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About The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923 | View Entire Issue (March 7, 1913)
MARCH 7, 1913
MR. BRYAN AS SEEN liY JA3IES CREEfiMAN
James Crcelman, the famous newspaper cor
respondent, lias written for the New York Mail
and Express the following interesting article
concerning Mr. Bryan:
"Mr. Bryan as secretary of state will bring
assurance of peaceful moods in our relations
with other nations.
Travel and increasing years have broadened
and sobered him. The bald, stout leader who
waits so quietly today in his little Florida sea
shore cottago is not the lean, hawk-eyed, fiery
mob orator who stirred tho Chicago convention
to political delirium in 189 G.
In tho sixteen years that have passed since
that picturesque tumult of fiercely contending
political forces, in which the power of the old
time democracy was engulfed, Mr. Bryan has
been three times nominated for president of
the United States and three times defeated.
The old spirit of haughty intolerance has
passed. In the Baltimore convention seven
months ago, where he smashed his bitterest
enemies flat in one supreme stroke, he showed
the change that has come over him by publicly
surrendering his position to Mr. Wilson and
pledging himself to support the new leader of
the democratic party.
The desire for vengeance on men has been
satisfied. He has seen the good things he advo
cated indorsed by the people and enacted into
law by those who once denounced him. Ho has
seen his bitterest enemies in his party openly
discredited and humiliated. He has seen the
newly elected president publicly announce that
none but radicals shall be called to office or
power In the coming national administration.
In contemplating the new secretary of state
one should think of tho new," serene, mature
Bryan, rather than tho Bryan whoso power as
an agitator and whose red-blooded youth,
thrilled by the roar of vast multitudes, drove
him to disastrous heights of boldness.
Remembering, the slashing politician, one Is
apt to forget the actual man of today into whoso
hands the foreign policy of the United States
His voice has always been raised against
armed conflict as a means of settling interna
tional disputes. Peace throughout the world
ha been the burden and charm of his speeches
and writings. ,
He has no personal, political or business en
tanglements to incline him towards the so
called dollar diplomacy, which regards war, or
threats of war, as justifiable instrumentalities
for the acquisition or extension of trade.
It is this never-changing attitude to tho
causes of peace and justice between nations that
lends an extraordinary and singular interest to
Mr. Bryan's advent as secretary of state.
Hear him in his London speech six years ago:
"The Christian nations must lead the move
ment for the promotion of peace not only be
cause they are enlisted under the banner of the
Prince of Peace, but also because they have
attained such a degree of Intelligence that they
can no longer take pride in a purely physical
victory. The belief that moral questions can be
settled by the shedding of human blood is a
relic of barbarism; to doubt the dynamic power
of righteousness is infidelity to truth itself. That
nation which is unwilling to trust its cause to
the universal conscience, or which shrinks from
the presentation of its claims before a tribunal
where reason .holds sway, betrays a lack of faith
in the soundness of its position."
"The "world's peace would be greatly pro
moted by an agreement among tho leading na
tions that no declaration of war should be made
until tho submission of the question in con
troversy to an impartial court for investiga
tion, each nation reserving the right to accept
or reject the decision. The preliminary investi
gation would in almost every instance insure
an amicable settlement, and the reserved rights
would be sufficient protection against any pos
The appointment of Mr. Bryan as secretary
of state will be a wise act and should bo ap
proved by the whole country, regaTdless of
After all, and in spite of his past mistakes,
there is &n undeniable strength and nobility
In his character, and he will take an honorable
place in American history. His influence has
been a great moral force in the country. Wo
need not forget that, even when we condemn
or smile at his errors. And he has had tho
courage of his convictions,
Mr. Bryan's opposition to tho spirit of war
8 which londs such deep significance to tho
announcement that ho is to head tho stato de
partment has been demonstrated beyond
Even whon tho United States sonato at first
refused to ratify tho treaty of peaco between
Spain and tho United States, it was his activo
interference among tho reluctant democratic
senators that secured the passage of tho treaty.
Ho was passionately opposod to tho retention of
tho Philippines, provided for in tho treaty, yet
so strongly was he opposed to a continuation
of tho war with our helpless enemy that, for
the sake of peaco, ho defied tho overwhelming
sentiment of his party and 'yielded his personal
opinions regarding an issue on which ho after
ward ran as a candidate for tho presidency.
Opinions may differ as to Mr. Bryan's intel
lectual qualities, but there can bo but ono ver
dict as to his patriotism and moral soundness
among men who know him.
When he was first nominated for the presi
dency ho was only thirty-six years old tho
youngest man but ono over named for that ofllco
and' he know little of the eastern states and
had no experience of the rest of the world. Ho
is now ilfty-two years old, has traveled through
every state in tho union and has visited and
studied Europo and Asia.
That never-to-be-forgotten oratorical battlo
in 1896, 18,000 miles long, was an attempt to
express an unlimited imagination in tho terms
of a parochial experience.
What Mr. Bryan may do as secretary of stato
to secure the peaco of his country and tho world
will be tho result of maturity, experience gained
in many defeats, and tho knowledge, obtained
by ' world-wido travel, that no nation can live
The nation has grown since Mr. Bryan
emerged from Nebraska and Mr. Bryan has
grown with it.
MR. BRYAN AND THE CABINET
Will William J. Bryan bo a member of Presi
dent Woodrow Wilson's cabinet?
Wo believe he "will, and that ho will fill tho
position recognized as "tho head of tho cabi
net" that of secretary of state.
