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mission of five members vested with A bill reducing the duties on many authority to regulate such matters articles was therefore prepared and pertaining to interstate commerce as introduced in the House by Roger Q. were considered detrimental to public Mills, of Texas, who called it up for welfare, and to require all railroads consideration, April 17, 1888. A long to submit sworn reports of their finan- debate followed, known as “the great cial conditions and operations on a tariff debate of 1888," but nothing uniform plan and for a uniform of a definite nature was done until period.
after the party conventions for nomiThe financial operations of the gov- nating presidential candidates had ernment during this time had not been
heen held. The debate in Congress particularly noteworthy. The income
then became largely political, for the of the government far exceeded its ex
chief issue in the compaign was the penditures; in 1885, the surplus was
tariff, and speeches were made seemover $60,000,000, in 1886, over $90,000,000, and in 1888, it had reached ingly for the purpose of prolonging
the session without enacting a bill until $119,612,115. The treasury officials,
after the election. This would thus therefore, in order to avoid a direct contraction of the currency through an
enable the politicians to enact a law
in accordance with the issue of the accumulation of money in the treas
election. ury, began to purchase outstanding
The bill passed the House on July bonds. In 1886, these purchases amounted to $50,000,000; in 1887,
21, by a vote of 162 to 114, and was $125,000,000 ; and in 1888, $130,000,000. referred to the Senate. On October 3
the Senate Committee on Finance rePresident Cleveland, therefore, in his annual message to the Fiftieth ported its revision of the bill, the chief Congress, December 6, 1887, dwelt
feature of the revision being a reducchiefly on the question of revising the
tion of 50 per cent. in the duty on tariff. He called attention to the sugar. As the debate in the Senate
was not finished at the close of the sesenormous surplus in the treasury and urged Congress to reduce taxation.t sion, October 19, the Senate Finance
Committee took the matter under con* Burton, Sherman, pp. 337–313.
sideration. In the meantime Harrison various interstate commerce bills introduced see McPherson, Handbook of Politics, 1880, pp. 70–72; was elected President. When Congress 1882, pp. 125-129; 1886, pp. 10–26, 136-146,
again convened the matter was taken 233, 234; 1888, pp. 7-13.
† Richardson, Messages and Papers, vol. viii., up in the Senate and debated nearly pp. 580-591; McPherson, Handbook of Politics,
every day until January 22, 1889, when 1888, pp. 91-96; G. F. Parker, The Writings and Speeches of Grover Cleveland, pp. 72-87; J. L.
the amended bill was adopted as a Whittle, Grover Cleveland, pp. 88–109: Hensel,
substitute for the Mills bill by a vote Cleveland, pp. 268-284, 298–320; Stoddard, Cleve. land, pp. 246–253.
of 32 to 30. The House then again
took up the bill, but nothing further firm or corporation or to deal with was done by that Congress.
those who bought or sold them. Thus These years has been years of great the boycott was its principal weapon. prosperity, tested by the usual rules.† These boycotts increased in number Profits averaged well upon a large and effectiveness, but their very efamount of business; the consumption fectiveness wrought harm to the labor of iron more than doubled ;1 and after cause, for the local assemblies, after 1885, confidence in railroad enter- one or two successes, went beyond the prises having been restored, capital control of the central organization. was freely spent in railroad construc- A sy
A system of local dictators sprang up tion, 12,982 miles of railroad being and these “ rings” became tyrannical constructed in 1887.||
as well as irresponsible, ordering But labor troubles had been inter- strikes whenever it so suited them, mittent and some of them were very with or without cause, and in conseformidable. The working classes had quence business was in a very unsetcombined into unions for the purpose tled state during 1886 and 1887. of combatting the power of the great Strike after strike took place.f industrial corporations, but the local In May, 1886, large labor demonunions found themselves powerless. strations took place in several cities, A local society, the “Knights of particularly in Chicago, where about Labor,” was then developed into a 30,000 men paraded the streets. The national organization. This society principal demand was for a law rehad only 52,000 members in 1883, but stricting the hours of labor to eight a in 1886 the membership had grown to day, but this the employers were un500,000. The object of this order was willing to concede. These demonstrato unite all classes and kinds of labor tions were peaceable at first, but later into one large and powerful organiza- developed into turbulent mobs. tion, so that should a corporation or In Chicago, the McCormick Reaper firm oppress its employees, the entire Works was attacked, but the mob was membership of the organization would finally driven off by the police after refuse to buy the products of such considerable damage had been done to
the property and many people had Stanwood, Tariff Controversies, vol. ii., pp. 226–242; Dewey, Financial History, pp. 423-425 ;
been injured. The culmination of the Sherman, vol. ii., pp. 1004-1010; Burton's Sher. man, pp. 344-348; McPherson, Handbook of Poli- * Carroll D. Wright, Industrial Evolution of the tics, 1888, pp. 147-166; 1830, pp. 169-185. United States, p. 246 et seq., and the same
† For details David A. Wells, Recent author's article on the Knights of Labor, in the Economic Changes, chap. iv.
