The Passing of a Dynasty

To the mind of one whose boyish interest in politics began with the first national campaign in which the Republican party of our day took part, and who saw President Taft renominated last June, the approach of the fourth of March, 1913, brings food for reflection. It marks the passing of a dynasty divided into five reigns or epochs, which, for convenience, we may designate the moral, the martial, the financial, the economic, and the political stages in the history of the party now about to enter the shadows. It was a long procession from the daring Pathfinder of 1856 to the Law’s High Priest of 1912; but the rulers who came between, each preparing the way for his successor, were types of the everchanging spirit of the times; and the melting of one phase of that spirit into another, though moving the country one degree further on the dial of a great revolution, was so gradual that few observers realized its significance when it occurred.

With two brief interruptions, the Republican party has maintained its supremacy for fifty-two years. This period has compassed two actual and several potential wars; the liberation of four million bondmen; the opening of an inland empire to development and home-building; the establishment of domest ic industries on a scale of which preceding generations had never dreamed; the crystallization of a union of mutually jealous states into a superb national unit, the master-force of a whole hemisphere; the elevation of the government’s credit from, perhaps, the poorest to the proudest place on the international scale. In every change thus wrought, the Republican party has been the party of advance. It has been more effectively organized and more ably led than any other. Substantially everything it has set its hand to do it has done, including the prompt suppression of minor mutinies in its own ranks. We may not soon look upon its like again.


The story of every party of progress in the United States has been the same. Borne into power by a wave of popular enthusiasm for a noble ideal, it has fulfilled its special mission, and then, presuming too far upon its strength, has discovered that its vital essence has been spent and cannot be recalled. This was the case with the Federalist party, to which we owe the Constitution. It came into being in response to a general demand for a stronger central authority than the Confederation afforded. Having equipped the young republic with the complete machinery of government and an efficient body of law, the party fell into temptation, and turned its thoughts to the perpetuation of its own power. Its ill-judged measures proved that it had lost touch with public sentiment, and its leaders made matters worse by quarreling among themselves. Hence its collapse, after thirty years of great activity, was neither unexpected nor deplored.

Meanwhile, a new aspiration had taken shadowy shape in the minds of a multitude of citizens — an ideal of nationalism. The Federalist party had built up a government; now the Whigs set to work to build up a people. They undertook to make the rest of the world recognize the distinctive character of everything American; to bind our whole body politic together for the promotion of the general welfare demanded in the preamble to the Constitution; to raise an impost tariff wall for the protection of domestic industries against foreign competition; and to initiate a system of internal improvements which should make this country independent of all others. In spite of their radical programme, their methods were conciliatory. Needing help from the South, they not only kept their hands, as a party, off Negro slavery, but tried to spread the notion that, when everybody could be induced to ignore that question, it would settle itself. Such a half-hearted policy satisfied no one; and, as the Federalist party had been killed by overreaching, so the Whig party, in its turn, was killed by cowardice.

Inheriting all that was progressive in the Federalist and Whig parties, and warned by the blunders of both, the Republican party came to the fore. The more aggressive foes of slavery, banding together under Birney or Giddings, Hale or Smith, according to the angle from which each had studied the ‘peculiar institution,’ had played a conspicuous part in three Presidential campaigns. They had defeated Clay in 1844, dictated terms to Van Buren in 1848, and dealt the Whig party its death-blow in 1852. They represented a public sentiment which, by the time the crisis was reached in the KansasNebraska controversy, could be satisfied with nothing short of a new party all its own. Accordingly, in 1856, they effected a formal organization and nominated a Republican presidential ticket, on a platform whose central plank proclaimed the right and duty of the Federal government to prohibit slavery everywhere in its jurisdiction; while the supporting planks—demands for a government-aided transcontinental railroad and a scheme of river and harbor improvements at the expense of the whole people — were carefully adjusted so as to throw all the emphasis on this. A project for a protective tariff, though appealing strongly to many of the founders, was passed over for the time being, as conveying a suggestion of private advantage which might seem discordant with the larger ideals of the party.

