The United States Since The Civil War
Charles Ramsdell Lingley

Part 7 out of 9

the legislative and executive departments had committed. The power of
Congress to acquire territory and the right of the executive to control
new territory under the war power had long been conceded. Admittedly,
however, government under the war power was temporary and transitional.
In earlier times such acquisitions as those effected by the Louisiana
purchase and the annexation of Texas had been consummated with the
distinct understanding that these regions should immediately or
eventually become territories or states in the Union. The status of
Porto Rico and the Philippines was novel. "The civil rights and
political status of the native inhabitants of the territories hereby
ceded to the United States," ran the words of the treaty of peace
closing the war with Spain, "shall be determined by the Congress." Did
this mean that Congress might govern the new acquisitions independently
of the Constitution? Could it abridge freedom of speech, and permit
cruel and unusual punishments, or establish slavery? Could Congress
permanently govern these lands without giving their citizens the rights
of citizens of the United States, and with no intention of ever making
them territories or states? On the other hand, if Congress must act
within the limits prescribed by the Constitution, would the wild Moros
of the Philippines be the beneficiaries of the amendment preserving the
right of trial by jury? In the popular language of the day, did the
Constitution follow the flag?

It was not long before the Supreme Court was called upon in the
"Insular Cases" to express itself upon these constitutional questions.
The first case was De Lima _v._ Bidwell. It was a suit to recover
duties paid on goods sent from Porto Rico to the United States during
the interval between the cession of the island and the passage of the
Foraker Act. The duties had been paid under the Dingley law, which
levied customs of specified amounts upon all goods imported "from
foreign countries." Was Porto Rico a "foreign" country? The majority of
the nine members of the Court thought that it was not foreign, that
there was scarcely a "shred of authority" for the view that a "district
ceded to and in the possession of the United States remains for any
purpose a foreign country." Since Porto Rico was not a foreign country,
the duties were wrongfully collected and must be returned. The
remaining four justices dissented. One of them delivered a dissenting
opinion in which he held that Porto Rico occupied middle ground between
that of a foreign country and domestic territory. As such its status
could be determined by Congress only and therefore its products were
subject to duties levied by the Dingley act.

In Downes _v._ Bidwell the Court was compelled to determine the
constitutionality of the part of the Foraker Act which provided for a
tariff between Porto Rico and the United States equal to fifteen per
cent. of that levied by the Dingley act. Again the Court divided five
to four. Mr. Justice Brown delivered the majority opinion. It was to
the effect that the Constitution applied only to States; that Congress
possessed unlimited power over the political relations of the
territories; that Porto Rico was a "territory appurtenant to and
belonging to the United States"; and that the part of the Constitution
which says that duties shall be uniform throughout the United States
did not apply to Porto Rico unless Congress so willed. Hence the
customs clause of the Foraker Act was valid. Four of the majority,
however, who agreed with Mr. Justice Brown in his conclusion that the
tariff clause of the Foraker Act was constitutional did so for reasons
which they asserted to be "different from, if not in conflict with,
those expressed" by him.

From the point of view of constitutional law, the decisions were
unsatisfactory, because of the balanced division of opinion. Yet to
have declared all the provisions of the Constitution in force in all
the acquisitions would have been embarrassing. Logic and the
Constitution went to the winds, while the executive and legislative
departments administered the territories on the convenient and flexible
theory that certain constitutional provisions must be heeded and that
others need not.

While the colonial policy of the United States was being developed, the
possession of the Philippines added interest in the United States to an
unusual international situation in China which immediately involved
several European nations and eventually affected America. The
Chinese-Japanese War, which came to a close in 1895, had uncovered to
the world the weakness of China as a military power and had weakened
the hold of the reigning monarch upon the people of the Empire.
Thereupon the leading commercial nations of Europe began to seize
portions of China in order to extend their trade relations in the Far
East. Russia first attempted to obtain a seaport, but retired when an
uproar of protest arose from the remainder of Europe. Not long
afterwards, two German missionaries in the province of Shantung were
murdered. The outrage formed a sufficient pretext for aggressive
action, as a result of which China leased Kiaochau to Germany for
ninety-nine years, including in the grant railway and mining privileges
and an indemnity; Russia then renewed her attempt and succeeded in
leasing Port Arthur and Talienwan for twenty-five years. Great Britain
followed with the acquisition of rights in Weihaiwei similar to those
of Russia in Port Arthur; Japan found its share in the province of
Fukien, and France in Kwangchaouwan. In each case, moreover, the
leasing power designated a large area around its holdings as a "sphere
of influence," in which its economic and political mastery was
complete. In this way, thirteen of the eighteen provinces of China,
including the most desirable harbors, waterways and mines, were
partially controlled by the powers.

American foreign affairs had been, since October 1, 1898, in the
skilful hands of John Hay, who was possessed of an intimate knowledge
of conditions in Europe. Hay perceived the danger to American
commercial interests in China, and accordingly in September, 1899, he
addressed a circular note to the powers requesting each of them to give
formal assurances that in its sphere of influence: (1) it would not
interfere with any treaty port or vested interest; (2) it would agree
that the Chinese tariff should apply equally to all goods shipped to
ports in the spheres, and be collected by the Chinese officials; and
(3) it would charge no higher harbor and railroad rates for citizens of
other nations than for its own. The powers having agreed more or less
directly, Hay informed them by a note of March 20, 1900, that all had
acceded to his propositions and that the United States considered their
assent as "final and definitive." There could be, of course, no
effectual guaranty that the powers would fully observe this "Open-Door"
policy, but the economic penetration of China, which would soon result
in complete political possession, was at least retarded for the moment.

Domestic affairs in China, meanwhile, had been seething under the
surface. An ill-starred reform movement, initiated by the Emperor, had
failed, the government was discredited, and the Empress Dowager seized
the throne for herself. All China interpreted the event to presage a
return to the old order of things--a general anti-foreign movement.
Economic distresses, bad crops, a disastrous flood and hatred of
foreign missionaries, combined with a deep resentment at the European
partition of their country, caused the Chinese to break out in a score
of scattered attacks on the hated aliens. The culmination was the Boxer
Rebellion. The Boxers was a society which had long existed in China for
various religious, patriotic and other purposes. It took up the cry
"Drive out the foreigners and uphold the dynasty." Government officials
by their disinclination to quell the Boxer uprising, showed that their
sympathies were with the rioters.

The climax of the outbreak came in and around Pekin, the capital of
China. The railroad from the city to the coast was seized, telegraphic
connection cut off, and the representatives of the foreign powers were
compelled to fortify themselves within the city. On June 19, 1900, all
foreigners were ordered to leave within twenty-four hours, and the
German minister was shot when he attempted to visit the proper officer
in order to protest. The Chinese army poured out to surround the
quarter of the city where the legations were situated and cut them off
from the rest of the world. All foreigners fled to the British
legation, where they constructed bomb proof cellars, raised barricades
and planted artillery.[5] The powers, including the United States,
combined to send a punitive expedition to Pekin, while the legationers
settled down to a state of siege, determined to hold out as long as
possible. At last on August 14, when the surviving foreigners were
reduced to eating horse flesh and when scores had been killed or
wounded, the relief column reached the capital. It was high time. The
foreign quarters and much of the business portion, the banks, and the
theatres had been burned, and the entire city threatened with

By the time that the uprisings in Pekin and elsewhere had been
suppressed, it was evident that the powers would have a stern
accounting with China. Hay had already openly announced the policy of
the United States in his note of July 3, 1900; it was that the United
States would seek a solution which should bring about permanent safety
and peace to China, preserve the territorial entity of the country,
protect the rights of friendly powers and insure an equal opportunity
for all nations in the commerce of China. Hay continued through the
negotiations to urge joint action on the part of the powers, and
procured from them a statement disclaiming any purpose to acquire any
part of China. At length in December, 1900, the demands upon China were
formulated, to which that unhappy nation was compelled to accede. The
most important were, punishment for the guilty rioters, safeguards for
the future, indemnities for losses and the improvement of commercial
relations. The financial indemnity finally placed upon China was
$333,000,000, of which $24,000,000 was for the United States. The
latter sum proved to be more than sufficient to satisfy all claims and
China was relieved from the payment of about $11,000,000. As a mark of
appreciation for this act, the Chinese government determined to use the
fund in sending students to the United States for education.

While the problems concerning China and the colonial possessions of the
United States were reaching a settlement, on September 6, 1901,
President McKinley attended the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo,
where he was shot by a young fanatic. He died eight days later and
Vice-President Roosevelt succeeded him.


The framing, contents and ratification of the treaty of 1898 are well
described in Chadwick, Latané and Olcott. The treaty itself is
conveniently found in William MacDonald, _Documentary Source Book of
American History_ (new ed., 1916).

On imperialism: L.A. Coolidge, _An Old-Fashioned Senator, O.H. Plat_
(1910); G.F. Hoar, _Autobiography of Seventy Years_, contains a strong
argument against imperialism; A.C. Coolidge, _United States as a World
Power_ (1916).

The best accounts of the election of 1900 are in Stanwood, Croly and

The island possessions have given rise to a considerable body of
special volumes of a high order. Especially useful are: (Cuba), Elihu
Hoot, _Military and Colonial Policy of the United States_ (1916), by
McKinley's Secretary of War; L.A. Coolidge, _O.H. Platt_ (1910); A.G.
Robinson, _Cuba and the Intervention_ (1905); C.E. Magoon, _Republic
of Cuba_ (1908), by the provisional governor during the second
intervention. (Porto Rico), W.F. Willoughby, _Territories and
Dependencies of the United States_ (1905), by a former treasurer of
Porto Rico; L.S. Rowe, _United States and Porto Rico_ (1904). The most
complete work on the Philippines is D.C. Worcester, _Philippines: Past
and Present_ (2 vols., 1914), by a member of the Commission; the
valuable report of Commissioner Taft is in _Report of the Philippine
Commission_, 1907, part 3, printed also as _Senate Document 200_, 60th
Congress, 1st session, vol. 7, (Serial Number 5240).

The legal and constitutional aspects of imperialism are best followed
in the _Harvard Law Review_, vols. XII, XIII; W.W. Willoughby,
_Constitutional Law of the United States_ (2 vols., 1910); C.F.
Randolph, _The Law and Policy of Annexation_ (1901); the "insular
cases" are in _United States Reports_, vol. 182, pp. 1, 244.

The most complete account of affairs in China is P.H. Clements, _The
Boxer Rebellion_ (1915); J.B. Moore, _Digest_, vol. V (1906), is
useful, as always; J.W. Foster, _American Diplomacy in the Orient_
(1903), is clear and concise; W.R. Thayer, _John Hay_ (2 vols., 1915),
is disappointing.

* * * * *

[1] The American commissioners were W.R. Day, Secretary of State;
Whitelaw Reid, editor of the New York _Tribune_; and Senators C.K.
Davis, W.P. Frye and George Gray. Senator Hoar remonstrated with
McKinley for placing senators on such commissions as this, on the
ground that the independence of the Senate was thereby lessened when
the question of ratifying the treaty came before that body. He declared
that McKinley admitted that the practice was wrong. Cf. _Autobiography_,
II, 46-51.

[2] Of the President's party, T.B. Reed, the powerful Speaker of the
House, retired from public life for personal reasons and because of his
dissent from the imperialist policy of his party. McCall, _Reed_,

[3] Under the provisions of the Foraker Act only fifteen per cent. of
the usual duties were to be paid on goods passing between the island
and the United States, and since July 25, 1901, complete free trade has

[4] The Philippine group is about 7,000 miles southwest of San
Francisco; the chief island, Luzon, is almost exactly the size of Ohio,
40,000 sq. miles; the largest city, Manila, contained over 250,000
people at the time of the American occupation.

[5] It was on the occasion of despatching troops to avenge the death of
Von Ketteler, the German minister, that the Emperor gave instructions
to "give no quarter and to (act) so like Huns that for a thousand years
to come no Chinese would dare to look a German in the face."



