See Social Conventions.
I think that of all men in the country Taft is the best fitted at this time to be. President and to carry on the work upon which we have entered during the past six years. (To Lyman Abbott, May 29, 1908.) Mem. Ed. XXIV, 101; Bishop II, 86.
____________. To a flaming hatred of injustice, to a scorn of all that is base and mean, to a hearty sympathy with the oppressed, he unites entire disinterestedness, courage both moral and physical of the very highest type, and a kindly generosity of nature which makes him feel that all of his fellow countrymen are in very truth his friends and brothers, that their interests are his, and that all his great qualities are to be spent with lavish freedom in their service. The honest man of means, the honest and law abiding business man, can feel safe in his hands because of the very fact that the dishonest man of great wealth, the man who swindles or robs his fellows, would not so much as dare to defend his evil doing in Mr. Taft's presence. The honest wage worker, the honest laboring man, the honest farmer, the honest mechanic or small trader, or man of small means, can feel that in a peculiar sense Mr. Taft will be his representative because of the very fact that he has the same scorn for the demagogue that he has for the corruptionist, and that he would front threats of personal violence from a mob with the unquailing and lofty indifference with which he would front the bitter anger of the wealthiest and most powerful corporations. Broad though his sympathies are, there is in him not the‑slightest tinge of weakness. No consideration of personal interest, any more than of fear for his personal safety, could make him swerve a hair's breadth from the course which he regards as right and in the interest of the whole people. (To Conrad Kohrs, September 9, 1908.) Presidential Addresses and State Papers VII, 1783-1784.
____________. You know, Archie, that I think he has‑the most lovable personality I have ever come in‑contact with. He is going to be greatly beloved as President. I almost envy a man possessing a personality‑like Taft's. People are always prepossessed by it. One loves him at first sight. He has nothing to overcome‑when he meets people. I realize that I have always got‑to overcome a little something before I get to the heart‑of people. (Recorded by Butt in letter of December 10, 1908.) The Letters of Archie Butt. Personal Aide to‑President Roosevelt. (Doubleday, Page & Co., Garden‑City, N. Y., 1924), p. 232-233.
____________. Taft is utterly hopeless. I think he would be beaten if nominated, but in any event it would be a misfortune to have him in the Presidential chair for another term, for he has shown himself an entirely unfit‑President, and he merely discredits the Republican‑Party, and therefore discredits those of us who believe that, with the Democratic Party as it is now constituted, the Republican Party offers the only instrument through which to secure really sane, progressive government. (To Joseph Bucklin Bishop, December 29, 1911.) Mem. Ed. XXIV, 367; Bishop II, 313.
____________. Mr. Taft's position is the position that has been held from the beginning of our government, although not always so openly held, by a large number of reputable and honorable men who, down at bottom, distrust popular government, and, when they must accept it, accept it with reluctance, and hedge it around with every species of restriction and check and balance, so as to make the power of the people as limited and as‑ineffective as possible.
Mr. Taft fairly defines the issue when he says that‑our government is and should be a government of all the people by a representative part of the people. This is an excellent and moderate description of an oligarchy. It defines our government as a government of all the people by a few of the people. (At Carnegie Hall, New York City, March 20, 1912.) Mem. Ed. XIX, 208; Nat. Ed. XVII, 158.
____________. Taft, second only to Wilson and Bryan, is the most distinguished exponent of what is worst in our political character at the present day as regards international affairs; and a universal peace league meeting which has him as its most prominent leader is found on the whole to do mischief and not good. (To Owen Wister, June 23, 1915.) Mem. Ed. XXIV, 453; Bishop II, 385.
____________. I am awfully sorry, old man, but after faithful effort for a month to try to arrange matters on the basis you wanted I find that I shall have to bring you home and put you on the Supreme Court. I am very sorry. I have the greatest confidence in your judgment: but after all, old fellow, if you will permit me to say so, I am President and see the whole field. The responsibility for any error must ultimately come uponme, and therefore I cannot shirk this responsibility or in‑the last resort yield to anyone else's decision if my judgment is against it. . . . I am very sorry if what I am doing displeases you, but as I said, old man, this is one of the cases where the President, if he is fit for his position, must take the responsibility and put the men on whom he most relies in the particular positions in which he himself thinks they can render the greatest public good. (To Taft, January 6, 1903.) Henry F. Pringle, The Life and Times of William Howard Taft. (Farrar & Rinehart, N. Y., 1939), I, 244.
____________. You could do very much if you were on the bench; you could do very much if you were in active political life outside. I think you could do most as President, but you could do very much as Chief Justice, and you could do less, but still very much, as Associate Justice. Where you can fight best I cannot say, for you know what your soul turns to better than I can.
As I see the situation, it is this: There are strong‑arguments against your taking this justiceship. In the first place, my belief is that of all the men who have appeared so far you are the man who is most likely to receive the Republican nomination, and who is, I think, the best man to receive it. It is not a light thing to cast aside the chance of the Presidency, even though, of course; it is a chance, however, a good one. (To William H. Taft, March 15, 1906.) Mem. Ed. XXIV, 118; Bishop II, 101.
Taft will carry on the work substantially as I have carried it on. His policies, principles, purposes and ideals are the same as mine and he is a strong, forceful, efficient man, absolutely upright, absolutely disinterested and fearless. In leaving, I have the profound satisfaction of knowing that he will do all in his power to further every one of the great causes for which I have fought and that he will persevere in every one of the great governmental policies in which I most firmly believe. Therefore nothing whatever is lost by my having refused to run for a third term, and much is gained. (To Sir George‑Otto Trevelyan, November 6, 1908.) Mem. Ed. XXIV, 145; Bishop II, 124.
Taft‑was nominated solely on my assurance to the Western people especially, but almost as much to the people of the East, that he would carry out my work unbroken; not (as he has done) merely working for somewhat the same objects in a totally different spirit, and with a totally different result, but exactly along my lines with all his heart and strength. Of course you know that among my heartiest supporters, especially in the West, and, curiously enough, also in the Eastern states like New York and New Jersey, there has been any amount of criticism of me because I got them to take a man on my word who they now find understood his own promise in a totally different sense from that in which both I and the men who acted on my word understood it. There is only a little harsh criticism either of my sincerity or of his, but there is a very widespread feeling that, quite unintentionally, I have deceived them, and that however much they may still believe in‑my professions when I say what I myself will do, they do not intend again to accept any statements of mine as to what anyone else will do. (To H. C: Lodge, April 11,1910.) Lodge Letters II, 369.
The great interests . . . were responsible for the President's abandoning the Country Life and Conservation Commissions, which had cost the government nothing, and had rendered‑invaluable service to the country; and they also cordially approved the nomination of Mr. Ballinger to the position of secretary of the interior. For two years the Administration did everything in its power to undo the most valuable work that had been done in conservation, especially in securing to the people the right to regulate water power franchise in the public interest. This effort became so flagrant, and the‑criticism so universal, that it was finally abandoned even by the Administration itself. As for the efforts to secure social justice in industrial matters, by securing child labor legislation, for instance, the Administration simply abandoned them completely.
Alike in its action and in its inaction the conduct of the Administration during the last three years has‑been such as to merit the support and approval of Messrs. Aldrich, Galliner, Penrose, Lorimer, Cox, Guggenheim, and the other gentlemen I have mentioned. I do not wonder that they support it; but I do not regard an administration which has merited and which receives such support as being entitled to call itself Progressive, no matter with what elasticity the word may be stretched, No men have been closer or more interested students of the career of President Taft than these men, no men better understand its real significance, no men better appreciate what the effect of‑the continuance of this Administration for another four years would mean. I believe that their judgment upon the Administration and upon what its continuance would mean to the people can be accepted; and I think that their judgment, as shown by the extreme recklessness of their actions in trying to secure the President's renomination, gives us an accurate gauge as to what the Administration merits from the people and what the action of the people should be. (At Louisville, Ky., April 3, 1912.) Mem. Ed. XIX, 247; Nat. Ed. XVII, 183.
For a year after Taft took office, for a year and a quarter after he had been elected. I would not let myself think ill of anything he did. I finally had admit that he had gone wrong on‑certain points; and I then also had to admit to myself deep down underneath I had all along known he was‑wrong, on points as to which I had tried to deceive myself, by loudly proclaiming to myself, that he was right. I went out of the country and gave him the fullest possible chance to work out his own salvation. (To H. C. Lodge, May 5,1910.) Lodge Letters II, 380.
____________. As far as my personal inclinations were‑concerned, my personal pleasure and comfort, I should infinitely have preferred to keep wholly out of politics. I need hardly say that I never l made a speech or took‑an action save in response to the earnest and repeated requests of men many of whom I well knew, in spite of‑their anxiety to use me at the moment, were exceedingly anxious to limit that use before elections with the understanding that I should have no say‑afterward.
I have on every occasion this year praised‑everything I conscientiously could of both Taft and the‑Congress, and I have never said a word in‑condemnation of either, strongly though I have felt. Very possibly circumstances will be such that I shall support Taft for the Presidency next time; but this is not‑a point now necessary for decision, and if I do support him it will be under no illusion and simply as being the‑best thing that the conditions permit. (To Elihu Root, October 21, 1910.) Mem. Ed. XXIV, 359; Bishop II, 305.
____________. I faced a situation where there was no‑"best course," it was merely a choice between courses, all of them unsatisfactory. I think I took the only course‑that was right, and the only course that I could have taken without loss of self-respect. I told the exact truth‑as I saw it. I praised Taft for every action of his as to‑which I could conscientiously praise him. Where I‑could not praise him, or disapproved of what he had‑done, I kept silent. I was opposed by the lunatic‑Insurgents of all grades, receiving very lukewarm support, I am sorry to say, from those who were not‑contented with anything short of denunciation of Taft, and who have no conception of the difference in‑difficulty between tearing clown and building up. On the other hand, the reactionaries, tile representatives of the special interests and all those whom they control, literally went insane in their opposition. (To Joseph‑Bucklin Bishop, November 21, 1910.) Mem. Ed. XXIV, 360; Bishop II, 306.
____________. The break in our relations was due to‑no one thing, but to the cumulative effect of many things—the abandonment of everything my‑Administration had stood for, and other things.
Taft changed greatly between the time he was‑elected and the time he took office. The first friction came in the matter of his Cabinet. . . . After he was elected he came to me and told me he wished to retain my Cabinet and would like to have me tell the members so. I realized at once that this was‑a rather delicate matter, believing he might and‑probably would change his mind later; that his wishes in November might not be his wishes in March; and I asked him if he really desired the message delivered. . . He agreed that he would wish new men in some‑posts, but he insisted that he wanted the others to stay, and on his definite insistence I delivered the message. More than that, those thus assured thanked Taft for the offer in my presence. . . .‑By inauguration time, however, Mr. Taft had changed his mind, just as I had feared he would, and it made a great deal of feeling. Some had made very definite plans on the strength of his offer, renewing leases of houses and that sort of thing, and it was bad‑all around. That was the first bit of friction—the beginning. In office, his militancy evaporated and he at once‑set about undoing all my Administration had done.