There was nothing cocksure in their prognostications; some of the sturdiest of the anti-slavery champions, like Seward and Chase, while believing in the ultimate triumph of their cause, had so little faith in the preparedness of their generation that they refused to let themselves be considered as candidates. Of the political commitments of Frémont, whose name was placed at the head of the ticket, not much was known to the great body of delegates. They recognized him as, in the better sense, a soldier of fortune, with his favorite home in the saddle, a love of adventure in his heart, unswerving devotion to the religion of human freedom, and genuinely patriotic instincts. He had traversed parts of the West which others had pronounced impenetrable; he had been largely instrumental in saving California to the Union; and he had been driven out of the army by official tyranny. Could any candidate have been more fitting for a party which claimed God as the author of its mission, and which needed a leader with the genius and the courage to hew a path for it through a hostile political thicket?

Frémont’s failure at the polls was not disheartening. His 114 electoral votes made a creditable showing against the 174 of Buchanan, who had not only the whole South to draw on, but next to the largest state in the Union for his home; and the new party opened its second National Convention, in 1860, full of life and hope. The Democrats of both the Douglas and the Breckinridge wings, and the Constitutional Union party, had made their bids for popular favor, with variants of the theory that to do nothing was to do right. The Republican platform boldly denounced any attempts to extend slavery as unconstitutional; rebuked all threats of disunion as treason; and insisted on homestead and naturalization laws which it knew would increase the Free-Soil vote. It also repeated the call of four years before, for river and harbor improvements and a transcontinental railroad, and proposed such an adjustment of the revenue duties on imports ‘as to encourage the industrial development of the whole country.’ Electing Abraham Lincoln with this programme, the party entered on the first stage of its half-century’s rule.

It was not till the Civil War was half over that Lincoln saw his way clear, as a measure of military necessity, to proclaim the freedom of the slaves. Meanwhile, though even loyal Democrats in the North were supporting him, as ‘administration men,’ the extremist wing of his own party had been trying to stir up trouble for him because he was too slow and gentle in his methods. Their agitation bore fruit in a National Convention which nominated Frémont as a Radical Republican to oppose his reëlection in 1864. But Frémont soon discovered that the movement was ill-timed, and withdrew in the midst of the campaign; and thus ended the first Republican mutiny.

The Democrats having mounted a war candidate on a peace platform, Lincoln carried all but three of the loyal states. His victory took much of the heart out of the secession movement, and with spring came the surrender at Appomattox and the end of active hostilities, leading up to the tragic climax of the assassination. In the three years which followed, the Republican party again split into factions; and the impeachment trial of Johnson, with its margin of one vote for acquittal, exposed a situation which, had the Democrats been shrewd enough to take advantage of it, might have turned the tide of history. But they blundered again, and allowed the reigning dynasty to suppress another mutiny and enter upon the second stage of its career.

The Republican party had broken the slave power at the cost of a great war. What was more natural, then, than that it should select for its candidate in 1868 the man most closely identified with the success of the Union arms? In the field, Grant had overcome all resistance by his firmness and persistency; yet these traits, on the strength of which he was elected, drew upon him most of the criticism to which he was subjected as President, when he brought them into play for the support of the carpet-bag governments in the Southern States. His effort to annex Santo Domingo aroused the ire of Sumner, Greeley, Schurz, and several other Republican leaders, who resolved that he must be prevented from serving a second term, even if his defeat meant the destruction of their party.

The malcontent element put up a Liberal Republican ticket with Greeley at its head, on a platform devoted chiefly to denunciation of the administration. The Democrats, believing that, with so wide a split in the Republican ranks, they had more to hope from finesse than from any independent appeal to time-worn prejudices, adopted Greeley and his platform bodily. But the war-spirit which had pervaded the Republican campaign of 1868 came out even stronger, if possible, in that of 1872. Parades of Union veterans were an impressive feature, and a favorite device of the cartoonists was to depict Grant in the uniform of a soldier, defending the Constitution against a new rebellion. Greeley and his Liberal associates were held up to obloquy as Northern men who, after urging the expenditure of blood and treasure without stint to free the slaves, crush treason, and save the Union, now proposed tossing the fruits of all this sacrifice into the laps of the conspirators who had made it necessary. It was soon obvious that, though secession was dead, the martial sentiment of the North was not. Grant carried all but six states, and Greeley died of a broken heart soon after his defeat.