Most of the tendencies which characterized the growth of population,
the expansion of the West, the concentration of the people in cities,
the development of manufacturing and agriculture, and the extension of
the railway system, from 1870 to 1890, were equally significant during
the two decades following the latter year. Nevertheless there were
important differences of detail in the tendencies of the later period;
and about the year 1900 in particular there occurred changes that were

The chief foreign elements in the population of the United States, 1910]

The rate of growth of population slowed up slightly after 1890, being
twenty-one per cent. per decade, as contrasted with twenty-five per
cent. from 1870 to 1890. The increases were distributed over a larger
area during the later two decades, and aside from the industrial
states, those which showed the greatest growth were Oklahoma, Texas and
California. Immigration continued to be large, and concentrated in the
north, especially in the cities. In New York city, for instance, forty
per cent. of the inhabitants in 1910 were foreign born, and
thirty-eight per cent. more were of foreign, or mixed foreign and
native parentage. The chief European contributors to the population of
America in 1910 in the order of their importance were Germany,
Austria-Hungary, Russia, Ireland, Italy and England. Moreover the
foreign elements had frequently become concentrated in especial states:
the Germans in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois; the Russians in New
York, North Dakota and Connecticut; the Austrians in Pennsylvania and
New Jersey; and the Irish in Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York.
The immigration of Canadians, which had been of importance before 1900,
appreciably slowed down after that year; and instead there was a
distinct movement in the opposite direction, especially from Minnesota,
North Dakota and Washington. The emigration was caused mainly by the
desire to take up fertile lands which had been widely advertised by the
Canadian government. The migration from the eastern states toward the
West continued as in earlier years. It was noticeable, however, that
whereas previous migration had been almost wholly on east and west
lines, there was in later years a greater tendency to seek favorable
openings wherever they were found. Oklahoma, for example, in 1910
contained 71,000 natives of Illinois, 101,000 Kansans and 162,000
Missourians. The trend of population toward the cities was so rapid
between 1890 and 1910 as to suggest the likelihood that by 1920 half
the people of the country would be living in communities of 2,500
persons or more. Of the twenty-three towns that more than doubled in
numbers during the two decades after 1890, seventeen were in the South
and on the Pacific Coast, indicating that the tendency toward urban
life was no longer confined to the North and East.

Manufacturing increased its importance as the greatest economic
activity in the Northeast, and was moving westward so rapidly that
Ohio, Michigan, Indiana and Illinois found their interests becoming
increasingly like those of the eastern states. Parts of the South,
also, developed considerable industrial interests. The manufacture of
cotton goods, for example, increased with such rapidity that three of
the first five states in the value of their product in 1909 were
southern states--North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. Since 1889
the production of lumber has taken a prominent place. Louisiana doubled
its activity from 1889 to 1899 and had tripled this record by 1909.
Almost the entire South from Virginia to Louisiana produced large
amounts during the twenty years under consideration. The iron and steel
industry in Alabama, and the production of turpentine, resin and
fertilizers were other important southern interests. Throughout the
country at large the number of wage earners engaged in manufacturing
grew somewhat more rapidly than the population, being about twenty-five
per cent. per decade from 1890 to 1910.

The center of agriculture continued to be in the Middle West, in which
was to be found nearly fifty-three per cent. of the improved farm lands
and fifty-eight per cent. of the value of all farm property. It was in
this part of the country that the greatest increases in the amount of
improved land took place, and particularly in the prairie country west
of the Mississippi. By 1890 the Plains had lost their earlier unique
and picturesque characteristics as a cattle country, and had given way
to the homesteader. Hence the greatest expansion in agriculture took
place in the tier of states from North Dakota to Texas. It appeared,
therefore, that manufacturing was driving agriculture farther and
farther to the west: New England cultivated less farm land in 1910 than
in 1850; the improved area in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania
declined after 1880; Ohio tilled fewer acres in 1910 than in 1900, and
the gradual replacement of agriculture by manufacturing was observable
in Indiana and Illinois. Oklahoma and Texas, on the other hand,
together opened to cultivation between 1890 and 1910 nearly 24,000,000
acres, an expanse almost equivalent to the combined areas of New
Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts and Maryland.

By 1890 it was clear that the future of the Far West lay in
agriculture, rather than in the mining of the precious metals. Between
that date and 1910, the amount of improved farm land in the section
increased sixty-five per cent. In the states of Washington, New Mexico,
Colorado, Idaho and Montana, large areas were placed under cultivation.
In Washington the amount of improved farm land increased about 350 per
cent. The growing of fruits and nuts was brought to a high state of
excellence in the coast states. The timber industry developed after
1880 and particularly after 1900. About the close of the nineteenth
century the great lumber companies began to seek sources of supply to
take the place of those around the Great Lakes. They turned to the
South and the Far West. The methods which were used for getting control
of the land, and the recklessness with which the supplies of timber
were cut off became of importance as causes of the conservation
movement. The main handicap in the way of the development of trade
between the Far West and the East was the great distances involved.
Hence arose the interest of the Coast in transcontinental railway rates
and the project for a canal across the isthmus of Panama.

An economic fact of no little importance was a change in the downward
tendency of the price level after 1896. It will be remembered that the
constant fall in prices from 1873 to 1896 had brought distress to the
farmers of the West and had been one of the causes of the Populist
revolt. After 1896 the process was reversed. Between that year and 1913
the quantity of gold in circulation considerably increased, as has been
seen; bank deposits subject to check trebled in volume, and the use of
checks became more common; altogether it was estimated by Professor
Irving Fisher that the quantity of money in circulation increased
two-fold. Prices were fifty per cent. higher in 1913 than in the
earlier year, and accordingly the complaints of the farmer were less
frequently heard. The wage earner in the factories, however, was
differently affected. The price which he had to pay for the necessities
of life increased faster than his wages, so that his standard of living
was going down. Inasmuch as the number of wage earners in the factories
was rapidly increasing, it seemed inevitable that the problem of rising
prices after 1896 would constitute as great a problem as the problem of
falling prices had done before that year.

The Cost of Food, 1900-1912]

In industrial enterprise the close of the nineteenth century and the
opening of the twentieth were characterized by a mad rush toward
consolidation. To a milder degree the process had, of course, been
under way for many years, during which the Standard Oil Company and
other trusts were the subject of much study and legislation. In the
course of time some of these concerns made such great profits that
their leaders sought attractive openings for the investment of their
surplus. They began to appear on the boards of directors of railways,
banks, electric lighting companies and other industrial organizations.
Before 1900 two powerful groups had definitely formed. The Standard or
Rockefeller group was obtaining large interests in such railroads as
the Missouri, Kansas and Texas, the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western,
and the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul. It was reaching out to the gas
and electric companies in New York, had an alliance with the National
City Bank and others, and was in touch with great life insurance
companies such as the Equitable and the Mutual of New York. Such
connections enabled them to determine the policies and direct the
investments of these important concerns. The Morgans extended their
influence over the Philadelphia and Reading, the New York, Lake Erie
and Western, the Lehigh Valley and others. Morgan himself also entered
the industrial field as organizer of the Federal Steel Company and the
National Tube Company.

The mania for organizing large corporations came to a climax about
1900. The census taken in that year noted ninety-two that had been
formed between January 1, 1899, and June 30, 1900. Early in 1904 the
editor of Moody's _Manual of Corporation Securities_ noted the
existence of 440 large industrial and transportation combinations whose
capitalization as measured by the par value of their stocks and bonds
was nearly $20,500,000,000. The securities--stocks and bonds--of the
new companies were eagerly taken up by the investing public. Prosperity
was wide-spread and the financial strength behind the organizations
seemed unlimited. Speculation became common. A few individuals amassed
wealth through the shrewd purchase and sale of stocks, and countless
others sought unsuccessfully to imitate them. Where sales of 400,000
shares on the stock exchange had formerly been looked upon as a good
day's business, the record jumped to a million, then two, and even

A threatened competitive struggle among certain steel manufacturers in
1901 led to the formation of the United States Steel Corporation, the
most famous consolidation of the period. It was, strictly speaking, a
"holding corporation" which did not manufacture at all, but merely held
the securities and directed the policies of the group of companies of
which it was composed. It integrated all the elements of the
industry--ore deposits, coal mines, limestone, a thousand miles of
railroads, ore vessels on the Great Lakes, furnaces, steel works,
rolling mills and other related interests. The value of the tangible
property which was thus brought under the control of a single group of
men was estimated by the United States Commissioner of Corporations at
about $700,000,000. The company issued securities, however, to somewhat
over twice this amount. In other words, about $700,000,000 of the
capitalization was "water," that is, securities issued in excess of the
value of the tangible properties owned. The prices paid to those who
controlled the constituent companies were such as to make them
multi-millionaires over night, and the commission given to the
financiers who organized the Corporation was unparalleled in size,
amounting to $62,500,000.

The appreciation of the value of the ore deposits controlled by the
Steel Corporation later replaced some of the water in its securities,
but in many cases no such process came about. Investors therefore
discovered that the paper which they had purchased did not represent
real property, but merely the hope of a company that its profits would
be large enough to provide returns upon all its securities. One hundred
of the leading industrial stocks shrank in value $1,750,000,000 within
eighteen months. In the case of the Steel Corporation it was noticeable
that its supremacy depended to a large extent on the possession of
resources of ore on land much of which had originally belonged to the
public, a fact which, the Commissioner of Corporations remarked, made
the affairs of the company a matter of public interest.

The growth and consolidation which characterized the history of
industry were also taking place in the railway system, although
somewhat more slowly. It has already been noted that the length of the
railroads had reached 160,000 miles by 1890. For the next two decades
the rate of construction diminished slightly, yet the total in 1914 was
252,231 miles, and the par value of all railroad securities was
estimated at $20,500,000,000. Nearly four and a half million persons, a
railroad president estimated in 1915, were at that time interested in
the industry as employees, as workmen in shops making railroad
supplies, or through the ownership of stocks and bonds.

The management of the roads is, of course, continually changing;
alliances are made and broken; groups form and dissolve. About the time
that the United States Steel Corporation was being organized, however,
about ninety-five per cent. of the important lines were in the control
of six groups of influential persons, which were dominated by fourteen
individuals. Each group had obtained the upper hand in the roads of one
or more sections. The Morgan-Hill group, for example, held the Chicago,
Burlington and Quincy, the Northern Pacific, the Great Northern, the
Southern, the Atlantic Coast Line, the Erie and others, amounting to
47,206 miles. E.H. Harriman, chairman of the board of directors of the
Union Pacific, succeeded in obtaining control of so many lines that by
1901 the Interstate Commerce Commission asserted that the consummation
of plans which he then had in mind would subject nearly one-half the
territory of the United States to the power of a single will. Before
his death in 1909 he had obtained practical control of a system of
roads running from coast to coast and passing through the most
important cities of the country and had planned to continue
indefinitely the process of acquiring new lines.

Morgan-Hill railroads as listed shortly after 1900]

The concentration of the banking interests of the country went hand in
hand with consolidation in industry and railway control. The
unprecedented operations which have just been mentioned demanded
unprecedented amounts of capital and credit, and the concentration of
these necessities occurred in New York City. The Standard Oil group and
the Morgan group dominated the banking interests to such an extent that
it was doubtful whether any great business enterprise demanding large
capital could be started without the aid of one or the other of them.
Some years later a congressional investigation was started, to discover
whether the control of a few men over the financial affairs of the
nation amounted to a "money trust," and at that time it was found that
the members of four allied financial institutions in New York City held
341 directorships in banks, insurance companies, railroads, steamship
companies and trading and public utility corporations, having aggregate
resources of $22,245,000,000.

