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NEVITABLY the present situation not aggressively combative, yet not lackat Washington brings to mind that ing in determination and an effective of twenty years ago. President energy-on the whole, however, especially Coolidge, like President Roosevelt in as compared with the open, expansive,
March, 1905, has finished the Presi even garrulous Roosevelt, much of an dential term for which another man was enigma. These are the only two Viceelected, and now begins a four-year reign Presidents in our history who have sucof his own. With this resemblance, ceeded by popular election to the office however, the likeness between the two to which the death of their predecessor men and the two periods apparently had called them—and each bears a parends. In mental attitudes and in training ticular relation to his era. and personality, no two men could be The election of Roosevelt in 1904more dissimilar.
an election as overwhelming as that which On the one hand is Roosevelt-impul- placed Mr. Coolidge in power in 1924– sive, intuitive, jumping at conclusions; a was essentially a radical demonstration; quick thinker, and an even quicker actor; he came in, with a rush, as a popular progressive, even radical in his methods protest against the conservatism of and in his programs; always having an eye Cleveland and the “standpattism” of keen for abuses to correct, and a mind that McKinley. The preceding twenty years, comprehended all that was interesting especially the decade from 1895 to 1905, and important in the several phases of had created the belief that the democratic American life, political, social, literary, masses were not getting a square deal. and artistic; an appreciative, if possibly The American inheritance had become too not a profound student of the American exclusively the province of energetic story, and a statesman who had framed gentlemen, who, in the expressive words of his own exalted conception of the place Senator Dolliver, “knew precisely what America was to play in the world—and, they wanted,” and the evidences were on the other, Coolidge, quiet and silent; plentiful that the agencies of government a man not especially gifted with imagina- were being used to further their private tion; taking few men into his confidence; ends. An immense amount of material
Twenty Years' Advance as a “World Power"
proving this fact had accumulated in been shocked by the extreme to which the few years preceding Roosevelt's socialism has gone in other countries; the accession. Our forests were being de- desire for change and for new things has nuded; our public lands abstracted; our passed; and the pendulum has swung again resources wasted; the railroads, almost in the direction of quiet and conservaunhindered by the Government, were tism-a condition that finds its most appracticing all sorts of discriminations propriate prophet in Calvin Coolidge. Mr. and extortions; the “trusts," a difficult La Follette's performances in the camand complicated problem at the best, paign disclosed that the politicians have were openly disregarding the laws made not yet grasped the fact that America is for their regulation; the United States once more a conservative country. Yet was almost the only country, except the result of his campaign is a sufficient Turkey, that had no compensation laws sign that this is the truth. for injured workmen; child labor was The "keynote" of the next four years rampant; municipal and legislative cor will therefore be a rational, painstaking, ruption were almost the prevailing rule; unhysterical treatment of public business, United States Senators were elected by and for this work Mr. Coolidge is as legislatures, frequently under the most ideally fitted as was the hortatory scandalous conditions; there being no Roosevelt for the extremely valuable income tax, millionaires and corporations work of his generation. This, in the were paying little into the Federal historic perspective, is the meaning of the Treasury; and the extent of the prevailing new deal in Washington, that begins on corruption in financial quarters had just March 4th. It is not the kind of conbeen illustrated by the revelations—the servatism that caused little less than a work of Mr. Hughes, now Secretary of political revolution twenty years ago. State
of the way in which the funds of It is rather the national yearning for a the life insurance companies were being period of calm in which the great quesused to promote private purposes. tions facing the country must be quietly
faced. The future of America, and the A Period of Quiet and Conservatism
responsibilities lying before it, were never
so great as now. Compared with the OR this state of affairs, individuals issues, foreign and domestic, that con
and political parties were only sec front Mr. Coolidge's administration, the
ondarily responsible; it was the in- interests of the Roosevelt period seem evitable result of the rapid exploitation almost parochial. It was the fashion, in of a new continent; yet American life cer 1905, to insist that the Spanish War had tainly did need a house-cleaning, and this made the United States a "world power," conviction found its champion in Roose but the expression has a meaning to-day velt. The succeeding twelve years—with that makes insignificant the new national the interregnum of Taft, which manifested pride in Roosevelt's time. certain tendencies in a backward direction-were thus a period of “progressive
France Brings Up the Debt Again ness,” even radicalism, for Woodrow Wilson came into power on the same issue, RESIDENT COOLIDGE'S gift and, at least in his first term, put many for clear thinking is apparent essential reforms on the statute book.
from his handling of a problem Only the extreme optimist can believe once forced to his attention that part that all the public evils have been reme- of the Allied debt which is still unfunded. died; yet many of the worst abuses have This matter has figured conspicuously in been corrected; the nation's capacity the press of late, and the idea is general for emotion has been almost exhausted that the United States is urging its crediby participation in a great war; the tors, especially France and Italy, to an American genius for political order has immediate and complete settlement.
