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About The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923 | View Entire Issue (March 8, 1901)
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is not only an American principle; it is world
wide, and the legality of a revolution depends
upon its success.
Prior to the Spanish-American war, the people
of Cuba and the people of the Philippines had
taken up arms in defense of their liberty. Had
our war with Great Britain been a failure, our
own declaration of independence would have had
no legal standing. But our rebellion against
King George became a "revolution" because
we wore successful; and it is generally agreed
that our national era dates from our decla
ration of independence and not from the treaty
which Great Britain made with us in declaring
peace, and in conveying to our forefathers the
territory for which they had fought.
So, long before the beginning of the Spanish
American war, the people of the Philippines and
the people of Cuba had, by their own acts, laid
the ground work for the record title to their
native land. All that was necessary to make
their declarations of independence the title deeds
for the sovereign people of those terrtories was
succesful revolution against Spanish authority.
"VVerathose revolutions successful? They were.
In the case of Cuba, the armies of the United
States went to that island and with the aid of -the
Cuban soldiery, swej)t the Spanish army into the
sea. Spanish rule in Cuba was destroyed, and
the Cubans' title to Cuba was complete.
In the case of the Philippines, the United
States navy and army went to those islands, and
with the active assistance and co-operation of the
Filipinos destroyed Spanish rule. With the de
struction of Spanish rule, the "Filipinos' title to
the Philippine islands was complete.
In each instance the title dates back to a
demand for, or a declaration of, independence,
That was the first link. The next was the
government organized on wheels, if you please
but organized, nevertheless, in both Cuba and
the Philippines. The final link in the chain of
title was the destruction of Spanish rule aud the
successful termination of the Revolution on the
part of the Cuban and the Philippine people.
There is the chain of title; one that cannot be
destroyed or broken, in conscience, whatever
sophistry we may employ; one that cannot be
questioned, in truth, whatever specious pleading
we may adopt.
There is the title to Cuba resting in the
Cuban people as firmly as our title rested in the
colonist at the close of the war of the Revolution.
There is the title to the Philippine Islands rest
ing as firmly in the Filipinos as Cuba's title rests
in the Cubans.
Our Commissioners did not dare to permit
Spain to cede Cuba to the United States, because
they knew that because the Cuban Revolution
was successful Spain no longer had title to Cuba.
And when Spain ceded the Philippine Islands to
the United States, Spain conveyed to this country
nothing more than the title she possessed; and
that title, such as it was, was destroyed the mo
ment that the American forces and Aguinaldo's
followers took possession of the City of Manila.
This republican newspaper in one respect is
right. "It is necessary that title must rest some
where, and the abstract will always locate it." In
real estate transactions many deeds have been
placed on record deeds that are of no importance
in determining title. Often these deeds are con
fusing, but the honest abstractor picks up his
chain of title and follows it back in orderly lines,
ignoring the inconsequential deeds in his search
for the real title. So it is of no moment that
there is on this record a quit claim deed from
Spain to the United States with respect to the
Philippine Islands. The chain of title leads
directly to the people of the Philippines; and al
though there were a hundred deeds from a hun
dred kingdoms they would not affect the Filipino's
title to the land of his nativity and to the soil
which for a century has been baptized in the blood
of' Filipinos who have loved liberty enough to
die for it.
Reaction Against High Tariff.
The reaction against a high tariff is manifesting
itself in many quarters. Attention has already
been called to the criticism of Ex-Attorney-General
Miller and to Mr. Babcock's bill to put trust
products on the free list. Now comes the New
York Independent and registers its protest against
the tariff duties which are being utilized by the
trusts for purposes of extortion. It says:
If these duties are no longer protective, arc tlicy
in any way injurious to the American people? Wo
think they are, so far as they arc abused by combina
tions that make them serve as instruments to support
prices fixed by agreement for the home market.
There is evidence that some American manufacturers
are selling their goods abroad now, as they have sold
them in the past, at prices lower than those which
they demand, and are enabled by combination to ex
act, in this country. The American consumer can
never be convinced that the business of those who
supply his wants ought to bo conducted in this way.
