Panama and St. Louis Exposition payments, the expenditure during Mr. Roosevelt’s first three fiscal years, 1902, 1903, and 1904, has been $1,559,692,185.99 as against $778,340,119.60 for 1886,1887, and 1888, the first three years of Mr. Cleveland’s first term, and against $1,075,900,024.29 for 1894, 1895, and 1896, the first three years of Mr. Cleveland’s second term, when he had to bear the enormous increases by permanent legislation enacted by Republicans under President Harrison. Although since 1902 the Philippine war expense and interest on the public debt have been reduced, and although industrial conditions have grown less favorable, the expenditure, omitting the exceptional Panama and St. Louis payments, has increased from $471,000,000 in 1902 to $506,000,000 in 1903, and thence to $528,000,000 in 1904. The figures since the first of the present fiscal year, that is to say, for the months of July and August, are just published; and I observe that expenditures exceed receipts by $17,000,000 as against a corresponding excess of $869,000 in 1903. Of the $17,000,000 deficit of this year, $12,000,000 is increased expenditure for the army and navy.
It is inevitable that protected interests do not use their control of the Republican majorities in Congress to reduce governmental expenditure. They are always in favor of a surplus raised by taxation. Therefore they encourage and do not discourage the extraordinary increase in military and naval expense which has been so agreeable to the ardent temper of President Roosevelt. In his last year our expenditure upon the War Department, not including pensions, and without any excuse of war, was $115,000,000 as against $44,000,000 in the last year of President Cleveland’s first term, or $48,000,000 in the last year of his second term. President Roosevelt’s expenditure for the navy last year was $102,000,000 as against $21,000,000 in the last year of Mr. Cleveland’s first term, or $34,000,000 in the last year of his second term. Our total military and naval expense, excluding pensions, for the past year was $217,000,000, or far more than the like expenditure of either France or Germany, compelled, as they are, to watch their powerful and jealous nearby neighbors. This is wasteful barbarism. It is only within the last few Republican years that American statesmen in power have dared to deny the glory, upon which Americans were once all agreed, of our freedom from that burden of Europe. This reversal of an old and almost sacred policy is a detestable achievement of the Republican party and one of the most lamentable results of the politically atavistic propensities of the President.
The Republicans in effect declare that it is for American administration to “do things,”—lawfully and righteously if convenient, but, whether lawfully or righteously, still to “do things.” It has been said that corruption in public administration is as bad as open lawlessness. But that is not true. Lawlessness inevitably comes to include the worst of corruption, and brings other and farther reaching evils of its own. Order is Heaven’s first law. Even in a time of corruption the observance of law aids every fight for purer administration. I do not hold the Republican party or the majority of its statesmen responsible — at least I do not hold them primarily responsible—for the sudden growth of a temper of lawlessness and recklessness in public administration under President Roosevelt. They, however, stand for this when they ask us to elect him to the presidency. The violation of international law and international right in the obvious and humiliating collusion between the representatives of our government and the vulgar and sham insurrection on the Isthmus, promoted from Wall Street, — the astounding enlargement of pension rates by executive order (a disbursement of public moneys by the President on the eve of his appeal for the votes of those who were to receive the largess),— the demoralization of the Civil Service administration at Washington by the device of temporary appointments to an extent which has gone far, practically, to abolish the law, — all these are a serious menace to the future of American law and order; very serious, indeed, if they shall be affirmed by the people at the polls. The President since he came to the White House has uttered sound doctrine upon the subject of lynch law. The Democrats point out that in one, at least, of his literary works, he treated lynch law with respect; but I accept the sincerity of his later view. No sensible man, however, can fail to see that lynch law, enforced by a rough, back-country population, represents precisely the “ Rough Rider ” temper shown in the Panama episode or in the presidential praise of the adages, “Never draw unless you mean to shoot,” and “Speak softly and carry a big stick.”
The result, whether intended or not, of this policy of the Republican party, is the diversion of popular interest in our country from the solution of the vast industrial, economic, and educational problems which make peremptory calls upon the noblest statesmanship of which our race is capable.