Conservation went by the board, Newell of the‑Reclamation Service had to quit, and things went from bad to worse. They had reached such a pass that, when I got to Rome on my way home from Africa, I found Gif ford Pinchot awaiting me. He wanted me to attack Taft‑then and there. Others were in the same mood. . . . Thus things went, one thing after another, until finally the Rural Welfare Commission, one of the best‑things we had, was abandoned. That was the last straw. The break came on that, but it was not because of that. It was because of the many things of which that was the capstone, the climax. (April 8, 1916; reported by Leary.) Talks with T. R. From the diaries of John J.Leary, Jr. (Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, 1920), pp. 25-27.
Four years ago the Progressives supported Mr. Taft for President, and he was opposed by such representatives of special privilege as Mr. Penrose, of Pennsylvania, Mr. Aldrich, of Rhode Island, Mr. Gallinger, of New Hampshire, and Messrs. Lorimer, Cannon, and McKinley, of Illinois, and he was opposed by practically all the men of the stamp of Messrs. Guggenheim and Evans in Colorado, Mr. Cox in Ohio, and Mr. Patrick Calhoun, of San Francisco. These men were not Progressives then and they do not pretend to be Progressives now. But unlike the President, they know who is a Progressive and who is not. They know that he is not a Progressive. Their judgment in this matter is good. After three and a half years of association with and knowledge of the President, these and their fellows are now the President's chief supporters; and they and the men who feel and act as they do in business and in politics, give him the great bulk of his strength. The President says that he is a Progressive. These men know him well, and have studied his actions for three years, and they regard him as being precisely the kind of Progressive whom they approve; that is, as not a Progressive at all. (At Louisville, Ky., April 3, 1912.) Mem. Ed. XIX, 245; Nat. Ed. XVII, 181.
I have not asked Mr. Taft to retain a single man; no Cabinet officer, nobody in any position; in the cases of a very few small men in different States who had been devoted adherents of his for the nomination I have informed him of the fact, and I have given him full information about a number of men in office concerning whom he asked me, and as to one or two in response to questions of his, I have told him positions in which I thought they would do well or which I thought they would like. But I have volunteered no information and said nothing to him unless he has asked me to say it; except that as regards one representative at a foreign court whom I had appointed I told him certain facts which I felt I ought to, as they were not to the representative's credit. (Letter of January 31, 1909.) Mem. Ed. XXIV, 150; Bishop II, 128.
____________. I don't want you to think that I have the slightest feeling of personal chagrin about Taft. The Presidency of the United States, the success of the Republican Party, above all the welfare of the country—matters like these cannot possibly be considered from any standpoint but that of the broadest public interest. I am sincere when I say that I am not yet sure whether Taft could with wisdom have followed any course save the one he did. The qualities shown by a thoroughly able and trustworthy lieutenant are totally different, or at least may be totally different, from those needed by the leader, the commander. Very possibly if Taft had tried to work in my spirit, along my lines, he would have failed; that he has conscientiously tried to work for the objects I had in view, so far as he could approve them, I have no doubt. I wish, in my own mind, and to you, to give Taft the benefit of every doubt, and to think and say the very utmost that can be said and thought in his favor. Probably the only course open was not to do as he originally told me before the nomination he in. tended to do, and as he even sometimes said he intended to do between nomination and election, but to do as he actually has done. More over, it seems to me, there is at least a good chance that a reaction will come in his favor. Everyone believes him to be honest, and most believe him to be doing the best he knows how. I have noticed very little real personal abuse of him, or indeed attack upon him. Such being the case, it is entirely possible that there will be a revulsion of feeling in his favor, a revulsion of feeling which may put him all right not only as the head of the party but as able to make the party continue in control of the country. (To H. C. Lodge, April 11, 1910.) Lodge Letters II, 367.
See also Election Of 1908; Election of 1912.
Tammany Hall has contracts to give out and contracts to interfere with. Every man who has risen to prominence in Tammany Hall has risen by combining business and politics, and you all know that; even by combining the very worst kind of business with the very worst kind of politics; by combining a system of blackmail of those who cannot resist, with mutual payment and repayment of favors in connection with the great and the powerful, The bosses of Tammany Hall appeal to hope of reward and fear of punishment, and especially do they do that now when they have a certain element of Wall Street, the crooked element, as contrasted with the honest element of the business world, with them. (At Binghamton, N. Y., October 24, 1910.) Mem. Ed. XIX, 59; Nat. Ed. XVII, 39.
Tammany looked upon all races of mankind with a broad and genial tolerance, provided only that they came up (or rather down) to its standard. If a man had political influence behind him, he would be appointed, no matter whether he was a native American, a German, or a Jew, just as quickly as if he were an Irishman. The reason that the Irish so overwhelmingly predominated was because their race furnished the great mass of active political workers of the party. (Munsey's, June 1897.) Mem. Ed. XVI, 321-322; Nat. Ed. XIV, 227.
See also Saloon.
See Supreme Court.
Free-traders are apt to look at the tariff from a sentimental standpoint; but it is in reality purely a business matter, and should be decided solely on grounds of expediency. Political economists have pretty generally agreed that protection is vicious in theory and harmful in practice; but if the majority of the people in interest wish it, and it affects only themselves, there is no earthly reason why they should not be allowed to try the experiment to their hearts’ content. The trouble is that it rarely does affect only themselves. (1887.) Mem. Ed. VIII, 51; Nat. Ed. VII, 44.
____________. I expect to say on the tariff simply that we believe in protection, but of course hold ourselves at liberty to revise any particular schedule when it is shown that that schedule is wrong and it is possible to revise it without interfering with other schedules; and that we will undertake a general revision of the tariff whenever it becomes evident to the American people as a whole that the damage thereby done will be offset by the advantage gained. (To H. C. Lodge, August 9, 1906.) Lodge Letters II, 225.
____________. I believe in a protective tariff, but I believe in it as a principle, approached from the standpoint of the interests of the whole people, and not as a bundle of preferences to be given to favored individuals. In my opinion, the American people favor the principle of a protective tariff, but they desire such a tariff to be established primarily in the interests of the wage-worker and the consumer. The chief opposition to our tariff at the present moment comes from the general conviction that certain interests have been improperly favored by over-protection. I agree with this view. The commercial and industrial experience of this country has demonstrated the wisdom of the protective policy, but it has also demonstrated that in the application of that policy certain clearly recognized abuses have developed. (Before Progressive National Convention, Chicago, August 6, 1912.) Mem. Ed. XIX, 393; Nat. Ed. XVII, 283.
____________. I believe that this country is fully committed to the principle of protection; but it is to protection as a principle; to protection primarily in the interest of the standard of living of the American working-man. I believe that when protection .becomes, not a principle, but a privilege and a preference—or, rather, a jumble of privileges and preferences—then the American people disapprove of it . . . .What we want is what I have already said—a square deal in the tariff as in everything else; a square deal for the wage earner, a square deal for the employer, and a square deal for the general public. To obtain it, we must have a thoroughly efficient and well-equipped tariff commission. The tariff ought to be a material issue, and not a moral issue; but if, instead of a square deal, we get a crooked deal, then it becomes very emphatically a moral issue. Outlook , January 28, 1911, p. 237.
The Baltimore platform . . . first declares that protective duties are unconstitutional. If the Democratic party is sincere in this belief, then it is necessarily committed to a construction of the Constitution which would gravely impair the powers which the government has employed time and time again for industrial and social betterment. If it is unconstitutional to impose protective duties for the sake of helping wage-workers, then it is unconstitutional to lay an inheritance tax or an income tax for the purpose of equalizing burdens and securing a better distribution of wealth; then it is unconstitutional to collect a corporation tax levied with the incidental purpose of securing publicity regarding corporation and trust methods; then the State bank tax, imposed for the purpose of regulating the issuance of currency, was and still is unconstitutional; then it would be unconstitutional to enact any kind of workmen's insurance law that would levy a tax for the purpose of creating a fund out of which wage-earners would receive insurance; it would be unconstitutional to use the taxing power of the government in any form for the purpose of improving social conditions and promoting economic efficiency. There can be legitimate discussion as to tile extent to which the principle of protection should be applied, and, in my judgment, it should be applied for totally different purposes than those for which it has been applied for the last three years. But it is quite impossible to declare the principle of protection itself as unconstitutional unless the Constitution is interpreted in a way that would at once reduce us to impotence in dealing with nine-tenths of the serious social and industrial problems which now confront us. Nor is this all. If the Democrats are sincere in what they say about protection, if they really believe it to be unconstitutional, it is out of the question for any protective duty to be left for more than a very short period on the statute-books. If the tariff is really to be made a tariff for revenue only, then every species of protection must be removed from the American farmer and the American laboring man no less than from the American manufacturer, and duties must be imposed on such articles as tea and coffee. (Outlook , July 27, 1912.) Mem. Ed. XIX, 351; Nat. Ed. XVII, 248.
Whether a protective tariff is right or wrong may be open to question; but if it exists at all, it should work as simply and with as much certainty and exactitude as possible; if its interpretation varies, or if it is continually meddled with by Congress, great damage ensues. It is in reality of far less importance that a law should be ideally right than that it should be certain and steady in its workings. Even supposing that a high tariff is all wrong, it would work infinitely better for the country than would a series of changes between high and low duties. (1887.) Mem. Ed. VIII, 166; Nat. Ed. VII, 144.
It is a matter of regret that the protective-tariff policy, which, during the last forty-odd years, has become part of the very fibre of the country, is not now accepted as definitely established. Surely we have a right to say that it has passed beyond the domain of theory, and a right to expect that not only its original advocates but those who at one time distrusted it on theoretic grounds should now acquiesce in the results that have been proved over and over again by actual experience. These forty-odd years have been the most prosperous years this Nation has ever seen; more prosperous years than any other nation has ever seen. Beyond question this prosperity could not have come if the American people had not possessed the necessary thrift, energy, and business intelligence to turn their vast material resources to account. But it is no less true that it is our economic policy as regards the tariff and finance which has enabled us as a nation to make such good use of the individual capacities of our citizens, and the natural resources of our country. Every class of our people is benefited by the protective tariff. (Letter accepting Republican nomination for President, September 12, 1904.) Mem. Ed. XVIII, 521; Nat. Ed. XVI, 391.
