UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA
AT LOS ANGELES
)R . I.'ALBC
INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
Books by Allan L. Benson
THE TRUTH ABOUT SOCIALISM
OUR DISHONEST CONSTITUTION
THE USURPED POWER OF THE COURTS
A WAY TO PREVENT WAR
INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
(See descriptions at the back of this book)
ALLAN L. BENSON
B. W. HUEBSCH
COPYRIGHT, 1915-16, BY
THE PEARSON PUBLISHING COMPANY
COPYRIGHT, 1916, BY
ALLAN L. BENSON
I. SCARING A PEOPLE INTO CAMP .... 7
II. WHEN is A NATION "PREPARED"? ... 23
III. OUR REAL NAVAL STRENGTH 44
IV. THE POLITICS OF "PREPAREDNESS" ... 69
V. A CLOSE VIEW OF THE WAR-ALARMISTS . 85
VI. QUESTIONS FOR THE PRESIDENT .... 108
VII. BEWARE OF THE WAR "MOVIE" .... 126
VIII. MR. ROOSEVELT AND WASHINGTON !. . . 131
IX. POLICIES THAT MAKE FOR WAR .... 142
X. "CONSPIRATORS AND LIARS" 152
XL THINGS WORTH FIGHTING FOR .... 158
XII. WHAT DOES AMERICA LACK TO MAKE IT
XIII. FACTS FOR FARMERS 170
XIV. DEAR LAND AND POOR PEOPLE 179
XV. OPPORTUNITY . 186
INVITING WAR TO
SCARING A PEOPLE INTO CAMP
T N this country, at this moment, is being made what
* is perhaps the greatest attempt of its kind in all
history to stampede a nation into committing an act
of monumental folly. For many years, the interests
that believed they could derive profit, in one way
or another, from making this a great military power
have been trying to make it a great military power.
So long as we retained our sanity, they had but mod-
We are now about to learn whether greed, mas-
querading as patriotism and operating upon our fears,
can accomplish what thus far we have prevented greed
from doing. The war in Europe has been seized by
our militarists as the -club with which to drive us
into camp. We were more or less deaf when, in
times of profound world-peace, they talked to us
of love of country and tried to get us to arm. Hav-
ing talked love and failed, they are now talking fear.
We are invited to behold Belgium, as we are also
admonished to beware her sad fate, and the militar-
ists who once demanded only a great navy, now de-
8 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
mand a great army, as well. The greatest publicity-
machine that was ever set in motion is now running
at top-speed to spread fear to the smallest and most
remote hamlet in our land.
Our national history contains the record of no
crisis so grave as this. Not even the secession of the
Southern States was so freighted with horrible pos-
sibilities. What we are facing is the danger of mili-
Opponents of "preparedness" cannot be convicted
of lack of patriotism. The most of which they might
be convicted is lack of sense. But the advocates of
militarism are not so fortunately circumstanced. The
militarists, unlike their opponents, are not disinter-
ested. The peace advocates have nothing to gain by
not building a greater navy and summoning a vast
army, while the militarists have much to gain if they
can put through their program. However much they
may protest their patriotism, the militarists cannot
escape the fact that some of them would derive hun-
dreds of millions of profits from a plunge into "pre-
paredness," while the capitalist class as a whole craves
great military establishments with which to force
its way more deeply into the markets of the world.
The great personal profits at stake properly place some
of the militarists under suspicion. If their motives
are pure, examination cannot make them rotten. If
their motives are rotten, examination may save the
country from disaster.
Consider the significant fact that while the mili-
tarists declare defense to be their only purpose in
urging "preparedness," their pretensions are belied by
the kind of weapons they advocate. Their preten-
sions are also belied by the weapons they do not ad-
SCARING A PEOPLE INTO CAMP 9
vocate. It is more than passing strange that men
who talk so much about defense are so little inter-
ested in purely defensive measures and eagerly alert
only when the instruments of offensive warfare are
A case in point is that of Mr. Edison. The in-
ventive genius of Mr. Edison no man will deny. The
militarists are not only willing but eager to utilize
it. Mr. Edison is, indeed, the chairman of the board
of scientists and inventors who have been summoned
to strengthen our military machinery. But Mr. Edi-
son is more than an inventor he is a man and an
American. As an American he has both interest in
our country's welfare and ideas as to what should
be the nature of its equipment for defense. He has
expressed these ideas repeatedly and at length. He
expressed them early in the summer of 1915 in an
extended interview in the New York World. That
they were not hasty conclusions, as hastily abandoned,
is proved by the fact that he repeated them frequently
during the summer and again in October to Chicago
reporters while he was en route to the Panama-Pacific
Exposition. When asked to "give his idea" of what
America should do toward preparedness, a Chicago
despatch to the New York Times quoted him as fol-
"Well," he replied reflectively, "my idea of that
may not be just the same as the idea of many people.
Let me see. Consider the great amount of powder
being shot off on the European battle front every day.
I would build great factories in which twice as much
powder as that could be manufactured. I would locate
and have stored away enough material to make up
the powder. Then I would not make it. I would
io INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
have everything ready, so that within forty-eight
hours I could go ahead turning it out.
"Then as to shells : I think it is a wasteful thing
to make shells on lathes, as they make them now.
We should get up shell machines for making them
rapidly and in enormous quantities. Then I would
grease the machines up and store them away with a
great quantity of steel billets, ready to be worked up
on short notice. In fact, I would make my prepara-
tion potential, and I would do it right away. The
proposition should not be a military one at all. I
don't like this military idea at all. It should be done
solely on an economical basis a business basis.
"Building these powder factories and these ma-
chines and ammunition factories wouldn't cost much.
But I would keep this in mind in preparing to make
stores and ammunition. I would prepare to turn out
right along twice as much as is being used now on the
whole European battlefield then not make it.
"Now as to actual fighting. I would rather use
machines than men. A man is only a man, after all. A
machine can be easily as good as twenty men. Then
one man, using it, is as good as twenty men. He
should be at least that good if he is an American.
"America is the greatest machine country in the
world, and its people are the greatest machinists. They
can, moreover, invent machinery faster and have it
more efficient than any other two countries. It is a
machine nation; its battle preparation should be with
"I am down on military establishments. A stand-
ing army is not worth anything unless it is on a war
footing, which is absurd. We do need an enormous
number of trained officers and drill sergeants, how-
SCARING A PEOPLE INTO CAMP 11
ever. These should be trained right along, even more
than apparently would be needed, then turned back
"They should be kept in touch at stated intervals
with the latest things in warfare, so that they would
be ready as soon as telegraph and railroad could sum-
mon them to go into active service. We can gamble
on a volunteer army because the American is the
quickest-minded human being in things mechanical.
He could learn the use of machinery of war with
Mr. Edison, in his Chicago interview, did not dis-
cuss the navy, but in earlier interviews he had advo-
cated the education of a greater number of officers
who should spend a certain number of weeks each
year in practice aboard ship, and then return to indus-
trial pursuits, where their scientific education should
be of great value. Except during such drills, our
warships, he said, should be tied up at docks, with
nobody aboard except watchmen. In the hour of
need officers and crew, at the tick of a telegraph
instrument, should hasten to their ships.
Mr. Edison's ideas are obviously purely defensive.
What reception did they receive from the administra-
tion at Washington or from the ammunition and gun
manufacturers who assert that they wish only to
defend the country? Mr. Edison's ideas were utterly
ignored. Though Mr. Edison is the head of the
government's great defensive board of scientists and
inventors, his personal ideas of what should consti-
tute our defenses were given no more consideration
than as if they had come in a letter from an un-
known man. Mr. Edison denounced a standing army,
yet the same newspapers that contained his Chicago
12 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
interview also contained the announcement from
Washington that Secretary Garrison had formulated
a plan to increase the army to 540,000 men, exclusive
of the National Guard of the various states.
Why is Mr. Edison, in matters of defense, so wise
one moment and so unwise at others? Why do the
munitions patriots regard him as wise when he is
inventing things that might be used in offensive war-
fare and foolish when he is discussing defensive meas-
ures that could not be used for offense?
If it be assumed that the munitions patriots are
frauds and that they and the other capitalists of this
country are trying to frighten us into filling their
pockets with money, the reasons for the treatment of
Mr. Edison's suggestions for defense become plain.
If the munition patriots are frauds, they would
naturally oppose Mr. Edison's plan to prepare to
make twice as much ammunition as is being used in
Europe "and then not make it." If such great fac-
tories were to be built, raw materials assembled, then
the machinery greased so it would not rust and the
doors locked, obviously the government would have
to build the factories and manufacture its own mu-
nitions of war, since private individuals would not
care to build plants and lock them up, perhaps for
twenty years or more. If the munitions patriots are
mere grafters in search of loot from the public treas-
ury, they would naturally withhold approval from any
plan that, if in effect, would cut off their loot. But
if the munitions patriots are really patriots, and if
they really believe the country is in danger of attack,
why should they withhold approval from a plan that,
if in effect, would give at the time of need the maxi-
mum amount of ammunition at the minimum cost?
SCARING A PEOPLE INTO CAMP 13
It is such facts as these that the American people
must not alone consider but correctly appraise if they
are to avert national disaster by giving the right an-
swer to the question as to whether we shall proceed
to become a heavily armed nation. If we were in
danger and only more defenses could save us, we
should have more defenses. If we are in danger,
why is it that the men who are shrieking so loudly
of our peril are so languidly interested in purely de-
fensive measures that are also without graft for pri-
Either the danger is less than they say it is, or their
desire for personal profit is so great that it over-
shadows their patriotism.
One or the other of these possibilities is a fact.
No submarine was ever more tightly caught in a
steel net than these gentlemen are caught in this
reasoning. They cannot have their patriotism and
eat it too. If they love their country, they will not
try to pick its bones. If they believe it is in danger
they will not stand in the way of its defense at the
least possible cost. If they are mere grafters who,
for their private profit, are trying to frighten the
people into consenting to militarism, they will prob-
ably continue to do as they have long done and are
Having in mind the success of the Germans, for
more than a year, in standing off the entire British
navy with mines and submarines scattered along the
German coast, I once ventured to suggest the advis-
ability of protecting our own coasts with such instru-
ments, instead of with dreadnoughts. The idea
seemed to me to be worthy of consideration, not alone
because German mines have proved so successful, but
14 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
for the further reason that mines planted in home
waters and exploded from shore by electric current,
are not a menace to any nation that remains at home,
nor would the laying of mines by one nation cause
any other nation, in self-defense, to increase either
its fleet or the extent of its mine-fields. Mr. Finly
H. Gray, a member of the House Committee on Naval
Affairs, after reading the article, kindly sent me a
transcript of certain official testimony in which Ad-
mirals Fiske and Fletcher, in reply to Mr. Gray's
questions, had admitted that with mines, submarines
and land guns, the Panama Canal, with no American
ship present, could be held against the largest naval
force that could be sent against it. After the publi-
cation of these facts, one of the Washington newspa-
per correspondents went to the Navy Department to
ask why mines, supplemented by submarines, were not
better defensive weapons than dreadnoughts. Secre-
tary Daniels was not at the department when the cor-
respondent called, so the question was put to Assist-
ant Secretary Franklin D. Roosevelt. I quote from
the report of the correspondent :
"Assistant Secretary of the Navy Roosevelt said
that the defense of the entire coast of the United
States by means of mines would be impracticable.
