« PreviousContinue »
goe« 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 1 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, of the complete establishment of a business Civil Service in the Nation, the States, the Towns and the Municipalities, the fair treatment of all men born with "certain inalienable rights;" the endowment of the people of all the States with the new possessions, won by the sword and fixed by treaty, including the islands of the seas around us to be held sacred as the foundations the Fathers laid, and cemented with blood and iron; the strengthening of our Army and Navy, for the sake of Peace and Good Will to Men; that we shall1 employ our ample resources for the preservation of the forests and fertilization of the fields of the Central Lands of the Continent, that need only the water falling on our mountains in the vast West, shall find channels through the deserts, that they may bloom at the touch of the streams; and alongside this miracle of life, provide for the promotion of commerce by the joint policy of Protection and Reciprocity; this that the increase of the products of our industries shall find markets at home and abroad, and we may be prosperous in fortune as in situation, and resourceful equal to our strength, realizing that we have the Opportunity of the Primacy of the Great Powers, and, with enlightened effort, the certainty of it.
The conservatism of President Roosevelt could not, under any conceivable circumstances, mean stagnation. The maxim "leave well enough alone" is uttered as a caution against the indiscretion of impetuosity. A precaution against growth would serve notice of decay.
The message of President Roosevelt to Congress is one of the most conservative of the whole series of messages and is all around caretaking and progressive. The ideas of reviving reciprocity as Blaine understood it, advanced almost simultaneously by McKinley and Roosevelt, meant that the principle of protection was safe; that it is no more an issue, and should be held as the broad base of a mighty structure, the outlines already drawn by the increase of our export trade of manufactured articles, as well as products of mining and agriculture. Not only is protection established, the gold standard of money has come to stay; and each day vindicates that of all victories of the industrial people for themselves, it is the most important for the wageearner, and the strongest defense of the producers of value against the arts of money changers. The merit of gold is that it is the closest approximation to the unchangeable standard. It not only betters money, but cheapens it in loans, and provides most amply for the greater abundance of stable currency. So much is settled. The Monroe Doctrine is the law of our hemisphere. It will be neither extended nor disturbed, and works for peace, not for war. Opposition to American expansion in territory never was in form to better the Republic; and the policy of extension is as victorious as protection and as prophetic as reciprocity.
The answer to the imperialism illusion, is found in the peremptory declaration of the President, that our army is not to be enlarged in numbers, but increased in efficiency by special training, so that our military power may be multiplied by three, without augmentation of expenditure. The President has put his stamp of ardent, urgent progression upon the navy; and instead of telegrams that ironclads must not be risked, we shall have orders that our warships should be worn out with ceaseless activity and instead of resting and rusting in harbors shall roll in the stormy seas. A new theme of enormous interest shines from the message—it is to preserve the forests, purify the water, irrigate the arid lands. In the swiftly coming on Great Hereafter, our land and waters in the North American Continent will be the centre of the Earth.
SUGGESTION OF OPPOSITION.
The Senate and Cabinet as Factors—Is a Senator a Boss, or a Secretary a Clerk?— Anarchists Criticize Roosevelt—How to Make Them Harmless—Strength of Roosevelt's Position—His Denunciation of Dynamiters—His Methods of Politics —Holds Friendship of the Disappointed—Some Sorrows of the Old Guard— Representative Character of the President.
THE natural expression of the opinion of the people of a country who govern themselves, is in Administration and Opposition parties. The division into those substantially for and against the Government, is the simplest form of the people's rule.
Party organizations, to have endurance beyond the terms of office of the chief functionaries, must, at least, begin with the formulation of principles. Hence, party meetings, addresses, platforms. Parties through outliving terms of official service, rise and fall. It is well if they appear and disappear, with the new issues that become, in the popular name, "problems." The parties that endure longer than the organizers, must have purposes that take shape in policies.
President Roosevelt was speaking with the candor that is one of his highest distinctions, when he took the oath of office as President, his purpose to carry out the McKinley policy. There was the note of complete sincerity in his invitation to the Cabinet officers to remain and not pass through a ceremony of resignation.
There was wisdom in the clinching strength of the President's declarations. They were from his heart and head. The country held him responsible, however, knowing the basis of continuance of the lines drawn by the President, so horribly assassinated, was in the equal confidence in the candidates nominated for President and Vice-President in the Philadelphia Convention. The people were not unmindful of the agreement of the two men first in pre-eminent representative places in the Government, appearing in the Minneapolis speech of Roosevelt, September 2nd, and the Buffalo speech of McKinley, September 5th. We name the utterances in the order of the time of delivery. The concert is the more striking because the Vice-President was three days before the