The only relation of the tariff to big corporations as a whole is that the tariff makes manufactures profitable, and the tariff remedy proposed would be in effect simply to make manufactures unprofitable. To remove the tariff as a punitive measure directed against trusts would inevitably result in ruin to the weaker competitors who are struggling against them. Our aim should be not by unwise tariff changes to give foreign products the advantage over domestic products, but by proper regulation to give domestic competition a fair chance; and this end cannot be reached by any tariff changes which would affect unfavorably all domestic competitors, good and bad alike. (Second Annual Message, Washington, December 2, 1902.) Mem. Ed. XVII, 167; Nat. Ed. XV, 144.
I can put my position on the tariff in a nutshell. I believe in such measure of protection as will equalize the cost of production here and abroad: that is, will equalize the cost of labor here and abroad. I believe in such supervision of the workings of the law as to make it certain that protection is given to the man we are most anxious to protect — the laboring man. Outlook , January 28, 1911, p. 236.
____________. There is urgent need of non-partisan expert examination into any tariff schedule which seems to increase the cost of living, and, unless the increase thus caused is more than countervailed by the benefit to the class of the community which actually receives the protection, it must of course mean that that particular duty must be reduced. The system of levying a tariff for the protection and encouragement of
Events have shown that the methods hitherto obtaining for generations in tariff- making no longer produce satisfactory results, and that we must have a tariff commission of impartial, disinterested, independent experts, who shall report on each schedule by itself so that action can be taken on the schedule by itself without the inevitable log-rolling and general business disturbance which necessarily accompany any attempt at general tariff revision. Outlook , January 28, 1911, p. 146.
____________.The time has come when all genuine Progressives should insist upon a thorough and radical change in the method of tariff-making. The first step should be the creation of a permanent commission of non-partisan experts whose business shall be to study scientifically all phases of tariff-making and of tariff effects. This commission should be large enough to cover all the different and widely varying branches of American industry. It should have ample powers to enable it to secure exact and reliable information. It should have authority to examine closely all correlated subjects, such as the effect of any given duty on the consumers of the article on which the duty is levied; that is, it should directly consider the question as to what any duty costs the people in the price of living. It should examine into the wages and conditions of labor and life of the workmen in any industry so as to insure our refusing protection to any industry unless the showing as regards the share labor receives therefrom is satisfactory. This commission would be wholly different from the present unsatisfactory Tariff Board, which was created under a provision of law which failed to give it the powers indispensable if it was to do the work it should do. . . .
The reports of a permanent, expert, and non- partisan tariff commission would at once strike a most powerful blow against the chief iniquity of the old log- rolling method of tariff-making. One of the principal difficulties with the old method has been that it was impossible for the public generally, and especially for those members of Congress not directly connected with the committees handling a tariff bill, to secure anything like adequate and impartial information on the particular subjects under consideration.
The reports of such a tariff commission would at once correct this evil and furnish to the general public full, complete, and disinterested information on every subject treated in a tariff bill. With such reports it would no longer be possible to construct a tariff bill in secret or to jam it through either House of Congress without the fullest and most illuminating discussion. The path of the tariff "joker" would be rendered infinitely difficult. (Before Progressive National Convention, Chicago, August 6, 1912.) Mem. Ed. XIX, 394; Nat. Ed. XVII, 285.
For years the tariff has been the red herring drawn across the trail of social reform alike by the free-traders and the protectionists, both of whom object to all real social and industrial reform. Today the tariff is the false scent designed to delay efficient steps for social and industrial progress along the lines indicated in the Progressive platform. This is precisely what is done by the ultraprotectionist on the other side, who endeavors to persuade us that the protective tariff by itself will solve all of our industrial problems. One contention is just as absurd as the other. But of all beliefs, both ludicrous and pathetic, there is none more ludicrous and pathetic than the belief that with the advent of the angel of free trade, clad in a garment of untaxed calico, the millennium will be brought about. Free trade would not in the slightest degree change the conditions that now call for the social and industrial reforms advocated by the Progressive party. Saturday Evening Post, October 26, 1912, p. 4.
____________. The Republican proposal is a tariff for privilege; the Democratic proposal is a tariff for destruction; the Progressive proposal is a tariff for labor, a tariff which shall give to the American business man his fair show, both permitting and requiring him to pay the American laborer the wages necessary to keep up the standard of living in this country. (At San Francisco, September 14, 1912.) Mem. Ed. XIX, 428; Nat. Ed. XVII, 314.
____________. As regard the tariff, both the Republicans and the Democrats propose to cling to the old, vicious methods of tariff-making, the Republicans continuing the policy of protection for. special privilege and. the Democrats proposing in one breath to introduce free trade and in the next asserting that they will work no disturbance of business—which is about like asserting an intention to burn down a house without causing any disturbance to the inmates or the furniture. We propose to reduce all excessive duties while maintaining the principle of protection through the action of a tariff commission like that which in actual practice has worked so admirably in Germany. (At Oyster Bay, N. Y., November 2, 1912.) Mem. Ed. XIX, 471; Nat. Ed. XVII, 347.
If the Democratic platform is sincere when it says that the legislation it advocates is not to injure any legitimate industry, then it is simply advocating what the Republican platform advocates, doubtless with equal insincerity, when that platform says that it wishes to reduce excessive rates, and, using the language which the Democratic platform a few days later copied, to do so "without injury to any American industry." If, on the other hand, it is true that our present system does make the rich richer and the poor poorer, and if it is unconstitutional to have anything except a revenue tariff, then it is out of the question to alter the situation except by legislation that will destroy the present industries. The two pledges made about the tariff in the Democratic platform are mutually exclusive. One can not be kept without repudiating the other. As a matter of fact, if the Democratic party came into power, it would doubtless break both pledges; it would not abolish all protective duties, but it would act with sufficient unwisdom about them to cause nation-wide disaster. (Outlook, July 27, 1912.) Mem. Ed. XIX, 353; Nat. Ed. XVII, 250.
____________. The Democratic platform declares for a tariff for revenue only, asserting that a protective tariff is unconstitutional. To say that a protective tariff is unconstitutional, as the Democratic platform insists, is only excusable on a theory of the Constitution which would make it unconstitutional to legislate in any shape or way for the betterment of social and industrial conditions. The abolition of the protective tariff or the substitution for it of a tariff for revenue only, as proposed by the Democratic platform, would plunge this country into the most wide-spread industrial depression we have yet seen, and this depression would continue for an indefinite period. There is no hope from the standpoint of our people from action such as the Democrats propose. The one and only chance to secure stable and favorable business conditions in this country, while at the same time guaranteeing fair play to farmer, consumer, business man, and wage- worker, lies in the creation of such a commission as I herein advocate. Only by such a commission and only by such activities of the commission will it be possible for us to get a reasonably quick revision of the tariff schedule by schedule—revision which shall be downward and not upward, and at the same time secure a square deal not merely to the manufacturer, but to the wage-worker and to the general consumer. (Before Progressive National Convention, Chicago, August 6, 1912.) Mem. Ed. XIX, 396; Nat. Ed. XVII, 286.
Much the most serious argument advanced against a policy of high tariff is that it puts a premium upon the sacrifice of the general welfare to the selfish interests of particular individuals and particular businesses or localities, and the most forceful plea advanced for a policy of low tariff is that it does away with this scramble of greedy and conflicting interests. (Century, November 1895.) Mem. Ed. XVI, 338; Nat. Ed. XIV, 240.
____________. The question of what tariff is best for our people is primarily one of expediency, to be determined not on abstract academic grounds, but in the light of experience. It is a matter of business; for fundamentally ours is a business people— manufacturers, merchants, farmers, wage-workers, professional men, all alike. Our experience as a people in the past has certainly not shown us that we could afford in this matter to follow those professional counsellors who have confined themselves to study in the closet; for the actual working of the tariff has emphatically contradicted their theories. (Letter accepting Republican nomination for President, September 12, 1994.) Mem. Ed. XVIII, 518; Nat. Ed. XVI, 389.
We should meet the tariff question. The Republican party, and the country at large as well, is definitely committed to the policy of protection; and, unquestionably, any reversal of that policy at present would do harm and produce widespread-suffering. But for the Republican party to announce that the inequalities and anomalies in the present tariff must not be touched, and to announce that the high tariff is a fetich, something to which every other interest must yield, and to which every other issue must be subordinated, would be in my opinion a serious mistake. (Before Union League Club, New York City, January 11, 1888.) Mem. Ed. XVI, 130; Nat. Ed. XIV, 78.
____________. That whenever the need arises there should be a readjustment of the tariff schedules is undoubted; but such changes can with safety be made only by those whose devotion to the principle of a protective tariff is beyond question; for otherwise the changes would amount not to readjustment, but to repeal. The readjustment when made must maintain and not destroy the protective principle. To the farmer, the merchant, the manufacturer this is vital; but perhaps no other man is so much interested as the wage-worker in the maintenance of our present economic system both as regards the finances and the tariff. The standard of living of our wage-workers is higher than that of any other country, and it cannot so remain unless we have a protective tariff which shall always keep as a minimum a rate of duty sufficient to cover the difference between the labor cost here and abroad. (At Oyster Bay, N. Y., July 27, 1904, in response to notification of nomination.) Mem. Ed. XVIII, 492; Nat. Ed. XVI, 566- 367.
____________. From time to time schedules must undoubtedly be rearranged and readjusted to meet the shifting needs of the country; but this can with safety be done only by those who are committed to the cause of the protective system. To uproot and destroy that system would be to insure the prostration of business, the closing of factories, the impoverishment of the farmer, the ruin of the capitalist, and the starvation of the wage-worker. (Letter accepting Republican nomination for President, September 12, 1904.) Mem. Ed. XVIII, 519; Nat. Ed. XVI, 389.
I am by no means certain as yet what we can get the party as a whole to do—what position we can get it to take—and of course I do not want to take a position upon a matter of expediency (that is all the question of tariff revision is) until I can have some reasonable hope of bringing the party up to that position. It is possible that something, at least along the line of legislative reciprocity, may be done next winter. But I shall be scrupulously careful not to promise what I may not be able to perform. It is possible again that nothing can be done next winter, for of course the year before a Presidential election is a most unwise one in which to enter upon a general upsetting of the tariff, and in such case I am inclined to think that it may be well for us in our platform at the National Convention to state that in our judgment the time has come for going over the schedules and for, wherever necessary, revising them, and for reducing such as it may be found desirable to reduce; but that this revision must be made in accordance with the principles of the protective system, and by the friends of that system. Such a pledge we could keep, for we could set to work immediately after the election, if we were victorious, and with four years ahead of us we could do the work with very little chance of jarring business interests. (To H. C. Lodge, April 27, 1903.) Lodge Letters II, 7.
