The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, March 01, 1914, Page 13, Image 13

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The Commoner
MARCH, 1914
(Continued from page 3.)
It used to be that, when anything unusual
occurred, Wall street would send for the secre
tary of the treasury and tell him what to do.
But that has been changed in the new era. This
time Secretary McAdoo, instead of going to Wall
street went to the White House, and he did not
have to stay there very long before he was ready
to issue a statement. And what was the state
ment? "Every community that needs money,
come. Come to the federal treasury, you do not
have to go to Wall street. Come here, and the
United States government will, to the extent of
its ability, protect you from harm." And then
what? The panic "folded up its tent liko the
Arab, and silently stole away." That is what it
means to have a president on the side of the
In 1907 a paralysis spread over this country
in a night. Yes, in a night, telegrams went out
from that great financial center, organizing an
unlawful conspiracy, organizing the bankers of
the country into a band to violate a law and
stand by each other against its . enforcement.
The law says that the bank that does not pay a
depositoron demand is insolvent; you can close
it up, but these men said "We will not pay, and
they dare not enforce the law against us." When
a highwayman violates the law you send, him to
the penitentiary; when the bankers join to
gether to violate the law, you say: "What's the
They had the people where they could not
help themselves, for if an attempt had been made
to enforce the law, the punishment would have
fallen upon the people. That is the way it used
to be, but when Woodrow Wilson signed the
currency bill, the power of the money trust dis
appeared forever in this country. Never again
will a few men get together in New York and
tell the people of the country what they must
do. Hereafter, we shall have at least eight,
and possibly twelve, and I hope more, regional
banks. I hope that Lincoln will be one of the
eight, if there are only eight. I hope it will be
one of the twelve if there are only twelve, but
I hope there will be enough to let Lincoln be one
of them, no- matter how many it takes. Here
after, if there is trouble in any section, instead
of telegraphing to Wall street, "What can you
do?" and have Wall street answer, "Nothing,
just now," they will telegraph to Washington,
and the official wilLsay: "That is what we are
here for, how much "do you need?" It is the
difference between having a few men acting for
themselves and in the dark, as they used to do,
and having the public officials, as they will do
hereafter, acting for the people in the light.
Now these are some of the things in this Jaw.
Did you ever find out about them from any of
the literature that has been circulated in opposi
tion to this bill? No. You have only seen the
little faults they have detected. They have never
told you of the skeleton of this bill.. They have
never told you of its frame work. They have
never told you of its bone and muscle. Are you
surprised that the people like it? We used to
have difficulty convincing the people that the
democrats could write a bill fit for democrats to
support, but we have a currency bill so good
that not only democrats supported it, but re
publicans also in both senate and house. Day
by day the sentiment grows in behalf of this law.
It is a great thing to have the public men
know tlwt the fear of the people is the begin
ning of wisdom in a man. Do you remember
how, about a year ago. when something was said
about interlocking directorates, mergers and
monopoly, J. Pierpont Morean, Sr., asked, as if
it settled the question, "Can you unscramble
eggs?" It is only about a year ago that J. Pier
pont Morgan said it. How he must feel when he
sees J. Pierpont Morgan, Jr., leading the
movement to unscramble the eggs. He has al
ready resigned from a number of directorates.
And did you read the reason? You will find it
in The Commoner. For authentic news of the
progress of the new era subscribe at once. If
you read this statement yon will find it is some
thing like this: "We have, for a long while de
sired to separate ourselves from a number of
'these corporations, but we have felt it our duty
to assist those who had bought their securities
through us. There has, however, been a change
In public sentiment there has been a change in
public sentiment on this subject, and we are now
In a' position to gratify our long cherished de
sire." These people who used to act in secret,
and never wanted a newspaper man to come
around, notified the newspaper men that if they
would come at a certain hour they would hear
something interesting, and they heard it. They
are unlocking the Interlocking directorates; they
are disintegrating the money trust; they uto
recognizing that the people are at last In control
and that the Booner they come into harmony
with the now program, the bettor.
Well, the president, after signing the tariff
and currency bills, said: "There are a few other
matters which I would like to bring to your at
tention." The first was the trust question. Ho
has not yet indorsed a bill, and wo do not know
exactly what the new bill will contain, but he
has given us a key note. He says that "a private
monopoly is indefensible and intolerable," and
that is enough. Ho has such a splendid knowl
edge of the English language that I take it for
granted that when he says that a private
monopoly is indefensible, he will not try to de
fend it, and that when he says that it is in
tolerable, he will not tolerate it. Is it not good
to have a president on the side of the people?
Is it not a good thing to have a president who
dares to face these great combinations and com
pel them to let go.
We have had a hard time on this trust ques
tion, and nobody knows that better than T do
from practical experience. I have had nothing
to do for about 20 years except watch and listen,
jand I have been watching and listening. When
this fight first began, well, I remember one man
made three defenses in three years. The first
was, "There are no trusts." That did not last
quite a year. The second was that a trust is an
economic development, and has come to staj
That, did not last more than a' year. The third
was "Don't be afraid, if the trusts are bad. we
will take care of them." It reminded me of the
man who was sued for cracking a kettle. Ho
put up three defenses. First, that ho never
borrowed the kettle. Second, that it was cracked
when he got it. Third, that it was not cracked
when he took it home.
The president says that the time has arrived
when the people should select their presidential
candidates by primaries, and the reform will
come just as sure as the election of United States
senators by the people came. I can remember
when a young man, we had our convention in the
Bohanan hall, I believe, and I was nominated for
congress, nominated because they thought I
could not be elected. I wrote the platform upon
which I ran, and put Into It "Election of the
senators by the direct vote of the people."
