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About The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923 | View Entire Issue (May 13, 1910)
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WILLIAM J. BRYAN, EDITOR AND PROPRIETOR
Lincoln, Nebraska, May 13, 1910
VOL. 10, NO. 18
Whole Number 486
Tho people of Nebraska are just now deeply
interested in the initiative and referendum and
they iind that here as in other cases, the great
reform is bitterly opposed by the representatives
of special interests. In Nebraska it is opposed
by the liquor interests whoso representatives
helped to defeat it at the last session of tho
Nebraska legislature. They are equally active
in opposing it at this time. The initiative and
referendum is in brief a method of bringing
about direct legislation. It means the bringing
of the government nearer to the people the
making of the government more responsive to
the will of the people. The initiative, as its
name implies, describes the governmental pro
cess by which the voters compel the submission
of a question upon which they desire to vote;
while the referendum, true to its name, describes
the machinery by which a measure is referred to
the people for their decision. The initiative and
referendum do not overthrow representative gov
ernment, -they merely bring the representative
under the control of his constituents. The peo
ple will not resort to the initiative and referen
dum so long as the legislators do their duty,
and give voice to public sentiment. The initia
tive and referendum are, as it were, a club h'eld
over the representatives to compel them to
recognize their responsibility and give expres
sion to the wishes of those who elect them.
Representatives will be more apt to vote for
needed laws when they know that the people
can secure these laws in spite of the legislature,
and will secure them; and representatives will
be restrained from voting for bad laws when
they know that the voters themselves have the
right of veto.
It is perfectly natural that sentiment in favor
of the initiative and referendum should grow
because the masses are democratic by instinct
and by education. They may be deceived for a
while by the special interests, but they can not
be deceived always. As soon as they under
stand what the initiative and referendum are,
and why they are proposed, they at once be
come advocates of them.
The sentiment in favor of the initiative and
referendum is far stronger than any party, and
it is not an exaggeration to say that if a vote
could be taken among the people of any state,
after a thorough discussion of the subject, no
other reform now before the country would re
ceive so large a percentage of the total vote.
In Missouri, for instance, the initiative and
referendum were adopted by a large majority
even though the state went republican, and
republican states, like Oregon, South Dakota
and Maine have adopted it,as well as a demo
cratic state like Oklahoma. Even in Ohio the
friends of the initiative and referendum came
within a vote or two of securing the submission
of the amendment. While it is impossible to
fix with accuracy the date upon which any re
form, however meritorious, will be secured, no
THE KING'S LAST WORDS
THE DEMOCRATIC SPIRIT
MR. JUSTICE HUGHES
"THE BEST EVER"
A DISGUSTED REPUBLICAN
EDUCATIONAL SERIES --- GOVERNORS
FOR DIRECT LEGISLATION
PRACTICAL TARIFF TALKS
THE TRUTH ABOUT HIGH PRICES
ILLINOIS SENATORIAL SCANDAL
WHETHER COMMON OR NOT
NEWS OF THE WEEK
one who understands the trend of events will
doubt that the initiative and referendum will
spread until all tho states have adopted It.
Enough states have already acted favorably to
prove that it is not limited by latitudo or longi
tude. Maine in the east, Oregon in tho west,
South Dakota in the north, Oklahoma in tho
south and Missouri in the center theso states
represent extremes in every sense, and yet they
are one in recognizing the strength of the argu
ment in favor of direct legislation.
THE DEMOCRATIC SPIRIT
Tho Commoner commends to the consideration
of its readers the spirit shown by Hon. John E.
Lamb in his fight in the Indiana convention.
He was a candidate for the United States senate
and his services to the party justified him in
aspiring to that honorable position. Ho believes
in honest politics and in daylight democracy,
and when Governor Marshall came out in favor
of the nomination of a senator by the stato
convention Mr. Lamb immediately joined him
in the fight and was the governor's right-hand
man. It did not matter to Lamb that ho had
to attack with vigor those who were attempting
to force the party into an indefensible position.
Ho put principle above his own interests, and
fought with the courage of a gladiator. Tho
battle was won, and the democracy of Indiana
was saved from humiliation.
It was only natural that his friends would
expect him to enjoy tho fruits of tho victory to
which he had so largely contributed, but another .
factor entered Into the contest. Kern had been
betrayed two years ago, and the indignation of
the democrats throughout the state was such
that they demanded the nomination of Kern
as a vindication of honest politics, as well as a
reward for his long continued and distinguished
services. When Lamb saw that this was tho
temper of the convention he withdrew and threw
his influence to Kern. Like a true democrat
he emerges from the contest without soreness
and without loss of interest in politics. In an
interview he says: "The convention acted wise
ly. The enemities incurred by me would have
followed me through the contest, while Mr.
