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About The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923 | View Entire Issue (Nov. 1, 1918)
VOL. 18. NO. 11
expression to tho universal desire for Grecian
Independence. In 1800 nil parties manifested a
lively Interest Jn the success of the Cubans, but
now when u war in In progress Jn South Africa,
which must result In the extension of the mon
archical Idea, or in the triumph of a republic,
the advocates of imperialism in this country dare
not say a word in behalf of the Uocrs.
Sympathy for the Boors docs not arise from
any unfriendliness towards England; tho Ameri
can pcoplo aro not unfriendly toward tho pco
plo of any nation. This sympathy Is due to tho
fact that, as stated In our platform, wo bollovo
in tho principles of solf-government and reject,
as did our forefathers, tho claims of monarchy.
If this nation surrenders Its belief in tho uni
versal application of tho principles sot forth in
tho Declaration of Indopondonco, It will lose tho
prestige and Influonco which It has enjoyed
, among tho nations an an exponent of popular
J'Jvpau.sIon Contrasted with Imperialism.
Our opponents, conscious of tho weakness of
tholr causo, sook to confuso Imperialism with ex
pansion, and have ovon dared to claim Jefferson
as a supportor of tholr policy. Jofforson spoke
so freely and used language with such precision
that no one can bo Ignorant of his viows. On
ono occasion ho doclarod: "If thore bo one prin
ciple moro dooply rooted than any other In the
mind of ovory Amorican,it is that wo should
havo nothing to do with conquest." And again
ho said: "Conquest is not in our principles; it
Is Inconsistent with our government."
The forclblo annexation of territory to bo gov
erned by arbitrary power differs as much from
tho acquisition of territory to bo built up into
states as a monarchy differs from a democracy.
Tho democratic party doos not oppoBO expansion
when expansion enlarges tho area of tho Itopub
11c and Incorporates land which can bo settled by
Amorlcan citizens, or adds to our population peo
ple who aro willing to becomo citizens and aro
capabla of discharging their duties as such.
Tho acquisition of 'tho Louisiana territory,
Florida, Texas and other tracts which havo been
sccurod from time to tlmo onlarged tho Republic
and tho Constitution followed the flag Into tho
now torrltory. It is now proposed to seize upon
distant torrltory already moro densely populated
than our own country and to force upon tho peo
plo a government for which there Is no warrant
In our Constitution or our laws.
Whites and tho Tropics.
Even tho argument -that this carta belongs to
thoso who desiro to cultivate it and who have
tho physical power to acquiro it cannot be in
voked to justify tho appropriation of the Philip
pine Islands by tho United States. If tho islands
were uninhabltod Amorican citizens would not
bo willing to go thero and till tho soil. Tho
whi'to raco will not llvo so near tho equator.
Other nations have tried to colonize in the same
latitude. Tho Netherlands havo controlled Java
for three hundred years and yet today thero aro
loss than sixty thousand people of European
birth scattered among tho twenty-five million
After a century and a half of English domina
tion in India, less than one-twentieth of one per
cent of the people of India aro of English birth,
and it requires an army of seventy thousand
British soldiers to take care of tho tax collectors.
Spain had assorted title to tho Philippine Islands
foi three centuries and yet when our fleet en
tered Manila bay there were less than ten thou
sand Spaniards residing tho Philippines.
A colonial policy means that wo shall send to
the Philippine Islands a fow traders, a few task
masters and a few officeholders and an army
largo enough to support the authority of a small
fraction of tho pooplo while they rule the na
tives. If we have an imperial policy wo must have a
great standing army as its natural and necessary
complement. Tho spirit which will justify the
forclblo annexation of the Philippine Islands will
justify tho soizuro of other islands and tlio
domination of other peoplo, and with wars of
conquest we can expect a cortain, if not rapid
growth of our military establishment.
