The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, August 14, 1908, Page 7, Image 7

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AUGUST 1'4, 1908
The Commoner.
W t &
We, the representatives of the democracy
of the United States, in national convention as
sembled, reafllrm our belief in, and pledge our
loyalty to the principles of the party.
We rejoice at the increasing signs of an
awakening throughout the country. The various
investigations have traced graft and political
corruption to the representatives of predatory
wealth and laid bare the unscrupulous methods
by which they have debauched elections and
preyed upon a defenseless public through the
subservient officials whom they have raised to
place and power. The conscience of the nation
is now aroused and will free the government
from the grip of those who have made it a busi
ness asset of the favor seeking corporations; it
must become again a people's government, and
be administered in all its departments according
to the Jeffersonian maxim, "equal rights to all
special privileges to none."
"Shall the people rule?" is the overshadow
ing issue which manifests itself in all the ques
tions now under discussion.
The republican congress in the session just
ended made appropriations amounting to
$1,008,000,000, exceeding the total expenditures
of the past fiscal year by $90,000,000, and leav
ing a deficit of more than $60,000,000 for the
fiscal year just ended. We denounce the heedless
waste of the peoples' money which has resulted
in this appalling increase as a shameful violation
of all prudent considerations of government and
as no less than a crime against the millions of
working men and women from whose earnings
the great proportion of these colossal sums must
be extorted through excessive tariff exactions and
other indirect methods. It is not surprising
that in the face of this shocking record the re
publican platform contains v reference to
economical administration, or promise thereof
In the future. Wo demand that a stop be put
to this frightful extravagance and insist upon
the strictest economy in every department com
patible with frugal and efficient administration.
Coincident with the enormous increase In
expenditures is a like addition to the number
of officeholders. During the past year 23,784
were added, costing $16,150,000 and in the past
six years of republican administration the total
number of new offices created aside from many
commissions has been 99,319, entailing an
additional expenditure of nearly $70,000,000 as
against only 10,279 new offices created under
the Cleveland and McKinley administrations,
which involved an expenditure of only six mil
lion dollars. Wo denounce thi3 great and grow
ing increase in the number of officeholders as
not only unnecessary and wasteful, but also ag
clearly indicating a deliberate purpose on the
part of the 'administration to keep the republi
can party in power at public expense by thus
increasing the number of its retainers and de
pendents. Such procedure we declare to be
no less dangerous and corrupt than the open
purchase of votes at the polls.
The house of representatives was designed
by the fathers of the constitution to be the pop-
ular branch of bur government responsive to the
public will.
The house of representatives, as controlled
in recent years by the republican party, has
ceased to be a deliberative and legislative body,
responsive to the will of a majority of its mem
bers, but has come under the absolute domina
tion of the speaker who has entire control of
its deliberations and powers of legislation.
We have observed with amazement the
popular branch of our federal government help
lesj to obtain either the consideration or en
actment of measures desired by a majority of
its members.
Legislative control becomes a failure
when one member in the person of the speaker
is more powerful than the entire body.
We demand that the house of representa
tives shall again become a deliberative body,
controlled by a majority of the peoples' repre
sentatives and not by the speaker and we pledge
ourselves to adopt such rules and regulations
to govern the house of representatives as will
enable a majoiity of its members to direct its
deliberations and control legislation.
We condemn as a violation of the spirit of
our institutions, the action of the present chief
executive in using tho patronago of his high
office to securo tho nomination for tho presi
dency of ono of his cabinet officers. A forced
succession in tho presidency is scarcely leas
repugnant to public sentiment than is lifo
tenure in that office. No good intention on the
part of the executivo and no virtuo in tho ono
selected can justify tho establishment of a
The right of the people to freely select their
officials is inalienable and can not bo delegated.
We demand federal legislation, forever ter
minating tho partnership which has existed be
tween corporations of tho country and the repub
lican party under tho expressed or implied agree
ment that in return for the contribution of
great sums of money wherewith to purchaso
elections they should bo allowed to continue
substantially unmolested in their efforts to en
croach upon the rights of tho people.
Any reasonable doubt as to the existence
of this Telation has been dispelled by tho sworn
testimony of witnesses examined in the Insur
ance investigation In New York and tho open
admission of a single individual unchallenged
by the republican national committee that he
himself at tho personal request of tho then
republican candidate for the presidency raised
over a quarter of a million dollars to bo used
in a single state during tho closing hours of
tho last campaign. In order that this
practice shall bo stopped for all time wo
demand tho passage of a statute punishing
by imprisonment any officer of a corporation
who shall either cont.Ibuto on behalf of or con
sent to the contribution by a corporation of any
money or thing of value to bo used in further
ing tho election of a president or vice president
of the United States or of any member of the con
gress thereof. We denounce tho republican party,
having complete control of tho federal gov
ernment for its failure to pass tho bill, intro
duced in the last congress to compel the publi
cation of the names of contributors and tho
amounts contributed toward campaign funds and
point to tho evidence of tho insincerity of
republican leaders when they sought by an abso
lutely Irrelevant and impossible amendment to
defeat the passage of tho bill, as a further evi
dence of their intention to conduct their cam
paign in the coming contest with vast sums of
money wrested from favor-seeking corpora
tions. We call attention to the fact that tho
recent republican national convention at Chicago
refused, when the issue was presented to it, to
declare against such practices.
