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THE SITUATION CONFRONTING ROOSEVELT.
well that by electing Mr. McKinley enthusiasm and scholarship regardthe people had approved his policies, ing that tremendous enterprise that and therefore to institute a policy of he calls so appositely 6 the winning his own would be a virtual opposing of the West.”' The result of these of his own will to that of the public. studies was a breadth of vision and a That Mr. Roosevelt endeavored to do knowledge of past affairs that tended this exceedingly difficult thing during to check the vagaries of a disposition the three years that followed there is that was far less erratic and impulno doubt; that he failed in a measure
sive than the public thought. In to keep his pledge consistently was addition in President McKinley's doubtless not due to intention, but to cabinet were some able men, and in temperament and to the stress of one of them, Secretary Hay, he found unforseen conditions.
a mentor whose advice was always The situation in which he found sane and in the highest sense pahimself was little less exacting than
triotic. that which confronted President Mc- It was a time that demanded sanity Kinley at the outbreak of the war and patriotism, and most of all, courwith Spain. The transformation that age- not the courage that leads wild had taken place in the external rela- charges up bullet-swept hills, but the tions of the nation found their reflec- kind that could meet the subtle and tion in its internal affairs, and Mr. cunning attacks of vicious elements, Roosevelt came into office when these great and small, that prey upon orwere in a state of flux and transition. ganized society. The tremendous upThose who thought that he would heaval produced by the war with make mistakes that would carry with Spain and its aftermath, brought as them fatal consequences seemed to
has been indicated an era of remarkignore the fact that he was one of able prosperity. Much of this was very few Presidents of the United legitimate and wholesome, but along States who was adequately prepared with it came an expansion of credit for the position to which he had been that was a god-send to every speculaso suddenly called. The majority of tive spirit. Fraudulent enterprises his predecessors had either been were exploited in great numbers; corpolitical leaders or soldiers. If these porations were capitalized beyond were prerequisites, he possessed both, their earning power; and, in addiand in addition he possessed a tion, the tremendous growth of pools scholar's knowledge of the history of and combines, so strong as to seem his country and of the principles that beyond the constraints of the law, and governed its development. He had
He had acting at times in positive defiance of followed with interest the movements it, menaced more and more the welthat had marked the expansion of the fare of the masses of the people. nation, and had written with great
President Roosevelt in his first pro
nouncement to Congress on the open- ing this end — publicity of corporate
contained statements similar to the legislation necessary to suppress an- one quoted, but they were generally archism and to prevent a repetition appended to an enthusiastic account of what he termed “a crime against
of the nation's great prosperity. the human race," he proceeded to the They were fruitless appeals, however, topic he conceived to be the transcend- for Congress took little notice of them ent issue before the American peo
if results are to be considered. Indeed ple — that of corporations and trusts. no additional legislation was needed, He called attention to the fact that for the Sherman act was still on the such prosperity as the nation was en- statute books, and if it had been apjoying could not come from man's plied would have proved sufficiently effort, unaided by the bounty of na- drastic to discourage the most enthuture, nor would it be maintained if
siastic“ high financier." But it was the policy of gain at another's cost not applied, and the trust promoters were continued. He paid a tribute to knew that it was not going to be. the work of captains of industry who The late President in their terms opened up new territories for home- " safe and sane." With respect makers, and discovered new methods to his successor they were either very for rendering life more and more voluble or very silent, and the whole beautiful. He warned against unwise country waited to see whether the attacks on corporate interests, but President would carry the threats went on to say that there was a con- contained in his messages and his viction in the minds of people that the speeches into effect. They must now great corporations known as trusts determine whether Roosevelt's words were in certain of their tendencies were to be supported by deeds. The hurtful to the general welfare. He test was not long in coming. The Atasserted that this feeling was not torney-General in his Cabinet, Mr. based upon prejudice, but upon the Philander C. Knox, was a man who conviction that some sort of control had spent his life as an attorney in was necessary.
