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About The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923 | View Entire Issue (Dec. 25, 1908)
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PECHMBBR 26, .19(8
The Single Standard or the Prince
By Rev. J. F. Nugent, Pes Moineg. Iowa
Rev. J. P. Nugent, pastor Church of Visita
tion, Des Mtiines, Iowa, has Written for Mr.
Bryan's address, "The Prince of Peace," an in
troduction entitled "The Single Standard."
Father Nugeht's introduction is as follows:
THE SINGLE STANDARD
Tor the first time since the formation of
this republic a speech of a purely religious char
acter is thrown before the American voter as
the latest and best form of a campaign docu
ment. During the past one hundred and thirty
years the American citizen has been taught to
study the political machinery of his government.
In the present campaign he is respectfully in
vited to seriously study the principles which un
derlie the machinery itself. At a" time, when
nothing is heard above the roar of the political
tempest, but the party cries of good times, bank
guarantees and injunctions, it ia somewhat un
usual to ask the voter to stop for a moment and
calmly study the issues from a moral standpoint.
Issues are short-lived. Like the leaves of
the forest, they sometimes bud and fall in a
single season, but the leaves have never fallen
without having written the history of their life
in the rings that make the sturdy trees of the
forest. The leaves have endured only for a
season, but the trees live on through tho cen
turies. History is as full of dead issues as the
woods are full of dead leaves, but tho causes
that gave them birth, and tho way they have
been settled, Is the stuff from which is spun
the thread that makes the web of living history.
It is in the light of these facts that history must
be written and that history must be read.
The great underlying principles of truth
and justice are never changed by issues, but
issues must be changed and modified by them.
So. far as God Is concerned, these truths ore
eternal; so far as man is concerned, they are
as old as the worl'd.
As political cries and shibboleths, the issues
of past campaigns have long since passed away,
but the way in which they. have been adjusted
is recorded in the living history of the world
and forms tho fiber of our complicated and com
Our especial reason for offering the Prince
of Peace to the American public at this time Is
because the republican party has adopted the
"square deal" as a kind of national shibboleth.
The square deal is the only important issue
in the present campaign, because it involves all
the others. It is a moral question, and from its
very nature dictates the principles by which all
other issues shall be decided.
It must not be thought for a moment that
Mr. Roosevelt is the author of the "square deal."
Christ taught that, doctrine to St. Paul, and St.
Paul taught it to the Thessalonians, when he
said "that no man overreach his brother, or
deceive him in business."
If Christ is the author of the "square deal
it would seem quite in keeping with the spirit
and genius of our country that we give Him
a place as a vital factor in the great political
struggles which involve the welfare of the na
tion. We opened both conventions with a prayer
addressed to the Throne of Grace, and rested
our hopes on the efficacy of tho atonement. The
legislatures of every state in the union open
each session with prayer addressed to God in
the name of Christ. As a great Christian peo
ple we recognize the moral code which we
brought to us 2,000 years ago, as the basis 01
our present civilization and the hope of the
higher and tho better civilization which we ex
pect to come with the ages.
This Is a Christian country, and no matter
how we may differ as to special creed and re
ligious forms, we practically all agree reckon
ing longitude in the moral world from this un
changed and unchangeable meridian.
The Prince of Peace is a beautiful poem,
and Christ, the author of tho "square deal is
its hero, and W. J. Bryan, the democratic can
didate for President of the United States, is its
author. Thousands of American people have
listened with deep admiration to Mr. Bryan
while delivering it on the lecture Platform, and
to tho vast audiences which thronged our sum
mer chautauquas. rof.rpnPp
This lecture was not written with reference
to any political ends or aims. It y8"
forth in times of peace and Intellectual repose.
It Is tho calm reflection of a naturally sincoro
and religious mind. This circumstance gives it
peculiar value as a' campaign document, bocauso
it shows to the American peoplo just what they
want to know at this particular time. It is a
survey whch gives us tho moral lovol of tho
man's naturo taken at a point equally removed
from tho high peaks of literary and oratorical
success, and tho depression which, in ordinary
minds, usually follows political defeat.
In reading the Princo of Peace one can
readily see and account for that peculiar char
acteristic which marks all tho speeches and
writings of Mr. Bryan. In developing his po
litical doctrine, theology naturally slips in under
politics as its logical foundation, and politics
just as naturally laps over on theology as its
necessary complement. In Bryan's philosophy,
theology and politics are twin systems, and are
closely related in the plan of human govern
ment as the soul and body in the physical man.
For this reason we have never regarded Mr.
Bryan as a politician in tho sense that that word
is generally used. He has never attempted to
build any system or advocate any political theory
that had not tho "square deal" as a basis. He
has always held and still holds that tho only
way to realize the "square deal" is by dealing
squarely. Ho holds, with good reason, that It
Is not square dealing with tho American people
to advocate tho "square deal" on the public
forum while standing on a platform that makes
the "square deal" impossible. It Is noticeable
that when tho Princo of Peace was hero Himself
He never took sides for or against any form of
government not even tho system of silavory. Ho
said, "Love one another," "Do unto others as
you would have them do unto you," and "Let no
man circumvent his brother in business." With
these Injunctions forming tho basis and spirit
of society, any form of government would be
good enough. Even the system of slavery itsolfk
would be a blessing, because it would guarantee
to the weak and incompetent what ho could
never attain perhaps through his liberty.
