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THE MARCH OF EVENTS

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HE Presidential campaign now pression that Democrats, as well as Rereaching its end has not been a publicans, were unpleasantly involved in particularly inspiring one. Cir- this scandal.

this scandal. The justice of this imcumstances six months ago pression or the injustice is a fair subject

promised one of the liveliest for argument; yet the mere fact that it contests in American history, but it has can be argued and, indeed, has been conreally been one of the dullest. The four stantly argued in the course of the last years' record of the Harding-Coolidge three months, shows that the main Administration, in the judgment of its Democratic issue lacked that spontaneity Democratic opponents, had virtually and that unquestionable, clear-cut charmade a gift of the Presidency for the next acter, which is essential if the point is four years to the Democratic party. It vividly to take hold of the public mind was believed that the issue of honesty in and decide the election. A question to government, for which ample materials which there are two sides, even though were furnished by the scandals of last one side is not so clear as the other, lacks winter, would inevitably result in a change that emphasis essential to a political issue. in administration. Yet this, which at Yet in any campaign men, and not the one time seemed to be the chief question issues, are the most interesting objects, if involved in the contest, has really cut not the most important. It cannot be little figure in determining the result. said that either Mr. Coolidge or Mr. La The lack of public interest in the matter Follette has developed any new or unhas been indeed discouraging. Probably expected qualities. Both have appeared the Democratic convention is chiefly re- in their now long familiar guises. Mr. sponsible for the failure; the word most Coolidge is still reticent, silent, secretive, frequently heard at that convention, con- unimpassioned, undefined. He has been stantly broadcasted to millions of listening unaggressive as a political candidate, just ears, was the word "oil.” The epithet as last winter he was unaggressive as a was directed against one of the leading party leader. The campaign has develDemocratic candidates and was doubtless oped in him no fighting qualities and even an important influence in preventing his the livelier aspects of the struggle have nomination; it also created a general im- failed to make him strike anything

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A Dull:Political Campaign

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resembling fire. He has displayed no pre- . where center about them, form perhaps cipitancy in meeting Mr. Layis's chal the one interesting phase of contemporary lenge on the Klan, and be..ias failed to American politics. take advantage of many openings made by Mr. Davis in his campaign speeches. Mr. Davis's Aggressive Attitude The spectacle of a Republican candidate for the Presidency .coolly ignoring his HOUGH persistently ignored by Democratic opponent is the one novel his opponent, Mr. Davis has feature of the contest. Nothing like it tackled the issues with considerhas ever beer-known, and this, in itself, able vigor. His speeches and his platform would account for the listless character of manner have confirmed the impressions the struggle. Victory or defeat by default generally entertained of his ability, his -the thing is without precedent. The skill as a speaker, his personal charm, policy may be wise or admirable or states and his grasp on public questions. He manlike in some new, misunderstood has been criticized, indeed, for his agguise; but it certainly is not interesting. gression, and his tendency to denounce

A political contest on a continental the record of the Republican party. scale, if it is nothing else, should be a de- There is little logic in such criticism. bate-a debate that will not only entertain This government is a government by the masses, but also be a chief means of party, and no party that has held office instruction in the main matters that, as for four years can expect to have the citizens, concern their happiness and in- record unexamined.

record unexamined. There is a popular terest. Yet there can be no “campaign impression that there is much in the Reof education," in which one party to the publican record that is unsafe to encontest contents himself with a few dry, courage by silence. Mr. Davis, harsh crisp, uninspiring remarks on public as may have been his criticisms, has not questions, and then retires to seclusion. been undignified in his manner or careless This course only confirms the fact already in his accusations. If Mr. Davis, in this sufficiently apparent, that Mr. Coolidge and in other things, has felt inclined to talk is a very different type of President from on a democratic level, it is perhaps beany of his predecessors. The gift of stac cause he entered the campaign with a cato statement and energetic leadership certain handicap. He was regarded as is not his. If reëlected the nation may an urbane gentleman, somewhat remote count on four years of the most unruffled in feeling and in ideas, endowed with a calm in the White House. It is plain distinct gift for polished utterance. More that this quality is not displeasing to a serious still, Mr. Davis's affiliations and large Coolidge following which sees in personal sympathies were under suspicion; this disinclination for excitement a philo- he was accused of moving extensively in sophic temper, a judicial poise, a pains- Ambassadorial society and of acting as the taking devotion to duty, and a solid grasp favorite lawyer of the trusts. Mr. Davis's of public problems which are particularly attempts to free himself from these imuseful at the present time. On the other plications probably explain certain plathand, there are others who interpret the form opinions that have been received Coolidge impassivity as an absence of with some dismay by his admirers. imagination, a lack of animating con- Though always an advocate of military structive ideas, a constitutional aversion preparedness and of the use of force as to make decisions or to take action, and a a last resort, his acceptance of C. W. caution that is only another name for Bryan's views on Defense Day had the timidity-all qualities, of course, that

unfortunate effect of making him appear seriously. handicap a public man. The as a pacifist of the Bryan type, and apprevalence of these two contrary con- parently the Davis views in the use of ceptions of the President's character and injunctions in labor disputes differed little capacity, and the discussions that every- from those of Mr. Gompers. On the