____________. Beveridge was out here and added very slightly to my troubles by announcing that in his judgment popular feeling was against “stand-patism” and in favor of an immediate revision of the tariff, and that as popular feeling was that way we ought at once to declare for it. I asked him to consider two facts: first, that we must under no circumstances promise what we do not intend to perform; and second, that as a corollary to the first, he ought seriously to consider whether there was any chance of revising the tariff before the Presidential election, whether he could get the Republicans to entertain the idea at all, and whether if they did entertain it, it would be possible to have a revision without inviting disaster to the Presidential election. He treated both these considerations as irrelevant. (To H. C. Lodge, September 27, 1906.) Lodge Letters II, 233.
____________. This country is definitely committed to the protective system and any effort to uproot it could not but cause widespread industrial disaster. In other words, the principle of the present tariff law could not with wisdom be changed. But in a country of such phenomenal growth as ours it is probably well that every dozen years or so the tariff laws should be carefully scrutinized so as to see that no excessive or improper benefits are conferred thereby, that proper revenue is provided, and that our foreign trade is encouraged. There must always be as a minimum a tariff which will not only allow for collection of an ample revenue but which will at least make good the difference in cost of production here and abroad; that is, the difference in the labor cost here and abroad, for the well-being of the wage-worker must ever be a cardinal point of American policy. The question should be approached purely from a business
I am not at all sure that it was possible under the old methods to get any other result. I am very much afraid that the trouble was fundamental; in other words, that it is not possible, as Congress is actually constituted, to expect the tariff to be well handled by representatives of localities. I am beginning to believe in the truth of what Root continually said while he was in the Cabinet; that it was useless to hope to do good work on the tariff if we adhered to the way which Cannon, Payne, Dalzell, and even as able a man as Aldrich, declared to be the only way, and that a complete change, into the details of which I need not go, ought to have been made in the methods of achieving the result. Now this may not be the right impression at all. I shall read through your memorandum most carefully; but with my present information I should be excessively uncomfortable going on the stump and trying to defend the tariff and in addition, as an offhand judgment, I am inclined to doubt whether any good whatever would come from such a course. (To H. C. Lodge, April 6, 1910.) Lodge Letters II, 365-366.
____________. There is a widespread belief among our people that, under the methods of making tariffs which have hitherto obtained, the special interests are too influential. Probably this is true of both the big special interests and the little special interests. These methods have put a premium on selfishness, and, naturally, the selfish big interests have gotten more than their smaller, though equally selfish, brothers. The duty of Congress is to provide a method by which the interest of the whole people shall be all that receives consideration. To this end there must be an expert tariff commission, wholly removed from the possibility of political pressure or of improper business influence. Such a commission can find the real difference between cost of production, which is mainly the difference of labor cost here and abroad. As fast as its recommendations are made, I believe in revising one schedule at a time. A general revision of the tariff almost inevitably leads to log-rolling and the subordination of the general public interest to local and special interests. (At Osawatomie, Kan., August 31, 1910.) Mem. Ed. XIX, 19; Nat. Ed. XVII, 13.
____________. It is not merely the tariff that should be revised, but the method of tariff-making and of tariff administration. Wherever nowadays an industry is to be protected it should be on the theory that such protection will serve to keep up the wages and the standard of living of the wage-worker in that industry with full regard for the interest of the consumer. To accomplish this the tariff to be levied should as nearly as is scientifically possible approximate the differential between the cost of production at home and abroad.
This differential is chiefly, if not wholly, in labor cost. No duty should be permitted to stand as regards any industry unless the workers receive their full share of the benefits of that duty. In other words, there is no warrant for protection unless a legitimate share of the benefits gets into the pay-envelope of the wage-worker. The practice of undertaking a general revision of all the schedules at one time and of securing information as to conditions in the different industries and as to rates of duty desired chiefly from those engaged in the industries, who themselves benefit directly from the rates they propose, has been demonstrated to be not only iniquitous but futile. It has afforded opportunity for practically all of the abuses which have crept into our tariff-making and our tariff administration. The day of the log-rolling tariff must end. The progressive thought of the country has recognized this fact for several years. (Before Progressive National Convention, Chicago, August 6, 1912.) Mem. Ed. XIX, 393; Nat. Ed. XVII, 284.
The country has acquiesced in the wisdom of the protective-tariff principle. It is exceedingly undesirable that this system should be destroyed or that there should violent and radical changes therein. Our past experience shows that great prosperity in this country has always come under a protective-tariff; and that the country cannot prosper under fitful tariff changes at short intervals. Moreover, if the tariff laws as a whole work well, and if business has prospered under them and is prospering, it is better to endure for a time slight inconveniences and inequalities in some schedules than to upset business by too quick and too radical changes. It is most earnestly to be wished that we could treat the tariff from the standpoint solely of our business needs. (Second Annual Message, Washington, December 2, 1902.) Mem. Ed. XVII, 167; Nat. Ed. XV, 144.
____________. What we really need in this country is to treat the tariff as a business proposition from the standpoint of the interests of the country as a whole, and not from the standpoint of the temporary needs of any political party. It surely ought not to be necessary to dwell upon the extreme unwisdom, from a business standpoint, from the standpoint of national prosperity, of violent and radical changes amounting to the direct upsetting of tariff policies at intervals of every few years. A nation like ours can adjust its business after a fashion to any kind of tariff. But neither our nation nor any other can stand the ruinous policy of readjusting its business to radical changes in the tariff at short intervals. This is more true now than ever it was before, for owing to the immense extent and variety of our products, the tariff schedules of to-day carry rates of duty on more than four thousand articles. Continual sweeping changes in such a tariff, touching so intimately the commercial interests of the nation which stands as one of the two or three greatest in the whole industrial world, can not but be disastrous. . . .
We need to devise some machinery by which, while persevering in the policy of a protective tariff, in which I think the nation as a whole has now generally acquiesced, we would be able to correct the irregularities and remove the incongruities produced by changing conditions, without destroying the whole structure. Such machinery would permit us to continue our definitely settled tariff policy, while providing for the changes in duties upon particular schedules which must inevitably and necessarily take place from time to time as matters of legislative and administrative detail.
This would secure the needed stability of economic policy which is a prime factor in our industrial success, while doing away with any tendency to fossilization. (At Logansport, Ind., September 23, 1902.) Presidential Addresses and State Papers I, 191-193.
See also Agriculture; Free Trade; Reciprocity.
The whole problem of taxation is now, as it has been at almost all times and in almost all places, one of extreme difficulty. It has become more and more evident in recent years that existing methods of taxation, which worked well enough in a simpler state of society, are not adequate to secure justice when applied to the conditions of our complex and highly specialized modern industrial development. At present the real-estate owner is certainly bearing an excessive proportion of the tax burden. Men who have made a special study of the theory of taxation and men who have had long experience in its practical application are alike in conflict among themselves as to the best general system. Absolute equality, absolute justice in matters of taxation will probably never be realized; but we can approximate it much more closely than at present. (Annual Message as Governor, Albany, January 3, 1900.) Mem. Ed. XVII, 39-40; Nat. Ed. XV, 35.
See also Corporations; Farm Land; Franchise Tax; Income Tax; Inheritance Tax; Liquor Tax; Tariff; Wealth.
There is no profession in this country quite as important as the profession of teacher, ranging from the college president right down to the lowest-paid teacher in any one of our smallest country public schools. There is no other profession so important. But not the best teacher can wholly supply the want of what ought to be done in the home by the father and the mother. (At Pacific Theological Seminary, Spring, 1911.) Mem. Ed. XV, 601; Nat. Ed. XIII, 637.
No body of public servants, no body of individuals associated in private life, are better worth the admiration and respect of all who value citizenship at its true worth than the body composed of the teachers in the public schools throughout the length and breadth of this Union. They have to deal with citizenship in the raw, and turn it out something like a finished product. I think that all of us who also endeavor to deal with that citizenship in the raw in our own homes appreciate the burden and the responsibility. The training given in the public schools must, of course, be not merely a training in intellect, but a training in what counts for infinitely more than intellect—a training in character. And the chief factor in that training must be the personal equation of the teacher; the influence exerted, sometimes consciously, sometimes unconsciously, by the man or woman who stands in so peculiar a relation to the boys and girls under his or her care—a relation closer, more intricate, and more vital in its after-effects than any other relation save that of parent and child. Wherever a burden of that kind is laid, those who carry it necessarily carry a great responsibility. There can be no greater. Scant should be our patience with any man or woman doing a bit of work vitally worth doing, who does not approach it in the spirit of sincere love for the work and of desire to do it well for the work's sake. (At Philadelphia, Pa., November 22, 1902.) Proceedings of the Dedication of the New Buildings of the Central High School. (Board of Public Education, 1910), pp. 62-63.
____________. I wish to say a word of special acknowledgment to the teachers. There is no body of men and women in the country to whom more is owing than to that body of men and women upon whose efforts so much of the cleanliness and efficiency of our government twenty years hence depends; because on their training largely depends the kind of citizenship of the next generation. There is no duty as important as the duty of taking care that the boys and girls are so trained as to make the highest type of men and women in the future. It is a duty that cannot be shirked by the home. The fathers and mothers must remember that it is the duty that comes before everything else after the getting of mere subsistence. The first duty after the duty of self-support is the training of the children as they should be trained. That comes upon the fathers and mothers. They cannot put it off entirely upon the teachers; but much depends upon the teachers also, and the fact that they have done and are doing their duty so well entitles them in a peculiar degree to the gratitude of all Americans who understand the prime needs of the republic. (Remarks to school children, San Bernardino, Cal., May 7, 1903.) Theodore Roosevelt, California Addresses. (San Francisco, 1903), p. 11.
It is not too much to say that the most characteristic work of the Republic is that done by the educators, for whatever our shortcomings as a Nation may be, we have at least firmly grasped the fact that we can not do our part in the difficult and all-important work of self-government, that we can not rule and govern ourselves, unless we approach the task with developed minds and trained characters. You teachers make the whole world your debtor. If you did not do your work well this Republic would not endure beyond the span of the generation. Moreover, as an incident to your avowed work, you render some well-nigh unbelievable services to the country. For instance, you render to the Republic the prime, the vital service of amalgamating into one homogeneous body the children alike of those who are born here and of those who come here from so many different lands abroad. You furnish a common training and common ideals for the children of all the mixed peoples who are here being fused into one nationality. It is in no small degree due to you and your efforts that we are one people instead of a group of jarring peoples. (Before National Educational Association, Ocean Grove, N. J., July 7, 1905.) Presidential Addresses and State Papers IV, 423.
____________. You men and women engaged in this great work are in the highest and truest sense the real servants of the Republic. You have a greater task to perform than any public man can perform. It rests with you to see that the boys are turned out manly, fearless, and yet tender; turned out so that they shall be ashamed to flinch from any man or to wrong any woman; ashamed to show weakness in the face of strength, or not to deal gently with weakness if shown in others; and to teach the girls equally that to them belong by right not only the virtues of tenderness and unselfishness, but the virtues of strength and courage; so that it shall be a disgrace to the man if he is only strong, but not gentle; and a disgrace to the girl if in addition to gentleness she does not have strength. . .