But this country has made no official ter in the proper perspective, as he dismove in the matter. The present activity closed in his speech of welcome to the is almost entirely the work of France. The new French Ambassador-a speech that diplomatic discussions were initiated by was almost a rebuke to France for the the French Government, and the speeches recent attacks on the United States by in the French Chamber and the discus French statesmen and journalists. It sions in the French press have come to was a plain statement that this governWashington out of a clear sky.
ment recognized no reason for gratitude The eagerness of the French Govern to France, that any reason for gratitude ment to effect a settlement, and effect it had been compensated by American sernow, raises certain questions. The re vices to the French Republic, and that sponsible statesmen and financiers of we recognized the existing debt as an France evidently think that they can obligation that must be paid. If the secure a much more satisfactory arrange President's remarks seemed a little cruel, ment now than five or ten years hence. the provocation had been great, and the Not impossibly they foresee a prosperous consequent clearing of the atmosphere future for their country. If the settle that followed was an abundant justifiment is postponed, therefore, the ability cation. of France may become so apparent that The principle on which the French the full measure of the bond may be ex debt is to be paid remains the same. It acted. If this is the real reason why the is to be measured entirely by the French French are raising the question at this ability to pay. This country has no time, their manner of doing so has been hope, or desire, to collect money that most unfortunate.
France does not possess. A commission It is somewhat incongruous that their could re
could readily determine this capacity, requests for mitigation should take the and such a commission would probably form of more or less violent attacks on the discover many interesting facts. At United States and its part in the war. least two thirds of the debt, for example, The tendency to hold this country re represents commodities-food, clothing, sponsible for all the misfortunes of Europe machinery—which we sent the French is not only one that is historically mis- Government, and which that government placed, but also one that does not soften resold to its own people at high prices. the American heart toward its European Much was heard, during the war, of the creditors. Whatever nation, or nations, total destruction of the French spinning were responsible for the World War, industry in the devastated region. Not certainly the United States was not. so much has been heard of the fact that That conflagration was the result of the France had more spindles at work at the vices of Europe, in which this country had end of the war than at the beginning. no part. Neither were the Allies fighting It had built up this industry in other American battles nor saving this country parts of the country with American from destruction. The course of events money-money now included in the clearly demonstrated that the United outstanding debt. States could have protected itself, even Since the Armistice, France has sold against a victorious Germany.? The con vast quantities of munitions to Roumania, stant statements in the French press that Poland, and other countries—munitions the money owed this country is a proper originally paid for by American money offset to the services performed by the and also included in this American debt. Allies in saving this nation from a German Evidently the whole subject needs careonslaught are a perverted interpretation ful analysis before its merits are deterof events. The fact is, of course, that mined. The Coolidge Administration is our intervention saved France from be- disposed to show France the utmost concoming a province of the German Empire. sideration and liberality, but it obviously
Mr. Coolidge fortunately sees this mat- believes that a somewhat different spirit
Education or Culture to Be Sought in a Democracy?
on the part of the French people and to the same effect. There was an exgovernment is necessary before the prob- tremely audible chuckle that shrewd lem can be satisfactorily solved.
Uncle Sam had been outwitted, and really
fooled, or bribed, into performing his Shirt-Sleeves Diplomacy—European duty. Even certain sections of the Amer
declared that we had at last press
become a member of the European conHERE was a time when Europe cert though in a most undignified and had much to say of the informality humiliating manner.
and rough-and-tumble methods of The cold reason of Mr. Hughes and American diplomats-a criticism which President Coolidge promptly disposed most enlightened Americans admit was of this silly argument. The Dawes justified, at least to a degree. It is per- commission is an independent body; it haps a further evidence of the “Ameri- has no dependence on the Versailles canization” of Europe, and thus, in a Treaty or the Reparations Commission, sense, a compliment, that the diplomatic but operates with its own force and wismanners of our worst period should re dom. It contains no “sanctions” in case cently have graced the chancelleries of Germany refuses to pay; in that event the the more sophisticated region.
nations involved merely get together and After prolonged negotiations with the discuss the next move. Mr. Hughes is as Allies of the late war, the United States keen a lawyer and possesses as fine an was permitted to participate in German intellect as any now directing the foreign reparations under the Dawes plan to the affairs of any European nation, and is not extent of 24 per cent. The steady- likely to be gulled in the way the disgoing, matter-of-fact American could see patches indicated. His policy of assistno particular graciousness in the Euro- ing Europe in an informal and "unofficial” pean consent that we should collect dam manner has already produced gratifying ages to this moderate degree. Indeed, results, of which the Dawes plan is one. the point might be made that we had been European statesmen can make this rather generous ourselves in consenting policy difficult and even impossible. to accept so small a payment. The There is still a group of “irreconcilables" attitude of Europe—that we had no in in the United States, led by Mr. Borah. herent right to compensation, but that The greatest mistake European Journalalone of all the participants in the war we ists and statesmen can make is to play should ignore technicalities of this kind into the hands of these opponents by such was another betrayal of the European an exhibition as followed the publication feeling that our proper rôle is that of of our share in the reparations. That benevolent uncle to the old world, that Europe quickly realized its mistake was the United States is a kind of ancestral evident by the haste with which it acestate on which the hard pressed coun- cepted the Washington version of this tries are expected to draw more or less proceeding. at will—an attitude which in itself is the greatest barrier to that sympathetic An Englishman Criticizes American understanding which is essential to the
Education peace and prosperity of mankind. This, however, was not the worst.
R. HERBERT A. L. FISHER, At once the French and British press
formerly Minister of Education were filled with columns describing how
in Great Britain, is the latest our acceptance reversed the action of distinguished Englishman to visit Amerithe Senate in rejecting the Versailles can schools and universities and to make Treaty and made us partners in all that public his views. His remarks are someshould be henceforth done in Europe. what discursive and informal and occaEuropean statesmen made long speeches sionally amusing--as, for example, his