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About The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923 | View Entire Issue (Dec. 20, 1901)
ours now" be gave voice to the prevailing idea
among the republican leaders of today, and when
bo added that our duty is to give to the people of
the Philippine islands ."all that we are capable of
giving them" be challenged the thoughtful atten
tion of American citizens who have a right to con
sider whether men who assert that governments
derive their just powers from the consent of the
governed, are really capable of giving any sub
stantial benefit to a people to whom they deny the
very principle and the vory privileges under which
the governing power found its oxlstence.
If Admiral Schley needed a vindication he ob
tained it in the splendid tribute paid him. by Ad
miral Dewey in the latter's minority report. In
truth Admiral Schley did not need a vindication.
In the judgment of the American people he is one
of this country's great naval heroes, and this is
shown to be true by the very general condemna
tion which the court of inquiry's report has met
.with on the part of the public.
Admiral Schley's detractors appear to be very
anxious to drop the affair. Some of them declare
that there is no need for further investigation.
The Commoner is inclined to believe that further
investigation is not needed. It is true, however,
that something remains to be done in order that
justice should be accorded the hero of Santiago
Instead of congressional investigation into
facts that are already established to the satisfac
tion of the American people Schley should be re
stored to active service, and he should be ap
pointed vice admiral to hold the place during the
remainder of his life. Anything less would be
If a congressibnal investigation is to be had it
should not be an investigation of a hero; the naval
officers and employes who are responsible for the
assaults upon Schley should be investigated for
ithe benefit of the service in the future.
Questions for Debate,
The Commoner in a recent issue suggested the
propriety of organizing debating societies through
out the country for the discussion of public ques
tions. Since the editorial appeared a number of
letters have been received asking for information
and inquiring about questions for debate. Such a
club is not difficult to organize. All that is neces
sary is a brief constitution containing one article
giving the name of the club, another stating the
purpose and terms of membership, and a third
naming the officers and describing their duties.
,The by-laws should fix the hour and place of meet
ing and dues, if dues are necessary.
In country precincts meetings can be held
at the school house or at private houses. Ofton
literary clubs' meet at the houses of the members,
each one talcing his turn, but sometimes when one
house is commodious and centrally located it is
used as the regular meeting place. Where the
club meets at a private house it is well for the by
laws to provide that no refreshments shall be
served, because all members may not be in a posi
tion to serve refreshments, and as no one cares
to do less than his neighbor, some embarrassment
might be caused if refreshments were served at
one place and not another.
. As to questions for debate, the following are
submitted by way of suggestion:
I. Resolved, That the United States should
permanently hold the Philippine islands under a
colonial form of government.
II. Resolved, That the United States should
permanently hold the Philippine islands as an
integral part of this country, extending to the in
habitants the protection of our constitution and
giving them the promise of ultimate citizenship
and full participation in elections, national and
local. These two questions present the Philippine Js-
sue and give the advocates of imperialism a chance
to present a definite plan for dealing with the
III. Resolved, That private monopolies are
beneficial to the public and should bo permitted to
exist, but should bo placed under government
IV. Resolved, That a private monopoly is in
defensible and intolerable.
These questions present tho trust issue in such
form that the principles involved may be discussed.
V. Resolved, That this nation should main
tain tho gold standard as long as the other lead
ing nations do so.
VI. Resolved, That this nation should main
tain tho gold standard, regardless of what other
nations may do.
VII. Hesolved, That bimetallism, that is the
use of gold and silver as standard money and the
coinage of gold and silver into standard money on
equal terms, would be better for this country than
the single gold standard.
VIII. Resolved, That, assuming bimetallism
to be desirable, silver should bo coined without
charge for mintage so long as gold is coined with
out charge for mintage.
IX. Resolved, That, assum'ing bimetallism to
be desirable, the mints should be opened to the
coinage of silver at tho present legal ratio of
16 to 1.
X. Resolved, That paper money, issued by
the government, is better for the people than paper
money issued by national banks.
XI. Resolved, That the national banking law
should be so changed as to permit banks to issue
currency based on their assets rather than upon
XII. Resolved, That the large national banks
should be permitted to establish branches through
out the country.
