15 setembro 2012

History of the United States

Part VII. Progressive democracy and the World War

The evolution of Republican policies (1901-13)

"When Theodore Roosevelt took the oath of office, the presidency passed to a new generation and a leader of a new type recalling, if comparisons must be made, Andrew Jackson rather than any Republican predecessor"

Charles A. Beard and Mary R. Beard *



The Personality and Early Career of Roosevelt.—On September 14, 1901, when Theodore Roosevelt took the oath of office, the presidency passed to a new generation and a leader of a new type recalling, if comparisons must be made, Andrew Jackson rather than any Republican predecessor. Roosevelt was brusque, hearty, restless, and fond of action—"a young fellow of infinite dash and originality," as John Hay remarked of him; combining the spirit of his old college, Harvard, with the breezy freedom of the plains; interested in everything—a new species of game, a new book, a diplomatic riddle, or a novel theory of history or biology. Though only forty-three years old he was well versed in the art of practical politics. Coming upon the political scene in the early eighties, he had associated himself with the reformers in the Republican party; but he was no Mugwump. From the first he vehemently preached the doctrine of party loyalty; if beaten in the convention, he voted the straight ticket in the election. For twenty years he adhered to this rule and during a considerable portion of that period he held office as a spokesman of his party. He served in the New York legislature, as head of the metropolitan police force, as federal civil service commissioner under President Harrison, as assistant secretary of the navy under President McKinley, and as governor of the Empire state. Political managers of the old school spoke of him as "brilliant but erratic"; they soon found him equal to the shrewdest in negotiation and action.

Roosevelt Talking to the Engineer of a Railroad Train
Copyright by Underwood and Underwood, N.Y.
Roosevelt Talking to the Engineer of a Railroad Train

Foreign Affairs

The Panama Canal.—The most important foreign question confronting President Roosevelt on the day of his inauguration, that of the Panama Canal, was a heritage from his predecessor. The idea of a water route across the isthmus, long a dream of navigators, had become a living issue after the historic voyage of the battleship Oregon around South America during the Spanish War. But before the United States could act it had to undo the Clayton-Bulwer treaty, made with Great Britain in 1850, providing for the construction of the canal under joint supervision. This was finally effected by the Hay-Pauncefote treaty of 1901 authorizing the United States to proceed alone, on condition that there should be no discriminations against other nations in the matter of rates and charges.
This accomplished, it was necessary to decide just where the canal should be built. One group in Congress favored the route through Nicaragua; in fact, two official commissions had already approved that location. Another group favored cutting the way through Panama after purchasing the rights of the old French company which, under the direction of De Lesseps, the hero of the Suez Canal, had made a costly failure some twenty years before. After a heated argument over the merits of the two plans, preference was given to the Panama route. As the isthmus was then a part of Colombia, President Roosevelt proceeded to negotiate with the government at Bogota a treaty authorizing the United States to cut a canal through its territory. The treaty was easily framed, but it was rejected by the Colombian senate, much to the President's exasperation. "You could no more make an agreement with the Colombian rulers," he exclaimed, "than you could nail jelly to a wall." He was spared the necessity by a timely revolution. On November 3, 1903, Panama renounced its allegiance to Colombia and three days later the United States recognized its independence.

Panama Canal
Courtesy of Panama Canal, Washington, D.C.
Deepest Excavated Portion of Panama Canal, Showing Gold Hill on Right and Contractor's Hill on Left. June, 1913
This amazing incident was followed shortly by the signature of a treaty between Panama and the United States in which the latter secured the right to construct the long-discussed canal, in return for a guarantee of independence and certain cash payments. The rights and property of the French concern were then bought, and the final details settled. A lock rather than a sea-level canal was agreed upon. Construction by the government directly instead of by private contractors was adopted. Scientific medicine was summoned to stamp out the tropical diseases that had made Panama a plague spot. Finally, in 1904, as the President said, "the dirt began to fly." After surmounting formidable difficulties—engineering, labor, and sanitary—the American forces in 1913 joined the waters of the Atlantic and the Pacific. Nearly eight thousand miles were cut off the sea voyage from New York to San Francisco. If any were inclined to criticize President Roosevelt for the way in which he snapped off negotiations with Colombia and recognized the Panama revolutionists, their attention was drawn to the magnificent outcome of the affair. Notwithstanding the treaty with Great Britain, Congress passed a tolls bill discriminating in rates in favor of American ships. It was only on the urgent insistence of President Wilson that the measure was later repealed.
The Conclusion of the Russo-Japanese War.—The applause which greeted the President's next diplomatic stroke was unmarred by censure of any kind. In the winter of 1904 there broke out between Japan and Russia a terrible conflict over the division of spoils in Manchuria. The fortunes of war were with the agile forces of Nippon. In this struggle, it seems, President Roosevelt's sympathies were mainly with the Japanese, although he observed the proprieties of neutrality. At all events, Secretary Hay wrote in his diary on New Year's Day, 1905, that the President was "quite firm in his view that we cannot permit Japan to be robbed a second time of her victory," referring to the fact that Japan, ten years before, after defeating China on the field of battle, had been forced by Russia, Germany, and France to forego the fruits of conquest.
Whatever the President's personal feelings may have been, he was aware that Japan, despite her triumphs over Russia, was staggering under a heavy burden of debt. At a suggestion from Tokyo, he invited both belligerents in the summer of 1905 to join in a peace conference. The celerity of their reply was aided by the pressure of European bankers, who had already come to a substantial agreement that the war must stop. After some delay, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, was chosen as the meeting place for the spokesmen of the two warring powers. Roosevelt presided over the opening ceremonies with fine urbanity, thoroughly enjoying the justly earned honor of being for the moment at the center of the world's interest. He had the satisfaction of seeing the conference end in a treaty of peace and amity.
The Monroe Doctrine Applied to Germany.—Less spectacular than the Russo-Japanese settlement but not less important was a diplomatic passage-at-arms with Germany over the Monroe Doctrine. This clash grew out of the inability or unwillingness of the Venezuelan government to pay debts due foreign creditors. Having exhausted their patience in negotiations, England and Germany, in December 1901, sent battleships to establish what they characterized as "a peaceful blockade" of Venezuelan ports. Their action was followed by the rupture of diplomatic relations; there was a possibility that war and the occupation of Venezuelan territory might result.
While unwilling to stand between a Latin-American country and its creditors, President Roosevelt was determined that debt collecting should not be made an excuse for European countries to seize territory. He therefore urged arbitration of the dispute, winning the assent of England and Italy. Germany, with a somewhat haughty air, refused to take the milder course. The President, learning of this refusal, called the German ambassador to the White House and informed him in very precise terms that, unless the Imperial German Government consented to arbitrate, Admiral Dewey would be ordered to the scene with instructions to prevent Germany from seizing any Venezuelan territory. A week passed and no answer came from Berlin. Not baffled, the President again took the matter up with the ambassador, this time with even more firmness; he stated in language admitting of but one meaning that, unless within forty-eight hours the Emperor consented to arbitration, American battleships, already coaled and cleared, would sail for Venezuelan waters. The hint was sufficient. The Kaiser accepted the proposal and the President, with the fine irony of diplomacy, complimented him publicly on "being so stanch an advocate of arbitration." In terms of the Monroe Doctrine this action meant that the United States, while not denying the obligations of debtors, would not permit any move on the part of European powers that might easily lead to the temporary or permanent occupation of Latin-American territory.
The Santo Domingo Affair.—The same issue was involved in a controversy over Santo Domingo which arose in 1904. The Dominican republic, like Venezuela, was heavily in debt, and certain European countries declared that, unless the United States undertook to look after the finances of the embarrassed debtor, they would resort to armed coercion. What was the United States to do? The danger of having some European power strongly intrenched in Santo Domingo was too imminent to be denied. President Roosevelt acted with characteristic speed, and notwithstanding strong opposition in the Senate was able, in 1907, to effect a treaty arrangement which placed Dominican finances under American supervision.
In the course of the debate over this settlement, a number of interesting questions arose. It was pertinently asked whether the American navy should be used to help creditors collect their debts anywhere in Latin-America. It was suggested also that no sanction should be given to the practice among European governments of using armed force to collect private claims. Opponents of President Roosevelt's policy, and they were neither few nor insignificant, urged that such matters should be referred to the Hague Court or to special international commissions for arbitration. To this the answer was made that the United States could not surrender any question coming under the terms of the Monroe Doctrine to the decision of an international tribunal. The position of the administration was very clearly stated by President Roosevelt himself. "The country," he said, "would certainly decline to go to war to prevent a foreign government from collecting a just debt; on the other hand, it is very inadvisable to permit any foreign power to take possession, even temporarily, of the customs houses of an American republic in order to enforce the payment of its obligations; for such a temporary occupation might turn into a permanent occupation. The only escape from these alternatives may at any time be that we must ourselves undertake to bring about some arrangement by which so much as possible of a just obligation shall be paid." The Monroe Doctrine was negative. It denied to European powers a certain liberty of operation in this hemisphere. The positive obligations resulting from its application by the United States were points now emphasized and developed.
The Hague Conference.—The controversies over Latin-American relations and his part in bringing the Russo-Japanese War to a close naturally made a deep impression upon Roosevelt, turning his mind in the direction of the peaceful settlement of international disputes. The subject was moreover in the air. As if conscious of impending calamity, the statesmen of the Old World, to all outward signs at least, seemed searching for a way to reduce armaments and avoid the bloody and costly trial of international causes by the ancient process of battle. It was the Czar, Nicholas II, fated to die in one of the terrible holocausts which he helped to bring upon mankind, who summoned the delegates of the nations in the first Hague Peace Conference in 1899. The conference did nothing to reduce military burdens or avoid wars but it did recognize the right of friendly nations to offer the services of mediation to countries at war and did establish a Court at the Hague for the arbitration of international disputes.
Encouraged by this experiment, feeble as it was, President Roosevelt in 1904 proposed a second conference, yielding to the Czar the honor of issuing the call. At this great international assembly, held at the Hague in 1907, the representatives of the United States proposed a plan for the compulsory arbitration of certain matters of international dispute. This was rejected with contempt by Germany. Reduction of armaments, likewise proposed in the conference, was again deferred. In fact, nothing was accomplished beyond agreement upon certain rules for the conduct of "civilized warfare," casting a somewhat lurid light upon the "pacific" intentions of most of the powers assembled.
The World Tour of the Fleet.—As if to assure the world then that the United States placed little reliance upon the frail reed of peace conferences, Roosevelt the following year (1908) made an imposing display of American naval power by sending a fleet of sixteen battleships on a tour around the globe. On his own authority, he ordered the ships to sail out of Hampton Roads and circle the earth by way of the Straits of Magellan, San Francisco, Australia, the Philippines, China, Japan, and the Suez Canal. This enterprise was not, as some critics claimed, a "mere boyish flourish." President Roosevelt knew how deep was the influence of sea power on the fate of nations. He was aware that no country could have a wide empire of trade and dominion without force adequate to sustain it. The voyage around the world therefore served a double purpose. It interested his own country in the naval program of the government, and it reminded other powers that the American giant, though quiet, was not sleeping in the midst of international rivalries.

Colonial Administration

A Constitutional Question Settled.—In colonial administration, as in foreign policy, President Roosevelt advanced with firm step in a path already marked out. President McKinley had defined the principles that were to control the development of Porto Rico and the Philippines. The Republican party had announced a program of pacification, gradual self-government, and commercial improvement. The only remaining question of importance, to use the popular phrase,—"Does the Constitution follow the flag?"—had been answered by the Supreme Court of the United States. Although it was well known that the Constitution did not contemplate the government of dependencies, such as the Philippines and Porto Rico, the Court, by generous and ingenious interpretations, found a way for Congress to apply any reasonable rules required by the occasion.

A Sugar Mill, Porto Rico
Photograph from Underwood and Underwood, N.Y.
A Sugar Mill, Porto Rico
Porto Rico.—The government of Porto Rico was a relatively simple matter. It was a single island with a fairly homogeneous population apart from the Spanish upper class. For a time after military occupation in 1898, it was administered under military rule. This was succeeded by the establishment of civil government under the "organic act" passed by Congress in 1900. The law assured to the Porto Ricans American protection but withheld American citizenship—a boon finally granted in 1917. It provided for a governor and six executive secretaries appointed by the President with the approval of the Senate; and for a legislature of two houses—one elected by popular native vote, and an upper chamber composed of the executive secretaries and five other persons appointed in the same manner. Thus the United States turned back to the provincial system maintained by England in Virginia or New York in old colonial days. The natives were given a voice in their government and the power of initiating laws; but the final word both in law-making and administration was vested in officers appointed in Washington. Such was the plan under which the affairs of Porto Rico were conducted by President Roosevelt. It lasted until the new organic act of 1917.
The Philippines.—The administration of the Philippines presented far more difficult questions. The number of islands, the variety of languages and races, the differences in civilization all combined to challenge the skill of the government. Moreover, there was raging in 1901 a stubborn revolt against American authority, which had to be faced. Following the lines laid down by President McKinley, the evolution of American policy fell into three stages. At first the islands were governed directly by the President under his supreme military power. In 1901 a civilian commission, headed by William Howard Taft, was selected by the President and charged with the government of the provinces in which order had been restored. Six years later, under the terms of an organic act, passed by Congress in 1902, the third stage was reached. The local government passed into the hands of a governor and commission, appointed by the President and Senate, and a legislature—one house elected by popular vote and an upper chamber composed of the commission. This scheme, like that obtaining in Porto Rico, remained intact until a Democratic Congress under President Wilson's leadership carried the colonial administration into its fourth phase by making both houses elective. Thus, by the steady pursuit of a liberal policy, self-government was extended to the dependencies; but it encouraged rather than extinguished the vigorous movement among the Philippine natives for independence.

Mr Taft in the Philippines
Copyright by Underwood and Underwood, N.Y.
Mr Taft in the Philippines
Cuban Relations.—Within the sphere of colonial affairs, Cuba, though nominally independent, also presented problems to the government at Washington. In the fine enthusiasm that accompanied the declaration of war on Spain, Congress, unmindful of practical considerations, recognized the independence of Cuba and disclaimed "any disposition or intention to exercise sovereignty, jurisdiction, or control over said island except for the pacification thereof." In the settlement that followed the war, however, it was deemed undesirable to set the young republic adrift upon the stormy sea of international politics without a guiding hand. Before withdrawing American troops from the island, Congress, in March, 1901, enacted, and required Cuba to approve, a series of restrictions known as the Platt amendment, limiting her power to incur indebtedness, securing the right of the United States to intervene whenever necessary to protect life and property, and reserving to the United States coaling stations at certain points to be agreed upon. The Cubans made strong protests against what they deemed "infringements of their sovereignty"; but finally with good grace accepted their fate. Even when in 1906 President Roosevelt landed American troops in the island to quell a domestic dissension, they acquiesced in the action, evidently regarding it as a distinct warning that they should learn to manage their elections in an orderly manner.

The Roosevelt Domestic Policies

Social Questions to the Front.—From the day of his inauguration to the close of his service in 1909, President Roosevelt, in messages, speeches, and interviews, kept up a lively and interesting discussion of trusts, capital, labor, poverty, riches, lawbreaking, good citizenship, and kindred themes. Many a subject previously touched upon only by representatives of the minor and dissenting parties, he dignified by a careful examination. That he did this with any fixed design or policy in mind does not seem to be the case. He admitted himself that when he became President he did not have in hand any settled or far-reaching plan of social betterment. He did have, however, serious convictions on general principles. "I was bent upon making the government," he wrote, "the most efficient possible instrument in helping the people of the United States to better themselves in every way, politically, socially, and industrially. I believed with all my heart in real and thorough-going democracy and I wished to make the democracy industrial as well as political, although I had only partially formulated the method I believed we should follow." It is thus evident at least that he had departed a long way from the old idea of the government as nothing but a great policeman keeping order among the people in a struggle over the distribution of the nation's wealth and resources.
Roosevelt's View of the Constitution.—Equally significant was Roosevelt's attitude toward the Constitution and the office of President. He utterly repudiated the narrow construction of our national charter. He held that the Constitution "should be treated as the greatest document ever devised by the wit of man to aid a people in exercising every power necessary for its own betterment, not as a strait-jacket cunningly fashioned to strangle growth." He viewed the presidency as he did the Constitution. Strict constructionists of the Jeffersonian school, of whom there were many on occasion even in the Republican party, had taken a view that the President could do nothing that he was not specifically authorized by the Constitution to do. Roosevelt took exactly the opposite position. It was his opinion that it was not only the President's right but his duty "to do anything that the needs of the nation demanded unless such action was forbidden by the Constitution or the laws." He went on to say that he acted "for the common well-being of all our people whenever and in whatever manner was necessary, unless prevented by direct constitutional or legislative prohibition."
The Trusts and Railways.—To the trust question, Roosevelt devoted especial attention. This was unavoidable. By far the larger part of the business of the country was done by corporations as distinguished from partnerships and individual owners. The growth of these gigantic aggregations of capital had been the leading feature in American industrial development during the last two decades of the nineteenth century. In the conquest of business by trusts and "the resulting private fortunes of great magnitude," the Populists and the Democrats had seen a grievous danger to the republic. "Plutocracy has taken the place of democracy; the tariff breeds trusts; let us destroy therefore the tariff and the trusts"—such was the battle cry which had been taken up by Bryan and his followers.
President Roosevelt countered vigorously. He rejected the idea that the trusts were the product of the tariff or of governmental action of any kind. He insisted that they were the outcome of "natural economic forces": (1) destructive competition among business men compelling them to avoid ruin by coöperation in fixing prices; (2) the growth of markets on a national scale and even international scale calling for vast accumulations of capital to carry on such business; (3) the possibility of immense savings by the union of many plants under one management. In the corporation he saw a new stage in the development of American industry. Unregulated competition he regarded as "the source of evils which all men concede must be remedied if this civilization of ours is to survive." The notion, therefore, that these immense business concerns should be or could be broken up by a decree of law, Roosevelt considered absurd.
At the same time he proposed that "evil trusts" should be prevented from "wrong-doing of any kind"; that is, punished for plain swindling, for making agreements to limit output, for refusing to sell to customers who dealt with rival firms, and for conspiracies with railways to ruin competitors by charging high freight rates and for similar abuses. Accordingly, he proposed, not the destruction of the trusts, but their regulation by the government. This, he contended, would preserve the advantages of business on a national scale while preventing the evils that accompanied it. The railway company he declared to be a public servant. "Its rates should be just to and open to all shippers alike." So he answered those who thought that trusts and railway combinations were private concerns to be managed solely by their owners without let or hindrance and also those who thought trusts and railway combinations could be abolished by tariff reduction or criminal prosecution.
The Labor Question.—On the labor question, then pressing to the front in public interest, President Roosevelt took advanced ground for his time. He declared that the working-man, single-handed and empty-handed, threatened with starvation if unemployed, was no match for the employer who was able to bargain and wait. This led him, accordingly, to accept the principle of the trade union; namely, that only by collective bargaining can labor be put on a footing to measure its strength equally with capital. While he severely arraigned labor leaders who advocated violence and destructive doctrines, he held that "the organization of labor into trade unions and federations is necessary, is beneficent, and is one of the greatest possible agencies in the attainment of a true industrial, as well as a true political, democracy in the United States." The last resort of trade unions in labor disputes, the strike, he approved in case negotiations failed to secure "a fair deal."
He thought, however, that labor organizations, even if wisely managed, could not solve all the pressing social questions of the time. The aid of the government at many points he believed to be necessary to eliminate undeserved poverty, industrial diseases, unemployment, and the unfortunate consequences of industrial accidents. In his first message of 1901, for instance, he urged that workers injured in industry should have certain and ample compensation. From time to time he advocated other legislation to obtain what he called "a larger measure of social and industrial justice."
Great Riches and Taxation.—Even the challenge of the radicals, such as the Populists, who alleged that "the toil of millions is boldly stolen to build up colossal fortunes for a few"—challenges which his predecessors did not consider worthy of notice—President Roosevelt refused to let pass without an answer. In his first message he denied the truth of the common saying that the rich were growing richer and the poor were growing poorer. He asserted that, on the contrary, the average man, wage worker, farmer, and small business man, was better off than ever before in the history of our country. That there had been abuses in the accumulation of wealth he did not pretend to ignore, but he believed that even immense fortunes, on the whole, represented positive benefits conferred upon the country. Nevertheless he felt that grave dangers to the safety and the happiness of the people lurked in great inequalities of wealth. In 1906 he wrote that he wished it were in his power to prevent the heaping up of enormous fortunes. The next year, to the astonishment of many leaders in his own party, he boldly announced in a message to Congress that he approved both income and inheritance taxes, then generally viewed as Populist or Democratic measures. He even took the stand that such taxes should be laid in order to bring about a more equitable distribution of wealth and greater equality of opportunity among citizens.

