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About The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923 | View Entire Issue (May 22, 1908)
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WILLIAM J. BRYAN, EDITOR AND PROPRIETOR
VOL- 8, NO. 19
Lincoln; Nebraska, May 22, 1908
Whole Number 383
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PRESIDENT URGES CENTRALIZATION
FAIRBANKS AND ROOSEVELT
HIGH TARIFF ON COAL OIL
CONSERVING NATIONAL RESOURCES
A COUNTRY MERCHANT'S ANSWER
PRESIDENT'S ADDRESS AT THE WHITE
INTERESTING REMARKS BY REPUBLI
COMMENT ON CURRENT TOPICS
, r WHETHER COMMON OR NOT
NEWS OF THE WEEK
A TERRIBLE PICTURE
The president -paints a .terrible picture of
the demoralizing' influence of . ill-gotten wealth.
He pictures the multi-millionaire who haa
gro,wn rjch by immbral means as "the least ad-;
omirable of all our ' citizens a man qfwliniiit';.
has been well said, that his face has gro'wrihar&JL
and cruel, while his body has grown sof t? whose,'
son is a fool and whose daughter a foreign prin-" v
cess; whose nominal pleasures are at best those
of a tasteless and extravagant luxury, and whose
real delight, Whose real life work is the accumu
lation and use of power in its most sordid and
least elevating form."
And who is this man whom tho president
pictures? He is the beneficiary of privilege,
tho child of favoritism in government. And how
does he secure privilege and favoritism? By
contributing campaign funds to the party which
will sell him the right to exploit the country.
Which party has been doing this? The republi
can party, whose leaders are now conspiring to
prevent any remedial legislation. These same
influences are seeking to dominate the demo
cratic party, but they find the democratic masses
incorruptible and therefore their effort is frustrated.
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f yS0 IN SKrttOfTv. ' . WHEN Ht6T5 HOWL
' POLITICAL j?HC uyjy Tll r-"
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Tlie gentleman docsn'tK seem, to- be, worrying much now, but wo venture tho prediction tliafc L
ho won't bo idle next summer.
President Urges Centralization
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THE GREAT POLITICAL THOUGHT
The greatest political thought in the world
is that embodied in the declaration of inde
pendence, namely, that all men are created
equal. This is the basis of popular government,
and popular government is spreading. It does
not mean that men are, or will be, equal in
physical strength, in intellectual ability, in moral
character or in wealth it simply means that
God never gave to one human being a natural
right that he denied to any other human being,
and that in the contemplation of government, all
must stand equal before the law. Out of this
basic principle all other political principles
grow and by it all methods of government and
all policies must be measured.
t tW 10
The Springfield (Mass.) Republican prints
this significant editorial: "On which side is the
heart of the president in the party struggle in
tho house of representatives? Does he sympa
thize with the opposition filibustering to force
action on his favorite measures, or with the re
publican majority fighting to dump them under
a trap-door until the next session? Which is
the president's party, anyhow?"
As The Commoner has commended Presi
dent Roosevelt wherever he has recommended
democratic reforms, it is the more free to criti
cize him when he recommends things undemo
cratic. One of tho undemocratic things which
he has recommended is tho surrender of tho
right of tho state to control commerce within
its borders. He says that state commerce
"forms but a small fraction of the commerce
carried by the railroads through each state,"
and that "actual experience has shown that tho
effort at state control is sure to be nullified in
one way or another sooner or later." He then
proceeds to argue that "the nation alone can
act with effectiveness and wisdom; it should
have control of both, of tho business and of
the agent by which the business is done, for
any attempt to separate this control must re
sult In grotesque absurdity." Explaining this
proposition ho says: "This means that we must
rely upon national legislation to prevent the
commercial abuses that now exist and tho
others that are sure to arise unless some efficient
government body has adequate power of control
over them." In another part of the message
he says that he believes that "ultimately we
shall have to adopt a national incorporation
law," but he recognizes that "this may be im
possible at present."
We are thus brought face to face with a
most serious proposition, namely, whether the
dual character of our government shall be pre
served as it is defined by the cpnstltution, or
obliterated as is proposed by the president.
What is the situation? Congress now has
power which it has not exercised; it has all the
power it needs. For ten years a railroad lobby
at Washington prevented the adoption of the
recommendations of tho interstate commerce
commission, and while now legislation was pro
vented, the railroads continued to grant rebates
and to make discriminations. Tho work of tho
lobby was open and notorious. It is less than
three years since representatives of two of tho
leading railroads of tho cast used tho lobbies
of congress to bribe members Into the support
of appropriations desired by the railroads.
These representatives did not disguise tho fact
that they kept a record of the votes cast by
members and rewarded with passes, or punished
them by withholding passes, according to their
votes. Tho pass evil has at last been corrected,
but it required a tremendous convulsion and all
the influence that the president could exert
through an aroused public opinion.
If tho railroad influence has been so great
when congress exercised control over interstate
commerce only, what will be tho influence when
all regulation la centered at Washington and
the railroads enter politics for the purpose 'of
controlling the senate, the house, the Interstate
commerce commission, the president and the
courts? Already there aro indications that the
railroads are planning for tho coming campaign.
One railroad attorney announces that the rail
road employes must stand with the railroad
managers against any party which attempts to
antagonize railroads and to antagonize the
railroads means to antagonize tho views of a
few railroad magnates who aspire to control the
railroad systems of the country. Another organ
ization has been recently formed which an
nounces that "railroad baiting" must stop
and "railroad baiting" can only mean the at-
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