Interpreting his reëlection as an expression of unqualified approval, Grant intensified, in his second term, some of the characteristics which, in his first, had driven the Liberals to revolt. His administration became more and more like a monarchical reign. The Credit Mobilier and Whiskey Ring scandals were coincident with a money stringency, caused partly by the emergency financiering of the war-times, and partly by a later spurt in railroad building; and the elections of 1874 threw the House of Representatives into Democratic control for the first time since 1860.

Not only were the people tiring of the ‘mailed hand’ at Washington, but a new problem had risen with which it appeared that a civilian in touch with the business world would be best able to cope. This was the question of protecting the public credit. The greenback, which, early in the war era, had driven gold and silver into hiding and placed a premium on them, was the only money the people handled in their daily exchanges. Wages of labor were measured in the depreciated currency; even the pensions of the Union veterans were paid in it. The holders of government bonds, however, were receiving their semi-annual interest, in gold, and this disparity caused wide complaint. A Greenback party was organized, headed by demagogues and doctrinaires who clamored for an unlimited issue of paper currency by the government, the abolition of banknotes as incidental thereto, and the payment of the national debt, principal and interest, in paper. The obligation to redeem the bonds in gold was purely moral, but every educated citizen knew that the credit of the government would fall to zero if, having demanded gold for its bonds in a crisis when gold must be had at any cost, it should resort to a technicality to escape buying them back in the same medium. Grant had killed one vicious inflation measure with his veto, and had signed an act, sponsored by John Sherman, promising to redeem greenbacks in coin on and after the first of January, 1879. All these conditions combined to bring about the nomination, in 1876, of Sherman’s candidate, Hayes.

Whether the process by which Hayes was seated had any constitutional warrant, does not concern us here. Suffice it that a specially created tribunal awarded the Presidency to him, and that he had the courage to take it in the face of a great crisis. Realizing the part his administration must play as a bridge between two epochs, he had announced his purpose to serve only four years. Although he had been a volunteer officer in the Civil War, he was committed to the subordination of the military to the civil authority in time of peace, and one of his first acts as President was to withdraw the troops from the Southern capitals where they had been bolstering up the carpet-bag governments. He made Sherman his Secretary of the Treasury, and gave him a free hand in battling with the forces of financial dishonor. Between them, the pair repulsed every attempt to repeal the provision for specie payments, and carried it into successful operation; but neither dissuasion nor veto availed to prevent the enactment of the Bland silver law, which was destined to injure American credit seriously, notwithstanding the general faith of the world in the aims and judgment of the Administration.

In the Congressional elections of 1878, the issue everywhere was between honest money and some cheap makeshift proposed by the Democrats or Greenbackers. The result at the polls, largely due to the splendid work of Garfield on the stump, did not restore Republican supremacy in Congress, but made sure the inability of the inflationists to force any repudiatory legislation into the statute-book. This was why, after wasting thirty-five ballots on two avowed and stubborn candidates, the Republican National Convention of 1880 turned so readily to Garfield as a ‘dark horse’ on the thirty-sixth. The Democrats repeated their error of 1864 by nominating a soldier candidate who was personally above criticism, but was wholly out of sympathy with the tendencies of their party.

Both Garfield and Hancock had served as general officers in the Union army, so the war issue had lost its vitality. The Southern States were reconstructed. The Greenback issue had been smothered by the resumption of specie payments. For a slogan to move the popular heart and swell the campaign fund, therefore, the Republicans had to fall back upon the protective tariff. The Democrats furnished the needed ammunition, their platform demanding a tariff for revenue only, and their candidate pronouncing the tariff question a mere ‘local issue.’ For three months the Republicans rent the air with warnings of the disasters sure to follow if the pillars of the protection temple were pulled from under it; and the great producing interests which they did not lay under contribution before election day might have been counted on the fingers of one hand. They won by an insignificant plurality of the popular vote, but carried enough states to save the Presidency. And thus the party entered upon the fourth, or economic, stage of its history.