Legislative and Executive Activities

Economic Legislation.—When President Roosevelt turned from the field of opinion he found himself in a different sphere. Many of his views were too advanced for the members of his party in Congress, and where results depended upon the making of new laws, his progress was slow. Nevertheless, in his administrations several measures were enacted that bore the stamp of his theories, though it could hardly be said that he dominated Congress to the same degree as did some other Presidents. The Hepburn Railway Act of 1906 enlarged the interstate commerce commission; it extended the commission's power over oil pipe lines, express companies, and other interstate carriers; it gave the commission the right to reduce rates found to be unreasonable and discriminatory; it forbade "midnight tariffs," that is, sudden changes in rates favoring certain shippers; and it prohibited common carriers from transporting goods owned by themselves, especially coal, except for their own proper use. Two important pure food and drug laws, enacted during the same year, were designed to protect the public against diseased meats and deleterious foods and drugs. A significant piece of labor legislation was an act of the same Congress making interstate railways liable to damages for injuries sustained by their employees. When this measure was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court it was reënacted with the objectionable clauses removed. A second installment of labor legislation was offered in the law of 1908 limiting the hours of railway employees engaged as trainmen or telegraph operators.

The Roosevelt Dam, Phoenix, Arizona
Courtesy United States Reclamation Service.
The Roosevelt Dam, Phoenix, Arizona
Reclamation and Conservation.—The open country—the deserts, the forests, waterways, and the public lands—interested President Roosevelt no less than railway and industrial questions. Indeed, in his first message to Congress he placed the conservation of natural resources among "the most vital internal problems" of the age, and forcibly emphasized an issue that had been discussed in a casual way since Cleveland's first administration. The suggestion evoked an immediate response in Congress. Under the leadership of Senator Newlands, of Nevada, the Reclamation Act of 1902 was passed, providing for the redemption of the desert areas of the West. The proceeds from the sale of public lands were dedicated to the construction of storage dams and sluiceways to hold water and divert it as needed to the thirsty sands. Furthermore it was stipulated that the rents paid by water users should go into a reclamation fund to continue the good work forever. Construction was started immediately under the terms of the law. Within seventeen years about 1,600,000 acres had been reclaimed and more than a million were actually irrigated. In the single year 1918, the crops of the irrigated districts were valued at approximately $100,000,000.
In his first message, also, President Roosevelt urged the transfer of all control over national forests to trained men in the Bureau of Forestry—a recommendation carried out in 1907 when the Forestry Service was created. In every direction noteworthy advances were made in the administration of the national domain. The science of forestry was improved and knowledge of the subject spread among the people. Lands in the national forest available for agriculture were opened to settlers. Water power sites on the public domain were leased for a term of years to private companies instead of being sold outright. The area of the national forests was enlarged from 43 million acres to 194 million acres by presidential proclamation—more than 43 million acres being added in one year, 1907. The men who turned sheep and cattle to graze on the public lands were compelled to pay a fair rental, much to their dissatisfaction. Fire prevention work was undertaken in the forests on a large scale, reducing the appalling, annual destruction of timber. Millions of acres of coal land, such as the government had been carelessly selling to mining companies at low figures, were withdrawn from sale and held until Congress was prepared to enact laws for the disposition of them in the public interest. Prosecutions were instituted against men who had obtained public lands by fraud and vast tracts were recovered for the national domain. An agitation was begun which bore fruit under the administrations of Taft and Wilson in laws reserving to the federal government the ownership of coal, water power, phosphates, and other natural resources while authorizing corporations to develop them under leases for a period of years.
The Prosecution of the Trusts.—As an executive, President Roosevelt was also a distinct "personality." His discrimination between "good" and "bad" trusts led him to prosecute some of them with vigor. On his initiative, the Northern Securities Company, formed to obtain control of certain great western railways, was dissolved by order of the Supreme Court. Proceedings were instituted against the American Tobacco Company and the Standard Oil Company as monopolies in violation of the Sherman Anti-Trust law. The Sugar Trust was found guilty of cheating the New York customs house and some of the minor officers were sent to prison. Frauds in the Post-office Department were uncovered and the offenders brought to book. In fact hardly a week passed without stirring news of "wrong doers" and "malefactors" haled into federal courts.
The Great Coal Strike.—The Roosevelt theory that the President could do anything for public welfare not forbidden by the Constitution and the laws was put to a severe test in 1902. A strike of the anthracite coal miners, which started in the summer, ran late into the autumn. Industries were paralyzed for the want of coal; cities were threatened with the appalling menace of a winter without heat. Governors and mayors were powerless and appealed for aid. The mine owners rejected the demands of the men and refused to permit the arbitration of the points in dispute, although John Mitchell, the leader of the miners, repeatedly urged it. After observing closely the course affairs, President Roosevelt made up his mind that the situation was intolerable. He arranged to have the federal troops, if necessary, take possession of the mines and operate them until the strike could be settled. He then invited the contestants to the White House and by dint of hard labor induced them to accept, as a substitute or compromise, arbitration by a commission which he appointed. Thus, by stepping outside the Constitution and acting as the first citizen of the land, President Roosevelt averted a crisis of great magnitude.
The Election of 1904.—The views and measures which he advocated with such vigor aroused deep hostility within as well as without his party. There were rumors of a Republican movement to defeat his nomination in 1904 and it was said that the "financial and corporation interests" were in arms against him. A prominent Republican paper in New York City accused him of having "stolen Mr. Bryan's thunder," by harrying the trusts and favoring labor unions. When the Republican convention assembled in Chicago, however, the opposition disappeared and Roosevelt was nominated by acclamation.
This was the signal for a change on the part of Democratic leaders. They denounced the President as erratic, dangerous, and radical and decided to assume the moderate rôle themselves. They put aside Mr. Bryan and selected as their candidate, Judge Alton B. Parker, of New York, a man who repudiated free silver and made a direct appeal for the conservative vote. The outcome of the reversal was astounding. Judge Parker's vote fell more than a million below that cast for Bryan in 1900; of the 476 electoral votes he received only 140. Roosevelt, in addition to sweeping the Republican sections, even invaded Democratic territory, carrying the state of Missouri. Thus vindicated at the polls, he became more outspoken than ever. His leadership in the party was so widely recognized that he virtually selected his own successor.

The Administration of President Taft

The Campaign of 1908.—Long before the end of his elective term, President Roosevelt let it be known that he favored as his successor, William Howard Taft, of Ohio, his Secretary of War. To attain this end he used every shred of his powerful influence. When the Republican convention assembled, Mr. Taft easily won the nomination. Though the party platform was conservative in tone, he gave it a progressive tinge by expressing his personal belief in the popular election of United States Senators, an income tax, and other liberal measures. President Roosevelt announced his faith in the Republican candidate and appealed to the country for his election.
The turn in Republican affairs now convinced Mr. Bryan that the signs were propitious for a third attempt to win the presidency. The disaster to Judge Parker had taught the party that victory did not lie in a conservative policy. With little difficulty, therefore, the veteran leader from Nebraska once more rallied the Democrats around his standard, won the nomination, and wrote a platform vigorously attacking the tariff, trusts, and monopolies. Supported by a loyal following, he entered the lists, only to meet another defeat. Though he polled almost a million and a half more votes than did Judge Parker in 1904, the palm went to Mr. Taft.
The Tariff Revision and Party Dissensions.—At the very beginning of his term, President Taft had to face the tariff issue. He had met it in the campaign. Moved by the Democratic demand for a drastic reduction, he had expressed opinions which were thought to imply a "downward revision." The Democrats made much of the implication and the Republicans from the Middle West rejoiced in it. Pressure was coming from all sides. More than ten years had elapsed since the enactment of the Dingley bill and the position of many industries had been altered with the course of time. Evidently the day for revision—at best a thankless task—had arrived. Taft accepted the inevitable and called Congress in a special session. Until the midsummer of 1909, Republican Senators and Representatives wrangled over tariff schedules, the President making little effort to influence their decisions. When on August 5 the Payne-Aldrich bill became a law, a breach had been made in Republican ranks. Powerful Senators from the Middle West had spoken angrily against many of the high rates imposed by the bill. They had even broken with their party colleagues to vote against the entire scheme of tariff revision.
The Income Tax Amendment.—The rift in party harmony was widened by another serious difference of opinion. During the debate on the tariff bill, there was a concerted movement to include in it an income tax provision—this in spite of the decision of the Supreme Court in 1895 declaring it unconstitutional. Conservative men were alarmed by the evident willingness of some members to flout a solemn decree of that eminent tribunal. At the same time they saw a powerful combination of Republicans and Democrats determined upon shifting some of the burden of taxation to large incomes. In the press of circumstances, a compromise was reached. The income tax bill was dropped for the present; but Congress passed the sixteenth amendment to the Constitution, authorizing taxes upon incomes from whatever source they might be derived, without reference to any apportionment among the states on the basis of population. The states ratified the amendment and early in 1913 it was proclaimed.
President Taft's Policies.—After the enactment of the tariff bill, Taft continued to push forward with his legislative program. He recommended, and Congress created, a special court of commerce with jurisdiction, among other things, over appeals from the interstate commerce commission, thus facilitating judicial review of the railway rates fixed and the orders issued by that body. This measure was quickly followed by an act establishing a system of postal savings banks in connection with the post office—a scheme which had long been opposed by private banks. Two years later, Congress defied the lobby of the express companies and supplemented the savings banks with a parcels post system, thus enabling the American postal service to catch up with that of other progressive nations. With a view to improving the business administration of the federal government, the President obtained from Congress a large appropriation for an economy and efficiency commission charged with the duty of inquiring into wasteful and obsolete methods and recommending improved devices and practices. The chief result of this investigation was a vigorous report in favor of a national budget system, which soon found public backing.
President Taft negotiated with England and France general treaties providing for the arbitration of disputes which were "justiciable" in character even though they might involve questions of "vital interest and national honor." They were coldly received in the Senate and so amended that Taft abandoned them altogether. A tariff reciprocity agreement with Canada, however, he forced through Congress in the face of strong opposition from his own party. After making a serious breach in Republican ranks, he was chagrined to see the whole scheme come to naught by the overthrow of the Liberals in the Canadian elections of 1911.
Prosecution of the Trusts.—The party schism was even enlarged by what appeared to be the successful prosecution of several great combinations. In two important cases, the Supreme Court ordered the dissolution of the Standard Oil Company and the American Tobacco Company on the ground that they violated the Sherman Anti-Trust law. In taking this step Chief Justice White was at some pains to state that the law did not apply to combinations which did not "unduly" restrain trade. His remark, construed to mean that the Court would not interfere with corporations as such, became the subject of a popular outcry against the President and the judges.

Progressive Insurgency and the Election of 1912

Growing Dissensions.—All in all, Taft's administration from the first day had been disturbed by party discord. High words had passed over the tariff bill and disgruntled members of Congress could not forget them. To differences over issues were added quarrels between youth and old age. In the House of Representatives there developed a group of young "insurgent" Republicans who resented the dominance of the Speaker, Joseph G. Cannon, and other members of the "old guard," as they named the men of long service and conservative minds. In 1910, the insurgents went so far as to join with the Democrats in a movement to break the Speaker's sway by ousting him from the rules committee and depriving him of the power to appoint its members. The storm was brewing. In the autumn of that year the Democrats won a clear majority in the House of Representatives and began an open battle with President Taft by demanding an immediate downward revision of the tariff.
The Rise of the Progressive Republicans.—Preparatory to the campaign of 1912, the dissenters within the Republican party added the prefix "Progressive" to their old title and began to organize a movement to prevent the renomination of Mr. Taft. As early as January 21, 1911, they formed a Progressive Republican League at the home of Senator La Follette of Wisconsin and launched an attack on the Taft measures and policies. In October they indorsed Mr. La Follette as "the logical Republican candidate" and appealed to the party for support. The controversy over the tariff had grown into a formidable revolt against the occupant of the White House.
Roosevelt in the Field.—After looking on for a while, ex-President Roosevelt took a hand in the fray. Soon after his return in 1910 from a hunting trip in Africa and a tour in Europe, he made a series of addresses in which he formulated a progressive program. In a speech in Kansas, he favored regulation of the trusts, a graduated income tax bearing heavily on great fortunes, tariff revision schedule by schedule, conservation of natural resources, labor legislation, the direct primary, and the recall of elective officials. In an address before the Ohio state constitutional convention in February, 1912, he indorsed the initiative and referendum and announced a doctrine known as the "recall of judicial decisions." This was a new and radical note in American politics. An ex-President of the United States proposed that the people at the polls should have the right to reverse the decision of a judge who set aside any act of a state legislature passed in the interests of social welfare. The Progressive Republicans, impressed by these addresses, turned from La Follette to Roosevelt and on February 24, induced him to come out openly as a candidate against Taft for the Republican nomination.
The Split in the Republican Party.—The country then witnessed the strange spectacle of two men who had once been close companions engaged in a bitter rivalry to secure a majority of the delegates to the Republican convention to be held at Chicago. When the convention assembled, about one-fourth of the seats were contested, the delegates for both candidates loudly proclaiming the regularity of their election. In deciding between the contestants the national committee, after the usual hearings, settled the disputes in such a way that Taft received a safe majority. After a week of negotiation, Roosevelt and his followers left the Republican party. Most of his supporters withdrew from the convention and the few who remained behind refused to answer the roll call. Undisturbed by this formidable bolt, the regular Republicans went on with their work. They renominated Mr. Taft and put forth a platform roundly condemning such Progressive doctrines as the recall of judges.
The Formation of the Progressive Party.—The action of the Republicans in seating the Taft delegates was vigorously denounced by Roosevelt. He declared that the convention had no claim to represent the voters of the Republican party; that any candidate named by it would be "the beneficiary of a successful fraud"; and that it would be deeply discreditable to any man to accept the convention's approval under such circumstances. The bitterness of his followers was extreme. On July 8, a call went forth for a "Progressive" convention to be held in Chicago on August 5. The assembly which duly met on that day was a unique political conference. Prominence was given to women delegates, and "politicians" were notably absent. Roosevelt himself, who was cheered as a conquering hero, made an impassioned speech setting forth his "confession of faith." He was nominated by acclamation; Governor Hiram Johnson of California was selected as his companion candidate for Vice President. The platform endorsed such political reforms as woman suffrage, direct primaries, the initiative, referendum, and recall, popular election of United States Senators, and the short ballot. It favored a program of social legislation, including the prohibition of child labor and minimum wages for women. It approved the regulation, rather than the dissolution, of the trusts. Like apostles in a new and lofty cause, the Progressives entered a vigorous campaign for the election of their distinguished leader.
Woodrow Wilson and the Election of 1912.—With the Republicans divided, victory loomed up before the Democrats. Naturally, a terrific contest over the nomination occurred at their convention in Baltimore. Champ Clark, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Governor Woodrow Wilson, of New Jersey, were the chief contestants. After tossing to and fro for seven long, hot days, and taking forty-six ballots, the delegates, powerfully influenced by Mr. Bryan, finally decided in favor of the governor. As a professor, a writer on historical and political subjects, and the president of Princeton University, Mr. Wilson had become widely known in public life. As the governor of New Jersey he had attracted the support of the progressives in both parties. With grim determination he had "waged war on the bosses," and pushed through the legislature measures establishing direct primaries, regulating public utilities, and creating a system of workmen's compensation in industries. During the presidential campaign that followed Governor Wilson toured the country and aroused great enthusiasm by a series of addresses later published under the title of The New Freedom. He declared that "the government of the United States is at present the foster child of the special interests." He proposed to free the country by breaking the dominance of "the big bankers, the big manufacturers, the big masters of commerce, the heads of railroad corporations and of steamship corporations."
In the election Governor Wilson easily secured a majority of the electoral votes, and his party, while retaining possession of the House of Representatives, captured the Senate as well. The popular verdict, however, indicated a state of confusion in the country. The combined Progressive and Republican vote exceeded that of the Democrats by 1,300,000. The Socialists, with Eugene V. Debs as their candidate again, polled about 900,000 votes, more than double the number received four years before. Thus, as the result of an extraordinary upheaval the Republicans, after holding the office of President for sixteen years, passed out of power, and the government of the country was intrusted to the Democrats under the leadership of a man destined to be one of the outstanding figures of the modern age, Woodrow Wilson.
General References
J.B. Bishop, Theodore Roosevelt and His Time (2 vols.).
Theodore Roosevelt, Autobiography; New Nationalism; Progressive Principles.
W.H. Taft, Popular Government.
Walter Weyl, The New Democracy.
H. Croly, The Promise of American Life.
J.B. Bishop, The Panama Gateway.
J.B. Scott, The Hague Peace Conferences.
W.B. Munro (ed.), Initiative, Referendum, and Recall.
C.R. Van Hise, The Conservation of Natural Resources.
Gifford Pinchot, The Fight for Conservation.
W.F. Willoughby, Territories and Dependencies of the United States (1905).

Research Topics

Roosevelt and "Big Business."—Haworth, The United States in Our Own Time, pp. 281-289; F.A. Ogg, National Progress (American Nation Series), pp. 40-75; Paxson, The New Nation (Riverside Series), pp. 293-307.
Our Insular Possessions.—Elson, History of the United States, pp. 896-904.
Latin-American Relations.—Haworth, pp. 294-299; Ogg, pp. 254-257.
The Panama Canal.—Haworth, pp. 300-309; Ogg, pp. 266-277; Paxson, pp. 286-292; Elson, pp. 906-911.
Conservation.—Haworth, pp. 331-334; Ogg, pp. 96-115; Beard, American Government and Politics (3d ed.), pp. 401-416.
Republican Dissensions under Taft's Administration.—Haworth, pp. 351-360; Ogg, pp. 167-186; Paxson, pp. 324-342; Elson, pp. 916-924.
The Campaign of 1912.—Haworth, pp. 360-379; Ogg, pp. 187-208.


1. Compare the early career of Roosevelt with that of some other President.
2. Name the chief foreign and domestic questions of the Roosevelt-Taft administrations.
3. What international complications were involved in the Panama Canal problem?
4. Review the Monroe Doctrine. Discuss Roosevelt's applications of it.
5. What is the strategic importance of the Caribbean to the United States?
6. What is meant by the sea power? Trace the voyage of the fleet around the world and mention the significant imperial and commercial points touched.
7. What is meant by the question: "Does the Constitution follow the flag?"
8. Trace the history of self-government in Porto Rico. In the Philippines.
9. What is Cuba's relation to the United States?
10. What was Roosevelt's theory of our Constitution?
11. Give Roosevelt's views on trusts, labor, taxation.
12. Outline the domestic phases of Roosevelt's administrations.
13. Account for the dissensions under Taft.
14. Trace the rise of the Progressive movement.
15. What was Roosevelt's progressive program?
16. Review Wilson's early career and explain the underlying theory of The New Freedom.



