The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, June 19, 1903, Image 1

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The Commoner.
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Vol. 3. No. 22.
Lincoln, Nebraska, June 19, 1903.
Whole No. 126.
W Democratic Prospects for 1904 W
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VThe chances of our party, like the chances of
all parties, depend upon three things: First, upon
the party's attitude upon public questions; sec
ond, upon the knowledge which the people have
of those questions, and, third, upon the condi
tions, industrial and otherwise, prevailing at the
The first, namely, the party's attitude, is en
tirely within the control of the party. The party
must take the position which the voters of the
party believe to ho the correct position, and if it
-would draw honest men to it, it must not only
take an ihonest position, but state the position
lionestly.j It must not only have principles, but
It must"apply those principles to all questions
upon which the officials to be chosen at the elec
tion are to act.
It is not possible at this time to enumerate
all the questions that may enter into the cam
paign, because the incidents of a day may in
ject an issue ino tne campaign. Neither is it
possible to state the relative importance of issues,
because circumstances may temporarily change
their relative position. The question of imper
ialism must necessarily be an issue in the next
campaign unless the republica- party before that
time decides to apply American principles to the
Philippine question, or unless the democratic par
ty before that time decides to apply European
principles to American questions.
3 It is impossible for this nation to permanent
ly indorse two theories of government -It can
not always administer cole -lies upon the theory
that governments rest upon a basis of force, and
at the same time administer a republic on the
theory that "governments derive their just pow
ers from the consent of the governed.JThere is
an irrepressible conflict between these two theories
of government, and that conflict must continue"
until we abandon imperialism in the Orient or
establish it in the United States. This issue
transcends all other issues in importance. The
Kansas City platform declared it to be the para
mount issue, and it must be so considered unless
, we have lost our love of liberty and self-government
VThe trust question, which in the campaign of
1900 was regarded as the question of second im
portance, has grown in importance, first, be
cause of the increasing number, size and arro
gance of the trusts, and, second, because the un
willingness of the republican party to deal with
the question effectively has become more ap
parent Private monopolies are either right or
wrong. If they are right, no attempt should be
made to destroy them; if they are wrong, the
party that defends them will ultimately bo forced
into retirement. The Kansas City platform de
clared private monopolies to bT "indefensible and
intolerable," and that plank is as sound today as
it was whn it was adopted. The trust issue
must occupy a prominent place in the next cam
paign unless the republican party disposes of the
question (as it is not likely to do) by a vigorous
and comprehensive law, or unless the members of
the democratic party are converted to the theory
that the interests of the people are safer in the
hands of a few trust magnates than under the
former system, of competitive Industry.
The money question was declared to be the
question of paramount importance in 1896. While
the position asserted at Chicago was maintained
four years later, tlio money question was subordi
nated to the question of Imperialism and to the
trust question for Several reasons: First, be
cause the question of imperialism was a heart
.disease, while other questions only effected the
distribution of wealth; second, because of the
rapid development of the trust system, and, thhrd,
because an unexpected Increase in the production
of gold, unusual crops and abnormal conditions,
had largely increased our money supply and thus
checked that fall in prices which had forced t-o
money question Into prominence. The increased
production of gold did not answer the theoretical
argument in favor of bimetallism, but it lessened
the force of the argument based upon the scarc
ity of gold. The unusual crops and the expansion
of paper money gave to this nation an extraordi
nary share of the world's money, while abnormal
conditions, among them wars in both hemis
pheres, increased the money in circulation by
borrowing from the future for present expendi
tures.. lf the money changers were not more Inter
ested in scarce money than in any particular kind
of money even gold; IP the increased production
of gold had been sufficient to roplaco the silver
coin of the world; IP we could be assured that
the increase would be permanently sufficient to
meet the annual requirements of industry; and IP
there were no other phases of the money question
except the metallic phase but for these "lfs".
the money question might bo laid away entirely
But tho financiers who want the gold standi
ard now, wanted it in 1890, yes, oven in 1880
long before increased production of gold brought
a modicum of relief from falung prices. If they
are allowed to control tho government they will
find some way of denying to tho people tho ben
efits of a sufficient supply oven of gold.
Then, too.tlie production of gold has not been
sufficient to replace the silvor in use. Out of tho
annual production of gold we must first take the
amount used in the arts, destroyed by abrasion
and lost, and then we must deduct tho amount
necessary to provide for tho ordinary annual In
crease In business, and only that which remains
can bo used to replaco the silver uBed as money.
There is an additional use that could be made
of gold, namely, to replace an enormous quantity
of uncovered paper. It will be seen, therefore,
. that there Is no justification for tho sanguine
hopes expressed by those superficial students of
the money question who have jumped to the con
clusion that the new discoveries of gold ushered
in a universal gold standard.
