The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, August 26, 1904, Page 3, Image 3

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    g AUGUST 25, 1904..,
befitting attitude before the people, not only
that the chief magistrate should bo indepen
dent, but that that . independence should bo
known of all men."
It will be interesting to look over the record
concerning recommendations for the singlo term.
In his first annual message, President Jackson
suggested an amendment to the constitution "to
limit the service of the chief magistrate to a Dingle
term of either four or six years." This recom
mendation was renewed by President Jackson in
his sixth annual message.
In his letter accepting the republican nomi
nation, Mr. Hayes, in 187C, said:
The declaration of principles by the Cin
cinnati convention makes no announcement in
favor of a single presidential term. I do not
assume to add to that declaration, but believ
ing that the restoration of the civil servico
to the system established by Washington and
followed by the early presidents can be best
accomplished by an executive officer who is
under no temptation to use the patronage of
his offlco to promote his own re-election, I
desire to perform what I regard as a duty in
stating now my inflexible purpose, if elected,
not to be a candidate for election to a second
In his inaugural address, President Hayes
In furtherance of the reform' we seek, and
in other important respects a change of great
importance, I recommend an amendment to
the constitution prescribing a term of six years
for the presidential offlco and forbicTditig a
In his first letter of acceptance 'Mr. Cleveland
stated in very strong language the objections to
a second term, saying:
When ah election to office shall be the
selection by the voters of one of their num
ber to assume for a time a public trust in
stead of his dedication to the profession of
politics; when the holders of the ballot, quick
ened by a sense of duty, shall avenge truth
betrayed and pledges broken, and when the
suffrage shall be altogether free and uncor
. rupted, the full realization of a government
by the people will, bo at hand. And of the
means to this end, no one would, in my judg
ment, be more effective than an amendment
to the constitution disqualifying the president
from1 re-election.
When we consider the patronage of this
great office, the allurements of power, the
temptations to retain public place once gained,
and, more than all, the availability a party
finds in an incumbent whom a horde of office
holders, with zeal born of benefits received
and fostered by the hope of favors yet to
come, stand ready to aid with money and
trained political service, we recognize in the
eligibility of the president for re-election a
most serious danger to that calm, deliberate
and intelligent political action which must
characterize a government by the people.
In his letter accepting the democratic nomi
nation in 1896 Mr. Bryan said:
So deeply am I impressed with the magni
tude of the power vested by the constitution
in the chief executive of the nation and with
the enormous influence which he can wield
for the benefit or injury of the people that
I wish to enter the office, if elected, free
from every personal desire except the desire
to prove worthy of the confidence or my coun
trymen. Human judgment is fallible enough
when unbiased by selfish considerations, and,
In order that I may not be tempted to uso
the patronage of the office to advance any per
sonal ambition, I hereby announce, with all
the emphasis which, words can express, my
fixed determination, not, under any circum-
stances, to be a candidate for re-election in
case this campaign results ill my election."
The importance of making the president in
eligible for re-election will yet be appreciated by
the people generally to the extent that the pro
hibition will be incorporated into our constitu
tion. Human nature is as yet too fraij to with
stand the temptation to use for selfish purposes
the great patronage of the executive. If it is
argued that a nation might be in such a crisis
that it could ill-afford a change in the adminis
tration, it may be said in reply, first, Ehat the
same argument could be made at the close of a
second term, and second, that when the nation
reaches a condition where only one man out
The Commoner.
of the whole population is able to assume and
properly discharge the duties of the executive it
will scarcely bo worth saving.
Representatives of the "National Business
league" are agitating the proposition to amend the
constitution so as to lengthen the presidential
term to six years and making the president ineli
gible to re-election. Endorsements of tho plan
have been received from business men aud or
ganizations throughout the country. In opposing
the re-election of a president, tho league repre
sentatives declare: "Tho president during his
first term, naturally anxious to succeed himoclf,
is kept busy considering the demands of politi
cians and planning for a second term; meanwhile
important legislation for the general good waits."
The principle affirmative argument in iavor
of lengthening the presidential term is that busi
ness interests are disturbed by a presidential elec
tion. If this argument is to have a controlling
influence wo might as well choose the executive
for life, or, in order to reduce the disturbance to a
minimum, establish an hereditary succession.
There are political reasons in favor of tho present
length which outweigh any business considera
tions. Jefferson was an advocate of frequent elec
tions. In a. letter-written to Samuel Adams in
1800, he said: "A government by representatives
elected by tho people at short periods, was our
object; and our maxim at that day was 'where
annual ejection ends, tyranny begins;' nor have
our departures from It been sanctioned by the
happiness of their effects."
Sixteen years later he said: "The rights of
the people to the exercise and fruits of their own
industry can never be protected against the selfish
ness of rulers, not subjoct to their control at short
The fact that commercial reasons are deemed
sufficient with some to justify the surrender of
a. principle absolutely necessary for the protection
of the public shows the dangerous pro-eminence
given to money and money making.
To lengthen the presidential term is simply to
enlarge the stake for which great interests play.