When his attention was called to the testimony of
Admirals Fletcher and Fiske with regard to the Pan-
ama Canal, Mr. Roosevelt said that while a harbor
could be completely protected by mines and coast de-
fense guns, it would not be possible to defend a long
coast line in that way. He said that in the event of
war, an enemy desiring to capture or destroy the
canal would naturally make a landing at sx>me part
cjf the coast not belonging to the United States, say
SCARING A PEOPLE INTO CAMP 15
Costa Rica or Panama, and would march thence to
"In regard to mining the Atlantic coast, Mr. Roose-
velt said that to be effective, mines must be laid fifty
feet apart. One could easily make a calculation, he
said, as to the number of mines that would be required
to lay only one line along the Atlantic coast. In
practise, several lines would have to be laid, and Mr.
Roosevelt said the work would take years. Ocean
currents, winds and other natural conditions, he said,
would make it very difficult to keep mines at certain
places on the coast."
Mr. Roosevelt's interview is reproduced here to
show how the desire of the militarists for weapons
with which offensive warfare can be waged is power-
fully reen forced by the conservatism of the men who
stand high in our navy. These charges lie, for the
most part, against the professional men in the navy,
one of whom I shall soon use as an illustration, but
for the present let us consider Mr. Roosevelt, who
speaks with all the stolid obstinacy of a sea-dog,
though he is but 33 years old, was educated to be a
lawyer, and a few years ago was nothing but rather
a useless member of the New York legislature. Mr.
Roosevelt is a member of the Army and Navy and the
Metropolitan clubs in Washington, one of which, as
its name indicates, is a professional fighting men's
club, where only orthodox ideas with regard to mili-
tary measures and weapons are ever heard, and the
other is an ultra-exclusive social club which, in large
part, is composed of, or at any rate seasoned with, high
military personages from both the army and the navy.
So, plainly, all that Mr. Roosevelt knows about naval
defense matters, if he knows anything, he has picked
16 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
up around Washington during the last year or two,
from men whom he is now parroting. He is of
momentary importance only because he is functioning
as a parrot.
Let us first consider Mr. Roosevelt's statement that
mines, in order to be effective, "must be laid fifty
feet apart," that "one could easily make a calculation
as to the number of mines that would be required to
lay only one line along the Atlantic Coast" and that
"in practise," several lines would be required.
The cost of a mine containing approximately 500
pounds of gun-cotton enough to blow up the largest
warship that ever was made is $200.
If such mines were to be laid fifty feet apart, 106
mines would be required to lay a single line a mile
long. If three rows were laid, side by side, the
mines being so placed as to leave a minimum opening
between any two of approximately eight feet, the
number of mines required to the mile would be
To put three rows of mines along 2,000 miles of
coast would require 636,000 mines which, at $200
each, would cost $127,200,000.
If the cost of anchoring each mine ten feet below
the keel of the deepest-draught vessel were equal to
the cost of the mine itself (and that seems a generous
figure), the cost of laying the mines would be $127,-
The total cost of putting three rows of mines along
2,000 miles of coast would therefore be $254,400,000.
The administration, it is announced, will this year
ask for a naval appropriation of $246,000,000, and
during the next five years it is planned to expend for
new fighting craft $500,000,000 in addition to the cost
SCARING A PEOPLE INTO CAMP 17
of maintenance of the present fleet, which will amount
to $700,000,000 more.
For this enormous sum one billion, two hundred
millions we shall have paid the regular running ex-
penses of our fleet and added to it ten dreadnoughts
at $18,000,000 each, with an appropriate number of
The same amount of money would put six rows of
mines along 4,000 miles of coast. The navy we shall
have five years hence, if the present program be
carried out, will still be smaller than the British navy
and, if Germany should take a building spurt, might
be little or no larger than the German navy. With
which kind of defense should we feel most nearly
safe a navy that would be smaller than Britain's
and not much if any larger than Germany's, or with
six rows of mines along 4,000 miles of coast?
If we build the dreadnoughts, there will be pre-
cisely as much reason, five years hence, for building
ten more as there is now reason for building ten. If
we lay six rows of mines, they will still be there in
five years and we shall not be compelled to lay six
additional rows merely because Germany may have
added six rows to the mine fields along her coast, or
because Great Britain may have built a score of dread-
Mr. Roosevelt said the work of laying mines "would
take years>" Indeed ! The work of achieving national
safety by building dreadnoughts takes no time. It is
mere child's play. We have been at it fifteen years,
during which time our navy has cost us sixteen hun-
dred million dollars, with the result that according
to the war-alarmists, we are as far away as ever from
bur goal of safety.
i8 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
Mr. Roosevelt also calls attention to ocean currents,
winds, "and other natural conditions" which would
make mines "impracticable." Of course, there are
no difficulties about the dreadnought plan. Mines do
not sink them, nor does the constant progress of
invention make them out of date almost before the
paint on them is dry. The dreadnought policy, we
may gather from Mr. Roosevelt's remarks, presents
no great obstacles, but "ocean currents, winds and
other natural conditions" would raise the dickens with
mines. Mr. Roosevelt talks like a great lawyer.
Yet Mr. Roosevelt, a few days after this interview,
expressed himself in quite a different vein. On Octo-
ber 5, 1915, in an article that he wrote for a syndicate
of Western newspapers, he said:
"Strictly speaking, if national defense applies solely
to the prevention of an armed landing on our Atlantic
or Pacific coasts, no navy at all is necessary."
And then Mr. Roosevelt added :
"But if defense means also the protection of the vast
interests of the United States as a world nation, its
commerce, its increasing population and resources in
Alaska and other territory cut off from the United
States except by sea, its 'mankind benefiting* enter-
prises like the Panama Canal, then and then only
does a navy become necessary. And if a navy is neces-
sary the success of that navy against any other naval
power demands that it be able to receive and repel
an attack in force anywhere on the high seas within
that sphere in which American interests lie."
There are the cards on the table. To get a big
navy, these gentlemen try to frighten you with the
specter of invasion, but what they really want is a big
navy with which to safeguard their present and pros-
SCARING A PEOPLE INTO CAMP 19
pective foreign investments and force into foreign
markets American goods that are needed at home and
could be consumed at home if our workingmen were
paid enough wages to enable them to buy the things
they have made.
What Mr. Roosevelt says about the Panama Canal
is true. If it were protected only by mines, subma-
rines and land guns, it would still be open to attack
through adjoining countries. But that is not the whole
story about the Panama Canal. That great waterway,
as every well-informed person knows, was built, not
for peace but for war. It was not built to carry our
merchant marine, because we have none to speak of,
but to enable our navy to make a quick shift, in an
emergency, from one ocean to the other. Therefore,
if the Panama Canal, which was built for war, is a
handicap rather than a help, it might be better for us
to neutralize it and throw it open to the world, under
the world's guarantee of equal treatment to all, than to
try to hold it at the cost of a mighty fleet of dread-
noughts when, without the canal, we might much bet-
ter defend ourselves with mines.
The American people should not forget that, in the
beginning, it was intended to neutralize the canal and
place no fortification near it. The fortifications, if
not an afterthought, appeared to be. Perhaps we might
better go back to the original plan. If the world
should guarantee the use pf the canal to all on equal
terms, the guarantee, of course, could not be depended
upon. In the event of war, any nation that had
the incentive and the power would break its pledge
and close the canal to its enemy. We should be just
as likely to break the pledge as would any other na-
tion, and seek to justify it pn the ground of neces-
20 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
sity. But most of the time the canal, if neutralized,
would be open to the world on equal terms, precisely
as it is to-day. If our control of the Panama Canal
compels us to build dreadnoughts when mines would
serve us better, there is an exceedingly easy way to
get rid of the Panama Canal. Neutralize it.
Mr. Roosevelt may be presumed to know, as every
man of sense knows, that competitive construction of
armaments leads nowhere but to the poorhouse and
the grave. Nothing is ever settled because the more
rapidly one nation builds, the more rapidly its potential
enemies build. Representative Finly H. Gray of In-
diana performed a valuable public service when at a
meeting of the House Committee on Naval Affairs, he
smoked Admiral Vreeland out on this point. I quote
from the testimony :
"MR. GRAY. I wish to inquire of the admiral if it
is not the policy of other governments to increase their
navies with all the other leading powers ?
"ADMIRAL VREELAND. It is, sir.
"MR. GRAY. What would be the advantage to us
or any other powers if the navies were increased
equally by all the nations of the world ? Would there
be any advantage to us or to any other power ?
"ADMIRAL VREELAND. Not if you mean in the same
"MR. GRAY. Would not the same grounds exist
after an increase for a further increase?
"ADMIRAL VREELAND. It would seem so.
"MR. GRAY. There would be no advantage gained
by any nation, then. How long could that be main-
tained, that even increase, and what advantage would
it be to any nation ?
"ADMIRAL VREELAND. If it continues to increase,
SCARING A PEOPLE INTO CAMP 21
the poorer nation will eventually exhaust itself, and
then the other nations, the United States included,
will have a free hand I mean, be free to build in ac-
cordance with the changed conditions.
"MR. GRAY. Then it is only a question of the limit
"ADMIRAL VREELAND. Yes, sir."
Up to a certain point, that is quite frank. Each
appropriation paves the way for another appropria-
tion until the least strong go broke. It is at this
point that the admiral becomes anything but frank.
When only the strongest are left which would in-
clude the United States they would "have a free hand
to build in accordance with the changed conditions."
Was greater nonsense ever talked? Our "free
hand," at such a time, would consist in the necessity of
extending ourselves to the uttermost in an attempt to
outstrip our most powerful rival, with the certainty
that if we should do so, two rivals whom we could
not outstrip might combine against us and give us
the beating of our lives. We are richer than any other
nation in the world, but we are not richer than any
Yet the militarists talk of "preparedness" as if no-
body but ourselves could engage in it.
The militarists are frauds. They pretend to love
peace and to be concerned only with defense. The
Navy League of the United States prates much of the
non-aggressive character of its demand for a big navy.
The League has headquarters in Washington, has
a monthly magazine called The Seven Seas, and is
grinding out pamphlets as rapidly as men can write
them and presses can print them. One of its pam-
phlets is entitled "Sixty-Seven Reasons for a Strong
22 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
Navy for Defense, But Not One Reason for a Navy
Compare this noble sentiment with the following
paragraph from the September number of the League's
organ, The Seven Seas:
"In Germany, though degeneracies such as inordi-
nate love of money and preoccupation about pain are
manifest as in other Western countries, besides a great
deal of anti-government talk, the iron-fisted arm of
militarism remedies defects quickly enough. Hard,
pitiless for the individual, it all tends, for the state,
to the making of a perfect running machine for the
purpose of expansion, conquest, world-empire. To
adopt German standards of militarism would of course
be impossible among Anglo-Saxons, but this does not
minimise the fact that world-empire is the only logi-
cal and natural aim for a nation that really desires
to remain a nation."
And the Navy League of the United States knows
"sixty-seven reasons why we should have a strong
navy for defense, but not one reason for a navy for
WHEN is A NATION "PREPARED" ?
IN a military sense, when is a nation "prepared"?
It may surprise some gentlemen to know that,
eighteen years ago, Charles M. Schwab, now of the
Bethlehem Steel Company, expressed the opinion be-
fore a Congressional committee that our navy would be
"completed" in ten years! At that time, our naval
appropriations were running round thirty million dol-
lars a year. Since then, we have poured into our
navy almost two thousand million dollars.