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other hand, Mr. Davis's challenge to the nothing of this one. One can imagine the Ku Klux Klan had a fine, manly sound, excitement that would be caused in Great and in general his campaign procedures Britain should the highest court there have increased the admiration of his declare an act of Parliament null and friends and have won the respect of his void. When President Coolidge therepolitical foes.

fore declared in Baltimore that the La

Follette proposal would degrade AmerLa Follette's “Revolutionary” ica "into a communistic and socialistic Proposal

state" he was simply talking nonsense.

Great Britain, France, Italy, and all the HE one issue in the campaign that other civilized states of Europe have no has aroused real interest is Senator supreme courts with such sweeping pow

La Follette's attack on the Su ers, and certainly these countries are not preme Court. He advocates a Constitu communistic and socialistic states." tional Amendment which would virtually deprive this body of its right to de- A Parliamentary System for America? clare laws null and void as violative of the Constitution. It is the La Follette

HE La Follette proposal, which is proposal that such a law, set aside by the far from being original with the Supreme Court, shall again be referred to

Senator-it comes up, indeed, at Congress, and that then, if that body re frequent intervals—is “revolutionary” passes it, it shall become effective. That only in the sense that it is a plan comis, the suggested plan gives the Supreme pletely to change the American system of Court a temporary veto, much like that government. We have lived for one hunnow possessed by the President, and sub dred and thirty-five years under a conject, like the President's, to reversal by stitutional system; La Follette proposes, the law-making body. This change has though apparently he does not grasp the brought from President Coolidge his one fact, that we shall change this for a parenergetic utterance of the campaign; he liamentary system. In Great Britain the strongly disapproves, as does Mr. Davis, Parliament-more correctly, in view of while Mr. Dawes describes the proposal recent changes, the House of Commonsas “revolutionary."

is the supreme governing authority. It This is an issue which it is easy to be knows no limitation, except its own will. cloud and misunderstand. It is not As Bagehot said, Parliament can do any“ revolutionary” in the sense that it thing, except make a man a woman or a would strike at the roots of government, woman a man. It could abolish the confiscate private property, and usher in monarchy to-morrow and establish a rean era of socialism or anarchy. From the public-simply by a majority vote. That intemperate denunciations levelled against is what is meant by a parliamentary the La Follette plan one might think system. Our Congress has no such it would do all these things. The fact power; in fact, its powers are defined and is that the United States is the only coun limited. The supreme authority, the try in the world where the courts have, or people, has extended to Congress the right exercise, the right to set aside the acts of to pass laws on certain subjects, and has the legislature. Such a power is, as Mr. specifically forbidden it to pass laws on Coolidge intimates, America's most im- other subjects. Mr. La Follette now portant contribution to the art of self- proposes to abolish all these limitations government; it is a feature of our system and restrictions and to give Congress that has won the admiration of many power to legislate as it will. That is European statesmen, such as Lord Salis- what a removal of the Supreme Court bury and Mr. Gladstone. Yet England, veto amounts to.

For the chief purpose the source from which we derive our of the Supreme Court is to see that Conpolitical and judicial institutions, knows gress does not disregard the limitations

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Is an All-Powerful Legislature Desirable?

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placed upon it. It is virtually a proposal Europe and the Will to Peace to abolish the Constitution itself, for, if Congress is held down by no reserva

HE world has been much more tions, it can freely disregard that funda

impressed by the present meeting mental document. It becomes the judge of the League of Nations Assembly of the constitutionality of its own acts than by any of its previous gatherings. and from its conclusions there can be Certainly a body of men whose plans and no appeal.