The financial power thus placed in the hands of a small number of men
was the cause of much legislation passed by the states and by Congress
in connection with the railroads and trusts. Opinions varied widely in
regard to the effects of concentration. On the one hand it was argued
that the men of greatest ability and vision naturally came to the top;
that industry received the necessary stabilizing influence; that
production and demand were compelled to harmonize; that scientific
research directed toward the discovery of new processes and products,
and the better utilization of old ones could be successfully carried on
only by concerns with large resources; and that efficiency and economy
resulted from large-scale operation. On the other hand it was pointed
out that a small number of persons who were responsible to nobody could
dominate the fortunes of hundreds of thousands of wage earners,
manipulate production, make or break a region or a rival, bring about
financial crises and, in a controversy or for private gain, use a great
industry or a railroad as a weapon and wreck it regardless of the
welfare of the public at large.

Among the intellectual forces underlying American history after 1890, a
prominent place should be given to the expansion of the public library,
the growth of public education and the development of the press. Many
libraries, of course, had been established long before the Civil
War--the Library of Congress, for example, having been founded in
1800--but the great growth of the public library supported by taxation
and open to all citizens alike occurred after 1865. Between that year
and 1900 no fewer than thirty-seven states passed laws enabling the
towns within their borders to levy taxes for the support of public
libraries; private bequests amounted to fabulous sums, the outstanding
example of which were the gifts of Andrew Carnegie, amounting to
$62,500,000 between 1881 and 1915. By 1914 there were over 2,000
libraries containing at least 5,000 volumes, and forty that contained
more than 200,000 each.

The significant features in the growth of education between 1865 and
1890 had been the improvement of the public grammar school, the
establishment of high schools and the foundation of the great state
universities. After 1890 the public high schools were greatly improved,
business and vocational courses were added, and the enrollment at the
colleges and universities received large additions. Such universities
as that in Wisconsin exerted an unusual influence on intellectual and
political currents in individual states.

A large proportion of the political, social and economic changes and
reforms that have taken place in the United States since 1890 have done
so because public opinion was educated, quietly influenced or noisily
bestirred by the press. Governors and presidents appealed to their
constituents through the newspaper and the periodical. Political
campaigns have become increasingly matters of publicity; candidates for
office have their press bureaus; corporations, abandoning their
traditional policy of silence, explain their practices; and railroads
defend their policies by means of advertisements in the newspapers.
Newspaper correspondents go out through the country months before
candidates for the presidency are nominated, and discover and publish
sentiment favorable to the individual whom the particular organ desires
to see placed in office. In 1918 the circulation of the daily
newspapers amounted to approximately 28,000,000 copies for each issue.
In the North, the Middle West, and on the Pacific Coast the number
published was sufficient to provide every family with one copy. The
South and the Rocky Mountain region were less well supplied. The great
metropolitan newspapers circulate widely, not only in the immediate
vicinity of the publisher's office, but over a wide area outside. At
least one of them in 1918 approached half a million copies daily,
another exceeded 800,000, and a third issued nearly three-fourths of a
million on Sunday. William R. Hearst established a chain of newspapers
which gave him an audience of over a million readers every day. Several
of the weekly and monthly magazines circulated in hundreds of thousands
of copies; and one weekly periodical which presented newspaper opinion
of all shades of political partisanship had a circulation of 750,000
copies for every issue.

Daily Newspaper Circulation, 1918]

The rise of the "muck-rake"[2] magazines was typical of the ten years
at the opening of the twentieth century. These periodicals printed
articles which portrayed a side of American life not commonly discussed
in the newspapers. One of the earliest serials of this type was Miss
Ida M. Tarbell's History of the Standard Oil Company, published in
_McClure's Magazine_ in 1902-1903. Instead of the ordinary eulogy of
the size and success of the Company, Miss Tarbell presented many of its
unfair practices. At the same time and in the same publication Lincoln
Steffens was exposing the seamy side of municipal affairs in "The Shame
of the Cities." Between 1901 and 1906 one of the muck-rake periodicals
increased its sales threefold, another four and another seven.

Cooperation among newspapers in the gathering of information is no
novelty in the United States, but the greatest strides have been taken
since 1890. By 1915 the Associated Press had leased 50,000 miles of
telegraph wires forming a net all over the country; it had agents in
every important news center; it exchanged services with three European
press associations; and it had its own representatives not only in
London, Paris, and Berlin, but in Fez, Madeira, Colombo, Tsingtau and
Sydney. News from Europe reached New York in less than an hour and was
promptly sent to 900 newspapers, whence it was copied in thousands of
daily and weekly publications. As in the case of other enterprises the
publication of newspapers showed a tendency towards consolidation. The
establishment of a new periodical became a million-dollar venture, and
it remains to be seen whether the tendency toward centralization will
result in the publication only of such news or such phases of the news
as meet the approval of the relatively small number of persons that can
launch a million-dollar organization.

It will be remembered that _laissez faire_ was the prevailing theory in
regard to the proper relation between government and industry during
the twenty-five years after the close of the Civil War, except in so
far as industrial organizations desired protective tariffs. In brief
the upholders of this creed contended that legislation should concern
itself as little as possible with the regulation of trade, that it
should restrict itself to protecting commerce from interference and
that business men should be permitted to work out their own problems
with the least possible reference to such artificial forces as were
supplied by legal enactments.[3] It would be inaccurate to say that the
theory of _laissez faire_ had completely given way by the end of the
half century after the Civil War. Nor would it be wholly correct to say
that any other theory has yet demonstrated its permanent reliability,
Nevertheless the distinctive philosophy upon which later legislation
has been built is the theory of public interest. The theory needs
definition in some detail, because it forms the philosophy which
underlies most of the political developments and much of the
legislation of the early twentieth century.

As the men of the eighties and nineties contemplated the vast amounts
of wealth created during those decades they saw it concentrated to a
great extent in the hands of the few. The few believed that the public
good was best cared for in this way, but an increasing majority of the
people looked upon the tendency with greater and greater alarm. They
complained that the railroads discriminated in favor of the powerful
few; that corporations were achieving monopoly; and that the government
itself often assisted the process by framing tariff schedules primarily
for the interest of the manufacturers. When the reaction against this
situation started, it was of course found that the seats of power were
already occupied by the adherents of _laissez faire_,--the party
committees, the legislatures, the executive offices and the courts.
There ensued, therefore, a long struggle for power and for a new theory
of government. The land-marks of the controversy were to be found in
interstate commerce acts, anti-trust laws, income taxes, bureaus of
labor and factory legislation.

The proponent of _laissez faire_ would allow the few to accumulate
large fortunes which they might share with the many through
benefactions, gifts to education, libraries, and other public
enterprises; the adherent of public interest would inquire why the many
are poor, and attempt so to change economic conditions as to reduce the
number of the poor to a minimum. Instead of framing laws so that wealth
and power would get into the hands of a small number of individuals, in
the expectation that prosperity would filter down to the many, the
advocate of public interest would aim his legislation directly at what
he considers the needs of the less powerful classes. He would interfere
with the railroads, for example, to compel them to charge uniform
rates, prevent corporations from electing public officers by means of
large contributions to campaign funds, force industry even at some cost
to protect employees through safety devices, and would hold the great
forests on the public lands for the direct good of the whole people.
The transfer of emphasis from _laissez faire_ to public interest was
based upon a steady growth in the value placed upon the worth of the
individual man, and upon a shift from legislating for the few to
legislating directly for the multitude. The change was greater than can
be indicated by citing any one law or group of laws. It was "a new
intellectual perspective through which we view all moral issues
affecting society."[4]

Underlying many of the difficulties in the way of replacing _laissez
faire_ with a new theory, was the attitude of the courts toward certain
parts of the Fourteenth Amendment. It will be remembered that a portion
of section one of the Amendment forbids the states to "deprive any
person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law." It
will also be remembered that the majority of the Supreme Court in early
decisions interpreting the Amendment had expressed the belief that its
purpose was the protection of the negro. By 1890, however, the Court
had come to hold that the word "person" as used in the first section
included corporations, and thus had given the language of the Amendment
a greatly widened application. Of 528 decisions given by the Court on
the Amendment between 1890 and 1910, only nineteen concerned the negro
race, while 289 affected corporations. In the decision of the case
Lochner _v._ New York, a state law regulating hours of labor in
bakeries was declared to conflict with the Amendment, because the right
of the laborer to work as many hours as he pleased was part of the
"liberty" which was protected by the Amendment. Laws regulating
railroad rates through commissions were held to deprive corporations of
property without due process. Until recently changed, the statutes did
not allow appeal to the Supreme Court in cases where state courts
declared state laws in conflict with the United States Constitution,
and the Fourteenth Amendment therefore acted as a protective bulwark in
state as well as nation. In brief, then, the legal position of the big
industrial organizations was almost impregnable because of the
fortuitous circumstance that the words of a part of the Constitution
might be held to mean something which probably did not enter the minds
of the Congress or the state legislatures which placed the words in the

The people of the United States have usually avoided hostile criticism
of the Constitution and the decisions of the Supreme Court, and they
have reflected this feeling in their acquiescence in the unexpected
turn given to the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment. The members of
the Court, however, have frequently expressed disquietude. Dissenting
opinions opposing the view which the Court has taken, have been common.
Mr. Justice Harlan declared that the scope of the Amendment was being
enlarged far beyond its original purpose; Mr. Justice Holmes asserted
that the word "liberty" was being "perverted" and that the Constitution
was not intended to embody _laissez faire_ or any other economic

The most prominent pioneers in replacing the old by the new theory were
William J. Bryan, Robert M. La Follette and Theodore Roosevelt. Bryan's
leadership in 1896 has already been mentioned. With courage and
sincerity he attempted to solve the social and economic problems of his
day, but his youth, his inexperience, his radicalism, and the fact that
he did not choose issues that were immediately practicable made it
impossible for him to command the confidence of the majority. Unable
himself to scale the heights of reform, he nevertheless pointed them
out to others. With a voice that has been likened to an organ with a
hundred stops, with persistence, energy and good nature he spread far
and wide a new conception of social obligation. He insisted that the
social and economic discontent of the South and West were real, and
that they could not be laughed out of court or frightened into silence.

La Follette's constructive pioneer work was done for the most part in
Wisconsin. During the ascendency of the _laissez faire_ theory, the
state was largely controlled by the lumber, railroad and other
interests, using the Republican party as their political agency; and a
small but powerful group controlled the election of state and federal
officials, the press and state legislation. Between 1885 and 1891 La
Follette, who was himself a Republican, was a representative in the
federal House. In the latter year he came into collision with Senator
Sawyer, a wealthy lumber merchant who was the leader of the dominant
party in the state. For years the state treasurers had been lending the
state's money to favored banks without interest. Senator Sawyer had
acted as bondsman for the treasurers and was sued by the
attorney-general of the state for back interest. La Follette threw
himself into this controversy on the side of the state; and being
unable to obtain a hearing through the usual medium of the press, he
and his supporters went directly to the people, speaking from town to
town before interested audiences; and subsequently the state won.

In the Sawyer controversy were visible all the elements of the later
creed and methods of La Follette. He always remained with the
Republican party, preferring to attempt change from within; and he
always opposed the interests and found his strength in direct appeals
to the people of his state. Out of those years came the "Wisconsin
idea,"--a program which included the taxation of railroads and
corporations, primaries in which the people could nominate their own
candidates for office, the prohibiting of the acceptance of railroad
passes by public officials, and the conservation of the forests and
water power of the state. The conflict between _laissez faire_ and
public interest in Wisconsin was long and bitter, but it led to a
series of triumphs for La Follette, who was elected governor in 1900,
1902 and 1904, and chosen to the federal Senate in 1905. In the
meanwhile there was a widespread demand throughout the West for
legislation along the lines marked out by Wisconsin.

Party lines are so drawn in the United States that it is difficult for
like-minded men of different parties to cooperate in furthering a
program. The three pioneers were men whose capacities and personal
qualities differed greatly, but in their economic and political
philosophy they were nearer to one another than to the rank and file of
their own parties. Bryan in 1902 refused to take part in the Democratic
campaign in Wisconsin because he favored La Follette's program, and in
1905 he even aided the latter in his fight for railroad regulation; in
1912 Bryan found Roosevelt leading a revolt in the Republican party on
a program to much of which he could give unqualified assent; and of La
Follette, Roosevelt said in the same year: "Thanks to the movement for
genuinely democratic popular government which Senator La Follette led
to overwhelming victory in Wisconsin, that state has become literally a
laboratory for wise experimental legislation aiming to secure the
social and political betterment of the people as a whole."