When Mr. Schwab, in 1897, predicted that our navy
would be "completed" in 1907, he never dreamt of such
a navy as we now have. Though he was Mr. Car-
negie's head armor plate man and had an armor plate
man's appetite for government contracts, he did not
dare to hope for such fat pickings as have since been
picked. The naval appropriation bill of 1914 took out
of the people's earnings the enormous sum of $140,-
718,434. Yet, eight years after Mr. Schwab believed
our navy would be "completed" and after almost two
thousand million dollars have been spent, we are told
that we are in a frightful state of unpreparedness !
But there is hope. Some of the same gentlemen
who, eighteen years ago, told us what to do to be-
come prepared are still with us and, as ever, are pa-
triotically willing to tell us what to do. If we may take
their word for it, all we need to do is to pour dollars
24 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
into the army and navy where we used to pour dimes.
Mr. Wilson's defense program contemplates the ex-
penditure upon the army and navy, during the next
five years, of more than two thousand million dollars.
Suppose the President's plan should be carried out.
In five years, should we be able to say, "We are pre-
pared" ? Might we then rest on our oars in the belief
that the "completed" navy that Mr. Schwab announced
for 1907 had at last come? By no means. The same
reasons that account for the failure of the navy to
be "completed" at the time set by Mr. Schwab would
account for the failure of two thousand more mil-
lions to make us "prepared" in 1920. If we should de-
cide to spend two thousand millions for armament dur-
ing the next five years, there will be two reasons, in
1920, for spending ten thousand millions more, for
every reason that is now advanced for spending two
The "preparedness" delusion is the most expensive
luxury in which the world ever indulged. Its cost
never stands still. It constantly rises in the most ap-
palling fashion. In the days when Mr. Schwab had
visions of a completed navy only ten years distant,
first-class battleships could be built for two million
dollars. The cost is now eighteen millions. The
twenty-five million ship is coming over the horizon.
Where the limit is, no one knows. All we know is that
they are multiplying not only the size and the cost,
but the number of ships that are required. No mat-
ter how many great ships we have, we are still in
danger. The naval experts not of this country only,
but of all countries never have enough ships. Mili-
tary experts have always been in a class by themselves.
Lord Salisbury, when Prime Minister of England, had
WHEN IS A NATION "PREPARED"? 25
his troubles with them. Writing to Lord Cromer,
in Egypt, Salisbury said, "Pay no attention to the
military experts. If they had their way, they would
fortify Mars to prevent an invasion from the moon."
Nor are our military experts different from the Brit-
ish army experts with whom Lord Salisbury dealt.
Given two thousand millions to spend between now and
1920, they will be able to cite most alarming cir-
cumstances to prove that we are still unprepared and
should spend ten billions in the succeeding five years.
It is indeed very likely that if we should begin so
heavily to arm there would be alarming circumstances
to cite. Our warlike preparations could not go un-
noticed by others and could not fail to excite fear.
If any particular neighbor believed we were arming
against it, that neighbor, unless it had more sense
than have those among us who would further arm
America, might arm against us. Such arming against
us, as the result of our arming against it, would, in
1920, provide a further reason for us to arm some
more against our neighbor and thus it would go, back
and forth, until the people of both nations, frenzied by
fear and hatred, and believing that war between the
two countries was inevitable, would at last stoically ac-
cept it and leave their fate to clashing arms.
Germany is the nation .that is here meant and that
we all mean. There is no reason why we who are
not in office should mince words, as do those statesmen
who so often feel it necessary to try to conceal what
everybody knows. The plain truth is that if we
should decide to spend two thousand million dollars
to strengthen our army and navy, we should do so
only because we fear Germany, after the European
War, might attack us,
26 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
But before we consider what Germany may or may
not do, let us consider what would be the effect upon
the German people, of our spending two thousand mil-
lion dollars to arm ourselves against them. What
would be the effect upon us if we were to learn, after
the war, that Germany had decided to spend two
thousand million dollars to arm against us? If we
knew that Germany had only us in mind, do you doubt
that we should be alarmed? Do you doubt that we
should hasten to increase our own armaments?
Consider, then, the effect we shall produce upon
the German people if we adopt the President's defense
program. The German people know there is here no
fear of attack from any other European power except
Germany. If we still further arm, they will know we
are arming against them. Their editors, their states-
men and all others in whom they have confidence, will
tell them we are arming against them, and quite likely
that we are arming with hostile intent. Our insist-
ence that we are thinking only of defense will amount
to nothing. Every great European nation that is now
at war insisted, before the war, that it was arming
only for defense, yet not one of these nations believed
any of the others. So we may bank on it that if
we should decide to arm against Germany, the fear
we shall inevitably produce in the Germans will cause
them to build ship for ship against us. Then hell will
be let loose, as our munitions patriots will be able to
prove that a great nation is arming against us and will
therefore be able to get out of the national treasury
almost anything they want.
What likelihood is there that Germany would attack
us, even if we did not, by further arming ourselves,
act as if we were preparing to attack her? The an-
WHEN IS 'A NATION "PREPARED"? 27
swer to this question must be solely a matter of opinion.
A good many facts must be taken into consideration
in order to form an opinion that is worth anything.
These facts must be construed reasonably. Possibili-
ties should not be strained to produce either a sense of
danger or a sense of security. Nor can any opinion be
worth much that is tainted by a desire to reach it.
The answer that is most likely to be correct is not
the one that is obtained because it is sought, but the
one that is received because it cannot be kept back.
The first fact that we should consider is that the
German people are intrinsically a peaceable, home-
loving class of human beings. Their instinct for home
is so strong that their rulers, who know them best,
raised the cry when, in 1914, they wanted to call them
to arms, that German homes were about to be overrun
by a foreign foe. If the Kaiser had any intention of
overrunning the world and dominating it, he knew bet-
ter than to assign it as the reason for calling his peo-
ple to arms. He knew the soft spot in the heart of
his countrymen their love of home and played
That is the best feature of the German character
upon which we may count in our hopes for peace.
The worst feature is the extent to which the German
people, in the past, have permitted themselves to be
dominated by their militarists. Is it too much to sus-
pect that the militarists, at least for the next generation,
will not have so much influence in Germany? Is
there not a possibility that the militarists themselves,
after this war, will not soon be eager for another?
The militarists, for the most part, are army officers,
who are members of the great land-owning aristocracy
commonly called the "Junker" class. This war has all
28 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
but shot that class to pieces. Before this war began,
German militarists, when they thought of war, thought
of something short. Their minds went back to the
war with Austria, which lasted but six weeks, and
the war with France, which was won in three months.
At the beginning of this war, nobody in Germany be-
lieved it would last long. The Kaiser expected to be
in Paris in fourteen days. Even after he missed his
French dinner, he told his soldiers that they would all
be back in Germany "before the leaves fall."
The leaves that fluttered in the autumn winds above
him as he spoke have long since moldered away. An-
other crop of leaves has come and gone. The snows
of the second winter have beaten down upon the Ger-
mans in the trenches. Every hillside in western Russia
and northern France is dotted with the graves of of-
ficers who were once proud members of the German
military party. And, still, there is no peace!
Need we suppose that the German militarist who
may be so fortunate as to survive this war is incap-
able of getting enough of a bad thing? Are we bound
to believe that, at the close of this war, other young
Germans, unmoved by the slaughter of the old mili-
tary party, will eagerly rise to form another? Or may
we suppose that Germans, being human, like our-
selves, are sick unto death of war, and will prize
peace when they get it ? Which is the more reasonable
If indications count for anything, the German peo-
ple are eager for peace now. The German govern-
ment permits no discussion of the subject, so it is diffi-
cult to tell. We can imagine, however, how in the
same circumstances we should feel if we had gone to
war to resist invasion, and had fought nearly two
WHEN IS A NATION "PREPARED"? 29
years and there were no army on our soil, and our
own armies were deadlocked on alien soils, and our
women and children were hungry, and the original
purpose of the war had been all but lost sight of. We
should probably feel inclined to ask of our rulers, as
did Vorwaerts, the organ of the German Socialist
Party, "What Are We Fighting For?" The Socialist
Party represents a third of the population of Ger-
many. It is scarcely possible that only the Socialists
among the Germans feel that, the original reason as-
signed for going to war having been lost sight of, it
is time to go home. Yet, for asking this question in
November, 1915, the Socialist organ was suppressed.
If Germany had whipped the world in two or three
months, as her military party expected she would, and
had claimed from her victims indemnities running up
into the billions, there would seem to be no reason to
doubt that we should have exercised only ordinary
precaution if we had proceeded forthwith to arm
against her. So great a victory, if won at such slight
cost, would have intoxicated the military party and
increased its prestige before the people. The German
treasury would have been bursting with British, French
and Russian gold, while the lands over which the Ger-
man flag floated would have been numbered only by
the seven seas. Germany would have been the pre-
ponderating power, not only of Europe, but of the
world, and all the hopes of the militarists would have
been realized at the cost of but little sorrow and suf-
fering on the part of the people. Germany, with a
few of the billions wrung from other powers in the
form of indemnities, could have built a tremendous
navy and, if she had felt so inclined, trumped up a
quarrel with us and fought us.
30 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
But that is all water that has gone under the bridge.
The Germany that might have been cannot be dur-
ing our generation, if ever. No victory that Ger-
many could now win could bring back from their
graves the six hundred thousand German dead and
thus assuage the pent-up sorrow in the German na-
tional heart. Nor could any victory, however great,
make whole and well again the three million German
soldiers who have seen their flesh torn and their
veins opened by shot and shell. Nor could all the vic-
tories recorded in history, if duplicated by Germany,
blot out from the minds of German soldiers the hor-
rors of their soldier-life; the awful cannonade, the
ceaseless thunder of the shells, the clash with knives
and bayonets at night and the machine gun's sputter-
ing song at dawn, the summer's heat and the winter's
cold, the weariness, the homesickness and the despair
of men who, surrounded by death, know not what
moment will be their time to die.
All of these facts we should take into consideration
in trying to ascertain whether Germany, after this
war, will soon be anxious for another. Yet there are
more facts. In no conceivable circumstances can Ger-
many collect a dollar of indemnity from any of her
antagonists, and without such indemnities, she could
not hope successfully to fight us.
Even if it were certain that Germany is destined to
win the present war, from what nation or nations could
she wrest indemnities ? She could not collect anything
from Russia except, possibly, territory. Russia is so
big that, within certain limits, she can say what she
will and will not do. When Russia says, "Not a
kopeck of indemnity" as she said to Japan she can
have her way. The Russian Empire is so far flung
WHEN IS A NATION "PREPARED"? 31
that even German armies in it cannot forever remain
on the offensive. After a certain amount of pene-
tration by the invader, there comes a time when a bal-
ance is established between the two armies. The diffi-
culties attendant upon bringing up supplies to the in-
vading army make up for the relative weakness of the
defending army. Russia always has enough room to
enable her to back up and wait until the enemy suffi-
ciently handicaps himself to make him harmless.
France, at the beginning of the present war, had the
greatest per capita debt in Europe. That debt the war
has enormously increased. The piling of a great in-
demnity upon France would almost certainly bring
revolution. Financially speaking, France is the na-
tional image of the celebrated turnip which, so it is
said, contains no blood.