I hold no other class of people in our community in quite the regard that I hold the American teacher who is moulding the American nation of to-morrow. (Before Iowa State Teachers' Association, Des Moines, November 4, 1910.) Mem. Ed. XVIII, 455-456; Nat. Ed. XVI, 340-341.
Speaking generally, however, the women teachers—I mention these because they are more numerous than the men—who carry on their work in the poorer districts of the great cities form as high-principled and useful a body of citizens as is to be found in the entire community, and render an amount of service which can hardly be paralleled by that of any other equal number of men or women. (Century, October 1900.) Mem. Ed. XV, 430; Nat. Ed. XIII, 377.
See also Education; Public Schools; Religious Teachers; Schools.
See Education, Industrial; Tuskegee Institute.
I am not in the least surprised about the mental telepathy; there is much in it and in kindred things which are real and which at present we do not understand. The only trouble is that it usually gets mixed up with all kinds of fakes. (To Ethel Roosevelt, June 17, 1906.) Mem. Ed. XXI, 566; Nat. Ed. XIX, 508.
No one society can do more to help the wage worker than such a temperance society as that which I am now addressing. It is of incalculable consequence to the man himself that he should be sober and temperate, and it is of even more consequence to his wife and his children; for it is a hard and cruel fact that in this life of ours the sins of the man are often visited most heavily upon those whose welfare should be his one especial care. For the drunkard, for the man who loses his job because he can not control or will not control his desire for liquor and for vicious pleasure, we have a feeling of anger and contempt mixed with our pity; but for his unfortunate wife and little ones we feel only pity, and that of the deepest and tenderest kind. (At Wilkes- Barre, Pa., August 10, 1905.) Presidential Addresses and State Papers IV, 454-435.
See also Liqour; Prohibition.
Our country will never be safe until the time comes when it will be an insult to any man in public place to think it necessary to say that he is honest. I urge you to have the widest toleration in matters of opinion, but to have no toleration at all when it comes to matters of the Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule. Those are fundamental, essential principles, which must live in the heart of every American citizen, and by which every man asking place or political power must be tested. (At Mount Pleasant Military Academy, Sing Sing, N. Y., June 3, 1899.) Public Papers of Theodore Roosevelt, Governor, 1899. (Albany, 1899), p. 331.
____________. No man is a good citizen unless he so acts as to show that he actually uses the Ten Commandments, and translates the Golden Rule into his life conduct—and I don't mean by this in exceptional cases under spectacular circumstances, but I mean applying the Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule in the ordinary affairs of every-day life. (To James E. West, July 20, 1911.) Boy Scouts of America. The Official Handbook for Boys. (New York, 1914), p. 390.
See Housing; Labor Conditions; Riis, Jacob A.
It was a matter of general knowledge and belief that they [various financial institutions] or the individuals prominent in them, held the securities of the Tennessee Coal and Iron Company, which securities had no market value, and were useless as a source of strength in the emergency. The Steel Corporation securities, on the contrary, were immediately marketable, their great value being known and admitted all over the world—as the event showed. The proposal of Messrs. Frick and Gary was that the Steel Corporation should at once acquire the Tennessee Coal and Iron Company, and thereby substitute, among the assets of the threatened institutions (which by the way, they did not name to me), securities of great and immediate value for securities which at the moment were of no value. It was necessary for me to decide on the instant, before the Stock Exchange opened, for the situation in New York was such that any hour might make all subsequent efforts to act utterly useless. From the best information at my disposal, I believed (what was actually the fact) that the addition of the Tennessee Coal and Iron property would only increase the proportion of the Steel Company's holdings by about four per cent., making them about sixty-two per cent. instead of about fifty- eight per cent. of the total value in the country; an addition which, by itself, in my judgment (concurred in, not only by the attorney-general but by every competent lawyer), worked no change in the legal status of the Steel Corporation. . . .
The action was emphatically for the general good. It offered the only chance for arresting the panic, and it did arrest the panic. I answered Messrs. Frick and Gary . . . to the effect that I did not deem it my duty to interfere, that is, to forbid the action which more than anything else in actual fact saved the situation. The result justified my judgment. The panic was stopped, public confidence in the solvency of the threatened institution being at once restored. (1913.) Mem. Ed. XXII, 502; Nat. Ed. XX, 432.
See also Panic Of 1907.
See Office. Texans. See Cowboys
The conquest of Texas should properly be classed with conquests like those of the Norse sea-rovers. The virtues and faults alike of the Texans were those of a barbaric age. They were restless, brave, and eager for adventure, excitement, and plunder; they were warlike, resolute, and enterprising; they had all the marks of a young and hardy race, flushed with the pride of strength and self-confidence. On the other hand they showed again and again the barbaric vices of boastfulness, ignorance, and cruelty; and they were utterly careless of the rights of others, looking upon the possessions of all weaker races as simply their natural prey. A band of settlers entering Texas was troubled by no greater scruples of conscience than, a thousand years before, a shipload of Knut's followers might have felt at landing in England; and when they were engaged in warfare with the Mexicans they could count with certainty upon assistance from their kinsfolk who had been left behind, and for the same reasons that had enabled Rolf’s Norsemen on the seacoast of France to rely confidently on Scandinavian help in their quarrels with their Karling overlords. (1887.) Mem. Ed. VIII, 132-133; Nat. Ed. VII, 115.
When nearly three centuries ago the first settlers came to the country which has now become this great Republic, they fronted not only hardships and privation, but terrible risk to their lives. In those grim years the custom grew of setting apart one day in each year for a special service of thanksgiving to the Almighty for preserving the people through the changing seasons. The custom has now become national and hallowed by immemorial usage. We live in easier and more plentiful times than our forefathers, the men who with rugged strength faced the rugged days; and yet the dangers to national life are quite as great now as at any previous time in our history. It is eminently fitting that once a year our people should set apart a day for praise and thanksgiving to the Giver of Good, and, at the same time that they express their thankfulness for the abundant mercies received, should manfully acknowledge their shortcomings an pledge themselves solemnly and in good faith to strive to overcome them. During the past year we have been blessed with bountiful crops. Our business prosperity has been great. No other people has ever stood on as high a level of material well-being as ours now stands. We are not threatened by foes from without. The foes from whom we should pray to be delivered are our own passions, appetites, and follies; and against these there is always need that we should war. (Proclamation, November 2, 1905.) Presidential Addresses and State Papers VI, 1477-1478.
See Animals—Protective Coloration of.
See Abbey Theatre.
See Reason; Religion.
See Cromwell, O.; Federalist, The; Practicality.
Thrift and industry are indispensable virtues;
See also Wealth.
See Liberty Loans.
See Northern Securities
In a republic, to be successful we must learn to combine intensity of conviction with a broad tolerance of difference of conviction. Wide differences of opinion in matters of religious, political and social belief must exist if conscience and intellect alike are not to be stunted, if there is to be room for healthy growth. Bitter internecine hatreds, based on such differences, are signs, not of earnestness of belief, but of that fanaticism which, whether religious or antireligious, democratic or antidemocratic, is itself but a manifestation gloomy bigotry which has been the chief factor in the downfall of so many, many nations. (At the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910.) Mem. Ed. XV, 371; Nat. Ed. XIII, 524.
See also Fervor; Freedom; Liberty; Public Schools; Religious Freedom; Religious
To minimize the chance of anything but wilful misunderstanding, let me repeat that Tolstoy is a great writer, a great novelist; that the unconscious influence of his novels is probably, on the whole, good, even disregarding their standing as works of art; that even as a professional moralist and philosophical adviser of mankind in religious matters he has some excellent theories and on some points develops a noble and elevating teaching; but that taken as a whole, and if generally diffused, his moral and philosophical teachings, so far as they had any influence at all, would have an influence for bad; partly because on certain points they teach downright immorality, but much more because they tend to be both foolish and fantastic, and if logically applied would mean the extinction of humanity in a generation. (Outlook, May 15, 1909.) Mem. Ed. XIV, 417; Nat. Ed. XII, 324.
Boats so delicate, which to be handled effectively must be handled with great daring, necessarily run great risks, and their commanders must, of course, realize that a prerequisite to successfully handling them is the willingness to run such risks. That they will observe proper precautions is, of course, required, but it is more important that our officers should handle these boats with dash and daring than that the boats should be kept unscratched. There must be developed in the men who handle them that mixture of skill and daring which can only be attained if the boats are habitually used under circumstances which imply the risk of an accident. (Report to Secretary of the Navy, May 1897.) Mem. Ed. XXIII, 85; Bishop I, 73.
See Labor Unions.
Let us profit by our own experience of the last year. Our training-camps have been universities of applied Americanism. For every young man between the ages of eighteen and twenty to have six months in such a camp, which would include, of course, some field service, would be of incalculable benefit to him, and of like benefit to the nation. It would teach him self-reliance, self-respect, mutuality of respect between himself and others, the power to command and the power to obey; it would teach him habits of cleanliness and order and the power of cooperation, and above all, devotion to the flag, the ideal of country. It would make him a soldier immediately fit for defensive work, and readily to be turned into a soldier fit for offensive work if, as in the present war, offense prove the only method of real defense. Every such man, after his experience in the camp, would tend to be a better citizen and would tend to do his own work for himself and his family better and with more efficient result. His experience would help him in material matters and at the same time would teach him to put certain great spiritual ideals in the foremost place. (Metropolitan, November 1918.) Mem. Ed. XXI, 278; Nat. Ed. XIX, 256.
____________. Now, either these camps are justified or they are not. If we are utterly unprepared, then they are justified and required. Otherwise they are not, for of course they are only makeshifts, adopted because of the lack of proper governmental action. This improper failure of the government to act may be due either to the Administration leading the people wrong or to the people not permitting the Administration to lead it right. In my speech I was most careful to put the responsibility on the people, on the nation. As a matter of fact, I do not think that that is where it primarily belongs. I think it primarily rests on the shoulders of Mr. Wilson; but I agreed with the view you expressed, that the camp was not the place to say so.
However, if there is to be any speechmaking at all at the camp, then that speechmaking should be truthful and to the point. To support the great immediate need of national preparedness is of course by implication to condemn the Administration to whose supine action we owe our present utter unpreparedness. To condemn the folly and worse of those who favor this policy of supine action is of course to condemn the Administration. You say you approve of both. Then you approve of all that I have done. If it is not proper to say these things which should be said to all patriotic Americans, to such a camp, then in my judgment it is wholly improper to hold these camps at all, and the sooner they are abandoned the better. (To Henry S. Drinker, September 1, 1915.) Mem. Ed. XXIV, 465; Bishop II, 396.
