Image provided by: University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries, Lincoln, NE
About The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923 | View Entire Issue (Jan. 27, 1911)
JANUARY 27, 1911
Republican Insurgents Ready for War
Republican Insurgents at Washington have
prepared for war within the republican party
by organizing the National Republican League.
The declaration of principles are signed by nino
republican senators, six republican governors,
thirteen members of the house and a number of
distinguished reformers. Officers were chosen
as follows: '
President Senator Jonathan Bourne, Jr.,
First Vice President Representative Georgo
W. Norris, Nebraska.
Second Vice President Governor Charles B.
Treasurer Charles R. Crane, Chicago.
Executive Committee Senator Moses B.
Clapp, Minnesota; Senator Joseph L. Brlstow,
Kansas; Representative B. H. Hubbard, Iowa;
Representative Irvine L. Lenroot, Wisconsin;
Representative-elect William Kent, California;
Gifford Pinchot, Pennsylvania; George L. Rec
ord, New Jersey, and the president, vice presi
dent and treasurers, members ex-officio.
DECLARATION OF PRINCIPLES
The declaration of principles follows:
"We, the undersigned, associate ourselves to
gether as the National Republican League. The
object of the league is the promotion of popu
lar government and progressive legislation.
"Popular government in America has been
thwarted and progressive legislation strangled
by. the special interests which control caucuses,
delegates, conventions and party organizations
and through control of the machinery of gov
ernment dictate nominations and platforms, elect
administrations, legislatures, representatives in
congress and United States senators and control
"Under existing conditions legislation in the
public interest has been baffled and defeated.
This is evidenced by the long struggle to secure
laws, but partially effective, for the control of
railway rates and services, the revision of the
tariff in the interest of the producer and con
sumer, statutes dealing with trusts and combina
tions based on sound-economic principles as ap
plied to modern industrial and commercial con
ditibns, a wise, comprehensive and Impartial
reconstruction of the banking and monetary
laws, the conservation of coal, oil, gas, timber,
water powers and other natural resources be
longing to the people and for the enactment of
all legislation solely for the common good.
"Just in proportion as popular government
has in certain states superseded the delegate
convention system and the people have assumed
control of the machinery of government, has
government become responsive to the popular
will and progressive legislation been secured.
"The progressive republican league believes
popular government is fundamental to all other
questions. To this end it advocates:
"The election of United States senators by
direct vote of the people.
"Direct primaries for the nomination of all
"The direct election of delegates to national
conventions, with Opportunity for the voter to
express his choice for president and vice pres
ident. "An amendment to state constitutions pro
viding for the initiative, referendum and recall.
"A thorough general corrupt practices act.
"The league will co-operate with progressives
in the several states and wherever acceptable
will render assistance in promoting the organi
zation of state leagues.
"Whenever requested by any progressive state
league or by progressive leaders in stato legis
latures, the national progressive republican
league will aid in the preparation of appropriate
bills and resolutions and will furnish speakers
and literature in support of legislative action
upon the propositions enumerated in the five
numbered paragraphs s.et forth in the foregoing
declaration of principles."
This is signed by the following:
United States Senators Jonathan Bourne, Jr.,
Oregon; Albert J. Beveridge, Indiana; Joseph
L. Bristow, Kansas; Norris Brown, Nebraska;
Albert B. Cummins, Iowa; Moses B. Clapp, Min
nesota; Joseph M. Dixon, Montana; A. J.
Gronna, North Dakota; Robert M. LaFollette,
Governors Chester H. Aldrlch, Nebraska;
Joseph M. Carey, Wyoming; Hiram W. John
son, California; Francis B. McGovern, Wiscon
sin; Charles B.. Osborne, Michigan; W. R.
.Congressmen Henry Allen Cooper, Wiscon
sin; William J. Cary, Wisconsin; C. R. Davis,
Minnesota; B. H. Hubbard, Iowa; G. N.