An indemnity might be wrung from Great Britain
if the Germans could sink the British fleet. What
chance is there that the German fleet can do so? The
same chance that there always is that one ship can
defeat three that are just as large and just as courage-
ously and intelligently handled. If there had been,
in the opinion of von Tirpitz, the Grand Admiral, a
fighting chance to defeat the British fleet, we may be
quite sure that, long ago, he would have tried to do
so. The von Tirpitz plan, was to submarine enough
of the British ships to bring the two fleets down to a
plane of equality, after which he was to go about it
with his dreadnoughts to destroy the remainder. The
von Tirpitz plan failed. The British fleet is larger
than it was when the war began. Twenty-five great
ships have been built since the war began. There is no
chance whatever that Germany can destroy the Brit-
ish fleet, and unless she destroys it, there is no chance
32 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
whatever that she can collect a farthing of indemnity
England cannot unconditionally surrender to Ger-
many and remain an empire. With the lowering of
her flag, her colonial empire would break up like a
ship in a storm. So long as her navy remains unde-
feated, she need not unconditionally surrender. Even
if all of England's allies were to be worn out, Eng-
land could still fight. With her warships, she could
form a lane across the English Channel and through
this lane troop-ships could bear her armies back to
England. Great Britain could then say to Germany,
"Not a farthing of indemnity, nor an inch of territory,
and until you sink the British fleet, you cannot sail a
ship on the seas or, except through others, do a
pfennig's worth of business throughout the world."
At the ordinary expense of maintaining her navy,
Great Britain could continue such a war indefinitely.
It costs no more for ships to blockade than it does to
maneuver in times of peace.
After this war, Germany, like all the other par-
ticipants in it, is bound not only to be sick of war but
to be poor. She will do well if she rehabilitate her-
self in a generation. But such probabilities by no
means prevent those who insist upon seeing danger
in this quarter from seeing it. J. Bernard Walker,
editor of the Scientific American, has written a book
entitled "America Fallen : The Sequel to the Eu-
ropean War," in which seeming to write after the
event he tells how Germany came here, landed troops,
took the Atlantic forts from the rear, bombarded New
York, captured Philadelphia and Washington and
made peace only upon the payment by us of an indem-
nity of twenty billions. I may add that Mr. Morgan's
WHEN IS A NATION "PREPARED"? 33
Navy League of the United States thinks so highly of
this book that it has bought a supply for free distribu-
This book, at least on its cover, looks very impres-
sive, as the cover contains a statement signed by Ad-
miral Dewey in which he declares that the state of af-
fairs described in the book "might well exist if our
country is not prepared to maintain itself at peace with
all the world." I will venture to say that any man
with a little imagination can write a yarn, describing
worse horrors, that a bacteriologist who stands as high
in his profession as Admiral Dewey does in the pro-
fession of arms, will declare over his signature to be
within the realm of possibility.
I will try it myself.
"The war in Europe is ended. Germany has been
conquered and has agreed to pay an indemnity of fif-
teen billions. She has nothing in her treasury. She
needs money. She knows we have lots of it. The
Kaiser holds long, secret conferences with the leading
German bacteriologists. They sit up late at night.
Night after night, the Kaiser quits the conference at
daybreak, the faint light of morning throwing a
deadly pallor upon his brow. Night after night
until? Until there comes a change, the Kaiser smiles,
shakes the hand of one. bacteriologist particularly
warmly, pins a grand cross of some kind or other
upon his coat and it is plain that the royal eyes see
a great rift in the clouds.
"A few weeks of preparatory work is conducted in
German laboratories, but we may well pass over that.
"The scene shifts to America. All over the country
there is suddenly noticed a sharp increase in the death
rate from typhoid fever. Boards of health critically
34 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
examine the water and milk supplies. They seem to
be all right. The oyster beds are looked into. They
are found to contain no more than the usual number of
germs. What is the matter? God knows. Without
any appreciable reason, the mortality from typhoid is
increasing fearfully. One day there were ten thousand
deaths in Chicago. The next day there were twenty-
five thousand deaths in New York. A telegram from
Boston says that people are dying more rapidly than
undertakers can bury them and that the state house
is piled high with bodies packed in ice awaiting burial.
A woman in Cincinnati the mother of six children
became crazed when typhoid killed her last child and
shot both her husband and herself. Two members of
the President's cabinet were stricken, and the disease,
in its inexorable way, snuffed out their lives. And
"And then a wireless message came from Germany,
'via Sayville/ It was brief and strangely directed
not to the Secretary of State or to the President, but
'To The American People.' Here it is:
" 'The typhoid epidemic that is devastating your
land is the result of German planning. German sci-
entists have devised a method of making typhoid
germs immune to heat as to all other known methods
of killing them. The characteristics of the germs have
also been changed so that, although your scientists see
them, they do not recognize them as what they are, nor
can they be recognized, since there are many other
germs which they perfectly resemble. Produced as
these germs are in our laboratories, they are of un-
usual virulence, which accounts for the present high
mortality from the disease in America. In short, Ger-
many is waging war against America with the new
WHEN IS A NATION "PREPARED"? 35
weapons of science. We have the power to annihilate
you. Notwithstanding everything your scientists may
do, your death rate will rapidly increase until you
make peace, as enough germs to kill the world can be
carried in a trunk, and trusted agents in America have
infected all of your water supplies. We also know
how to destroy these germs instantly. Your epidemic
will cease immediately upon the payment by America
to Germany of an indemnity of twenty billion dol-
Scientifically possible? Who dare say it is not?
Crazy? Yes, in the sense that it is far and away be-
yond the bounds of probability. But what about
"America Fallen"? How often has America fallen
during the last 139 years?
Let us not, at the behest of the munitions manu-
facturers, who fatten on the war and war prepara-
tions as buzzards fatten on a dead cow let us not go
mad. Let us consider probabilities and reasonable pos-
sibilities rather than nightmares. Common sense
should tell us that there is far greater possibility
that the German people, after the war, will do some
fighting for themselves and perhaps drive the Hohen-
zollerns out of the country. The prestige of the Ger-
man military party required a decisive victory, won
at no great cost. Such a* victory for Germany is no
longer possible. No kind of victory is by any means
Americans who denounce German militarism and
then, by favoring the sort of "preparedness" that our
munitions patriots advocate, invite American milita-
rism such Americans would do well to read the his-
tory of the introduction of militarism into Germany.
They would do well to read this history because
36 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
therein they may see how the poison of militarism, as
expressed in huge appropriations, works its way.
The Germans at first hated the thing. How it was
forced down their throats, how they came, first to
tolerate it and then to look upon it as a wise measure
of "preparedness," is admirably told by Professor
Charles Downer Hazen in his important work, "Eu-
rope Since 1815."
The story in brief is this: The present Kaiser's
grandfather in 1860 conceived it to be his duty to in-
crease the standing army from 215,000 to 450,000
men. This was to be brought about by adding 23,000
a year to the number of soldiers ordinarily recruited.
When the king brought into Parliament the first bill
for the maintenance of the additional troops, the legis-
lature passed it, believing that it was only of a pro-
visional nature. But when the king, the next year,
brought in another bill of the same kind and Parlia-
ment learned what were his real designs, the bill was
thrown out. The king insisted upon his bill. Parlia-
ment insisted upon its rights. Says Hazen:
"A deadlock ensued. The king was urged to abol-
ish Parliament altogether. This he would not do be-
cause he had sworn to uphold the constitution that es-
tablished it. He thought of abdicating. He never
thought of abandoning the reform. He had written
out his abdication and signed it when he at last con-
sented to call to the ministry as a final experiment a
new man, known for his boldness, his independence,
his devotion to the monarchy, Otto von Bismarck.
Bismarck was appointed President of the Ministry
September 23, 1862. On that very day, the cham-
ber rejected anew the credits asked for by the king
for the new regiments. The conflict entered upon its
WHEN IS A NATION "PREPARED"? 37
most acute phase, and a new era began for Prussia
and the world.
"In this interview, Bismarck told the king frankly
that he was willing to carry out his policy whether the
Parliament agreed to it or not. 'I will rather perish
with the king/ he said, 'than forsake your majesty in
the contest with parliamentary government.' His bold-
ness determined the king to tear up the paper contain-
ing his abdication and to continue the struggle with
the. chamber of deputies. . . .
"For four years the conflict continued. The con-
stitution was not abolished, Parliament was called re-
peatedly, the lower house voted year after year against
the budget, supported in this by the voters, the upper
house voted for it, and the king acted as if this made it
legal. The period was one of virtual dictatorship and
suspension of parliamentary life. The king continued
to collect the taxes, the army was thoroughly reor-
ganized and absolutely controlled by the authorities,
and the lower house had no mode of opposition save
the verbal one, which was entirely ineffective."
From this we see how loath was Germany to be-
come militaristic. The people supported the lower
house in its opposition to an increased army and a
four years' dictatorship was required to make them
swallow the dose. Now the world blames Germany
for its militarism. Can we be quite sure that if we
take the same road, we shall not arrive at the same
destination ? Once we seriously make the plunge, is it
likely that we shall be able to turn back? We may
want to, but shall we dare? If during the next five
years we spend two thousand millions, Germany will
have much more reason to "prepare" against us than
we now have to "prepare" against her, because the
38 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
Germans will know we are arming against them and
we do not now know that Germany has ever armed
against us. If the Germans, taking fright, should
then arm against us, should we be either surprised or
affronted? And if they should begin to arm against
us could we say, after we had spent our two thou-
sand millions, "Our navy is now completed, and we
will build no more" ? With Germany building against
us, could we say that ? We could, but it is exceedingly
unlikely that we would. But if we did not, the build-
ing, on each side, would go on to the last bloody chap-
ter. Is it not well, while there is still time, to think
of these things?
We should pay no more attention to our munitions
patriots than Lord Salisbury told Lord Cromer to pay
to the military experts. Their patriotism is of a most
peculiar kind. They are always ready to advise the
government. They are always ready to shout for
the flag. Unfortunately for us, but not for them-
selves, they are never ready to take their hands out
of the national treasury. They profess to believe the
country is in great danger, but they are unwilling that
this danger shall be averted until a price has been paid
to themselves for its safety. In other words, they are
unwilling that the government shall manufacture its
own warships and war-materials. They want the
profits that can be made by making and selling these
things to the government.
Secretary of the Navy Daniels, in his report for
"Contrary to popular idea, the Navy Department in
what it manufactures does so, from a superdread-
nought to a gallon of paint or a pound of powder,
cheaper than the same can be purchased."
WHEN IS A NATION "PREPARED"? 39
The Hon. Clyde H. Tavenner of Illinois, in a most
remarkable expose of the munitions patriots that was
reported in the Congressional Record of February 15,
"Should the government manufacture all of its mu-
nitions, I predict that the Navy League would not only
lock the doors of its suite in the National Capital, from
which it carries on its lobbying, morning, noon and
night, but that the same patriots for profit who are
now clamoring for a bigger and bigger navy, in the
certain knowledge that if their agitation is successful
they will draw down contracts worth millions, will be
among the loudest in their protestations against an
annual expenditure of $250,000,000 for war in time
Representative Tavenner's address is altogether the
most important contribution that has yet been made
in this country to the discussion of the evils of mil-
itarism. He quotes names, dates and figures to show
by whom and of how much we have been robbed in
the past. He shows how the ammunition, gun and
armor plate patriots give employment to army and
navy officers who are either on the retired list or to
whom the government has granted long leaves of
absence. He cites at least one case where such an em-
ployee of an interest that "was engaged in milking the
government actually had deskroom in the Navy De-
partment. He shows how the government turns over
to the powder trust all the scientific information it
can gather about powder, only to have the trust, under
an agreement with German powder makers, turn over
the information to Germany. He quotes the text of
this agreement, which also binds the American pow-
der trust forthwith upon receipt of an order from the
40 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
United States government to report all the facts, in-
cluding the amount of the order and the kind of pow-
der, to the German powder makers. This agreement
was made in 1897 and for years was in force.