Roosevelt's own share in the history of the early twentieth century was
of such magnitude as to require a more extended account.


The literature is voluminous and not easy to evaluate. On population
changes and immigration, the best source is the _Abstract of the
Thirteenth (1910) Census_ (1913), with the _Atlas_ accompanying it
(1914); _Reports of the Immigration Commission, appointed under the
Congressional Act of Feb. 20, 1907_ (42 vols., 1911), is exhaustive; F.
A. Ogg, _National Progress_ (1918), has a good chapter; consult Joseph
Schafer, _A History of the Pacific Northwest_ (rev. ed., 1918), for
Washington and Oregon.

The consolidation in industry, railroads and finance may be followed
in: A.D. Noyes, _Forty Years of American Finance_ (1909); John Moody,
_The Truth about the Trusts_ (1904); _Report of the Commissioner of
Corporations on the Steel Industry_ (3 parts, 1911), on the United
States Steel Corporation; Anna P. Youngman, _Economic Causes of Great
Fortunes_ (1909); C.R. Van Hise, _Concentration and Control a Solution
of the Trust Problem in the United States_ (rev. ed., 1914); E.R.
Johnson and T.W. Van Metre, _Principles of Railroad Transportation_
(1916); John Moody, _The Railroad Builders_ (1919); John Moody, _The
Masters of Capital_ (1919); and _Report of the Committee Appointed
Pursuant to House Resolutions 429 and 504 to Investigate the
Concentration of Control of Money and Credit_, (Pujo Committee) 1913.

There is no satisfactory study of the social and political effects of
the great increase in the circulation of newspapers and periodicals.
Suggestive articles are: _World's Work_ (Oct., 1916), "Stalking for
Nine Million Votes"; _Arena_ (July, 1909), "The Making of Public
Opinion"; _Atlantic Monthly_ (Mar., 1910), "Suppression of Important
News." Less superficial articles are those of Walter Lippmann in the
_Atlantic Monthly_ (Nov., Dec., 1919). The statistics are available in
N.W. Ayer, _American Newspaper Annual and Directory_.

The emergence of the theory of public interest is best seen in the
_Autobiography_ of R.M. La Follette (4th ed., 1920); consult also
Theodore Roosevelt, _Autobiography_, and C.G. Washburn, _Theodore
Roosevelt; the Logic of his Career_ (1916). A profound article is W.J.
Tucker, "The Progress of the Social Conscience," in _Atlantic Monthly_
(Sept., 1915).

On the Fourteenth Amendment, consult the volumes already mentioned
under Chap. IV.

There are no thorough estimates of Bryan and La Follette. On the
former: _Atlantic Monthly_ (Sept., 1912), and _Nineteenth Century_
(July, 1915); H. Croly, _Promise of American Life_ (1914), is critical.
W.J. Bryan, _First Battle_ (1897), is essential. On La Follette, his
own narrative as given in the _Autobiography_ is best, but should be
read with care as it was written in the heat of partisan controversy.
See also F.C. Howe, _Wisconsin an Experiment in Democracy_ (1912),
friendly to La Follette.

Frank Norris, _The Octopus, and The Pit_; Winston Churchill, _Coniston_
and _Mr. Crewe's Career_; and Upton Sinclair, _The Jungle_, are
illustrative fiction.

* * * * *

[1] The shrinkage of the value of these securities caused the "rich
men's panic" of 1903. Consult Noyes, _Forty Years_, 308-311.

[2] The word originated in 1906 with President Roosevelt, who likened
certain sensational journalists to the man with the Muck-Rake in
Bunyan's _Pilgrim's Progress. Annual Register_, 1906, 442.

[3] Cf. pp. 94-96 above.

[4] I have drawn largely at this point upon Dr. W.J. Tucker's article
"The Progress of the Social Conscience" in the _Atlantic Monthly_,
Sept., 1915, 289-303. The clearest idea of the transition from _laissez
faire_ to public interest is gained by reading the biography of M.A.
Hanna by Croly, and La Follette's and Roosevelt's autobiographies.

[5] Usually cases involving the Fourteenth Amendment have also involved
other parts of the Constitution. The main reliance, however, in such
cases has been the Amendment mentioned.



Seldom, in times of peace, is the personality of a single individual
so important as that of Theodore Roosevelt during the early years of
the twentieth century. At the time of his accession to the presidency,
he lacked a month of being forty-three years old, but the range of his
experience in politics had been far beyond his age. In his early
twenties, soon after leaving Harvard, he had entered the Assembly of
the state of New York. President Harrison had made him Civil Service
Commissioner in 1889, and he had been successively President of the
Board of Police Commissioners of New York City, Assistant Secretary of
the Navy, an important figure in the war with Spain, and Governor of
New York. He had been known as a young man of promise--energetic,
independent and progressive--and in addition to his political
activities he had found time to write books on historical subjects,
see something of life on a western ranch and develop a somewhat
defective physique into an engine of physical power.

Brimming with energy, nimble of mind, impetuous, sure of himself, quick
to strike, a fearless foe, frank, resourceful, audacious, honest,
versatile--Roosevelt possessed the qualities which would challenge the
admiration of the typical American. One who frequently saw him at work
described thus the way in which he prepared a message to be sent to the

He storms up and down the room, dictating in a loud and oratorical
tone, often stopping, recasting a sentence, striking out and
filling in, hospitable to every suggestion, not in the least
disturbed by interruption, holding on stoutly to his purpose,
and producing finally, out of these most unpromising conditions,
a clear and logical statement, which he could not improve with
solitude and leisure at his command.

The breadth of his interests, the democratic character of his
friendships--for he was equally at home with blue-stocking, politician,
cowboy and artisan--his complete loyalty to his friends and his
disregard of conventionalities gave him a grip upon popular favor that
had not been duplicated since the days of Andrew Jackson, unless by
Lincoln. The effectiveness of so compelling a personality was in no way
diminished by Roosevelt's possession of what a journalist would call
"news sense." He was made for publicity; he had an instinct for the
dramatic. His speeches were removed from mediocrity by his evident
sincerity, his abounding interest in every occasion at which he was
called upon to talk and the phrases that were half victories which he
coined almost at will. "Mollycoddle," "muckraking," "the square deal,"
"the big stick" became familiar idioms in the vernacular of politics
and the street. The political leadership of Roosevelt rested mainly
upon his personal prestige and upon his attributes as a reformer. With
unerring prescience he chose those political issues which would make
a wide appeal and which could be pressed quickly to a successful
conclusion. His complete integrity saved him from mere opportunism; his
ruggedly practical commonsense saved him from that combination of high
purpose and slight accomplishment which has characterized many other

No estimate of the deficiencies in Roosevelt's personality and
leadership would be agreed upon at the present time. In some cases--as
in the realm of international relations--only the future can decide
whether he was a prophet or a chauvinist; in all cases, opinions have
differed widely, for Roosevelt could scarcely explore a river, describe
a natural phenomenon or urge a political innovation without thereby
arousing a controversy in which his friends and his opponents would
participate with equal intensity. His identification of himself with
his purposes was as complete as that of Andrew Jackson; opposition to
his proposals was reckoned as opposition to him as an individual. Like
many leaders of the fighting type, he was frequently weak when judging
the motives of those who disagreed with him. One of his admirers
declared that his greatest political defect was an impatience of any
interval between an expressed desire for an act and the accomplishment
of the deed itself--an inability to stand through years of defeat for
the future success of an ideal. A keener and equally sympathetic critic
dubbed him the "sportsman" in politics--honest, hard-hitting, but
playing the issue which had an immediate political effect.

At the outset of his administration Roosevelt was apparently an
adherent of the prevailing Republican creed--protective tariff, gold
standard, imperialism, _laissez faire_ and the rest. His first official
utterance after becoming President was an indication that he would
continue unbroken the policies of his predecessor, and to this end he
insisted that the cabinet should remain intact.[1] His foreign policy
was aggressive; his interest in the military and naval establishments
real and constant. Roosevelt was more venturesome than McKinley, and
more ready to experiment with new ideas. He took up the duties of his
position with an unaffected zest and enthusiasm; he looked upon the
presidential office as an exhilarating adventure in national and even
international affairs. As time went on, therefore, it became more and
more evident that he was prepared to play a big role on a great stage.
Moreover, few doubts concerning the constitutional powers of the
executive position seem ever to have assailed him. Whatever may have
been his theory at the outset of his presidency, he came eventually to
believe that the executive power was limited only by the specific
restrictions and prohibitions appearing in the Constitution, or imposed
by Congress in laws which it had constitutional authority to pass. The
scope which this theory presented for the exercise of his energetic
originality is evident when contrasted with the theory of his
predecessors, who had, in times of peace, held to the belief that the
executive possessed only the powers specifically designated by the

Not until some future time, when the events of the early twentieth
century are better understood, will it be possible to judge accurately
the value of President Roosevelt's regime in its relation to the
control of railroads and corporations. There can be no doubt, however,
that one of the most serious problems that faced the American people
during that time was the position which the government ought to occupy
toward the business interests of the nation. Not only were the
railroads and the great corporations the center of the economic life
of the people, but their social and political effects were momentous.

Neither the Interstate Commerce Act of 1887 nor the Sherman Anti-trust
law of 1890, it will be remembered, had accomplished what had been
expected of them. The Interstate Commerce law had met with grave
obstacles in the courts; the Sherman act had been seldom invoked by the
federal executive, and in the most prominent case, United States _v._
E.C. Knight Co., the government had failed to obtain the decision it
desired. Government regulation seemed like a broken reed.[2] A few
cases, however, had indicated the possibility that strength might be
discovered in the law. In United States _v._ the Trans-Missouri Freight
Association, the Supreme Court had declared that the Anti-trust act
applied to railroads and that it forbade agreements among them to
maintain rates; two years later, in 1899, the Court pronounced illegal
a combination of pipe manufacturers in the Middle West, on the ground
that its result was to restrain interstate commerce.

Roosevelt, like Bryan and La Follette, had been groping his way to an
understanding of the importance of the new problem. During his term as
Governor of New York he had clashed with the older political leaders
when he supported an act looking to the heavier taxation of railway
franchises. The first recommendations in his message to Congress on
December 3, 1901, concerned the subject of the relation of government
and industry. The accumulation of wealth in recent years in the United
States, he asserted, had been due to natural causes, and much of the
antagonism aroused thereby was without warrant. Nevertheless grave
evils had attended the process: overcapitalization was one; untruthful
representations concerning the value of the properties in which
business asked the public to invest was another. Such evils should be
attacked; with extreme care, to be sure, but also with resolution.
Combination and concentration, he thought, should be supervised and,
within reasonable limits, controlled. The remedies which the President
suggested were simple: in the interest of the public the government
should have the right to inspect the workings of organizations engaged
in interstate commerce; because of the lack of uniformity in corporation
legislation within the states, the federal government should so extend
its power as to include supervision of corporations; a Department of
Commerce and Industries should be established, whose head should be a
cabinet officer; the Interstate Commerce law should be amended; railway
rates should be just, and should be the same to all shippers alike, and
the government should be the agent to provide a remedy to this end.

