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BENJAMIN HARRISON (1830-1901)
THE EXEMPLAR OF CHRISTIAN STATESMANSHIP
T may be supposed that Benjamin Harrison, twenty-third Presi
dent of the United States, attained this high position through
the fact that his grandfather, General William Henry Harrison, was President before him. Doubtless that fact had its influence in suggesting his name as a suitable one for the presidency. But the leading politicians of the United States are seldom carried away by sentiment. They are too hard-headed for that. They seek to select the man that the people want, and had not the younger Harrison made his mark by ability in statesmanship and fine powers of oratory, his hereditary relation to the elder Harrison would have had no influence upon the nominating convention. At any rate, he was elected President over Cleveland in 1888, and that is all with which we are here concerned, except the counter fact that Cleveland was elected over him in 1892. Defeated in a contest for the governorship of his State in 1876, he was elected to the United States Senate in 1880, and there made the brilliant record that carried him to the presidential chair eight years afterward. He was one of the most polished speakers in public life.
INAUGURAL ADDRESS (President Harrison was very ready as an orator, a fact which he conclusively proved during the presidential campaign, his versatility in the numerous speeches made by him being quite remarkable. He never repeated himself, and his subjects were as varied as the days. We cannot, however, offer a better example of his oratorical powers than the address delivered by him on his inauguration as President. It strikingly states the relative duties of the people and their Executive, and points out the only road by which national greatness can be reached.]
There is no constitutional or legal requirement that the President shall take the oath of office in the presence of the people, but there is so
manifest an appropriateness in the public induction to office of the chief executive officer of the nation that from the beginning of the Government the people, to whose service the official oath consecrates the officer, have been called to witness the solemn ceremonial. The oath taken in the presence of the people becomes a niutual covenant. The officer covenants to serve the whole body of the people by a faithful execution of the laws, so that they may be the unfailing defense and security of those who respect and observe them, and that neither wealth, station, nor the power of combinations shall be able to evade their just penalties or to wrest them from a beneficent public purpose to serve the ends of cruelty or selfishness.
My promise is spoken ; yours unspoken, but not the less real and solemn. The people of every State have here their representatives. Surely I do not misinterpret the spirit of the occasion when I assume.that the whole body of the people covenant with me and with each other to-day to support and defend the Constitution and the union of the States, to yield willing obedience to all the laws and each to every other citizen his equal civil and political rights. Entering thus solemnly into covenant with each other, we may reverently invoke and confidently expect the favor and help of Almighty God--that He will give to me wisdom, strength and fidelity, and to our people a spirit of fraternity and a love of righteousness and peace.
This occasion derives peculiar interest from the fact that the presidential term, which begins this day, is the twenty-sixth under our Constitution. The first inauguration of President Washington took place in New York, where Congress was then sitting, on the thirtieth day of April, 1789, having been deferred by reason of delays attending the organization of Congress and the canvass of the electoral vote. Our people have already worthily observed the centennials of the Declaration of Independence, of the Battle of Yorktown, and of the adoption of the Constitution, and will shortly celebrate in New York the institution of the second great department of our constitutional scheme of government. When the centennial of the institution of the judicial department, by the organization of the Supreme Court, shall have been suitably observed, as I trust it will be, our nation will have fully entered its second century.
I will not attempt to note the marvelous and, in a great part, happy contrasts between our country as it steps over the threshold into its second century of organized existence under the Constitution and that weak but wisely ordered young nation that looked undauntedly down the first century, when all its years stretched out before it.
Our people will not fail at this time to recall the incidents which accompanied the institution of government under the Constitution, or to
find inspiration and guidance in the teachings and example of Washington and his great associates, and hope and courage in the contrast which thirty-eight populous and prosperous States offer to the thirteen States, weak in everything except courage and the love of liberty, that then fringed our Atlantic seaboard. .
Let us exalt patriotism and moderate party contention. Let those who would die for the flag on the field of battle give a better proof of their patriotism and a higher glory to their country by promoting fraternity and justice. A party success that is achieved by unfair methods or by practices that partake of revolution is hurtful and evanescent, even from a party standpoint. We should hold our differing opinions in mutual respect, and, having submitted them to the arbitrament of the ballot, should accept an adverse judgment with the same respect that we would have demanded of our opponents if the decision had been in our favor.