Even if the present supply of gold was much
greater than it Is even if it were great enough
to replace the silver in use and give us all the
metallic money that wo need for the present
there is no assurance that the present output will
continue or that it will increase as rapidly as tho
world's business Increases.
History has shown that tho discoveries of the
precious metals have been spasmodic. There was
a large increase of the world product of silver
just after the discovery of America; there was a
large increase lp. tho world's production of gold
in tho years immediately following 1849; there
was a large Increase in the production of silver
early in the seventies and ndw the supply of
gold is increasing. No one can speculate with
any certainty about the production of tho precious
metals. Old mines are exhausted today, new
mines are found tomorrow, and the production of
both metals is constantly 1 tuatlng. There is no
qertalnty that either metal will now, or ever
will, supply the demand for money Carlisle in
1878 said that the. world would be fortunate in
deed if the supply of both metals furnished enough
metallic money, and in spite of tho new discov
eries of gold Mr. Carlisle's remark might be re
peated today.
Congress Is constantly dealing with ques
tions effecting silver and tho quantity of money.
But the question of greatest practical import
ance in connection with the subject of money re
mains to be considered namely, that relating to
tho other phases of the money question. Even if
the question of metallic money could be entirely
, laid aside (which it cannot be), it must be re
membered that we still have to deal with the pa
per part of the money question. The contest be
tween bank papor and government paper Is as ir
reconcilable as the contest between monometal
lism and bimetallism, and naturally tho division
is along the same lines. The advocates of tho gold
standard, almost without exioption, fivor a bank
currency, and the advocates of bimetallism, al
most without exception, pi'ofer government paper.
Why? Because tho former look at tho monoy
question from tho standpoint of the money
changor, and the latter from tho standpoint of
the people as a whole. Secretary Shaw has pointed
out that tho maintenance of a bank currency com
pels us to decido whether wo wish a perpetual
debt as a basis for curroncr or are ready to pro
vido "some other basis." "Some other basis"
moans an asset currency. Tho men elected to
office in 1904, whether thoy bo senators holding
six years, executive officers holding four years, or
congressmen holding two years, will have to deal
with this phase of tho monoy question. Space
forbids an extensive dIscur"lon of this subject at
ttis time, but suffico it to say that an asset cur
rency must rest, first, upon tho usunbstantlal basis
of assets alone, which would throw tho risk upon
tho holder of the papor, or, second, upon the gov
ernmentwhich would mak-j all tho people bear
the expenses while the bankers reap the profit
or, third, upon all tho bankers, which would
make well managed banks responsible for the
loss of badly managed banks.
Besides dealing with tho subject of paper
money, congress must considor tho disposition of
public funds; it must decide whether the surplus
In tho treasury shall be kept down to a point
whero it will reasonably meet unexpected ex
penses, or shall bo largely in excess of any pos
sible need and be loaned out to favrrito banks.
The money question cannot bo eliminated
from politics until avarice is eliminated. While
tho campaigns cf 1884, 1888 and 1892 were osten
sibly fought upon the tarh question, the finan
ciers wero secretly scheming to carry out plana
which they did not dare to discuss openly, and so
an attempt to eliminate the money question to
day would not succeed because it would be ever
present in the minds and in the plans of the finan
ciers. To propose the elimination of the money
question is, when rightly understood, merely an
attempt to deceive tho public in order that they
may bo led blindfold into the trap-; and snares of
the money magnates.
Tho tariff question has been an issue of
greater or less prominence in all of the cam
paigns since the civil war, and emphasis has been
given to it by tho fact that it has been used as
a belter for many monopolies. yThe democratic
position upon tho tariff question has not changed4
It was the same in 1896 when it was but little
discussed, as it was in 18b, when it was the
paramount issue. The democratic party Is op
posed to a protective tariff levied solely for the
purpose of protection?" it is in favor of a tariff
levied for revenue and limited to the necessities
of the government
The party must also maintain its position
upon those great and far-reaching questions
which especially concern tho laboring man. Tho
democratic party is essentially the laboring man's
narty, for It is composed almost entirely of those
who by brain and muscle contribute to the na
tion's strength and growth. It has lost, and nat
urally so, those who consider the public aa a
legitimate object of prey, and those, on the other
hand, who are content to flatter Dives In tho
hope of getting a larger proportion of the crumbs
that fall from his table. The campaign of 1896
rid the democratic party rnd It was no small
gain of both tho corrupt and the corrupting ele
ment, and the cagfcpaign of 1900 lopped off those
who had become lukewarm In their support of fv '
fundamental principles of government, while .