The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, March 01, 1901, Image 1

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The Commoner
VOL. I. NO. 6.
$1.00 a Year.
WilHam J. Bryan.
Editor And Proprietor.
The Monopoly Must be Prevented.
The billion dollar steel trust will serve a use
ful purpose if it awakens the- people to a realiza
tion to the menace of private monopoly. The
existence of such a combination of capital, abso
lutely controlling several lines of business, doling
out daily bread to tens of thousands of working
men and dominating a large part of the business
world, is in itself indefensible and insufferable.
The Kansas City platform points out a remedy '
the only effective remedy proposed. Congress
has power to rrulate interstate commerce; it has
power to prescribe the terms upon which a corpo
ration organized in any state can do business
outside of the state. Let Congress oompel all
corporations to take out a federal license before
engaging in interstate commerce or, if that is
too harsh, let it require that corporations having
a capital above a designated amount shall take out
a license. This license could be granted by the
interstate commerce commission, or by some com
mission created for the purpose, to corporations
upon certain conditions. The first condition
should be that there is to be no water in the
stock, and the second, that the corporation is
not attempting to monopolize any branch of
industry or the production of any article of mer
chandise. The license should be subject to
revocation if the conditions are afterwards
violated. It should be. made unlawful for such
a corporation to use the mails, the telegraph lines
or the railroads outside of its own state until the
license is granted. Such a system would confine
a monopoly to the state of its origin, and even
New Jersey would soon tire of a monopoly under
such conditions. This is the remedy suggested
in the democratic platform; if the republicans
have a better one let them produce it. They are
in power, and are responsible for the continued
existence of every trust. They have the presi
dent, the senate, the house, the attorney general
and the courts. They can destroy every trust if
they desire to do so.
A Forgotten Admonition.
The Washington Times has many estimable
qualities but it occasionally allows its partisanship
to carry it to extremes. For instance, it reminds
Congress that the President in his last annual
message said:
In our great prosperity we must guard against
the danger it invites of extravagance in Government
expenditures and appropriations; and the chosen rep
resentatives of the people will, I doubt not, furnish
an example in their legislation of that wise economy
which in a Bcason of plenty husbands for the fu
ture. Now, what could be more cruel than this un
timely reference to a long since forgotten admon
ition? Perhaps, after all, the republican members
will not feel entirely crushed by this executive
rebuke when they remember that the President
has frequently found it convenient to disregard
his own messages, but it is fortunate that mes
sages are not re-read at the close of congressional
Will the Senate Act?
Three days more and congress will adjourn;
three days more and its record will be completed.
There is time yet to submit the amendmen. pro
viding for the election of United States senators
by a direct vote. The House of Representatives
has acted but the senate has failed to act. The
sentiment in favor of the amendment is almost
unanimous;-corruption, the domination of corpor
ations and legislative deadlocks have shown the
public' the evils of the present method.
Will the senate act? Will it respond to the
demand? If it continues to stand in the way of
this righteous reform it will become necessary for
the people, acting through the states, to avail
themselves of the other constitutional method and
effect the change by means of a convention.
Elastic Logic.
The republicans have given so many evidences
of elasticity of logic and conscience that it is dif
ficult to select a prize specimen, but perhaps no
one has shown less regard for common sense and
common honesty in dealing with the Cuban ques
tion thau Mr. Whitelaw Reid. Here is a sample
of his argument:
Is the flag to be withdrawn from Cuba? It is
not one of our 'new possessions,' but our responsibil
ity for it is imbedded in successive and solemn decla
rations by almost every administration since Madison.
There is no eagerness to annex the island.
Rather there' is a dread of such connection, lest it lead
to statehood and so prove the entering wedge for a
transformation of our continental republic, which
would inevitably work its ruin. But the duty of pro
tection remains. Under that protectorate the island
could have as much freedom as any state in the union,
but it wotild not be likely to have more. It could not
treat with Spain about the Cuban debt, or, with
France about the Panama canal. Its foreign relations
would, and its custom houses might, remain under
the guidance of the protecting power. Does that
break the congressional promise to leave the govern
ment and control of the island, to its people?
Have not the government and control of Ver
mont "been left to its people? Must Cuba, though
thoroughly dependent upon us for protection and S
fense, and absolutely essential to our safety, never
theless have more freedom thrust upon it than Ver
mont or Massachusetts or New York? Onr Congress
is capable somctimcs'of extraordinary things, but it is
hardly capable of that.
The United States declared the people of Cuba
to bo, of right, free and independent. Can any
person read the pledge made to Cuba and then
read Mr. Rcid's construction of that pledge with
out recognizing the hypocrisy of the republican
position? Mr. Reid once came near being Vice
President of the United States and ho is now the
owner of a great metropolitan newspaper, lie
stands high in the councils of his party and may
be presumed to speak for a certain element of tho
party. He thinks that Cuba ought to bo satisfied
if Bhe has "self government like Vermont."
Does he intend that Cuba shall have two senators
and representation in congress like Vermont?
Certainly not. Does he propose that wo shall
tax Cuba without representation and govern iier
withouther consent? That mu8t bo his plan.
If Mr. Reid had lived a century and a quarter
ago and had applied the same logic to tho revolu
tionary situation, he would have seen no necessity
for independence. If ho had lived in South Africa,
he would have seen no reason for opposing Eng
lish sovereignty in the Transvaal. If he had lived
in Cuba he would have supported Weylerism and
Spanish rule.
Tho Paris treaty signed by thoJXnited States
and Spain, recognizes the independence of Cuba
and we have no more right to deprive her o that
independence than wo have to march to Mexico
and assert sovereignty there. To assume that we
must govern Cuba in order to protect her is to eih
tirely abandon the Monroe doctrine under which
we have protected republics without interfering
in their government.
A Word to Subscribers.
About the miduMe of December I announced
my purpose to establish a weekly journal for the
discussion of political, economic and sociolog
ical questions, and stated that the first numbers-
would be issued in January.
Shortly afterwards it was stated that the ini
tial number would be issued on January 23d and
the size of the paper was determined upon and
made public.
Subscriptions began ta come in as soon as the
first notice appeared, and nearly fifteen thousand
were enrolled before a copy of the paper camo
from the press. The news stand orders and sam
ple copies, in addition to subscriptions, were suf
ficient to justify a first edition of fifty thousand
and subsequent editions of the first number amount
ing to fifty-five thousand have been found neces
sary. In entering so many subscriptions and ad
dressing so many wrappers by hand mistakes were
unavoidable, owing in some cases to illegible
handwriting or failure of the subscriber to give
street number, and in some cases to errors of
inexperienced clerks. Delays necessarily occurred
at the postoflice in the beginning, when the
distribution of a ton and a half of papers wa
added to the regular work of the pogtofiice force.