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PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT WITH PRESIDENT HADLEY OF YALE, LEADING THE ACADEMIC
PROCESSION AT BI-CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION
accession of Roosevelt to the Presidency, have brought the next Presidential campaign within the horizon. When the long session of the first Congress which Roosevelt met with a great message, is at an end, the campaign will be opened, not with stump speaking, but with careful calculations, and possibly the rectification of certain ancient and imperfect alignments.
The Protective Tariff system does not foster monopoly, but there are duties levied not in the general interest, and the friends of the protective policy, should disabuse the honest men who seek truth, of the feeling that there are too many tariff supporters, who wish to multiply motives for activity beyond the demands of the general good. There is no better test of the correctness of an item of Protection than that it is in harmony with Reciprocity. Hold on to Protection, and expand commerce by conceding inducements to those who desire, with us, not free, but fair trade. McKinley's farewell address will assure liberal consideration of the increase of the areas of freedom.
There is another rush that comes down upon us like a dusty, wind. It is that the Government is not doing enough for the people. Consciousness that a change is needed caused assumption that surely the Government should do something. The real thing needful is to find that the Government already takes too much upon itself. Shall we arrange for a standing army of at least one million men? It is earnestly pressed upon attention that the Government of the Nation should own and operate the telegraph, the trolley, the telephone, the railroads, the steamers, the street cars of all sorts, and that the Postal service should be vastly increased, and the free delivery extended; and that there is to be something done is not improbable. If we had a Civil Service army of one million in uniform, there would be a louder call for two million men than for one, and there would be strife for classification. The municipal governments would each, under this system, have a standing army; and if there is ever one standing stronger than the people, it will be of this kind. The means are for an official class large enough to compete with the people at large as to the location and identification of the ruling capacity.
The greater question is that of taxation. Mr. “Tom” Johnson succeeds Mr. Henry George as a single taxer, meaning the land has made war upon railroads, because they are not taxed upon full valuation. The taxation of farm land is not upon valuation equal to the market price. There is, in intimate relation with this, the question of taxing franchises. There are also questions, many and momentous, of labor legislation.
Those who read the chapters of this volume about President Roosevelt showing the deep interest he has taken in these themes, the intent watchfulness with which he regards every appearance of them in legislation, have a surprise in store when ascertaining how thoroughly and how far he
goes to favor the taxation and limitation of the time of franchises, all the while resisting the Goths and Vandals of Barbarian Demagogy. He meets the questions arising with the same spirit in which he took hold of the Civil Service, and helped the system out of the woods.
It is not true, as writers who desire to cultivate credulity in phenomena, and to exploit the mystical, stick to it, that the President was resolved from infancy to be President. It is true that he has shown remarkable acumen in dealing with the issues that will be uppermost in the next Presidential election, and that there could not be found a more conservative and yet progressive and popular candidate.
The President's view of the qualities needed by public men is admirably expressed by him in the words following:
“There is much less need of genius or of any special brilliancy in the administration of our Government than there is need of such homely virtues and qualities as common sense, honesty and courage. There are very many difficult problems to face, some of which are as old as government itself, while others have sprung into being in consequence of the growing complexity and steadily increasing tension of our social life for the last two generations. It is not given to any man, or to any set of men, to see with absolutely clear vision into the future. All that can be done is to face the facts as we find them, to meet each new difficulty in practical fashion, and to strive steadily for the better both of our civic and our social institutions."
Mr. Roosevelt, alone among the public men of the highest rank, exercises the freedom of speech that he employs about the questions that may be termed extra-hazardous, when naked eyes discover prospects that are pleasing, and friends are so sure the waiting policy is the winning one; that silence, at least, is not unwise, and caution preserves chances; but such a course could not be taken by the man whose peace as well as war measures are to go to the front, and who was far forward in the thorn bushes when the invisible fire of the foe filled the air with the weird singing of what seemed far flying insects whose sting was death. No man with the audience he has had since his baptism of fire, has taken hold of the superheated questions with the grasp that he has, holding them high before the people. The tendency of discussion was to bewilder rather than search with light that burns. The truth had no terrors for him and he told it. Proposed remedies for injustice were discussed with fearlessness, force and precision. He has drawn the line of demarkation between that which would help and the harmful. This is most conspicuous in the trust question, for that is the issue about which, as a rule, the most is said, and the least told.
The proposals to deal with trusts, on one hand refers them to Congress; and on the other, to the States. The relegation to some other body is a
game that does not remove the evils that are the source of complaints; and it arouses the alarms of industrial warfare. Naturally, the popular impulse is to look to the Nation as the authority—the highest and the most comprehensive. This is not so plain in the advocacy of national proceedings, as when another course is commended.
The suggestion has been made that the trust manufactured articles should be admitted from other countries without duty. The first objection is, it is to try the cure of sending abroad for that which we manufacture at home, because our home manufacturers have been anxious for dividends. It means less work for consumers, and more to pay for trust products-except those made by foreigners. That is, to offer a premium to destroy protection. The fact is not taken into account that a great many "combinations” mean partnership between our manufacturers and those of foreign countries. The usual way is one house in a manufacturing State, and one in England, Germany, France, or other European country. The effect would be to banish home manufacturing, while the same old trusts profit through the foreign branch Our capital would thus be sent out of the country, and get the accustomed advantage of the market. Our working men, unable to emigrate, would be idle. The remedy for the trust, by State action, as nearly as has been made plain, consists of the formation of a vigorous constabulary to arrest the transportation of trust articles on the frontier; that is, the State line! All freight trains would have to be held up and thoroughly examined whenever a State line is reached; and each railroad station on or near a State boundary, would become a custom-house and require a guard. Manufactures not abolished would be fettered to the several States. Commerce would be impeded, and a standing army established. There could not be imagined a broader road, going by a steeper declivity to ruin, than this amazing system of restriction.
The dissolution of the Union, as proposed by State action in 1860, would have been, if it had succeeded, a less destructive form of converting our country into chaos than this. Military Imperialism thus forced would have been the only bond of union, while the civil servants of the Government, would have outnumbered the conscripted soldiery mustering abroad bayonets by the million.
A "Veteran Observer," the Writer, has had a large acquaintance with the History Makers for half a century, during which his occupation has been the study and discussion of current events from day to day. He has witnessed amazing changes in men, measures and methods, and it seems to him the Man pre-eminently prepared for the leadership of the people of the United States, in the great, swift years of the accomplishment of the visible National Destiny, is our President, Theodore Roosevelt. He personifies the advocacy,