He feels that the manufacturers for the encourage
ment of whom he has supported protective legislation
and paid taxes imposed indirectly by that legislation,
ought to give him prices as low as those which they
give to the foreigner. But the repeal of unnecessary
tariff duties will yield little or no relief if the re
straint from possible competition from abroad cannot
be applied. Everybody knows that foreign manufac
turers in the iron and steel industry would not now
be able to threaten our combinations with imports
even if the duties should be repealed tomorrow. The
prices which they must have are too high, aud the
cost of their raw material and labor will prevent any
considerable reduction hereafter.
The protectionists have always assured us that
competition would regulate prices at home pro
vided the foreigner was excluded. Now we find
that the trusts destroy competition at home and
raise prices here while they compete with the for
eigner in his home market.
j-iery trust will act as an object lesson to
teach the people the injustice of a high tariff.
The Canadian government has decided to pur
chase all telegraph lines in the Dominion, paying
therefor $25,000,000. The New York AVorld
sees in this reassurance to those who fear the
final outcome of the movement toward the con
solidation of all our railroads and great industries.
The World says:
Outside of the United States the movement of all
English-speaking peoples is toward either the out-and-out
ownership or the iron-handed control of all
public utilities. Especially is this true of the large
self-governing colonies of Great Britain. Canadian
railways are partly owned by the Government, and
those not owned are rigidly controlled by "Parliamen-
tary law. The new Commonwealth of Australia ha
none but state-owned railroads. In New Zealand th
government not only owns all the railroads but
operates them on the principle that it is not desirable
that they hhould yield a profit but only to make them
of the utmost service to the people. The IMme M n
istcr of New Zealand has declared that any profit
over 3 per cent, on the traffic must immediately he
wiped out by improvements in the service or by lower
fare and freight rates.
Henry Demarest Lloyd in his "Newest England"
declares that "such a thing as a rebate or discrimina
tion in favor of one shlppor against another is un
known in New Zealand." lie shows that the railroad
service worhs well becauso it is based on a non-political
civil-service system. The NCivil-Sorvicc Hoard in
New South Wales can only bo removed by a concur
rent majority vote of both houses of Parliament, and
its authority is such, bays Mr. Lloyd, that not a
single foreman can be transferred from one job to
another without its consent. In England itself,
where the Government ownership of telegraph lines
is more than a quartor of a century old, and where
the railroads are forced to run cheap working-people's
trains at hours and faros arbitrarily fixed by Parlia
ment, and are otherwise regulated very much as if
they were Government property, the same condition
precedent of a civil service out of the reach of the
politicians has been long since scciuoJ.
Channing on Human Rights.
I repeat it, for the truth deserves reiteration, that
all nations are bound to respect the rights of every
human being. This is Gods law as old as the world,
No local law can touch it.
These are the words of William Ellery Chan
ning, who was described by Samuel Taylor Cole
ridge as one having both the " love of wisdom
and the wisdom of love." "The Man Above
the State" was the subject of Channiug's re
marks, and he said:
There is a grand law of humanity more compre
hensive than all others and under which every man
should find shelter. Ho has not only a right, but is
bound, to use freely and improve the powers which
God has given him, and other men instead of obstruct
ing are bound to assist their development and ex
Mr. Channing pointed out that these claims
are not derived from any particular family or
They are not the growth of any particular soil
They are not ripened under a peculiar sky. They are
not written on a particular complexion. They belong
to human nature. The ground on which one man
asserts them, all stand on, nor can they be denied to
one without being denied to all.
The imperialist of today will do well to pon
der upon these sentences of the eloquent Chan
ning: Man is not a mere creature of the state. lie has
rights which date before all charters and communi
ties; not conventionable, nor repealable, but as eter
nal as the powers and laws of his being.
Those who imagine that the Filipinos' rights
have been limited by our acts of oppression should
listen carefully to Channing's reminder on this
Because a number of men invade the rights of a
fellow creature and pronounce him destitute of rights,
his claims are not a whjt touched by this. lie is as
much a man as before. Not a single gift of God on
which this right rests is taken away. If, indeed, any
change takes place his claims are enhanced on the
ground that the suffering and injured are entitled to
peculiar regard. If any rights should be singularly
sacred in our, sight, they are those which are denied
and trodden in the dust. . , .
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