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About The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923 | View Entire Issue (Nov. 10, 1911)
mental statuto, necessitating a now Interpreta
tion whenever a case arises Involving an alleged
violation of tlio ast? .Why should It not take
its ovMdnco before" fa grand Jury, as It does In
all other criminal cases, and follow the same
procedure as in the case of John Doe who is
accused of making moonshine whisky? No re
straining orders are Issued against John Doe.
Ho Is not haled into court to show cause why
hlB distillery should not be closed by reason
of Its violation of the internal-revenue laws.
We aro quite unable to see why a different
course should bo pursued with trusts that
violato the Sherman act.
Wo aro told that the business of tho country
can not bo conducted if this statute is enforced.
This is equivalent to saying that the business
of tho country consists of combinations and
conspiracies in restraint of trade, and that the
only way to carry on trade is to restrain trade.
Business that is dependent on such practices
ought not to be conducted, and in the long run
the country will be the better off without it.
Chief Justice White declared in his opinion
that tho Sherman law goes no further than the
common law. Business which can not conform
to the common law has outlawed itself.
Potentially Mr. Taft and Mr. Wickersham
havo won a tremendous victory in tho court of
last resort, but whether or not this victory
serves a great public purpose depends upon the
uses to which it is put. If corporations that
violato the anti-trust law may purge themselves
by reorganization after the illegality of their
practices is established, and then proceed about
their business as before, tho Sherman act will
forever be a rope of sand. But if the act Is
enforced in its entirety big business will bend
This decision should mean the end of test
cases. Big business knows what the law is and
it has very able attorneys who know what the
law is. If it deliberately violates the law let it
be treated like any other criminal.
"Guilt is personal." If the United States
government will sternly hold to that principle
and apply it to all violations of the Sherman act,
big business will soon be as active in finding
ways to respect the law as it has heretofore
been in finding ways to evade the law. Even
a John D. Rockefeller would rather adjust his
commercial practices to the provisions of the
Sherman act than go to jail. New York" World.
WHY NOT INDICT MORGAN?
The government has commenced proceedings
against the steel trust for violation of the anti
trust law. The complaint asserts that this
monopoly has "acquired a power which is a
menace to the welfare of the country."
All of which is very well, but why not get
at the root of the matter by prosecuting J.
Pierpont Morgan personally? Such action
would not only breed real respect for the Sher
man law, but it would also convince the people
of tho administration's good faith, now so sadly
doubted. Until the organizers and head men
of these menacing monopolies are sent to prison,
evasion and open defiance will continue.
The Sherman law is a criminal statute. Guilt
is personal. No better opportunity for crimi
nal prosecution could be offered to Attorney
General Wickersham, for Morgan stands clearly
but as the real and responsible head of the
Steel trust. He received $29,000,000 for or
ganizing it; it was in his library that the Ten
nessee Coal and Iron deal was consummated; he
sent Gary and Frlck to Washington to "dupe"
President Roosevelt, and finally, it was Morgan
who signed the recent statement that the cor
poration was not in violation of the anti-trust
law, and that it would not reorganize. His guilt
is proved even if he did not boldly admit it.
The government has indicted officials of the
Lumber, Turpentine, Beef and Shoe Machinery
trusts. Why should Morgan be granted this
strange exemption? And, more than any other
that could bo devised, the criminal and personal
prosecution of J. Pierpont Morgan, the trust
master, would put an end to big business' inso
lent defiance of the law. Denver News.
ONE REALLY RESPONSIBLE MAN
The steel trust was organized by J. Pierpont
Morgan. His fee, as disclosed' in the testimony
before the Stanley committee of the house in
vestigating the steel trust, was approximately
$29,000,000. He got tho largest Bhare of the
profit. Incidentally he acquired the power.
Logically his should be the heaviest punish
ment. The Sherman act Is a criminal statute. And
although the government hag caused the Indict-
mont and conviction of tho heads of the Turpen
tine trust, tho indictment of officials of the Beef
truBt, tho officials of tho Shoo Machinery trust,
it ha3 taken no stops looking toward tho crimi
nal prosecution of J. Pierpont Morgan.
One need havo no personal prejudice against
Mr. Morgan to inquire why the government
mako3 fish of one and flesh of the other. One
man or several men indicted for violation of
the Sherman law all men similarly charged with
its violation ought to be indicted.
Mr. Morgan is the head and front of the trust
system in America. Ho Is the master genius
who invented stock watering and high finance.
His indictment and conviction would do more
to restore public confidence in the integrity
of our institutions than a thousands reams of
There is no less reason why. J. Pierpont Mor
gan should be whipped with the lash of justice
than the man who robs widows and orphans.
Why does tho Taft administration not proceed
against this man highest up the man really
responsible? Dubuque (la.) Telegraph-Herald.
MR. BRYAN'S PLATFORMS
Tho Kansas City Journal is still paying Mr.
Bryan personal compliments at the expense of
the principles and policies for which he fights.
Flattering as these compliments are, they are
not deserved. Mr. Bryan's strength has been
the strength of his platforms the only personal
element being confidence in his devotion to the
things he advocates. Some of the reforms are
stronger now than when he was defeated, but
a majority would have supported his platforms
at the time but for the coercion practiced on the
voters by financiers and employers. For the
benefit of the Journal's editor a few reforms
More money in 1896. No one now doubts
that we then needed more; tho prosperity
enjoyed since then would have been Impossible
without a larger increase in the volume of
Opposition to imperialism in 1900. Republi
can party denied that it intended imperialism
and now Tecognizes that there is neither honor
nor profit in a colonial policy.