This was not to be corporation cases, and was thereby obtained by abrogating property thoroughly prepared to deal with the rights, but by insisting that these or- problem from the point of view of ganizations do not work an injury to wide experience. A suit was instithe people and to their institutions. tuted against the beef trust in May President Roosevelt in this message 1902, and an injunction was granted recommended two methods of obtain- May 20 by Judge Grosscup of the
THE NORTHERN SECURITIES DECISION.
United States Circuit Court forbid- themselves on a basis of external leding its acts in constraint of trade. gality, the laws being unable to preThis injunction was declared perma
vent the formation of so-called “ gennent in February, 1903. An appeal tlemen's agreements," which effectwas made to the Supreme Court and ually accomplished the object the corafter two years of litigation a deci- porate interests had in view. It was sion was rendered January 20, 1905,
clear that the organization of capital declaring the trust illegal.
was an assured fact, and one that It was the feeling of the public, could not be set aside by such indefihowever, that action directed merely nite legislation as the Sherman act. at the trusts themselves would be un- This is shown by the failure of all availing unless the causes that tended efforts made to destroy the trust printo foster them were rendered inopera- ciple by dissolving individual comtive. Two of these that recommended binations. The Northern Securities, themselves strongly were the grant
and numerous other decisions have ing of rebates and secret freight rates been unavailing, and the trust, in its to large shippers, and the pooling of protean forms, controls the economic railway interests, with the intention situation of America. of controlling the traffic of a region. As the question of capital intiThe new century was barely begun mately involves that of labor it was to before it was clear that the railways be expected that organization of the of the country were rapidly passing former along lines of such scope into the control of a few individuals. and comprehensiveness would proOne of the most dominating of these duce a similar development with was J. J. Hill, whose wonderful en- respect to the latter, and such has terprises had done so much toward proved the case. The American labuilding up the Northwest. Never- boring man had been organized for theless when he and his associates en- many years, but it was not until the deavored to form a merger of three last decade of the Nineteenth cencompeting lines known as the North- tury that labor organization assumed ern Securities Co., a halt was called the characteristics of a definite inunder the provisions of the Inter- stitution. The workingman saw the state Commerce and the Sherman tremendous profits that arose from anti-trust laws. The decision, handed suppression of competition, and the down April, 1903, was a victory for economies of combined capital, and the people. The pool was dissolved he saw in addition the possibiliand a precedent made for future ac- ties inherent in such a system tendtivities against illegal operations of ing to limit his own freedom of accapital. Yet the victory on the whole tion. To deal with many independwas more apparent than real. The
ent employers of labor was one thing; combinations hastened to establish to deal with a few, or one group, was quite another. Labor gained some- George F. Baer, president of the thing in the industrial expansion in- Reading Coal and Iron Company, augurated in 1899, but not, as it con- whose tactless management of the sitceived, what it was entitled to. Hence uation led to disastrous results. His the situation between the two primary reply to the request to arbitrate the elements of industrial life became difficulty was characteristic of the more and more strained. The situa- man. “Anthracite mining,” he said, tion is best summed up by the state- “is a business, not a religious, senment that in 1881 there were 471 timental, or academic proposition, strikes and 6 lockouts; in 1903, 3,494 which accurately complements anstrikes and 154 lockouts. Some of the other statement he is reported to have strikes of the latter period were of made, that he and his kind were national importance and brought " Christian men to whom God in his great loss and suffering, not only to infinite wisdom had entrusted the the parties directly involved, but to property interests of this country.” the general public as well. Of these The miners appealed to Senator the most far-reaching was the strike Hanna, whose efforts to bring about in the anthracite coal regions of Penn- an agreement were without avail, so sylvania.