The enthusiastic reception accorded the message by the press indicated
that one or another of its numerous recommendations met with approval.
The effect on Congress, however, of the portion dealing with interstate
commerce was represented by a cartoon in the New York _World_. Uncle Sam
was there portrayed stowing away for later attention a bundle of
manuscript labelled "President's Message 1901. 30,000 words," while he
smilingly remarked "When I git time!" But Roosevelt was not content to
let the matter drop, and in the following summer he took the unusual
step of carrying his message directly to the people. In the New England
states first, and later in the West, he declared his creed on the
federal regulation of industry. The effectiveness of the campaign was
increased by the moderation of the President, by his increasing
popularity and by the many telling phrases, with which he enforced his
main thesis. The Sherman act looked less like a broken reed when the
chief executive of the nation declared: "As far as the anti-trust laws
go they will be enforced ... and when (a) suit is undertaken it will not
be compromised except upon the basis that the Government wins." Here and
there objection was raised that the program was not sufficiently
definite; now and then a critic hazarded a conjecture that Roosevelt had
not consulted the leaders of his party; but in the main he succeeded in
obtaining a sympathetic hearing. At this juncture the coal strike of
1902 gave him one of those fortunate opportunities which were commonly
referred to as a part of "Roosevelt's luck." With no uncertain hand he
seized the opportunity which chance presented.

Before 1899, there had been no organization of the anthracite miners
with sufficient strength to force any changes in the conditions under
which the men performed their work. During that year the United Mine
Workers of America began to send organizers into the Pennsylvania
region. In 1900 the men struck, but an agreement was reached with the
operators and work was resumed. The settlement, however, was not
satisfactory to either side, and in 1902 the workers asked for a
conference. The presidents of the coal companies and the coal-carrying
railroads replied that they were always ready to meet their own
employees but would have no dealings with a general labor organization.
Smaller causes of unrest were the demand for more pay, shorter hours,
and payment for coal by weight instead of by the car, but the
fundamental issue was the recognition of the union--the workmen
insisting on collective bargaining, the operators refusing it. The men
were helpless except as a union; the roads were sure of keeping the
upper hand if they dealt with the men individually or in small groups.
When attempts at conference failed, the miners struck and from May 12
until October 23 nearly 147,000 of them remained idle. The total loss
to miners and operators was nearly $100,000,000.

Since the Pennsylvania fields were almost the sole source of supply
for anthracite coal, discomfort was soon felt in the North and West,
and as the cooler weather came on, suffering became acute and public
feeling bordered on panic. A winter without hard coal could hardly be
contemplated without grave misgivings. Popular opinion, meanwhile,
went increasingly to the side of the miners. The refusal of the
operators to confer, and the propriety of the conduct of the workmen
made a wide impression that was favorable to the union. Moreover,
George F. Baer, President of the Philadelphia and Reading Company,
spoke of himself and his associates in a letter to a correspondent as
those "Christian men to whom God in His infinite wisdom has given the
control of the property interests of the country." The remark was
widely quoted and generally looked upon as evidence of a selfish and
uncompromising individualism.[3] The strike having now become a matter
of national importance, President Roosevelt requested the operators
and representatives of the miners to meet him in Washington, October
3. At this conference the spokesman of the railroads refused mediation,
while the leader of the United Mine Workers, John Mitchell, proposed
arbitration and pledged the workers to accept it.

After the refusal of the operators to accept the President's
conciliatory offer, he decided to apply pressure. He obtained the
consent of Grover Cleveland to act as chairman of a commission of
investigation and determined to seize the mines by military force, if
necessary, operate them as a receiver and await the report of his
commission. In some way, which can not now be indicated with certainty,
the operators were influenced to accept mediation, and the President
appointed a commission with Judge George Gray as chairman.[4] The
miners immediately returned to work, coal began again to flow to the
North, and public rejoicing was extreme. The President's Commission at
once repaired to Pennsylvania, heard 558 witnesses, visited the mines,
and inspected machinery and the homes of the miners. It concluded that
neither side was completely in the right, and therefore made an award
that satisfied some of the complaints of both parties. In the history
of the relation between the federal government and the business
interests of the nation, the anthracite strike of 1902 is of marked
significance. The operators had given evidence of a failure to
understand that their business so concerned the nation that the
interest of the public in it must be heeded. The successful outcome
enhanced the prestige of the government and of the President, and an
example of the need of greater control over corporations received wide
publicity at the precise moment when the general subject was uppermost
in the popular mind.

The first legislative evidence of the result of the agitation for the
more effective regulation of industry was an act approved on February
11, 1903, by which any suit brought in a Circuit Court by the United
States government under the Sherman Anti-trust act or the Interstate
Commerce law, could be given precedence over other cases at the desire
of the Attorney-General. Three days later a law was passed which
established a Department of Commerce and Labor, whose chief was to be a
cabinet officer. Included in the Department was a Bureau of Corporations
headed by a Commissioner, who was authorized to investigate the
organization and conduct of the business of corporations. Within another
five days the Elkins Act had been passed--a law designed to eliminate
rebating. Despite the Interstate Commerce act, the practice of rebating
had continued. Agreement was general that railroad men who, in other
respects, were perfectly scrupulous, commonly violated the law in order
to get business in competition with their rivals. Among the railroad men
who had violated the law but who deprecated the necessity of so doing,
was Paul Morton, president of the Santa Fé system. Morton volunteered to
assist Roosevelt in stamping out the evil, and the Elkins law was
designed to aid in this process. It forbade any variation from published
rates, made both a corporation and its agents punishable for offenses
against the law, prohibited the receiving of rebates as well as giving
them, and made the penalty for failure to observe the provisions of the
Act a fine of one thousand to twenty thousand dollars. Furthermore,
during February, 1903, Congress appropriated $500,000 to be expended
under the direction of the Attorney-General for the better enforcement
of the anti-trust and interstate commerce laws.

In 1903, likewise, was initiated an important judicial proceeding in the
direction of the enforcement of the Sherman law. The Great Northern
Railway Company and the Northern Pacific Railway Company operated
parallel competing lines of road extending from the region of Lake
Superior to the Pacific Coast. An attempted consolidation of the two had
been declared illegal under the statutes of the state of Minnesota. On
November 13, 1901, under the leadership of two of the foremost railway
magnates of the nation, J.J. Hill and J.P. Morgan, there had been
organized the Northern Securities Company, to purchase and control at
least a majority of the shares of the capital stock of the two lines of
railway. In this way the two roads would be operated as one, their
earnings pooled, competition between the two eliminated and a virtual
consolidation effected. On the advice of the Attorney-General, Philander
C. Knox, President Roosevelt directed that proceedings be instituted
against the holding company--an act that seemed almost useless in view
of the decision of the Supreme Court in the Knight Case. But the
decision in the Northern Securities Case, handed down in 1904, was a
surprise. By a vote of five to four the Court declared the company a
combination in restraint of trade, and therefore illegal under the
Sherman act, and enjoined any attempt on its part to control the affairs
of either of the two railways.

Nineteen hundred and four, the year of the presidential election, found
Roosevelt in a strong position. His success in handling the coal strike
and his energetic preparations for the crusade against trust evils had
struck a responsive chord in the popular mind. Late in 1903 he had
announced to Congress that frauds had been discovered in the post
office and land office, and urged the appropriation of funds for the
prosecution of the offenders. The result was a house-cleaning which
involved the conviction of many officials, including two United States
senators. Roosevelt's popularity became greater than ever.

It was to be expected, however, that some opposition would appear to the
nomination of Roosevelt for a continuation of his term of office, and it
was around the forceful Mark Hanna that the opposition began gradually
to center. Hanna had attained remarkable influence as a senator, was
highly trusted by the business interests and was popular among southern
Republicans. But his death in February, 1904, effectively ended any
opposition to Roosevelt, since it was then too late to focus attention
upon any other competitor. The Republican nominating convention,
therefore, which met in Chicago on June 21, lacked any semblance of a
contest, and the President was renominated without opposition. The
platform was of the traditional sort. The history of the party was
approved; its achievements in giving prosperity to the country and
peaceful government to the island possessions were recounted; the
protective tariff, the gold standard, an isthmian canal, the improvement
of the army and navy, the continuation of civil service reform and a
vigorous foreign policy,--on all these the party utterance was that of
other days. Surprisingly little was said upon the subject of the
regulation of corporations. The few steps already taken were approved,
but as to the future, the platform was almost colorless:

Combinations of capital and of labor are the results of the
economic movement of the age, but neither must be permitted to
infringe upon the rights and interests of the people. Such
combinations, when lawfully formed for lawful purposes, are
alike entitled to the protection of the laws, but both are
subject to the laws, and neither can be permitted to break them.

The Democratic convention met in St. Louis on July 6, and the
excitement which marked its proceedings compensated for the lack of
interest at the Republican meeting. As drawn up by a sub-committee of
the Committee on Resolutions, the platform was, in many of its planks,
a distinct return to the programs of the days before 1896. It urged a
reduction of the tariff, generous pensions and civil service reform,
together with the enforcement of the anti-trust laws and the popular
election of senators. In the main, it was devoted to a condemnation
of the existing Republican administration, which it denounced as
"spasmodic, erratic, sensational, spectacular and arbitrary." It also
contained a paragraph declaring that the question of the money standard
had ceased to be an issue, on the ground that recent discoveries of
gold had enormously increased the supply of currency in the country.
Bryan did not approve. With characteristic energy he threw himself into
an all-night fight in the Committee in behalf of a silver plank. His
defeat indicated that the convention was in the hands of his opponents
and the platform as adopted contained no reference to the currency.

The delegates had, in fact, come to the meeting with the distinct
purpose of returning to the "safe and sane" democracy of Grover
Cleveland. To that end, the platform was to drop the silver issue and
Bryan was to be replaced by a more conservative leader. The radical
forces centered their strength upon William R. Hearst, but they were in
a distinct minority, and in the end, the Cleveland wing succeeded in
nominating Judge Alton B. Parker of New York. As soon as he was
notified of his nomination, Judge Parker telegraphed to the convention
that he regarded the gold standard as irrevocably established and that
he must decline to be the party candidate if his attitude on the
currency was unsatisfactory to the delegates. Thereupon the convention
replied that the platform was silent on the question of a monetary
standard because it was not regarded as a campaign issue. Parker was
satisfied with the reply, and the last word was written upon a question
that had disturbed politics for many years.

The succeeding campaign was unusually listless. Parker did not inspire
enthusiasm, although a man of undoubted integrity and ability, and the
personality of Roosevelt was the controlling force. Only at the close
of the canvass did a passing interest appear in some charges made by
Parker. He called attention to the fact that Secretary Cortelyou of the
Department of Commerce and Labor had been charged with the duty of
examining the acts of corporations and had then resigned to become
chairman of the National Republican Committee. Parker insinuated that
Cortelyou was using information about corporate misdoing, which he had
discovered, in order to force large contributions from the business
interests. He also declared that the Republican campaign was being
financed by the corporations. Roosevelt did not answer the charges
until three days before the election, and then he asserted that the
statements made by Parker were "unqualifiedly and atrociously false."
Later investigations have shown that in general Parker was correct in
his complaint as to the activities of the corporations, although he
would have found difficulty in proving his charges in detail. The same
investigations, however, indicated that some of the Democratic campaign
fund had come from similar sources.

Election of 1904 by Counties]

The election resulted in the choice of President Roosevelt, whose
popular vote was 7,600,000 to Parker's 5,000,000. In the more populous
sections of the country, which were normally Republican, the party vote
scarcely exceeded that of 1900, but in the Far West, the increases were
notable. Beyond the Mississippi River, except in the southern states,
hardly a county gave a majority for Parker, showing that the region
which had gone to Bryan in 1896 was substantially solid for Roosevelt.
Indeed, the policies to which Roosevelt was committed bore a greater
resemblance to the principles of Bryan than to the _laissez faire_
philosophy to which many important Republican leaders adhered. Despite
their dissent, however, his victory in the election was so overwhelming
that he could carry out his program with the irresistible pressure of
public opinion behind him.