Garfield’s career as President was cut short by assassination, and through most of the term for which he was chosen, Vice-President Arthur filled his place. The Republicans, admonished by the narrowness of their margin at the polls, began to suspect that there might be a real demand for some modification of the tariff, and did a little feeble revising on their own account. But, weakened by fresh factional quarrels, they lost the House of Representatives again in 1882, and the Presidency in 1884.

Cleveland’s inauguration opened the first interregnum. But the Democratic majority in the House divided on the tariff, the radical wing insisting on a more arbitrary cut in duties than the conservative wing was willing to concede. The President compelled a truce between them by devoting his third annual message exclusively to the tariff, and making recommendations which, while terrifying to the timid members, left the party, as a whole, no alternative but to support him; the House passed a bill embodying his views, and the National Convention of 1888 nominated him for a second term. The Republicans nominated Harrison as a strict protectionist, and the campaign was fought through on the tariff issue alone. For the third time in the history of the republic, a Democratic candidate who had received a larger popular vote than his chief competitor was defeated on the electoral ballot. Broadly interpreted, this meant that, albeit more voters were friendly than unfriendly to tariff reform, the protective policy was still well intrenched in the rich manufacturing states.

The first session of Congress after Harrison’s inauguration passed the McKinley Tariff. Again the Republicans discovered that they had traded too heavily on past successes, for the elections immediately following swept them out of power in the House. The National Conventions of 1892 renominated Harrison and Cleveland respectively, and once more the tariff issue came uppermost. The Democrats won, and the new Congress passed the Wilson-Gorman Tariff Act, which the President refused to sign because it belied the promises on which the party had been restored to power. It became a law without his signature, and proved more unpopular than the McKinley Tariff. Meanwhile, a financial panic had occurred, for which each party blamed the other, but whose political consequences were visited on the Democrats, pursuant to the rule which holds the party in power accountable for everything that goes wrong. All this, together with Cleveland’s unyielding hostility to silver inflation in every form, stirred up the radicals in his own party, and encouraged their union with the People’s party, an organization born of the tariff and currency controversies, which had gathered into its platforms all the economic heresies, and into its personnel all the human driftwood, that could find lodgment nowhere else.

At the Democratic National Convention of 1896, the extremists routed the conservatives and nominated Bryan for President, on a platform defiantly demanding the free and unlimited coinage of silver. The Republicans took up the challenge by nominating McKinley and declaring for the ‘existing gold standard.’ Both parties had something to say of the tariff, but that topic was hardly heard of in the campaign, so intense was the feeling in business circles about the threatened debasement of the coinage. McKinley came out of the contest with a clear majority over all, and the silver ghost was laid, apparently forever. The Dingley Tariff promptly superseded the Wilson-Gorman Tariff; and the Spanish War, which came on immediately afterward, aroused enough patriotic fervor to assure the reëlection of the President who had directed it. His assassination threw the responsibilities of the Presidency upon Vice-President Roosevelt, whose administration for the unexpired term led to his election as President in his own right by the unprecedented plurality of two and one-half million votes. There had been no conspicuous issue in the campaign of 1900 other than the question of letting well enough alone; and in 1904 the personalities of the respective candidates — Roosevelt’s having captured the popular imagination, while Parker’s was rather colorless — drove every other consideration into the background. It was during this period that the last, or political, epoch of the Republican dynasty was ushered in.

It was plain, as the year 1908 approached, that the chief thought of the Republican party, like that of the Federalist party in 1816, and of the Whig party in 1848, was self-perpetuation. No such clear, vital issues were in sight as the abolition of slavery, a civil war, reconstruction, the public credit, or a permanent economic policy. The generation of strong men who had built up the party, and the generation directly following who loved it for their fathers’ sake, had left the centre of the stage. To the mass of the voters Republicanism was only a name, and an era of deliberation was everywhere giving place to an era of hurry. Roosevelt, throwing the whole weight of his own popularity into the scale, succeeded in electing Taft to the Presidency, on a platform largely given to glorifying the party for its past achievements, but vastly more explicit than that of 1904 in pointing out the methods whereby its work would continue to be carried on. The swing from a platform of historic review to one of specific pledges was proof of the party’s realization that its vitality was on the wane. It also, in a way, tied the Taft administration fast to plans which it had had no actual hand in framing.