on May 12 a general strike was deIn 1899 there had been much unrest clared in which 147,000 men were inin the region, which finally resulted in volved. The coal operators, trusting the formation of an organization in their resources, adopted a waiting known as the United Mine Workers policy, hoping to tire the miners out, of America. This association in 1900 but this was rendered fruitless by the demanded a 10 per cent. increase in passage of a resolution at a National wages, and owing to the political Convention of Mine Workers at Inpressure exerted upon the mine own- dianapolis to appropriate $2,000,000 ers, was able to make an agreement a month to the support of the strikwith them obtaining such increase ers. This startling testimonial of the until April, 1902. At the expiration faith the working men had in their of this period the miners endeavored cause had the effect of indefinitely to arrange for a settlement of the extending the contest, and placed the wage scale and hours of labor for the owners at signal disadvantage. The forthcoming year, but the owners re
strike dragged on into the summer, fused to consider any propositions the situation becoming so serious that whatsoever. The leader of the miners the President directed Carroll D. was John Mitchell, a self-educated Wright, Commissioner of Labor, to man, who had worked in the mines, investigate and make a report with and whose abilities as an organizer the view of remedying the same. made him the logical spokesman of Cases of violence against property the movement. Opposed to him was and persons occurred, which resulted
ATTITUDE OF LABOR AND CAPITAL.
finally in the dispatch of the state In the meanwhile the price of coal militia to the center of disturbance. in the large cities was soaring to an On July 30 and on October 6 the en- unprecedented point, 20 to 30 dollars tire national guard of Pennsylvania for a single ton, and little to be obto the number of 10,000 were sent to tained at that. Winter was approachthe region.
ing, and already schools and hospitals The attitude of the laboring man is had been closed for want of fuel, and revealed by the following quotation much suffering was being experifrom the Scranton Labor Herald: enced. The mine-owners had declared
“ Yes, let us have more militia; let us have that if protected by military force more and more military sent into the coal re- they would open the mines, but there gions; let them come till every hill and vale is bristling with bayonets, and the tented cities'
was a Pennsylvania State law to the of our military power proclaim to the world that effect that no one could mine coal in peace reigns, and no scenes of disorder mar the
the anthracite field without holding peaceful attitude of the mine workers now on
a certificate of experience, granted strike.
"After this is done and the strike still goes only after two years' apprenticeship on, let the representatives of the lawless coal
and examination, and as all of these trust get down from their exalted position, and meet the issues before them as men of intelli- belonged to the United Mine Workers, gence, instead of continuing the chattering the owners could get no men to do monkey act which they have been performing all these long months which have marked the
the work. The 40,000 holders of these progress of the strike.
certificates were all union men and “The calling out of the entire National Guard
the operators were helpless, and of Pennsylvania can not start the mines, as has been proved by the experience of the localities
should have seen how untenable was where the military has been stationed during their position, yet in spite of this fact, the past 'few months.
and in spite of tremendous pressure, “Some weeks ago The LABOR HERALD stated that the coal strike was an educational contest. financial, political, and above all, that This has been demonstrated during the past few of public opinion, which was brought weeks. Labor has learned for the first time that the trust question is already beyond the control
to bear upon them, the operators beof our government officials. Here was a lesson came still more defiant, and refused worth the losses of the strike. The American
to concede a single point. They aspeople had been led to believe that there was some semblance of law which could be brought
sumed that the scarcity of coal would into force in curbing the trust evil when the cause public opinion to react on the necessity arose.
strikers, and hence would cause the “The efforts of President Roosevelt to bring the coal strike to an end in the interest of the dispatch of Federal troops to the public has disproved the suggestions that any region and the passage of legislation law exists whereby the people may be protected against the monopolistic development of recent
that would permit their cause to win. years
They however reckoned without “ Let the mine workers stand firm with due
their host, for public opinion took regard for law and order, and it is up to the coal
It was trust to prove the blatant boasts of its representa quite the contrary side. tives at Washington. The mines will not be universally conceded that some way started till the mine workers decide to accept
must be discovered to make the concessions offered by the companies.”