I do remember the thousand homilies of the President about honor and truth and manliness, and about civic and official courage. I cannot forget, however, that after some part of the post office scandals were out, and to this day, Mr. Payne, the Postmaster General, has held his place; that the late Senator Quay was a chief power at the White House until his death, and that Mr. Addicks is still a power there; that after the President’s earnest talk in 1902 about bad corporations, and after conducting the Northern Securities prosecution to a decree as yet futile for the practical arrest of monopoly, he has openly made his peace with trust magnates, has promised not to “run amuck” in proceedings against those he had denounced, and has transferred his cabinet minister,who had been in charge of Federal supervision of corporations, to that place in the conduct of his own campaign where a principal part of the work is the collections of campaign funds from those corporations; and that after the President’s earnest talk in 1902 about reciprocity and an undoing of tariff abuses, he has, under party stress, come to oppose any reform. I concede the President’s sincerity in all his homilies, but am compelled to believe that, in politics, like the poet Savage in Dr. Johnson’s biography, he mistakes the love, for the practice, of virtue.
There needs hardly to be made any further argument in behalf of the election of Judge Parker. For, in thus dealing with the Republican case, the Democratic case has been well-nigh sufficiently stated. The public necessity is to reverse the tendency which the Republican party has of late promoted, and which — constituted as it is — it will promote more and more if it succeed in November. If there is to be such a reversal, it must be effected by an opposition; and the Democratic party is the Opposition. Nor can the reversal be had unless very many who of late have voted against that party shall now vote with it. Nor is it possible that those who have been voting against it — even if they now find themselves driven to use its agency — can so far escape their predilections as not to dislike much in its history and personnel, present and past. They are, however, to remember what sort of administration the Democratic party, in spite of its shortcomings, has in our day given when it has been in power, and when its shortcomings were no less than they are.
The Democratic Houses of Representatives we have known since the civil war, beginning with that chosen in 1874, have in honorable and economic regard for the public welfare surpassed the Republican Houses. Their speakers, Kerr and Randall and Carlisle and Crisp, have rightly enjoyed public confidence. From 1885 to 1889, and from 1893 to 1897, we had a Democratic President whom Judge Parker resembles in many and essential traits. The latter has done well to remind us that the false and insolent charges against Democratic competence are in reality aimed at Thomas F. Bayard and Charles S. Fairchild and Walter Q. Gresham and Richard Olney and John G. Carlisle. No administration since the civil war has surpassed either of the Cleveland administrations in sobriety, honor, economy, force, or dignity. Of no administration is the proof more clear than it is of them, that they were favorable to prosperity. President Cleveland in 1889 transferred to his Republican successor a large surplus in the treasury and an annual expense account for the fiscal year ending July 1, 1899 (excluding premiums on bonds purchased), of $281,996,605.60; and the country was prosperous, very prosperous. President Harrison in 1893 retransferred the administration to President Cleveland with a treasury deficit, with an annual expense account, for the fiscal year ending July 1, 1893 (still including no premiums), increased by a hundred millions and more to $383,477,954.49, — with an enormously increased pension roll, and with the Sherman Silver Law carrying the country swiftly to the silver standard already close at hand; and the country was on the eve of an industrial and financial crisis almost as serious as that of 1873-78, upon which the country had entered twelve years after the Republican party first came into power. President Cleveland, having borne the burden of the crisis thus bequeathed to him, transferred the administration in 1897 to another Republican successor, with the Sherman Law repealed, with the gold standard safe, with the deficiency in revenue to meet expenses reduced from $69,803,260.58 in Mr. Cleveland’s first year (ending July 1, 1894), to $18,052,454.41 for his last year; and there was breaking upon the country that era of splendid prosperity the headway of which has not even yet been lost. Assuming that effects follow and do not precede causes, surely neither the national honor nor its pocket is in much danger from a Democratic administration.