The record of that administration is still too fresh to need more than the most general rehearsal. President Taft, with an interpretative conscience trained on the bench, undertook to carry out literally the promises made in his behalf. Against the advice of every skilled politician in his circle he called Congress together at once to revise the tariff, and procured a law which, however unsatisfactory, was the best he could wrest from a body elected by the same people that had made him President. Later, when the Democrats had obtained control of the House, he vetoed tariff act after tariff act passed in disregard of the protective standard fixed by his platform. He recommended currency legislation after the Monetary Commission had made its report, and had his trouble for his pains. In the face of a storm of angry abuse, he enforced the anti-trust law to the letter, He negotiated arbitration treaties, only to have them rendered nugatory by the Senate. Whithersoever he turned, his efforts to carry out the pledges of his platform were baffled or crippled by forces beyond his control, yet he was held by his critics to as strict account as if he had ignored the people’s mandate instead of strictly obeying it. When he stood for reëlection, he was met with insult in the campaign, and was defeated at the polls by a heavy vote.

Half the commentators set this down as a personal rebuke to President Taft. Why? Because he had followed instructions too literally? Yet had he treated them less seriously he would have been assailed for negligence. In truth, he was between the upper and the nether mill-stones: the voting public, impatient of delays in changes it had vaguely expected, resolved to empty the high places and fill them with new men, and Taft was made a scapegoat only because he chanced to be the most conspicuous figure in the party in power. Doubtless any other man in his position would have met a like fate when the time was ripe for an upheaval; for the swing of the political pendulum is as inexorable as the order of economic evolution, even though we may not always recognize the signs that precede it.


Will the dynasty just driven into exile ever be restored? The reader who has followed me thus far will understand why my judgment answers, No. The dynasties which preceded it went to pieces when they had reached the stage which the Republican dynasty reached during the last ten years. The attempt last autumn to rally its ebbing strength by raising the Protection warcry of thirty years ago was a pathetic confession that its course had been run. The sequel bore out the symptom: the result at the polls was not a mere repulse, it was a collapse. The party had started as a product of the times. It had maintained its supremacy by keeping abreast of the times. Now the party and the times had parted company; the times were forging ahead, the party had dropped back a whole generation. Its platform of 1912, though strong enough as measured by the standards of 1880 or 1892, was weak as compared with its corresponding utterance in 1908, for the adverse elections intervening had frightened its programme-framers.

It is the fashion, in some quarters, to attribute the fate of the Republican party to the tyranny of ‘the bosses.’ The outcry against bosses is entirely natural; but to charge to them all the ills which befall a party is to confound cause and phenomena. Bossism is to a party what gout is to a human being, an outgrowth of undue self-indulgence. Until a party becomes highly prosperous it does not suffer from bossism, for there is no surfeit of the food on which bosses grow great. With prosperity, moreover, comes a lethargic condition of mind and conscience; the ordinary members of a party, after its early struggles are past and repeated victories have made it over-confident, fall into a habit of thinking that Providence is going to look after everything pretty well, whether the individual voter pays any attention to it or not; and thus not only is the way made easy for the bosses, but power is practically thrust upon them.

No party can be killed by the bosses without the tacit coöperation of the bulk of its membership. If it could be, the Republican party would have died many years ago, when its Conklings and its Blaines, its Camerons and its Chandlers, were ruling their baronies, writing their decrees into national platforms, and combining on candidates or dividing spoil. Yet, by common consent, that was the golden age of the Republican dynasty, and the overthrow of these chieftains left the party a prey to its enemies. The fact is that no important battle, where the contending forces are at all well-matched, is ever won by an army in which every soldier fights as he pleases. Compact organization, direction from some central point, and discipline in the ranks, are essential to successful action by large bodies. When a party is young, its chief man is known as a leader; when the leader, instead of advising, assumes to command, he is hailed as a general; but when the general undertakes to enforce his commands by rewards and penalties, he becomes a boss. It is a graduated transition from one extreme to the other, not a leap; and nobody notices it till some restless subaltern, punished for mutiny, shouts out his protests.