Kern will go into the fight with a united party
and will be triumphantly elected to the United.
This utterance is just what Mr. Lamb's
friends expected from him. He is brave in bat
tle and unruffled by defeat. If his heart had
been set upon his own advancement he could
not have been so sweet-tempered when he saw
his ambition thwarted, but as his heart was
set on larger things he was happy in the belief
that another might bear the standard to vic
tory, and that triumph is to him a sufficient
reward. Would that we had more Lambs in
the democratic party more who are as stead
fast during the conflict and as serene in defeat!
The readers of The Commoner will remember
that in a recent Issue a table was given showing
that a number of democratic editors had ex
pressed a preference for ex-President Roosevelt
as the democratic candidate. While The Com
moner is not informed as to the reasons which
lead the democratic editors to express a prefer
ence 'for Mr. Roosevelt, it ventures to say that
at present there is no indication that the sug
gestion will be taken seriously. While Mr.
Roosevelt has stood for some things that are
democratic he stands for so many things that
are undemocratic that he Is not likely to aspire
to be or be accepted as the standard bearer
of the democratic party.
WHO ARE THEY?
Mr. Aldrich says that he has enough votes
to carry the railroad bill, and among the num
ber includes "a number of democratic senators"
who, according to Senator Aldrich, stand ready
to oppose the amendment which the progressives
have been presenting. All right, let us get an
other look at the Aldrich democrats. They aro
becoming pretty well known, but another ex
hibit of them would not hurt. It tends to im
press their names upon the public memory.
The King's Last Words
The last words uttor'ed by King Edward wore:
"I think I havo done my duty." What greater
consolation can ono have, when tho shadows
of life aro closing about him, than to feel that
ho has bravely borno tho responsibilities of llfo
and conscientiously porformod his duty?
Tho mother looks back over a long lifo of
service, recalls tho infancy of her children and
their growth into manhood and womanhood, re
members how alio has labored to develop char
actor as well as brain power, and feels that she
has done her duty, even If her children havo
not measured up to her hopes and expectations.
The father, too, finds consolation in tho con
sciousness that he has done his duty, even
though wayward sons havo brought his gray
hairs down in sorrow to tho grave, if he has set
an example worthy of imitation and, by wlso
counsel, done all within his power to guide his
And tho citizen, also, must rest for comfort
in tho closing hours upon the conviction that ho
has lived up to the obligations imposed upon him
by citizenship has been true to every public
trust and has not shirked tho voter's duty.
The pathos of death reaches its maximum when
ono enters the unknown world distracted by tho
mocking memory of fleeting pleasures purchased
by sin; even those who find that they have done
their duty can approach the grave "like ono
who wraps tho drapery of his couch about him
and lies down to pleasant dreams."
TURN ON THE LIGHT
Tho press dispatches report that three mem
bers of tho Illinois legislature have confessed
to receiving pay for their voto for Lorlmer In
the senatorial contest of last year. This is very
gratifying news. Everyone who has known any
thing of the contest has felt certain that it was
one of the most corrupt senatorial contests that
has disgraced the political history of this coun
try. Tho Commoner said at tho time that tho
reason for tho conduct of these democrats would
probably develop later.
The trouble about such cases is that it Is diffi
cult to get actual proof of bribery even when
the suspicion amounts to a practical certainty.
In tho Illinois case the facts have now been se
cured, and tho prosecution should be carried to
the end. As it Is much more important to pun
ish the bribe-givers than those who receive tho
bribes, it might bo well for the prosecution to
offer Immunity to those who would come In at
once and acknowledge their guilt and assist in
tho prosecution of tho big offenders. This was
done in Pittsburg, and It resulted in unearthing
ono of tho worst municipal scandals that tho
press has had to record. Mercy can well bo
shown to the weak men who yielded to tempta
tion and sold their votes If through leniency to
them the crime can be fixed upon tho men higher
up and justice be meted out to those who cor
rupt on a large scale.
MR. JUSTICE HUGHES
In a speech delivered at St. Louis, President
Taft resented with some show of bitterness Mr.
Bryan's suggestion that Governor Hughes of
New York has been too closely Identified with
corporations and with the ideas for which cor
porations stand to warrant the people In great
rejoicing over his appointment to the supremo
Mr. Bryan Is not the only one that must be
called to task on this point. For Instance, the
income tax amendment was defeated in the New
York legislature and the Albany correspondent
for the New York World said that this undesir
able result was brought about by "the combina
tion of Hughes reform leaders and the 'straight
goods' republican bosses formed to prevent the
endorsement of the income tax amendment."
In the weekly financial review issued by W.
E. Hutton & Co., and printed In the Cincinnati
Enquirer of Sunday May 1, tho following ap
peared: "The new week opened rather better than tho
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