See also Military Training.
See Inland Waterways; Railroads.
Moral treason is not necessarily legal treason, but it may be as dangerous, and from senators to school teachers, all public servants who deal in it should promptly be removed from office. (March 2, 1918.) Roosevelt in the Kansas City Star, 110.
See also War.
Treaties must never be recklessly made; improper treaties should be repudiated long before the need for action under them arises; and all treaties not thus repudiated in advance should be scrupulously kept. (1915.) Mem. Ed. XX, xxiii; Nat. Ed. XVIII, xxii.
____________. No treaties, whether between civilized nations or not, can ever be regarded as binding in perpetuity; with changing conditions, circumstances may arise which render it not only expedient, but imperative and honorable, to abrogate them. (1894.) Mem. Ed. XI, 274; Nat. Ed. IX, 56.
____________. It is infinitely better to have a treaty under which the power to exercise a necessary right is explicitly retained rather than a treaty so drawn that recourse must be had to the extreme step of abrogating if it ever becomes necessary to exercise the right in question. (1913.) Mem. Ed. XXII, 432; Nat. Ed. XX, 371.
____________. One good purpose which would be served by the kind of international action I advocate is that of authoritatively deciding when treaties terminate or lapse. At present every treaty ought to contain provision for its abrogation; and at present the wrong done in disregarding a treaty may be one primarily of time and manner. Unquestionably it may become an imperative duty to abrogate a treaty. The Supreme Court of the United States set forth this right and duty in convincing manner when discussing our treaty with France during the administration of John Adams, and again a century later when discussing the Chinese treaty. The difficulty at present is that each case must be treated on its own merits; for in some cases it may be right and necessary for a nation to abrogate or denounce (not to violate) a treaty; and yet in other cases such abrogation may represent wrong-doing which should be suppressed by the armed strength of civilization. At present in cases where only two nations are concerned there is no substitute for such abrogation or violation of the treaty by one of them; for each of the two has to be judge in its own case. But the tribunal of a world league would offer the proper place to which to apply for the abrogation of treaties; and, with international force back of such a tribunal, the infraction of a treaty could be punished in whatever way the necessities of the case demanded. (New York Times, October 18, 1914.) Mem. Ed. XX, 65; Nat. Ed. XVIII, 56.
The Senate has, of course, the absolute right to reject or to amend in any way it sees fit any treaty laid before it, and it is clearly the duty of the Senate to take any step which, in the exercise of its best judgment, it deems to be for the interest of the nation. If, however, in the judgment of the President, a given amendment nullifies a proposed treaty, it seems to me that it is no less clearly his duty to refrain from endeavoring to secure a ratification, by the other contracting power or powers, of the amended treaty. (To Senator Shelby Cullom, February 10, 1905.) Mem. Ed. XXIII, 500; Bishop I, 436.
____________. I am exceedingly anxious to establish relations which will prevent the need of the incessant amendment of treaties. In my judgment incessant exercise of the right of amendment is as unwise as the excessive use of the veto power would be. It is eminently desirable that the State Department shall be in such close touch with the leaders and the Senate committee on foreign affairs that they shall be able to agree in substance in advance upon what shall be done in treaties, and we shall be spared—and that without regard to which side is at fault—the irritation and indeed the humiliation of starting to negotiate treaties, of committing ourselves to them in the eyes of foreign people, and then of failing to put them through; and what is even more important, prevent treaties which are important from the standpoint of national policy from getting into such shape that the one country or the other refuses to ratify them. I do not want to start anything the Senate won't approve. (To H. C. Lodge, July 18, 1905.) Lodge Letters II, 168-169.
In making treaties . . . there must be give and take; and yet too often a treaty will fail simply because our people permit a small section of their number to insist that it shall be all take and no give. (Outlook, April 1, 1911.) Mem. Ed. XIX, 152; Nat. Ed. XVII, 108.
As a people there is no lesson we more need to learn than the lesson not in an outburst of emotionalism to make a treaty that ought not to be, and could not be, kept; and the further lesson that, when we do make a treaty, we must soberly live up to it as long as changed conditions do not warrant the serious step of denouncing it. (Before Progressive National Convention, Chicago, August 6, 1912.) Mem. Ed. XIX, 408; Nat. Ed. XVII, 296.
____________. We must seriously and in good faith, and once for all, abandon the wicked and foolish habit of treating words as all-sufficient by themselves, and as wholly irrelevant to deeds; and as an incident thereto we must from now on refuse to make treaties which cannot be, and which will not be, lived up to in time of strain. (Metropolitan, August 1915.) Mem. Ed. XX, 349; Nat. Ed. XVIII, 299.
____________. Let no man propose a treaty unless he has reduced it to concrete terms; has proposed it in these concrete terms to his fellows, and has determined whether, when thus made concrete, it ought to be and will be observed. (Metropolitan, August 1915.) Mem. Ed. XX, 352; Nat. Ed. XVIII, 302.
____________. The point I wish to make is, first, the extreme unwisdom and impropriety of making promises that cannot be kept, and second, the utter futility of expecting that in any save exceptional cases a strong power will keep a promise which it finds to its disadvantage, unless there is some way of putting force back of the demand that the treaty be observed. America has no claim whatever to superior virtue in this matter. We have shown an appalling recklessness in making treaties, especially all-inclusive arbitration treaties and the like, which in time of stress would not and could not be observed. When such a treaty is not observed the blame really rests upon the unwise persons who made the treaty. Unfortunately, however, this apportionment of blame cannot be made by outsiders. All they can say is that the country concerned—and I speak of the United States—does not keep faith. The responsibility for breaking an improper promise really rests with those who make it; but the penalty is paid by the whole country. (New York Times, October 4, 1914.) Mem. Ed. XX, 38; Nat. Ed. XVIII, 33.
It is imperative that we shall take the steps necessary in order, by our own strength and wisdom, to safeguard ourselves against such disaster as has occurred in Europe. Events have shown that peace treaties, arbitration treaties, neutrality treaties, Hague treaties, and the like as at present existing, offer not even the smallest protection against such disasters. The prime duty of the moment is therefore to keep Uncle Sam in such a position that by his own stout heart and ready hand he can defend the vital honor and vital interest of the American people. (New York Times, September 27, 1914.) Mem. Ed. XX, 4; Nat. Ed. XVIII, 4.
____________. The most obvious lesson taught by what has occurred is the utter worthlessness of treaties unless backed by force. It is evident that as things are now, all-inclusive arbitration treaties, neutrality treaties, treaties of alliance, and the like do not serve one particle of good in protecting a peaceful nation when some great military power deems its vital needs at stake, unless the rights of this peaceful nation are backed by force. The devastation of Belgium, the burning of Louvain, the holding of Brussels to heavy ransom, the killing of women and children, the wrecking of houses in Antwerp by bombs from airships have excited genuine sympathy among neutral nations. But no neutral nation has protested; and while unquestionably a neutral nation like the United States ought to have protested, yet the only certain way to make such a protest effective would be to put force back of it. Let our people remember that what has been done to Belgium would unquestionably be done to us by any great military power with which we were drawn into war, no matter how just our cause. Moreover, it would be done without any more protest on the part of neutral nations than we have ourselves made in the case of Belgium. (New York Times, September 27, 1914.) Mem. Ed. XX, 10; Nat. Ed. XVIII, 9.
____________. [A prime lesson of this war] is the utter inadequacy in times of great crises of existing peace and neutrality treaties, and of all treaties conceived in the spirit of the all-inclusive arbitration treaties recently adopted at Washington; and, in fact, of all treaties which do not put potential force behind the treaty, which do not create some kind of international police power to stand behind international sense of right as expressed in some competent tribunal. (New York Times, October 11, 1914.) Mem. Ed. XX, 51; Nat. Ed. XVIII, 43.
____________. Events have clearly demonstrated that in any serious crisis treaties unbacked by force are not worth the paper upon which they are written. Events have clearly shown that it is the idlest of folly to assert, and little short of treason against the nation for statesmen who should know better to pretend, that the salvation of any nation under existing world conditions can be trusted to treaties, to little bits of paper with names signed on them but without any efficient force behind them. . . . In every great crisis treaties have shown themselves not worth the paper they are written on, and the multitude of peace congresses that have been held have failed to secure even the slightest tangible result, as regards any contest in which the passions of great nations were fully aroused and their vital interests really concerned. In other words, each nation at present in any crisis of fundamental importance has to rely purely on its own power, its own strength, its own individual force. (New York Times, October 18, 1914.) Mem. Ed. XX, 60, 62; Nat. Ed. XVIII, 51, 53.
____________. We must recognize clearly the old common-law doctrine that a right without a remedy is void. We must firmly grasp the fact that measures should be taken to put force back of good faith in the observance of treaties. The worth of treaties depends purely upon the good faith with which they are executed; and it is mischievous folly to enter into treaties without providing for their execution and wicked folly to enter into them if they ought not be executed. (New York Times, November 8, 1914.) Mem. Ed. XX, 84; Nat. Ed. XVIII, 73.
See also Arbitration Treaties; Hague
A grove of giant redwoods or sequoias should be kept just as we keep a great and beautiful cathedral. (1916.) Mem. Ed. IV, 227; Nat. Ed. III, 377.
____________. This is the first glimpse I have ever had of the big trees, and I wish to pay the highest tribute I can to the State of California, to those private citizens and associations of citizens who have co-operated with the State in preserving these wonderful trees for the whole nation, in preserving them in whatever part of the State they may be found. All of us ought to want to see nature preserved. Take a big tree whose architect has been the ages—anything that man does toward it may hurt it and can not help it. (At Big Tree Grove, Santa Cruz, Cal., May 11, 1903.) Presidential Addresses and State Papers I, 375.
See also Arbor Day; Forest Conservation.
In the heat and moisture of the tropics the struggle for life among the forest trees and plants is far more intense than in the North. The trees stand close together, tall and straight, and most of them without branches, until a great height has been reached; for they are striving toward the sun, and to reach it they must devote all their energies to producing a stem which will thrust its crown of leaves out of the gloom below into the riotous sunlight which bathes the billowy green upper plane of the forest. A huge buttressed giant keeps all the neighboring trees dwarfed, until it falls and yields its place in the sunlight to the most instantly vigorous of the trees it formerly suppressed. Near the streams the forests are almost impassable, so thick is the tangle below; but away from the streams the walking is easier, because only a few bushes and small trees grow in the perpetual shade. To the newcomer one unending wonder is the mass of vines, the lianas or bush-ropes; everywhere they hang from the summits of the trees, or twist round the trunks, or lace them together. A few kill the trees; most seem to do them no damage. Some are huge, twisted, knotted cables, dragging down the branches around which they are wrapped, and themselves serving as supports for lesser vines that twine around them. Others stretch up, up, as straight and slender as the shrouds of a ship, until they are lost overhead in the green ceiling of interlocked leaf and branch. Of most of the trees I did not know the names; but among the tallest were the mora, with huge flying buttresses, and the greenheart, with its white trunk. It was unending pleasure to walk through the towering forest. In the shade it was always cool even at midday. There was no wind. All sounds seemed faint and far away. Under the solemn archways of the trees it was dim and mysterious, like some great cathedral at dusk. (1917.) Mem. Ed. IV, 265; Nat. Ed. III, 409.