In 1896 Mr. Bryan ran for president of tho
United States on the Issue of a double standard
in tho realm of money. The republican party then
advocated the single standard. Bryan was de
feated. It developed after the election that six
teen millions of a campaign fund was tho orator
who did the talking in the doubtful states. After
the election wo were told that it was the voice
of the people. The single standard carried the
day. In tho present campaign Mr. Bryan is run
ning for president of the United States on the
Issue of a single standard in the world of morals.
The republican party now advocates the double
standard, one for measuring tho rights and
wrongs of the plain people and tho other mado
for the builders of predatory wealth. The peo
plo have been crying out against the abuses of
corporations and combined wealth, and every
court decision that favors tho railroads, the
Standard Oil, the paper, tho tobacco trusts and
the beef robbery, and every form of predatory
wealth has called forth loud and indignant pro
tests from tho common people.
Is it possible, or can it be believed, that
the people who have objected to tho court deci
sions will now endorse the decisions of tho courts
and perpetuate tho reign of monopoly by elect
ing to the highest office in the land a man whom
the corporations have named as their friend and
favorite. The Prince of Peace when here on
earth said no man can serve two masters. The
republican party has asked Mr. Taft to try It,
and this party, so conservative in all things else,
and so opposed to Mr. Bryan for "flighty
theories," is willing to invest money in the ex
periment. To the more intelligent, Mr Taft is
not going to try it. He is going to do what
most men in his position and age would do he
is eoing to worship those who made him, or, in
the words of scripture, he will remember his
Creator In the days of his youth. Before the
days come when he shall say, "They please me
n0t,'The intelligent, or ,even half-intelligent,
voter if he were to see a game like this played
under a tent at a state fair, would quickly re
Sard it as a shell game or three-card m0nte
Salr and carefully avoid the gambler's lure
ran it be that men of ordinary minds will fall
? all through the plot in a similar case, be
cause "it U J pfayed imder the dome of the White
House and by tho first mon of tho nation?
Amidst theao troublesome problems, nnd In
tlieso times of high finance and high living, In
an ago of greed, grasping and graft, and when
the passion for money-getting had taken tho
form of a positive and wfdoiprond dolorltim. It
Is a hopeful sign to hoar above tho hattlo cry
tho voice of tho Princo of Pcnco. Many thought
ful peoplo aro beginning to reallzo that from that
voice, and that voico alone, must como tho only
pormnnent relief for tho nation. So long ax tho
teaching of Christ remains only a theory, or a
moral sentiment, It can nover ho a saving cle
ment in tho structure of tho groat social fabric.
It must bo a vital, active principle planted In
tho hearts of Individuals and through tho Indi
vidual It must And Its way Into tho world of
politics. Its effect and its influence In society
and government must bo similar to- that of oxy
gen In tho physical world. H oxygon were only
a mere theory, or a sentimont, or a question
for professors to discuss, in tho classroom, tho
flowers would have no color and tho fruits &
essence and tho flro no flame and tho anlmaf
world no life.
All tho stormy dobates of senate and tho
valor of armies have failed to keep govommontu
and states together after thoy havo ropudltUGtV
or lost the singlo standard In nwrnllty,
During tho public Ilfo of Mr. Bryan ho has
stood head and shoulders abovo tho common
herd of politicians In the unceasing advocacy of
those principles vital to national life First, ho
advocates tho rights of every citizen under tho
flag without distinction of creed or color. Sec
ondly, that these rights can be secured only by
strict adherence to the single standard In morals.
Thirdly, that the single standard in morals can
bo guaranteed only through tho teachings and
principles laid down by tho Princo of Peace.
It would seem as if the honest voter Is tak
ing no chances when ho entrusts tho govern
ment to tho hands of one whose rulo of action
rests on a foundation so deeply seated in the
eternal principles of justice. Mr. Bryan has
taught this doctrine all through his public ca
reer, and nowhere more forcibly than In IiIh
own public and private life.
For fifteen years he has stood on tho, firing
lino under the guns of merciless critics and bit?:
tor enemies, who have lookod with a searchlight
for openings In his armor through which to
send the fatal shaft, and yet ho stands today
before the American people, even by the con
fession of his enemies, graftless, great and still
To tho. ypung men of the nation who stand
at tho entrance of public life the example of
Mr. Bryan is an inspiration. Ho has given in
his speeches and writings tho highest ideals of
true manhood and in his own life the highest
tyne of American citizenship.
He has clearly demonstrated to fhepcl
that practical Christianity is not a handlcapffi
the arena of politics. Ho has never compro
mised his religion, nor trimmed his politics.
True to his conscience and unswerving In his
convictions, he ha3 looked tho inhabitants of
a convex world In the face, and told them in
matchless oratory a political story which exactly
accords with tho principles laid down In that
other story which tho Prince of Peace told them
2,000 years ago.
Mr. Bryan's principles are as wide as tho
world and Include tho human race. No theology
can be true and include any less, and no true
politics can be limited to the territory of a cer
tain flag. It-Is true certain countries may call
for special forms of laws and legislation, but
no form that excludes the "square deal." This
is where Mr. Bryan has won a world-wide fame.
America is his land as a citizen, but In a wider
senso the world is his. He is a man and a citi
zen of the wide and rounded earth, and this is
the secret of Mr. Bryan's growth and triumph.
Many people wonder how he rose after each
defeat stronger than when he went down. His
story Is the story of Anteus, the mythological
giant. Anteus was a giant of Lybya, a powerful
wrestler, son of Terra, the earth, and Jupiter.
Hercules attacked him and dashed him to the
ground, but every time he struck his mother,
tho earth, he gained new strength. Hercule&
then seized and held him' high about the earth,
and squeezed him to death in mid-air.
Bryan belongs to the earth ito the com-
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