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About The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923 | View Entire Issue (Oct. 25, 1901)
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WILLIATI J. BRYAN, EDITOR AND PROPRIETOR.
Vol. i. No. 40.
Lincoln, Nebraska, October 25, 1901.
$1.00 a Year
An Inquiry Answered.
A-reader asks for a definiti6n of the word
"Democracy" as used by Thomas Jefferson,
and also a definition of tho word "Republican
ism" as used by Abraham Lincoln. If tho
reader -will compare tho utterances of Jeffer
son with the utterances of Lincoln he will find
that Lincoln used tho word "Republican" in the
same sense that Jefferson used tho word "dem
ocrat." In fact, the followers of Jefferson
were first called Republicans, and Jefferson .
speaks of Republicanism as synonymous with
Democracy. For instance, in 1790, in a reply
to an address, (see Jeffersonian Cyclopedia,
page 754,) ho said:
"The republican Is the only form of govern-
VYtYt4 tTitrV lei kf ao11it of irn OTlr? flonfir
war with the rights of men."
In 1793, in a letter to Madison, he said:
"The war between Prance and England has
brought forward the republicans and monocrats
in every state so openly that their relative num-
B x.' a 't1 tlt,l YJ. nnr. t, 1o-
In 1821, toward the close of his .life, in a
letter to Qenoral Dearborn, he said: -. ,t
. It"fa indeed, of little consequence who gov-
cms us if they sincerely and zealously cherish tho
principles of union and republicanism."
Jefferson embodied in tho Declaration of
Independence his idea of Democracy and of
Republican government, for the word Repub
lican is taken from tho word republic, and that
means a government in which the people act
through representatives chosen by themselves.
Among those who believe in a Democratic
Republic, there is a wide difference between
those who emphasize the democratic part of
the name and want the government as near as
possible to tho people, and those who empha-
II size the representative pare 01 tne name ana
want the government as far removed from the
people as possible. But Jefferson, and Lincoln
had confidence in the people both as to their
right to a voice in government and as to their
capacity for self-government.
Lincoln was an enthusiastic admirer of'
Thomas Jefferson, and in one of his speeches
said that, he drew every political principle he
had from the Declaration of Independence."
While there is little or no difference be
tween the meanings of the words "Demo
crat" and "Republican" as used by Lincoln ancl
Jefferson, each word has a party sense in which
it describes the members of a political organi
zation. In this sense- the meaning of the word
may change as a party changes. The word
"Democratic" stands for different policies to
day from what it did when it described those
who supported Mr. Cleveland's administration,
and the word "Republican" now stands for
principles quite, antagonistic to those which
Lincoln advooated Some think more of the
party name than they do of tho principles for
which a party stands, and such chapg their
principles, when nccessaey, to maintain their
A Lover of Liberty..- -
The editor of The Commoner has recently
met an American citizen of Russian birth
whose love for liberty and whose intense de
votion to our principles of government ought
to Bervo as a rebuke to those who are endcav-
oring to obliterate tho difference between a re
public and a monarchy. He was the son of a
well-to-db Russian and received a university
education. While in college ho happened to
see copies of tho Declaration of American In
dependence and the constitution of tho United
States. Tho governmental theories set forth
in these instruments found a response in his
heart, and ho became so devoted a believer in
government resting for its authority upon tho
consent of the governed that he was compelled
to. leave Russia and the estate he. inherited
rfrom4Jiityfatiierewag confis catcd He is no w
building himself up in his chosen oc'duptltipn
with every promise of success. He knows
what imperialism means and prizes tho rjght to
think for himself and to express his thoughts.
Hib face glowed with patriotic pride as ho
declared that he would rather live in this coun
try, even though poor, and be free to believe in
our form of government, than to enjoy his fam
ily estate and be compelled to live under tho
arbitrary rule of a monarch.
Those who are so anxious to exploit for
.cign lands that they look with favor upon a
colonial policy do not realize how steadily and
stealthily the .doctrine of colonialism extin
guishes that regard for the inalienable rights
of man upon which our government is founded.
The Producer's Share. .
The New York Nation turns its face away
- from its golden god long enough to shout a
denial of Mr. Bryan's statement that every de
cade finds a less proportion of the wealth pro
duced in the hands of the producers. The
statement is so easily verified that it is sur
prising that Jho Nation, even with its pre-dis-,
position to take the side of wealth, would
deny it. The census of 1800 showed a general
and alarming increase in the proportion of
tenants and a corresponding decrease in the
proportion of home owners, and Mr. George
K. Holmes of the Census Department, form
, ing his opinion from the census figures, stated
in the Political Science Quarterly that nine
per cent, of the families of the United States
own seventy-one per cent, of tho wealth of the'
nation, while tho remaining ninoty-ono per '
cent, divided among them only twenty-nine
por cent, of tho wealth.
As an illustration of what is going on one
state will be cited now. Mr. Eltwecd Pome
roy in an articlo written for tho Challenge
has given some tables showing tho distribu
tion of wealth in Massachusetts as set forth
by tho probate of estates. From 1829 to 1831,
sixty-one per cent, of tho population died with
out property, 19 per cent died owning prop
erty worth less than one thousand dollars in
value, and thirteen per cent, owned property
valued at from one thousand to five thousand
dollars. About ninety-four per cent, of tho
people owned about twenty-five per cent, of
tho property. Prom 1859 to 1801, the statis
tics showed that sixty-six por cent, died with
out property, that twelve per cent, died with
property worth less than one thousand dollars,
and less than f ourteon per cent, owned between
oho thousand and five thousand dollars worth of
property aboutninety-twopor cent, of tho peo
ple owned less thanfiftpen per cent. Qf the prop
erty. Prom . 1 879. toJlBJ5uxty?jiineWpecent
died without property, riine nor cent, had ' less
than one thousand dollar's, and loss than thir
teen percent, had property from one thousand to
five thousand dollars valuo by this time about
ninety-one per cent, owned less than ten per '
cent, of the property.
These figures show a constant increase in
tho percentage of persons who die without
property, and a constant decrease in the pos- l
sessions of a large majority of the people. The
last ten years will doubtless show still greater
concentration of Wealth. The Nation may
try to justify this concentration; it may
argue that the speculators and manipu
lators are entitled to a larger and larger
share of the wealth produced, but it cannot
disprove the proposition stated by Mr. Bryan.
"Citizen's in Spirit."
Congressman Hull of Iowa, who recently .
returned from a visit to the Philippines, says:
"Of course It Is Impossible to make an Anglo
Saxon out of an oriental, therefore the Filipino
will probably never be an American citizen In' the
broad j3ense that is understood by all that term
conveys to the man born In the United States, of
white parents. But as soon as he gets a sufficient '
education and becomes a little more impregnated
with our ideas and loses some of the Ideas ac
quired by a 300 years' association with the Span
iards, the Filipino will be a citizen in spirit, pa
trotism, industry and education and will be worthy'
of participating to the fullest extent in all the
benefits of this government.
"Of course we will have to govern them with
firmness as well as with kindness. I think that