I have now read through your last volume. It is a little difficult to say just what I feel about your history without subjecting you to the discomfort always felt by a fastidious man when he suspects he is overpraised. Yet I cannot refrain from expressing my sincere opinion that you have not only written the final history of our Revolution, but that you have done what is given to so very, very few men to do—that you have written one of the few histories which can deservedly be called great. I do not want to be misled by national feeling; and yet I cannot help believing that the American Revolution was one of the great historic events which will always stand forth in the story of mankind; and now we have been fortunate enough to see that rare combination of a great historic event treated by a great writer, a great student, a great historian. (To Sir George Otto Trevelyan, November 11, 1907.) Mem. Ed. XXIV, 191; Bishop II, 163.
See Action; Experiment.
The legislation [in regard to trusts] was moderate. It was characterized throughout by the idea that we were not attacking corporations, but endeavoring to provide for doing away with any evil in them; that we drew the line against misconduct, not against wealth; gladly recognizing the great good done by the capitalist who alone, or in conjunction with his fellows, does his work along proper and legitimate lines. (Third Annual Message, Washington, December 7, 1903.) Mem. Ed. XVII, 198; Nat. Ed. XV, 171.
____________. When new evils appear there is always at first difficulty in finding the proper remedy; and as the evils grow more complex, the remedies become increasingly difficult of application. There is no use whatever in seeking to apply a remedy blindly; yet this is just what has been done in reference to trusts. Much of the legislation not only proposed but enacted against trusts is not one whit more intelligent than the mediaeval bull against the comet, and has not been one particle more effective. Yet there can and must be courageous and effective remedial legislation. (Annual Message as Governor, Albany, January 3, 1900.) Mem. Ed. XVII, 51; Nat. Ed. XV, 45.
I have been in a great quandary over trusts. I do not know what attitude to take. I do not intend to play a demagogue. On the other hand, I do intend, so far as in me lies, to see that the rich man is held to the same accountability as the poor man, and when the rich man is rich enough to buy unscrupulous advice from very able lawyers; this is not always easy. (To Charles F. Scott, August 15, 1899.) Mem. Ed. XXIII, 148; Bishop I, 127.
____________. Beyond a question the great industrial combinations which we group in popular parlance under the name of trusts have produced great and serious evils. There is every reason why we should try to abate these evils and to make men of wealth, whether they act individually or collectively, bear their full share of the country’s burdens and keep as scrupulously within the bounds of equity and morality as any of their neighbors. But wild and frantic denunciation does not do them the least harm and simply postpones the day when we can make them amenable to proper laws. Hasty legislation of a violent type is either wholly ineffective against the evil, or else crushes the evil at the expense of crushing even more of good. We need to approach the subject both with a firm resolution to abate the evils and in a spirit of hard common sense as we search for the means of abating them. One of the first things to obtain is publicity. We must be able by law to find out exactly what each corporation does and earns. This mere publicity itself will effect something toward remedying many evils. Moreover, it will give us a clearer idea as to what the remaining evils are, and will therefore enable us to shape our measures for attacking the latter with good prospects of success. Immoderate attack always invites reaction and often defeat. Moderation combined with resolution can alone secure results worth having. (At Grand Rapids, Mich., September 7, 1900.) Mem. Ed. XVI, 532-533; Nat. Ed. XIV, 348-349.
The question of the so-called trusts is but one of the questions we must meet in connection with our industrial system. There are many of them and they are serious; but they can and will be met. Time may be needed for making the solution perfect; but it is idle to tell this people that we have not the power to solve such a problem as that of exercising adequate supervision over the great industrial combinations of to-day. We have the power and we shall find out the way. We shall not act hastily or recklessly; but we have firmly made up our minds that a solution, and a right solution, shall be found, and found it will be. (At Union League, Philadelphia, November 22, 1902.) Mem. Ed. XVIII, 486; Nat. Ed. XVI, 362.
Where a trust becomes a monopoly the State has an immediate right to interfere. Care should be taken not to stifle enterprise or disclose any facts of a business that are essentially private; but the State for the protection of the public should exercise the right to inspect, to examine thoroughly all the workings of great corporations just as is now done with banks; and wherever the interests of the public demand it, it should publish the results of its examination. Then, if there are inordinate profits, competition or public sentiment will give the public the benefit in lowered prices; and if not, the power of taxation remains. It is therefore evident that publicity is the one sure and adequate remedy which we can now invoke. There may be other remedies, but what these others are we can only find out by publicity, as the result of investigation. The first requisite is knowledge, full and complete. (Annual Message as Governor, Albany, January 3, 1900.) Mem. Ed. XVII, 54; Nat. Ed. XV, 47.
More and more it seems to me that there will be a good deal of importance to the trust matter in the next campaign and I want to consult with men whom I trust as to what line of policy should be pursued. During the last few months I have been growing exceedingly alarmed at the growth of popular unrest and popular distrust on this question. It is largely aimless and baseless, but there is a very unpleasant side to this overrun trust development and what I fear is if we do not have some consistent policy to advocate then the multitudes will follow the crank who advocates an absurd policy, but who does advocate something. (To Kohlsaat, August 7, 1899.) H. H. Kohlsaat, From McKinley to Harding. (Charles Scribner's Sons, N. Y., 1923), p. 82.
____________. There is a wide-spread conviction in the minds of the American people that the great corporations known as trusts are in certain of their features and tendencies hurtful to the general welfare. This springs from no spirit of envy or uncharitableness, nor lack of pride in the great industrial achievements that have placed this country at the head of the nations struggling for commercial supremacy. It does not rest upon a lack of intelligent appreciation of the necessity of meeting changing and changed conditions of trade with new methods, nor upon ignorance of the fact that combination of capital in the effort to accomplish great things is necessary when the world's progress demands that great things be done. It is based upon sincere conviction that combination and concentration should be, not prohibited, but supervised and within reasonable limits controlled; and in my judgment this conviction is right. (First Annual Message, Washington, December 3, 1901.) Mem. Ed. XVII, 104; Nat. Ed. XV, 90.
The large corporations, commonly called trusts, though organized in one State, always do business in many States, often doing very little business in the State where they are incorporated. There is utter lack of uniformity in the State laws about them; and as no State has any exclusive interest in or power over their acts, it has in practice proved impossible to get adequate regulation through State action. Therefore, in the interest of the whole people, the nation should, without interfering with the power of the States in the matter itself, also assume power of supervision and regulation over all corporations doing an inter-state business. This is especially true where the corporation derives a portion of its wealth from the existence of some monopolistic element or tendency in its business. There would be no hardship in such supervision; banks are subject to it, and in their case it is now accepted as a simple matter of course. (First Annual Message, Washington, December 3, 1901.) Mem. Ed. XVII, 105-106; Nat. Ed. XV, 92.
____________. The great corporations which we have grown to speak of rather loosely as trusts are the creatures of the State, and the State not only has the right to control them, but it is in duty bound to control them wherever the need of such control is shown. There is clearly need of supervision—need to possess the power of regulation of these great corporations through the representatives of the public—wherever, as in our own country at the present time, business corporations become so very powerful alike for beneficent work and for work that is not always beneficent. It is idle to say that there is no need for such supervision. There is, and a sufficient warrant for it is to be found in any one of the admitted evils appertaining to them. (At Providence, R. I., August 23, 1902.) Mem. Ed. XVIII, 77-78; Nat. Ed. XVI, 64-65.
____________. So far as the great trusts are concerned, only the National Government can deal with them, for their economic power is achieved only by reason of their participation in inter-state commerce, and so only the Federal Government can effectively control them. (Outlook , March 25, 1911.) Mem. Ed. XIX, 144; Nat. Ed. XVII, 102.
____________. The worst of the big trusts have always endeavored to keep alive the feeling in favor of having the States themselves, and not the nation, attempt to do this work, because they know that in the long run such effort would be ineffective. There is no surer way to prevent all successful effort to deal with the trusts than to insist that they be dealt with by the States rather than by the nation, or to create a conflict between the States and the nation on the subject. The well-meaning ignorant man who advances such a proposition does as much damage as if he were hired by the trusts themselves, for he is playing the game of every big crooked corporation in the country. The only effective way in which to regulate the trusts is through the exercise of the collective power of our people as a whole through the governmental agencies established by the Constitution for this very purpose. Grave injustice is done by the Congress when it fails to give the National Government complete power in this matter; and still graver injustice by the Federal courts when they endeavor in any way to pare down the right of the people collectively to act in this matter as they deem wise; such conduct does itself tend to cause the creation of a twilight zone in which neither the nation nor the States have power. Fortunately, the Federal courts have more and more of recent years tended to adopt the true doctrine, which is that all these matters are to be settled by the people themselves, and that the conscience of the people, and not the preferences of any servants of the people, is to be the standard in deciding what action shall be taken by the people. (Before Progressive National Convention, Chicago, August 6, 1912.) Mem. Ed. XIX, 385; Nat. Ed. XVII, 277.
Not only should any huge corporation which has gained its position by unfair methods, and by interference with the rights of others, by demoralizing and corrupt practices, in short, by sheer baseness and wrong doing, be broken up, but it should be made the business of some administrative governmental body, by constant supervision, to see that it does not come together again, save under such strict control as shall insure the community against all repetition of the bad conduct—and it should never be permitted thus to assemble its parts as long as these parts are under the control of the original offenders, for actual experience has shown that these men are, from the standpoint of the people at large, unfit to be trusted with the power implied in the management of a large corporation. But nothing of importance is gained by breaking up a huge inter-State and international industrial organization which has not offended otherwise than by its size, into a number of small concerns without any attempt to regulate the way in which those concerns as a whole shall do business. Outlook , November 18, 1911, p. 654.