An Age of Criticism

Attacks on Abuses in American Life.—The crisis precipitated by the Progressive uprising was not a sudden and unexpected one. It had been long in preparation. The revolt against corruption in politics which produced the Liberal Republican outbreak in the seventies and the Mugwump movement of the eighties was followed by continuous criticism of American political and economic development. From 1880 until his death in 1892, George William Curtis, as president of the Civil Service Reform Association, kept up a running fire upon the abuses of the spoils system. James Bryce, an observant English scholar and man of affairs, in his great work, The American Commonwealth, published in 1888, by picturing fearlessly the political rings and machines which dominated the cities, gave the whole country a fresh shock. Six years later Henry D. Lloyd, in a powerful book entitled Wealth against Commonwealth, attacked in scathing language certain trusts which had destroyed their rivals and bribed public officials. In 1903 Miss Ida Tarbell, an author of established reputation in the historical field, gave to the public an account of the Standard Oil Company, revealing the ruthless methods of that corporation in crushing competition. About the same time Lincoln Steffens exposed the sordid character of politics in several municipalities in a series of articles bearing the painful heading: The Shame of the Cities. The critical spirit appeared in almost every form; in weekly and monthly magazines, in essays and pamphlets, in editorials and news stories, in novels like Churchill's Coniston and Sinclair's The Jungle. It became so savage and so wanton that the opening years of the twentieth century were well named "the age of the muckrakers."
The Subjects of the Criticism.—In this outburst of invective, nothing was spared. It was charged that each of the political parties had fallen into the hands of professional politicians who devoted their time to managing conventions, making platforms, nominating candidates, and dictating to officials; in return for their "services" they sold offices and privileges. It was alleged that mayors and councils had bargained away for private benefit street railway and other franchises. It was asserted that many powerful labor unions were dominated by men who blackmailed employers. Some critics specialized in descriptions of the poverty, slums, and misery of great cities. Others took up "frenzied finance" and accused financiers of selling worthless stocks and bonds to an innocent public. Still others professed to see in the accumulations of millionaires the downfall of our republic.
The Attack on "Invisible Government."—Some even maintained that the control of public affairs had passed from the people to a sinister minority called "the invisible government." So eminent and conservative a statesman as the Hon. Elihu Root lent the weight of his great name to such an imputation. Speaking of his native state, New York, he said: "What is the government of this state? What has it been during the forty years of my acquaintance with it? The government of the Constitution? Oh, no; not half the time or half way.... From the days of Fenton and Conkling and Arthur and Cornell and Platt, from the days of David B. Hill down to the present time, the government of the state has presented two different lines of activity: one, of the constitutional and statutory officers of the state and the other of the party leaders; they call them party bosses. They call the system—I don't coin the phrase—the system they call 'invisible government.' For I don't know how many years Mr. Conkling was the supreme ruler in this state. The governor did not count, the legislature did not count, comptrollers and secretaries of state and what not did not count. It was what Mr. Conkling said, and in a great outburst of public rage he was pulled down. Then Mr. Platt ruled the state; for nigh upon twenty years he ruled it. It was not the governor; it was not the legislature; it was Mr. Platt. And the capital was not here [in Albany]; it was at 49 Broadway; Mr. Platt and his lieutenants. It makes no difference what name you give, whether you call it Fenton or Conkling or Cornell or Arthur or Platt or by the names of men now living. The ruler of the state during the greater part of the forty years of my acquaintance with the state government has not been any man authorized by the constitution or by law.... The party leader is elected by no one, accountable to no one, bound by no oath of office, removable by no one."
The Nation Aroused.—With the spirit of criticism came also the spirit of reform. The charges were usually exaggerated; often wholly false; but there was enough truth in them to warrant renewed vigilance on the part of American democracy. President Roosevelt doubtless summed up the sentiment of the great majority of citizens when he demanded the punishment of wrong-doers in 1907, saying: "It makes not a particle of difference whether these crimes are committed by a capitalist or by a laborer, by a leading banker or manufacturer or railroad man or by a leading representative of a labor union. Swindling in stocks, corrupting legislatures, making fortunes by the inflation of securities, by wrecking railroads, by destroying competitors through rebates—these forms of wrong-doing in the capitalist are far more infamous than any ordinary form of embezzlement or forgery." The time had come, he added, to stop "muckraking" and proceed to the constructive work of removing the abuses that had grown up.

Political Reforms

The Public Service.—It was a wise comprehension of the needs of American democracy that led the friends of reform to launch and to sustain for more than half a century a movement to improve the public service. On the one side they struck at the spoils system; at the right of the politicians to use public offices as mere rewards for partisan work. The federal civil service act of 1883 opened the way to reform by establishing five vital principles in law: (1) admission to office, not on the recommendation of party workers, but on the basis of competitive examinations; (2) promotion for meritorious service of the government rather than of parties; (3) no assessment of office holders for campaign funds; (4) permanent tenure during good behavior; and (5) no dismissals for political reasons. The act itself at first applied to only 14,000 federal offices, but under the constant pressure from the reformers it was extended until in 1916 it covered nearly 300,000 employees out of an executive force of approximately 414,000. While gaining steadily at Washington, civil service reformers carried their agitation into the states and cities. By 1920 they were able to report ten states with civil service commissions and the merit system well intrenched in more than three hundred municipalities.
In excluding spoilsmen from public office, the reformers were, in a sense, engaged in a negative work: that of "keeping the rascals out." But there was a second and larger phase to their movement, one constructive in character: that of getting skilled, loyal, and efficient servants into the places of responsibility. Everywhere on land and sea, in town and country, new burdens were laid upon public officers. They were called upon to supervise the ships sailing to and from our ports; to inspect the water and milk supplies of our cities; to construct and operate great public works, such as the Panama and Erie canals; to regulate the complicated rates of railway companies; to safeguard health and safety in a thousand ways; to climb the mountains to fight forest fires; and to descend into the deeps of the earth to combat the deadly coal gases that assail the miners. In a word, those who labored to master the secrets and the powers of nature were summoned to the aid of the government: chemists, engineers, architects, nurses, surgeons, foresters—the skilled in all the sciences, arts, and crafts.
Keeping rascals out was no task at all compared with the problem of finding competent people for all the technical offices. "Now," said the reformers, "we must make attractive careers in the government work for the best American talent; we must train those applying for admission and increase the skill of those already in positions of trust; we must see to it that those entering at the bottom have a chance to rise to the top; in short, we must work for a government as skilled and efficient as it is strong, one commanding all the wisdom and talent of America that public welfare requires."
The Australian Ballot.—A second line of attack on the political machines was made in connection with the ballot. In the early days elections were frequently held in the open air and the poll was taken by a show of hands or by the enrollment of the voters under names of their favorite candidates. When this ancient practice was abandoned in favor of the printed ballot, there was still no secrecy about elections. Each party prepared its own ballot, often of a distinctive color, containing the names of its candidates. On election day, these papers were handed out to the voters by party workers. Any one could tell from the color of the ballot dropped into the box, or from some mark on the outside of the folded ballot, just how each man voted. Those who bought votes were sure that their purchases were "delivered." Those who intimidated voters could know when their intimidation was effective. In this way the party ballot strengthened the party machine.
As a remedy for such abuses, reformers, learning from the experience of Australia, urged the adoption of the "Australian ballot." That ballot, though it appeared in many forms, had certain constant features. It was official, that is, furnished by the government, not by party workers; it contained the names of all candidates of all parties; it was given out only in the polling places; and it was marked in secret. The first state to introduce it was Massachusetts. The year was 1888. Before the end of the century it had been adopted by nearly all the states in the union. The salutary effect of the reform in reducing the amount of cheating and bribery in elections was beyond all question.
The Direct Primary.—In connection with the uprising against machine politics, came a call for the abolition of the old method of nominating candidates by conventions. These time-honored party assemblies, which had come down from the days of Andrew Jackson, were, it was said, merely conclaves of party workers, sustained by the spoils system, and dominated by an inner circle of bosses. The remedy offered in this case was again "more democracy," namely, the abolition of the party convention and the adoption of the direct primary. Candidates were no longer to be chosen by secret conferences. Any member of a party was to be allowed to run for any office, to present his name to his party by securing signatures to a petition, and to submit his candidacy to his fellow partisans at a direct primary—an election within the party. In this movement Governor La Follette of Wisconsin took the lead and his state was the first in the union to adopt the direct primary for state-wide purposes. The idea spread, rapidly in the West, more slowly in the East. The public, already angered against "the bosses," grasped eagerly at it. Governor Hughes in New York pressed it upon the unwilling legislature. State after state accepted it until by 1918 Rhode Island, Delaware, Connecticut, and New Mexico were the only states that had not bowed to the storm. Still the results were disappointing and at that very time the pendulum was beginning to swing backward.
Popular Election of Federal Senators.—While the movement for direct primaries was still advancing everywhere, a demand for the popular election of Senators, usually associated with it, swept forward to victory. Under the original Constitution, it had been expressly provided that Senators should be chosen by the legislatures of the states. In practice this rule transferred the selection of Senators to secret caucuses of party members in the state legislatures. In connection with these caucuses there had been many scandals, some direct proofs of brazen bribery and corruption, and dark hints besides. The Senate was called by its detractors "a millionaires' club" and it was looked upon as the "citadel of conservatism." The prescription in this case was likewise "more democracy"—direct election of Senators by popular vote.
This reform was not a new idea. It had been proposed in Congress as early as 1826. President Johnson, an ardent advocate, made it the subject of a special message in 1868 Not long afterward it appeared in Congress. At last in 1893, the year after the great Populist upheaval, the House of Representatives by the requisite two-thirds vote incorporated it in an amendment to the federal Constitution. Again and again it passed the House; but the Senate itself was obdurate. Able Senators leveled their batteries against it. Mr. Hoar of Massachusetts declared that it would transfer the seat of power to the "great cities and masses of population"; that it would "overthrow the whole scheme of the Senate and in the end the whole scheme of the national Constitution as designed and established by the framers of the Constitution and the people who adopted it."
Failing in the Senate, advocates of popular election made a rear assault through the states. They induced state legislatures to enact laws requiring the nomination of candidates for the Senate by the direct primary, and then they bound the legislatures to abide by the popular choice. Nevada took the lead in 1899. Shortly afterward Oregon, by the use of the initiative and referendum, practically bound legislators to accept the popular nominee and the country witnessed the spectacle of a Republican legislature "electing" a Democrat to represent the state in the Senate at Washington. By 1910 three-fourths of the states had applied the direct primary in some form to the choice of Senators. Men selected by that method began to pour in upon the floors of Congress; finally in 1912 the two-thirds majority was secured for an amendment to the federal Constitution providing for the popular election of Senators. It was quickly ratified by the states. The following year it was proclaimed in effect.
The Initiative and Referendum.—As a corrective for the evils which had grown up in state legislatures there arose a demand for the introduction of a Swiss device known as the initiative and referendum. The initiative permits any one to draw up a proposed bill; and, on securing a certain number of signatures among the voters, to require the submission of the measure to the people at an election. If the bill thus initiated receives a sufficient majority, it becomes a law. The referendum allows citizens who disapprove any act passed by the legislature to get up a petition against it and thus bring about a reference of the measure to the voters at the polls for approval or rejection. These two practices constitute a form of "direct government."
These devices were prescribed "to restore the government to the people." The Populists favored them in their platform of 1896. Mr. Bryan, two years later, made them a part of his program, and in the same year South Dakota adopted them. In 1902 Oregon, after a strenuous campaign, added a direct legislation amendment to the state constitution. Within ten years all the Southwestern, Mountain, and Pacific states, except Texas and Wyoming, had followed this example. To the east of the Mississippi, however, direct legislation met a chilly reception. By 1920 only five states in this section had accepted it: Maine, Massachusetts, Ohio, Michigan, and Maryland, the last approving the referendum only.
The Recall.—Executive officers and judges, as well as legislatures, had come in for their share of criticism, and it was proposed that they should likewise be subjected to a closer scrutiny by the public. For this purpose there was advanced a scheme known as the recall—which permitted a certain percentage of the voters to compel any officer, at any time during his term, to go before the people at a new election. This feature of direct government, tried out first in the city of Los Angeles, was extended to state-wide uses in Oregon in 1908. It failed, however, to capture popular imagination to the same degree as the initiative and referendum. At the end of ten years' agitation, only ten states, mainly in the West, had adopted it for general purposes, and four of them did not apply it to the judges of the courts. Still it was extensively acclaimed in cities and incorporated into hundreds of municipal laws and charters.
As a general proposition, direct government in all its forms was bitterly opposed by men of a conservative cast of mind. It was denounced by Senator Henry Cabot Lodge as "nothing less than a complete revolution in the fabric of our government and in the fundamental principles upon which that government rests." In his opinion, it promised to break down the representative principle and "undermine and overthrow the bulwarks of ordered liberty and individual freedom." Mr. Taft shared Mr. Lodge's views and spoke of direct government with scorn. "Votes," he exclaimed, "are not bread ... referendums do not pay rent or furnish houses, recalls do not furnish clothes, initiatives do not supply employment or relieve inequalities of condition or of opportunity."
Commission Government for Cities.—In the restless searching out of evils, the management of cities early came under critical scrutiny. City government, Mr. Bryce had remarked, was the one conspicuous failure in America. This sharp thrust, though resented by some, was accepted as a warning by others. Many prescriptions were offered by doctors of the body politic. Chief among them was the idea of simplifying the city government so that the light of public scrutiny could shine through it. "Let us elect only a few men and make them clearly responsible for the city government!" was the new cry in municipal reform. So, many city councils were reduced in size; one of the two houses, which several cities had adopted in imitation of the federal government, was abolished; and in order that the mayor could be held to account, he was given the power to appoint all the chief officials. This made the mayor, in some cases, the only elective city official and gave the voters a "short ballot" containing only a few names—an idea which some proposed to apply also to the state government.
A further step in the concentration of authority was taken in Galveston, Texas, where the people, looking upon the ruin of their city wrought by the devastating storm of 1901, and confronted by the difficult problems of reconstruction, felt the necessity for a more businesslike management of city affairs and instituted a new form of local administration. They abolished the old scheme of mayor and council and vested all power in five commissioners,
oneof whom, without any special prerogatives, was assigned to the office of "mayor president." In 1908, the commission form of government, as it was soon characterized, was adopted by Des Moines, Iowa. The attention of all municipal reformers was drawn to it and it was hailed as the guarantee of a better day. By 1920, more than four hundred cities, including Memphis, Spokane, Birmingham, Newark, and Buffalo, had adopted it. Still the larger cities like New York and Chicago kept their boards of aldermen.
The City Manager Plan.—A few years' experience with commission government revealed certain patent defects. The division of the work among five men was frequently found to introduce dissensions and irresponsibility. Commissioners were often lacking in the technical ability required to manage such difficult matters as fire and police protection, public health, public works, and public utilities. Some one then proposed to carry over into city government an idea from the business world. In that sphere the stockholders of each corporation elect the directors and the directors, in turn, choose a business manager to conduct the affairs of the company. It was suggested that the city commissioners, instead of attempting to supervise the details of the city administration, should select a manager to do this. The scheme was put into effect in Sumter, South Carolina, in 1912. Like the commission plan, it became popular. Within eight years more than one hundred and fifty towns and cities had adopted it. Among the larger municipalities were Dayton, Springfield (Ohio), Akron, Kalamazoo, and Phoenix. It promised to create a new public service profession, that of city manager.

Measures of Economic Reform

The Spirit of American Reform.—The purification of the ballot, the restriction of the spoils system, the enlargement of direct popular control over the organs of government were not the sole answers made by the reformers to the critics of American institutions. Nor were they the most important. In fact, they were regarded not as ends in themselves, but as means to serve a wider purpose. That purpose was the promotion of the "general welfare." The concrete objects covered by that broad term were many and varied; but they included the prevention of extortion by railway and other corporations, the protection of public health, the extension of education, the improvement of living conditions in the cities, the elimination of undeserved poverty, the removal of gross inequalities in wealth, and more equality of opportunity.
All these things involved the use of the powers of government. Although a few clung to the ancient doctrine that the government should not interfere with private business at all, the American people at large rejected that theory as vigorously as they rejected the doctrines of an extreme socialism which exalts the state above the individual. Leaders representing every shade of opinion proclaimed the government an instrument of common welfare to be used in the public interest. "We must abandon definitely," said Roosevelt, "the laissez-faire theory of political economy and fearlessly champion a system of increased governmental control, paying no attention to the cries of worthy people who denounce this as socialistic." This view was shared by Mr. Taft, who observed: "Undoubtedly the government can wisely do much more ... to relieve the oppressed, to create greater equality of opportunity, to make reasonable terms for labor in employment, and to furnish vocational education." He was quick to add his caution that "there is a line beyond which the government cannot go with any good practical results in seeking to make men and society better."
The Regulation of Railways.—The first attempts to use the government in a large way to control private enterprise in the public interest were made by the Northwestern states in the decade between 1870 and 1880. Charges were advanced by the farmers, particularly those organized into Granges, that the railways extorted the highest possible rates for freight and passengers, that favoritism was shown to large shippers, that fraudulent stocks and bonds were sold to the innocent public. It was claimed that railways were not like other enterprises, but were "quasi-public" concerns, like the roads and ferries, and thus subject to government control. Accordingly laws were enacted bringing the railroads under state supervision. In some cases the state legislature fixed the maximum rates to be charged by common carriers, and in other cases commissions were created with the power to establish the rates after an investigation. This legislation was at first denounced in the East as nothing less than the "confiscation" of the railways in the interest of the farmers. Attempts to have the Supreme Court of the United States declare it unconstitutional were made without avail; still a principle was finally laid down to the effect that in fixing rates state legislatures and commissions must permit railway companies to earn a "fair" return on the capital invested.
In a few years the Granger spirit appeared in Congress. An investigation revealed a long list of abuses committed by the railways against shippers and travelers. The result was the interstate commerce act of 1887, which created the Interstate Commerce Commission, forbade discriminations in rates, and prohibited other objectionable practices on the part of railways. This measure was loosely enforced and the abuses against which it was directed continued almost unabated. A demand for stricter control grew louder and louder. Congress was forced to heed. In 1903 it enacted the Elkins law, forbidding railways to charge rates other than those published, and laid penalties upon the officers and agents of companies, who granted secret favors to shippers, and upon shippers who accepted them. Three years later a still more drastic step was taken by the passage of the Hepburn act. The Interstate Commerce Commission was authorized, upon complaint of some party aggrieved, and after a public hearing, to determine whether just and reasonable rates had been charged by the companies. In effect, the right to fix freight and passenger rates was taken out of the hands of the owners of the railways engaged in interstate commerce and vested in the hands of the Interstate Commerce Commission. Thus private property to the value of $20,000,000,000 or more was declared to be a matter of public concern and subject to government regulation in the common interest.
Municipal Utilities.—Similar problems arose in connection with the street railways, electric light plants, and other utilities in the great cities. In the beginning the right to construct such undertakings was freely, and often corruptly, granted to private companies by city councils. Distressing abuses arose in connection with such practices. Many grants or franchises were made perpetual, or perhaps for a term of 999 years. The rates charged and services rendered were left largely to the will of the companies holding the franchises. Mergers or unions of companies were common and the public was deluged with stocks and bonds of doubtful value; bankruptcies were frequent. The connection between the utility companies and the politicians was, to say the least, not always in the public interest.
American ingenuity was quick to devise methods for eliminating such evils. Three lines of progress were laid out by the reformers. One group proposed that such utilities should be subject to municipal or state regulation, that the formation of utility companies should be under public control, and that the issue of stocks and bonds must be approved by public authority. In some cases state, and in other cases municipal, commissions were created to exercise this great power over "quasi-public corporations." Wisconsin, by laws enacted in 1907, put all heat, light, water works, telephone, and street railway companies under the supervision of a single railway commission. Other states followed this example rapidly. By 1920 the principle of public control over municipal utilities was accepted in nearly every section of the union.
A second line of reform appeared in the "model franchise" for utility corporations. An illustration of this tendency was afforded by the Chicago street railway settlement of 1906. The total capital of the company was fixed at a definite sum, its earnings were agreed upon, and the city was given the right to buy and operate the system if it desired to do so. In many states, about the same time, it was provided that no franchises to utility companies could run more than twenty-five years.
A third group of reformers were satisfied with nothing short of municipal ownership. They proposed to drive private companies entirely out of the field and vest the ownership and management of municipal plants in the city itself. This idea was extensively applied to electric light and water works plants, but to street railways in only a few cities, including San Francisco and Seattle. In New York the subways are owned by the city but leased for operation.