During the campaign year, the Commissioner of Corporations was busy
investigating the activities of the so-called "beef-trust," and a suit
against the combination was pressed to a successful conclusion in
January, 1905. In its decision in the case (Swift & Company _v._ United
States), the Supreme Court dwelt at some length on the charges made
against the Company. A dominant proportion--six-tenths--of the dealers
in fresh meat in the United States were alleged to have agreed not to
bid against one another in the live-stock markets; to restrict the
output of meat in order to raise prices; to keep a black-list; and to
get illegal rates from the railroads to the exclusion of competitors.
To the objection of the members of the trust that the charges against
them were general and did not set forth any specific facts, the Court
retorted that the scheme alleged was so vast as to present a new
problem in pleading. The decision was against the combination, which
was ordered to dissolve. The publicity given to the case and to the
methods of the meat packers assisted in the passage of legislation
requiring government inspection of meats.

An unexpected phase of the Sherman act appeared in 1908, in the case
Loewe _v._ Lawlor. The American Federation of Labor, acting through its
official organ, had declared a boycott against D.E. Loewe, a hat
manufacturer of Danbury, Connecticut. The Court decided that a
combination of labor organizations designed to boycott a dealer's goods
was a combination in restraint of trade and that the manufacturer might
maintain an action against the Hatters' Union for damages.[5]

In the meantime, another prominent trust had played into the hands of
the administration. The American Sugar Refining Company imported large
amounts of raw sugar, on which it paid tariff duties. In November,
1907, it was discovered that the Company had tampered with the scales
on which the incoming sugar was weighed, in such a manner as to defraud
the government. In the resulting legal actions, over $4,000,000 were
recovered from the Company, criminal prosecutions were carried on
against the officials and employees, and several of them were
convicted. The close relation between the railroads and the great
corporations was indicated when the Standard Oil Company of Indiana was
brought into court on the charge of receiving rebates on petroleum
shipped over the Chicago and Alton Railroad. The decision by Judge K.M.
Landis was that the Company was guilty on 1,462 separate counts and
must pay a fine of $29,240,000. On appeal to a higher court the case
was dismissed, partly on a question concerning the meaning of the law.

The efforts of Roosevelt in the direction of control of the railroads
resembled his activities in relation to industrial combinations. A
variety of circumstances had combined to arouse a popular demand for
the reinforcement of existing legislation: the discovery of grave
abuses in connection with the transportation of petroleum; the
continuance of favoritism and rebating, together with increasing public
knowledge of their existence; the rise in freight rates; and the
consolidation of the railroads into a few large systems, with the
accompanying concentration of power in the hands of a small number of
persons. In his public speeches and in his messages to Congress in 1904
and 1905, President Roosevelt made himself the spokesman of the popular
will. In particular--and it was here that the conflict was destined to
rage--the President called for the transfer to the Interstate Commerce
Commission of the power to determine the rates which the roads should
be allowed to charge. The project was not a new one, having already
taken shape in previous years, but at no time was Congress prepared to
pass definite legislation. The reaction of the railroads to the rising
demand was energetic. A costly propaganda was entered upon designed to
prove to the public that the roads should be let alone. A powerful
lobby worked insistently upon Congress, first to prevent action and
later, when action was seen to be inevitable, to weaken the legislation
wherever possible. The railroad's campaign of popular education,
however, helped to convince the popular mind that new laws were needed,
and came coincidently with the disclosures of corporate mismanagement
and wrong-doing. The outcome was the Hepburn Act of June 29, 1906.

Its major provisions were five in number. It enlarged the scope of the
Interstate Commerce Act so as to include control of express and
sleeping car companies, pipe lines, switches, spur tracks and
terminals. Free passes, which had hitherto been productive of much
favoritism and the source of political corruption, were strictly
forbidden, except to a few specified classes. The "commodity clause"
forbade railroads to carry goods, other than timber, in which they had
an interest, except such as they were going to use themselves. This
provision was designed mainly to check the activities of those
companies which owned both coal mines and railroads, and which used
their advantageous position to crush independent operators. Its force,
however, was largely nullified by subsequent decisions of the courts.
The Hepburn law also enabled the Commission to prescribe the methods of
book-keeping which the roads must follow, to call for monthly or
special reports and to employ examiners who should have access to the
books of the carriers. The roads were even denied the right to keep any
records except those approved by the Commission. These drastic features
of the law were due in part to the practices of certain roads which hid
away corrupt expenditures in their accounts in such a manner that
detection was almost impossible. Most important, however, among the
provisions of the Act was that in relation to rate-making, which not
only empowered the Commission to hear complaints that rates were unjust
or unreasonable, but even enabled it to determine what would be a just
and reasonable charge in the case, and to order the carrier complained
of to adhere to the new rate. The rate-making section of the Hepburn
Act immediately resulted in a large increase in the number of
complaints entered by shippers against the carriers. Previously, few
cases had been taken to the Commission--only 878 in eighteen
years--because relief was seldom obtained and then only at great cost
in time and money. Under the new law more than 1500 cases were entered
within two and a half years, and several thousand others were
informally settled out of court.

The example of the federal government in adopting restrictive railway
legislation was followed by the states, on a nation-wide scale. Hours
of labor were regulated, liability for accidents defined, railroad
commissions given larger powers, and freight and passenger rates
determined. The result was a tangle of local regulations, many of which
were designed to embarrass the roads and others of which were passed
with slight knowledge of the practical questions involved.

Aside from his connection with the anti-trust campaign and the movement
for railroad regulation, Roosevelt's most significant activities during
his second administration related to conservation. As early as 1880 the
Superintendent of the Census had called attention to the exhaustion of
the best public lands. The truth of his assertion had been exemplified
in the rush of settlers to Oklahoma when the former Indian Territory
was opened to settlement on April 22, 1889. At noon on that day the
blast of a cavalry bugle was the signal that any settler might enter
and stake out his claim. On foot, on fleet horses, in primitive wagons,
an excited, jostling mob rushed toward those lands that seemed most
desirable. Trains were crowded to the roofs; tools, furniture, and
portable houses were carried in from Texas, Nebraska and Kansas. By
nightfall a stretch of waving prairie became Gruthrie, with a
population of 10,000 persons; by the evening of the first day Oklahoma
possessed a population of 50,000; twenty years later it had over a
million and a half, contained flourishing cities, many public
enterprises, and a beautiful state university.

The fact that desirable land was becoming so rare called attention to
the waste and dishonesty in connection with our public land system. In
his annual report for 1884 the Secretary of the Interior had complained
that large amounts of land had been acquired under fictitious names or
by persons employed for the purpose. Their holdings were then passed
over to speculators who retained huge areas for a rising market.
Railroads had kept lands granted to them, without fulfilling the
conditions of the grants. Titled Englishmen and English land companies
had gained control of tracts of unbelievable size, one of them being
estimated at 3,000,000 acres. The history of the disposal of the public
land had almost been duplicated in the history of the forest-bearing
public domain, except that measures had earlier been taken to conserve
the remnant of the once magnificent supply of standing timber. An act
of 1891 had enabled the president to set apart as public reservations
any lands bearing forests. All the presidents, from Harrison down, had
availed themselves of their power, and had established great numbers of
reservations, most of them in states west of the Mississippi.[6]

A few far-sighted individuals had long urged caution in the disposal of
the public resources. Some beginnings in fact had already been made in
the Division of Forestry in the Department of Agriculture, where
Clifford Pinchot was actively interested in forest preservation. In
1901 and later his functions had been expanded, and the forestry
service had taken up protection against fire, the sale of timber, and
reforestation. In 1907 President Roosevelt appointed a commission to
study the inland waterways, which after careful investigation
recommended a convention for the discussion of conservation problems.
Thereupon the President invited the governors of the states to
Washington for a conference, at which conservation questions were
thoroughly discussed. The resulting recommendations composed a
complete, although general plan of reform: the natural resources of the
country to be used for the prosperity of the American people;
reclamation of arid lands; conservation of forests, minerals and
water-power; the protection of the sources of the rivers; and
cooperation between Congress and the states in developing a
conservation program. A National Conservation Commission was later
appointed which coordinated the work of organizing the movement, and
made an exhaustive inventory of the nation's natural resources.

The conservation movement also called attention to the possibilities of
the arid region between the western parts of Kansas, Nebraska and the
Dakotas, and the eastern border of California. Within this vast area
were large tracts of land that would be fertile if sufficiently
supplied with water. The most important legislation in a series of acts
designed to meet this need was the Reclamation Act of 1902. Under its
provisions the federal government set aside the proceeds of the sale of
public land in sixteen states and territories as a fund for irrigation
work. With the resources thus obtained, water powers were developed,
reservoirs built and large tracts supplied with water. Private
companies and western states also carried out numerous projects. The
Department of Agriculture after its establishment in 1889 also
conducted many undertakings which, in effect, were conservation
enterprises. It helped educate the American farmer in scientific
methods, sought new crops in every corner of the globe, discovered and
circulated means of combating diseases and insects, studied soils,
distributed seeds and gathered statistics. In the arid and semi-arid
regions the discovery of dry farming was of great value. This consists
of planting the seed deep and keeping a mulch of dust on the surface by
frequent cultivation, in order to retard the evaporation of the
moisture in the ground underneath.[7]

Nothing can be more apparent than the complete change of position which
was brought about during the eight years after the death of President
McKinley. At the end of that period, both the industrial corporations
and the railways were on the defensive, and the public had secured the
whip hand. Industry, especially the railroads, was tamed and
hobbled--some thought, crippled. Many factors contributed to the
revolution. President Roosevelt was its most active agent, to be
sure,--its "gigantic advertiser" and popularizer. But it could hardly
have taken place--at least at the time and in the way it did--without
the great upheaval of 1896, without the publicity which the "muck-rake"
magazines and daily newspapers were able to offer, without the
industrial consolidations of 1898 and later, and without the refusal of
industry and the railways to obey earlier and less drastic laws, and
their skilled and insistent attempts to find loop-holes in legislation.

From the standpoint of politics, the effect of the Roosevelt
administrations was notable. As has been seen, the Republican party had
become largely the party of the business and commercial classes,
conservative and unyielding to the new demands of the late nineteenth
century. Its leadership had been sharply challenged by the forces of
unrest in 1896. On an issue other than a monetary one, the success of
Bryan would have been possible. The failure of the attempt to get
control of the federal government in the interest of the Populist
program was only a temporary defeat, for the revival of unrest,
although checked by the war with Spain, was sure soon to reappear. In
President Roosevelt, the forces of discontent, especially in the Middle
and Far West, saw their hoped-for champion, and their support of him
was instant and complete. The dominant leadership and much of the rank
and file of the Republican party had become liberal. The situation was
anomalous, however, for no great political party can experience a
thorough-going change of philosophy in a few years. Only the future,
therefore, could tell whether the newer and more liberal element would
continue to control the party, or whether a reaction against its
leadership would take place.


It is too early to expect a biography of Roosevelt which is informed
and critical, as well as sympathetic. The keenest judgment is to be
found in _Atlantic Monthly_ (CIX, 577), "Mr. Roosevelt." The following
are also available: L.F. Abbott, _Impressions of Theodore Roosevelt_
(1919); F.E. Leupp, _The Man Roosevelt_ (1904); W.R. Thayer, _Theodore
Roosevelt_ (1919); C.G. Washburn, _Theodore Roosevelt; the Logic of His
Career_ (1916). Roosevelt can be partly understood through a critical
reading of his writings, especially his _Addresses and Presidential
Messages_ (1904), and his _Autobiography_ (1913).

On the coal strike consult the _Autobiography_, and _Senate Reports_,
58th Congress, special session, Document No. 6 (Serial Number 4556),
the report of the President's Commission. The election of 1904 is
discussed in Latané, Croly and Stanwood: see also C.M. Pepper, _The
Life and Times of Henry Gassaway Davis_ (1920). The new railroad acts
are well discussed in W.Z. Ripley, _Railroads: Rates and Regulations_
(1912), and by F.H. Dixon in _Quarterly Journal of Economics_, XXI, 22.