Representative Tavenner quotes the testimony of a
former sales agent of the powder trust that the con-
cern maintained a lobby in Washington and paid
the manager thereof $30,000 a year and expenses to
dispense "entertainment to their customers" that is
to say, to your servants in Washington who have the
power to enter into contracts on your behalf. This
statement, it is only fair to say, was denied by the pow-
der trust, and is therefore probably not true.
Munitions patriots, the world over, seem to be both
a lavish and a merry crew when "customers" are to
be entertained. Mr. Tavenner quotes part of an ar-
ticle written by M. Jules Huret with regard to the
manner in which the Krupps dispense good cheer while
contracts from foreign governments or their own,
for that matter are under consideration. This French
writer, describing the Essener Hof, the private estab-
lishment maintained by the Krupps for such purposes,
"This Krupp hotel is a very curious place. With its
double marble staircase, with columns of rose-colored
marble and bannisters of gilded copper, it has dignity.
In the vestibule, on either side of a stone chimney-
place, sculptured masks represent the five continents.
The ground is covered with red tiles, along which red
carpets run. Red leather settees and armchairs are
lined along the walls. The guests of the firm dine in a
special hall. After a few days, they all know one an-
other, and they soon meet around a large round table.
Nothing could show better than these occasions how
WHEN IS A NATION "PREPARED"? 41
much that is artificial our civilization contains. Turks,
Bulgars, Serbs, Japs, Chilean and Argentinian rep-
resentatives will be there.
"There will also be Scandinavians, Russians and
Belgians. At the end of the meal, when the French
wines have got a little into their heads, the voices will
rise, and all these enemies will clink glasses for a
long time like brothers, amid laughter and the smoke
of long cigars, at the cost of the Krupps a thousand
leagues from the thought of the reasons that brought
them there. All these gentry will perhaps be slaughter-
ing one another one fine day" (they are doing it now)
"with these guns which they have come to see bored.
But while they are waiting for the steel to cool, they
'booze,' as William II said to Jules Simon.
"Some of these representatives stay a year, even
two years, to watch the processes of manufacture, so
that with its fifty rooms, the Essen hotel costs the firm
something like 20,000 a year, without counting inci-
dental expenses. Two years ago, for instance, when
the Chinese mission arrived eighteen persons with
their attendants there was an insufficiency of accom-
modation. Frau Krupp invited the Turkish officers,
whom she had been harboring for a long time, to make
a little journey to London and Paris at her expense,
under the guidance of a young officer attached to the
works. They stayed away five days, enjoyed them-
selves, as may be imagined, and returned when the
Celestials had gone again. The stay of the Chinamen
themselves had cost 2,000 special trains, banquets,
If it were true as charged, which of course it is not,
that our powder trust maintained an expensive lobby
in Washington, we might gather from this pastoral
42 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
German scene some idea of the manner in which pro-
ceedings were conducted. We can see, at any rate,
how the servants of the capitalist classes, the world
over, gather under the roof of one great armament
concern and make merry at the expense of a company
that is trying to keep the world at peace by prepar-
ing it for war.
Mr. Tavenner goes on further to show the interna-
tional character of the munitions patriots, the world
over; how the armament trust of one nation owns
shares of stock in the armament companies of other
nations, and how nations are induced to arm by hiring
the newspapers of other nations to print articles in-
dicating that an attack is intended. Documentary evi-
dence in support of these charges is offered. Mr.
Schwab's Bethlehem Steel Company, for instance,
owns 4,301 shares of stock in one of the greatest gun-
manufacturing companies in England, the Harvey
Steel Company or did, at any rate, in 1912. The
fact is also noted that in England stock in the great
Armstrong gun company is held by 60 noblemen, their
wives, sons, or daughters, fifteen baronets, twenty
knights, eight members of parliament, twenty military
and naval officers and eight journalists. Mr. Taven-
ner tried to slip a paragraph into the last naval bill re-
quiring all contractors to file lists of their stockhold-
ers, but Congress cut it out. Mr. Tavenner wanted
the country to know the names of all who are profiting
from "preparedness." Congress smelled the mouse
and refused to let the names be made public.
Mr. Tavenner in his expose goes on to show how
the government is paying $17.50 for a shrapnel shell
that it is itself manufacturing in small lots for $7.50,
and $7 for a fuse that the government is making in
WHEN IS A NATION "PREPARED"? 43
small lots for $2.92. Armor plate that can be made
for $279 a ton is sold to the government for $440
and has been sold for as much as $600.
It may be worth while to try the acid test for pa-
triotism upon the munitions gentlemen. Ask the great
bankers to sign a statement binding themselves, in the
event of war, to give the government the use of their
fortunes for $15 a month. That is all a soldier gets
for the use of his life. Why should bankers get rich
in war while poor men are dying in it?
If the munitions patriots agree to urge the govern-
ment to make its own war weapons, and the bank-
ers agree to rent their fortunes as cheaply as a sol-
dier rents his life then and not until then will these
gentlemen have proved their right to be considered un-
OUR REAL NAVAL STRENGTH
COMPULSORY military service is raising its ugly
head in America. This in face of the fact that
two of the highest authorities in the American navy
say we are strong enough on water to defeat Germany
or any other nation, save Great Britain. The naval
authorities who say our navy is already strong enough
to defeat that of Germany are Admirals Fletcher and
'Badger. Admiral Fletcher is the highest active officer
in the navy, ranking next to Dewey who, while on
the active list for life by grace of Congress, is not
active in the sense that he goes to sea or, in the event
of war, could go to sea. Admiral Fletcher is the com-
mander of our greatest fleet the Atlantic and if we
were to-day at war would, unless superseded, lead our
armada to battle. Admiral Badger, until he retired
a year or so ago, held Fletcher's present place. If
any one is able to make an accurate estimate of the
relative strength of fighting craft, these men should
be able to do so. The opinion of each of these officers
is that the American fleet is stronger than that of
Official proof of these statements will be given here-
with. In December, 1914, Admirals Fletcher and
Badger were witnesses before the House Committee
on Naval Affairs. Both of them were then, as they
are now, in favor of a larger navy. Was there ever
OUR REAL NAVAL STRENGTH 45
a naval officer who was not in favor of a larger navy?
But Judge Witherspoon, of Mississippi, who was a
member of the committee, was not in favor of a larger
navy. He thought he saw through the campaign for
greater "preparedness" on water, and fought it. Un-
like many members of Congress, he had at his tongue's
end the essential facts pertaining to the world's navies.
Armed with these facts, he had a way of backing
admirals into a corner and making them admit that
white was white instead of black. He backed Ad-
mirals Fletcher and Badger into a corner. Official
stenographers were present and took down a report
of the proceedings. This report is incorporated in a
volume of 1,100 pages. The American people do not
know it exists. It should be available to the public,
but it isn't. When I wrote to the Government Print-
ing Office for it, I was told that it was out of print.
Plenty of reports on hog cholera and the foot and
mouth disease are not out of print. I went to Wash-
ington and, through the courtesy of the Hon. Clyde
H. Tavenner, obtained the copy that he had in his
office. The name of the book is "Hearings Before
the Committee on Naval Affairs of the House of
Representatives on Estimates Submitted by the Sec-
retary of the Navy." It is doubtless in many public
libraries. It should be in every home in America.
If it were, America would not be full of fright. It
could not be, because the facts that this book contains
are convincing. They show that Germany, with her
present strength, could not invade this country if she
In this chapter, I shall quote liberally from that
book, in each case giving the number of the page.
The reason therefor will become plain.
46 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
The big gun of the munitions patriots and other
big interests is fear. If they can thoroughly alarm
the people, the interests can get what they have so
long sought a greater navy in addition to some-
thing that, until now, they never had the hardihood
to advocate a great army. Since fear is the weapon
with which the militarists are fighting, it is the weapon
that must be destroyed if the militarists are to be
The testimony of Admirals Fletcher and Badger
is an antidote to fear.
The reader should bear in mind that throughout
the testimony to be quoted here, whenever battleship-
strength is mentioned that it means in the case of each
and every nation, the number of battleships built,
building and authorized. The American battleship-
strength at the time of the hearings before the House
Committee on Naval Affairs was 40. Keep that in
mind 40 American battleships.
On page 545 of the book mentioned, Mr. Butler, a
member of the committee, endeavored to obtain from
Admiral Fletcher his opinion of our relative naval
strength. I quote:
"MR. BUTLER Where do we stand, Admiral ?
"ADMIRAL FLETCHER I have not personally gone
into that, but I have estimates that place us about
third at the present time."
Stick a pin there. America third in naval strength.
That meant that in his opinion Germany was ahead
of us. Let us now turn to the testimony beginning
on page 548 and see how Judge Witherspoon com-
pelled him to admit that, in his opinion, the American
Navy could defeat the German Navy and was second
only to that of Great Britain :
OUR REAL NAVAL STRENGTH 47
"MR. WITHERSPOON How many battleships has
"ADMIRAL FLETCHER According to this table here
(indicating) England has twenty dreadnoughts built.
"MR. WITHERSPOON The total number? How
many has she in all?
"ADMIRAL FLETCHER This table puts it at 60.
"MR. WITHERSPOON That is, 60 battleships?
"ADMIRAL FLETCHER Sixty battleships.
"MR. WITHERSPOON I did not ask you about that
statement. I have seen that old statement before. I
do not care anything about that statement. The Navy
Yearbook puts down the number of English battle-
ships, completed, building and authorized at 72. Now
your idea is that if those 72 ships were pitted against
ours, we would not be able to resist them; is that
"ADMIRAL FLETCHER We could resist them, but
we would probably be defeated.
"MR. WITHERSPOON That is what I mean. We
could not resist them successfully?
"ADMIRAL FLETCHER No; all else being equal.
"MR. WITHERSPOON It has been told this commit-
tee by high authority in the navy department among
others, Admiral Vreeland that if we had a war with
England, on account of its relations with other nations
in Europe, it could not afford to send more than half
its ships against us. Do you believe that is so?"
Let us pause a moment before we read the admiral's
answer. A direct reply to the question might have
brought another question as to whether our 40 bat-
tleships would be unable to cope with the 36 that Great
Britain might be able to send against us. The obvious
answer to this impending question would not be good
48 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
for the larger American Navy campaign. So the
Admiral replied :
"ADMIRAL FLETCHER That is a question of policy
and of political conditions in Europe upon which I
would not pretend to pass judgment.
"MR. WITHERSPOON Then your statement that
we could not resist England would be on the assump-
tion that she could send her entire fleet, or more than
half of it, against us?
"ADMIRAL FLETCHER Yes, sir; she would control
the sea if she could keep there a more powerful fleet
"MR. WITHERSPOON Or not afraid of war with
the rest of the world; not afraid to take all the ships
away from her own coast, and to send all of them,
or a large majority of them, against us? Your state-
ment is based on that?
"ADMIRAL FLETCHER Yes, sir. It is based on
"MR. WITHERSPOON Well, on the assumption that
what other naval experts have told us is correct
that she could not send more than 50 per cent, of her
72 against us you would not say then that we would
not be able to resist them successfully, would you?"
Here was the dreaded question that the Admiral
had seen coming and tried to dodge. This is the way
he dodged it:
"ADMIRAL FLETCHER I would not like to pass
judgment on a supposititious case of that kind."
