Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

328

except the principles of the Progressive B La Follette.

Failure of the Progressives been founded was, not the vote he got gripping enough; they can rarely be for President, but the number of Pro- founded on several issues equally emgressive Congressmen and Senators phasized. Political campaigns can be elected. He knew that the vote he got won on one issue if it has the right appeal, was largely personal. The true test, he better than on several issues. knew, was whether other men, running for other offices, with no basis for appeal

THE ATTITUDE OF W. J. BRYAN

RYAN was wiser in this respect than party, were successful. And

, returns of that election of 1912 showed who invented the phrase "paramount that out of 435 members of Congress issue.” Certainly Bryan knew, and practhere were only 16 listed as Progressives, ticed, the law of practical political psyand out of 96 senators only 1 Progressive, chology suggested by that phrase. In all Roosevelt took that, and not the votes he his campaigns, Bryan managed that there himself had received, as the true index. should be one paramount issue. When, in the subsequent Congressional In 1896, it was free silver. Great and Senatorial campaign of 1914, the

numbers of his party, including many of Progressives again failed to establish the Eastern leaders, believed the tariff themselves on a parity with the two old should be emphasized equally. But parties, the sign was convincing. There- Bryan refused. He believed in the tariff after, the failure of the Progressive party, as an issue; but he believed more firmly in the sense of an effort to make itself one in the practical effectiveness of focussing of the two great American parties, was the attention of the country on one issue pretty clear. It lingered for some two only. To those who demanded that the years, but with diminishing vitality. tariff be included as an issue, Bryan reThere was one relic of the Progressive plied with one of his favorite devices of party that continued for some years, so alluring utterance, the stating of a thing solitary that it seemed archaic. In the in words which, while they do not reSenate, until 1923, Hiram Johnson of produce the Bible literally, call up in the California, who had been elected in 1916. reader's mind some familiar Biblical story, was listed with the word “Progressive" and the atmosphere of Biblical authority. opposite his name in the place where the analogy to what Bryan is saying may official party designations are set down. not in truth be there; but the atmosphere

Even worse than Roosevelt's attempt and emotion favorable to Bryan's position to found a new party failed, La Follette's is evoked. Bryan, harking thus subtly has failed. Nevertheless, what of La back to Herod, said that whereas tariff has Follette's issues? Shall it be said, as to slain its thousands, gold has slain its tens each and all of La Follette's issues, that of thousands. And on that ground he not more than a scant 6 or 7 per cent. declined to depart from the device of one of the American electorate favor them? issue and one only.

In his second candidacy, in 1900, Bryan
FIVE MILLION SUPPORTERS

did the same. In that year he made his THINK not. On the contrary, I sus paramount issue Imperialism; in 1908,

pect that as to almost any one of La anti-monopoly. He changed the issue each Follette's issues, more than five million time, in adaptation to the varying convoters would have been found to support ditions and varying moods of the people. it-if it had not been clouded by other But there was always one paramount issues. That was one of the defects of issue. La Follette's campaign. He had too In La Follette's case, voters who might many issues. In his speeches he treated have come to him on one of his issues were several of them as if they were of equal repelled by the others. On paper, it looks importance in his mind. New parties as if the way to build up a majority of the can be founded on a single issue, if it is voters would be by adding the following

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]
[ocr errors]

of issue a to the following of issue b. In seeking to make the connotations of the fact, that is the way to neutralize groups word “monopoly” concrete, adopted a of voters.

simple device. He said that if one conThe truth is, there was not, this year, cern has 50 per cent. of the business in its any one issue upon which a sufficient line, it is a monopoly; if only 49 9-10 per number of people were stirred, to make it cent., the objections to monopoly do not the basis of a successful new party. If

If lie against it. La Follette were considering available

THE FIRST OF FORTY PLANKS issues, he might have preferred not to make his try in 1924. If La Follette could A FOLLETTE showed the weight he have chosen his year for starting his new attached to monopoly as an issue by party, he might have waited until con- placing it first on the list of more than siderable masses of the people should be forty planks that composed his platform. deeply concerned about some one issue. Now the fact is, there have been several But his hand was forced by other con years during which La Follette could have ditions. La Follette is in his seventieth made a more momentous start with the year. Four years from now, his vitality anti-monopoly issue, than the present may not be equal to the immense strain one. There were at least ten years during of such a project. And the thing had to which monopoly was a-perhaps the be done, if done at all, during La Follette's foremost issue in popular American lifetime. There is no other person in thought. It was so in 1908, when Bryan sight about whom a new party could read- adopted it as his paramount issue. And ily crystallize. Figures of such size are in 1912, monopoly came close to being the not to be found every year. In the pres one clear issue between the two parties ent generation, only two, La Follette and who were the main contenders in that Roosevelt, have emerged. If La Follette year. Roosevelt and the Progressives could not give the impetus to a new party had an attitude toward big business units while his energy remains sufficient, there that could be summarized in some such is no other leader in sight. And so, words as “Let these businesses grow as forced by this and some other circum- large as is economically sound—and we stances, La Follette cast the die in a year will watch them with a big stick." Wiland under conditions not otherwise pro son and the Democrats had an antipitious.