Qucrterly Journal of Economics (January 1887). I See Reports of the American Iron and Steel See also Richard T. Ely, The Labor Movement in Association for April, 1887, and May, 1888. America, pp. 75–88.
I Lauck, Panic of 1893, pp. 3-4, giving a table † See the Report of the American Iron and Steel showing the construction by States, compiled Associations for April 1887. See also Wright's from Poor's Manual of Railroads.
Industrial Evolution, p. 297 et seq.
agitation was the Haymarket Square The trust question now became Massacre of May 4, 1886, when about prominent in the political platforms, 70 policemen and laborers were killed the remedies suggested depending and wounded by a bomb thrown by an upon the party. These combinations anarchist.
with enormous capital began to stifle A meeting of the unemployed had competition, using their capital not been called and several speeches had only to extend and better their own been made, which, though inflamma- manufacturing plants but to buy off tory, did not violate the law of free aggressive and successful rivals that speech. But a man by the name of they might shut down competing Fielden became so violent in his
violent in his mills. * But even these combinations speech that a squad of police was or- were not able to stay the trend of the dered to the square to quiet the rising markets. The crop conditions in the storm. Finally Fielden was told to dis- West had taken a turn for the worse continue his speech and the crowd was and the yield was largely reduced. ordered to disperse. Fielden shouted European production on the other “ To arms!” and at that moment a hand had enormously expanded and bomb was thrown into the midst of India and
India and the Argentine Repubthe police squad. It exploded and lic were shipping 50,000,000 bushcaused great consternation. The els of wheat per year to
to the police fired a volley from their revolv- foreign market. This competition ers and a battle ensued with the fatal therefore cut down the grain exresults above mentioned. Spies, Par- ports. Beside this the manufacturing sons, Fischer, Neebe, Engel, Ling industries of this country had also witFielden, and Schwab, all of whom nessed a similar condition of affairs. were leaders in this affair, were European manufactures, and espearrested and tried as accessories cially those of England, had reached before the fact. Spies, Fischer, Par- an unprecedented volume, and this resons and Engel were hanged on No- suited in an aggressive search for vember 11, 1887; Ling committed
* The principle of the trust — combination for suicide in jail; and Fielden and
more economic production that prices to the Schwab were sentenced to prison for public might be reduced was good in itself, but life and Neebe for a term of fifteen
its practical operation was otherwise. When com
petitors were shut off and a monopoly of trade years. In 1893, however, Governor secured - no matter how — the selling prices of Altgeld, on the petition of many
merchandise were raised, but the cost of produc
tion remained the same, thereby enabling the prominent persons, pardoned the last
trusts to pile up enormous amounts of capital for three, as the evidence was insufficient use as they saw fit. For the history of such comto prove that they were connected binations see Moody's The Truth about the
Trusts; Luther Conant, Jr., Industrial Combinawith the actual throwing of the bomb.*
tions in the United States. * Andrews, Last Quarter-Century, vol. ii., pp. † See the Report of the American Iron and Steel
Association for January, 1889.
outside markets. The United States solution - reducing revenues by lowwas the market chiefly sought and im- ering tariff
ering tariff duties — and another ports of all kinds began to flow into method of reducing the surplus was this country.
