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There are two ideas of government. There are those who be- Democratic theory of lieve that if you just legislate to make the well-to-do prosperous prosperity. that their prosperity will leak through on those below. The Democratic idea has been that if you legislate to make the masses prosperous, their prosperity will find its way up and through every class that rests upon it.
. You come to us and tell us that the great cities are in favor of the gold standard. I tell you that the great cities rest upon these broad and fertile prairies. Burn down your cities and leave our farms, and your cities will spring up again as if by magic. But destroy our farms and the grass will grow in the streets of every city in this country. . . .
If they dare to come out and in the open defend the gold stand- The ard as a good thing, we shall fight them to the uttermost, having behind us the producing masses of the Nation and the world. Having behind us the commercial interests and the laboring interests and all the toiling masses, we shall answer their demands for a gold standard by saying to them, you shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns. You shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold.
45. Contemporary Political Issues
The following extracts from the Republican platform of 1908 reveal the tendency of the older issues growing out of the Civil War and Reconstruction to disappear before the rise of the newer questions connected with the growth of industry and commerce, the relations of capital and labor, the government of our dependencies, and the conservation of our natural resources. The passages given here should be compared with Mr. Taft's acceptance speech and with the platforms of the other parties.
We favor the establishment of a postal savings bank system for Postal the convenience of the people and the encouragement of thrift. The Republican Party passed the Sherman Anti-Trust law over Trusts. Democratic opposition, and enforced it after Democratic dereliction. It has been a wholesome instrument for good in the hands of a wise
Railroad and government em
and fearless administration. But experience has shown that its effectiveness can be strengthened and its real objects better attained by such amendments as will give to the Federal Government greater supervision and control over, and secure greater publicity in, the management of that class of corporations engaged in interstate commerce having power and opportunity to effect monopolies.
We approve the enactment of the railroad rate law and the vigorous enforcement by the present administration of the statutes against rebates and discriminations, as a result of which the advantages formerly possessed by the large shipper over the small shipper have substantially disappeared; and in this connection we commend the appropriation by the present Congress to enable the Interstate Commerce Commission to thoroughly investigate and give publicity to the accounts of interstate railroads. We believe, however, that the interstate commerce law should be further amended so as to give railroads the right to make and publish traffic agreements subject to the approval of the Commission, but maintaining always the principle of competition between naturally competing lines and avoiding the common control of such lines by any means whatsoever. We favor such national legislation and supervision as will prevent the future over-issue of stocks and bonds by interstate carriers.
The enactment in constitutional form at the present session of Congress of the Employers' Liability law, the passage and enforcement of the safety appliance statutes, as well as the additional protection secured for engineers and firemen, the reduction in the hours of labor of trainmen and railroad telegraphers, the successful exercise of the powers of mediation and arbitration between interstate railroads and their employees, and the law making a beginning in the policy of compensation for injured employees of the Government, are among the most commendable accomplishments of the present administration. But there is further work in this direction yet to be done, and the Republican Party pledges its continued devotion to every cause that makes for safety and the
betterment of conditions among those whose labor contributes so much to the progress and welfare of the country.
The same wise policy which has induced the Republican Party Wage to maintain protection to American labor, to establish an eight- generally. hour day in the construction of all public works, to increase the list of employees who shall have preferred claims for wages under the bankruptcy laws, to adopt a child labor statute for the District of Columbia, to direct an investigation into the condition of working women and children, and later, of employees of telephone and telegraph companies engaged in interstate business, to appropriate $150,000 at the recent session of Congress in order to secure a thorough inquiry into the causes of catastrophes and loss of life in the mines and to amend and strengthen the law prohibiting the importation of contract labor, will be pursued in every legitimate direction within Federal authority to lighten the burdens and increase the opportunity for happiness and advancement of all who toil. The Republican Party recognizes the special needs of wageworkers generally, for their well being means the well being of all. But more important than all other considerations is that of good citizenship, and we especially stand for the needs of every American, whatever his occupation, in his capacity as a self-respecting citizen. The Republican Party during the last twelve years has accom- The Ameriplished extraordinary work in bringing the resources of the National Government to the aid of the farmer, not only in advancing agriculture itself, but in increasing the conveniences of rural life. Free rural mail delivery has been established; it now reaches millions of our citizens, and we favor its extension until every community in the land receives the full benefits of the postal service. We recognize the social and economical advantages of good country roads, maintained more and more largely at public expense, and less and less at the expense of the abutting owner. In this work we commend the growing practice of State aid, and we approve the efforts of the National Agricultural Department by experiments and otherwise to make clear to the public the best methods of road construction.
and The Hague Treaties.
We indorse the movement inaugurated by the administration for the conservation of natural resources; we approve all measures to prevent the waste of timber; we commend the work now going on for the reclamation of arid lands, and reaffirm the Republican policy of the free distribution of the available areas of the public domain to the landless settler. No obligation of the future is more insistent and none will result in greater blessings to posterity. In line with this splendid undertaking is the further duty, equally imperative, to enter upon a systematic improvement upon a large and comprehensive plan, just to all portions of the country, of the waterways, harbors, and great lakes, whose natural adaptability to the increasing traffic of the land is one of the greatest gifts of a benign Providence.
The conspicuous contributions of American statesmanship to the great cause of international peace, so signally advanced in The Hague conferences, are an occasion for just pride and gratification. At the last session of the Senate of the United States, eleven Hague conventions were ratified, establishing the rights of neutrals, laws of war on land, restriction of submarine mines, limiting the use of force for the collection of contractual debts, governing the opening of hostilities, extending the application of Geneva principles, and, in many ways lessening the evils of war and promoting the peaceful settlement of international controversies. At the same session twelve arbitration conventions with great nations were confirmed, and extradition, boundary and naturalization treaties of supreme importance were ratified. We indorse such achievements as the highest duty a people can perform and proclaim the obligation of further strengthening the bonds of friendship and good will with all nations of the world.
We adhere to the Republican doctrine of encouragement to American shipping and urge such legislation as will revive the merchant marine prestige of the country, so essential to national defense, the enlargement of foreign trade and the industrial prosperity of our own people.
We commend the efforts designed to secure greater efficiency in
National public health agencies, and favor such legislation as will effect this purpose.
In the interest of the great mineral industries of our country, we earnestly favor the establishment of a Bureau of Mines and Mining.
The American Government, in Republican hands, has freed Cuba, Porto Rico, PhilipCuba, given peace and protection to Porto Rico and the Philippines, and pines under our flag, and begun the construction of the Panama Panama. Canal. The present conditions in Cuba vindicate the wisdom of maintaining between that Republic and this imperishable bonds of mutual interest, and the hope is now expressed that the Cuban people will soon again be ready to assume complete sovereignty over their land.
In Porto Rico the Government of the United States is meeting loyal and patriotic support; order and prosperity prevail, and the well being of the people is in every respect promoted and conserved.
We believe that the native inhabitants of Porto Rico should be at once collectively made citizens of the United States, and that all others properly qualified under existing laws residing in said island should have the privilege of becoming naturalized.
In the Philippines insurrection has been suppressed, law established and life and property made secure. Education and practical experience are there advancing the capacity of the people for government, and the policies of McKinley and Roosevelt are leading the inhabitants step by step to an ever-increasing measure of home rule.
Time has justified the selection of the Panama route for the great Isthmian Canal, and the events have shown the wisdom of securing authority over the zone through which it is to be built. The work is now progressing with a rapidity far beyond expectation, and already the realization of the hopes of centuries has come within the vision of the near future.