No other people have a government more worthy of respect and love, or a land so magnificent in extent, so pleasant to look upon, and so full of generous suggestion to enterprise and labor. God has placed upon our head a diadem, and has laid at our feet power and wealth beyond definition or calculation. But we must not forget that we take these gifts upon the condition that justice and mercy shall hold the reins of power, and that the upward avenues of hope shall be free to all the people.
I do not mistrust the future. Dangers have been in frequent ambush along our path, but we have uncovered and vanquished them all. Passion has swept some of our communities, but only to give us a new demonstration that the great body of our people are stable, patriotic, and law-abiding No political party can long pursue advantage at the expense of public honor or by rude and indecent methods, without protest and fatal disaffection in its own body. The peaceful agencies of commerce are more fully revealing the necessary unity of all our communities, and the increasing intercourse of our people is promoting mutual respect. We shall find unalloyed pleasure in the revelation which our next census will make of the swift development of the great resources of some of the States. Each State will bring its generous contribution to the great aggregate of the nation's increase. And when the harvests from the fields, the cattle from the hills, and the ores from the earth shall have been weighed, counted and valued, we will turn from them all to crown with the highest honor the State that has most promoted education, virtue, justice, and patriotism among its people.
WILLIAM MCKINLEY (1843-1901)
N 1865 Abraham Lincoln, forty days after his second inaugura
tion as President of the United States, fell the victim of an
assassin's bullet. In 1881, James A. Garfield, four months after his first inauguration as President, met with a similar fate. In 1901, William McKinley, six months after his second inauguration, also fell before the fatal bullet of the assassin. It is a singular fact that the United States, the home of liberty, should have suffered in this way more severely than any of the homes of monarchy beyond the seas. In the case of McKinley there was far less incitement to the murderous act than in those of Lincoln and Garfield, whose violent deaths were due to the passions excited by war and reform. But McKinley fell in a time of peace and great prosperity, with scarcely a personal enemy in the whole great republic, and when present at a celebration typical of the vast advance of civilization in America. He fell the victim of a horde of insensate assassins, without home or country, and with no creed but that of death to rulers, whether they be the autocrats of empires or the elected executives of republics. Virtue and benevolence are no safeguards against such hands, and men supreme in honor and goodness have no better security than those superior only in vice and oppression.
William McKinley was a native of Ohio, a regiment of which State he entered as a private in the Civil War, rising in rank to the grade of brevet major by the end of the war. Taking afterward an active part in Republican politics, he was elected to Congress, where he became noted as a leading advocate of protective tariff. His efforts led to the high tariff bill of 1890, which is known by his name. He was subsequently Governor of Ohio, and was nominated and elected
President of the United States in 1896, and again in 1900, the SpanishAmerican War and the Philippine insurrection making his administration a notably exciting one. The fatal deed which closed his career took place during a visit to the Pan-American Exposition at Buffalo, N. Y., death coming to him on September 14, 1901, a week after the anarchist's deadly act.
THE AGENCIES OF MODERN PROSPERITY [On September 5, 1901, the day before his fatal wound was received, President McKinley delivered before an assembled multitude at the Buffalo Exposition an address which attracted attention throughout the nation, alike from the fact that it was his final one, and that it suggested the growing need of a change in the tariff policy which he had for many years upheld. In view of these facts we give here the salient points of this significant and interesting address.]
Expositions are the timekeepers of progress. They record the world's advancement. They stimulate the energy, enterprise and intellect of the people, and quicken human genius. They go into the home. They broaden and brighten the daily life of the people. They open mighty storehouses of information to the student. Every exposition, great or small, has helped to some onward step. Comparison of ideas is always educational, and as such instructs the brain and hand of man. Friendly - rivalry follows, which is the spur to industrial improvement, the inspiration to useful invention and to high endeavor in all departments of human activity. It exacts a study of the wants, comforts, and even the whims of the people, and recognizes the efficacy of high quality and new prices to win their favor.
The quest for trade is an incentive to men of business to devise, invent, improve and economize in the cost of production. Business life, whether among ourselves, or with other people, is ever a sharp struggle for success. It will be none the less so in the future. Without competition we would be clinging to the clumsy and antiquated processes of farming and manufacture and the methods of business of long ago, and the twentieth would be no further advanced than the eighteenth century. But, though commercial competitors we are, commercial enemies we must not be..
After all, how near one to the other is every part of the world. Modern inventions have þrought into close relation widely separated peoples and made them better acquainted. Geographic and political divisions will continue to exist, but distances have been effaced. Swift ships and fast trains are becoming cosmopolitan. They invade fields which a few years ago were impenetrable. The world's products are exchanged as