An East Side Street in New York
An East Side Street in New York
Tenement House Control.—Among the other pressing problems of the cities was the overcrowding in houses unfit for habitation. An inquiry in New York City made under the authority of the state in 1902 revealed poverty, misery, slums, dirt, and disease almost beyond imagination. The immediate answer was the enactment of a tenement house law prescribing in great detail the size of the rooms, the air space, the light and the sanitary arrangement for all new buildings. An immense improvement followed and the idea was quickly taken up in other states having large industrial centers. In 1920 New York made a further invasion of the rights of landlords by assuring to the public "reasonable rents" for flats and apartments.
Workmen's Compensation.—No small part of the poverty in cities was due to the injury of wage-earners while at their trade. Every year the number of men and women killed or wounded in industry mounted higher. Under the old law, the workman or his family had to bear the loss unless the employer had been guilty of some extraordinary negligence. Even in that case an expensive lawsuit was usually necessary to recover "damages." In short, although employers insured their buildings and machinery against necessary risks from fire and storm, they allowed their employees to assume the heavy losses due to accidents. The injustice of this, though apparent enough now, was once not generally recognized. It was said to be unfair to make the employer pay for injuries for which he was not personally responsible; but the argument was overborne.
About 1910 there set in a decided movement in the direction of lifting the burden of accidents from the unfortunate victims. In the first place, laws were enacted requiring employers to pay damages in certain amounts according to the nature of the case, no matter how the accident occurred, as long as the injured person was not guilty of willful negligence. By 1914 more than one-half the states had such laws. In the second place, there developed schemes of industrial insurance in the form of automatic grants made by state commissions to persons injured in industries, the funds to be provided by the employers or the state or by both. By 1917 thirty-six states had legislation of this type.
Minimum Wages and Mothers' Pensions.—Another source of poverty, especially among women and children, was found to be the low wages paid for their labor. Report after report showed this. In 1912 Massachusetts took a significant step in the direction of declaring the minimum wages which might be paid to women and children. Oregon, the following year, created a commission with power to prescribe minimum wages in certain industries, based on the cost of living, and to enforce the rates fixed. Within a short time one-third of the states had legislation of this character. To cut away some of the evils of poverty and enable widows to keep their homes intact and bring up their children, a device known as mothers' pensions became popular during the second decade of the twentieth century. At the opening of 1913 two states, Colorado and Illinois, had laws authorizing the payment from public funds of definite sums to widows with children. Within four years, thirty-five states had similar legislation.
Taxation and Great Fortunes.—As a part of the campaign waged against poverty by reformers there came a demand for heavy taxes upon great fortunes, particularly taxes upon inheritances or estates passing to heirs on the decease of the owners. Roosevelt was an ardent champion of this type of taxation and dwelt upon it at length in his message to Congress in 1907. "Such a tax," he said, "would help to preserve a measurable equality of opportunity for the people of the generations growing to manhood.... Our aim is to recognize what Lincoln pointed out: the fact that there are some respects in which men are obviously not equal; but also to insist that there should be equality of self-respect and of mutual respect, an equality of rights before the law, and at least an approximate equality in the conditions under which each man obtains the chance to show the stuff that is in him when compared with his fellows."
The spirit of the new age was, therefore, one of reform, not of revolution. It called for no evolutionary or utopian experiments, but for the steady and progressive enactment of measures aimed at admitted abuses and designed to accomplish tangible results in the name of public welfare.
General References
J. Bryce, The American Commonwealth.
R.C. Brooks, Corruption in American Life.
E.A. Ross, Changing America.
P.L. Haworth, America in Ferment.
E.R.A. Seligman, The Income Tax.
W.Z. Ripley, Railroads: Rates and Regulation.
E.S. Bradford, Commission Government in American Cities.
H.R. Seager, A Program of Social Reform.
C. Zueblin, American Municipal Progress.
W.E. Walling, Progressivism and After.
The American Year Book (an annual publication which contains reviews of reform legislation).

Research Topics

"The Muckrakers."—Paxson, The New Nation (Riverside Series), pp. 309-323.
Civil Service Reform.—Beard, American Government and Politics (3d ed.), pp. 222-230; Ogg, National Progress (American Nation Series), pp. 135-142.
Direct Government.—Beard, American Government, pp. 461-473; Ogg, pp. 160-166.
Popular Election of Senators.—Beard, American Government, pp. 241-244; Ogg, pp. 149-150.
Party Methods.—Beard, American Government, pp. 656-672.
Ballot Reform.—Beard, American Government, pp. 672-705.
Social and Economic Legislation.—Beard, American Government, pp. 721-752.


1. Who were some of the critics of abuses in American life?
2. What particular criticisms were advanced?
3. How did Elihu Root define "invisible government"?
4. Discuss the use of criticism as an aid to progress in a democracy.
5. Explain what is meant by the "merit system" in the civil service. Review the rise of the spoils system.
6. Why is the public service of increasing importance? Give some of its new problems.
7. Describe the Australian ballot and the abuses against which it is directed.
8. What are the elements of direct government? Sketch their progress in the United States.
9. Trace the history of popular election of Senators.
10. Explain the direct primary. Commission government. The city manager plan.
11. How does modern reform involve government action? On what theory is it justified?
12. Enumerate five lines of recent economic reform.



Women in Public Affairs.—The social legislation enacted in response to the spirit of reform vitally affected women in the home and in industry and was promoted by their organizations. Where they did not lead, they were affiliated with movements for social improvement. No cause escaped their attention; no year passed without widening the range of their interests. They served on committees that inquired into the problems of the day; they appeared before legislative assemblies to advocate remedies for the evils they discovered. By 1912 they were a force to be reckoned with in national politics. In nine states complete and equal suffrage had been established, and a widespread campaign for a national suffrage amendment was in full swing. On every hand lay evidences that their sphere had been broadened to include public affairs. This was the culmination of forces that had long been operating.
A New Emphasis in History.—A movement so deeply affecting important interests could not fail to find a place in time in the written record of human progress. History often began as a chronicle of kings and queens, knights and ladies, written partly to amuse and partly to instruct the classes that appeared in its pages. With the growth of commerce, parliaments, and international relations, politics and diplomacy were added to such chronicles of royal and princely doings. After the rise of democracy, industry, and organized labor, the transactions of everyday life were deemed worthy of a place in the pages of history. In each case history was rewritten and the past rediscovered in the light of the new age. So it will be with the rise and growth of women's political power. The history of their labor, their education, their status in society, their influence on the course of events will be explored and given its place in the general record.
It will be a history of change. The superior position which women enjoy in America to-day is the result of a slow evolution from an almost rightless condition in colonial times. The founders of America brought with them the English common law. Under that law, a married woman's personal property—jewels, money, furniture, and the like—became her husband's property; the management of her lands passed into his control. Even the wages she earned, if she worked for some one else, belonged to him. Custom, if not law, prescribed that women should not take part in town meetings or enter into public discussions of religious questions. Indeed it is a far cry from the banishment of Anne Hutchinson from Massachusetts in 1637, for daring to dispute with the church fathers, to the political conventions of 1920 in which women sat as delegates, made nominating speeches, and served on committees. In the contrast between these two scenes may be measured the change in the privileges of women since the landing of the Pilgrims. The account of this progress is a narrative of individual effort on the part of women, of organizations among them, of generous aid from sympathetic men in the long agitation for the removal of civil and political disabilities. It is in part also a narrative of irresistible economic change which drew women into industry, created a leisure class, gave women wages and incomes, and therewith economic independence.

The Rise of the Woman Movement

Abigail Adams
Abigail Adams
Protests of Colonial Women.—The republican spirit which produced American independence was of slow and steady growth. It did not spring up full-armed in a single night. It was, on the contrary, nourished during a long period of time by fireside discussions as well as by debates in the public forum. Women shared that fireside sifting of political principles and passed on the findings of that scrutiny in letters to their friends, newspaper articles, and every form of written word. How widespread was this potent, though not spectacular force, is revealed in the collections of women's letters, articles, songs, dramas, and satirical "skits" on English rule that have come down to us. In this search into the reasons of government, some women began to take thought about laws that excluded them from the ballot. Two women at least left their protests on record. Abigail, the ingenious and witty wife of John Adams, wrote to her husband, in March, 1776, that women objected "to all arbitrary power whether of state or males" and demanded political privileges in the new order then being created. Hannah Lee Corbin, the sister of "Lighthorse" Harry Lee, protested to her brother against the taxation of women without representation.
The Stir among European Women.—Ferment in America, in the case of women as of men, was quickened by events in Europe. In 1792, Mary Wollstonecraft published in England the Vindication of the Rights of Women—a book that was destined to serve the cause of liberty among women as the writings of Locke and Paine had served that of men. The specific grievances which stirred English women were men's invasion of women's industries, such as spinning and weaving; the denial of equal educational opportunities; and political disabilities. In France also the great Revolution raised questionings about the status of women. The rights of "citizenesses" as well as the rights of "citizens" were examined by the boldest thinkers. This in turn reacted upon women in the United States.
Leadership in America.—The origins of the American woman movement are to be found in the writings of a few early intellectual leaders. During the first decades of the nineteenth century, books, articles, and pamphlets about women came in increasing numbers from the press. Lydia Maria Child wrote a history of women; Margaret Fuller made a critical examination of the status of women in her time; and Mrs. Elizabeth Ellet supplemented the older histories by showing what an important part women had played in the American Revolution.
The Struggle for Education.—Along with criticism, there was carried on a constructive struggle for better educational facilities for women who had been from the beginning excluded from every college in the country. In this long battle, Emma Willard and Mary Lyon led the way; the former founded a seminary at Troy, New York; and the latter made the beginnings of Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts. Oberlin College in Ohio, established in 1833, opened its doors to girls and from it were graduated young students to lead in the woman movement. Sarah J. Hale, who in 1827 became the editor of a "Ladies' Magazine," published in Boston, conducted a campaign for equal educational opportunities which helped to bear fruit in the founding of Vassar College shortly after the Civil War.
The Desire to Effect Reforms.—As they came to study their own history and their own part in civilization, women naturally became deeply interested in all the controversies going on around them. The temperance question made a special appeal to them and they organized to demand the right to be heard on it. In 1846 the "Daughters of Temperance" formed a secret society favoring prohibition. They dared to criticize the churches for their indifference and were so bold as to ask that drunkenness be made a ground for divorce.
The slavery issue even more than temperance called women into public life. The Grimké sisters of South Carolina emancipated their bondmen, and one of these sisters, exiled from Charleston for her "Appeal to the Christian Women of the South," went North to work against the slavery system. In 1837 the National Women's Anti-Slavery Convention met in New York; seventy-one women delegates represented eight states. Three years later eight American women, five of them in Quaker costume, attended the World Anti-Slavery Convention in London, much to the horror of the men, who promptly excluded them from the sessions on the ground that it was not fitting for women to take part in such meetings.
In other spheres of activity, especially social service, women steadily enlarged their interest. Nothing human did they consider alien to them. They inveighed against cruel criminal laws and unsanitary prisons. They organized poor relief and led in private philanthropy. Dorothea Dix directed the movement that induced the New York legislature to establish in 1845 a separate asylum for the criminal insane. In the same year Sarah G. Bagley organized the Lowell Female Reform Association for the purpose of reducing the long hours of labor for women, safeguarding "the constitutions of future generations." Mrs. Eliza Woodson Farnham, matron in Sing Sing penitentiary, was known throughout the nation for her social work, especially prison reform. Wherever there were misery and suffering, women were preparing programs of relief.
Freedom of Speech for Women.—In the advancement of their causes, of whatever kind, women of necessity had to make public appeals and take part in open meetings. Here they encountered difficulties. The appearance of women on the platform was new and strange. Naturally it was widely resented. Antoinette Brown, although she had credentials as a delegate, was driven off the platform of a temperance convention in New York City simply because she was a woman. James Russell Lowell, editor of the "Atlantic Monthly," declined a poem from Julia Ward Howe on the theory that no woman could write a poem; but he added on second thought that he might consider an article in prose. Nathaniel Hawthorne, another editor, even objected to something in prose because to him "all ink-stained women were equally detestable." To the natural resentment against their intrusion into new fields was added that aroused by their ideas and methods. As temperance reformers, they criticized in a caustic manner those who would not accept their opinions. As opponents of slavery they were especially bitter. One of their conventions, held at Philadelphia in 1833, passed a resolution calling on all women to leave those churches that would not condemn every form of human bondage. This stirred against them many of the clergy who, accustomed to having women sit silent during services, were in no mood to treat such a revolt leniently. Then came the last straw. Women decided that they would preach—out of the pulpit first, and finally in it.
Women in Industry.—The period of this ferment was also the age of the industrial revolution in America, the rise of the factory system, and the growth of mill towns. The labor of women was transferred from the homes to the factories. Then arose many questions: the hours of labor, the sanitary conditions of the mills, the pressure of foreign immigration on native labor, the wages of women as compared with those of men, and the right of married women to their own earnings. Labor organizations sprang up among working women. The mill girls of Lowell, Massachusetts, mainly the daughters of New England farmers, published a magazine, "The Lowell Offering." So excellent were their writings that the French statesman, Thiers, carried a copy of their paper into the Chamber of Deputies to show what working women could achieve in a republic. As women were now admittedly earning their own way in the world by their own labor, they began to talk of their "economic independence."
The World Shaken by Revolution.—Such was the quickening of women's minds in 1848 when the world was startled once more by a revolution in France which spread to Germany, Poland, Austria, Hungary, and Italy. Once more the people of the earth began to explore the principles of democracy and expound human rights. Women, now better educated and more "advanced" in their ideas, played a rôle of still greater importance in that revolution. They led in agitations and uprisings. They suffered from reaction and persecution. From their prison in France, two of them who had been jailed for too much insistence on women's rights exchanged greetings with American women who were raising the same issue here. By this time the women had more supporters among the men. Horace Greeley, editor of the New York Tribune, though he afterwards recanted, used his powerful pen in their behalf. Anti-slavery leaders welcomed their aid and repaid them by urging the enfranchisement of women.
The Woman's Rights Convention of 1848.—The forces, moral and intellectual, which had been stirring among women, crystallized a few months after the outbreak of the European revolution in the first Woman's Rights Convention in the history of America. It met at Seneca Falls, New York, in 1848, on the call of Lucretia Mott, Martha Wright, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Mary Ann McClintock, three of them Quakers. Accustomed to take part in church meetings with men, the Quakers naturally suggested that men as well as women be invited to attend the convention. Indeed, a man presided over the conference, for that position seemed too presumptuous even for such stout advocates of woman's rights.
The deliberations of the Seneca Falls convention resulted in a Declaration of Rights modeled after the Declaration of Independence. For example, the preamble began: "When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one portion of the family of man to assume among the people of the earth a position different from that which they have hitherto occupied...." So also it closed: "Such has been the patient suffering of women under this government and such is now the necessity which constrains them to demand the equal station to which they are entitled." Then followed the list of grievances, the same number which had been exhibited to George III in 1776. Especially did they assail the disabilities imposed upon them by the English common law imported into America—the law which denied married women their property, their wages, and their legal existence as separate persons. All these grievances they recited to "a candid world." The remedies for the evils which they endured were then set forth in detail. They demanded "equal rights" in the colleges, trades, and professions; equal suffrage; the right to share in all political offices, honors, and emoluments; the right to complete equality in marriage, including equal guardianship of the children; and for married women the right to own property, to keep wages, to make contracts, to transact business, and to testify in the courts of justice. In short, they declared women to be persons as men are persons and entitled to all the rights and privileges of human beings. Such was the clarion call which went forth to the world in 1848—to an amused and contemptuous world, it must be admitted—but to a world fated to heed and obey.
The First Gains in Civil Liberty.—The convention of 1848 did not make political enfranchisement the leading issue. Rather did it emphasize the civil disabilities of women which were most seriously under discussion at the time. Indeed, the New York legislature of that very year, as the result of a twelve years' agitation, passed the Married Woman's Property Act setting aside the general principles of the English common law as applied to women and giving them many of the "rights of man." California and Wisconsin followed in 1850; Massachusetts in 1854; and Kansas in 1859. Other states soon fell into line. Women's earnings and inheritances were at last their own in some states at least. In a little while laws were passed granting women rights as equal guardians of their children and permitting them to divorce their husbands on the grounds of cruelty and drunkenness.
By degrees other steps were taken. The Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania was founded in 1850, and the Philadelphia School of Design for Women three years later. In 1852 the American Women's Educational Association was formed to initiate an agitation for enlarged educational opportunities for women. Other colleges soon emulated the example of Oberlin: the University of Utah in 1850; Hillsdale College in Michigan in 1855; Baker University in Kansas in 1858; and the University of Iowa in 1860. New trades and professions were opened to women and old prejudices against their activities and demands slowly gave way.

The National Struggle for Woman Suffrage

The Beginnings of Organization.—As women surmounted one obstacle after another, the agitation for equal suffrage came to the front. If any year is to be fixed as the date of its beginning, it may very well be 1850, when the suffragists of Ohio urged the state constitutional convention to confer the vote upon them. With apparent spontaneity there were held in the same year state suffrage conferences in Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts; and connections were formed among the leaders of these meetings. At the same time the first national suffrage convention was held in Worcester, Massachusetts, on the call of eighty-nine leading men and women representing six states. Accounts of the convention were widely circulated in this country and abroad. English women,—for instance, Harriet Martineau,—sent words of appreciation for the work thus inaugurated. It inspired a leading article in the "Westminster Review," which deeply interested the distinguished economist, John Stuart Mill. Soon he was the champion of woman suffrage in the British Parliament and the author of a powerful tract The Subjection of Women, widely read throughout the English-speaking world. Thus do world movements grow. Strange to relate the women of England were enfranchised before the adoption of the federal suffrage amendment in America.
The national suffrage convention of 1850 was followed by an extraordinary outburst of agitation. Pamphlets streamed from the press. Petitions to legislative bodies were drafted, signed, and presented. There were addresses by favorite orators like Garrison, Phillips, and Curtis, and lectures and poems by men like Emerson, Longfellow, and Whittier. In 1853 the first suffrage paper was founded by the wife of a member of Congress from Rhode Island. By this time the last barrier to white manhood suffrage in the North had been swept away and the woman's movement was gaining momentum every year.
The Suffrage Movement Checked by the Civil War.—Advocates of woman suffrage believed themselves on the high road to success when the Civil War engaged the energies and labors of the nation. Northern women became absorbed in the struggle to preserve the union. They held no suffrage conventions for five years. They transformed their associations into Loyalty Leagues. They banded together to buy only domestic goods when foreign imports threatened to ruin American markets. They rolled up monster petitions in favor of the emancipation of slaves. In hospitals, in military prisons, in agriculture, and in industry they bore their full share of responsibility. Even when the New York legislature took advantage of their unguarded moments and repealed the law giving the mother equal rights with the father in the guardianship of children, they refused to lay aside war work for agitation. As in all other wars, their devotion was unstinted and their sacrifices equal to the necessities of the hour.
The Federal Suffrage Amendment.—Their plans and activities, when the war closed, were shaped by events beyond their control. The emancipation of the slaves and their proposed enfranchisement made prominent the question of a national suffrage for the first time in our history. Friends of the colored man insisted that his civil liberties would not be safe unless he was granted the right to vote. The woman suffragists very pertinently asked why the same principle did not apply to women. The answer which they received was negative. The fourteenth amendment to the federal Constitution, adopted in 1868, definitely put women aside by limiting the scope of its application, so far as the suffrage was concerned, to the male sex. In making manhood suffrage national, however, it nationalized the issue.

This was the signal for the advocates of woman suffrage. In March, 1869, their proposed amendment was introduced in Congress by George W. Julian of Indiana. It provided that no citizen should be deprived of the vote on account of sex, following the language of the fifteenth amendment which forbade disfranchisement on account of race. Support for the amendment, coming from many directions, led the suffragists to believe that their case was hopeful. In their platform of 1872, for example, the Republicans praised the women for their loyal devotion to freedom, welcomed them to spheres of wider usefulness, and declared that the demand of any class of citizens for additional rights deserved "respectful consideration."
Experience soon demonstrated, however, that praise was not the ballot. Indeed the suffragists already had realized that a tedious contest lay before them. They had revived in 1866 their regular national convention. They gave the name of "The Revolution" to their paper, edited by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. They formed a national suffrage association and organized annual pilgrimages to Congress to present their claims. Such activities bore some results. Many eminent congressmen were converted to their cause and presented it ably to their colleagues of both chambers. Still the subject was ridiculed by the newspapers and looked upon as freakish by the masses.
The State Campaigns.—Discouraged by the outcome of the national campaign, suffragists turned to the voters of the individual states and sought the ballot at their hands. Gains by this process were painfully slow. Wyoming, it is true, while still a territory, granted suffrage to women in 1869 and continued it on becoming a state twenty years later, in spite of strong protests in Congress. In 1893 Colorado established complete political equality. In Utah, the third suffrage state, the cause suffered many vicissitudes. Women were enfranchised by the territorial legislature; they were deprived of the ballot by Congress in 1887; finally in 1896 on the admission of Utah to the union they recovered their former rights. During the same year, 1896, Idaho conferred equal suffrage upon the women. This was the last suffrage victory for more than a decade.
The Suffrage Cause in Congress.—In the midst of the meager gains among the states there were occasional flurries of hope for immediate action on the federal amendment. Between 1878 and 1896 the Senate committee reported the suffrage resolution by a favorable majority on five different occasions. During the same period, however, there were nine unfavorable reports and only once did the subject reach the point of a general debate. At no time could anything like the required two-thirds vote be obtained.
The Changing Status of Women.—While the suffrage movement was lagging, the activities of women in other directions were steadily multiplying. College after college—Vassar, Bryn Mawr, Smith, Wellesley, to mention a few—was founded to give them the advantages of higher education. Other institutions, especially the state universities of the West, opened their doors to women, and women were received into the professions of law and medicine. By the rapid growth of public high schools in which girls enjoyed the same rights as boys, education was extended still more widely. The number of women teachers increased by leaps and bounds.
Meanwhile women were entering nearly every branch of industry and business. How many of them worked at gainful occupations before 1870 we do not know; but from that year forward we have the records of the census. Between 1870 and 1900 the proportion of women in the professions rose from less than two per cent to more than ten per cent; in trade and transportation from 24.8 per cent to 43.2 per cent; and in manufacturing from 13 to 19 per cent. In 1910, there were over 8,000,000 women gainfully employed as compared with 30,000,000 men. When, during the war on Germany, the government established the principle of equal pay for equal work and gave official recognition to the value of their services in industry, it was discovered how far women had traveled along the road forecast by the leaders of 1848.
The Club Movement among Women.—All over the country women's societies and clubs were started to advance this or that reform or merely to study literature, art, and science. In time these women's organizations of all kinds were federated into city, state, and national associations and drawn into the consideration of public questions. Under the leadership of Frances Willard they made temperance reform a vital issue. They took an interest in legislation pertaining to prisons, pure food, public health, and municipal government, among other things. At their sessions and conferences local, state, and national issues were discussed until finally, it seems, everything led to the quest of the franchise. By solemn resolution in 1914 the National Federation of Women's Clubs, representing nearly two million club women, formally endorsed woman suffrage. In the same year the National Education Association, speaking for the public school teachers of the land, added its seal of approval.