If the Democratic advocacy of free silver coinage in 1896 and the subordinate and irrelevant affirmation of the doctrine at Kansas City in 1900 daunt the independent voter, he has not only to remember Judge Parker’s declaration of irrevocable devotion to the gold standard and the approval of it in the Democratic Convention by a vote of 774 to 191, but also to remember other things. Was not the silver heresy powerful in both parties ? Did not many Republican conventions and statesmen declare for it ? Did not President McKinley himself support it, and condemn President Cleveland’s hostility to it ? Not until several weeks after he was nominated in 1896 did President McKinley think it wise to refer to the “gold” standard. In 1896 Mr. Roosevelt himself declared the advocacy of the single gold standard to be a “folly only less acute” than that of the single silver standard.11 A large section of the Democratic party has always opposed free silver coinage, and it is now in control. The most powerful opponent of the heresy was the last Democratic President; and the most conclusive condemnation of it has been made by the present Democratic candidate. For this very opposition of his he is to-day opposed by a considerable body of voters; and Mr. Roosevelt is warmly supported by Senator Stewart and other most strenuous silver advocates. The silver question is not in politics. It ought not to take from Judge Parker a single vote more than the Know-Nothing heresy of a half century ago should take from Mr. Roosevelt.
If independents, whose votes are thus essential to Democratic success, dislike some Democratic politicians or leaders, they have to remember that in this respect the Republican campaign has no advantage. Is there any influence with Judge Parker so unwholesome and so effective as that which the late Senator Quay exercised upon Mr. Roosevelt’s administration, or which Mr. Addicks of Delaware, or Postmaster General Payne now exercises upon it ?
The Democratic party, if far from a perfect instrument for public good, is, nevertheless, to-day a safe and sufficient instrument. The candidate it proposes for the Presidency is fit for his work; no one doubts that Alton B. Parker may be thoroughly trusted. His personal honor, his high standard of official duty, his great ability, — all are sufficiently demonstrated by the tribute paid him by the public sentiment of his state for his long, exalted, conspicuous service at the head of its judiciary, and especially, and without distinction of party, by the members of that jealous and critical profession which in our country to-day, as when DeTocqueville wrote, takes the chief part in public affairs. If it be said that he has the habits of a judge, the answer is that for the next four years we do not need the habits and the temper of a Nimrod or a warrior. The further answer is that although, at the Republican Convention, it was made a chief commendation of President Roosevelt that he does not “ grope in the past,” the presidency requires today as much as ever in our history a knowledge of the past and a respect for its lessons such as a chief judge may well be expected to bring. It is the serious, thoughtful, law-abiding, scrupulous temper of the bench which the master of the White House should have for the next four years. Mr. Roosevelt, I rejoice to say, is far more than a “Rough Rider;” and Mr. Parker, I rejoice to say, is far more than a judge. But no antithesis in American politics of to-day is more relevant or instructive.
The Democrats propose, therefore, and Messrs. Parker and Davis, if they are chosen, will enforce,
First. A respect for law, a condemnation of executive orders whether for pensions issued just before a presidential election, or for any other largess. A condemnation of lawless spoliations like that of Panama, however beneficent the purpose, and of the lawless and truly “lynch law” despotism which we have seen in Colorado. It is well to “do things;” but in Europe even highwaymen — some in places of great political or military power, and some roaming in the forests of Robin Hood — were known to “do things.” That is not praise, either fit or sufficient, for a President of the United States. Let the things which are done be righteous. Let them better establish — let them not undermine —that law-abiding, honest sense of meum and tuum upon which civilization depends. Our republic in its government ought to have
Nothing of the vulgar, or vainglorious.”
Second. A withdrawal of all menace and overlordship like that which the President would have us exercise against the South American republics in favor of European creditors. A return to the old rule of friendship with all nations and entanglement with none. A refusal to undertake the vast problems of Asiatic politics as we have refused to undertake those of the politics of Europe. The performance of our full share in every work of peace and humanity; but the assumption of no share in those brute struggles of foreign nations and foreign peoples when our concern with them is no more than that we would peaceably and profitably trade with all nations of the earth.
Third. The reform of the tariff and especially the reduction or abolition of those duties which create monopolies. The President, after all the vigor of his suggestion two years ago that tariff injustices should be righted, and that we should develop our trade by the reciprocities urged by President McKinley a few days before his death, has now joined with those who control great manufacturing and mining monopolies in the determination that the tariff shall not even be discussed, that not an item of it shall be reformed until those who profit by it are willing to give up their monopoly. So the Democrats would oppose that subsidy to the shipping industry which the Republican platform tells us is the only change for the better that can be made in the economic policy of our nation.