Haughen, Iowa; Irvlno L. Lenroot, Wisconsin;
C. A. Lindberg, Minnesota; Victor Murdock,
Kansas, B. H. Madison, Kansas; B. H. Morse,
Wisconsin; John N. Nason, Wisconsin; Georgo
W. Norris, Nebraska; Miles Poindexter, Wash
ington. Other Signers Ray Stannard Baker, Massa
chusetts; Louis A. Brandeis, Massachusbtts;
Charles R. Crane, Illinois; Frank L. Dlngley,
Maine; James R. Garfield, Ohio; Hugh T. Hal
bert, Minnesota; Francis J. Honey, California;
Frederick C. Howe, New York; Fred S. Jack
son (congressman-elect), Kansas; B. Clarence
Jones, Now York; W. T. Kent (congressman
elect), California; Georgo S. Loftus, Minnesota;
William L. LaFollette (congressman-elect)
Washington; Gifford Pinchot, Pennsylvania;
Amos, Pinchot, New York; James A. Peterson,
Minnesota; Georgo L. Record, Now Jersey;
Gilbert B. Roe, New York; W. S. U'Ren, Oregon;
Merle D. Vincent, Coloradto; William Allen
BOURNE MAKES STATEMENT"
Senator Bourne, president of the league made
the following statement In regard to Its or
ganization and purposes:
"The declaration pf principles of the national
Progressive Republican League speaks for itself.
While its membership Is confined to those who
believo the republican party represented by
progressive republicans, offers the most encour
agement for the establishment of these prin
ciples, there is not a purpose to make it a
political organization in tho sense of promoting
the political fortunes of any man or men. Tho
enactment of legislation carrying out tho pro
gram is Its sole purpose, and It stands ready
whenever acceptable to assist democratic, as
well as republican legislatures to secure such
The league will at once enter upon an ag
gressive campaign. State legislatures will bo
organized and upon request furnished with .bills
literature and speakers. Permanent headquar
ters will be maintained for carrying on tho workr
"Precise uniformity of legislation in tho dif
ferent states Is not to be expected. Account
must be taken of tho conditions In each stato
as to the details of the legislation to be urged,
the. object being to insure popular government
in the end.
"Membership In the National Progressive
League consists of those who have signed the
declaration of principles and constitution and
of those who may hereafter be elected by a ma
jority vote of tho members.
"I expect to devote my entire time to the
work of tho league so far as my official duties
will permit.. The league will be a permanent
organization, and Its founders have made their
plans for a continuance of its work for a' number
MUDDLED OVER THE INITIATIVE
From a friend jomes a New York Tribune
editorial on the Initiative and referendum, with
the remark that, "as of course you know, tho
eastern papers don't know anything about the
movement, but they catch up Isolated items and
make the most of them." That statement is
true, but It Is a very pertinent question, Why
don't the eastern papers inform themselves
about the initiative and referendum when tho
Information Is so easily obtained?
The Tribune does not oppose direct legisla
tion, yet It has Its doubts as to the practica
bility of the method in any of the large states
where, it says, "tho people fall below those of
Oregon in average Intelligence, and lack the
Oregonians' zest for Belf-government." But
what reason is there for saying that intelligence
is bounded by state lines? And who would
have thought in tho days of machine corruption
in Oregon, just before the day of the Initiative
and referendum, that Oregonians had anything
of a "ze"st for self-government?"
Noting the recent Illinois vote of 447,908 for
the initiative and referendum to 128,398 against
it, in a total vote of less than 700,000 showing
that six out of every seven voters recorded them
selves upon the question, and that the majority
in favor of adopting the Oregon method was
overwhelming the Tribune asserts that "If the
experience of Oregon Is to bo a guide, Hllnois
will have to hedge about the initiative and ref
erendum with a variety of limitations," because
Oregon voters had thirty-two measures to vote
on at tho last election; and tho conclusion is
drawn that "with tho diversity of population and
varloty of Interests in Illinois It is easy to Imag
lno that an unrestricted Initiative and referen
dum would mako voting a day's work." Henco
tho Tribune concludes that "properly limited
and hedged about so that only a moderato num
ber of propositions of enough importance really
to Interest tho voters can go on tho ballot, tho
initlatlvo and referendum may prove of use,
though this is yet to bo demonstrated."
