Page images

This partnership can now be destroyed only by immediate revision "downward and unhesitatingly downward," beginning "with the schedules which have been used most obviously to kill competition and to raise prices in the United States arbitrarily," and extending to "every item in every schedule which affords any opportunity for monopoly, for special advantage to limited groups of beneficiaries or for subsidized control of any kind in the markets or enterprises of the country.'

That is tariff reform without ifs, ands or buts. That is tariff reform about which there can be no honest partisan difference. That is tariff reform in the interests of the people and not of the contributors to the campaign fund. That is Government in partnership with Privilege.

The same vicious system that is responsible for tariff extortion is largely responsible for the high cost of living. "The high cost of living is arranged by private understanding," as Gov. Wilson truly says. The same vicious system is responsible for the trusts and for all the evils. that they represent. "The trusts do not belong to the period of infant industries." On the contrary, "they belong to a very recent and sophisticated age when men knew what they wanted and knew how to get it by the favor of Government.

[ocr errors]

The same vicious system is responsible for the socalled money power; for "the vast confederacies" of banks and railroads and express companies and insurance companies and manufacturing companies, all banded together by small and closely related boards of directors. "There is nothing illegal about these confederacies" which are now "part of our problem." They have never wanted anything from the Government except immunity from interference, and they know how to get that.

And so the story runs. There is not a vital issue confronting the country that does not go back to this alliance between Government and Privilege. There is not an

issue, however complicated, that cannot be settled by what Gov. Wilson calls "the rule of justice and right." There is not an issue that cannot be disposed of by what he calls "an unentangled Government, a Government that cannot be used for private purposes, either in the field of business or in the field of politics; a Government that will not tolerate the use of the organization of a great party to serve the personal aims and ambitions of any individual, and that will not permit legislation to be employed to further any private interest."

The spirit of this speech is the spirit of the preamble of the Constitution. "To form a more perfect Union" by dissolving the private partnerships with Government which lead to 'disunion. "To establish justice" by destroying the Government favoritism that is the essence of injustice. "To insure domestic tranquillity" by obliterating the special privileges that are an incitement to revolt. "To provide for the common defense" by strengthening the faith of the people in the integrity of their institutions. "To promote the general welfare" by keeping the door. of opportunity open to all. "The Republic is opportunity," said Garfield. When it ceases to be opportunity we shall no longer have a Republic.

It is the high mission of Woodrow Wilson to be the leader of the American people in this contest to regain possession of their own institutions. Many candidates have rendered lip-service to the sentiments which he utters, but the vitalizing element is his own character and his own record of public service. As Governor of New Jersey he has made his deeds square with his words. As President of the United States, owing his nomination wholly to the favor of the people and election wholly to the favor of the people, who can doubt he will again make his deeds square with his words?

Whoever reads Gov. Wilson's speech in the expectation of finding an old-fashioned partisan attack upon his

opponents will be disapointed. Whoever reads it in the expectation of finding a patent remedy for every evil of 'democracy will be disappointed. Whoever reads it in the expectation of finding new schemes of government and new theories of administration will be disappointed. There is nothing of that.

It is the utterance of a statesman and student, who promises only the rule of right and justice in relation to all public questions, and who has proved his promises by his works. It is the simple confession of one man's faith in the rank and file of his fellow-men; the simple confession of one man's faith in the power of the American Nation to work out its destiny under its Constitution; the simple confession of one man's faith in a government of the people, by the people and for the people, and the application of that faith to all the problems of the hour.

But after reading that confession every honest man, from the humblest to the most fortunate, can say in Woodrow Wilson's concluding words, "I thank God and will take courage."


[March 4, 1913]

WOODROW WILSON's inauguration as President marks the beginning of a political epoch. The United States has entered upon a new phase of popular government, and no man can foresee the outcome.

This country is passing through the first radical process of political readjustment that it has known since the Civil War. Indeed, there have been only four such periods since the establishment of the Republic. One came when the Federalist principle of government was submerged by democracy under the leadership of Jeffer

son. Another came when this democracy, under the leadership of Jackson, took physical possession of the machinery of government. The third came when the forces of free'dom under the leadership of Lincoln destroyed the theory of secession and obliterated human slavery.

Until the campaign of 1912 there had been no thoroughgoing readjustment of political lines since 1860. The Liberal Republican revolt against Grant in 1872 proved abortive. The Mugwump defection of Cleveland in 1884 was temporary. The Populist uprising against the Re publican party, which began in 1892 and reached its culmination in 1896, was offset by the defection of the Gold Democrats in 1896. But in none of these instances was there a general political rearrangement. Most of the Populists and Silver Republicans found their way back into the Republican party, and most of the Democrats found their way back into the Democratic party. The main lines of party division were in no sense broken.

It was quite a different matter in 1800, in 1828, in 1860 and in 1912. Under Jefferson, under Jackson, un'der Lincoln, this country experienced a new birth of 'democracy. But who can say whether 1912 means a new birth of democracy or a new birth of despotism? Who can say whether four years hence the country will stand by the principles upon which the Republic was founded, or whether it will take the first headlong plunge toward Socialism and autocracy?

Upon Woodrow Wilson rests a larger measure of political responsibility than has rested upon any other President since Lincoln. If his Administration fails, the Democratic party will go the way of the Republican party. What assurance can we have that the country will stop, or can be stopped, at the half-way house of Roosevelt's semi-Socialism? Unless all the lessons of history are misleading, the very impetus of reaction must carry it on to Debs's complete Socialism. It is possible that

the principles of a Republic can be brought into harmony with the principles of Socialism, but such a Republic would not be and could not be the Republic that we now live under. It could not be the Republic that is Opportunity.

The situation is the more precarious because the Democratic party comes into power a minority party. It has received no vote of confidence from the people as a whole. It is in possession of the Government on suffer


Although 6,293,120 votes were cast for the Democratic Presidential ticket in November, 8,741,680 votes were cast against it. The popular majority against the Democratic party was 2,448,560, and this majority can be won over only by Democratic leadership that will gain and hold the confidence and respect of the rank and file of the voters of the country.

It is no holiday task to which Woodrow Wilson today, sets his hand.

It is Mr. Wilson's misfortune that he must improvise an Administration. In the Senate the Democratic majority is small and precarious, and many of its members have no real sympathy with the principles and policies on which their party has come into power. In the House of Representatives, largely through the efforts of Underwood and Palmer, the Democratic majority in the Sixtysecond Congress was whipped into a working legislative machine. But an army of new members will invade the Sixty-third Congress. Many of them are without experience. Some of them are political accidents. It is no easy matter to teach them their parliamentary trade.

In selecting a Cabinet Mr. Wilson faced a more difficult task than confronted any of his immediate predecessors. The best Cabinet is that which is framed by a consensus of public opinion, but Mr. Wilson was deprived of such assistance. Except for Mr. Bryan, who becomes Secretary of State by the decree of political tradition, the

« PreviousContinue »