Conference of Men and Women Delegates at a National Convention in 1920
Copyright by Underwood and Underwood, N.Y.
Conference of Men and Women Delegates at a National Convention in 1920
State and National Action.—Again the suffrage movement was in full swing in the states. Washington in 1910, California in 1911, Oregon, Kansas, and Arizona in 1912, Nevada and Montana in 1914 by popular vote enfranchised their women. Illinois in 1913 conferred upon them the right to vote for President of the United States. The time had arrived for a new movement. A number of younger suffragists sought to use the votes of women in the equal suffrage states to compel one or both of the national political parties to endorse and carry through Congress the federal suffrage amendment. Pressure then came upon Congress from every direction: from the suffragists who made a straight appeal on the grounds of justice; and from the suffragists who besought the women of the West to vote against candidates for President, who would not approve the federal amendment. In 1916, for the first time, a leading presidential candidate, Mr. Charles E. Hughes, speaking for the Republicans, endorsed the federal amendment and a distinguished ex-President, Roosevelt, exerted a powerful influence to keep it an issue in the campaign.
National Enfranchisement.—After that, events moved rapidly. The great state of New York adopted equal suffrage in 1917. Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Michigan swung into line the following year; several other states, by legislative action, gave women the right to vote for President. In the meantime the suffrage battle at Washington grew intense. Appeals and petitions poured in upon Congress and the President. Militant suffragists held daily demonstrations in Washington. On September 30, 1918, President Wilson, who, two years before, had opposed federal action and endorsed suffrage by state adoption only, went before Congress and urged the passage of the suffrage amendment to the Constitution. In June, 1919, the requisite two-thirds vote was secured; the resolution was carried and transmitted to the states for ratification. On August 28, 1920, the thirty-sixth state, Tennessee, approved the amendment, making three-fourths of the states as required by the Constitution. Thus woman suffrage became the law of the land. A new political democracy had been created. The age of agitation was closed and the epoch of responsible citizenship opened.
General References
Edith Abbott, Women in Industry.
C.P. Gilman, Woman and Economics.
I.H. Harper, Life and Work of Susan B. Anthony.
E.R. Hecker, Short History of Woman's Rights.
S.B. Anthony and I.H. Harper, History of Woman Suffrage (4 vols.).
J.W. Taylor, Before Vassar Opened.
A.H. Shaw, The Story of a Pioneer.

Research Topics

The Rise of the Woman Suffrage Movement.—McMaster, History of the People of the United States, Vol. VIII, pp. 116-121; K. Porter, History of Suffrage in the United States, pp. 135-145.
The Development of the Suffrage Movement.—Porter, pp. 228-254; Ogg, National Progress (American Nation Series), pp. 151-156 and p. 382.
Women's Labor in the Colonial Period.—E. Abbott, Women in Industry, pp. 10-34.
Women and the Factory System.—Abbott, pp. 35-62.
Early Occupations for Women.—Abbott, pp. 63-85.
Women's Wages.—Abbott, pp. 262-316.


1. Why were women involved in the reform movements of the new century?
2. What is history? What determines the topics that appear in written history?
3. State the position of women under the old common law.
4. What part did women play in the intellectual movement that preceded the American Revolution?
5. Explain the rise of the discussion of women's rights.
6. What were some of the early writings about women?
7. Why was there a struggle for educational opportunities?
8. How did reform movements draw women into public affairs and what were the chief results?
9. Show how the rise of the factory affected the life and labor of women.
10. Why is the year 1848 an important year in the woman movement? Discuss the work of the Seneca Falls convention.
11. Enumerate some of the early gains in civil liberty for women.
12. Trace the rise of the suffrage movement. Show the effect of the Civil War.
13. Review the history of the federal suffrage amendment.
14. Summarize the history of the suffrage in the states.



The New Economic Age.—The spirit of criticism and the measures of reform designed to meet it, which characterized the opening years of the twentieth century, were merely the signs of a new age. The nation had definitely passed into industrialism. The number of city dwellers employed for wages as contrasted with the farmers working on their own land was steadily mounting. The free land, once the refuge of restless workingmen of the East and the immigrants from Europe, was a thing of the past. As President Roosevelt later said in speaking of the great coal strike, "a few generations ago, the American workman could have saved money, gone West, and taken up a homestead. Now the free lands were gone. In earlier days, a man who began with a pick and shovel might come to own a mine. That outlet was now closed as regards the immense majority.... The majority of men who earned wages in the coal industry, if they wished to progress at all, were compelled to progress not by ceasing to be wage-earners but by improving the conditions under which all the wage-earners of the country lived and worked."
The disappearance of the free land, President Roosevelt went on to say, also produced "a crass inequality in the bargaining relation of the employer and the individual employee standing alone. The great coal-mining and coal-carrying companies which employed their tens of thousands could easily dispense with the services of any particular miner. The miner, on the other hand, however expert, could not dispense with the companies. He needed a job; his wife and children would starve if he did not get one.... Individually the miners were impotent when they sought to enter a wage contract with the great companies; they could make fair terms only by uniting into trade unions to bargain collectively." It was of this state of affairs that President Taft spoke when he favored the modification of the common law "so as to put employees of little power and means on a level with their employers in adjusting and agreeing upon their mutual obligations."
John D. Rockefeller, Jr., on the side of the great captains of industry, recognized the same facts. He said: "In the early days of the development of industry, the employer and capital investor were frequently one. Daily contact was had between him and his employees, who were his friends and neighbors.... Because of the proportions which modern industry has attained, employers and employees are too often strangers to each other.... Personal relations can be revived only through adequate representation of the employees. Representation is a principle which is fundamentally just and vital to the successful conduct of industry.... It is not consistent for us as Americans to demand democracy in government and practice autocracy in industry.... With the developments what they are in industry to-day, there is sure to come a progressive evolution from aristocratic single control, whether by capital, labor, or the state, to democratic, coöperative control by all three."

Coöperation between Employers and Employees

Company Unions.—The changed economic life described by the three eminent men just quoted was acknowledged by several great companies and business concerns. All over the country decided efforts were made to bridge the gulf which industry and the corporation had created. Among the devices adopted was that of the "company union." In one of the Western lumber mills, for example, all the employees were invited to join a company organization; they held monthly meetings to discuss matters of common concern; they elected a "shop committee" to confer with the representatives of the company; and periodically the agents of the employers attended the conferences of the men to talk over matters of mutual interest. The function of the shop committee was to consider wages, hours, safety rules, sanitation, recreation and other problems. Whenever any employee had a grievance he took it up with the foreman and, if it was not settled to his satisfaction, he brought it before the shop committee. If the members of the shop committee decided in favor of the man with a grievance, they attempted to settle the matter with the company's agents. All these things failing, the dispute was transferred to a grand meeting of all the employees with the employers' representatives, in common council. A deadlock, if it ensued from such a conference, was broken by calling in impartial arbitrators selected by both sides from among citizens outside the mill. Thus the employees were given a voice in all decisions affecting their work and welfare; rights and grievances were treated as matters of mutual interest rather than individual concern. Representatives of trade unions from outside, however, were rigidly excluded from all negotiations between employers and the employees.
Profit-sharing.—Another proposal for drawing capital and labor together was to supplement the wage system by other ties. Sometimes lump sums were paid to employees who remained in a company's service for a definite period of years. Again they were given a certain percentage of the annual profits. In other instances, employees were allowed to buy stock on easy terms and thus become part owners in the concern. This last plan was carried so far by a large soap manufacturing company that the employees, besides becoming stockholders, secured the right to elect representatives to serve on the board of directors who managed the entire business. So extensive had profit-sharing become by 1914 that the Federal Industrial Relations Committee, appointed by the President, deemed it worthy of a special study. Though opposed by regular trade unions, it was undoubtedly growing in popularity.
Labor Managers and Welfare Work.—Another effort of employers to meet the problems of the new age appeared in the appointment of specialists, known as employment managers, whose task it was to study the relations existing between masters and workers and discover practical methods for dealing with each grievance as it arose. By 1918, hundreds of big companies had recognized this modern "profession" and universities were giving courses of instruction on the subject to young men and women. In that year a national conference of employment managers was held at Rochester, New York. The discussion revealed a wide range of duties assigned to managers, including questions of wages, hours, sanitation, rest rooms, recreational facilities, and welfare work of every kind designed to make the conditions in mills and factories safer and more humane. Thus it was evident that hundreds of employers had abandoned the old idea that they were dealing merely with individual employees and that their obligations ended with the payment of any wages they saw fit to fix. In short, they were seeking to develop a spirit of coöperation to take the place of competition and enmity; and to increase the production of commodities by promoting the efficiency and happiness of the producers.

The Rise and Growth of Organized Labor

The American Federation of Labor.—Meanwhile a powerful association of workers representing all the leading trades and crafts, organized into unions of their own, had been built up outside the control of employers. This was the American Federation of Labor, a nation-wide union of unions, founded in 1886 on the basis of beginnings made five years before. At the time of its establishment it had approximately 150,000 members. Its growth up to the end of the century was slow, for the total enrollment in 1900 was only 300,000. At that point the increase became marked. The membership reached 1,650,000 in 1904 and more than 3,000,000 in 1919. To be counted in the ranks of organized labor were several strong unions, friendly to the Federation, though not affiliated with it. Such, for example, were the Railway Brotherhoods with more than half a million members. By the opening of 1920 the total strength of organized labor was put at about 4,000,000 members, meaning, if we include their families, that nearly one-fifth of the people of the United States were in some positive way dependent upon the operations of trade unions.
Historical Background.—This was the culmination of a long and significant history. Before the end of the eighteenth century, the skilled workmen—printers, shoemakers, tailors, and carpenters—had, as we have seen, formed local unions in the large cities. Between 1830 and 1860, several aggressive steps were taken in the American labor movement. For one thing, the number of local unions increased by leaps and bounds in all the industrial towns. For another, there was established in every large manufacturing city a central labor body composed of delegates from the unions of the separate trades. In the local union the printers or the cordwainers, for example, considered only their special trade problems. In the central labor union, printers, cordwainers, iron molders, and other craftsmen considered common problems and learned to coöperate with one another in enforcing the demands of each craft. A third step was the federation of the unions of the same craftsmen in different cities. The printers of New York, Philadelphia, Boston, and other towns, for instance, drew together and formed a national trade union of printers built upon the local unions of that craft. By the eve of the Civil War there were four or five powerful national unions of this character. The expansion of the railway made travel and correspondence easier and national conventions possible even for workmen of small means. About 1834 an attempt was made to federate the unions of all the different crafts into a national organization; but the effort was premature.
The National Labor Union.—The plan which failed in 1834 was tried again in the sixties. During the war, industries and railways had flourished as never before; prices had risen rapidly; the demand for labor had increased; wages had mounted slowly, but steadily. Hundreds of new local unions had been founded and eight or ten national trade unions had sprung into being. The time was ripe, it seemed, for a national consolidation of all labor's forces; and in 1866, the year after the surrender of General Lee at Appomattox, the "National Labor Union" was formed at Baltimore under the leadership of an experienced organizer, W.H. Sylvis of the iron molders. The purpose of the National Labor Union was not merely to secure labor's standard demands touching hours, wages, and conditions of work or to maintain the gains already won. It leaned toward political action and radical opinions. Above all, it sought to eliminate the conflict between capital and labor by making workingmen the owners of shops through the formation of coöperative industries. For six years the National Labor Union continued to hold conferences and carry on its propaganda; but most of the coöperative enterprises failed, political dissensions arose, and by 1872 the experiment had come to an end.
The Knights of Labor.—While the National Labor Union was experimenting, there grew up in the industrial world a more radical organization known as the "Noble Order of the Knights of Labor." It was founded in Philadelphia in 1869, first as a secret society with rituals, signs, and pass words; "so that no spy of the boss can find his way into the lodge room to betray his fellows," as the Knights put it. In form the new organization was simple. It sought to bring all laborers, skilled and unskilled, men and women, white and colored, into a mighty body of local and national unions without distinction of trade or craft. By 1885, ten years after the national organization was established, it boasted a membership of over 700,000. In philosophy, the Knights of Labor were socialistic, for they advocated public ownership of the railways and other utilities and the formation of coöperative societies to own and manage stores and factories.
As the Knights were radical in spirit and their strikes, numerous and prolonged, were often accompanied by violence, the organization alarmed employers and the general public, raising up against itself a vigorous opposition. Weaknesses within, as well as foes from without, started the Knights on the path to dissolution. They waged more strikes than they could carry on successfully; their coöperative experiments failed as those of other labor groups before them had failed; and the rank and file could not be kept in line. The majority of the members wanted immediate gains in wages or the reduction of hours; when their hopes were not realized they drifted away from the order. The troubles were increased by the appearance of the American Federation of Labor, a still mightier organization composed mainly of skilled workers who held strategic positions in industry. When they failed to secure the effective support of the Federation in their efforts to organize the unskilled, the employers closed in upon them; then the Knights declined rapidly in power. By 1890 they were a negligible factor and in a short time they passed into the limbo of dead experiments.
The Policies of the American Federation.—Unlike the Knights of Labor, the American Federation of Labor sought, first of all, to be very practical in its objects and methods. It avoided all kinds of socialistic theories and attended strictly to the business of organizing unions for the purpose of increasing wages, shortening hours, and improving working conditions for its members. It did not try to include everybody in one big union but brought together the employees of each particular craft whose interests were clearly the same. To prepare for strikes and periods of unemployment, it raised large funds by imposing heavy dues and created a benefit system to hold men loyally to the union. In order to permit action on a national scale, it gave the superior officers extensive powers over local unions.
While declaring that employers and employees had much in common, the Federation strongly opposed company unions. Employers, it argued, were affiliated with the National Manufacturers' Association or with similar employers' organizations; every important industry was now national in scope; and wages and hours, in view of competition with other shops, could not be determined in a single factory, no matter how amicable might be the relations of the company and its workers in that particular plant. For these reasons, the Federation declared company unions and local shop committees inherently weak; it insisted that hours, wages, and other labor standards should be fixed by general trade agreements applicable to all the plants of a given industry, even if subject to local modifications.
At the same time, the Federation, far from deliberately antagonizing employers, sought to enlist their coöperation and support. It affiliated with the National Civic Federation, an association of business men, financiers, and professional men, founded in 1900 to promote friendly relations in the industrial world. In brief, the American Federation of Labor accepted the modern industrial system and, by organization within it, endeavored to secure certain definite terms and conditions for trade unionists.

The Wider Relations of Organized Labor

The Socialists.—The trade unionism "pure and simple," espoused by the American Federation of Labor, seemed to involve at first glance nothing but businesslike negotiations with employers. In practice it did not work out that way. The Federation was only six years old when a new organization, appealing directly for the labor vote—namely, the Socialist Labor Party—nominated a candidate for President, launched into a national campaign, and called upon trade unionists to desert the older parties and enter its fold.
The socialistic idea, introduced into national politics in 1892, had been long in germination. Before the Civil War, a number of reformers, including Nathaniel Hawthorne, Horace Greeley, and Wendell Phillips, deeply moved by the poverty of the great industrial cities, had earnestly sought relief in the establishment of coöperative or communistic colonies. They believed that people should go into the country, secure land and tools, own them in common so that no one could profit from exclusive ownership, and produce by common labor the food and clothing necessary for their support. For a time this movement attracted wide interest, but it had little vitality. Nearly all the colonies failed. Selfishness and indolence usually disrupted the best of them.
In the course of time this "Utopian" idea was abandoned, and another set of socialist doctrines, claiming to be more "scientific," appeared instead. The new school of socialists, adopting the principles of a German writer and agitator, Karl Marx, appealed directly to workingmen. It urged them to unite against the capitalists, to get possession of the machinery of government, and to introduce collective or public ownership of railways, land, mines, mills, and other means of production. The Marxian socialists, therefore, became political. They sought to organize labor and to win elections. Like the other parties they put forward candidates and platforms. The Socialist Labor party in 1892, for example, declared in favor of government ownership of utilities, free school books, woman suffrage, heavy income taxes, and the referendum. The Socialist party, founded in 1900, with Eugene V. Debs, the leader of the Pullman strike, as its candidate, called for public ownership of all trusts, monopolies, mines, railways; and the chief means of production. In the course of time the vote of the latter organization rose to considerable proportions, reaching almost a million in 1912. It declined four years later and then rose in 1920 to about the same figure.
In their appeal for votes, the socialists of every type turned first to labor. At the annual conventions of the American Federation of Labor they besought the delegates to endorse socialism. The president of the Federation, Samuel Gompers, on each occasion took the floor against them. He repudiated socialism and the socialists, on both theoretical and practical grounds. He opposed too much public ownership, declaring that the government was as likely as any private employer to oppress labor. The approval of socialism, he maintained, would split the Federation on the rock of politics, weaken it in its fight for higher wages and shorter hours, and prejudice the public against it. At every turn he was able to vanquish the socialists in the Federation, although he could not prevent it from endorsing public ownership of the railways at the convention of 1920.
The Extreme Radicals.—Some of the socialists, defeated in their efforts to capture organized labor and seeing that the gains in elections were very meager, broke away from both trade unionism and politics. One faction, the Industrial Workers of the World, founded in 1905, declared themselves opposed to all capitalists, the wages system, and craft unions. They asserted that the "working class and the employing class have nothing in common" and that trade unions only pitted one set of workers against another set. They repudiated all government ownership and the government itself, boldly proclaiming their intention to unite all employees into one big union and seize the railways, mines, and mills of the country. This doctrine, so revolutionary in tone, called down upon the extremists the condemnation of the American Federation of Labor as well as of the general public. At its convention in 1919, the Federation went on record as "opposed to Bolshevism, I.W.W.-ism, and the irresponsible leadership that encourages such a policy." It announced its "firm adherence to American ideals."
The Federation and Political Issues.—The hostility of the Federation to the socialists did not mean, however, that it was indifferent to political issues or political parties. On the contrary, from time to time, at its annual conventions, it endorsed political and social reforms, such as the initiative, referendum, and recall, the abolition of child labor, the exclusion of Oriental labor, old-age pensions, and government ownership. Moreover it adopted the policy of "rewarding friends and punishing enemies" by advising members to vote for or against candidates according to their stand on the demands of organized labor.