Now what could bo moro pleasing to tho In
terests than to havo tho people's power of Initia
tive and referendum "properly limited and
Whatever limit might bo sot, a legislature
owned by tho interests could easily submit tho
full quota of measures with unimportant ques
tions, and tho people would bo shut out. Or, If
the number of Initlatlvo petitions wero limited,
tho Interests thorasolvcs could havo tho requisite
number of petitions ready to bo filed for tho
next general election immediately after an elec
tion, and again tho peoplo would bo shut out.
Moreover, who would determine tho question
of "enough importanco really to intorest tho
voter's?" A commission appointed by tho legis
lature, a committee of tho legislature, or, per
advonturo; a commission appointed by tho gov
ernor at tho request of tho Interests?
And why tho desire to put political handcuffs
and balls and chains on tho people? Is not tho
increasing uomand for tho initiative and refer
endum duo to tho long-continued in representa
tive character of public servants? Are restric
tions upon the people a cure, or oven a pallia
tive, for tho evils of a government that Is "re
publican in form" and plutocratic in substanco?
It may intorest tho Tribune and other papers
to know that nlneteon of tho thirty-two meas
ures on tho Oregon ballot last November wero
on the ballot because the legislature had failed
to do its duty. It may bo of further interest to
know that tho time required for voting tho
whole Oregon ballot candidates and 'measures
was from two and one-half to six minutes.
Is it not worth while for a citizen to spend six
minutes; twelve or twonty-four minutes ono day
In two years to get what he wants at tho ballot
box and to refuse what ho does not want? And .
isn't that as truo of Illinois and Now York
voters as of Oregon voters. W. ,G. Bggleston,
in Tho Public.
A WORD TO REFORMERS
Don't compromise In advance. Don't try to
please opponents of reform. Draw the bills as
the reformers want them; it Is time enough to
compromise when you find you havo to. If you
start out compromising you will havo to com
promise still moro before you get through. Take
the Initiative and referendum, for instance,
Reformers like the Oregon form; tho opponents
of the Initiative and referendum will attack It
at various points. There are three things that
opponents may bo expected to do. They will
not attack the principle the time is past for
that, but they will want to make tho per cent
for the petition as large as possible; they will
want to limit the number of propositions to bo
submitted at ono time and they will Insist that
a majority of all the votes cast at the election
be required for adoption.
The first objection Is tho least Important, for
while tho percentage required In Oregon Is
good it Is not a vital matter just what per
centage is required. Tho second objection is
more serious for if a limit Is fixed the special
interests can rush in enough unimportant propo
sitions to exclude those that they object to.
The third Is most serious of all, It gives tho
opponents of reforms the benefit or all the igno
rant, the careless and the Indifferent. Why
should the opponents of reform be given this
legal advantage? Why hamper the peoplo when
they try to legislate for themselves.
A plurality elects when we select a governor
and members of tho legislature to act for us;
why should not a plurality pass a law by direct
legislation? If those who vote for the proposi
tion outnumber those who vote against it that
is enough. Let the submission of the proposi
tion be thoroughly advertised, then let the law
assume that those who do not vote are willing
for tho matter to be determined by those who
do vote. That is much more reasonable than
to count those not voting as if they voted in
This Is the most important point to bo guard
ed: Insist that only a majority of those voting
on tho proposition shall bo required.
AJ.t1U i . &VrjAv . if Vtt KuitftW xt A .. -tff 4r . kt
Powered by Open ONI