Is the Democratic party in power for a long period? That seems improbable. Peril lurks in its unwieldy strength. With both the executive and the legislative branches of the government in its hands, it alone will be held responsible for the conduct of public business; and the proceedings of the Baltimore Convention revealed the existence of factional divisions which can hardly be healed by any form of compromise. Another peril lies in the commitment of the party to the one-term idea, for it notifies all the fellow partisans of a president, who competed with him for the nomination, that they must begin at once to cultivate popularity even at the expense of quarreling with him, if they would try for better luck in the next convention. For example, President Cleveland’s first administration, though abounding in mistakes due to his own and his party’s inexperience, led naturally up to his renomination in 1888 and 1892; but, once seated for what was known to be his final term, all the vials of personal envy and factional malice were poured upon him. His party was broken in twain; and the larger fragment, usurping leadership in the next campaign, went down in a disaster whose effects it has taken sixteen years to repair.

Whether history is soon to repeat itself, depends less on Mr. Wilson’s attitude than on the willingness of all his Democratic rivals to work unselfishly with him for the larger good of the whole party. But human nature is — human nature.

And as to the Progressive party? With those observers who believe its remarkable record at the polls due entirely to its magnetic leader, I cannot agree. All men of very positive traits inspire intense enmities as well as devoted friendships; and, unique figure as he is, wide and enthusiastic as is his following, Mr. Roosevelt’s candidacy appears to have repelled about as many wavering votes as it attracted. The party he founded, with its catch-all creed and its energetic combing of highways and hedges for recruits, might have fared as well under some other leader of high repute and winning personality. Its demands, whether wise or unwise, plain or indefinite in detail, recognized the era of unrest through which the world is passing, and catered boldly to the spirit thereof. It did not win, partly because, while promising all things to all men, it allowed the What utterly to obscure the How. Still, we must not make too much of that: a like complaint was lodged by many of the Abolitionists against the Republican party at its beginning. Probably not half the delegates who nominated Frémont were able to forecast the means whereby the slave power was to be overcome. They had to wait until a greater than Frémont had appeared and taken command, and the passions of their opponents had provided an opening; for even Lincoln, had there been no Civil War, might not have found a way.

The early steps of the mother party, and those of her offspring, suggest some parallels, but quite as many contrasts. Both parties were heralded as expressing the highest hopes of humanity in things political. Both were baptized in a flood of quasi-religious zeal, with a free paraphrasing of Holy Writ and a loud voicing of the emotions of the hour in outbursts of prayer and praise. Both welcomed into their infant circle all sorts and conditions of men. A Cameron and a Hoar foregathered in 1856 with much enthusiasm; and in 1912 the stalwart bass of a Flinn and the gentle treble of an Addams blended in the militant war-song, ‘Onward, Christian soldiers!’ But the Republican party owed its origin to no accident of politics. It was not organized for the special purpose of beating somebody it did n’t like; its chief component was not a branch of the Whig party which had been worsted in a contest for control; it did not adopt its leader first and its chart of action later. It was a union of elements which, after years of patient argument, stirring appeal and earnest deliberation, had concluded that an independent movement offered them their only hope of achieving the aims they had cherished so long. The leader was naturally evolved from the movement , whose chief promoters had other men in mind when they began their work. Above all, the Republican platform of 1856 was a model of dignified simplicity, in vivid contrast with the omnium-gatherum quality of the Progressive platform of 1912, and, indeed, with the overloaded and diffuse platforms on which the older party has placed some of its candidates in recent years.

