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the Philippines, Porto Rico, and Hawaii, is yet to be ascertained. But there is little doubt that this will be one of the principal issues in the next Presidential campaign.
The President vigorously urged the annexation of the Hawaiian Islands, a second treaty to that effect having been negotiated. To this there was much and determined opposition. After three months of debate, in secret ses. sion of the Senate, it became apparent that the two-thirds vote necessary to ratify the treaty could not be secured, and a joint resolution, embodying the terms of the treaty, was introduced. This was following the precedent estab. lished in the annexation of Texas; and as a bare majority in each House was sufficient, the joint resolution was passed and approved by the President, July 7, 1898, and on August 12th, the flag of the United States was raised in Honolulu, and the islands became annexed. A joint commission, composed of Senators Cullom and Morgan, and Representative Hitt and Mr. Dole and Mr. Frear of Hawaii, was appointed to recommend to Congress such legislation as they might deem proper for the government of the newly acquired islands. The commissioners recoinmended the usual form of government for territories, with important restrictions as to citizenship, qualifications as to the right to vote and hold office.
The administration, in response to a general public de. mand, undertook to reform the financial policy of the government. Supplementing the President's message, the Secretary of the Treasury prepared a plan to retire the greenbacks and increase the volume of national bank notes. Before the committee of Congress and in nu. merous speeches before financial and commercial bodies Mr. Gage advocated his scheme. The trouble over Cuba drove this question to the background, and nothing was done.
For some years both parties in their platforms pledged themselves to civil service reform. There had been angry mutterings amongst the disappointed after each Presidential election. The scope of the law had been enļarged by Harrison, and further still by Cleveland during his second term. There was quite an outbreak of hostility to the law soon after Congress met. Although the President was committed to the law, General Gros. venor, his intimate friend, made a fierce onslaught upon the law and the practice under it. He was seconded by a number from each side of the House.
The elections in 1898 produced some surprise; Idaho, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, Washington, and Wyoming, which had cast their votes for Bryan in 1896, returned to the Republican fold, although in their States the silver question and the Chicago platform were prominent elements in the contest. In the Middle and Eastern States generally, these issues were ignored. In New York, Colonel Roosevelt was nominated by the Republicans for governor. He had made a brilliant record leading the Rough Riders in the battle near Santiago; before which he had become conspicuous as a bold, inde.. pendent, and aggressive Republican. The “ machine" element was inclined to oppose him, but they were swept aside by the popular enthusiasm, which is always evoked by the glamour surrounding a military hero. The Demo. crats nominated Judge Van Wyck, --an upright and able man,- but he had to bear the odium of being the choice of Tammany. Roosevelt conducted a picturesque and somewhat sensational campaign — taking with him through the States some of his famous Rough Riders. Tammany's strength was impaired by its refusal to renominate Judge Daly, a clean' and able Deinocrat. So, notwithstanding the perfect organization of that great society, Roosevelt was elected by 21,000 majority. The Democrats, however, elected nineteen representatives to Congress, where they had but seven in the fifty-fifth Congress.
In North Carolina the race issue predominated, causing much excitement and bloodshed. There was but one avowed Republican elected to Congress.
Different local questions determined the results in other States; the total effect being that the Republican major. ity of 47 in the fifty-fifth Congress was reduced to 21 in the fifty-sixth Congress.
In Minnesota the Democrats elected the governor, which they had not done before for many years. The net result of all the elections showed that, for the head of the ticket, or control of the legislature, the Republi. cans had carried twenty-one States and the Democrats had carried twenty; the other States not having held general elections. But the Democrats were left without a single governor in the north, northwest, or on the Pacific coast.
The legislatures chosen in the various States made certain the election of Republicans to several seats in the United States Senate held by Democrats; so that, on . March 4, 1899, that body consisted of 51 Republicans, 26 Democrats, 4 Populists, 2 Silver Republicans, 2 Silver, and 4 vacancies; giving the dominant party a clear majority of 16.
The elections of 1898 produced another exception to the general rule that, during the second half of every ad. ininistration the President has been confronted with an opposition majority in the House.
In some States there was a protracted and spirited con. test before an election was effected, and in four StatesDelaware, Utah, California, and Pennsylvania - the struggle was so stubborn and angry that the legislatures of these several States adjourned without electing a sena. tor. In several States charges of bribery were boldly made, and investigations and even prosecutions ordered.
The difficulty in some States, and the impossibility in four, in the matter of the election of senators by the
legislatures, and the frequent accusation of corruption in such elections, has produced a growing sentiment in favor of having the senators chosen by popular votes. This is a new phase in our political history, which may lead to a new issue between parties, difficult, almost im. possible, as the alignment may at present appear to be.
ITHER the American people are very fickle, or their
chosen leaders have failed to understand the popu. lar desire, or, understanding, failed to respond, and en. , deavored to bring the masses to their standpoint. Since the days of Jackson, the rule has been that the party which secured the Presidency, at the same election chose Congressmen of the same political faith, but two years thereafter sent a majority to the House of Representa. tives who were hostile to the administration in power. So that in every second term of Congress, in nearly every instance, the political control of legislation was transferred from one party to the other. The exceptions to this rule were during the period of the Civil War, when patriotism was stronger than partisanship; and during both of Lin. coln's terms the Republicans were in the ascendancy in Congress. Or perhaps it was not so much the suprem. acy of patriotism which secured this result as the absence of representatives from the insurgent States. Another variance from the rule occurred in Cleveland's first term, when the House was Democratic for four years; the Senate, however, was Republican; and during the second half of McKinley's, when the elections were to some extent influenced by the war with Spain, and a majority in both Houses was Republican. Prior to Jack. son's election there had been entire political harmony be. tween the administration and Congress, except during two years of the elder Adams's term, when there was an