The literature of conservation is very large. An excellent single
chapter is in Katherine Coman, _Industrial History of the United
States_ (rev. ed., 1910); C.R. Van Hise, _The Conservation of Natural
Resources in the United States_ (1913), is a standard work; R.P. Teele,
_Irrigation in the United States_ (1915), is detailed; for documents
concerning the conference of governors, _House of Representatives
Document_ No. 1425, 60th Congress, 2nd session (Serial Number 5538).

The anti-trust campaign is best followed in Theodore Roosevelt,
_Addresses and Presidential Messages_, and in the _Autobiography_. The
Northern Securities decision is in _United States Reports_, vol. 193,
p. 197.

* * * * *

[1] In view of the later activities of President Roosevelt, there is
point in the remark of a satirist that Roosevelt did carry out the
policies of McKinley--and bury them. _Atlantic Monthly_, CIX, 164.

[2] Above, p. 257.

[3] It was later denied that Baer made the statement, but a
photographic copy of the letter was printed in Lloyd, _Henry D. Lloyd_,
II, 190. See also Mitchell, _Organized Labor_, 384; Peck, _Twenty
Years_, 693-6.

[4] Rumor says that Roosevelt sent Elihu Root to the eminent financial
magnate, J.P. Morgan, with information of his intent to appoint the
Cleveland Commission, and that Morgan applied the pressure to the coal

[5] In 1917, fourteen years after Loewe's first suit, he recovered
damages from the Union.

[6] In 1918, 151 national forests aggregated 176,000,000 acres.
Secretary of the Interior, _Annual Report_, 1918, 61.

[7] The territory of Alaska contains immense stores of natural resources
which are being conserved with more wisdom than characterized the
disposal of our continental supplies. The area of the territory,
586,400 square miles, constitutes a, kingdom. It has uncounted wealth in
fish, furs, timber, coal and precious metals. At present the federal
government is building a railroad which will tap some of the resources
of the region. _Enc. Brit._, "Alaska."


POLITICS, 1908-1912

By 1908, the year of the presidential election, an influential portion
of the Republican members of Congress, particularly in the Senate, were
bitterly opposed to President Roosevelt. His attitude on the trusts and
the railroads was offensive to many, and on several occasions he had
gained the upper hand over Congress by means which were coming to be
known as "big-stick" methods. The so-called "constructive recess" of
1903 was an example.

Under the provisions of the Constitution, the president appoints many
officials with the advice and consent of the Senate, when it is in
session, and fills vacancies that happen during a recess by granting
commissions which expire at the end of the next session. On December 2,
1903, at noon, one session of Congress came to an end and another began.
Precisely at 12 o'clock, according to the official statement, the
President issued new commissions to W.D. Crum, a negro, to be collector
of the port of Charleston, and also to 168 army officers, of whom the
President's close friend Brigadier-General Leonard Wood was one. General
Wood was to be promoted to a major-generalship and the remaining
promotions were dependent upon his advance. The President's theory was
that a "constructive recess" intervened between the two sessions, during
which he could make recess appointments. Although the Senate was hostile
to both Crum and Wood, it reluctantly succumbed to Roosevelt's wishes
rather than withhold promotion from the 167 officers to whom it had no

In 1908, Senator Tillman, an outspoken Democratic critic of the
President, declared that senators vigorously denounced Roosevelt's
radical ideas in private but that in public they opposed merely by
inaction. Party loyalty was sufficient to keep these Republicans, in
most cases, from open and continued rebellion. Hardly less hostile to
the President were many of the business men of the country, who objected
to his economic policies, but the only alternative to Roosevelt was
Bryan, who, as one of the earliest proponents of radical legislation,
was even more offensive. On the other hand, a large majority of the rank
and file of the party, especially in the North and West, upheld the
President with unfeigned enthusiasm and made his position in the party
so strong that he could practically name his successor. Several
candidates had more or less local support for the nomination--Senator
Knox, of Pennsylvania, Governor Hughes, of New York, Speaker Cannon, of
Illinois, Vice-President Fairbanks, of Indiana, Senator La Follette, of
Wisconsin and Senator Foraker, of Ohio. The President's prestige and
energy, however, were frankly behind the candidacy of his Secretary of
War, William H. Taft.

The Republican convention of 1908 met in Chicago on June 16. Early in
the proceedings the mention of Roosevelt's name brought an outburst of
enthusiasm which indicated the possibility that he might be nominated
for a third term, despite his expressed refusal to allow such a move to
be made. In the platform the achievements of the retiring administration
were recounted in glowing terms; tariff reform was promised; and a
postal savings bank, the strengthening of the Interstate Commerce law
and the Sherman Anti-trust act, the more accurate definition of the
rules of procedure in the issuance of injunctions, good roads,
conservation, pensions and the encouragement of shipping, received the
stamp of party approval. Planks pledging the party to legislation
requiring the publicity of campaign expenditures, the valuation of the
physical property of railroads and the popular election of senators were
uniformly rejected. The closing paragraph declared that the "trend of
Democracy is toward Socialism, while the Republican party stands for
wise and regulated individualism." The contest over the nomination was
extremely brief, as Taft received 702 out of 979 votes on the first
ballot. James S. Sherman of New York was nominated for the

The Democrats, meanwhile, were in a quandary. A considerable fraction of
the party desired the nomination of somebody other than Bryan, whose
defeats in 1896 and 1900 had cast doubts upon the wisdom of a third
trial. Nevertheless the failure of Parker in 1904 had been so
overwhelming that the nomination of a conservative seemed undesirable
and, moreover, no candidate appeared whose achievements or promise could
overcome the prestige of Bryan. The national convention was held in
Denver, July 7-10, and Bryan dominated all its activities. The platform
welcomed the Republican promise to reform the tariff, but doubted its
sincerity; promised changes in the Interstate Commerce law, a more
elastic currency, improvements in the law of injunctions, generous
pensions, good roads and the conservation of the national resources. In
the main, however, the platform was an emphatic condemnation of the
Republican party as the party of "privileges and private monopoly." It
declared that the Republican speaker of the House of Representatives
exercised such absolute domination as to stop the enactment of measures
desired by the majority. It demanded the termination of the "partnership
which has existed between corporations of the country and the Republican
party," by which the business interests contributed great sums of money
in elections in return for an unmolested opportunity to "encroach upon
the rights of the people." It promised the enactment of laws preventing
corporation contributions to campaign funds and providing for the
publication before election of all contributions by individuals.
Detailed and definite planks in relation to trusts indicated that the
framers of the platform possessed at least the courage of their
convictions. Three laws were promised: one preventing the duplication of
directors among competing corporations; another establishing a license
system which would place under federal authority those corporations
engaged in interstate commerce which controlled as much as twenty-five
per cent. of the product in which they dealt, and which should likewise
protect the public from watered stock and prohibit any single
corporation from controlling over fifty per cent. of the total amount of
any commodity consumed in the United States; and, third, a law forcing
corporations to sell to purchasers in all sections of the country on the
same terms, after making due allowance for transportation costs.

As soon as the platform was out of the way, the convention turned to the
nomination of the candidate. Only George Gray, of Delaware, and John A.
Johnson, of Minnesota, contested the leadership of Bryan, but their
support was so slight that he was chosen on the first ballot. John W.
Kern, of Indiana, was nominated for the vice-presidency.

Of the smaller parties which shared in the election of 1908, the
People's party and the Socialists should be mentioned. The Populists
adopted a program of economic reforms many parts of which had been
prominent in their platforms of 1892 and 1896. Both the Republicans and
the Democrats, however, had adopted so many of these earlier demands
that the Populists rapidly lost strength and disappeared after 1908. The
Socialists likewise advocated economic reforms, together with government
ownership of the railroads, and of such industries as were organized on
a national scale. The candidate nominated was Eugene V. Debs, a labor
leader who had gained prominence at the time of the Pullman strike.[1]

The only novelty in the campaign was Bryan's stand in regard to campaign
funds. By calling upon his supporters for large numbers of small
individual contributions, he drew attention to the fact that the
corporations were helping generously to meet Taft's election expenses.
At their leader's direction the Democratic committee announced that it
would receive no contributions whatever from corporations, that it would
accept no offering over $10,000 and that it would publish a list of
contributors before the close of the campaign.

The result of the election was the triumph of Taft and his party. The
Republican popular vote was 7,700,000; the Democratic, 6,500,000; the
Socialist, 420,890. The election also gave the Republicans control of
Congress, which was to be constituted as follows during 1909-1911:
Senate, Democrats, 32, Republicans, 61; House of Representatives,
Democrats, 172, Republicans, 219.

Few men in our history have had a wider judicial and administrative
experience before coming to the presidency than that of William H. Taft.
He was born in 1857 in Ohio, graduated from Yale University with high
rank in the class of 1878 and later entered upon the study of law. A
judicial temperament early manifested itself and Taft became
successively judge of the Superior Court in Cincinnati and of a United
States Circuit Court. From the latter post he was called to serve upon
the Philippine Commission, was later Governor of the Philippines and
Secretary of War in Roosevelt's cabinet. During the period of his
connection with the Philippines and his membership in the Cabinet he
visited Cuba, Panama, Porto Rico, Japan and the Papal Court at Rome in
connection with matters of federal importance.

Personally Taft is kindly, unaffected, democratic, full of good humor,
courageous. As a public officer he was slow and judicial, rather than
quick and executive like his predecessor. Although in sympathy with the
reforms instituted by Roosevelt, Taft was less the reformer and more
conscious of considerations of constitutionality. Roosevelt thought of
the domain of the executive as including all acts not _specifically
forbidden_ by the Constitution or by the laws of the nation; Taft
thought of it as including only those which were _specifically granted_
by the Constitution and laws. The one was voluble, a dynamo of energy,
quick to seize and act upon any innovation that gave promise of being
both useful and successful; the other thought and acted more slowly and
was less sensitive to the feasibility of change. One possessed well-nigh
all the attributes necessary for intense popularity; the other inspired
admiration among a smaller group. Roosevelt had a peculiarly keen
perception of the currents of public opinion, enjoyed publicity and knew
how to achieve it; Taft was less quick at discovering the popular thing
and less adept at those tricks of the trade that heightened the
popularity of his predecessor.

Despite the patent differences of temperament and philosophy between
Taft and Roosevelt, both expected that the new administration would be
an extension of the old one. Roosevelt indicated this in his frank
preference for Taft as his successor; Taft indicated it in his thorough
acceptance of the policies of the preceding seven years and in his
intention, expressed at the time of his inauguration, to maintain and
further the reforms already initiated. His first act, however, the
appointment of his official advisors, caused some surprise among the
friends of his predecessor who expected that he would retain most if not
all of the Roosevelt cabinet. When he did not do so, it seemed as if the
attempt to further the Roosevelt policies would lack continuity.[2]

The immediate problem that faced the new executive was the revision of
the tariff. The task was one which has frequently resulted in political
disaster, but the platform left no choice to the President:

The Republican party declares unequivocally for a revision of the
tariff by a special session of Congress immediately following the
inauguration of the next President.... In all tariff legislation the
true principle of protection is best maintained by the imposition
of such duties as will equal the difference between the cost of
production at home and abroad, together with a reasonable profit to
American industries.