Mr. Bryan will bo in tho cabinet because tho
country and the democratic party want him
there, and because tho new president wants him
there, and because Mr. Bryan himself wants to
be in tho cabinet.
It is natural that Mr. Bryan should desire
to fill a position in the administration which
he will have been so potential in creating
that ho may help to make it what the peoplo
expoct and require, and what he, having in mind
his own future, wishes It to be.
The country wants Mr. Bryan in the cabinet
because it has confidence in him. It belioves
in his great ability; in the uprightness and
patriotism of his ambitions for his country, and
that he would guide it through tho stormy seas
of international politics with dignity and power,
and that the world would hold the United States
in both higher love and fear at the close of his
administration than ever before.
Woodrow Wilson wants Mr. Bryan In the
cabinet because he knows, no man could give
his administration greater strength and in
fluence with the peoplo than he; and because
to tender and urge upon him the position of
secretary of state would bo what the country
logically and heartily expects Mr. Bryan made
the nomination of Mr. Wilson possible. With
out him in the national convention another than
Mr. Wilson would be the president-elect today.
Mr. Bryan 'desires to go into the cabinet
because he wishes to serve both his country and
his party to the fullest of his powers, and they
can bo best exerted, insuring the largest re
sults with him at the head of the country's
In saying that Mr. Bryan desires to enter the
cabinet it is not upon the authority of Mr.
Bryan or of any other person. Probably Mr.
Bryan would resent the statement, but the
News makes it because it is the logic of the
events with which Mr. Bryan has been so com
mandingly connected for the past year, and of
tho results he has so deeply at h art.
As secretary of state Mr. Bryan would have
at his command the power and influence of this
great country to advance the cause of tho
world's peaco. As a private citizen he has
visited every great country of the world; been
brought in close association with the vorld's
greatest philosophers and- statesmen; has
studied world politics with tho breadth of
vlsl.on and earnestness that ban mado him an
authority and guido for tho statesmen whoa
ambition is tho pormanont peaco of tho world.
But tho United States, as well as Mr. Bryan
individually, is intensely interested in tho heal
ing of a soro that afflicts tho American body
politic. It is tho eliminate n of imperialism and
colonial exploitation from tho American system.
Ever Binco tho treaty of Paris, by which tho
United States took ovor tho Philippines as part
of tho spoils of tho war with Spain, and tho
ratification of tho treaty, ho has insisted at
overy moment of time and upon every propor
occasion that it was tho duty of tho United
States to glvo the Philippines their Indepen
dence under tho guldanco and protection of tho
American nation, until they could safely, aa an
independent peoplo, earn for their own dcutinles
as docs any other peoi'a.
It will undoubtedly bo among the earliest
tasks that the new administration will assumo,
that of carrying out In good faith tho declara
tion of tho Baltimore platform as to tho
"We favor," says tho platform, "an imme
diate declaration of tho nation's purposo to
recognize tho indopondonco of tho Philippine
Islands as soon as a stablo government can bo
established, such lndopendenco to bo guaran
teed by us until tho neutralization of tho islands
can bo secured by treaty with othor powors;
but in recognizing tho independence of tho
Philippines our government should retain such
land as may bo necessary for coaling stations
and naval basis."
That tho carrying Into effect of this declara
tion of the democratic party should be placed
In Mr. Bryan's chargo no man doubts. Of
course, tho statement of tho nation's purposo
to recognize tho independence of tho Philip
pines must Uo tho work of congress. Mr.
Bryan's influence, behind that of President
Wilson's, will bo all powerful In securing 1L
But tho work of securing treaties for tho neu
tralization of tho Islands would bocomo pecu
liarly ono of Mr. Bryan's duties and pleasures
as secretary of stato. And thoro is little doubt
that tho work would bo speedily and safely dono
Tho country, in tho election of Mr. Wilson,
has with the democratic party declared against
tho policy of Imperialism and tho exploitation
of tho Philippines, and has condemned our ox
porlment in imperialism as an Inexcusable blun
der. Tho experiment has involved tho United
States in an enormous expense, and mado it
weaker Instead of stronger, and laid the coun
try open to tho chargo of abandonment of tho
fundamental doctrno of sell government.
Writing In tho Loulsvillo Courier-Journal
Mr. Henry Wattorson says: "Tho Courier
Journal was fighting tho battles of tho peopla
against tho claims of tho special interests, not
ineffectually, when Mr. Bryan was creeping Ilk
snail unwillingly to school. It was fighting them
when as a callow but aspiring youth ho wan
making sophomoric college speeches."
And it is keenly regretted by thoso who ad
mire tho charming personal qualities of the)
Courier-Journal editor that ho did not maintains
this good record. Mr. Bryan Is among thosq
who aro greatly grieved that tho death of
Samuel J. Tllden seemed to leave tho talented
editor of tho Courier-Journal without tho guld
ing hand so essential to democratic deportment
But it is never too late to mend; and there Is
yet hope that in these piping days of genulno
democratic doings Mr. Watterson may retunj
to good old democratic paths.
INCOME TAX IN KFFEOT
Three-fourths of tho states In tho union have
ratified tho income tax amendment to tho federal
constitution. Secretary of Stato Knox has issued
a proclamation formally proclaiming tho adop
tlon of tho reform. It will remain for congress
to pass a law providing the details for tho im
position of this tax.
Now for the election of senators by the people.
CAN ANY ONE ANSWER?
P. T. Watson, Clinton, N. Y. Will you kindly
advise mo what state or states have passed
laws permitting the use of school houses for
public meetings for tho discussion of public
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