The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, November 04, 1904, Page 5, Image 5

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The Commoner
Why Democrats of 1896 and
1900 Should Support Parker
In -response to the request of the Saturday
Evening Post, I beg to submit the following rea
sons why Parker and Davis should this year re
ceive the support of those democrats who sup
ported the party candidates in 1896 and 1900.
In 1896 the money question was declared by
the democrats to bo the paramount issue, and the
party announced its unalterable opposition to the
gold standard and its advocacy of the restoration
of bimetalism at the existing legal ratio of sixteen
to one. The republican party, though not admit
ting the money question to be paramount, pledged
itself to assist in restoring bimetalism by inter
national agreement, but insisted upon the malnte--'
nance df the gold standard until such agreement
should be secured. The election resulted in a
victory for the repuolican party, and, in pursuance
of its party's promise, the administration imme
diately sent a commission to Europe to secure
international co-operation and the abandonment of
the gold standard, congress appropriaing $100,000
to pay the expenses of the commission. The com
mission was composed of ex-Vice President Adlai
Stevenson, Senator Edward O. Wolcott of Colo
rado," and Mr. Payne of Massachusetts. There is
no doubt that these gentlemen, though unsuccess
ful in their mission, earnestly endeavored to carry
out their instructions and secure the restoration of
bimetalism; but Senator Wolcott complained upon
his return, that their work- had been hindered and
embarrassed by the utterances of Secretary Gage,
the new head of the treasury department, who
gave out interviews in favor of the- gold standard
while the commission was trying to secure bi
metalism. Unless the administration was insincere in the
appointment of the commission we must conclude
that the gold standard, was unsatisfactory, for had
it been satisfactory no attempt would have been
made to replace it with international bimetalism.
The, promise to promote an international agree
ment, together with the steps taken to fulfill that
promise, must be accepted as an admission that
the democrats were right In condemning the gold
standard, although a majority of the voters pre
ferred international bimetalism to independent bi
metalism. The failure of the commission to enlist the
aid of other nations in behalf of the double stand
ard would have reacted in favor of independent
bimetalism and strengthened the democratic posi
tion but for the unexpected increase in the gold
supply. luiB has been so considerable as to check
the fall in prices anu, to some extent, to raise the
level of prices. Just how far the higher price level
has been due to an enlarged volume of money and
how much to the wars in Cuba, the Philippines,
South Africa and later in Russia, no one can ac
curately determine; but it is certain that the In
creased production of gold has brought in part the
benefits which bimetalisis expected from the res
toration of silver. While the quantitative theory
of money, for vhtch bjiraetalists contended in 1890,
has been vindicated, still the political advantage
of the vindication has accrued to the advocates of
the gold standard, because with higher prices the
main argument in favor of bimetalism has been
answered, or rather the necessity for bimetalism
has decreased as gold has become more plentiful.
By 1900 industrial conditions had been so im
proved' that the money question was no longer
acute, and many democrats were willing to ignore
it entirely for the time being. In the meantime aie
question of imperialism had been thrust into the
political arena by- the Philippine policy of the
administration. The trusts, too, had grown so rap
idly in number and in size as to make that question
an important Issue in the campaign. . Wuen the
democrats met in national convention in Jiancas
City imperialism was made the paramount issue
and the trust question was given, a position of
secondary importance. The Chicago platform of
1896 was reaffirmed nere being no opposition to
reaffirmation but the money plank was reiterated
only after a very animated discussion in the com
mittee and by a clc .e vote.
The democrats fought the campaign of 1900
mainly upon the question of imperialism, while
the republicans denied that their party had any
imperialistic intent, and, openly advocating the
gold standard, sought to uso the money question
as a scaro to hold the business interests in lino.
It was a littlo inconsistent for the republican party,
which favored international bimotalism In 1896,
to be so enthusiastic for the gold standard in 1U00,
but the argument had its effect more effect prob
ably than it would havo had if the democrats had
given more"timo to the discussion of the mouoy
During the four years that followed 1900 tho
money question, owing to tho continued Increase
in the production of gold, was less and less con
sidered, while President Roosovolt's administra
tion has brought forward new Issues.
When tho democrats met in St. Louis lost
July a considerable majority of tho delegates fa
vored a platform entirely eliminating tho money
question. Though some believed, as I did, that
the Kansas City platform should bo reaffirmed, and
that the party's position on tho question of bimet
alism, without being emphasized, should bo main
tained, the convention decided that the fight should
be made upon other questions questions upon
which tho party was united. There was no dec
laration against bimotalism, that proposition hav
ing been voted down by a decided majority in
the cdmmltteo. The position of our candidate,
though strongly opposed,.to bimotalism, does not
necessarily control tho party's action beyond his
own administration.
I h'ave thus stated tho history of tho money
question during tho last eight years in order to
show why those who voted for bimetalism in re
cent campaigns can this year vote for a demo
cratic candidate known to favor tno gold standard.