Samuel Gompers and Other Labor Leaders
Copyright by Underwood and Underwood, N.Y.
Samuel Gompers and Other Labor Leaders
This policy was pursued with especial zeal in connection with disputes over the use of injunctions in labor controversies. An injunction is a bill or writ issued by a judge ordering some person or corporation to do or to refrain from doing something. For example, a judge may order a trade union to refrain from interfering with non-union men or to continue at work handling goods made by non-union labor; and he may fine or imprison those who disobey his injunction, the penalty being inflicted for "contempt of court." This ancient legal device came into prominence in connection with nation-wide railway strikes in 1877. It was applied with increasing frequency after its effective use against Eugene V. Debs in the Pullman strike of 1894.
Aroused by the extensive use of the writ, organized labor demanded that the power of judges to issue injunctions in labor disputes be limited by law. Representatives of the unions sought support from the Democrats and the Republicans; they received from the former very specific and cordial endorsement. In 1896 the Democratic platform denounced "government by injunction as a new and highly dangerous form of oppression." Mr. Gompers, while refusing to commit the Federation to Democratic politics, privately supported Mr. Bryan. In 1908, he came out openly and boasted that eighty per cent of the votes of the Federation had been cast for the Democratic candidate. Again in 1912 the same policy was pursued. The reward was the enactment in 1914 of a federal law exempting trade unions from prosecution as combinations in restraint of trade, limiting the use of the injunction in labor disputes, and prescribing trial by jury in case of contempt of court. This measure was hailed by Mr. Gompers as the "Magna Carta of Labor" and a vindication of his policy. As a matter of fact, however, it did not prevent the continued use of injunctions against trade unions. Nevertheless Mr. Gompers was unshaken in his conviction that organized labor should not attempt to form an independent political party or endorse socialist or other radical economic theories.
Organized Labor and the Public.—Besides its relations to employers, radicals within its own ranks, and political questions, the Federation had to face responsibilities to the general public. With the passing of time these became heavy and grave. While industries were small and conflicts were local in character, a strike seldom affected anybody but the employer and the employees immediately involved in it. When, however, industries and trade unions became organized on a national scale and a strike could paralyze a basic enterprise like coal mining or railways, the vital interests of all citizens were put in jeopardy. Moreover, as increases in wages and reductions in hours often added directly to the cost of living, the action of the unions affected the well-being of all—the food, clothing, and shelter of the whole people.
For the purpose of meeting the issue raised by this state of affairs, it was suggested that employers and employees should lay their disputes before commissions of arbitration for decision and settlement. President Cleveland, in a message of April 2, 1886, proposed such a method for disposing of industrial controversies, and two years later Congress enacted a voluntary arbitration law applicable to the railways. The principle was extended in 1898 and again in 1913, and under the authority of the federal government many contentions in the railway world were settled by arbitration.
The success of such legislation induced some students of industrial questions to urge that unions and employers should be compelled to submit all disputes to official tribunals of arbitration. Kansas actually passed such a law in 1920. Congress in the Esch-Cummins railway bill of the same year created a federal board of nine members to which all railway controversies, not settled by negotiation, must be submitted. Strikes, however, were not absolutely forbidden. Generally speaking, both employers and employees opposed compulsory adjustments without offering any substitute in case voluntary arbitration should not be accepted by both parties to a dispute.

Immigration and Americanization

The Problems of Immigration.—From its very inception, the American Federation of Labor, like the Knights of Labor before it, was confronted by numerous questions raised by the ever swelling tide of aliens coming to our shores. In its effort to make each trade union all-inclusive, it had to wrestle with a score or more languages. When it succeeded in thoroughly organizing a craft, it often found its purposes defeated by an influx of foreigners ready to work for lower wages and thus undermine the foundations of the union.
At the same time, persons outside the labor movement began to be apprehensive as they contemplated the undoubted evil, as well as the good, that seemed to be associated with the "alien invasion." They saw whole sections of great cities occupied by people speaking foreign tongues, reading only foreign newspapers, and looking to the Old World alone for their ideas and their customs. They witnessed an expanding army of total illiterates, men and women who could read and write no language at all; while among those aliens who could read few there were who knew anything of American history, traditions, and ideals. Official reports revealed that over twenty per cent of the men of the draft army during the World War could not read a newspaper or write a letter home. Perhaps most alarming of all was the discovery that thousands of alien men are in the United States only on a temporary sojourn, solely to make money and return home with their savings. These men, willing to work for low wages and live in places unfit for human beings, have no stake in this country and do not care what becomes of it.
The Restriction of Immigration.—In all this there was, strictly speaking, no cause for surprise. Since the foundation of our republic the policy of the government had been to encourage the coming of the alien. For nearly one hundred years no restraining act was passed by Congress, while two important laws positively encouraged it; namely, the homestead act of 1862 and the contract immigration law of 1864. Not until American workingmen came into open collision with cheap Chinese labor on the Pacific Coast did the federal government spread the first measure of limitation on the statute books. After the discovery of gold, and particularly after the opening of the railway construction era, a horde of laborers from China descended upon California. Accustomed to starvation wages and indifferent to the conditions of living, they threatened to cut the American standard to the point of subsistence. By 1876 the protest of American labor was loud and long and both the Republicans and the Democrats gave heed to it. In 1882 Congress enacted a law prohibiting the admission of Chinese laborers to the United States for a term of ten years—later extended by legislation. In a little while the demand arose for the exclusion of the Japanese as well. In this case no exclusion law was passed; but an understanding was reached by which Japan agreed not to issue passports to her laborers authorizing them to come to the United States. By act of Congress in 1907 the President was empowered to exclude any laborers who, having passports to Canada, Hawaii, or Mexico, attempted to enter our country.
These laws and agreements, however, did not remove all grounds for the agitation of the subject. They were difficult to enforce and it was claimed by residents of the Coast that in spite of federal authority Oriental laborers were finding their way into American ports. Moreover, several Western states, anxious to preserve the soil for American ownership, enacted laws making it impossible for Chinese and Japanese to buy land outright; and in other ways they discriminated against Orientals. Such proceedings placed the federal government in an embarrassing position. By treaty it had guaranteed specific rights to Japanese citizens in the United States, and the government at Tokyo contended that the state laws just cited violated the terms of the international agreement. The Western states were fixed in their determination to control Oriental residents; Japan was equally persistent in asking that no badge of inferiority be attached to her citizens. Subjected to pressure on both sides, the federal government sought a way out of the deadlock.
Having embarked upon the policy of restriction in 1882, Congress readily extended it. In that same year it barred paupers, criminals, convicts, and the insane. Three years later, mainly owing to the pressure of the Knights of Labor, it forbade any person, company, or association to import aliens under contract. By an act of 1887, the contract labor restriction was made even more severe. In 1903, anarchists were excluded and the bureau of immigration was transferred from the Treasury Department to the Department of Commerce and Labor, in order to provide for a more rigid execution of the law. In 1907 the classes of persons denied admission were widened to embrace those suffering from physical and mental defects and otherwise unfit for effective citizenship. When the Department of Labor was established in 1913 the enforcement of the law was placed in the hands of the Secretary of Labor, W.B. Wilson, who was a former leader in the American Federation of Labor.
The Literacy Test.—Still the advocates of restriction were not satisfied. Still organized labor protested and demanded more protection against the competition of immigrants. In 1917 it won a thirty-year battle in the passage of a bill excluding "all aliens over sixteen years of age, physically capable of reading, who cannot read the English language or some other language or dialect, including Hebrew or Yiddish." Even President Wilson could not block it, for a two-thirds vote to overcome his veto was mustered in Congress.
This act, while it served to exclude illiterates, made no drastic cut in the volume of immigration. Indeed a material reduction was resolutely opposed in many quarters. People of certain nationalities already in the United States objected to every barrier that shut out their own kinsmen. Some Americans of the old stock still held to the idea that the United States should continue to be an asylum for "the oppressed of the earth." Many employers looked upon an increased labor supply as the means of escaping what they called "the domination of trade unions." In the babel of countless voices, the discussion of these vital matters went on in town and country.
Americanization.—Intimately connected with the subject of immigration was a call for the "Americanization" of the alien already within our gates. The revelation of the illiteracy in the army raised the cry and the demand was intensified when it was found that many of the leaders among the extreme radicals were foreign in birth and citizenship. Innumerable programs for assimilating the alien to American life were drawn up, and in 1919 a national conference on the subject was held in Washington under the auspices of the Department of the Interior. All were agreed that the foreigner should be taught to speak and write the language and understand the government of our country. Congress was urged to lend aid in this vast undertaking. America, as ex-President Roosevelt had said, was to find out "whether it was a nation or a boarding-house."
General References
J.R. Commons and Associates, History of Labor in the United States (2 vols.).
Samuel Gompers, Labor and the Common Welfare.
W.E. Walling, Socialism as It Is.
W.E. Walling (and Others), The Socialism of Today.
R.T. Ely, The Labor Movement in America.
T.S. Adams and H. Sumner, Labor Problems.
J.G. Brooks, American Syndicalism and Social Unrest.
P.F. Hall, Immigration and Its Effects on the United States.

Research Topics

The Rise of Trade Unionism.—Mary Beard, Short History of the American Labor Movement, pp. 10-18, 47-53, 62-79; Carlton, Organized Labor in American History, pp. 11-44.
Labor and Politics.—Beard, Short History, pp. 33-46, 54-61, 103-112; Carlton, pp. 169-197; Ogg, National Progress (American Nation Series), pp. 76-85.
The Knights of Labor.—Beard, Short History, pp. 116-126; Dewey, National Problems (American Nation Series), pp. 40-49.
The American Federation of Labor—Organization and Policies.—Beard, Short History, pp. 86-112.
Organized Labor and the Socialists.—Beard, Short History, pp. 126-149.
Labor and the Great War.—Carlton, pp. 282-306; Beard, Short History, pp. 150-170.


1. What are the striking features of the new economic age?
2. Give Mr. Rockefeller's view of industrial democracy.
3. Outline the efforts made by employers to establish closer relations with their employees.
4. Sketch the rise and growth of the American Federation of Labor.
5. How far back in our history does the labor movement extend?
6. Describe the purposes and outcome of the National Labor Union and the Knights of Labor.
7. State the chief policies of the American Federation of Labor.
8. How does organized labor become involved with outside forces?
9. Outline the rise of the socialist movement. How did it come into contact with the American Federation?
10. What was the relation of the Federation to the extreme radicals? To national politics? To the public?
11. Explain the injunction.
12. Why are labor and immigration closely related?
13. Outline the history of restrictions on immigration.
14. What problems arise in connection with the assimilation of the alien to American life?



"The welfare, the happiness, the energy, and the spirit of the men and women who do the daily work in our mines and factories, on our railroads, in our offices and ports of trade, on our farms, and on the sea are the underlying necessity of all prosperity." Thus spoke Woodrow Wilson during his campaign for election. In this spirit, as President, he gave the signal for work by summoning Congress in a special session on April 7, 1913. He invited the coöperation of all "forward-looking men" and indicated that he would assume the rôle of leadership. As an evidence of his resolve, he appeared before Congress in person to read his first message, reviving the old custom of Washington and Adams. Then he let it be known that he would not give his party any rest until it fulfilled its pledges to the country. When Democratic Senators balked at tariff reductions, they were sharply informed that the party had plighted its word and that no excuses or delays would be tolerated.

Domestic Legislation

Financial Measures.—Under this spirited leadership Congress went to work, passing first the Underwood tariff act of 1913, which made a downward revision in the rates of duty, fixing them on the average about twenty-six per cent lower than the figures of 1907. The protective principle was retained, but an effort was made to permit a moderate element of foreign competition. As a part of the revenue act Congress levied a tax on incomes as authorized by the sixteenth amendment to the Constitution. The tax which roused such party passions twenty years before was now accepted as a matter of course.
Having disposed of the tariff, Congress took up the old and vexatious currency question and offered a new solution in the form of the federal reserve law of December, 1913. This measure, one of the most interesting in the history of federal finance, embraced four leading features. In the first place, it continued the prohibition on the issuance of notes by state banks and provided for a national currency. In the second place, it put the new banking system under the control of a federal reserve board composed entirely of government officials. To prevent the growth of a "central money power," it provided, in the third place, for the creation of twelve federal reserve banks, one in each of twelve great districts into which the country is divided. All local national banks were required and certain other banks permitted to become members of the new system and share in its control. Finally, with a view to expanding the currency, a step which the Democrats had long urged upon the country, the issuance of paper money, under definite safeguards, was authorized.
Mindful of the agricultural interest, ever dear to the heart of Jefferson's followers, the Democrats supplemented the reserve law by the Farm Loan Act of 1916, creating federal agencies to lend money on farm mortgages at moderate rates of interest. Within a year $20,000,000 had been lent to farmers, the heaviest borrowing being in nine Western and Southern states, with Texas in the lead.
Anti-trust Legislation.—The tariff and currency laws were followed by three significant measures relative to trusts. Rejecting utterly the Progressive doctrine of government regulation, President Wilson announced that it was the purpose of the Democrats "to destroy monopoly and maintain competition as the only effective instrument of business liberty." The first step in this direction, the Clayton Anti-trust Act, carried into great detail the Sherman law of 1890 forbidding and penalizing combinations in restraint of interstate and foreign trade. In every line it revealed a determined effort to tear apart the great trusts and to put all business on a competitive basis. Its terms were reinforced in the same year by a law creating a Federal Trade Commission empowered to inquire into the methods of corporations and lodge complaints against concerns "using any unfair method of competition." In only one respect was the severity of the Democratic policy relaxed. An act of 1918 provided that the Sherman law should not apply to companies engaged in export trade, the purpose being to encourage large corporations to enter foreign commerce.
The effect of this whole body of anti-trust legislation, in spite of much labor on it, remained problematical. Very few combinations were dissolved as a result of it. Startling investigations were made into alleged abuses on the part of trusts; but it could hardly be said that huge business concerns had lost any of their predominance in American industry.
Labor Legislation.—By no mere coincidence, the Clayton Anti-trust law of 1914 made many concessions to organized labor. It declared that "the labor of a human being is not a commodity or an article of commerce," and it exempted unions from prosecution as "combinations in restraint of trade." It likewise defined and limited the uses which the federal courts might make of injunctions in labor disputes and guaranteed trial by jury to those guilty of disobedience (see p. 581).
The Clayton law was followed the next year by the Seamen's Act giving greater liberty of contract to American sailors and requiring an improvement of living conditions on shipboard. This was such a drastic law that shipowners declared themselves unable to meet foreign competition under its terms, owing to the low labor standards of other countries.
Still more extraordinary than the Seamen's Act was the Adamson law of 1916 fixing a standard eight-hour work-day for trainmen on railroads—a measure wrung from Congress under a threat of a great strike by the four Railway Brotherhoods. This act, viewed by union leaders as a triumph, called forth a bitter denunciation of "trade union domination," but it was easier to criticize than to find another solution of the problem.
Three other laws enacted during President Wilson's administration were popular in the labor world. One of them provided compensation for federal employees injured in the discharge of their duties. Another prohibited the labor of children under a certain age in the industries of the nation. A third prescribed for coal miners in Alaska an eight-hour day and modern safeguards for life and health. There were positive proofs that organized labor had obtained a large share of power in the councils of the country.
Federal and State Relations.—If the interference of the government with business and labor represented a departure from the old idea of "the less government the better," what can be said of a large body of laws affecting the rights of states? The prohibition of child labor everywhere was one indication of the new tendency. Mr. Wilson had once declared such legislation unconstitutional; the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional; but Congress, undaunted, carried it into effect under the guise of a tax on goods made by children below the age limit. There were other indications of the drift. Large sums of money were appropriated by Congress in 1916 to assist the states in building and maintaining highways. The same year the Farm Loan Act projected the federal government into the sphere of local money lending. In 1917 millions of dollars were granted to states in aid of vocational education, incidentally imposing uniform standards throughout the country. Evidently the government was no longer limited to the duties of the policeman.
The Prohibition Amendment.—A still more significant form of intervention in state affairs was the passage, in December, 1917, of an amendment to the federal Constitution establishing national prohibition of the manufacture and sale of intoxicating liquors as beverages. This was the climax of a historical movement extending over half a century. In 1872, a National Prohibition party, launched three years before, nominated its first presidential candidate and inaugurated a campaign of agitation. Though its vote was never large, the cause for which it stood found increasing favor among the people. State after state by popular referendum abolished the liquor traffic within its borders. By 1917 at least thirty-two of the forty-eight were "dry." When the federal amendment was submitted for approval, the ratification was surprisingly swift. In a little more than a year, namely, on January 16, 1919, it was proclaimed. Twelve months later the amendment went into effect.

Colonial and Foreign Policies

The Philippines and Porto Rico.—Independence for the Philippines and larger self-government for Porto Rico had been among the policies of the Democratic party since the campaign of 1900. President Wilson in his annual messages urged upon Congress more autonomy for the Filipinos and a definite promise of final independence. The result was the Jones Organic Act for the Philippines passed in 1916. This measure provided that the upper as well as the lower house of the Philippine legislature should be elected by popular vote, and declared it to be the intention of the United States to grant independence "as soon as a stable government can be established." This, said President Wilson on signing the bill, is "a very satisfactory advance in our policy of extending to them self-government and control of their own affairs." The following year Congress, yielding to President Wilson's insistence, passed a new organic act for Porto Rico, making both houses of the legislature elective and conferring American citizenship upon the inhabitants of the island.

The Caribbean Region
The Caribbean Region
American Power in the Caribbean.—While extending more self-government to its dominions, the United States enlarged its sphere of influence in the Caribbean. The supervision of finances in Santo Domingo, inaugurated in Roosevelt's administration, was transformed into a protectorate under Wilson. In 1914 dissensions in the republic led to the landing of American marines to "supervise" the elections. Two years later, an officer in the American navy, with authority from Washington, placed the entire republic "in a state of military occupation." He proceeded to suspend the government and laws of the country, exile the president, suppress the congress, and substitute American military authority. In 1919 a consulting board of four prominent Dominicans was appointed to aid the American military governor; but it resigned the next year after making a plea for the restoration of independence to the republic. For all practical purposes, it seemed, the sovereignty of Santo Domingo had been transferred to the United States.
In the neighboring republic of Haiti, a similar state of affairs existed. In the summer of 1915 a revolution broke out there—one of a long series beginning in 1804—and our marines were landed to restore order. Elections were held under the supervision of American officers, and a treaty was drawn up placing the management of Haitian finances and the local constabulary under American authority. In taking this action, our Secretary of State was careful to announce: "The United States government has no purpose of aggression and is entirely disinterested in promoting this protectorate." Still it must be said that there were vigorous protests on the part of natives and American citizens against the conduct of our agents in the island. In 1921 President Wilson was considering withdrawal.
In line with American policy in the West Indian waters was the purchase in 1917 of the Danish Islands just off the coast of Porto Rico. The strategic position of the islands, especially in relation to Haiti and Porto Rico, made them an object of American concern as early as 1867, when a treaty of purchase was negotiated only to be rejected by the Senate of the United States. In 1902 a second arrangement was made, but this time it was defeated by the upper house of the Danish parliament. The third treaty brought an end to fifty years of bargaining and the Stars and Stripes were raised over St. Croix, St. Thomas, St. John, and numerous minor islands scattered about in the neighborhood. "It would be suicidal," commented a New York newspaper, "for America, on the threshold of a great commercial expansion in South America, to suffer a Heligoland, or a Gibraltar, or an Aden to be erected by her rivals at the mouth of her Suez." On the mainland American power was strengthened by the establishment of a protectorate over Nicaragua in 1916.
Mexican Relations.—The extension of American enterprise southward into Latin America, of which the operations in the Caribbean regions were merely one phase, naturally carried Americans into Mexico to develop the natural resources of that country. Under the iron rule of General Porfirio Diaz, established in 1876 and maintained with only a short break until 1911, Mexico had become increasingly attractive to our business men. On the invitation of President Diaz, they had invested huge sums in Mexican lands, oil fields, and mines, and had laid the foundations of a new industrial order. The severe régime instituted by Diaz, however, stirred popular discontent. The peons, or serfs, demanded the break-up of the great estates, some of which had come down from the days of Cortez. Their clamor for "the restoration of the land to the people could not be silenced." In 1911 Diaz was forced to resign and left the country.
Mexico now slid down the path to disorder. Revolutions and civil commotions followed in swift succession. A liberal president, Madero, installed as the successor to Diaz, was deposed in 1913 and brutally murdered. Huerta, a military adventurer, hailed for a time as another "strong man," succeeded Madero whose murder he was accused of instigating. Although Great Britain and nearly all the powers of Europe accepted the new government as lawful, the United States steadily withheld recognition. In the meantime Mexico was torn by insurrections under the leadership of Carranza, a friend of Madero, Villa, a bandit of generous pretensions, and Zapata, a radical leader of the peons. Without the support of the United States, Huerta was doomed.
In the summer of 1914, the dictator resigned and fled from the capital, leaving the field to Carranza. For six years the new president, recognized by the United States, held a precarious position which he vigorously strove to strengthen against various revolutionary movements. At length in 1920, he too was deposed and murdered, and another military chieftain, Obregon, installed in power.
These events right at our door could not fail to involve the government of the United States. In the disorders many American citizens lost their lives. American property was destroyed and land owned by Americans was confiscated. A new Mexican constitution, in effect nationalizing the natural resources of the country, struck at the rights of foreign investors. Moreover the Mexican border was in constant turmoil. Even in the last days of his administration, Mr. Taft felt compelled to issue a solemn warning to the Mexican government protesting against the violation of American rights.
President Wilson, soon after his inauguration, sent a commissioner to Mexico to inquire into the situation. Although he declared a general policy of "watchful waiting," he twice came to blows with Mexican forces. In 1914 some American sailors at Tampico were arrested by a Mexican officer; the Mexican government, although it immediately released the men, refused to make the required apology for the incident. As a result President Wilson ordered the landing of American forces at Vera Cruz and the occupation of the city. A clash of arms followed in which several Americans were killed. War seemed inevitable, but at this juncture the governments of Argentina, Brazil, and Chile tendered their good offices as mediators. After a few weeks of negotiation, during which Huerta was forced out of power, American forces were withdrawn from Vera Cruz and the incident closed.
In 1916 a second break in amicable relations occurred. In the spring of that year a band of Villa's men raided the town of Columbus, New Mexico, killing several citizens and committing robberies. A punitive expedition under the command of General Pershing was quickly sent out to capture the offenders. Against the protests of President Carranza, American forces penetrated deeply into Mexico without effecting the object of the undertaking. This operation lasted until January, 1917, when the imminence of war with Germany led to the withdrawal of the American soldiers. Friendly relations were resumed with the Mexican government and the policy of "watchful waiting" was continued.

