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About The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923 | View Entire Issue (July 26, 1901)
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Vol. i. No. 27.
Lincoln, Nebraska, July 26, 1901.
$1.00 a Year
A strike is on "between organized labor, and
the Steel Company, and it seems to involve the
right of labor to organize for its own protec
tion. President Shaffer who represents the
men is confident of success, while tlie officers
of the Steel Trust as yet show no sign of weak
ening. Mr. Shaffer says-that the men -will not
resort to force and that there will bo no de
struction of property. As long as this promise
is kept public sympathy will bo with the
The right of labor to organize ought not to
bo questioned, and yet the growth of
trusts is directly opposed to the interests of
the laboring men, and, as every trust is a men
ace to the labor organizations, it is strange that
any laboring man votes with the trusts. When
the head of a great corporation controls all the
factories which employ skilled labor in any
particular line he is very likely to dictate terms.
Capital does not need food or clothing. If it
remains idle for a month or a year its owner
simply loses his income for the period of its
idleness, but with the laboring man it is diff event.
His hunger cannot be suspended, his need for
clothing and shelter knows no cessation; the
children muBt be cared for, and with all of the
nations boasted prosperity the average wage
earner is not able to live long without work.
Heretofore, the laborer has found his protec
tion in the fact that the employer could not
close down his factory for a great length of
time without loss of trade and loss of employees.
In case of a strike his business was in danger
of being absorbed by other firms, and his em
ployees were apt to be scattered. When, how
ever, the monopoly of an industry is complete
the employee cannot seek work of a rival firm
because there is no rival firm and he cannot en
gage in other business without losing the ad
vantage of his skill and experience. It is to be
hoped that the laboring men will win in the
present conflict, but if they were as unanimous
on election day as they are when a strike is
ordered they could remedy their grievances
without a strike or loss of employment.
The steel trust may prove a blessing in dis
guise if it convinces the wage-earners of the
country that "a private monopoly is indefensi
ble and intolerable."
No Middle Ground.
If any one thinks that plutocracy can be
placated by an abandonment of silver, let him
read the New York Sun. That paper hai
earned the right to be considered the chief ex
ponent of the money worshipping element in
American politics. Instead of thanking the
Ohio democrats for ignoring the money ques
tion it warns them that anti-trust legislation
would bo moro dangerous to tho country than
free silver. It says:
11 'Wo demand tho suppression of all trusts.'
There Is a monstrous proposition. Were thero
any way of carrying it Into effect industrial dis
aster more widespread and ruinous than has over
fallen upon the country would be tho result.
There would be a commercial cataclysm. Tho
amount of capital and of labor dependent upon
these combinations is so vast that to crush them
would be to bring on unparalleled economic cal
amity compared with which tho free coinage of
silver would have been a fly bite."
So, we are to have a panic and all sorts of
calamity if we destroy the trusts? Well, this
is discouraging. But it only shows that thero
is running through all the republican policies,
the same vicious principle and every policy is
defended by the same brutal argument: "Ac
cept our policies; submit to our demands, or
we will bring on a panic 1" Some think that
they can make peace with the-money trust and
then fight tho dther trusts, but it is a vain hope.
There is no middle ground. The democratic
party must be with the people entirely or
against them entirely. Tho moment it begins
to compromise it losesrmore than it caii. pbs
Warning From a Republican.
Lieutenant Governor Northcott, of Illinois,
a republican of good standing and head officer
of the Modern Woodmen of America, sounded
a timely note of warning in a speech recently
delivered before the Illinois bar association.
Responding to the toast "How Laws are
t made," he said that legislation today is largely
secured by combinations which work not' in the
interests of the people, but in their own in
terests. Concluding, he said:
"I want to say to you, my brothers, that un
less we go to the rescue of the government the
political future is very dark. Don't be satisfied
with going to the polls and voting to ratify the
choice of either one of the two party bosses. Tho
citizens of this country must interest themselves
in politics. He who strives for the elevation and
purification of the government is as much a pa
triot as he who shoulders a musket in the defense
of the nation."
It is gratifying to hear such words from'so
conspicuous a member of the republican party.
The government will be good only so long as
the people will exert themselves to make it
good. It will become corrupt jUBt as soon as
as they become careless or indifferent.
A republic is not a lazy man's government.
It required constant watchfulness and constant
service. But a republic is the best form of
government, not only because under it the peo
ple can have as good a government as they de
serve but also because the watchfulness and
service demanded by a republic develop and
strengthen citizens. Greatness is measured by
usefulness and a republic makes its people
great by making them useful. If tho republi
cans would only heed Governor Nortticott's
words thero would bo a house cleaning in Illi
nois. A False Charge.
The editor of Tiik Commoner has received
a clipping containing tho following charge
against Senator James K. Jones of Arkansas:
"Washington, D. C, June 24. -Editor Globe:
I see by last Wednesday's New York papers that
the great Cotton trust held a meeting in New
York city and among tho directors elected was
Jus. K. Jones, of Arkansas, who is tho chairman
of tho national democratic committee. Now then,
as our great standard-bearer, William Jennings
Bryan, fought out his campaign against trusts
and tyranny, which was ono of our principal is
sues, I move that Jones step down and out, as we
want no schemers or truot officials in our ranks.
Very,,truly, JAMES PETTIT."
This charge was made during tho late cam
paign and the editor of Tiik Commoner inves
tigated it. On another page will be found a
letter written by Senator Jonesto Mr. Lesueur,
then editor of the Kansas City Times, setting
forth the facts.
Senator Jones owns some of the common
stock of the American Cotton Company. His
letter explains that he became interested in the
Graves patent for making a round cotton bale.
A question of infringement arose and the
parties interested, instead of settling it by a
law suit, compromised, each claimant taking
an interest in the patent. As tho develop
ment of the patent required a large amount of
money, a corporation was formed. Senator
Jones as a part owner of the patent received
stock in the company and was made one of the
directors. This company has been called a
trust but it has none of the characteristics of a
trust. In the first place, it operates under a
patent and the opponents of trusts make no
war on patents. A patent is granted for a lim
ited period as a reward to one who1 gives to
the world a new idea. A patent is an act of
of justice to the inventor and an incentive to
further invention. 'The democratic party ha
never condemned the patent system nor has it
condemned those who by means of patents en
joy a temporary monopoly of their inventions.
But the democratic party does condemn those
who, without giving to the public any new or
.useful idea, endeavor to secure a permanent
monopoly of the production of some necessary
of life. 'The difference between a patent and
an industrial monopoly is so great and so plain
that no one need confuse, them.
It has been alleged that the company with