employed. As the public debt which The United States was now buying was redeemable at par had already more goods from foreign markets been extinguished, Congress than it could pay for immediately and asked by the treasury officials for auconsequently industrial stocks and thority to purchase the government's bonds were sent to foreign creditors unmatured bonds at a premium. In to settle balances. “The net importa
“ The net importa- April, 1888, such authority was given; tion of $33,000,000 in gold during the during the next two years $15,000,000 year 1887 in the face of a balance of had been paid out in premiums, and more than $23,000,000 in merchandise by 1890, the total interest-bearing exports in favor of the United States debt of the country had been reduced also showed
that a large to $725,313,110.* amount of our stocks and bonds were Under these conditions the presibeing quietly bought by foreign in- dential election of 1888 was fought. vestors in the open markets."*
The candidates were as follows: The imports of merchandise, however, soon outstripped our exports and
Vice-President. the excess over exports went bounding Republican. upward, thus greatly increasing the revenues of the government from
James R. Greer, Tenn. † customs receipts. Furthermore, the
, internal revenues had been largely in
The Democrats in their platform creased by the greater consumption of pledged themselves to repeal unjust domestic products as a result of our
and unnecessary taxation laws, as the expansion in wealth and population.
money now lying idle in the general The natural result of these conditions,
treasury amounts to more than one therefore, was a large increase of the
hundred and twenty-five millions and surplus in the treasury which, because
the surplus collected is reaching the the government could find no outlet
sum of sixty millions annually.” This into the channels of trade, soon threat
surplus, the Democrats charged, was ened to impede the movement of being exhausted by the Republicans crops and other commercial and finan
“by extravagant appropriations and cial operations.
expenses,” and they pledged themA remedy was now sought, but the selves to " enforce frugality in public protectionist majority in the Senate
Noyes, American Finance, pp. 104-126; Lauck, refused to consider the most practical Panic of 1893, p. 13. See also the Report of the
Secretary of the Treasury for 1890. * Lauck, Panic of 1893, p. 11.
† Greer subsequently declined the nomination.
Benj. Harrison, Ind.
Levi P. Morton, N Y.
expense” by reforming the tariff and of national importance in the improvereducing the revenues. The Republi- ment of harbors and the channels of cans, on the other hand, said they internal, coastwise and foreign comwere uncompromisingly in favor of merce; for the encouragement of the the American system of protection.” shipping interest.”
. Continuing they said they “would The election resulted in favor of effect all needed reductions of the Harrison and Morton, for although national revenue
by repealing the they received 100,000 popular votes taxes upon tobacco
and the less than Cleveland and Thurman, tax upon spirits used in the arts and they secured an electoral vote of 233 for mechanical purposes, and by such against a vote of 168 for the latter.* revision of the tariff as will tend to Both branches of the next Congress check imports of such articles as are would be Republican by small maproduced by our people.” This of jorities. course meant increase, not decrease,
* Stanwood, History of Presidential Elections, but if this were not sufficient the party
pp. 413-415, and History of the Presidency, pp. declared for “ entire repeal of in- 457-485; McClure, Our Presidents and How We ternal taxes, rather than the surrender Make Them, pp. 316-336; McPherson, Handbook
of Politics, 1888, pp. 182–191, 1890, pp. 26–35; of any part of our protection system.'
Andrews, Last Quarter-Century, vol. ii., pp. 157– But instead of recommending a reduc- 168; Sherman's Recollections, vol. ii., pp. 1022
1032; McClure's Rccollections, pp. 138-142; tion in expenditures the party de
Hoar's Autobiography, vol. ii., pp. 409-415; Lew manded“ appropriations for the early
Wallace, Benjamin Harrison, p. 269 et seq.; rebuilding of our navy; for the con- Stoddard's Cleveland, pp. 255-263; Whittle's struction of coast fortifications;
Cleveland, pp. 123–128; Porter and Boyle, Life oj
William McKinley, pp. 179-189; Murat Halstead, for the payment of just pensions to
Life and Distinguished Services of William Mo our soldiers; for the necessary works
Kinley, pp. 69–72.