That a largo pormanont incroaso in our reg
ular army is intended by Republican loaders is
not a mattor of con-jocturo, but a matter of fact
In his message of Dec. 5, 1898, the President
asked for authority to increaso the standinc
army to 100,000. In 1896 tho army contained
about 25,000. Within two years tho President
asked for four times that many, and a Repub
lican House of Representatives complied with
tho request after the Spanish treaty had been
signed, and when no country was at war with
the United States.
Tho Aleimce of a Standing Army.
If such an army is demanded when an im
perial policy is contemplated, but not openly
avowed, what may be expected if the people
encourage the Republican party by indorsing its
policy at the polls?
A large standing army is not only a pecuniary
burden to the people and, if accompanied by
compulsory service, a constant source of irrita
tion, but it is over a menace to a republican
form of government.
Tho army is tho personification of force and
militarism will inevitably change the ideals of
tho pcoplo and turn the thoughts of our young
men from arts of peace to the science of war.
Tho government which relies for its defense
upon its citizens is more likely to be just than
ono which has at call a large body of profes
A small standing army and a well-equipped
and well-disciplined state militia are sufficient
at ordinary times, and In an emergency the na
tion should In the future as in the past place
its dependence upon the volunteers who come
from all occupations at their country's call and
return to productive labor when their services
are no longer required men who fight when
tho country needs fighters and work when .the
country needs workers.
The Republican platform assumes that the
Philippine Islands will bo retained under Ameri
can sovereignty, and we have a right to demand
of the Republican leaders a discussion of the.
future status of the Filipino. Is he to be a citi
zen or a subject? Are we to bring into the body
politic eight or ten million Asiatics so different
from us in race and history that amalgamation
is impossible? Are they to share with us in
making the laws and shaping the destiny of this
nation? No Republican of prominence has been
bold enough to advocate such a proposition.
Citizen or Subject?
Tho McEnery resolution, adopted by the Sen
ate immediately after the ratification of the
treaty, expressly negatives this idea. The Dem
ocratic platform describes tho situation when it
says that tho Filipinos cannot be citizens with
out endangering our civilization. Who will dis
pute It? And what is the alternative? If tho
Filipino is not to be a citizen, shall we make
him a subject. On that question the Democratic
platform speaks with equal emphasis. It de
clares that the Filipino cannot be a subject with
out endangering our form of government. A
Republic can have no subjects. A FAibject is pos
sible only in a government resting upon force;
he is unknown in a government deriving its
just powers from the consent of the governed.
Tho Republican platform says that "the larg
est measure of self-government consistent with
their welfare and our duties shall be secured to
them (the Filipinos) by law." This is a strange
doctrine for a government which owes its very
existence to the men who offered their lives as
a protest against, government without consent
and taxation without representation.
In what respect does the position of tho Re
publican party differ from tho position taken
by the English government in 1770? Did not
the English government promise a good govern
ment to the colonies? What king ever promised
a bad government to his people? Did not the
English government promise that the colonists
should havo the largest measure of self-government
consistent with their welfare and English
duties? Did not tho Spanish government promise
to give the Cubans tho largest measure of self
government consistent with their welfare and
Spanish duties? The whole difference between
a Monarchy and a Republic may bo summed up
in one sentence. In a Monarchy the King gives
to tho peoplo what he believes to bo a good gov
ernment; in a Republic tho pcoplo secure for
themselves what they believe to bo a good trov
ernment. , fa
Republicans Imitate George in.
The Republican party-lias accepted the Euro
pean idea and planted itself upon the ground
taken by George III., and by every ruler who
distrusts the capacity of tho people for s-lf-government
or denies them a voice in their own
Tho Republican platform promises Chat some
measure of solf-governraent is to be given the
fli1i1i?no!rby ,lawi Ut oven this lodse is not ful
filled. Nearly sixteen months elapsed after the
ratification of tho treaty before the adjourn
ment of Congress last Juno and yet no law was
passed dealing with tho Philippine situation
The will of tho President has been the onry
law in the Philippine Islands wherever tho Ameri
can authority extends. fflLn
Why does the Republican party hesitafo
legislate upon the Philippine question? Bee!!
a law would disclose the radical departure frn
history and precedent contemplated by tho
who control tho Republican party. The ston
of protest which greeted the Porto Rican bin
was an indication of what may be expected who
the American people are brought face to fan
with legislation upon this subject.
