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spise, and we ought to despise him. If a man cannot do his own work and take his own part, he does not count; and I have no patience with those who would have the United States unable to take its own part, to do its work in the world. But remember that a loose tongue is just as unfortunate an accompaniment for a nation as for an individual. The man who talks ill of his neighbors, the man who invites trouble for himself and them, is a nuisance. The stronger, the more self-confident the nation is, the more carefully it should guard its speech as well as its action, and should make it a point, in the interest of its own self-respect, to see that it does not say what it cannot made good, that it avoids giving needless offence, that it shows genuinely and sincerely its desire for friendship with the rest of mankind, but that it keeps itself in shape to make its weight felt should the need arise.
That is in substance my theory of what our foreign policy should be. Let us not boast, not insult any one, but make up our minds coolly what it is necessary to say, say it, and then stand to it, whatever the consequences
AT MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN, APRIL 3, 1903
Mr. Toastmaster, gentlemen :
To-day I wish to speak to you on the question of the control and regulation of those great corporations which are popularly, although rather vaguely, known as trusts; dealing mostly with what has actually been accomplished in the way of legislation and in the way of enforcement of legislation during the past eighteen months, the period covering the two sessions of the Fifty-seventh Congress. At the outset I shall ask you to remember that I do not approach the subject either from the standpoint of those who speak of themselves as anti-trust or anti-corporation people, nor yet from the standpoint of those who are fond of denying the existence of evils in the trusts, or who apparently proceed upon the assumption that if a corporation is large enough it can do no wrong.
I think I speak for the great majority of the American people when I say that we are not in the least against wealth as such, whether individual or corporate; that we merely desire to see any abuse of corporate or combined wealth corrected and remedied; that we do not desire the abolition or destruction of big corporations, but, on the contrary, recognize them as being in many cases efficient economic instruments, the results of an inevitable process of economic evolution, and only desire to see them regulated and controlled so far as may be necessary to subserve the public good. We should be false to the historic principles of our Government if we discriminated, either
by legislation or administration, either for or against a man because of either his wealth or his poverty. There is no proper place in our society either for the rich man who uses the power conferred by his riches to enable him to oppress and wrong his neighbors, nor yet for the demagogic agitator who, instead of attacking abuses as all abuses should be attacked wherever found, attacks property, attacks prosperity, attacks men of wealth, as such, whether they be good or bad, attacks corporations whether they do well or ill, and seeks, in a spirit of ignorant rancor, to overthrow the very foundations upon which rest our national well-being.
In consequence of the extraordinary industrial changes of the last half-century, and notably of the last two or three decades, changes due mainly to the rapidity and complexity of our industrial growth, we are confronted with problems which in their present shape were unknown to our forefathers. Our great prosperity, with its accompanying concentration of population and of wealth, its extreme specialization of faculties, and its development of giant industrial leaders, has brought much good and some evil, and it is as foolish to ignore the good as wilfully to blind ourselves to the evil.
The evil has been partly the inevitable accompaniment of the social changes, and where this is the case it can be cured neither by law nor by the administration of the law, the only remedy lying in the slow change of character and of economic environment. But for a portion of the evil, at least, we think that remedies can be found. We know well the danger of false remedies, and we are against all violent, radical, and unwise change. But we believe that by proceeding slowly, yet resolutely, with good sense and moderation, and also with a firm determination not to be swerved from our course either by foolish clamor or by any base or sinister influence, we can accomplish much for the betterment of conditions.
Nearly two years ago, speaking at the State Fair in Minnesota, I said:
It is probably true that the large majority of the fortunes that now exist in this country have been amassed, not by injuring our people, but as an incident to the conferring of great benefits upon the community, and this, no matter what may have been the conscious purpose of those amassing them. There is but the scantiest justification for most of the outcry against the men of wealth as such ; and it ought to be unnecessary to state that any appeal which directly or indirectly leads to suspicion and hatred among ourselves, which tends to limit opportunity, and therefore to shut the door of success against poor men of talent, and, finally, which entails the possibility of lawlessness and violence, is an attack upon the fundamental properties of American citizenship. Our interests are at bottom common; in the long run we go up or go down together. Yet more and more it is evident that the State, and if necessary the Nation, has got to possess the right of supervision and control as regards the great corporations which are its creatures; particularly as regards the great business combinations which derive a portion of their importance from the existence of some monopolistic tendency. The right should be exercised with caution and self-restraint; but it should exist, so that it may be invoked if the need arises.
Last fall, in speaking at Cincinnati, I said:
The necessary supervision and control, in which I firmly believe as the only method of eliminating the real evils of the trusts, must come through wisely and cautiously framed legislation, which shall aim in the first place to give definite control to some sovereign over the great corporations, and which shall be followed, when once this power has been conferred, by a system giving to the Government the full knowledge which is the essential for satisfactory action. Then, when this knowledge-one of the essential features of which is proper publicity -has been gained, what further steps of any kind are neces
sary can be taken with the confidence born of the possession of power to deal with the subject, and of a thorough knowledge of what should and can be done in the matter. We need additional power, and we need knowledge.
Such legislation-whether obtainable now or obtainable only after a constitutional amendment-should provide for a reasonable supervision, the most prominent feature of which at first should be publicity-that is, the making public, both to the Government authorities and to the people at large, the essential facts in which the public is concerned. This would give us exact knowledge of many points which are now not only in doubt but the subject of fierce controversy. Moreover, the mere fact of the publication would cure some very grave evils, for the light of day is a deterrent to wrong-doing. It would doubtless disclose other evils with which, for the time being, we could devise no way to grapple. Finally, it would disclose others which could be grappled with and cured by further legislative action.
In my message to Congress for 1901 I said:
In the interest of the whole people the Nation should, without interfering with the power of the States in the matter, itself also assume power of supervision and regulation over all corporations doing an interstate business.
The views thus expressed have now received effect by the wise, conservative, and yet far-reaching legislation enacted by Congress at its last session. In its wisdom Congress enacted the very important law providing a Department of Commerce and Labor, and further providing therein under the Secretary of Commerce and Labor for a Commissioner of Corporations, charged with the duty of supervision of, and of making intelligent investigation into, the organization and conduct of corporations engaged in interstate commerce. to expose illegal or hurtful practices and to obtain all information needful for the purposes of further intelligent