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under the auspices of men who posed as the great captains of American finance. Yet under the direction of Morgan and Rockefeller the New Haven shared practically the fate of the Erie under Fisk and Gould. In its madness for monopoly the so-called integrity of Wall Street produced substantially the same results as the most cunning rascality of Wall Street produced a generation ago.
Not only that, but did the crookedness of Fisk and Gould ever resort to more devious ways to conceal the truth than that to which the respectable Morgan-Rocke'feller combination resorted? Let the commission tell the story:
It was found in the investigation of the New Haven system that there were 336 subsidiary corporations, and the books of the New Haven road proper reflect only a small part of the financial transactions of the railroad. Many of these subsidiary corporations served no purpose save an evil one. They were used to cover up transactions that would not bear scrutiny, and to keep from the eyes of public officials matters that were sought to be kept secret.
Wall Street for months has been screaming against "government by investigation." Is Wall Street prepared to stand by the record of the New Haven case and to maintain that it is essential to the prosperity of the American people that such iniquity must not be exposed, much less punished?
Wall Street for months has been denouncing the Administration's proposals for Government supervision over the securities of railroads, as "political control" of great corporations. Has political control anything more scandalous to its discredit than the Morgan-Rockefeller control of the New Haven? Would it be possible even in Tammany Hall to find a more devious trail of crookedness and corruption than that which the Interstate Com
merce Commission has been following from the offices of the New Haven?
There can be no Constitution of Peace with men who practice grand larceny and call it finance. There can be no Constitution of Peace with men who practice burglary and call it business.
The trouble with this country today is not in the policies of the Administration. It is in the practices of men of wealth, education and understanding who hesitate at nothing to gain power and profit. Prosperity is excellent in itself, but there are better things than prosperity. Honesty is better. Justice is better. Liberty is better. There could be neither honesty nor justice nor liberty in a country that submitted to the dictation of such a corrupt Plutocracy as that which has defied law, debauched government, polluted public opinion, defrauded the weak and helpless and plundered a great property in a conspiracy to enthrone Monopoly.
A TIME TO ACT
[November 22, 1916]
THERE is no more complete grant of power under the Constitution than that which authorizes Congress "to regulate commerce with foreign nations and among the several States."
It is a power that has been sparingly used, but it is a power that is none the less absolute. Railroad managers and railroad employees are equally mistaken if they think they can trifle with it. Nothing is needed to call it into full use except the insistent demand of a militant public opinion.
It is true that Congress cannot compel individuals to invest their money in railroad securities; but with a guar
antee of honest capitalization and honest management, there is little need of worry on that score. Money will flow almost automatically into railroad investment whenever there is opportunity.
It is true that Congress cannot compel individuals to work on railroads except by an exercise of military power; but Congress can say under what circumstances organizations of railroad employees may quit and under what circumstances they may not quit. They have no natural right of organization except as society, acting through Government, permits or assents to it. The privileges of organization may be restricted as the general welfare may demand.
If it is necessary in the regulation of railroads engaged in interstate commerce to sweep away the whole fabric of State control, it should be swept away. There is no issue of State rights involved in the controversy, because the States have no rights so far as Interstate commerce is concerned. They never had any rights. From the day the Constitution was adopted, the Interstate Commerce clause meant just what it means now, that the failure of Congress to exert its full authority conferred no additional authority upon the several States.
What Mr. Bryan once happily described as "the twi light zone" between National and State authority does not exist in respect to interstate commerce except as Congress has allowed it to exist. There is no twilight zone that the legislative power of the National Government cannot obliterate whenever it chooses.
Congress has proceeded slowly and cautiously in the exercise of its authority over interstate commerce and so far as railroad service is concerned, the country is the worse off because of this delay and hesitation. The time has come for another long step forward in the exercise of these constitutional powers. That step involves the emancipation of the railroads from State interference,
the emancipation of investors from crooked financiering, the emancipation of the public from strikes and lockouts and a general reorganization of railroad traffic under the direction of the Interstate Commerce Commission.
It is a stupendous undertaking, but it ought to be done now. When the war is ended and the United States is confronted with the new industrial problems that must inevitably grow out of it the country ought not to be handicapped by an antiquated system of railroad regulation which leaves the transportation of 100,000,000 people subject to the meddling of forty-eight State Governments and to the recurrent anarchy of capital and labor.
The danger was never more clearly revealed than it has been during the last six months, and the remedy was never more apparent.
As early as 1906 Joseph Pulitzer, in the course of some general instructions to his editorial writers, suggested that the United States might wisely elect as President a man of the type of Dr. Eliot of Harvard, whom he greatly admired. "Woodrow Wilson," he added, "of course also comes up to the standard, a scholar and a thinker." The World sympathetically watched Mr. Wilson's fight for democracy as a college president in Princeton and his career as Governor of New Jersey; and it went beyond its usual course by nominating him for the Presidency in advance of the Baltimore Convention of 1912. That convention, it will be remembered, adjourned over Sunday without a choice. Monday morning, with an emphasis of type display unusual in its columns, appeared in The World Mr. Cobb's famous "No Compromise" editorial. This article had much to do with ending the deadlock by the nomination of Mr. Wilson. As President Mr. Wilson highly valued Mr. Cobb's judgment and advice. The World was generally found in support of his policies and ideals.
FOR PRESIDENT-WOODROW WILSON!
[May 30, 1912]
WOODROW WILSON of New Jersey should be the Democratic candidate for President.