The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, March 29, 1901, Image 1

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    The Commoner.
VOL. I. NO. 10.
$1.00 a Year
1Uilliarm J. Bryan,
Editor and Proprietor.
Amendment by Convention.
Article V of the Federal Constitution pro
vides: "The Congress, whenever two-thirds of
both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose
amendments to this Constitution, or, on the appli
cation of the legislatures of two-thirds of the
several states,'shall call a convention for propos
ing amendments, which, in either case, shall be
valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this
constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of
three-fourths of the several Btates, or by conven
tions in three-fourths thereof, as one or the other
mode of ratification may be proposed by Con
gress." The above mentioned provision makes it pos
sible for the states to take the initiative in secur
ing an amendment to the Constitution and is
another illustration of the foresight of the early
statesmen. For nearly ten years the people have
been trying to secure an amendment providing
for the election of senators by a direct vote of
the people. In the i if ty-second, Fifty-third, and
Fifty-sixth Congresses the necessary resolution
passed the House of Representatives but died in
the Senate.
Not only did the resolution pass the House,
but it passed each time by more than two-thirds
Among the people there is practically no
opposition to this reform, but the senate delib
erately refuses to permit this change and defies
publio sentiment. The time has come for secur
ing the amendment in spite of the senate's oppo
sition. The voters, irrespective of party, should
demand of the state legislatures such action as
will result in compelling Congress to call a
convention When two-thirds of the states pre
sent their demand in a formal manner, the senate
will yield and the victory will be complete. Now
is the time for action. When United States sen
ators are elected by the people, and therefore,
directly responsible to them, it will be easier to
secure any reform which the people desire.
Politics in Mexico.
Those who have watched the progress of Mex
ico during the last twenty-five years will earnestly
hope for the recovery of President Diaz, about
whose sickness such contradictory reports have
been circulated. He has shown wonderful executive
ability and under his administration great im
provement has been noticeable in every direction.
Education has become more general among the
people; the army has been largely reduced the
number of commissioned officers as well as the
number of privates; business has prospered; hu
man life and property rights have been made more
secure, and the nation has constantly advanced in
the opinion of the outside world. The Ameri
cans residing in Mexico have found in the presi
dent a just and faithful friend and his death
would cause universal sorrow.
There is, however, no reason to predict, as
some have done, disorder or revolution in case of
his demise. Mexico has many able men. They
are not well known abroad because the extraordi
nary merit of Diaz has overshadowed them, but
they are men of education and executive expe
rience. General Reyes, who is often mentioned as
" the next president," was for some time governor
of Nuevo Leon, one of the larger states of the re
public, and is now a member of the cabinet. At
Monterey, the capital of his state, there is a con
siderable colony of Americans and General Reyes
speaks our language fluently. He is a man of ex
tended learning, courage and capacity.
Mr. Limenteur, the present secretary of
finance, has also been mentioned as a possible
successor to Diaz. He is of French descent and
speaks that language, in addition to Spanish and
English. His management of the nation's
finances has been very satisfactory and he is quite
Whether the neighbor to the south of us is
fortunate enough to retain the services of the pres
ent chief executive or is, by his death, compelled
to choose a new president, there is every reason
to believe that she has reached a point where she
can count upon an indefinite continuation of her
present period of development.
The Republic of Mexico is closely bound to
us by political interests as well as by location, and
her welfare must always be a matter of deep con
cern to our people.
Harrison's Last Words.
The March number of the North American
Review contains an article from the pen of the
late Benjamin Harrison. Having been written
so shortly before his death, and dealing with pub
lic questions of the first importance, this article
will probably be remembered as his last public
utterance. It is fortunate for his memory and
for the country that it presents sentiments so truly
American and so thoroughly consistent with in
ternational morality, as well as with our nation's
traditions. The following extract presents a
glimpse of his argument, but it deserves perusal
Mr. Jaraes Bryce recently said:
Indeed the struggles for liberty and natioaality
are almost beginning to be forgotten by the new gen
eration, which has no such enthusiasm for these prin
ciples as men had forty years ago.
And the moment when two republics are in ar
ticulo mortis some of our journals congratulate us
over the prospect of an increased trade with the
Crown Colonies" that are to be set up in their stead
and over the increased output of the Johannesburg
mines. The emperor of Germany is reported to have
forestalled President Krugcr's personal appeal by the
statement that Germanj-'s interests would bo pro
moted by the British conquest of the republics. And
Bishop Thoburn asks: "Why should people lament
the absorption of tho small powers by the largo ones?'
Never before has American sympathy failed, or
been divided, or failed to find its voice, when a people
were fighting for independence. Can. wo now calcu
late commercial gains before the breath of a dying
republic has quite failed or the body has quite taken
on the rigor mortis? If international justice, govern
ment by tho people, the party of the nations, have
ceased to be workable things and have become im
practicable, shall we part with them with a sneer or
simulate regret, even if we have lost the power to
feel it? May not one be allowed to contemplate the
heavens with suppressed aspirations, though there
are no "consumers" there? Do wo need to make a
mock of tho stars because we cannot appropriate
them because they do not take our produce? Have
we deceived ourselves?
There was plainly no call for an armed interven
tion by the United States in South Africa, and per
haps our diplomatic suggestions went as far as usago
would justify. But has not public opinion here been
somehow strongly jpcryerted or. put under sojne un
wonted repression? If we have lost either the right
to denounce aggression or the capacity to weep when
a republic dies it is a grievous loss.
On Dangerous Ground.
Hon. David B. Hill, like ex-President Cleve
land, was invited to the dinner given a short
time ago by the Crescent Democratic Club of
Baltimore, and like Mr. Cleveland he sent his re
grets. The letter which he wrote for that oc
casion contains several sentences which indicate
that Air. Hill is on dangerous ground. He seems
to confess the criticisms made against the demo
cratic party by the republicans and by the demo
crats who opposed the ticket.
He says "Labor and capital should be equal
ly respected but neither should be unnecs
sarily assailed." The democratic party has nev
er been accused of assailing labor, but it is a
favorite pastime with the republicans to accuse
it of assailing capital. The democratic party
distinguishes between legitimate accumulations and
predatory wealth but whenever predatory wealth
is attacked it tries to shield itself behind honest
Mr. Hill says "Opposition to dangerous cor
porate combinations should not be allowed to
degenerate into indiscriminate attacks upon
chartered rights." That is almost identical with
the language used by the republicans in defend
ing the trusts. They are always careful to assure
the public that they condemn "hurtful," "injur
ious" and "dangerous" combinations, but they
are solicitous about vested rights and are fearful
lest the attacks may be "indiscriminate." The
language used by Mr. Hill is generally employed
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