Tho trusts could increase their campaign contrl
buttons fifty per cent If they could secure control
of an administration for six years Instead of
, Short terms are necessary not only to' protect
the people from their public servants, but also to
moderate disappointment and discontent. The
sooner the people can hope for remedy tho more
patiently do they submit to that which thoy con
sider error or injustice.
A four years term is long enough for a good
president and too long for a bad one.
The Criminal Clause
In a recent issue, The Commoner said:, "If'
it be true that the beef trust magnates have con
spired to prevent the election of Mr. Roosevelt,
then Mr. Roosevelt has it in his power to imme
diately call every one of these magnates to time.
He has It In his power to place every one of these
men behind the bars. The beef trust magnates
care nothing for the injunction process. Like
every human being, however, they are afraid or
the criminal process."
.Referring to this statement, the Fremont,
Neb., Herald says: "Perhaps Mr. Bryan has for
gotten that the 'Elklns bill' has repealed the crim
inal clause of the Sherman law. It was all there
was in the law that had any terrors for the cor
porations that habitually violated it, and now it
nas been taken off at their demand. People gen
erally seem to have forgotten it."
The Herald is in error. The Elklns bill did
not In any way relate to the Sherman anti-trust
law andvdld not repeal the criminal clause of that
The Elkins bill did repeal the provision In the
anti-rebate law, providing for imprisonment; but
that is an altogether different law from the Sher
man law.
The Sherman law remains on the statute books
just as when it was enacted. Its constitutionality
has been upheld by the United State supremo
The chief feature of the Sherman anti-trust
law, and, indeed, the very first section provides
for criminal prosecution. The republican adminis
tration has not made an effort to enforce ihat
, section.
It would be well if the editor of the Fremont
Herald would examine the record and show his
readers that the Elkins bill had no relation what
ever to the Sherman anti-trust law; also that
the Sherman anti-trust law remains upon tho
statute book just as it was enacted and, under
republican administration, remains on the statuU
book unenforced.
Candidate Davis' Speech
Mr. Davis, in accepting the vice presidential
nomination, while reserving for his letter a dis
cussion of the platform, took occasion to answer
the .prosperity argument advanced by tho re
publicans. Tho speech will bo found on an
othor page. He also pays a just trlbuto to labor.
His own experience as a laborer ought to make
him understand and sympathize with those who
toll. It Is to be hoped that in his letter ho will
touch on the specific labor planks contained in
the platform which ho endorses. It was not neces
sary for him to have snid what he did about the
gold standard. Tho convention expressly declared
that the question was not Involved in this cam
4- i ' I
An Educational Campaign
The campaign upon which Tho Commoner
has entered will not be concluded on election day.
A great' work-is to be accomplished. The intorest
of those who are now indiffcront is to bo aroused.
Those who are now Ignorant are to be Informed.
Those who already appreciate the importance of
public reforms are to be encouraged and this
work Is to bo carried on upon lines clearly in the
public interests.
Public ownership of the railroads is to be
fought for because it is the ono method of doing
away with railroad ownership of the public.
The income tax is to bo advocated becauflo
that plan will equitably distribute the taxation
The election by the people of federal Judges
to serve for a limited period is to be recommended
in order that the federal judge may be held ac
countable to the people.
Municipal ownership of public utilities Is to
be urged because ft Is the height of absurdity for
the people of a city to hand over their valuablo
franchises in order that they may be used for ,the
private gain of Individuals.
Tho election of United States senators by the
people is to be favored because tho time has como
when the , people must be represented In the
Do you believe In these reforms? Are you
willing to lend a hand in the great educational
campaign that is going on? If so, you may find
in The Commoner's special subscription offer an
opportunity to aid in this good work. To in
crease the Commoner's circulation means the
widening of its sphere of influence. According to
tho terms of this offer, cards, each good for one
year's subscription to The Commoner will be
furnished in lots of five, at the fate of $3 per
lot. This places the yearly subscription rale at
GO cents.
According to the terms of this offer, cards,
each good for ono year's subscription to The
Commoner will be furnished In lots of five, at tho
rate of $3 per lot. This places the yearly sub
scription rato at CO cents.
Anyone ordering tho cards may soil thorn for
?1.00 each, thus earning a commission of $2.00 on
each lot sold, or he may sell them at tho cost
price and find compensation in the fact that ho
has contributed to the educational campaign.
These cards may be paid for when ordered,
or they may bo ordered and remittance mads
after they have been sold. A coupon is printed
below for tho convenience of those who desire to
participate in this effort to increase The Com
moner's circulation.
Application ff Subscript! Csrds
rubllsber Commoner; I am Interested in 1
creasing Tho Commoner's circulation, and de
tire you to send me a supply of subscription
cards. I agree to use my utmost endearor tosell
tbe cards, and will remit for them at the rate of
GO cents each, when sold.
Box. or Street No.
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TnrUcftt th ntlinhftr nfrrr1 wanted h aaavlr.
lnsr X nnnoKltA nsenf th rmmhr nHntri ab
'end ol this blank.
If you believe the paper is doing a work that merit
cnCouragcmant, fill out the above coupon and mail it
to Th Common!-, Llacola, Neb.