Tariff reduction; advocated in all of his cam
paigns, but most prominent in 1908. It is com
ing It can not much longer be delayed.
Popular election of senators. It was in the
platforms of 1900, 1904 and 1908. Principle
has been indorsed by both senate and house
the fight is practically won.
The income tax. Mr. Bryan has fought for
it in three campaigns. The necessary amend
ment has been submitted and nearly enough
states have ratified it.
Publicity, BEFORE THE ELECTION, as to
campaign contributions. Opposed by republi
can party when demanded by the democratic
platform of 1908. Now a law.
Criminal punishment of trust magnates a
growing demand for it.
Opposition to every private monopoly senti
ment growing every day.
Initiative and referendum, though not in na
tional politics, have been advocated by Mr.
Bryan for fifteen years. During that time they
have been adopted by nine states.
Guaranty of depositors adopted in four
states and partial protection of depositors of
the nation secured by postal savings bank.
These are some of the things Mr. Bryan has
advocated. Will the Kansas City Journal deny
that they are growing?
MISSOURI WILL BE "SHOWN"
Former Governor Joseph W. Folk and Speaker
Champ Clark have agreed that the democrats
of Missouri ought to have the opportunity of
again expressing their preference as to the
democratic candidate for the presidency. The
Missouri democracy is already on record for
Governor Folk but the friends of Speaker Clark
think they should go on record again and demo
crats generally subscribe to the doctrine that
the majority has the right to rule and that
every member of the party should be given an
opportunity to register hio preference.
It is not certain whether a primary may law
fully be held at the time suggested by Mr.
Clark, but some means will be found for obtain
ing the expression of choice and at all events a
primary may be held next year.
Regardless of the time for the holding of the
primary Governor Folk and Speaker Clark havo
made a good beginning in showing perfect
willingness to submit their claims to the rank
and file of the party. The next step ought to
be a clear and explicit statement by each of
VOLUME 11, NUMBER 44
these gentlemen a statement directed to tho
democrats of Missouri explaining the candi
date's position upon the important questions
now before the people.
Missouri democrats will require of every man
who seeks nomination at their hands an explicit
statement as to his position with respect to
pending questions. They will not be satisfied
with any generalizations. They will expect clear
cut declarations for present day purposes. They
will want to know just what the position of
the candidate is upon the tariff question, tho
trust question and the remedy, and in order
to learn of his present day tendencies they will
want to know his opinion of the recent Stand
ard Oil and Tobacco trust decisions. The elec
tion of senators by popular vote, the income tax,
publicity of campaign receipts and expenditures,
the Aldrich currency scheme and the trust
question generally are subjects upon which the
democrats of Missouri will demand direct and
The Commoner congratulates Governor Folk
and Speaker Clark on the good beginning they
have made and it urges them to take another
step forward by issuing an address to the Mis
souri democrats dealing with those great ques
tions in which the people are just now so
THE MAKING OF A MAN
The Lincoln (Neb.) Journal gives the follow
ing report of the Y. M. C. A. meeting last Sun
day at which Mr. Bryan spoke on "The Making
of a Man:"
"It took only eight minutes for the Oliver
theater to be filled to capacity yesterday with
men who wished to hear W. J. Bryan open the
winter series of Y. M. C. A. Sunday afternoon
meetings. At 2 p. m., two hours before the
speech-making began, the crowd began to gather
and at 3:30, when the doors were opened, the
sidewalk was jammed. Eight minutes later the
theater was filled to its seating capacity, with
150 additional listeners standing. Later room
was provided on the stage for 100 more. State
Chairman W. J. Hill presided and opened the
meeting with a statement of the association's
plans for its Sunday afternoon series of twenty
meetings. He introduced A. R. Talbot and E. J.
Burkett, leaders of the two committees which
are to lead the membership campaign during
the next week. Short speeches by each of these
preceded Mr. Bryan's address. The develop
ment of the three phases of man's life, physical,
mental and spiritual, was the theme of Mr.
Bryan's address. This trinity, as stated in the
fundamental principle of Y. M. C. A. endeavor,
Mr. Bryan said, was expressed in the growing
man. First, the youth develops his physical
side, said Mr. Bryan. Then his mental activi
ties broaden and strengthen. Finally he finds
his spiritual self and in this development he
rounds out his self. With any of these three
essentials missing, a man can not be considered
to have attained a satisfactory place in life."
Speaking at Chicago, and referring to the suit
against the Steel trust, President Taft said:
"We have a condition of lawlessness to deal
with. We have had it for twenty years. Men
have gone on organizing combinations in viola
tion of the anti-trust law on the theory that
it either could not or would not be enforced.
The supreme court has held that this lawless
ness must be stamped out. There is no dis
cretion in the executive to suspend a single
statute. It is his duty to enforce the law and
to direct the prosecution of those who violate
it. There is a vast difference between uniting
plants to reduce the cost of production and
uniting to suppress competition, to restrain
trade and control prices. A jury could find that
difference in two minutes. 'It is a question of
evidence and fact."
All this being true why does Mr. Taft refuse
to proceed against tho Steel trust and the
Standard Oil trust magnates under the criminal
clause of the Sherman anti-trust law? One
reason is that the supreme court in the Stand
ard Oil and Tobacco cases made it practically
impossible to punish trust magnates criminally.
A DESERVED RECOGNITION
The elevation of three Americans to the posi
tion of cardinals is a deserved refcognition of tho
American portion of the Catholic church. With '
Cardinals Gibbons, Farley and O'Connell in the.
United States and' Cardinal Falcorio as an Ameri
can advisor at Rome the Catholic's of the United
States will enjoy a largely increased influence
at the Vatican.
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