discussions can claim columns of space, For example, the Constitution says day after day, for many weeks, in Amerithat Congress shall not establish a state can newspapers, is an important influence religion or interfere with any one's free in the world. This is a final test of sucexercise of his own. If Mr. La Follette cess whose significance cannot be ignored. should have his way, Congress could es- It is easy to minimize this organization tablish the Roman Catholic, the Metho- and to point to what may seem to be its dist, the Presbyterian, or the Christian list of minor achievements. It is doubtScience as the state church, levy taxes less true that the most important developto support it, and visit heavy penalties ments since the War in the promotion of upon non-conformists. At present Con- peace and disarmament have been accomgress cannot create titles of nobility; plished outside of the League itself. under Senator La Follette's plan it could Against such achievements as the Washdo so without stint. Congress cannot ington Conference, with its definite steps now suspend the privilege of the writ of for naval limitation and its provision for habeas corpus (except at stated crises), the peaceful adjustment of Far-Eastern abolish trial by jury, or levy taxes on quarrels, and the Dawes plan for the goods imported from one state to another; settlement of German reparations, the if the veto power of the Supreme Court League has to its credit minor triumphs is removed, it will have power to do all such as the Austrian loan, its part in the these things. The fact that it will have settlement of the Italo-Greek dispute a to abuse its power and disregard the year ago, and the creation of the InterConstitution itself, in order to pass such national Court. This year's session, howlaws, does not affect the point; the point ever, has launched the machinery for is that the Supreme Court is the body a more effective system of arbitration than which prevents the law-makers from the world has had before. It has taken overriding the Constitution and passing steps toward the admission of Germany as laws in violation of its provisions, and a member-a new and previously unpoputhus the La Follette amendment would lar recruit which is really essential to the remove the one restraining influence in successful working of the League. It has the government that protects the people also laid plans for a disarmament confrom this kind of exploitation and ference, which will probably convene next tyranny. So long as we have a written year and consume many months in an constitution, with all these safeguards and effort to do something for the armies of limitations, there must be a guardian the world in some degree comparable to hand, representing the people, protecting the limitations that the Washington Conthe people from unwarranted encroach- ference put upon naval competition. ments; if the Supreme Court did not But the definite performances of the exist, therefore, something performing the present session, important as they are, same duty would have to be invented. do not constitute the League's most imMr. La Follette has stated his issue portant work. Mankind is gradually inaccurately; he should frankly propose learning that the mere coming together, that the American people abandon its year after year, of many of the world's Constitution and adopt the parliamen- leading statesmen, who devote their time tary system. That would be a subject for many weeks to the great subject of for a highly interesting discussion. peace, is the most permanently important

thing about the League of Nations. breathe more easily and look forward That the League machinery may be in more reassuredly to the future as this adequate for certain definite tasks, that great scheme of reorganization goes into it may easily fail even at critical moments, effect. The Golden Age has not returned, that it may disappoint its admirers, be but certainly a new prospect has opened flouted and even jeered at-all these to an exhausted world. things are true, and they are equally true There is one group, however, utterly

of most great causes that have exercised dissatisfied with the Dawes report and - a profound influence on human history. actively conducting a campaign for its

They are all true of Christianity itself. obliteration. The Steuben Society of Yet the fact that Europe is thinking more America is an organization of German of peace than of war is of incalculable immigrants and their descendants. Its value. Its best brains are now devoting purpose is to preserve intact “the German their energies to formulating plans by influence in American life,” to uphold which the antagonistic nations may be the Deutschtum as a distinct oasis in the kept from flying at one another's throats, American organization, to insist on the whereas formerly these same brains were German language as the spoken tongue busily occupied with plans for aggression of Americans of German origin. Its and conquest. From 1870 to 1914 Ger- great mission, that is, is the extension of many spent her days and nights devising hyphenism. In war days much was ways to fire her people's minds with "the heard of the Steuben Society, but since will to war.” That was the best possible the Armistice it has been quiescent. The method of making war inevitable. The campaign of Mr. La Follette, however, great function of the League of Nations has again enlisted its activities, and is to create in the minds of Europe the “Why We Are for La Follette” is the “will to peace.” That is similarly the title of a broadside to which it is giving most successful means of making peace wide dissemination. The main reason inevitable. The result will be, that na these German-Americans

are for

for La tions will be more careful in the future Follette is apparently because his election about springing to arms or about creatinga will tend to bring about a revision of the situation out of which war is the only way. Treaty of Versailles which would relieve

Germany of her present responsibilities The Steuben Society and the Dawes and restore her to her old position in the Report

economic and political system. Among

several other resolutions of similar tenor HE Dawes report, providing at

is the following: last a satisfactory plan for the

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RESOLVED, That we deprecate the Dawes settlement of the European prob

plan as lacking in latitude for the application lem, is generally hailed as one of the great

of reconstructive principles, as a mere makeaccomplishments of the time. It is the shift which does not adequately meet the only plan that the several governments requirements of the crisis in the world's of Europe have found upon which they affairs, and as an instrument in the hands of Great Britain accepts it

the international bankers and the irreconcilas the ultimate establishment of peace.

able enemies of reconstruction and the world France, most difficult when it comes to

peace to exercise the power of enslavement readjusting her relationships with Ger

against generations yet unborn. many, stakes her political and economic There are many queer side issues to future upon it. Germany, though called American politics, and this little battle upon to make heavy sacrifices and really waged by a certain element among to put herself in a receivership, has sol- German-Americans for the defeat of the emnly pledged herself to abide by this Dawes plan is one of the comedies of the new agreement. Practically all parts of campaign-a dash of humor, however, Europe and the United States at last not without its ominous significance.

could agree.

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