Everybody knows how a naval officer dislikes to
consider "a supposititious case." They will consider,
until the cows come home, supposititious cases that
point to the necessity of a larger navy. The present
hullaballoo for a larger army and a larger navy is
OUR REAL NAVAL STRENGTH 49
predicated upon the supposition that if Germany were
to send her fleet against us we should be defeated.
But when Admiral Fletcher was asked his opinion
as to whether Great Britain, if she could send 36
battleships against our 40 could defeat them, he
dodged the question on the ground that he did "not
like to pass judgment on a supposititious case." I
lay this point bare because it gives additional signifi-
cance to the Admiral's subsequent admission that, in
his opinion, our navy is not, as he told Mr. Butler,
third and therefore inferior to that of Germany, but
second and superior to that of any nation except Great
Britain. The admissions wrung from an unwilling
witness are always important. A man's judgment
may be warped by his desires. They are never warped
against his desires.
But let us proceed with the testimony:
"MR. WITHERSPOON Now, according to the Navy
Yearbook, Germany has battleships built, building and
authorized, 39. Would you say that if she could
send all those ships against us, we would not be able
to resist them?
"ADMIRAL FLETCHER I should say that we ought
to, if we have the greater force.
"MR. WITHERSPOON Yes; we ought to. Certainly,
we ought; and we could?
"ADMIRAL FLETCHER Yes, sir; the greater force
"MR. WITHERSPOON Yes, we could.
"ADMIRAL FLETCHER I think so.
"MR. WITHERSPOON Now, it has been stated to us
that if Germany were at war with us she could not
afford, either to send more than one-half her ships
50 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
"ADMIRAL FLETCHER That I do not know.
"MR. WITHERSPOON I am not asking you whether
you do or do not. Assuming that she could send only
half of her 39, would you not say that we could suc-
cessfully resist that number?"
"ADMIRAL FLETCHER Yes, sir; I would say so if
all our force is available to meet her.
"MR. WITHERSPOON I would too. Now take
France. This Navy Yearbook says that France has
a grand total of battleships, built, building and author-
ized, of 29 eleven less than we have. Would you
not say that if she sent all hers against us that we
would be able successfully to resist them?
"ADMIRAL FLETCHER Yes; our force available be-
ing the greater.
"MR. WITHERSPOON And if she sent only one-
half of them, we would not have much of a fight,
"ADMIRAL FLETCHER No, we ought not to.
"MR. WITHERSPOON That is the way I look at
it. Here is Japan, which, according to the Navy Year-
book, has only 19 battleships, or 21 less than we have
got. If Japan should send all of her 19 against us,
do you not think we would be able successfully to re-
"ADMIRAL FLETCHER Yes, I should say, if all of
our force were free to meet them at the time.
"MR. WITHERSPOON And if she did not send but
half of them, there would not be much of a scrap,
"ADMIRAL FLETCHER Probably not.
"MR. WITHERSPOON Now, here is Russia, that the
Navy Yearbook says has a grand total of battleships,
built, building and authorized, of 15. If she should
OUR REAL NAVAL STRENGTH 51
send all of them against us, would you not say that
we could successfully resist them?
"ADMIRAL FLETCHER Yes, sir.
"MR. WITHERSPOON And if she sent half of them,
there would not be any fight at all, would there ?
"ADMIRAL FLETCHER Not much.
"MR. WITHERSPOON Here is Italy, that has a
grand total, according to the Navy Yearbook, of 17
battleships. We could successfully resist them,
whether she sent all of them, or a part of them, could
"ADMIRAL FLETCHER Yes; I think so.
"MR. WITHERSPOON Now Austria-Hungary, ac-
cording to the Navy Yearbook, has a grand total of
battleships, built, building and authorized, of 10. We
could successfully resist them, could we not?
"ADMIRAL FLETCHER I think so.
"MR. WITHERSPOON Then what nation is there
that we are not prepared successfully to resist? There
is not one on earth, is there, Admiral not a single
"ADMIRAL FLETCHER Well, Judge, I think there
"MR. WITHERSPOON Well, which one? I have
gone through the big ones. Tell me which one?
"ADMIRAL FLETCHER >I should say that England
has a navy so much more powerful than that of any
other nation in the world that she could easily keep
control of the seas.
"MR. WITHERSPOON England. Well, what other
The Admiral is now in the corner, and, as the
pugilists say, "taking the count." Here is his an-
52 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
"ADMIRAL FLETCHER I do not think we need
greatly fear any other single nation."
But Judge Witherspoon was remorseless in push-
ing the witness. He determined to tie him down even
more tightly. Apparently he was not satisfied with
the Admiral's admission that, in his opinion, we need
not "greatly" fear defeat at the hands of the German
fleet. Judge Witherspoon wanted to make him admit
that we need not fear defeat at all at Germany's
hands. One more question did the business:
"MR. WITHERSPOON Then there is no other nation
except England that, in your judgment, we could not
successfully defend ourselves against?
"ADMIRAL FLETCHER I think that is correct; yes."
The witness having changed his mind, without leav-
ing his seat, as to the ability of Germany, with her 39
battleships, to defeat our 40, Judge Witherspoon asked
him if England had any battleships as large as some
of ours. Watch how unwillingly the Admiral admit-
ted that our largest ships are the most powerful in
"ADMIRAL FLETCHER England has many ships
which are very nearly of the same power of our
own ships of same date of building.
"MR. WITHERSPOON Let us see about that, now.
I do not believe she has, though you know more about
it than I do. In this Navy Yearbook, which gives a
list of the English battleships, I find that the last five
dreadnoughts that England built or is building are
named the Royal Sovereign, Royal Oak, Remiles, Rev-
olution and Revenge, each of which has a tonnage of
"ADMIRAL FLETCHER Yes, sir.
"MR. WITHERSPOON And we have two ships, the
OUR REAL NAVAL STRENGTH 53
Pennsylvania and the No. 39, which have a tonnage
of 31,400, and then we have authorized three more
that are to have a tonnage, as I understand, of 31,000.
"THE CHAIRMAN Thirty-two thousand.
"MR. WITHERSPOON Thirty-two thousand tons.
In other words, the tonnage of the Pennsylvania and
No. 39 is 5,400 tons greater than that of the last
five English dreadnoughts that are building, and the
last three dreadnoughts that we are building have a
tonnage of 6,000 tons greater than the last five Eng-
lish ships. Do you tell me that these English ships
are equal to ours?
"ADMIRAL FLETCHER No; I did not say that.
"MR. WITHERSPOON Do not you regard them as
inferior to ours?
"ADMIRAL FLETCHER Yes; as near as we can esti-
"MR. WITHERSPOON I do too. And the arma-
ment of these five ships is eight fifteen-inch guns,
while the armament of the five American ships I have
referred to is twelve fourteen-inch guns. Which is
the more powerful armament eight fifteen-inch guns
or twelve fourteen-inch guns?
"ADMIRAL FLETCHER. I think the twelve four-
teen-inch guns more powerful, but I am not sure this
opinion is concurred in by all authorities.
"MR. WITHERSPOON. Then, understanding your
testimony, after reviewing it, do you want us to un-
derstand that England is the only nation on earth that
has a navy that we could not successfully resist?
"ADMIRAL FLETCHER. / think that is the fair con-
clusion; yes, sir; at the present time."
Is this news? If so, is it important? The New
York newspapers that are leading the fight for pre-
54 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
paredness do not think so. I know, because I tried
them out. I read all of the foregoing testimony dur-
ing an address that I made in New York. The re-
porters of the leading newspapers were sitting at a
table in front of the platform. Before I read the
testimony, I pointed to the reporters and told them
I was going to give them some news, that I knew they
would be willing to write it if their editors would
print it, and that I did not believe a newspaper in
New York would print this news, though its authen-
ticity was attested by the government itself.
All of the newspapers, the next morning, contained
reports of my address. Only one of them mentioned
the testimony and that one gave it but a short sen-
tence. The New York Times, which daily flaunts
the slogan, "All the news that's fit to print," printed
a report of my speech, but gave not one word to
Admiral Fletcher's testimony. Why ? Was it not "fit
to print" ? Or is the Times not fit to print the news ?
If the admission of the highest active officer in the
American Navy that we need not fear the German
Navy is not news, there is no such thing as news.
The people or a good many of them, at any rate
believe we are in danger. They believe our navy is
not as strong as that of Germany. They would doubt-
less be interested in knowing that our highest active
naval officer believes our navy is stronger than that
But they are not permitted to read this fact in the
munitions press. It is "not news." But the munitions
press never fails to discern the news-value in the ser-
mon of some "Christian" minister who is able to
deduce from the Scriptures that we should be amply
justified in sending this country down the same bloody
OUR REAL NAVAL STRENGTH 55
chute of "preparedness" that is killing Europe. Such
an interview is always worth a column. Also, there
is great news-value in the opinion of any nonentity
lately returned from Europe that this country should
hasten to arm. As if we were not already armed!
A nation that has a navy more powerful than that of
any other, save one, in the world !
Nor is Admiral Fletcher alone in this opinion.
Admiral Badger, who preceded him as commander
of the Atlantic fleet and highest on the active list,
admitted as much. I will quote only the concluding
paragraphs of his testimony which appear on page
"MR. WITHERSPOON. Well, I wanted to get your
views about that, because I do not like to hear Ameri-
cans running around and talking about the German
Navy being superior to ours. I know it is not so.
"ADMIRAL BADGER. You have not heard me say
"MR. WITHERSPOON. No; and I am glad that is
so. I hope you never will say it, because there is
not any truth in it."
President Wilson, when he addressed Congress, at
the opening of the session in December, 1914, de-
precated any attempt to convert this country into an
"armed camp." A year Jater, standing on the same
spot, he launched the greatest army and navy program
that was ever launched in time of peace by an Ameri-
The Secretary of the Navy, Mr. Daniels, in Decem-
ber, 1914, was as unperturbed as the President him-
self. I condense two paragraphs from pages 636 and
637 of the report of the hearings before the House
Committee on Naval Affairs:
56 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
"SECRETARY DANIELS. I think when the war is
over in Europe the countries are going to be so ex-
hausted in their resources and are going to be so
burdened with debt that there is going to be a great
revulsion of feeling against war. I think there is
going to be such exhaustion and reaction that the peo-
ple are going to demand the cessation of this ever-
increasing burdensome expense of war."
On page 572 appears the following report of the
Secretary's testimony before the committee:
"SECRETARY DANIELS. He [the President] abso-
lutely refuses to lose his head merely because 'some
among us are nervous and excited.' Even if the
times are internationally out of joint, no occasion has
arisen with us to plunge headlong into any frenzied
policy or frantic action."
From page 586, I take the following :
"MR. BUCHANAN. In your opinion, will the pres-
ent conflict in Europe impair or destroy the resources
of our possible opponents in such a manner that it will
put us in less danger of having any great conflict?
"SECRETARY DANIELS. I think the war in Europe
is going to exhaust the resources of the countries
engaged in it, and I think there is less likelihood I
do not think there was much likelihood before of our
country in the future having any trouble with those
When Mr. Daniels was asked his opinion as to
the advisability of increasing the navy, as a result
of the European War, more rapidly than the past pro-
gram had contemplated, he replied (page 581) :
"SECRETARY DANIELS. I think it would be most
unwise for us to act to-day in any particular as we
would not have acted if there were no war."
