The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, May 10, 1907, Image 1

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The Commoner.
WILLIAM J. BRYAN, EDITOR AND PROPRIETOR
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VOL. 7. No. 17.
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Lincoln, Nebraska, May 10, 1907.
Whole Number 329.
CONTENTS
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TRUSTS AND THEIR TREATMENT
FUTURES
FRIGHTENED AGAIN
"REASSURANCE" NOT NEEDED
THE DEMOCRATIC POSITION
GOVERNOR WOODRUFF
TRIAL OF MOYER AND HAYWOOD
MR. BRYAN IN NEW ENGLAND
LETTERS FROM THE PEOPLE
WASHINGTON LETTER
COMMENT ON CURRENT TOPICS
HOME DEPARTMENT
WHETHER COMMON OR NOT
JUDGE HOBSON ON MONOPOLY
NEWS OF THE WEEK
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z FUTURES
The Wall Street Journal Is becoming uneasy.
It says': "For centuries the supreme question was
how shall the great majority secure liberty and
equality of opportunity against the power of the
small privileged minority. The time may come
'Twlien the problem will be reversed, and when '.ho
., question shall be how to preserve the rights of
the small minority against the power of the great
majority. Looking at it from every point of view
the tyranny of a despotic majority can be more
unjust and do more harm than the tyranny 7of a
despotic minority."
The" Journal is looking far into the future for
trouble.
So long as the American people provide, in
their tariff, shelter for the trusts that oppress
them; so long as they give to the national bankers
the privilege of loaning the people's money to the
people; so long as a handful of men are per
mitted to control the insurance business of the
country and a coterie of "captains of finance" are
. permitted to manage the transportation business;
so long as the trust magnates are allowed to Jix
the price the producer receives and the price the
consumer pays; so long as every agency of man
and of government the farmer's product, the
means of transportation, the state legislature,, the
congress and, all top often the court i.self seems
to have been created for the special use and bene
fit of men who neither toil nor spin, and so long
as men who raise a voice In protest against these
conditions are discouraged in their- good efforts
by the failure of their fellows to appreciate their
labor, or by the attacks of an ignorant or a venal
press there is not great need for worry concern
ing "the tyranny of a despotic majority 1"
. Let the Wall Street Journal direct its atten
tion to the undue power wielded in this country by
Vthe small privileged minority."
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GOOD FOR THE PRESIDENT
Upon the baqk of the statement relating to
William January's case, President Roosevelt
wrote: "I think Anderson's years of life as an
honest citizen, hard working and of good repute,
warrant us in commuting his sentence at once or
in pardoning him outright."
w Good for the president! The ends of justice
' will not be served by keeping this man in prison.
According to the testimony of his neighbors, ne
has reformed and when President Roosevelt sur
renders him to his faithful wife and his little
daughter, the American people will say "Amen"
.with practical unanimity.
NO QUESTIONS ASKED
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"Sir 1
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The fawning of some of our college presidents shows that Plutocracy as well as Monarchy
can make courtiers of those who are servile.
TRUSTS AND THEIR TREATMENT J
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The first step to be taken in the investigation
of the trust question is to define a trust. The
word had its origin In the practice, begun a quar
ter, of a century ago, of depositing a majority of
the stock of several corporations in the hands of
trustees, who proceeded to manage the corpora
tions as one. The word afterward was used to
describe any agreement made among independent
corporations for joint action in the restriction of
trade, the division of territory, or the fixing of.
price or terms. The aim of these various com
binations, more and more clearly defined as dif
ferent plans were adopted, was monopoly. The
essence of a trust .is to be found in its ability to
eliminate competition and control the market, and
for the purposes of this article a trust will be
defined as a corporation which by itself or in con
junction with other corporations controls a suffi
cient proportion of the article produced or handled
to enable It approximately to determine the terms
and conditions of sale or purchase. The word
"approximately" Is used because the evils of mon-.
opoly may be felt before a complete monopoly Is
secured, and the word "purchase," as well as
theword "sale," is used because a trust may
control the price of the raw material which It
buys a well as the price of its product.
The trust appears in four forms. The North
ern Securities company presented the trust id.3a
in its. most advanced form. A corporation wns
formed to purchase a controlling Interest In three
'railroads, the Great Northern, the Northern Pa
cific and the Burlington. The main advantage of
the Securities .company was that It decreased the
amount-of money necessary to enable a group of
men to control the three roads. If, for instance,
one man obtained a controlling interest In the
Great Northern, another man obtained a control
ling Interest in the Northern Pacific and a third
a controlling interest in the Burlington, the three
could confer and elect the same set of men a
directors of the three companies. These direc
tors could eliminate competition and so manage
the roads as to keep one from Interfering with
the other, but they would have to retain a ma
jority of the stock of all three roads In order to
do so. The object of the Northern Securities com
pany was to enable the capitalists to carry out
the same scheme of control with a little more than
half of the investment. The Northern Securities
company was to own a controlling interest In the
three roads, and the men who owned a control
ling Interest in the securities company would theu
control the railroads. To make the matter clearer,
let us reduce it to figures. If the three roads had
a capital stock of a hundred millions each, the
syndicate would have to own a little more than
fifty millions of the stock of each road, or some
thing more than a hundred and fifty millions nil
together. The Northern Securities company, how
ever, with a capital of a hundred and fifty-oae
millions, could, assuming the capital of the three
roads to, aggregate three hundred millions, pur
chase a controlling interest, and the syndicate, by
controlling seventy-six millions of the stock of the
Securities company, could control one hundred and
fifty-one millions of railroad stock and thus con
trol the three roads. If, instead of capitalizing
the Securities company at a hundred and fifty-one
millions, the syndicate fixed the capital at seventy-
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