The United States and the European War

The Outbreak of the War.—In the opening days of August, 1914, the age-long jealousies of European nations, sharpened by new imperial ambitions, broke out in another general conflict such as had shaken the world in the days of Napoleon. On June 28, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne was assassinated at Serajevo, the capital of Bosnia, an Austrian province occupied mainly by Serbs. With a view to stopping Serbian agitation for independence, Austria-Hungary laid the blame for this incident on the government of Serbia and made humiliating demands on that country. Germany at once proposed that the issue should be regarded as "an affair which should be settled solely between Austria-Hungary and Serbia"; meaning that the small nation should be left to the tender mercies of a great power. Russia refused to take this view. Great Britain proposed a settlement by mediation. Germany backed up Austria to the limit. To use the language of the German authorities: "We were perfectly aware that a possible warlike attitude of Austria-Hungary against Serbia might bring Russia upon the field and that it might therefore involve us in a war, in accordance with our duties as allies. We could not, however, in these vital interests of Austria-Hungary which were at stake, advise our ally to take a yielding attitude not compatible with his dignity nor deny him our assistance." That made the war inevitable.
Every day of the fateful August, 1914, was crowded with momentous events. On the 1st, Germany declared war on Russia. On the 2d, the Germans invaded the little duchy of Luxemburg and notified the King of Belgium that they were preparing to violate the neutrality of his realm on their way to Paris. On the same day, Great Britain, anxiously besought by the French government, promised the aid of the British navy if German warships made hostile demonstrations in the Channel. August 3d, the German government declared war on France. The following day, Great Britain demanded of Germany respect for Belgian neutrality and, failing to receive the guarantee, broke off diplomatic relations. On the 5th, the British prime minister announced that war had opened between England and Germany. The storm now broke in all its pitiless fury.
The State of American Opinion.—Although President Wilson promptly proclaimed the neutrality of the United States, the sympathies of a large majority of the American people were without doubt on the side of Great Britain and France. To them the invasion of the little kingdom of Belgium and the horrors that accompanied German occupation were odious in the extreme. Moreover, they regarded the German imperial government as an autocratic power wielded in the interest of an ambitious military party. The Kaiser, William II, and the Crown Prince were the symbols of royal arrogance. On the other hand, many Americans of German descent, in memory of their ties with the Fatherland, openly sympathized with the Central Powers; and many Americans of Irish descent, recalling their long and bitter struggle for home rule in Ireland, would have regarded British defeat as a merited redress of ancient grievances.
Extremely sensitive to American opinion, but ill informed about it, the German government soon began systematic efforts to present its cause to the people of the United States in the most favorable light possible. Dr. Bernhard Dernburg, the former colonial secretary of the German empire, was sent to America as a special agent. For months he filled the newspapers, magazines, and periodicals with interviews, articles, and notes on the justice of the Teutonic cause. From a press bureau in New York flowed a stream of pamphlets, leaflets, and cartoons. A magazine, "The Fatherland," was founded to secure "fair play for Germany and Austria." Several professors in American universities, who had received their training in Germany, took up the pen in defense of the Central Empires. The German language press, without exception it seems, the National German Alliance, minor German societies, and Lutheran churches came to the support of the German cause. Even the English language papers, though generally favorable to the Entente Allies, opened their columns in the interest of equal justice to the spokesmen for all the contending powers of Europe.
Before two weeks had elapsed the controversy had become so intense that President Wilson (August 18, 1914) was moved to caution his countrymen against falling into angry disputes. "Every man," he said, "who really loves America will act and speak in the true spirit of neutrality which is the spirit of impartiality and fairness and friendliness to all concerned.... We must be impartial in thought as well as in action, must put a curb upon our sentiments as well as upon every transaction that might be construed as a preference of one party to the struggle before another."
The Clash over American Trade.—As in the time of the Napoleonic wars, the conflict in Europe raised fundamental questions respecting rights of Americans trading with countries at peace as well as those at war. On this point there existed on August 1, 1914, a fairly definite body of principles by which nations were bound. Among them the following were of vital significance. In the first place, it was recognized that an enemy merchant ship caught on the high seas was a legitimate prize of war which might be seized and confiscated. In the second place, it was agreed that "contraband of war" found on an enemy or neutral ship was a lawful prize; any ship suspected of carrying it was liable to search and if caught with forbidden goods was subject to seizure. In the third place, international law prescribed that a peaceful merchant ship, whether belonging to an enemy or to a neutral country, should not be destroyed or sunk without provision for the safety of crew and passengers. In the fourth place, it was understood that a belligerent had the right, if it could, to blockade the ports of an enemy and prevent the ingress and egress of all ships; but such a blockade, to be lawful, had to be effective.
These general principles left undetermined two important matters: "What is an effective blockade?" and "What is contraband of war?" The task of answering these questions fell to Great Britain as mistress of the seas. Although the German submarines made it impossible for her battleships to maintain a continuous patrol of the waters in front of blockaded ports, she declared the blockade to be none the less "effective" because her navy was supreme. As to contraband of war Great Britain put such a broad interpretation upon the term as to include nearly every important article of commerce. Early in 1915 she declared even cargoes of grain and flour to be contraband, defending the action on the ground that the German government had recently taken possession of all domestic stocks of corn, wheat, and flour.
A new question arose in connection with American trade with the neutral countries surrounding Germany. Great Britain early began to intercept ships carrying oil, gasoline, and copper—all war materials of prime importance—on the ground that they either were destined ultimately to Germany or would release goods for sale to Germans. On November 2, 1914, the English government announced that the Germans wore sowing mines in open waters and that therefore the whole of the North Sea was a military zone. Ships bound for Denmark, Norway, and Sweden were ordered to come by the English Channel for inspection and sailing directions. In effect, Americans were now licensed by Great Britain to trade in certain commodities and in certain amounts with neutral countries.
Against these extraordinary measures, the State Department at Washington lodged pointed objections, saying: "This government is reluctantly forced to the conclusion that the present policy of His Majesty's government toward neutral ships and cargoes exceeds the manifest necessity of a belligerent and constitutes restrictions upon the rights of American citizens on the high seas, which are not justified by the rules of international law or required under the principle of self-preservation."
Germany Begins the Submarine Campaign.—Germany now announced that, on and after February 18, 1915, the whole of the English Channel and the waters around Great Britain would be deemed a war zone and that every enemy ship found therein would be destroyed. The German decree added that, as the British admiralty had ordered the use of neutral flags by English ships in time of distress, neutral vessels would be in danger of destruction if found in the forbidden area. It was clear that Germany intended to employ submarines to destroy shipping. A new factor was thus introduced into naval warfare, one not provided for in the accepted laws of war. A warship overhauling a merchant vessel could easily take its crew and passengers on board for safe keeping as prescribed by international law; but a submarine ordinarily could do nothing of the sort. Of necessity the lives and the ships of neutrals, as well as of belligerents, were put in mortal peril. This amazing conduct Germany justified on the ground that it was mere retaliation against Great Britain for her violations of international law.
The response of the United States to the ominous German order was swift and direct. On February 10, 1915, it warned Germany that if her commanders destroyed American lives and ships in obedience to that decree, the action would "be very hard indeed to reconcile with the friendly relations happily subsisting between the two governments." The American note added that the German imperial government would be held to "strict accountability" and all necessary steps would be taken to safeguard American lives and American rights. This was firm and clear language, but the only response which it evoked from Germany was a suggestion that, if Great Britain would allow food supplies to pass through the blockade, the submarine campaign would be dropped.
Violations of American Rights.—Meanwhile Germany continued to ravage shipping on the high seas. On January 28, a German raider sank the American ship, William P. Frye, in the South Atlantic; on March 28, a British ship, the Falaba, was sunk by a submarine and many on board, including an American citizen, were killed; and on April 28, a German airplane dropped bombs on the American steamer Cushing. On the morning of May 1, 1915, Americans were astounded to see in the newspapers an advertisement, signed by the German Imperial Embassy, warning travelers of the dangers in the war zone and notifying them that any who ventured on British ships into that area did so at their own risk. On that day, the Lusitania, a British steamer, sailed from New York for Liverpool. On May 7, without warning, the ship was struck by two torpedoes and in a few minutes went down by the bow, carrying to death 1153 persons including 114 American men, women, and children. A cry of horror ran through the country. The German papers in America and a few American people argued that American citizens had been duly warned of the danger and had deliberately taken their lives into their own hands; but the terrible deed was almost universally condemned by public opinion.
The Lusitania Notes.—On May 14, the Department of State at Washington made public the first of three famous notes on the Lusitania case. It solemnly informed the German government that "no warning that an unlawful and inhumane act will be committed can possibly be accepted as an excuse or palliation for that act or as an abatement of the responsibility for its commission." It called upon the German government to disavow the act, make reparation as far as possible, and take steps to prevent "the recurrence of anything so obviously subversive of the principles of warfare." The note closed with a clear caution to Germany that the government of the United States would not "omit any word or any act necessary to the performance of its sacred duty of maintaining the rights of the United States and its citizens and of safeguarding their free exercise and enjoyment." The die was cast; but Germany in reply merely temporized.
In a second note, made public on June 11, the position of the United States was again affirmed. William Jennings Bryan, the Secretary of State, had resigned because the drift of President Wilson's policy was not toward mediation but the strict maintenance of American rights, if need be, by force of arms. The German reply was still evasive and German naval commanders continued their course of sinking merchant ships. In a third and final note of July 21, 1915, President Wilson made it clear to Germany that he meant what he said when he wrote that he would maintain the rights of American citizens. Finally after much discussion and shifting about, the German ambassador on September 1, 1915, sent a brief note to the Secretary of State: "Liners will not be sunk by our submarines without warning and without safety of the lives of non-combatants, provided the liners do not try to escape or offer resistance." Editorially, the New York Times declared: "It is a triumph not only of diplomacy but of reason, of humanity, of justice, and of truth." The Secretary of State saw in it "a recognition of the fundamental principles for which we have contended."
The Presidential Election of 1916.—In the midst of this crisis came the presidential campaign. On the Republican side everything seemed to depend upon the action of the Progressives. If the breach created in 1912 could be closed, victory was possible; if not, defeat was certain. A promise of unity lay in the fact that the conventions of the Republicans and Progressives were held simultaneously in Chicago. The friends of Roosevelt hoped that both parties would select him as their candidate; but this hope was not realized. The Republicans chose, and the Progressives accepted, Charles E. Hughes, an associate justice of the federal Supreme Court who, as governor of New York, had won a national reputation by waging war on "machine politicians."
In the face of the clamor for expressions of sympathy with one or the other of the contending powers of Europe, the Republicans chose a middle course, declaring that they would uphold all American rights "at home and abroad, by land and by sea." This sentiment Mr. Hughes echoed in his acceptance speech. By some it was interpreted to mean a firmer policy in dealing with Great Britain; by others, a more vigorous handling of the submarine menace. The Democrats, on their side, renominated President Wilson by acclamation, reviewed with pride the legislative achievements of the party, and commended "the splendid diplomatic victories of our great President who has preserved the vital interests of our government and its citizens and kept us out of war."
In the election which ensued President Wilson's popular vote exceeded that cast for Mr. Hughes by more than half a million, while his electoral vote stood 277 to 254. The result was regarded, and not without warrant, as a great personal triumph for the President. He had received the largest vote yet cast for a presidential candidate. The Progressive party practically disappeared, and the Socialists suffered a severe set-back, falling far behind the vote of 1912.
President Wilson Urges Peace upon the Warring Nations.—Apparently convinced that his pacific policies had been profoundly approved by his countrymen, President Wilson, soon after the election, addressed "peace notes" to the European belligerents. On December 16, the German Emperor proposed to the Allied Powers that they enter into peace negotiations, a suggestion that was treated as a mere political maneuver by the opposing governments. Two days later President Wilson sent a note to the warring nations asking them to avow "the terms upon which war might be concluded." To these notes the Central Powers replied that they were ready to meet their antagonists in a peace conference; and Allied Powers answered by presenting certain conditions precedent to a satisfactory settlement. On January 22, 1917, President Wilson in an address before the Senate, declared it to be a duty of the United States to take part in the establishment of a stable peace on the basis of certain principles. These were, in short: "peace without victory"; the right of nationalities to freedom and self-government; the independence of Poland; freedom of the seas; the reduction of armaments; and the abolition of entangling alliances. The whole world was discussing the President's remarkable message, when it was dumbfounded to hear, on January 31, that the German ambassador at Washington had announced the official renewal of ruthless submarine warfare.

The United States at War

Steps toward War.—Three days after the receipt of the news that the German government intended to return to its former submarine policy, President Wilson severed diplomatic relations with the German empire. At the same time he explained to Congress that he desired no conflict with Germany and would await an "overt act" before taking further steps to preserve American rights. "God grant," he concluded, "that we may not be challenged to defend them by acts of willful injustice on the part of the government of Germany." Yet the challenge came. Between February 26 and April 2, six American merchant vessels were torpedoed, in most cases without any warning and without regard to the loss of American lives. President Wilson therefore called upon Congress to answer the German menace. The reply of Congress on April 6 was a resolution, passed with only a few dissenting votes, declaring the existence of a state of war with Germany. Austria-Hungary at once severed diplomatic relations with the United States; but it was not until December 7 that Congress, acting on the President's advice, declared war also on that "vassal of the German government."
American War Aims.—In many addresses at the beginning and during the course of the war, President Wilson stated the purposes which actuated our government in taking up arms. He first made it clear that it was a war of self-defense. "The military masters of Germany," he exclaimed, "denied us the right to be neutral." Proof of that lay on every hand. Agents of the German imperial government had destroyed American lives and American property on the high seas. They had filled our communities with spies. They had planted bombs in ships and munition works. They had fomented divisions among American citizens.
Though assailed in many ways and compelled to resort to war, the United States sought no material rewards. "The world must be made safe for democracy. Its peace must be planted upon the tested foundations of political liberty. We have no selfish ends to serve. We desire no conquest, no dominion. We seek no indemnities for ourselves."
In a very remarkable message read to Congress on January 8, 1918, President Wilson laid down his famous "fourteen points" summarizing the ideals for which we were fighting. They included open treaties of peace, openly arrived at; absolute freedom of navigation upon the seas; the removal, as far as possible, of trade barriers among nations; reduction of armaments; adjustment of colonial claims in the interest of the populations concerned; fair and friendly treatment of Russia; the restoration of Belgium; righting the wrong done to France in 1871 in the matter of Alsace-Lorraine; adjustment of Italian frontiers along the lines of nationality; more liberty for the peoples of Austria-Hungary; the restoration of Serbia and Rumania; the readjustment of the Turkish Empire; an independent Poland; and an association of nations to afford mutual guarantees to all states great and small. On a later occasion President Wilson elaborated the last point, namely, the formation of a league of nations to guarantee peace and establish justice among the powers of the world. Democracy, the right of nations to determine their own fate, a covenant of enduring peace—these were the ideals for which the American people were to pour out their blood and treasure.
The Selective Draft.—The World War became a war of nations. The powers against which we were arrayed had every able-bodied man in service and all their resources, human and material, thrown into the scale. For this reason, President Wilson summoned the whole people of the United States to make every sacrifice necessary for victory. Congress by law decreed that the national army should be chosen from all male citizens and males not enemy aliens who had declared their intention of becoming citizens. By the first act of May 18, 1917, it fixed the age limits at twenty-one to thirty-one inclusive. Later, in August, 1918, it extended them to eighteen and forty-five. From the men of the first group so enrolled were chosen by lot the soldiers for the World War who, with the regular army and the national guard, formed the American Expeditionary Force upholding the American cause on the battlefields of Europe. "The whole nation," said the President, "must be a team in which each man shall play the part for which he is best fitted."
Liberty Loans and Taxes.—In order that the military and naval forces should be stinted in no respect, the nation was called upon to place its financial resources at the service of the government. Some urged the "conscription of wealth as well as men," meaning the support of the war out of taxes upon great fortunes; but more conservative counsels prevailed. Four great Liberty Loans were floated, all the agencies of modern publicity being employed to enlist popular interest. The first loan had four and a half million subscribers; the fourth more than twenty million. Combined with loans were heavy taxes. A progressive tax was laid upon incomes beginning with four per cent on incomes in the lower ranges and rising to sixty-three per cent of that part of any income above $2,000,000. A progressive tax was levied upon inheritances. An excess profits tax was laid upon all corporations and partnerships, rising in amount to sixty per cent of the net income in excess of thirty-three per cent on the invested capital. "This," said a distinguished economist, "is the high-water mark in the history of taxation. Never before in the annals of civilization has an attempt been made to take as much as two-thirds of a man's income by taxation."
Mobilizing Material Resources.—No stone was left unturned to provide the arms, munitions, supplies, and transportation required in the gigantic undertaking. Between the declaration of war and the armistice, Congress enacted law after law relative to food supplies, raw materials, railways, mines, ships, forests, and industrial enterprises. No power over the lives and property of citizens, deemed necessary to the prosecution of the armed conflict, was withheld from the government. The farmer's wheat, the housewife's sugar, coal at the mines, labor in the factories, ships at the wharves, trade with friendly countries, the railways, banks, stores, private fortunes—all were mobilized and laid under whatever obligations the government deemed imperative. Never was a nation more completely devoted to a single cause.
A law of August 10, 1917, gave the President power to fix the prices of wheat and coal and to take almost any steps necessary to prevent monopoly and excessive prices. By a series of measures, enlarging the principles of the shipping act of 1916, ships and shipyards were brought under public control and the government was empowered to embark upon a great ship-building program. In December, 1917, the government assumed for the period of the war the operation of the railways under a presidential proclamation which was elaborated in March, 1918, by act of Congress. In the summer of 1918 the express, telephone, and telegraph business of the entire country passed under government control. By war risk insurance acts allowances were made for the families of enlisted men, compensation for injuries was provided, death benefits were instituted, and a system of national insurance was established in the interest of the men in service. Never before in the history of the country had the government taken such a wise and humane view of its obligations to those who served on the field of battle or on the seas.
The Espionage and Sedition Acts.—By the Espionage law of June 15, 1917, and the amending law, known as the Sedition act, passed in May of the following year, the government was given a drastic power over the expression of opinion. The first measure penalized those who conveyed information to a foreign country to be used to the injury of the United States; those who made false statements designed to interfere with the military or naval forces of the United States; those who attempted to stir up insubordination or disloyalty in the army and navy; and those who willfully obstructed enlistment. The Sedition act was still more severe and sweeping in its terms. It imposed heavy penalties upon any person who used "abusive language about the government or institutions of the country." It authorized the dismissal of any officer of the government who committed "disloyal acts" or uttered "disloyal language," and empowered the Postmaster General to close the mails to persons violating the law. This measure, prepared by the Department of Justice, encountered vigorous opposition in the Senate, where twenty-four Republicans and two Democrats voted against it. Senator Johnson of California denounced it as a law "to suppress the freedom of the press in the United States and to prevent any man, no matter who he is, from expressing legitimate criticism concerning the present government." The constitutionality of the acts was attacked; but they were sustained by the Supreme Court and stringently enforced.

