The Conservative (Nebraska City, Neb.) 1898-1902, July 28, 1898, Page 5, Image 5

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Tlbe Conservative *
Rights Cases" (10 ( ! ) U. S. Sup. Cfc. Reps.
25) ) , says :
When a man has emerged from slav
ery , and by the aid of beneficent legis
lation has shaken off the inseparable
concomitants of tlinfc state , there must
bo some stage in the progress of his ele
vation when ho takes the rank of a mere
citizen , and ceases to bo the special fav
orite of the laws , and when his rights ,
as a citizen or a man , are to bo protected
in the ordinary modes by which other
men's rights arc protected.
Under republican institutions there is
place only for "mere citizens. " We
can offer no permanent asylum beneath
Uho-A'niprican flag for either "special
' 'favorites ' of the laws" or national wards.
A nation which is committed to the
prd'position that all men are of inalien
able right equal before the law , can
make no provision within its jurisdiction
for subject peoples. Our failures in the
treatment of the Indians and the Chinese ,
to say nothing of the negroes , should
lead us to hesitate in the presence of a
proposal to acquire "a full line of
islands , " more or less remote f rom oiir
shores and peopled with alien races with
out training in , or fitness for , self gov
ernment. The New York Post signifi
cantly inquires : "If other races are
rightfully to bo held subject to our own ,
what moral basis is left for democracy ?
If taxation without representation is
just , how long since it became so ? If
dark people have no rights that white
people are bound to respect , what was
the significance of the abolition move
ment ? "
The nation may very properly hesitate
when \irged to abandon the policy of a
century , under which it has prospered
and wielded a growing influence in the
larger world. That the United States
has suddenly become "a world power , "
that it now has "world responsibilities , "
that it is moving forward at the behest
of "manifest destiny , " furnishes no
rational solution of the grave problem of
the hour. What international duty has
our country in the past loft unperformed ?
When and where has it refused or failed
to share in the "work of the world ? "
In what precise particulars should it
now 6hango its attitude to its neighbors ?
What are its now duties , and to whom
are they duo ? Is our new policy of ag
gression of general application , or docs
it extend only to our defenseless neigh
bors ? Is it to bo a mere expression of
brute force , or a moral crusade ? Is its
motive a desire for empire , or a disinter
ested love for humanity ?
Wo may frankly concede that a for
eign policy which was wise in Washing
ton's day and for a century thereafter ,
may require re-examination and oven
revision. The real question is , what
should now bo the foreign policy of the
United States ? This is a question of
self-interest , having duo regard to the
rights of others. Our government is
formed "to entablhh justice , provide f <
the common defense , promote the yencrul
welfare and m'curc the bk'nnhnjn of liberty
to otirxch'cx and onr pontcriti/ . " Its duty
lies entirely within these purposes. The
presumption is great that wo shall still ,
as in Washington's day , best promote
justice and the general welfare by cul
tivating "peace and harmony with all"
nations , and by "diffusing and diversi
fying by gentle means the streams of
commerce , but forcing nothing. " Wo
have long since reached the time which
ho foresaw , "when wo may defy ma
terial injury from external annoyance ;
when we may take such an attitiido as
will cause the neutrality wo may at any
time resolve upon to bo scrupulously re
spected ; when belligerent nations , under
the impossibility of making acquisitions
upon us , will not lightly hazard the giv
ing us provocation ; when we may choose
peace or war as our interest , aided by
our justice , shall counsel. Why forego
the advantages of so pcciiliar a situation ?
Why quit oiir own to stand upon foreign
ground ?
American civilization has substituted
a state of peace for a state of war. Its
fundamental idea is that the government
exists for the people , not the people for
the government. From this it follows
that the nation can have no interest or
duty apart from the people's welfare ;
that no question of national honor or
dignity can properly arise which is not
directly related to their material or
moral well being ; and that it is the
chief end of their government to main
tain justice and peace , so that nothing
shall interfere with their fundamental
rights to life , liberty and the pursuit of
happiness. It is a gross abuse for such
a government to appeal to the patriotic
sentiment of the people in support of a
meddlesome foreign policy touching
matters in which they have no percepti
ble interest.
There are still those , even in America ,
who held that no objection based on
their material interests should be raised
to any demand upon the people in sup
port of whatever the jingoes choose to
say involves the national honor. What
they mean by national honor is derived
from the duelist's code. Their ideals of
glory come from a military ago whoso
clouds still obsciiro the modern sky.
These ideals belong to a theory of gov
ernment which rates ships and guns and
armed men above ideas , and which still
proclaims that might makes right.
The truth is that the achievement ot
permanent peace , opportunity for the
steady pursuit by all the people of their
wonted avocations , over vast areas of
the earth's surface , wliich our century is
the first to witness , is the greatest
triumph of civilization. The possibility
that this condition may bo extended
iintil the whole world shall become an
arena for the cultivation of the arts of
peace by the entire race is today our
most splendid vision.
Our civilization rests upon a/ vast sys-
tern of trade and commerce , which ex
tends around the world. It is the basis
not only of oxir material but our moral
well being. To give these vast interests :
free play by administering justice at-
home and cultivating peace and harmony
with all the world has become the end1
of government. It has long been the
glory of America that wo are free from
the military burdens which have so long
rested with crushing weight npoii the
nations of Europe. For the moment ,
forgetting Washington's vision of a na
tional life that shall impress the imagi
nation of the world by a spectacle of
peace , liberty and prosperity , we have
been brought to consider the surrender
of our unique position , to inquire
whether there is not something nobler
in national life than may be realized
from the cultivation of the arts of peace.
The aggressive foreign policy , whoso
first fruits wo have but tasted , does not
become xis well. It is a reversion to a
lower type from that to which we are
accustomed. It should bo wholly aban
doned before it becomes a national habit.
Whatever wo desire , and wo may pro
perly so desire , our country is to have an
increasing influence in the councils of
the world. Even now her voice , when
she but speaks in the ordinary tones in
wliich gentlemen converse , is heard in
every capital of the world. Already her
strength and disinterestedness are so re
spected that she has only to speak words
of soberness and justice to bo heeded as
well as heard. Why forego the advan
tages of so splendid a position ? Why
quit it to stand upon lower ground ?
The time has como to preach and be
lieve that the problems of modern life
demand moral , rather than physical ,
"Lifo may l > o given in iniuiy ways ,
And loyalty to truth l > o Hailed
As bravely in tlio closet an thu fluid. "
Mr. Cleveland does well at this crisis
to remind us of our achievements and of
our promise for the future , of "what wo
have done and what remains for us to
do under the guidance of the rules and
motives which have thus far governed
our national life. " We are surely "en
titled to demand the best of reasons for
a change in our policy and conduct , and
to exact a conclusive explanation of the
conditions which make our acquisition
of now and distant territory either justi
fiable , prudent or necessary"
Ex-Secretary of Agriculture T. Ster
ling Morton has issued at Nebraska City
the prospectus of THE CONSERVATIVE , a
weekly journal to bo published for "the
conservation of all that is deemed de
sirable in the social , industrial and po
litical life of the United States. " Mr.
Morton's now publication starts off with
a largo list of subscribers in advance ,
and under his vigorous and skillful di
rection it should wield a powerful in
fluence in molding public opinion in
the Far West. Philadelphia Record.