These questions present the phases of tho
money question which are most discussed at pres
ent. Those who advocate the issue of paper money
by the government are divided into two classes:
those who believe that tho greenback should be
redeemable ill gold or silver the government ex
ercising the option as to the metal to be used and
those who believe that the greenback should not
he redeemable in any other coin or money, but
only redeemable in the sense that it is a legal
tender for taxes, debts, etc. This question as
sumes that government money is better than bank
money and raises the issue of redeemability only.
XIII. Resolved, That the Chinese exclusion
act should be extended and applied to similar
classes of other oriental nations.
XIV. Resolved, That the Nicaragua canal
should be built, owned and protected by the United
XV. Resolved, That an isthmian canal should
be built, owned and protected by the United States.
These two questions present the isthmian
canal question in the two forms that are most
XVI. Resolve.d, That United States senators
should be elected by direct vote of the people.
XVII. Resolved, That the principle of the
initiative and referendum is sound and should be
applied in state and federal government as far as
XVIII. Resolved, That provision should be
made for voluntary arbitration between corpora
tions and their employes.
XIX. Resolved, That there should be com
pulsory arbitration between corporations and their
XX. Resolved, That government by injunction
is a menace to our government and that as a means
to its correction the law should provide that a
person charged with contempt of court should be
given a trial by jury when the contempt is com-'
mitted outside of the court room.
The above questions do not present all the is
sues between the two leading parties, but they'
present tho main ones and are sufficient to furnish
debating societies with matorlal for the wlntor'a
work. They are stated in such a way as to present
tho Issue clearly so that each side will know what
it is advocating. In addition to these questions
there aro questions presenting tho government
ownership of railroads, and questions presenting
the municipal ownership of lighting plants, water
plants and street car lines. (These can bo dis
cussed singly or grouped together.) Tho ques
tion between socialism and individualism can bo
presented as follows:
Resolved, That the government should own
and operate all tho means of production and dis-'
While the editor of Tho Commoner has not
attempted to mention all tho questions discussed
to a greater or less extent in various parts of tho
country, he has said enough to show how wide is
the field of inquiry and how imperative tho neces
sity for investigation if one would act intelligently'
upon public questions. , ,
A Minister's Comment.
Rev. Herbert S. BJgelow. of the Vine Street
Congregational church, Cincinnati, recently took
for the subject of one of his evening sermons the
question, "Is there always room at tho top?" In
discussing it he railed attention to tho fact that
tho inequalities of life aro not always duo to dif
ferences in merit, but are sometimes caused by In
Justice In government On tho subject of taxation
ho drew a strong contrast between the lot of a la
boring man whom he knew and ono of tho cor
porations of the city. He said:
Hero is an object lesson, not a fancy sketch
either. Mr. B., a friend of mine, eighteen years
ago was working for ?10 per week. Ho has
the same job today and in those eighteen years
ho has had an increase pf $3.50 per week. He ,
has always been sober and saving and indus
trious. No professional regulator of other '
people's lives could find any fault In him.
With this wage, tho man, together with
the labor of the woman and the children, has .
managed to buy a little homo. Tho oldest
girl is working for $2 per week. It takes all
of her wages, twelve weeks in every year, to
pay the taxes on their home, and this, In part,
amounts to paying taxes on property which
does not belong to them, for they have to pay
interest on a mortgage besides. The house Is
listed for taxation for more than they would
be glad to tako for it. Yet the street railroad
company, to which this man has to pay five
cents for a ride that is not worth over three
cents, is capitalized for twenty-four millions
and pays taxes on two millions. ,
Too Great an Advantage.
"A reader of The Commoner complains that
national banks enjoy too great a privilege in be
ing permitted to loan out five or ten times their
capital stock. He shows the disadvantages of the
ordinary individual as compared with the bank.
While, as he points out, the bank has a great ad
vantage in the earning of an Income and In the ac
cumulation of wealth, there Is another objection,
and an even more serious one, to the manner in
which banking is done at present. When a bank
with a capital of one million is allowed to receive
and loan out deposits amounting to ten millions,
the depositor does not bave a sufficient margin for
security. A little shrinkage in values wipes out
tho capital stock and leaves the depositor no se- .
curity save the notes taken by the bank. In good
times such a bank makes enormous profits and in
had times its failure brings disaster to depositors
and is likely to cause a run on banks more wisely,
conducted. There ought tb be a fixed relation es
tablished by law between capital and deposits, so
that there would always be a safe margin for the
protection of tho depositors of the community.
But how can banks bo made safe as long as th
financiers control congress?
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