Fourth. The destruction of the control of our public affairs by a few great corporations of the country through subsidies to the Republican party. Is there anything in this campaign more cynical or unfit than the confidence with which the President has taken Mr. Cortelyou from the head of the department where he had for a year been in charge of the Federal supervision of corporations, and assigned to him the duty of collecting from those very corporations the funds for the Republican campaign ?
Fifth. A return to public economy and to the doctrine that, instead of bearing military and naval burdens like those of Europe, we shall spend only what is necessary for an army and navy completely ample for defense and for that purpose reaching the highest standard, but not enough for purposes of imperialistic aggression.
Sixth. A drastic investigation of governmental administration. It was President Roosevelt’s misfortune or, at least, the misfortune of his constituents, that when, as Governor of New York, he had to deal with criminal waste in the canal expenditure of millions of dollars in that state, he felt compelled to refrain from prosecution of Republican wrong-doers because the statute of limitations had run. So it has been his misfortune since he came to the presidency to learn that delay of a Republican administration to investigate and prosecute had interposed the same shield of statutory limitation between justice and the wrong - doers. The Republican Congress has refused investigation. It will be had only if the Democratic party succeed in November.
Seventh. The grant of independence to the Philippine people as soon as they can maintain a government of their own. That government, it is to be remembered, is not to be one after our ideals, but only to be a sufficient government. There need be no fear that any obligation to Spain or other international obligation, or any special duty we owe any part of the Philippine people, or any fit convenience for our naval power, or any other interest of the American people, would not be safeguarded in the treaty which a Democratic President would make with the Philippine people and lay before our Republican Senate for its ratification. Democrats will be neither less righteous nor less prudent in dealing with those Asiatic Islands than we were in dealing with Cuba.
Is not a programme like this necessary for the honor and for the prosperity as well of the American people ? Do not its items truly represent the wholesome tendencies and just ideals dear to Americans ? Does it not surely deserve the respect of the readers of the Atlantic? Many of them here used to read a generation ago the stirring appeals, in prose or in rhythm, for liberty and justice and righteousness, of Lowell and Whittier and Longfellow and their associates. Of what matters momentous to the American commonwealth are those older readers and the later coming members of their constituency chiefly thinking to-day ?
Is the public problem for you only how our country — now shutting its eyes to the future — shall heap up more treasure, and how we shall make seem grand in the eyes and ears of foreigners our share in their politics of force ? Do you never wonder whether some part of industrial liberty is to perish in this land ? Do you rejoice at the disparagement of independent producers and consumers, — at the Republican policy of artificially building up monopolies which, by higher prices, make fixed incomes and wages less and less sufficient to the necessities of life? Have you no fear that — if we do not return to the earlier and truer ideal of democratic government — American industrial civilization may come to be a mere interplay between the forces of Trusts on one side and the Trades - Unions on the other, — an interplay in which the great body of independent small producers will cease to be independent ? No doubt great combinations both of capital and of labor are necessary and oftentimes wholesome. But do you not remember that it was upon that body of citizenship made up of independent small producers, and upon the faith that that body would in our land continue the dominant power, that our democratic government of freedom and law and order was established ? Do you not see that the Democratic party of to-day stands for that body of citizenship no less than it stands and must always stand for the masses of laboring men ? Do you not know that President Roosevelt would have, if the American people should permit him, a strident, soldier - like government, appealing to the rigorous compacted organizations of capital and labor, while Judge Parker would, without any disparagement of those organizations, hold us to the truly noble career of a free and industrial democracy ?
- In each case the percentage is computed upon the earlier figures given. For total wealth, and many, if not most, other industrial data before 1850, there are no official figures.↩
- The increase for the decade from 1890 to 1900, 166,703 miles to 194,334 miles, was at the decade rate of 16.5%.↩
- $65,037,091,000 to $94,300,000,000.↩
- $1,038.57 to $1,235.86.↩
- $16,082,267,689 to $20,514,001,838.↩
- 1,489,970,000 bushels to 2,105,102,516.↩
- 399,262,000 to 552,229,505.↩
- $845,293,828 to $1,370,763,571.↩
- 946,000 tons to 826,000.↩
- 3,477,802 tons to 4,338,145.↩
- His article in the Century for November, 1895, entitled “ The Issues of 1896.”↩