OUR REAL NAVAL STRENGTH 57
What has happened during the last year so to alter
the minds of the President and his Secretary of the
Navy? The Lusitania has been sunk. The whole
policy of German and, later, of Austrian submarine
warfare has been put into practise. German enmity
has been aroused by the sale of American munitions
of war to the Allies. A certain amount of German
enmity has been aroused by the alleged unneutrality
of the United States Government. But no one in
his senses believes that, after the war in Europe is
ended, Germany will attack the United States because
Americans did not like the sinking of the Lusitcmia,
nor because the American Government opposed the
manner in which the Central Powers conducted their
submarine campaign, nor because the Central powers
believed the United States Government to be unneu-
tral during the European War. All of these matters
are things to snarl about during war, but none of
them is a thing about which to start another war.
Yet, save one, they are the only reasons that may be
given for plunging into militarism through fear of
That other reason is the fear that Germany, as a
result of the present war, will become a world-empire,
seek to establish colonies in South America, thus chal-
lenging the Monroe Doctrine and bringing on war.
But if this reason now exists, did it not also exist
in December, 1914, when the President, in his address
to Congress, opposed the conversion of this country
into an "armed camp" and his Secretary of the Navy
complimented him for not "losing his head merely be-
because 'some among us are nervous and excited' " ?
Have not the events of the last year tended rather to
decrease than to increase this danger ?
58 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
The fear of danger from this source must be pred-
icated upon some notion of vastly increased German
power, as a result of this war, together with the desire
of the German people that this power shall be used
Is Germany stronger than it was four months after
the beginning of the war when the President felt so
little fear from this source that he would not raise a
finger against it? Is there more or less reason than
there was in December, 1914, to expect that Germany
will win a substantial victory in this war? Is there
more or less reason than there was in December, 1914,
to believe that in this war no nation can win a sub-
Does Secretary Daniels' prediction appear more or
less prophetic than it did in December, 1914, when
he said that "when the war is over in Europe the coun-
tries are going to be so exhausted in their resources
and are going to be so burdened with debt that there
is going to be a great revulsion of feeling against
What nation gives promise of being fit as a fiddle,
after this war is ended, and ready to start another?
What nation among the belligerents is not already
"burdened with debt" ?
Germany with six billions added, and the war still
in progress, has more than doubled its national
Great Britain, with nine billions added, has almost
trebled its national debt.
France, which, before the war, had the greatest
per capita national debt in the world, has so added
to her debt that national bankruptcy will stare her
in the face at the close of war.
OUR REAL NAVAL STRENGTH 59
Austria-Hungary, like Germany, is piling up an
enormous debt. Russia and Italy are no better off.
In short, what nation is there among the belligerents
that has not already amply qualified for admission
into the class that Secretary Daniels, in December;
1914, intimated he would regard as harmless because
they would be "so exhausted in their resources and so
burdened with debt" that there would inevitably be a
degree of "exhaustion" that would cause a "great re-
vulsion of feeling against war"? Is there one such
belligerent? If so, which one?
It cannot be Germany. It should be plain to the
blindest that none of the nations involved can come
out of this war other than grievously wounded, and
Germany, at least in one sense, worst of all. Germany
went into this war believing she would quickly emerge
victorious and collect from her fallen foes great in-
demnities. She cannot now emerge quickly victorious.
The war has lasted far too long. Nor is there any
certainty that she will, in any sense, be victorious.
What is certain is that Germany will collect not a
dollar from any nation if, when general exhaustion
shall end the war, she shall be the least exhausted
and therefore the nominal victor.
If any indemnity should be paid by any nation,
it is more likely that it- will be paid by Germany.
It is not likely that even Germany will pay one. It is
more likely that the Allies will demand an indemnity
and then trade off their demand for the return of
any of their territory that, at the end of the war, may
be in the hands of the Central Powers. The Allies
have already let it be known that they will demand
an indemnity and that they will use their superior
naval power to prevent all German merchant ships
60 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
from sailing the seas until the indemnity shall be paid.
That is not an idle threat since England, if her Allies
should desert her, could withdraw her armies and,
with her own navy, enforce the claim herself. Ger-
man statesmen have long known this. Since Decem-
ber 14, 1915, all the world has known that such is
the intention of the Allies. Under that date the
New York Times printed the following Washington
"Several newspapers have received to-night from
what may be described as a semi-official source an in-
timation of one argument the Allies expect to use in
getting satisfactory terms from the Teutonic Em-
pires once commissioners meet about the council table
to discuss peace. This information confirms private
suggestions that the Allies, in spite of their recent
reverses, mean to carry the war to the point where
they can demand a large indemnity from Germany
"This intimation is conveyed in the following state-
" 'One of the main points of the Allies' peace terms
is that on no account will the German mercantile
marine flag be permitted to be seen upon the high seas
until full indemnification has been paid. The Allies
have the power to do this and mean to use it to the
Why then should we so greatly fear a nation that
we did not at all fear when there was still a chance
that she might win a speedy, smashing victory? Do
we give the Germans credit for no sense ? Was Secre-
tary Daniels wrong when he said, in 1914, that great
debts and great depletion of resources would so ex-
haust the belligerents that none of them would soon
OUR REAL NAVAL STRENGTH 6r
care to fight again? Are we to believe that Germany,
having failed to win a substantial victory with her
army, which is strong, would be eager to attempt a
war of conquest with her navy which is relatively
weak, against a nation 3,000 miles distant? Would
she be likely to begin such a war if that nation had
not only a navy, at least as strong as her own, but
national wealth of one hundred and fifty billions, as
against Germany's eighty billions, and a population
of one hundred millions, as against Germany's sixty-
seven millions? Germany now has not that much
population, nor that much wealth, since these figures
were compiled before the war began.
Yet the identical newspapers that will not print the
official statements of Admirals Fletcher and Badger
pertaining to the superiority of the American Navy
over the German Navy these identical newspapers
tell us that fear is justly abroad in the land and that
we should make haste to arm. Secretary Daniels,
who felt no alarm when Germany was stronger, feels
much alarmed when Germany is much weaker and has
much less reason for looking forward to a favor-
able ending of the present war. He wants Congress
to appropriate for the navy this year $217,658,173.
That is an increase over the preceding year of about
$68,000,000. And he wants this pace kept up for
Do people stop to think what that means? It means
for the navy during the next five years one billion
two hundred million dollars. Do people realize that,
so far as the navy is concerned, this is out-Germany-
ing Germany ? Germany, during the five years preced-
ing the outbreak of the present war, spent on her navy
$546,454,803. Mr. Wilson wants to spend almost
62 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
twice as much during the next five years as Germany
spent during the five years in which she was extending
herself to the uttermost to get within striking distance
of the size of the British Navy. Nor should it be for-
gotten that during the five years while Germany was
pouring millions into her navy, we poured out more
millions than she did. Our appropriations for the
same period were $653,869,371. We are not a nation
that, so far as a navy is concerned, are just starting.
We are a nation that, for years, have spent more
money on our fleet than has any other nation save
Great Britain. For the convenience of those who may
be interested, I append the naval appropriations of
the principal powers from 1900 to 1914, inclusive
(see page 63).
And, in the face of these figures, Mr. Wilson sub-
mits a naval building program for the next five years
that, if enacted, would, as Representative Claude Kit-
chin of North Carolina succinctly put it, "at one
bound, increase our already immense naval expendi-
ture by more than our total increase during the last
fourteen years, and by more than the total German
naval increase during the five years preceding the
European War, and by more than the combined naval
increase of all the nations of the world in any one year
in their history!"
Mr. Garrison, late Secretary of War, wanted an
army of 541,000 regulars and "Continentals" at an
annual cost of $182,234,559 or a mere matter, dur-
ing the next five years, of $911,172,795 !
The War College Division of the General Staff of
the Army do not believe this goes far enough. These
affable gentlemen would have an army of one million
men, equally divided into regulars and "Continentals."
OUR REAL NAVAL STRENGTH
NAVAL APPROPRIATIONS OF THE PRINCIPAL POWERS FROM 1900 TO 1914, INCLUSIVE
Fiscal year Apr. i-Mar. 31
July i-June 30
April to March
Jan. to Dec.
Fiscal year Jan. to Dec.
1908-9 . .
July i-June 30
April to March
We smile at the War College gentlemen now or at
any rate, we do if we know no better. What they are
advocating now is but the natural sequence of what
Mr. Garrison and his kind are advocating now. The
appetite for arms is progressive.
If Congress should enact the Wilson defense pro-
gram it would at once be confronted with two prob-
lems how to get the money to pay the bills and how
to get the soldiers to make the army.
Mr. Garrison has thought of the soldier part of it.
He knows how much advertising the government has
had to do to keep intact an army of 100,000 men. And
there is where Conscription raises its ugly head. Mr.
64 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
Garrison is looking forward to the necessity of con-
scription, in time of peace, to raise the army for
which he has asked.
I quote the following paragraph from his annual
"If the nation requires certain service and offers the
most favorable opportunity for the citizens to furnish
such service, and, notwithstanding that it cannot se-
cure such service, it must then resort to some method
of compelling the service."
Here is visible proof of the Socialist contention that
this nation is ruled, not by its people, but by the
capitalist class. We need not argue the point there
are the animal's claws. What doctrine more mon-
strous than that set forth by Mr. Garrison that the
nation and its citizens are things apart?
What power is it in "the nation" that gives it,
not only the right to demand but to take services
that "the citizens" are unwilling to give? If the
citizens of the United States do not constitute the
nation, pray who and what do constitute it? Whence
comes the power to say that if "the citizens" should
decide even to welcome an invader, they would not
have the right to do so?
Mr. Garrison, so far as >his own purposes are
concerned, went too far. For a brief moment he
threw a beam of light on the ruling class that is
administering the government of this nation. He and
his class doubtless want a larger army, but he should
be more discreet. There is a way of phrasing things
to conceal facts and Mr. Garrison should know it.
Nor was the Secretary of War alone in hinting at
the necessity of conscription if the Wilson defense
plan should become effective. The patriotic Union
League Club of New York, which is largely composed
of antiquated millionaires and men of lesser wealth,
was perhaps the first to adopt, by unanimous vote,
a resolution urging the government to compel every
able-bodied citizen of military age to serve in the army
"or contribute financially" to its support. No great
gift of imagination seems necessary to frame an ac-
curate forecast as to whether the Union League gentle-
men would serve in person, or "contribute financially"
by hiring substitutes.
The New York Evening Mail, the editor of which
is Mr. S. S. McClure of former magazine fame, is
also in favor of conscription. After commending
the Garrison plan and asking how the soldiers were
to be obtained, it continues :
"By the present voluntary system of enlistment?
Utterly impossible. The excellent project of national
defense, fully warranted by the uncertainties and
hidden menaces of the international situation, can-
not begin to be put into effect without the establish-
ment of the principle of obligatory service, imposed
by the inexorable requirements of the most vital in-
terests of the country."
Conscription has already raised its head in Con-
gress, where on December 13, 1915, Senator Cham-
berlain, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Mili-
tary Affairs, introduced a bill under the terms of
which, if it should become a law, compulsory service,
even in time of peace, would begin at the age of 12
and continue until the age of 23.
The little boys would be required to train only a few
hours each year and the older boys not much longer.
But it is the entering wedge toward the same sort of
compulsory military service that, for a hundred years,
66 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
has spared no boy in Europe except the boys of Eng-
land. Raise the Wilson army and conscription will
follow as a matter of course. This will then be the
same kind of a land as those from which millions
of Europeans have fled to come to this country. They
knew what they were fleeing from and why. We shall
better understand why they fled if we let conscrip-
tion become fastened upon us.