In dealing with business, the Progressive party is the only party which has put forth a rational and comprehensive plan. We believe that the business world must change from a competitive to a co-operative basis. We absolutely repudiate the theory that any good whatever can come from confining ourselves solely to the effort to reproduce the dead-and- gone conditions of sixty years ago—conditions of uncontrolled competition between competitors most of whom were small and weak. The reason that the trusts have grown to such enormous size is to be found primarily in the fact that we relied upon the competitive principle and the absence of governmental interference to solve the problems of industry. Their growth is specifically and precisely due to the practice of the archaic doctrines advocated by President Wilson under the pleasingly delusive title of the "New Freedom." We hold that all such efforts to reproduce dead- and-gone conditions are bound to result in failure or worse than failure. The breaking-up of the Standard Oil Trust, for example, has not produced the very smallest benefit. It has merely resulted in enormously increasing the already excessive profits of a small number of persons. (Century, October 1913.) Mem. Ed. XIX, 546- 547; Nat. Ed. XVII, 402-403.
People have said that the tariff causes trusts. It does nothing of the sort. The Sugar Trust, for example, has not been harmed in the smallest degree by the removal of the tariff on sugar, although multitudes of small producers have been ruined. The Standard Oil Corporation was wholly unaffected by the tariff (and breaking it into small corporations under the Sherman law merely resulted in the oil costing more to the consumer, in the men on the inside making enormous fortunes, and in the reduction of the efficiency of the concern in international business). The unscientific lowering of the tariff has not harmed the trusts in the smallest degree save as an incident of harming the entire business world. People have said that governmental corruption has favored trusts, that they have been built up by rebates and the like. Unquestionably some trusts have been favored improperly by certain governmental bodies; and others have been built up by improper practices. But, speaking of the business world as a whole, these are not the prime causes and are hardly even considerable factors in the growth of big corporations. They are responsible for some of the evil that has accompanied the growth; and to suppress them there must be efficient governmental control. But the simple fact is that modern big corporations are due primarily to three causes; namely, steam transportation, the electric telegraph, and the telephone. No change in the tariff will stop the up-growth of big corporations. No moral reform in the world of business or the world of politics will stop it. But big corporations could be ended to- morrow by the abandonment of the railway, the telegraph, and the telephone. The trouble is that the price would be somewhat heavy! (1917.) Mem. Ed. XXI, 83; Nat. Ed. XIX, 71-72.
I believe that monopolies, unjust discriminations, which prevent or cripple competition, fraudulent over-capitalization, and other evils in trust organizations and practices which injuriously affect interstate trade can be prevented under the power of the Congress to "regulate commerce with foreign nations and among the several States" through regulations and requirements operating directly upon such commerce, the instrumentalities thereof, and those engaged therein. (Second Annual Message, Washington, December 2, 1902.) Mem. Ed. XVII, 165; Nat. Ed. XV, 143.
During the past quarter of a century probably more mischief has been done, and is now being done, by our treatment of the trusts than by any other one phase of our governmental activity. (Outlook , November 18, 1914.) Mem. Ed. XIV, 219; Nat. Ed. XII, 236.
____________. I am not going to try to define with technical accuracy what ought to be meant when we speak of a trust. But if by trust we mean merely a big corporation, then I ask you to ponder the utter folly of the man who either in a spirit of rancor or in a spirit of folly says “destroy the trusts,” without giving you an idea of what he means really to do. I will go with him if he says destroy the evil in the trusts, gladly. I will try to find out that evil, I will seek to apply remedies; . . . but if his policy, from whatever motive, whether hatred, fear, panic or just sheer ignorance, is to destroy the trusts in a way that will destroy all our property—no. Those men who advocate wild and foolish remedies which would be worse than the disease are doing all in their power to perpetuate the evils against which they nominally war, because, if we are brought face to face with the naked issue of either keeping or totally destroying a prosperity in which the majority share, but in which some share improperly, why, as sensible men, we must decide that it is a great deal better that some people should prosper too much than that no one should prosper enough. So that the man who advocates destroying the trusts by measures which would paralyze the industries of the country is at least a quack, and at worst an enemy to the Republic. (At Fitchburg, Mass., September 2, 1902.) Presidential Addresses and State Papers I, 139.
____________. In my judgment, the way for a democracy to deal with special interests . . . is plain. The Sugar Trust should be deprived of every particle of the tariff protection which it has abused. The same is, of course, true of the Standard Oil Company. . . . Furthermore, as regards these two great trusts, the Sugar Trust and the Standard Oil Trust, the Bureau of Corporations in the Department of the Interior should be given precisely such control as the Railway Commission now exercises over railways, precisely such control as is exercised by the German Government at this moment over potash—a control which shall be efficient and thoroughgoing in every department of the business. (Outlook , March 25, 1911.) Mem. Ed. XIX, 143; Nat. Ed. XVII, 102.
It is . . .asserted that the trusts are responsible for the high cost of living. I have no question that, as regards certain trusts, this is true. . . . There will be no diminution in the cost of trust-made articles so long as our government attempts the impossible task of restoring the flintlock conditions of business sixty years ago by trusting only to a succession of lawsuits under the antitrust law—a method which it has been definitely shown usually results to the benefit of any big business concern which really ought to be dissolved, but which causes disturbance and distress to multitudes of smaller concerns. Trusts which increase production—unless they do it wastefully, as in certain forms of mining and lumbering—cannot permanently increase the cost of living; it is the trusts which limit production, or which, without limiting production, take advantage of the lack of government control, and eliminate competition by combining to control the market, that cause an increase in the cost of living. There should be established at once, as I have elsewhere said, under the National Government an interstate industrial commission, which should exercise full supervision over the big industrial concerns doing an interstate business into which an element of monopoly enters. Where these concerns deal with the necessaries of life the commission should not shrink, if the necessity is proved, of going to the extent of exercising regulatory control over the conditions that create or determine monopoly prices. (Before Progressive National Convention, Chicago, August 6, 1912.) Mem. Ed. XIX, 401; Nat. Ed. XVII, 290.
See also Business; Combinations; Corporations; Government Control; Industrial
A half-truth is always simple, whereas the whole truth is very, very difficult. Unfortunately, a half- truth, if applied, may turn out to be the most dangerous type of falsehood. (New York Times, September 27, 1914.) Mem. Ed. XX, 4; Nat. Ed. XVIII, 4.
____________. If . . . [a man] does not tell the truth then nothing can be done with him in any way or shape. You can pardon most anything in a man who will tell the truth, because you know where that man is; you know what he means. If any one lies, if he has the habit of untruthfulness, you cannot deal with him, because there is nothing to depend on. You cannot tell what can be done with him or by his aid. Truth telling is a virtue upon which we should not only insist in the schools and at home, but in business and in politics just as much. (At Ventura, Cal., May 9, 1903.) Theodore Roosevelt, California Addresses. (San Francisco, 1903), p. 33.
____________. I would far rather speak words of boastful flattery; it is not pleasant to tell unpleasant truths. Probably it is personally more advantageous to utter high-sounding platitudes; but platitudes are not what this nation needs at this time. (1917.) Mem. Ed. XXI, 6; Nat. Ed. XIX, 6.
____________. Criticism should be both truthful and constructive. . . . Let us insist that the truth be told. The truth only harms weaklings. The American people wish the truth, and can stand the truth. (January 21, 1918.) Roosevelt in the Kansas City Star, 93.
____________. We need absolute honesty in public life; and we shall not get it until we remember that truth-telling must go hand in hand with it, and that it is quite as important not to tell an untruth about a decent man as it is to tell the truth about one who is not decent. (Outlook , May 12, 1900.) Mem. Ed. XV, 446; Nat. Ed. XIII, 390.
We must all recognize the search for truth as an imperative duty; and we ought all of us likewise to recognize that this search for truth should be carried on, not only fearlessly, but also with reverence, with humility of spirit, and with full recognition of our own limitations both of the mind and the soul. We must stand equally against tyranny and against irreverence in all things of the spirit, with the firm conviction that we can all work together for a higher social and individual life if only, whatever form of creed we profess, we make the doing of duty and the love of our fellow men two of the prime articles in our universal faith. (Outlook, December 2, 1911.) Mem. Ed.
See also Criticism; Falsehood; Honesty;
The importance of the crusade against tuberculosis, in the interest of which this Congress convenes, cannot be overestimated when it is realized that tuberculosis costs our country two hundred thousand lives a year, and the entire world over a million lives a year, besides constituting a most serious handicap to material progress, prosperity, and happiness, and being an enormous expense to society, most often in those walks of life where the burden is least bearable. Science has demonstrated that this disease can be stamped out, but the rapidity and completeness with which this can be accomplished depend upon the promptness with which the new doctrine about tuberculosis can be inculcated into the minds of the people and engrafted upon our customs, habits and laws. The presence in our midst of representatives of world-wide workers in this magnificent cause gives an unusual opportunity for accelerating the educational part of the process. The modern crusade against tuberculosis brings hope and bright prospects of recovery to hundreds of thousands of victims of the disease, who under old teachings were abandoned to despair. The work of the Congress will bring the results of the latest studies and investigations before the profession at large and place in the hands of our physicians all the newest and most approved methods of treating the disease—a knowledge which will add many years of valuable life to our people and will thereby increase our public wealth and happiness. (Letter accepting presidency of International Congress on Tuberculosis, May 5, 1908.) S. A. Knopf, A History of the National Tuberculosis Association. (New York, 1922), pp. 143-144.
In view of the scarcity not only of common labor, but of skilled labor [in the South], it becomes doubly important to train every available man to be of the utmost use, by developing his intelligence, his skill, and his capacity for conscientious effort. Hence the work of the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute is a matter of the highest practical importance to both the white man and the black man, and well worth the support of both races alike in the South and in the North. Your fifteen hundred students are not only being educated in head and heart, but also trained to industrial efficiency, for from the beginning Tuskegee has placed especial emphasis upon the training of men and women in agriculture, mechanics, and household duties. Training in these three fundamental directions does not embrace all that the negro, or any other race needs, but it does cover in a very large degree the field in which the negro can at present do most for himself and be most helpful to his white neighbors. Every black man who leaves this institute better able to do mechanical or industrial work adds by so much to the wealth of the whole community and benefits all people in the community. (At Tuskegee Institute, Tuskegee, Ala., October 24, 1905.) Mem. Ed. XVIII, 471; Nat. Ed. XVI, 351.
He has been called a mediocre man; but this is unwarranted flattery. He was a politician of monumental littleness. Owing to the nicely divided condition of parties, and to the sheer accident which threw him into a position of such prominence that it allowed him to hold the balance of power between them, he was enabled to turn politics completely topsyturvy; but his chief mental and moral attributes were peevishness, fretful obstinacy, inconsistency, incapacity to make up his own mind, and the ability to quibble indefinitely over the most microscopic and hairsplitting plays upon words, together with an inordinate vanity that so blinded him to all outside feeling as to make him really think that he stood a chance to be renominated for the presidency. (1887.) Mem. Ed. VIII, 177-178; Nat. Ed. VII, 154.
See Anarchy; Bureaucracy; Cromwell, Oliver; Liberty; Majority; Minority; Privilege; Revolution; Russia; Self-Government; Washington, George; Wealth.
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