monopoly position, which might be ex

pressed as "We will break these great THE ISSUE IN LA FOLLETTE'S MIND

combinations up into competitive units." HAVE said that the chief weakness of Wilson, as Governor of New Jersey,

the new party was the lack of a single, had devised, and had persuaded the easily visualized, outstanding issue, of legislature to pass, for the purpose of deep concern to great masses of voters. preventing monopoly in the state where Further than this, so far as there was one most of the great corporations used to get issue to the front of La Follette's mind, it their charters, the “Seven Sisters Laws. was not, in this year a gripping one. It The “Seven Sisters" made a considerable was an issue salvaged from last year's furor at the time, but whe, remembers nest.

them now? Wilson, as President, really The issue that was most to the front in meant to prevent monopoly, to follow a La Follette's mind was “monopoly.” policy of fostering smaller units of busiI use the term loosely, as he used it and ness against their great competitors; and as everybody uses it. The difficulty of he began by introducing the mechanism defining just what constitutes monopoly of the Federal Trade Commission. The has always been an impediment to leaders Commission still exists; but with less mowho try to make an issue of it. Bryan in mentum than it had in the beginning; conhis 1908 campaign, knowing the necessity tending against an attitude on the part of of having an issue clearly visualized, and Congress and the courts which is, on the

[ocr errors]

330

Growth of Government Tolerance

1

1

whole, not unfairly to be described as For nearly two decades, it was a major unsympathetic; and against comparative issue in American politics to prevent indifference on the part of the public. consolidation of the railroads. One of

For the change in the popular attitude the two outstanding anti-trust movetoward big units of business, and for the ments ever undertaken by the Governrecession in the attitude of the Wilson ment was the preventing of the merger Administration, the war was partially of the Great Northern and Northern responsible. With the war, solidarity Pacific railroads in 1904. Twenty years of industry, coöperation among the later, the Government is actually deunits composing each industry, was seen manding consolidation of the railroads to be, for the purpose of the war, not into larger units; and the machinery is reprehensible but desirable. There came at this moment under way bringing a time, indeed, when the attitude of the practically all the railroads of the Government came to be one of more or country into a smaller number of units. less compelling business men to merge (It should be said that monopoly in railthemselves into large units. Competitors road transporation, and in other public in the shoe business, for example, who, utilities, is in a different category from in the aggregate, had been making monoply in ordinary trades. Nevertheseveral scores of different styles, were per- less, this government attitude of benesuaded, almost required, by the Govern- ficence, of compulsion, toward railroad ment, to coöperate in reducing the number consolidation, is undoubtedly a sign of of their models, and in other aspects our current evolution, both in politics of their business. In nearly every in- and in economics.) dustry, similar coöperation was brought

BIG BUSINESS AND POLITICS about under government sanction and leadership, sometimes under government A FOLLETTE was not able to call pressure. The purpose was to achieve us back to the older attitude toward economy of man-power. It was largely big units of business. During the the same kind of economy that had led recent campaign, who heard people business men to feel their way toward in the smoking cars, or in the other greater coöperation, toward large units places of congregation where men reveal of industry. This motive, which in what is disturbing their minds, talking peace-time had been merely one of busi- about monopoly? ness, became in war-time a motive of I am not sure that La Follette was government, directed toward greater happy in making clear just what he had solidarity in the interest of the people, in mind about large units of business. for the more effective and speedy One could find it in the shadings of his prosecution of the war. The earlier, speeches more definitely than in his pre-war attitude of the Wilson Ad- formal platform. There is another aspect ministration toward large units of busi- of “big business," differing from its ness lapsed.

legal standing or its economic desirOut of this, whether desirably or not, ability. La Follette was moved by the came a greater popular tolerance of power "big business" has through its combination. The economic benefits of representatives in Congress, in the official production on a large scale, and the personnel of the two parties, and elsereduced costs that accompany it, came where. As regards that, there is no to outweigh, to some extent, the popular such change in either the facts or the hostility toward combinations because popular attitude. The representatives of the suspicion against the power put of business in the places of power, and into the hands of the individuals who the eagerness of their pressure for special control these combinations. Along with interests, is less now than it has been in this went a greater tolerance on the part the past, but it still exists. If La Folof government.

lette had been able to make that clear,

L

in 1924.

and to lay emphasis on it, he might have was sufficient dissatisfaction against acmade more headway.

tions taken by the Supreme Court, to As respects this, let it be said clearly compose a vital issue. The last outfor La Follette, that he had and has standing occasion was the action of the grounds for his outcry; that he is sincere Supreme Court in upsetting the income in making it; and that if he had the tax law passed in 1894, which action power, this condition would end. The obliged the country to wait for seventeen leverage of private interest in government years, and to go through the cumbersome is an evil. There are special interests who business of amending the Constitution, benot only have their representatives in fore it could have the income tax. Durthe places of political power, but actually ing that period, a new party might have bend the machinery of government to made headway on an issue of curbing the their ends. And La Follette's whole power of the Supreme Court; but there is career, as well as the history of Wis no such popular feeling about the Court consin under his leadership, is proof that he knows how to recognize this evil, that On the contrary, there was a faith and he would exterminate it, and that he sentiment about the Supreme Court would tolerate in the places of power most favorable to the continuance of its only those whose sole interest is the authority undiminished.