Although tho advocates of bimotalism believe as
firmly as ever in tho principles of the double stand
ard, though they believe that their principles havo
been vindlcateu by tho Improved conditions that
have followed an Increase in tho volume of money,
and though they believe that bimetalism will again
become popular when the demand for money over
takes the supply, yet they recognize that the ques
tion is not only not paramount, but, for the pres
ent, of diminishing Importance. They also recog
nize that, even if the question were more acute
than It Is, they could not hope to secure tho
restoration of bimotalism by voting any other
ticket. Either Judge Parker or President Roose
velt will be elected, and President Roosevelt Is as
hostile to the uso of silver as standard money as
Judge Parker can possibly be. Though tlio repub
lican candidate enthusiastically supported his
party in 1888, when the republican plattorm de
nounced President Cleveland's effort to demonetize
silver, and again in 1892, when the republican plat
form declared that the American people from tra
dition and interest favored bimetalism, and still
again in 1896, when his party was pledged to pro
mote international bimetalism, still ho loses no
opportunity now to proclaim his lovo for the single
gold standard and h.-. abhorence of any return to
the free coinage of sljver. On the money ques
tion, therefore, the-freo silver democrats, having
been defeated in their own convention, have noth
ing to hope for from a republican victory. They
have not tho same reason for leaving their party
that the silver republicans and populists had for
supporting the democratic ticket in 1896.
The sane mny bo said of other economic
questions. Wherever the supporters of the plat
forms of 1896 and 1900 feel that the democruic
platform or candidate this year is unsatisfactory
they find the republican platform and candidate
still less satisfactory. Txiere is no reason, there
fore, why tney should express their dissatisfaction
with their own party by casting in their lot tem
porarily or permanently with the republican party.
But though the democrats who were loyal to
their party in 1896 and 1900 have their views upon
the money jquestion and upon other economic quest
tions, they .'.re also deeply Interested In the new
questions that Lave been forced upon thp attention
of the public by eight years of republican rule.
I shall speaK later of the question of imperialism,
which absorbed . large share of our party's atten
tion in 1900.
President Roosevelt is responsible for the
prominence of three issues which the people are
considering. First, ho has done more- toembltter
the white and black races against each other In
tho south than any or even all of the 'presidents
who havo occupied tho white house slnco tho civil
war. Whether In Insisting upon tho appointment
of colored officials over tho protont of whlto pat
rons of tho otilco ho has been actuated by a desire
to holp tho coi red poope, or by n dcslro to mane
political capital among tho colored voters of the
north, Is immaterial. It is certain that ho has
raised an issuo which has thrown the southcrs
states Into anxiety and alarm. His attempt to
overrldo tho wishes 01 the whites In various south
ern communities has ma tho entlro south fearful
that a second ten 1 may stilt furthor outran go the
races and plunge mat section of tho country into
tho horrors of a race struggle. Tho ontertainment
of .Professor Bookor Washington at tho white
hcuso has been construed by many ns ni; attempt
upon tho part of tho president to ralso tho qucs
tI6n of social equality, and this has further ag
gravated tho raco situation In tho south. If tho
presldont intended to raise that quostlon with a
view to settling it In favor of tho black man It
means the arousing of a fooling which will seri
ously Interfere with the calm consideration or
industrial and economic problems. If, on tho other
hand, tho president did not Intond to forco upon
tho public tho conslcoratlon of tho question of
social equality it was exceedingly unfortunate that
ho did anything that could bear that construction.
Tho people of tho north, whore the dominance of
tho white race is not monaccd and where tho
blacks are comparatively few In number, havo no
conception of tho conditions which prevailed in the
south during tho period of reconstruction, and it
is therefore difficult for them to understand the
feeling of tho southern people. Tho democrats of
tho north, who both desire and need tho co-opcra-tlon
of southern democrats in resisting tho en
croachments of plutocracy, arc vitally interested
in removing tho raco Issue from national politics,
so that the party can mako an aggressive fight for
industrial and economic reforms.
President Roosevelt has not only disturbed
tho south by tho creation of a raco issue, but ho
has offended tho sentiment of tho entlro country
by the substitution of a swaggering, war-llko spirit
for tho pacific spirit which has heretofore charac
terized our national administration. Wo have
had some eminent soldiers In tho white house, con
spicuous among whom were Washington, Jackson
and Grant, but never have we had a president who
seemed to take so much delight as docs our pres
ent president in war and the recital of war-like
The panegyric upon war pronounced by ex
Governor Black of New York, in presenting Presi
dent Roose'velt's name to the last republican con
vention, was In entlro harmony with the speeches
of tho president, and still further emphasized his
departure from tho nation's traditions and Ideals.
The difference between the spirit which ani
mated our first president and tho spirit which ani
mates our present executive can be clearly shown
by a comparison between their utterances. I have
already referred to Mr. Roosevelt's delight in war.
Washington, in a letter to the Marquis de Char
tellux in W88, said:
' . it Is time for the ago of knight-errantry
and mad, heroism to be at an end. Your young
military men, who want to reap the harvest of
laurels, do not care, I suppose, how many seeds
of war arc sown; but for tho sake of humanity
it Is deVoutqdly to be wished that tho manly
employment of agriculture .and . tho human
izing benerits of commerce would supersede tho
waste of war and tho rage of conquest; that tho
swords might be turned into plowshares, the
spears Into prunlng-hooks, and, as the Scrip
tures express It, "the nations learn war no
President Roosevelt's fondness for military
display, military phrases and exhibitions of mili
tary prowess Is not only hurtful because of its
pernicious influence upon our young men, and
harmful to tho nation because of the false position
ii which It places this country before the world,
but it endangers peace by Increasing the possi
bility of foreign complications. Tho democrats
who' bore the burden of the campaigns four and
eight years ago believe that this" natlbh' should de
vote its energies to the remedying of the govera-
(Contlnued on page 11.)
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