The Launching of a Ship at the Great Naval Yards, Newark, N.J.
Copyright by Underwood and Underwood, N.Y.
The Launching of a Ship at the Great Naval Yards, Newark, N.J.
Labor and the War.—In view of the restlessness of European labor during the war and especially the proletarian revolution in Russia in November, 1917, some anxiety was early expressed as to the stand which organized labor might take in the United States. It was, however, soon dispelled. Samuel Gompers, speaking for the American Federation of Labor, declared that "this is labor's war," and pledged the united support of all the unions. There was some dissent. The Socialist party denounced the war as a capitalist quarrel; but all the protests combined were too slight to have much effect. American labor leaders were sent to Europe to strengthen the wavering ranks of trade unionists in war-worn England, France, and Italy. Labor was given representation on the important boards and commissions dealing with industrial questions. Trade union standards were accepted by the government and generally applied in industry. The Department of Labor became one of the powerful war centers of the nation. In a memorable address to the American Federation of Labor, President Wilson assured the trade unionists that labor conditions should not be made unduly onerous by the war and received in return a pledge of loyalty from the Federation. Recognition of labor's contribution to winning the war was embodied in the treaty of peace, which provided for a permanent international organization to promote the world-wide effort of labor to improve social conditions. "The league of nations has for its object the establishment of universal peace," runs the preamble to the labor section of the treaty, "and such a peace can be established only if it is based upon social justice.... The failure of any nation to adopt humane conditions of labor is an obstacle in the way of other nations which desire to improve the conditions in their own countries."
The American Navy in the War.—As soon as Congress declared war the fleet was mobilized, American ports were thrown open to the warships of the Allies, immediate provision was made for increasing the number of men and ships, and a contingent of war vessels was sent to coöperate with the British and French in their life-and-death contest with submarines. Special effort was made to stimulate the production of "submarine chasers" and "scout cruisers" to be sent to the danger zone. Convoys were provided to accompany the transports conveying soldiers to France. Before the end of the war more than three hundred American vessels and 75,000 officers and men were operating in European waters. Though the German fleet failed to come out and challenge the sea power of the Allies, the battleships of the United States were always ready to do their full duty in such an event. As things turned out, the service of the American navy was limited mainly to helping in the campaign that wore down the submarine menace to Allied shipping.
The War in France.—Owing to the peculiar character of the warfare in France, it required a longer time for American military forces to get into action; but there was no unnecessary delay. Soon after the declaration of war, steps were taken to give military assistance to the Allies. The regular army was enlarged and the troops of the national guard were brought into national service. On June 13, General John J. Pershing, chosen head of the American Expeditionary Forces, reached Paris and began preparations for the arrival of our troops. In June, the vanguard of the army reached France. A slow and steady stream followed. As soon as the men enrolled under the draft were ready, it became a flood. During the period of the war the army was enlarged from about 190,000 men to 3,665,000, of whom more than 2,000,000 were in France when the armistice was signed.
Although American troops did not take part on a large scale until the last phase of the war in 1918, several battalions of infantry were in the trenches by October, 1917, and had their first severe encounter with the Germans early in November. In January, 1918, they took over a part of the front line as an American sector. In March, General Pershing placed our forces at the disposal of General Foch, commander-in-chief of the Allied armies. The first division, which entered the Montdidier salient in April, soon was engaged with the enemy, "taking with splendid dash the town of Cantigny and all other objectives, which were organized and held steadfastly against vicious counter attacks and galling artillery fire."

Troops Returning from France
Copyright by Underwood and Underwood, N.Y.
Troops Returning from France
When the Germans launched their grand drives toward the Marne and Paris, in June and July, 1918, every available man was placed at General Foch's command. At Belleau Wood, at Château-Thierry, and other points along the deep salient made by the Germans into the French lines, American soldiers distinguished themselves by heroic action. They also played an important rôle in the counter attack that "smashed" the salient and drove the Germans back.
In September, American troops, with French aid, "wiped out" the German salient at St. Mihiel. By this time General Pershing was ready for the great American drive to the northeast in the Argonne forest, while he also coöperated with the British in the assault on the Hindenburg line. In the Meuse-Argonne battle, our soldiers encountered some of the most severe fighting of the war and pressed forward steadily against the most stubborn resistance from the enemy. On the 6th of November, reported General Pershing, "a division of the first corps reached a point on the Meuse opposite Sedan, twenty-five miles from our line of departure. The strategical goal which was our highest hope was gained. We had cut the enemy's main line of communications and nothing but a surrender or an armistice could save his army from complete disaster." Five days later the end came. On the morning of November 11, the order to cease firing went into effect. The German army was in rapid retreat and demoralization had begun. The Kaiser had abdicated and fled into Holland. The Hohenzollern dreams of empire were shattered. In the fifty-second month, the World War, involving nearly every civilized nation on the globe, was brought to a close. More than 75,000 American soldiers and sailors had given their lives. More than 250,000 had been wounded or were missing or in German prison camps.

Western Battle Lines of the Various Years of the World War
Western Battle Lines of the Various Years of the World War

The Settlement at Paris

The Peace Conference.—On January 18, 1919, a conference of the Allied and Associated Powers assembled to pronounce judgment upon the German empire and its defeated satellites: Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, and Turkey. It was a moving spectacle. Seventy-two delegates spoke for thirty-two states. The United States, Great Britain, France, Italy, and Japan had five delegates each. Belgium, Brazil, and Serbia were each assigned three. Canada, Australia, South Africa, India, China, Greece, Hedjaz, Poland, Portugal, Rumania, Siam, and Czechoslovakia were allotted two apiece. The remaining states of New Zealand, Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Liberia, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, and Uruguay each had one delegate. President Wilson spoke in person for the United States. England, France, and Italy were represented by their premiers: David Lloyd George, Georges Clémenceau, and Vittorio Orlando.

Premiers Lloyd George, Orlando and Clémenceau and President Wilson at Paris
Premiers Lloyd George, Orlando and Clémenceau and President Wilson at Paris
The Supreme Council.—The real work of the settlement was first committed to a Supreme Council of ten representing the United States, Great Britain, France, Italy, and Japan. This was later reduced to five members. Then Japan dropped out and finally Italy, leaving only President Wilson and the Premiers, Lloyd George and Clémenceau, the "Big Three," who assumed the burden of mighty decisions. On May 6, their work was completed and in a secret session of the full conference the whole treaty of peace was approved, though a few of the powers made reservations or objections. The next day the treaty was presented to the Germans who, after prolonged protests, signed on the last day of grace, June 28. This German treaty was followed by agreements with Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Turkey. Collectively these great documents formed the legal basis of the general European settlement.
The Terms of the Settlement.—The combined treaties make a huge volume. The German treaty alone embraces about 80,000 words. Collectively they cover an immense range of subjects which may be summarized under five heads: (1) The territorial settlement in Europe; (2) the destruction of German military power; (3) reparations for damages done by Germany and her allies; (4) the disposition of German colonies and protectorates; and (5) the League of Nations.
Germany was reduced by the cession of Alsace-Lorraine to France and the loss of several other provinces. Austria-Hungary was dissolved and dismembered. Russia was reduced by the creation of new states on the west. Bulgaria was stripped of her gains in the recent Balkan wars. Turkey was dismembered. Nine new independent states were created: Poland, Finland, Lithuania, Latvia, Esthonia, Ukraine, Czechoslovakia, Armenia, and Hedjaz. Italy, Greece, Rumania, and Serbia were enlarged by cessions of territory and Serbia was transformed into the great state of Jugoslavia.
The destruction of German military power was thorough. The entire navy, with minor exceptions, was turned over to the Allied and Associated Powers; Germany's total equipment for the future was limited to six battleships and six light cruisers, with certain small vessels but no submarines. The number of enlisted men and officers for the army was fixed at not more than 100,000; the General Staff was dissolved; and the manufacture of munitions restricted.
Germany was compelled to accept full responsibility for all damages; to pay five billion dollars in cash and goods, and to make certain other payments which might be ordered from time to time by an inter-allied reparations commission. She was also required to deliver to Belgium, France, and Italy, millions of tons of coal every year for ten years; while by way of additional compensation to France the rich coal basin of the Saar was placed under inter-allied control to be exploited under French administration for a period of at least fifteen years. Austria and the other associates of Germany were also laid under heavy obligations to the victors. Damages done to shipping by submarines and other vessels were to be paid for on the basis of ton for ton.
The disposition of the German colonies and the old Ottoman empire presented knotty problems. It was finally agreed that the German colonies and Turkish provinces which were in a backward stage of development should be placed under the tutelage of certain powers acting as "mandatories" holding them in "a sacred trust of civilization." An exception to the mandatory principle arose in the case of German rights in Shantung, all of which were transferred directly to Japan. It was this arrangement that led the Chinese delegation to withhold their signatures from the treaty.
The League of Nations.—High among the purposes which he had in mind in summoning the nation to arms, President Wilson placed the desire to put an end to war. All through the United States the people spoke of the "war to end war." No slogan called forth a deeper response from the public. The President himself repeatedly declared that a general association of nations must be formed to guard the peace and protect all against the ambitions of the few. "As I see it," he said in his address on opening the Fourth Liberty Loan campaign, "the constitution of the League of Nations and the clear definition of its objects must be a part, in a sense the most essential part, of the peace settlement itself."
Nothing was more natural, therefore, than Wilson's insistence at Paris upon the formation of an international association. Indeed he had gone to Europe in person largely to accomplish that end. Part One of the treaty with Germany, the Covenant of the League of Nations, was due to his labors more than to any other influence. Within the League thus created were to be embraced all the Allied and Associated Powers and nearly all the neutrals. By a two-thirds vote of the League Assembly the excluded nations might be admitted.
The agencies of the League of Nations were to be three in number: (1) a permanent secretariat located at Geneva; (2) an Assembly consisting of one delegate from each country, dominion, or self-governing colony (including Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, and India); (3) and a Council consisting of representatives of the United States, Great Britain, France, Italy, and Japan, and four other representatives selected by the Assembly from time to time.
The duties imposed on the League and the obligations accepted by its members were numerous and important. The Council was to take steps to formulate a scheme for the reduction of armaments and to submit a plan for the establishment of a permanent Court of International Justice. The members of the League (Article X) were to respect and preserve as against external aggression the territorial integrity and existing political independence of all the associated nations. They were to submit to arbitration or inquiry by the Council all disputes which could not be adjusted by diplomacy and in no case to resort to war until three months after the award. Should any member disregard its covenants, its action would be considered an act of war against the League, which would accordingly cut off the trade and business of the hostile member and recommend through the Council to the several associated governments the military measures to be taken. In case the decision in any arbitration of a dispute was unanimous, the members of the League affected by it were to abide by it.
Such was the settlement at Paris and such was the association of nations formed to promote the peace of the world. They were quickly approved by most of the powers, and the first Assembly of the League of Nations met at Geneva late in 1920.
The Treaty in the United States.—When the treaty was presented to the United States Senate for approval, a violent opposition appeared. In that chamber the Republicans had a slight majority and a two-thirds vote was necessary for ratification. The sentiment for and against the treaty ran mainly along party lines; but the Republicans were themselves divided. The major portion, known as "reservationists," favored ratification with certain conditions respecting American rights; while a small though active minority rejected the League of Nations in its entirety, announcing themselves to be "irreconcilables." The grounds of this Republican opposition lay partly in the terms of peace imposed on Germany and partly in the Covenant of the League of Nations. Exception was taken to the clauses which affected the rights of American citizens in property involved in the adjustment with Germany, but the burden of criticism was directed against the League. Article X guaranteeing against external aggression the political independence and territorial integrity of the members of the League was subjected to a specially heavy fire; while the treatment accorded to China and the sections affecting American internal affairs were likewise attacked as "unjust and dangerous." As an outcome of their deliberations, the Republicans proposed a long list of reservations which touched upon many of the vital parts of the treaty. These were rejected by President Wilson as amounting in effect to a "nullification of the treaty." As a deadlock ensued the treaty was definitely rejected, owing to the failure of its sponsors to secure the requisite two-thirds vote.

The League of Nations in the Campaign of 1920.—At this juncture the presidential campaign of 1920 opened. The Republicans, while condemning the terms of the proposed League, endorsed the general idea of an international agreement to prevent war. Their candidate, Senator Warren G. Harding of Ohio, maintained a similar position without saying definitely whether the League devised at Paris could be recast in such a manner as to meet his requirements. The Democrats, on the other hand, while not opposing limitations clarifying the obligations of the United States, demanded "the immediate ratification of the treaty without reservations which would impair its essential integrity." The Democratic candidate, Governor James M. Cox, of Ohio, announced his firm conviction that the United States should "go into the League," without closing the door to mild reservations; he appealed to the country largely on that issue. The election of Senator Harding, in an extraordinary "landslide," coupled with the return of a majority of Republicans to the Senate, made uncertain American participation in the League of Nations.
The United States and International Entanglements.—Whether America entered the League or not, it could not close its doors to the world and escape perplexing international complications. It had ever-increasing financial and commercial connections with all other countries. Our associates in the recent war were heavily indebted to our government. The prosperity of American industries depended to a considerable extent upon the recovery of the impoverished and battle-torn countries of Europe.
There were other complications no less specific. The United States was compelled by force of circumstances to adopt a Russian policy. The government of the Czar had been overthrown by a liberal revolution, which in turn had been succeeded by an extreme, communist "dictatorship." The Bolsheviki, or majority faction of the socialists, had obtained control of the national council of peasants, workingmen, and soldiers, called the soviet, and inaugurated a radical régime. They had made peace with Germany in March, 1918. Thereupon the United States joined England, France, and Japan in an unofficial war upon them. After the general settlement at Paris in 1919, our government, while withdrawing troops from Siberia and Archangel, continued in its refusal to recognize the Bolshevists or to permit unhampered trade with them. President Wilson repeatedly denounced them as the enemies of civilization and undertook to lay down for all countries the principles which should govern intercourse with Russia.
Further international complications were created in connection with the World War, wholly apart from the terms of peace or the League of Nations. The United States had participated in a general European conflict which changed the boundaries of countries, called into being new nations, and reduced the power and territories of the vanquished. Accordingly, it was bound to face the problem of how far it was prepared to
coöperatewith the victors in any settlement of Europe's difficulties. By no conceivable process, therefore, could America be disentangled from the web of world affairs. Isolation, if desirable, had become impossible. Within three hundred years from the founding of the tiny settlements at Jamestown and Plymouth, America, by virtue of its institutions, its population, its wealth, and its commerce, had become first among the nations of the earth. By moral obligations and by practical interests its fate was thus linked with the destiny of all mankind.

Summary of Democracy and the World War

The astounding industrial progress that characterized the period following the Civil War bequeathed to the new generation many perplexing problems connected with the growth of trusts and railways, the accumulation of great fortunes, the increase of poverty in the industrial cities, the exhaustion of the free land, and the acquisition of dominions in distant seas. As long as there was an abundance of land in the West any able-bodied man with initiative and industry could become an independent farmer. People from the cities and immigrants from Europe had always before them that gateway to property and prosperity. When the land was all gone, American economic conditions inevitably became more like those of Europe.
Though the new economic questions had been vigorously debated in many circles before his day, it was President Roosevelt who first discussed them continuously from the White House. The natural resources of the country were being exhausted; he advocated their conservation. Huge fortunes were being made in business creating inequalities in opportunity; he favored reducing them by income and inheritance taxes. Industries were disturbed by strikes; he pressed arbitration upon capital and labor. The free land was gone; he declared that labor was in a less favorable position to bargain with capital and therefore should organize in unions for collective bargaining. There had been wrong-doing on the part of certain great trusts; those responsible should be punished.
The spirit of reform was abroad in the land. The spoils system was attacked. It was alleged that the political parties were dominated by "rings and bosses." The United States Senate was called "a millionaires' club." Poverty and misery were observed in the cities. State legislatures and city governments were accused of corruption.
In answer to the charges, remedies were proposed and adopted. Civil service reform was approved. The Australian ballot, popular election of Senators, the initiative, referendum, and recall, commission and city manager plans for cities, public regulation of railways, compensation for those injured in industries, minimum wages for women and children, pensions for widows, the control of housing in the cities—these and a hundred other reforms were adopted and tried out. The national watchword became: "America, Improve Thyself."
The spirit of reform broke into both political parties. It appeared in many statutes enacted by Congress under President Taft's leadership. It disrupted the Republicans temporarily in 1912 when the Progressive party entered the field. It led the Democratic candidate in that year, Governor Wilson, to make a "progressive appeal" to the voters. It inspired a considerable program of national legislation under President Wilson's two administrations.
In the age of change, four important amendments to the federal constitution, the first in more than forty years, were adopted. The sixteenth empowered Congress to lay an income tax. The seventeenth assured popular election of Senators. The eighteenth made prohibition national. The nineteenth, following upon the adoption of woman suffrage in many states, enfranchised the women of the nation.
In the sphere of industry, equally great changes took place. The major portion of the nation's business passed into the hands of corporations. In all the leading industries of the country labor was organized into trade unions and federated in a national organization. The power of organized capital and organized labor loomed upon the horizon. Their struggles, their rights, and their place in the economy of the nation raised problems of the first magnitude.
While the country was engaged in a heated debate upon its domestic issues, the World War broke out in Europe in 1914. As a hundred years before, American rights upon the high seas became involved at once. They were invaded on both sides; but Germany, in addition to assailing American ships and property, ruthlessly destroyed American lives. She set at naught the rules of civilized warfare upon the sea. Warnings from President Wilson were without avail. Nothing could stay the hand of the German war party.
After long and patient negotiations, President Wilson in 1917 called upon the nation to take up arms against an assailant that had in effect declared war upon America. The answer was swift and firm. The national resources, human and material, were mobilized. The navy was enlarged, a draft army created, huge loans floated, heavy taxes laid, and the spirit of sacrifice called forth in a titanic struggle against an autocratic power that threatened to dominate Europe and the World.
In the end, American financial, naval, and military assistance counted heavily in the scale. American sailors scoured the seas searching for the terrible submarines. American soldiers took part in the last great drives that broke the might of Germany's army. Such was the nation's response to the President's summons to arms in a war "for democracy" and "to end war."
When victory crowned the arms of the powers united against Germany, President Wilson in person took part in the peace council. He sought to redeem his pledge to end wars by forming a League of Nations to keep the peace. In the treaty drawn at the close of the war the first part was a covenant binding the nations in a permanent association for the settlement of international disputes. This treaty, the President offered to the United States Senate for ratification and to his country for approval.
Once again, as in the days of the Napoleonic wars, the people seriously discussed the place of America among the powers of the earth. The Senate refused to ratify the treaty. World politics then became an issue in the campaign of 1920. Though some Americans talked as if the United States could close its doors and windows against all mankind, the victor in the election, Senator Harding, of Ohio, knew better. The election returns were hardly announced before he began to ask the advice of his countrymen on the pressing theme that would not be downed: "What part shall America—first among the nations of the earth in wealth and power—assume at the council table of the world?"
General References
Woodrow Wilson, The New Freedom.
C.L. Jones, The Caribbean Interests of the United States.
H.P. Willis, The Federal Reserve.
C.W. Barron, The Mexican Problem (critical toward Mexico).
L.J. de Bekker, The Plot against Mexico (against American intervention).
Theodore Roosevelt, America and the World War.
E.E. Robinson and V.J. West, The Foreign Policy of Woodrow Wilson.
J.S. Bassett, Our War with Germany.
Carlton J.H. Hayes, A Brief History of the Great War.
J.B. McMaster, The United States in the World War.

Research Topics

President Wilson's First Term.—Elson, History of the United States, pp. 925-941.
The Underwood Tariff Act.—Ogg, National Progress (The American Nation Series), pp. 209-226.
The Federal Reserve System.—Ogg, pp. 228-232.
Trust and Labor Legislation.—Ogg, pp. 232-236.
Legislation Respecting the Territories.—Ogg, pp. 236-245.
American Interests in the Caribbean.—Ogg, pp. 246-265.
American Interests in the Pacific.—Ogg, pp. 304-324.
Mexican Affairs.—Haworth, pp. 388-395; Ogg, pp. 284-304.
The First Phases of the European War.—Haworth, pp. 395-412; Ogg, pp. 325-343.
The Campaign of 1916.—Haworth, pp. 412-418; Ogg, pp. 364-383.
America Enters the War.—Haworth, pp. 422-440; pp. 454-475. Ogg, pp. 384-399; Elson, pp. 951-970.
Mobilizing the Nation.—Haworth, pp. 441-453.
The Peace Settlement.—Haworth, pp. 475-497; Elson, pp. 971-982.


1. Enumerate the chief financial measures of the Wilson administration. Review the history of banks and currency and give the details of the Federal reserve law.
2. What was the Wilson policy toward trusts? Toward labor?
3. Review again the theory of states' rights. How has it fared in recent years?
4. What steps were taken in colonial policies? In the Caribbean?
5. Outline American-Mexican relations under Wilson.
6. How did the World War break out in Europe?
7. Account for the divided state of opinion in America.
8. Review the events leading up to the War of 1812. Compare them with the events from 1914 to 1917.
9. State the leading principles of international law involved and show how they were violated.
10. What American rights were assailed in the submarine campaign?
11. Give Wilson's position on the Lusitania affair.
12. How did the World War affect the presidential campaign of 1916?
13. How did Germany finally drive the United States into war?
14. State the American war aims given by the President.
15. Enumerate the measures taken by the government to win the war.
16. Review the part of the navy in the war. The army.
17. How were the terms of peace formulated?
18. Enumerate the principal results of the war.
19. Describe the League of Nations.
20. Trace the fate of the treaty in American politics.
21. Can there be a policy of isolation for America?

Author: Charles A. Beard and Mary R. Beard

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