authority undiminished. La Follette sufpublic one. But this advantage that fered greatly through dramatizing himself would flow from a bestowal of national in opposition to the Supreme Court. A power on La Follette, does not necessarily voter looked at a photograph of the Juscall for the organization of a new party. tices in their solemn robes; he got the imLa Follette could accomplish it by gaining pression of venerableness from most of control of the Republican party. That them, and of a grave dignity approximatis how he did it in Wisconsin.

ing venerableness from even the younger

He saw idealism in the bright eyes A FLEXIBLE CONSTITUTION PROPOSED

of the oldest of them, Holmes; humor, HE issue that was second in La geniality, almost a jovial quality in the

chief, Taft; he saw sheer mental power in from the Supreme Court its present

the broad brows of Butler and Sanford; power of declaring void statutes passed by he saw equal qualities of assurance and Congress which the Supreme Court deems dependableness in Sutherland, McKenna to be departures from the Constitution. and Van Devanter; forthright courage As La Follette would have it: after Con- in the almost Andrew Jackson-like feagress has enacted a statute, if the Supreme tures of McReynolds; acute penetration Court declares it void, Congress can and sympathy with progress in Brandeis. thereupon pass it once more; and it will The voter looked on the photographs be valid. This means that a simple of the Supreme Court and saw all that. majority of Congress, 218 out of 435 mem Then he turned to the campaign photobers of the Lower House, and 49 out of graphs of La Follette, some of which were 96 Senators, could do anything whatever, not of La Follette at his best; he saw in without regard to the courts or the Con- La Follette something of that unusualness, stitution.

that aberration from the conventional, As to this one of La Follette's issues, not which is frequently a deterrent from cononly did it have the effect that second fidence in the average man's mind, the issues always have, of repelling some who pompadour hair that suggests emotional might come to a candidate on a para- excitability—the voter turned from one mount issue. In addition to this, there photograph to the other and decided to was little interest in this issue; and of stand by what seemed to be the picture what interest there was in it, the bulk of greater stability, in a world where the was adverse to it.

agencies of unstability are already disHere again, there was a time when there turbingly numerous and energetic.

ones.

Foreign Government Bonds

Every month in this part of the magazine the WORLD's Work prints
an article on innestments and the lessons to be learned therefrom

F

[ocr errors]

ROM the

comparably the best sedaughter of a

cured foreign issue in the widow the In

American market." vestment Edi

Subsequently, in answer tor received a

to an inquiry, that paper request for advice regard

pointed out that Gering the investment of

many's credit to-day is $25,000. They had been

not so high as that of advised, she wrote, by a "hard headed” some other European countries, and man who had practically all of his money classified these bonds as "a good business invested in French 8s, and who has great man's investment." faith in them, to invest about $4,000 in From a leading investment banking Liberty bonds and the rest in foreign house that has had experience in handgovernment bonds, so that the average ling foreign issues came this general comrate of interest would be 7 per cent. ment in regard to them: "What do you think of foreign government bonds and of French 8s in particu- The coupon rate on many of the foreign lar?" the daughter asked.

government bonds which were floated in the This raised a question on which the

United States during and following the investment doctors disagree. Generally

European War reflects the price of money at

that time, the actual instability of European they do not recommend the high-yielding conditions, and the unfamiliarity of American foreign government bonds for widows'

investors with foreign government bonds and investments. Yet Moody's ratings on

credit. As an added inducement to the the external loans of Netherlands, Nor- American investor, special provisions were way, and Denmark, for instance, brought attached to these high coupon bond issues such out in this country, are "Aaa"-his as non-callability to maturity, payment at a highest rating; and for those of Belgium, premium, etc. France, Japan, and Queensland, "Aa," Many of the causes which necessitated the the next highest; while the new German high coupon rate and special concessions are 78, the Austrian guaranteed 7s, and rapidly disappearing, and this will tend to put several of the South American bonds

the price of these bonds, where they are non

callable, on a basis which will yield only the in our market are given an "A" rating,

rate of interest which the credit of the country which classifies them in the opinion of

of issue is entitled to under normal times. this authority as good investments. Where the bonds are callable it would tend to Other ratings correspond closely to these, make it desirable for foreign countries to call although some authorities mark them their high coupon rate bonds, refunding them "conditional," as a reflection of the diffi- with very considerably lower coupon rate culty in judging the value of such bonds bonds. as compared with local issues where the This situation offers an opportunity to the right of foreclosure to force payment

American investor who feels that the stabil

ization of European conditions is reasonably exists.

well assured to discriminate among foreign In the case of the German 7s issued in

issues dealt in in this country, and to acquire connection with the operation of the

bonds which, if he is right as to European Dawes plan, the Wall Street Journal, conditions, will give him a higher income at the time of the bond sale, said edi

yield on his purchase price than could be obtorially that "the German bond is in

tained two or three years from now.

« AnteriorContinuar »