If the Porto Ricans, ttho welcomed annexa
tion, are to be denied the guarantees of our Con
stitution, what is to be the lot of the Filipinos"
who resisted our authority? If secret influences'
could compel a disregard of our plain duty
toward friendly people, living near our shores
what treatment will those same influences pro
vide for unfriendly people 7,000 miles away? if
in this country where the people have a right to
vote, Republican leaders dare not take the side
of the people against the great monopolies which
have grown up within the last few years, Iwy
can they be trusted to protect the Filipinos from
the corporations which are waiting to exploit
Cuba, Porto Rico and tho Philippines.
Is tho sunlight of full citizenship to be en
joyed by tho people of tho United States, and
tho twilight of semi-citizenship endured by tho
people of Porto Rico, while the thick darkness
of perpetual vassalage covers tho Philippines?
Tho Porto Rico tariff law asserts the doctrino
that the. operation of tho Constitution is confined
to the forty-five States.
The Democratic party disputes this doctrine
and denounces it as repugnant to both the let
ter and spirit of our organic law. There is no
place in our system of government for the de
posit of arbitrary and irresponsible power. That
the leaders of a great party should claim for
any President or Congress the right to treat mil
lions of people as mere "possessions" and deal
with them unrestrained by the Constitution or
the bill of rights shows how far we have al
ready departed from the ancient landmarks and
indicates what may bo expected if this nation
deliberately enters upon a career of empire.
The territorial form of government is tem
porary and preparatory, and the chief security a
citizen of a territory has is found in the fact
that he enjoys the- same cpnstitutional guaran
tees and is subject to the same general laws as
the citizen of a state. Take away this security
and his rights will be violated and his interests
sacrificed at the demand of those who have po
litical influence. This is the evil of the colonial
system, no matter by what nation it is applied,
The Flaw in Our Title.
What is our title to the Philippine Islands?
Do we hold them by treaty or by conquest? Did
we buy them or did we take them? Did we
purchase the people? If not, how did we se
cure title to tliem? Were they thrown in with
the land? Will the Republicans say that in
animate earth has value but that when that
earth is molded by the divine hand and stamped
with the likeness of. the Creator it becomes a
fixture and passes with tho soil? If govern
ments derive their just powers from the consent
of the governed, it is impossible to secure title
to people, either by force or by purchase.
We could extinguish Spain's title by treaty,
but if wc hold title we must hold it by some
method consistent with our ideas of government.
When we made allies of the Filipinos and armed
them to fight against Spain, we disputed Spain s
title. If wo buy Spain's title we are not inno
There can be no doubt that wo accepted and
utilized the services of the Filipinos, and that
when we did so we had-full knowledge that they
were fighting for ,their own independence, and
I submit that history furnishes no example of
turpitude baser than ours if we now substitute
our yoke for the Spanish yoke.
Let us consider'briefly the reasons which have
been given in support of an imperialistic policy.
Some say that it is our duty to hold the Philip
pine Islands. But duty, is not an argument; a
is a conclusion. To ascertain what our duty is,
in any emergency, we must apply well settled
and generally accepted principles. It is our duty
to avoid stealing, no matter whether the thing
to bo stolen is of great or little value. It is om
duty to avoid killing a human' being, no matter
where the human being lives or to what race or
class ho belongs.
The Argument of "Duty."
Every ono recognizes the obligation imposed
.upon individuals to observe both the human ana
the moral law, but as some deny the application
of those laws to nations, it may not bo out oi
place to quote tho opinions of others. Jefferson
ii-. t iM&mXlm.
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