The precise meaning of this declaration will perhaps always remain a
matter of dispute, although it is certain that the public in general
understood it to mean a distinct lowering of the tariff wall, and Taft
committed himself to downward revision in his inaugural address.
Moreover, whether it was intended by the framers to commit the party
to downward revision or not, the method of defining the amount of
protection to be granted was both novel and unsatisfactory, as
Professor Taussig has pointed out. How could the costs of production
at home or abroad be determined? To what extent would the principle
announced in the platform be carried? Almost any commodity can be
produced almost anywhere if the producer is guaranteed the cost of
production, together with a reasonable profit. The wise revision of
the tariff is difficult enough under any circumstances; under so vague
a theory as was proposed in 1908, the chances of success became

The drafting of the tariff bill proceeded in the usual manner. The
Ways and Means Committee of the House, the chairman of which was
Sereno Payne, held preliminary public "hearings," which were open to
any who desired to offer testimony or make requests. Naturally,
however, the great body of the consuming public was little
represented; most of those who appeared were manufacturers, importers
and other interested parties. The bill drawn up by the Committee and
passed by the House revised existing duties, on the whole, in the
downward direction. The Senate Finance Committee, however, under the
leadership of Nelson W. Aldrich, an experienced and able proponent of
a high protective tariff, made 847 amendments, many of them important
and generally in the direction of higher rates. The Senate, like the
House, contained several Republicans, usually called "insurgents," who
were inclined to break away from certain of the party doctrines.
Senators Bristow, Cummins, Dolliver and La Follette were among them.
This contingent had hoped for a genuine downward revision, and when
they saw that the bill was not in accord with their expectations, they
prepared to demand a thorough debate. Each of the insurgents made an
especial study of some particular portion of the proposed measure so
as to be well prepared to urge reductions. Their efforts were
unavailing, however, and the bill passed--the insurgents voting with
the great majority of the Democrats in the negative. The bill then
went to a conference committee. Up to this point, the President had
taken little share in the formation of the bill. Yet as leader of the
party he had pledged himself to a downward revision and the result
seemed likely not to be in the promised direction. He therefore
exerted pressure on the conference committee and succeeded apparently
in getting some reductions, chiefly the abolition of the duty on
hides. The bill was then passed by both houses and signed by the
President on August 5, 1909.

The question whether the Payne-Aldrich act redeemed the pledge
embodied in the platform of 1908 will doubtless remain a debatable
question. On the one hand, a prominent Republican member of the
Committee on Ways and Means and of the Conference Committee, declared
that the act represented the greatest reduction that had been made in
the tariff at any single time since the first revenue law was signed
by George Washington. Roosevelt also defended the act. Experts outside
of Congress sharply differed. Professor Taussig analyzed the act in
all its aspects and concluded that no essential change had been made
in our tariff system. "It still left an extremely high scheme of
rates, and still showed an extremely intolerant attitude on foreign
trade." General public opinion was most affected by the fact that
duties on cotton goods were raised, and those on woolen goods left at
the high rates levied under the Dingley act. It also appeared that
many silent influences had been at work--the duty on cheap cotton
gloves, for example, being doubled through the efforts of an
interested individual who procured the assistance of a New England

Not long after the passage of the act President Taft defended it in a
speech at Winona, Minnesota, as the best tariff bill that the
Republican party had ever passed. In regard to the woolen schedule he
frankly said:

Mr. Payne in the House, and Mr. Aldrich, in the Senate, although
both favored reduction in the schedule, found that in the Republican
party the interests of the wool growers of the Far West and the
interests of the woolen manufacturers in the East and in other
States, reflected through their representatives in Congress, were
sufficiently strong to defeat any attempt to change the woolen
tariff and that, had it been attempted, it would have beaten the
bill reported from either committee.... It is the one important
defect in the present Payne tariff.

The response of the press and the insurgent Republicans to the passage
of the bill and to the Winona speech were ominous for the future of the
party. Although not unanimous, condemnation was common in the West,
even in Republican papers. Particular objection was made to the high
estimate which the President placed upon the act and to his defence of
Senator Aldrich, who had come to be looked upon as the forefront of the
"special interests"; and western state Republican platforms in 1910
declared that the act had not been in accord with the plank of 1908.[4]

Coincidently with the disagreement over the Payne-Aldrich act, there
raged the unhappy Pinchot-Ballinger controversy. One of the last acts
of President Roosevelt had been to withdraw from sale large tracts of
public land which contained valuable water-power. The purpose and the
effect of the order was to prevent these natural resources from falling
into private hands and particularly into the hands of syndicates or
corporations who would develop them mainly for individual interests.
President Taft's Secretary of the Interior, Richard A. Ballinger, took
the attitude that the withdrawals were without statutory justification
and he therefore revoked the order for withdrawals immediately after
coming into office. Upon further investigation, however, he re-withdrew
a part of the land, although somewhat doubtful of his power to do so.

During the summer of 1909, Gifford Pinchot, the Chief Forester,
addressed an irrigation Congress in Spokane and asserted that the
water-power sites were being absorbed by a trust. Much interest was
aroused by the charge, which was looked upon as an attack on the
Secretary of the Interior and his policy. Within a short time the idea
became widespread, through the press, that Ballinger was associated
with interests which were desirous of seizing the public resources and
that this fact lay back of his partial reversal of the policy of his
predecessor. This impression was deepened by the charges of L.R.
Glavis, an employee of the Department of the Interior, concerning the
claims of a certain Clarence Cunningham, representing a group of
investors, to some exceedingly valuable coal lands in Alaska. Glavis
asserted that the Cunningham claims were fraudulent, that many of the
Cunningham group were personal friends of Ballinger and that the latter
had acted as attorney for them before becoming Secretary of the
Interior. President Taft, with the backing of an opinion from
Attorney-General Wickersham, upheld Ballinger and dismissed Glavis. The
press again took the matter up and the controversy was carried into
Congress, where an investigation was ordered. About the same time
Pinchot was removed for insubordination, and additional heat entered
into the disagreement. The majority of the congressional committee of
investigation later made a report exonerating Ballinger, but his
position had become intolerable and he resigned in March, 1911. The
result of the quarrel was to weaken the President, for the idea became
common that his administration had been friendly with interests that
wished to seize the public lands.

Republican complaint in regard to the tariff and the Pinchot-Ballinger
controversy were surface indications of a division in the party into
conservative or "old-guard," and progressive or insurgent groups. The
same line of demarcation appeared in a quarrel over the power of the
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Joseph G. Cannon. Cannon had
served in the lower branch of Congress almost continuously for
twenty-seven years, and in 1910 was filling the position of speaker for
the fourth consecutive time. Much of his official influence rested on
two powers: he appointed the committees of the House and their
chairmen, a power which enabled him to punish opponents, reward friends
and determine the character of legislation; and he was the chairman and
dominant power of the Committee on Rules which determined the procedure
under existing practice and made special orders whenever particular
circumstances seemed to require them. It was widely believed that
Cannon, like Aldrich in the Senate, effectually controlled the passage
of legislation, with slender regard to the wishes or needs of the
people. "Cannonism" and "Aldrichism" were considered synonymous. For
several years an influential part of the Republican and Independent, as
well as the Democratic press had attacked Speaker Cannon as the enemy
of progressive legislation. Many of them laid much of the blame for the
character of the Payne-Aldrich act at his door. _The Outlook_ decried
"government by oligarchy"; _The Nation_ declared that he belonged to
another political age; Bryan queried what Cannon was selling and how
much he got; Gompers, the head of the American Federation of Labor,
pointed him out as the enemy of all reforms.

The outcry against the Speaker in the House itself, reinforced by the
gathering opposition outside, found effective voice in a coalition of
the Democrats and the insurgent Republicans. In mid-March, 1910, an
insurgent presented a resolution designed to replace the old Committee
on Rules by a larger body which should be elected by the House, and on
which the speaker would have no place. The friends of Cannon rallied to
his defence; other business fell into the background; and debate became
sharp and personal. One continuous session lasted twenty-six hours,
parliamentary fencing mingling with horse-play while each side
attempted to get a tactical advantage over the other.[5] Eventually
about forty insurgent Republicans joined with the Democrats to pass the
resolution. The result of the change was to compel the speaker to be a
presiding officer rather than the determining factor in the passage of
legislation. About the time that Cannon's domination in the House was
being broken, the announcement that Senator Nelson W. Aldrich and his
staunchly conservative associate, Eugene Hale, of Maine, were about to
retire indicated a similar change in the Senate. These men had served
for long periods in Congress and were looked upon as the ablest and
most influential of the "reactionary" element in the upper house.

Coincidently with the partial disintegration of the conservative wing
of the Republican party in Congress, there was passed a large volume of
legislation of the type desired by the insurgents. The public land laws
were improved; acts requiring the use of safety appliances on railroads
were strengthened; a Bureau of Mines was established to study the
welfare of the miners; a postal savings bank system was erected; and an
Economy and Efficiency Commission appointed to examine the several
administrative departments so as to discover wasteful methods of doing
business. Of especial importance was the Mann-Elkins Act of June 18,
1910, which further extended the powers of the Interstate Commerce
Commission. Experience had brought out serious defects in the
rate-fixing procedure set up by the Hepburn Act. By that law, to be
sure, a shipper could complain that the roads were charging him an
unreasonable rate and the Commission might, in course of time, uphold
him and order relief; but in the meantime the shipper, especially if he
were a small one, might be crushed out of existence through the large
rates, and the consuming public would have paid increased prices for
commodities with no possibility of a remuneration to them, even if the
Commission decided that the rates levied were unreasonably high. The
Mann-Elkins law, therefore, provided that the Commission might suspend
any proposed change in rates for a period not greater than ten months,
and decide during that time whether it was reasonable and should go
into effect or not. In this way the burden of proving the justice of a
suggested change was placed upon the railroads.[6]

An act of June 25, 1910, which was amended a year later, required the
publication of the names of persons contributing to the federal
campaign funds of the political parties, and the amounts contributed,
as well as a detailed account of the expenditures of the committees and
the purposes for which the expenses were incurred. President Taft also
urged the passage of an income tax amendment to the federal
Constitution and indicated that he was in favor of an amendment
providing for the popular election of senators. Amendments for both
these purposes passed Congress; but they were not ratified and put into
effect until 1913.

In June, 1910, Roosevelt returned from Africa whither he had gone for a
hunting trip, after the inauguration of President Taft. Both elements
in the Republican party were anxious for his sympathy and support.
Roosevelt himself seems to have desired to remain outside the arena, at
least for a time, but for many reasons permanent separation from
politics was impossible. He became a candidate for the position of
temporary chairman of the New York Republican State Convention against
Vice-President James S. Sherman. The contest in the convention brought
out opposition to him on the part of the old-guard, and his triumph
left that wing of the party dissatisfied and disunited. During the
summer and autumn of 1910 he made extensive political tours. At
Ossawatomie, Kansas, he developed the platform of the "New
Nationalism," which included more thorough control of corporations, and
progressive legislation in regard to income taxes, conservation, the
laboring classes, primary elections at which the people could nominate
candidates for office, and the recall of elective officials before the
close of their terms. He urged such vigorous use of the powers of the
federal government that there should be no "neutral ground" between
state and nation, to serve as a refuge for law-breakers. Critics
pointed out that these proposals had been urged by the insurgents and
the followers of Bryan, and there could be no doubt where the
sympathies of Roosevelt lay in the factional dispute within the
Republican party.

While conditions within the organization were such as were indicated by
the hostile criticism of the Payne-Aldrich act, by the Pinchot-Ballinger
controversy, the overturn of Speaker Cannon and the disintegration of
the Aldrich-Hale group, the congressional election of 1910 took place.
Signs of impending change had already become evident. Insurgent
Republicans were carrying the party primaries; and the Democrats, who
were plainly confident, emphasized strongly the tariff act, Cannonism
and the high cost of living as reasons for the removal of the
Republicans. The result was a greater upheaval than even the Democrats
had prophesied. In nine states the Republicans were ousted from
legislatures that would elect United States senators; the new Senate
would contain forty-one Democrats and fifty-one Republicans--too narrow
a Republican majority in view of the strength of the insurgents. In the
choice of members of the lower branch of Congress there was a still
greater revolution; the new House would contain 228 Democrats, 161
Republicans and one Socialist, while Cannon would be retired from the
speakership. In eastern as well as western states, Democratic governors
were elected in surprising numbers. Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut,
New York, New Jersey, Ohio and Oregon were among them. Of particular
importance, as later events showed, was the success in New Jersey of
Woodrow Wilson, former president of Princeton University.

Not long after the election of 1910 the President sent to Congress a
special message urging the adoption of a reciprocal trade agreement
with Canada. The arrangement provided for freedom of trade in many raw
materials and food products, and for substantial reductions on some
manufactured articles. He believed that the project would benefit both
countries economically and improve the already friendly relations


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