We pledge the democratic party to tho en
actment of a law prohibiting any corporation
from contributing to a campaign iunC and any
Individual from contributing an amount above
a reasonable maximum and providing for the
publication before election of all such contribu
tions above a reasonable minimum.
Believing, with Jefferson, in "tho support
of the state governments in all their rights as
the most competent administrations for our
domestic concerns, and the surest bulwarks
against anti-republican tendencies," and in "the
preservation of tho general government in its
whole constitutional vigor, as tho sheet anchor
of our peace at home and safety abroad," we
are opposed to the centralization Implied in' tho
suggestion, now frequently made, that the pow
ers of the general government should be ex
tended by judicial construction. There is no
twilight zone between the nation and tho state
in which exploiting 'interests can take refugo
from both; and it is as necessary that the fed
eral government shall exercise the powers dele
gated to it as it is that the state governments
shall use the authority reserved to them; but
we insist that federal remedies for the regula
tion of interstate commerce and for the preven
tion of private monopoly shall be added to, not
substituted for, state remedies.
We favor the election of United States sen
ators by direct vote of the people and regard
this reform as tho gateway to other national
We welcome the belated promise of tariff
reform now offered by the republican party as a
tardy recognition of the righteousness of tho
democratic poiitlon on this question. Hut tho
people can not safely entrust the execution of this
important work (o it party which Is ho deeply
obligated to Hip highly protected Interest as
is tho republican parly, Wo call attention to
the significant fact that the promised relief Is
postponed until nfter the coming election- -an
election to succeed in which tho republican party
must have tliat same support from the beneficiar
ies of the high protective tariff as It has always
heretofore received from thorn; and to tho
further fact that during years of unk.torruptod
power no action whatovcr has boon tnkon by
tho republican congress to correct the admitted
ly existing tariff Iniquities.
We favor Immediate revision of tho tariff
by tho reduction of Import duties. Articles en
tering into competition with trupt controlled
products should bo placed upon the froo list;
material reductions should bo made In the tariff
upon tho necessaries of lifo. especially upon
articles rompetlng with such American manufac
tures as are sold abroad more cheaply than at
homo, and gradual reductions should bo mndo
in such other schedules as may bo rrcccssary
to restore tho tariff to a revenuo basis.
Existing duties have given tho manu
facturers Of paper a shelter behind which they
I.ave organized combinations to raise tho prlco
of pulp and of paper, thus imposing a tax upon
tho spread of knowledge. We demand tho im
mediate repeal of .tho tariff on yodel pulp, print
paper, lumber, timber and logs and that these
articles be placed upon tho free list.
Wo favor an incomo tax as part of our
revenue system and wo urgo the submission of
a constitutional amendment specifically author
izing congress to levy and collect a tax upon
individual and corporate incomes to the end that
wealth may boar its proportionate sharo of tho
burdens of tho federal government.
A private monopoly is indofonslblo and In
tolerable; wo therefore favor tho vigorous en
forcement of tho criminal law against gulty
trust magnates and officials and demand tho on
actment of such additional legislation as may
bo necessary to make it impossible for a private
monopoly to exist in tho United States. Among
tho additional remedies, wo specify threo:
First, a law preventing a duplication of direc
tors among competing corporations; second a
Hcense system which will, without abridging tho
fight of each state to create corporations, or Its
right to regulate as it will foreign ccrporations
doing business within its limits, make it neces
sary for a manufacturing or trading corporation
engaged in interstate commerce to tako out a
federal license before it shall be permitted to
control as much as twenty-flvo per cent of tho
product in which it deals, tho license to protect
tho public from watered stock and to prohibit
tho control by such corporation of more than
fifty per cent of tho total amount of any product
consumed In tho United States, and, third, a law
compelling such licensed corporations to sell to
all purchasers in all parts of tho country or th
same terms, after making due allowance for cost
of transportation.
We assert the right of conpresB to exercise
complete control over interstate commerce and
the right of each state to exercise like control
over commerce within its borders.
Wo demand such enlargement of the pow
ers of the interstate commerce commission as
may bo necessary to enable it to compel rail
roads to perform their duties as common car
riers and prevent discrimination and extortion.
Wo favor tho efficient supervision and rate
regulation of railroads engaged in interstate
commerce. To this end we recommend the val
uation of railroads by the interstate commerce
commission, such valuation to tako into con
sideration tho physical value of the property, the
original cost, tho cost of production, and
all elements of value that will render tho valua
tion fair and just.
We favor such legislation as will prohibit
the railroads from engaging in business which
brings them into competition wi'". their ship
pers; also legislation preventing the over-issuo
of stocks and bonds by interstate railroads, and
legislation which will assure such reduction in
transportation rates as conditions will permit,
care being taken to avoid reduction that
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