Still, whatever faults we may find in the Progressive party’s first activities, and whatever weaknesses we may suspect in its structure or its doctrines, let us not forget that every movement which stirs men’s hearts, though it may not accomplish a tithe of what was expected of it, leaves its mark as a leavener of its age. Luther did not drive the Pope to recant, nor did Hahnemann revolutionize the medical practice of the world; but each accomplished a modification of existing conditions of which posterity is reaping the benefit. Even the People’s party, over whose turbulent but brief career we sometimes laugh good-naturedly, left our conceptions of statecraft a little different from what they had been, as witness a Republican President’s recent interest in a land-loan plan which will do for the farm something akin to the service the national banks are doing for the factory.


It may still be too early to make such forecasts, but the omens now visible seem to me to point toward a reunion between the more active remnant of the Republican party and the Progressive seceders. Mr. Taft is no longer an issue between them, and out with him have gone a number of prominent Republicans who stood by him for their party’s sake. Most of these men are too old to recover their former eminence, even if they wished to and if the way were otherwise clear. History shows that third parties cannot hold a permanent place in our political arena; hence, one or the other of the two parties of Republican ancestry, now separated by about a half-million votes in an aggregate of seven millions, must presently absorb its rival and become the recognized antagonist of the Democratic party. Which will it be? What has each to offer as a basis of combination? The Republican remnant has the prestige of a long-honored name; the seceding body has the modern ideals, the vigorous blood, and the eloquent testimony of the election returns to its ability to quicken the popular pulse. All the accepting of new projects must be done by the Republicans; the most that can be asked of the Progressives is that they shall hold in abeyance a few of the most radical features of their programme, and make some of the others more explicit. In any attempt at reunion, therefore, the greater advantage lies on the side of the Progressives, even though they might, be compelled to advertise their parentage by attaching the family name to (heir own and calling the union the Progressive-Republican party.

Whatever title may be chosen, the Progressives are bound to insist on so complete a reconstruction of personnel and policies that the Republican party under which our generation has grown up will be known no more among men. The dynasty whose long and brilliant rule transformed the country, took its start in a revolt against the subordination of human rights to statute law. The evolutionary cycle traced in these pages has brought around a situation which, to the minds of an ever-increasing body of people, must ere long be faced in the same way. The question of ‘industrial justice,’ whether it be a live moral issue or only an emotional fad, is, from the Progressive point of view, as vital as was that of Negro slavery a half-century ago. At any rate, it is one which will never be disposed of by mere bulls or by blinking. The popular interest it is exciting must be either satisfied by concessions or dispelled by a successful campaign of economic education.

To the argument that most of the suffering in the world is due to those inequalities in natural human equipment for which there is no cure short of destroying our present race and founding a new one, the answer is patent, What cannot be cured can at least be ameliorated. To the argument that the Federal power, under the Constitution, does not extend to such matters, the prompt response is, If the ‘general-welfare’ clause of the Preamble can be stretched to cover our protective system; if we are able to maintain a Federal quarantine in spite of local political boundaries; if the freedom of interstate commerce can be used to nullify the police powers of a state respecting the liquor traffic, or to split aggregations of private capital into fragments with an anti-trust statute; if any product of human labor, from a box of phosphorus matches to a state bank note, can be taxed out of existence at the option of Congress, why must we assume that ‘constructive statesmanship’ may not yet evolve, and judicial ‘interpretations’ ratify, a mode of readjusting some of the relations of employer and employed in our industries generally? If this cannot be done under the Constitution as it reads to-day, what is to prevent such an amendment of the Constitution as has been undertaken with regard to an income tax, which few conservatives were willing, twenty years ago, to accept as among the possibilities?

An individualist by inheritance and training, and a believer in human competition as the salt of civilization, I have no purpose of pleading the insurgent cause; but neither can I be blind to what is going on about me. Philosophic sympathy and prophetic common sense are as little related as cant and logic. It seems to me that the problem before the temperate-minded people of this country is, whether the spirit of the times, now moving straight toward a socialistic system, can be harnessed and controlled so as to accomplish the ends demanded without wrecking the republic. Its solution may depend largely on whether we have among us, unrecognized as yet, another Lincoln, true of heart, clear of vision, calm of judgment, and as firm of hand when it is necessary to curb a passing madness as when the forces of reason must be helped to conquer fresh ground.