Twenty-three years ago timid statesmen were
very much afraid that the world would come to
an end if the corporations did not control the
state legislatures and elect the senators. Some
people were actually afraid that If we tried to
change the system we would soon abolish the
senate, but Hhe demand for the change grew.
Twenty-one years ago the house of representa
tives for the first time passed the necessary reso
lution, bt the senate refused to pass it. The
house four times more passed It but still the
senate refused. The tide continued to rise and
finally the sixth time it passed the house It
passed the senate also, and then when it went
to the country it was ratified by three-fourths of
the states of the union, In less time than any
other amendment had ever been ratified. I can
not be grateful enough that the good Lord let
me live to this time and to occupy office on the
day, when it became my ofllcial duty to affix my
name to the document that made it a part of the
constitution of the United States. The president
says that the people should nominate the candi
dates for president; that instead of risking con
ventions we must let the voters decide. He is
taking the government out of the hands of the
predatory interests and putting it In the hands
of the people. And he is proposing a plan under
which Wall street can never take It from the
people again! for concentrated wealth can never
nominate a president when the people are able
to go to the polls at their homes and register
their choice.
If any of you wonder why I feel good you do
not know what has been going on. I am happier,
if possible, than the president himself, for. he
bears the responsibility while I have the satis
faction pf seeing these reforms accomplished.
I rejoice at eyery blow he strikes in behalf of a
nation's freedom, and I have seen him strike
several times.
He. has not yet reached the Philippine ques
tion, except that he has announced his policy
when a new governor went to the Philippine
islands. He had to say something and he thought
that Jie might as well say the right thing, and
so he cabled to Governor Harrison, "Please
put In your message somewhere, these words"
and they were put in, and they were the most im
portant part of the message that "In all that
this government does, it will have in vlow the
ultlmato independence of tho Philippine islands."
And when tho president's message was road the
people apploudod. That is what they had beoa
waiting for for more than fourteen yoars, and
when that welcome sound was heard, their as
sembly passed a resolution, pathotlc in its elo
quence declaring that they had had faith and
that thoir faith had been justified. Yea, they
had waited, but they had not waited more im
patiently than I have.
I havo traveled through foreign lands and I
have had the subjects of monarch: scoff at us
and say that my country was no better than tho
empires of tho old world, that It followed at tho
tall end of the Europoan procession and boasted
of ruling subject people; but tho president who
leads us out Into the now era, standing before
tho grave in which commercialism had buried tho
spirit of our institutions, cried: "Come forth,"
.and now I can look the world in the faco, and
doclaTo that governments do derive their just
powers from the consent of the governed.
And tho president has been In ofllco long
enough to have something to say upon the sub
ject of peace. How glad I am that our president
is an apostle of tho Prince of Peace! How glad
I am that he desires this nation to extondItrt
band In friendship to all tho world! How. glad
I am that ho wants to lift international disputes
above the plane of brute force, and havo them
settled in the forum of reason. It is not because
he doubts tho patriotism of our young men that
he does not want war. He has faith in our
young men; he knows that they are patriotic; ho
knows that, if he needed a million men, he could
issue tho call at day-break and that tho sun
would go down on a million men in line, and
that tho line would stretch through every state.
No, ho is opposed to war, not because ho is
afraid there will not bo soldiers enough, but be
cause ho believes that when God created a
human being in His own Image and breathed
into him the breath of life, ho made him for a
higher purpose than to kill somebody or bo
killed by somebody in the settlement of a dis
pute. He is not afraid that, if there were need
for it, our young men would not bo willing to
die for their country; but he would rather have
them live for their country.
On the 2Gth day of last April, by his authority,
I presented to all the nations that have umbassa
dors or ministers at Washington a simple plan,
offered it to all alike, to big nations and little
nations, to strong nations and to weak ones, a
plan by which this nation is to enter into treaty
with each one separately agreeing that when
ever any difficulty arises that defies diplomatic
settlement, no matter what its character may be,
before there ia any declaration df war or 'com
mencement of hostilities, it shall be submitted
for investigation and report to an international
tribunal. Less than nine months have passed
since this plan was proposed, and yet in the
days that have elapsed, thirty-one nations have
Indorsed the principle, and they represent more
than three-fourths of all the human beings on
God's fnot-stool. That is what has been done in
this new era! Six nations have already joined
with us in treaties carrying out the plan, the
last being little Netherlands. Six more have
under consideration tho details, and before the
first year of this administration has passed, wo
shall, I am sure, have more than a dozen of.
these treaties, the most far-reaching that have
ever been made. And it is only a question of
time when all the nations of this earth will be
linked to our nation by treaties that will make
war almost impossible.
But my friends, I shall not tire you by further
talking. I have told you the beginning of the
president's work. Are you surprised that the
people stand by him? Why are they with him?
it is because he stands with them. Our nation
has awakened and walks face foremost toward
the light. Sometimes tho student, looking back
through history, bewails the lateness of his
birth, and. says that if he had only been born in
some golden age of the past, he would have been
happy. There is no golden age like this; in all
the years there has been no time like ours. No
period in all the annals of man when one human
being could render such service to the world, ad
he can render today. It is the era of hope, the
day of confidence, the time of rejoicing.
Gentlemen of the Commercial club, I bid you
join the advancing hosts whom Woodrow Wilson
leads. I bid you give him your God-speed, as he
invites the world to join in a noble rivalry to
see which can hold highest the torch that lights
mankind to higher ground.
I thank you!