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About The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923 | View Entire Issue (Jan. 23, 1901)
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VOL. I. NO. 1.
LINCOLN, NEBRASKA, JANUARY 23, 1901.
$1.00 a. Year.
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Vyilli&rri 4. Breugu,
Editor and Proprietor. -.A
"Webster defines a commoner as "one of the
common people. " The name has heen selected for
this paper because The Commoner will endeavor
to aid the common people in tho protection of their
rights, the advancement of their interests and the
realization of their aspirations.
It is riot necessary to apologize for the use of a
term which distinguishes the great body of the
population from the comparatively few, who, for
one reason or another, withdraw themselves from
sympathetic connection with their fellows. Among
the Greeks "BLoi polloi" was used to describe tho
many, while among the Romans the word "plebs"
was employed for the same purpose. These
appellations, like "the common people," have
been assumed with pride by those to whom they
were applied, while they have been used as terms
of reproach by those who cdunted themselves
n.TnrTify t.Tin. n.riHt.rp.rn.t,ir pIhrrph. TNTit.VnTi rp.p.nnt.
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years there lias been a growing tendency in some
quarters to denounce as demagogic any reference
to, or praise of, the common-people.
One editor in a late issue of his paper takes
exception to tho phrase and says:
This expression is an ill-chosen one and should
have no lodgment in the vocabulary of an American
patriot and statesman. If we sought its origin, we
would look for it in that specious demagogy which
has evolved the professional politician, arrayed coun
try against town tho farmer and his sons and
daughters against the business and professional men
and their sons and daughters capital against labor,
and built up against neighbors the impregnable bar
riers of prejudice and hate.
This quotation is reproduced because it fairly
represents the views of those who criticize tho
expression. It has, however, an eminently
, respectable origin. In the same chapter in which
Christ condensed man's duty to his fellows into
the commandment: Thou shalt love thy neighbor
as thyself; in the same chapter in which he de
nounced those who devour widows' houses and for
a pretense make long prayers in this same chapter
it is said of Him: The common people heard Him
j, To higher compliment was ever paid to any
f The term, the- common people, is properly
used to describe the large majority of the people
those who earn their living and give to society a
fair return for the benefits bestowed by sooiety
those who in their daily, lives recognize the ties
which bind together the mass of' the people who
have a common' lot and a common hope. Some
times they are called "the middle classes" because
paupers and oriminals are excluded' on the one hand,
while on the other hand some oxolude themselves
because of wealth or position or pride of birth.
The common people form the industrious, in
telligent and patriotic element of our population;
they produce tha.natiefi'g wmlta. in time of peace
and light the nation's battler in trrac of wai
They are self-reliant and independent; they ask of
government nothing but justice and will not bo
satisfied with less. They are not seeking to get
their hands into other people's pockets, but are
content if they can keep other people's hands out
of their pockets.
The common people do not constitute an ex
clusive sooiety they are not of the four hundred;
any one can become a member if he is willing to
contribute by brain or - muaole to tho nation's
strength and greatness. Only those are barred
and they are barred by their own choice who
imagine themselves made of a superior kind of
clay and who deny the equality of all before tho
A rich man, who has honestly acquired his
wealth and is not afraid to intrust its care to laws
made by his fellows, can count himself among tho
common people, while a poor man is not really
one of them if he fawns before a plutocrat and
has no'Jiighor ambition than;to be a courtier or a
The Commoner will bo satisfied if, by fidelity
to the common people, it proves its right -to tho
name which has been chosen.
A Living Fountain.
Jeremiah gave to literature a beautiful and
striking figure when, in charging tho children of
Israel with apostasy, he said:
They have forsaken me, the fountain of living
waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns,
that can hold no water.
One is reminded of this forcible simile today
when a large number of our people seem inclined
to turn back to the once discarded doctrine of
empires. To compare self-government with an
arbitrary form of government is like comparing
a living fountain with a broken cistern.
When the people are recognized as the source
of power the government is perpetual because the
people endure forever. The government then
responds to their desires and conforms to their
character; it can bo made as good as they deserve
to have and they are satisfied with it because it is
their own handiwork. If it has evils those evils
are eudured because the people recognize that
they themselves are to blame and that it is within
their power to apply any needed remedy.
A government resting on force is, on tho
other hand, ever unstable because it excites
hatred rather than affection anjd is continually at
war with human nature; it is in constant antag
onism to that universal sentiment- which is de
fined as the love of liberty; '
All history sustains tho self-evident truths
which form the fonndafiibif -W1 government
deriving its just powers from the consent of the
governed. ' All' history condemns a political
structure which appeals only to fear and- relief
upon bayonets for its support. &. . ?
How the Tariff Aids the Trusts.
A recent number of tho Hardware Dealer's
MoYn'jiHn nnufninci nn infninafitiv nnmmnnf: rn ',
the methods of tho wire nail trust. It says:
A statement which recently emanated from
Pittsburg has attracted some attention and comment
among hardware men. The points that were sought
to. be made were as follows; In 1808 there were pro
duced in tho United States 7,418,475 kegs of wire
nails.' These cost tho consumer 91.31 per keg. There
were exported during the same year 307,191 kega, at
about $1.55 per keg, the foreigner paying a'hlgher price
than .the homo customer. These same nails Sold at
91.11 per keg on an average during 1894.
During the last year there were manufactured
7,509,522 kegs, at an average price of 92.57 to the do
mestic buyers. In tho meantime, 752,781 kegs were
exported, at about $1.'40 per keg. The American cus
tomers of the steel wire nail makers paid about $17,
50(5,124.37 for the balance of the manufactured nails
(about G.840.741 kecrs). Had tho American consumers
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oeen privuegea vo ouy ac wic cjuotunuus grauieu wio
foreign buyers, the Americana would .have saved
about 98010,080.97 on their purchase.
"""More 'than eight millions of dollars! "This
measures tho extortion practiced upon the hard
ware merchant, but this must bo increased by the
merchant's profit, if his profit is estimated upon
a percentage basis, before it measures the extor
tion practiced upon the consumer.
And yet some are so devoted to a protective
tariff, as not to protest against import duties
which enable trusts to sell at home at a high
price while they sell abroad at a low price.
It has been intimated that Vice-Presidcut-EIecfc
Roosevelt is desirous of receiving more consider
ation at tho hands of tho President than has, as
a-rule, been given to those occupying his posi
tion. "Whether or not tho report is true is not
material, but the ambition, if he docs entortain it,
is an entirely worthy one.
Why has the Vice-President been so generally
ignored by tho Chief Executive in the past? It is
said that Mr. Breckenridge was only consulted
once by President Buchanan, and then only in re
gard to the phraseology of a Thanksgiving Proc
lamation. This incident was related to a later
Vice-President who was noted for his skill at re-
partee anu ne repiiuu, wim u iiWiukus m mo cyu; ;i
"Well, there is one more Thanksgiving Day be
fore my term expires."
According to the constitution the Vice-President
succeeds to the office in case the President
dies, resigns, is removed, or becomes unable to dis
charge the duties of the office. The public good
requires that he should be thoroughly informed as
to the details of the administration and ready to
take up the work of the Executive at a moment's
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