Granted that enough conscripts can be drafted to
make a huge army, we shall still be confronted with
the problem of how to raise enough money to sup-
port the army and the navy. This money can come
from but one source the working class; the farmers,
mechanics, laborers and others who constitute the
productive part of the community. The working class
produce the wealth with which to pay all the taxes that
are paid. If the Wilson defense plan should be put
into effect, it would be necessary to impose more
taxes. Of course, I do not mean taxes on buildings
The United States Government never gets a cent
that is raised by taxes on buildings and land. The
United States Government gets its money from cus-
toms receipts, internal revenue taxes on tobacco,
whisky, etc., taxes laid upon incomes, and now, to
some extent, from special taxes that were imposed
as a result of the loss of revenue caused by the
shrinkage of imports due to the European War.
The government is barely keeping its head above
water without a larger army and a larger navy to
create and maintain. What the taxes would be in ten
or twenty years, nobody can tell. The people of
Europe know more about such things than we do.
If these be the things that the American people
OUR REAL NAVAL STRENGTH 67
want, Mr. Wilson and his party with Republican as-
sistance will be pleased to serve them.
Compulsory military service right away.
Higher cost of living right away.
Possibly a war in a few years.
Yet we are assured by Hiram Maxim, among other
munitions patriots, that we should "prepare." Every
munitions patriot is purely unselfish in his advocacy
of greater armaments. But wait a moment. A des-
patch from St. Louis, Mo., to the New York World:
"PREPAREDNESS MEN PREPARE TO RESIGN.
"ADVERTISEMENTS OF $10,000,000 MUNITIONS COR-
PORATION SHOCKS ST. Louis.
(Special to The World.)
"ST. Louis. Many members have resigned and
others are threatening to resign from the Committee
of One Hundred appointed by Mayor Kiel to urge
the preparedness program upon Congress. This ac-
tion resulted from advertisements in St. Louis news-
papers this morning of a $10,000,000 Maxim Muni-
tions Corporation offering stock for sale at $10 a
share. Hudson Maxim appeared two days ago be-
fore the Business Men's League to urge support of
the national defense program.
" That's a pretty swift beginning/ said former
Solicitor General of the United States Frederick W.
Lehmann in announcing his refusal to serve on the
" 'One cannot help suspecting an ulterior motive,'
said Judge H. S. Canfield in declining to be a com-
" 'If the activities of the National Security
League, at the instance of which the committee was
68 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
appointed, the appearance of Mr. Maxim and the
promulgation of the advertisements can be connected,
it is treasonable/ said John H. Gundlach, former
President of the City Council and member of the com-
Nevertheless, the munitions patriots are probably
entirely unselfish in their advice to prepare. The only
reason they do not advocate the manufacture of guns,
ammunition and ships by the government is because
they happened to miss the paragraph in Secretary
Daniels' report for 1914 in which he said it had been
demonstrated that the government could make any-
thing "from a dreadnought to a gallon of paint,"
for less than it could buy the same article from private
THE POLITICS OF "PREPAREDNESS"
TT^ORMER Secretary of War Garrison, speaking at
* a banquet attended by a thousand bankers in
New York on January 17, 1916, said :
"The newspapers of the country, either voicing
public opinion or leading it, have been insistent for
months in their news articles and in their editorials
that a wise, sensible military policy is essential for the
nation. This public opinion was formulated by the
President, as the spokesman of the people, and a policy
embracing the essential principles of national defense
was by him proposed to Congress."
The first part of this statement, so far at least as it
relates to the responsibility of the press for creating
fear in this country, is true. I may be able to throw a
little light on the part that relates to President Wilson's
share in the matter.
At a meeting held in Washington in January, 1916,
of the Anti-Preparedness Committee, of which I was
a member, Mr. Oswald Garrison Villard, publisher of
the New York Evening Post and grandson of William
Lloyd Garrison, made the following statement:
"Colonel House told me that the Wilson Defense
Program was put up to be knocked down."
The Colonel House to whom Mr. Villard referred
is Colonel E. M. House, closest friend of the Presi-
dent. Mr. Villard is the only New York newspaper
?o INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
editor who is opposing preparedness. He is not a
member of the Anti-Preparedness Committee, but he
sometimes meets with it.
The people of this country are entitled to know all
of the facts back of the effort to stampede the nation
into militarism. If the President, in advocating "pre-
paredness," is violating his conscience to play politics,
the people have a right to know the truth.
American history contains no political chapter
more disgraceful than that which American politicians
are now writing on the subject of "preparedness."
The question of whether we are to depart from our
traditions and assume the crushing burdens of great
military establishments is one that might well have
smothered in each American every selfish longing,
every unworthy motive, bearing on the subject. So
far as some of our politicians and business men are con-
cerned, precisely the opposite has taken place. Selfish-
ness has run and is running riot. Though these
gentlemen are playing with fire around a powder
magazine, they are so intent upon the achievement of
their own little ambitions that they seem utterly un-
mindful of the great, solemn national interests that
are involved interests that touch not only the living
but generations of the unborn.
More than any other one man, Theodore Roosevelt
is responsible for the wave of fear, now happily
passing, that swept over the country. He is the vic-
tim and so long as he lives he will doubtless continue
to be the victim of a consuming desire to get back
to and remain in the White House. He showed these
symptoms soon after he returned from Africa. He
put forth his greatest efforts to get the Republican
nomination in 1912. When he failed he went deliber-
POLITICS OF "PREPAREDNESS" 71
ately about it to wreck his party and succeeded.
From the moment that Mr. Wilson entered the White
House he did nothing to the satisfaction of Mr. Roose-
velt. For many long months he searched diligently,
yet without much success, for an issue large enough
so that he could lock horns with the President to the
end that he might politically destroy him.
And then came the great war. Mr. Wilson has
done nothing since that Mr. Roosevelt could approve.
With fine frenzy he lashed the President because he
did not advocate a declaration of war against Ger-
many because of the invasion of Belgium. Mr. Roose-
velt, of course, knows as well as anybody that even
England did not go to war because of Belgium, how-
ever much she may have officially pretended to do so.
Yet what he doubtless considered his political necessi-
ties caused him, almost at the beginning, to decry Mr.
Wilson because he did not do his best to plunge this
country into the European War.
Mr. Roosevelt did not immediately advocate "pre-
paredness" nor criticize Mr. Wilson because he did
not advocate. When "prepared" Europe broke into
war-flame it seemed as if no sane man ever again
could advocate tremendous preparation for war as the
best means of keeping the peace. Everywhere it was
felt that the great calamity of the European War
must lead at least to this much good that it would
forever put a stop to the insanity of endless competi-
tion in armaments.
Such views naturally gave alarm to the interests
that, for twenty years, had been fattening upon armor
plate contracts and other orders related to the business
of war. These gentlemen, as we now know, are not
entirely without resources. They have in the aggre-
72 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
gate, not only great wealth, but through banking and
business connections, they have the power to influence
a great deal of wealth that they do not own. They
have power over congressmen. They have power over
newspapers. And they are not unaware of the fact
that the strongest emotion that moves human beings is
Steps were taken to spread fear throughout the land.
Eminent admirals and generals were interviewed.
Was there ever an eminent admiral or general who
believed the American army and the American navy
were large enough? Admirals and generals who
believe this country could be shot up before breakfast
by almost any ambitious power are so numerous as to
be a nuisance. Grant their premises and we must
accept their conclusions. There is no doubt that this
country can be invaded. There is no doubt that any
country can be invaded. Enough men and enough guns
can penetrate England, or Germany, or France, or
the United States. The point these gentlemen always
overlook is that none of the nations that have guns
enough to be in our class has ever deemed it expedient
to try to invade America with any force that it could
spare from its own shores. Our timid admirals and
generals never seem to consider that European enmities
are our best protection from European attack, since
no European nation would dare to leave its own coasts
unguarded to bring its entire force against us. Yet,
class-conscious admirals and generals that they are,
they are always willing to tell anybody who may in-
quire that we are in a frightful state of unpreparedness
and much need more ships and more soldiers.
The armament gentlemen, some of whom modestly
confess that they have a little armament to sell, did
POLITICS OF "PREPAREDNESS" 73
their utmost to create fear by spreading these ideas
around. Naturally they turned to the newspapers as
the best means of carrying on their propaganda. No
difficulty was encountered in obtaining extensive
editorial support. Caesar's wife edits no newspapers
in the great metropolitan districts. Every editor has a
publisher and every publisher has a banker. The pub-
lisher knows who discounts his notes and who has
the power to refuse to renew them. The banker who
is financing munitions interests, and profiting thereby,
can pull any one of many strings to make the editorial
typewriter click out his will.
Moreover, the publisher of a great newspaper in a
great city is usually part and parcel of the industrial
and financial group who would have this nation armed
mightily so that it might trade tremendously. These
gentlemen see in a great navy an excellent means with
which to pry open foreign markets. It matters not
to them that the American working class should be
permitted to consume its own products. It matters not
to these gentlemen that the American working class,
if it were paid sufficient wages, would be glad to con-
sume its own products. These determined men of
finance and industry are intent only upon finding
foreign markets for what they have filched at home.
And they have the unspeakable impudence to ask the
American working class, in the name of "patriotism,"
to provide a navy with which to complete the theft
of their own products and, in the event of war as to
markets, to give up their lives to enable their masters
to get their money for their stolen goods.
The newspapers, aided mightily by Mr. Roosevelt,
spread fear abroad throughout the land. The moment
fear was felt the seed of "preparedness" was sown.
74 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
It looked for a while as if the country were in a fair
way to go mad. And it was only when it seemed as
if the country were about to become of one mind as to
the necessity of great military preparations that Mr.
Wilson, the politician, not knowing which way the
cat might jump, stultified his own brave words of
December, 1914, and put up a defense program "to
be knocked down."
Mr. Wilson is an exceedingly adroit politician. I
do not know that his character can be better summed
up than it was by a New York man who attended
Princeton University when Mr. Wilson was its presi-
dent. "I would not call Mr. Wilson crooked," said
he, "but he is artful." "Artful" is the word. Mr.
Wilson is the sort of gentleman who, when he chooses
to do so, seeps through a situation instead of cutting
it with a knife. There can be no doubt that in his
heart he is opposed to the program he has proposed.
The reasoning that he employed in his December, 1914,
message shows it. Col. House's statement to Mr.
Villard proves it. But Mr. Wilson, desiring a second
term, and being uncertain as to the extent of the "pre-
paredness" mania, felt it necessary to put himself in
a position to swim with the tide if there were a tide.
Yet in the message to Congress in which he launched
his defense program he contrived innocently to men-
tion that our finances were already in a bad way, and
that if the defense program were to be adopted, it
would be necessary, each year, to raise some additional
hundreds of millions by taxation, and to suggest that
these sums might be raised by taxing, among other
things, gasoline and steel. He made these suggestions
rather lightly, but he must have known that they would
raise the howls in the automobile and steel industries
POLITICS OF "PREPAREDNESS" 75
that they did raise. In this "artful" manner Mr. Wil-
son succeeded, not only in bringing to the attention
of the whole country what would be the cost of "pre-
paredness," but he set different groups of manufac-
turers to quarreling as to which industries should bear
the bulk of the burden.
Mr. Wilson's "artfulness" was still further displayed
in his whole-hearted endorsement of Secretary Gar-
rison's proposed Continental Army. On the face of it
this endorsement seemed very generous. It was ample,
and it was doubtless uttered to the accompaniment
of that bland smile of which the President is peculiarly
the master. But the practical value of the endorsement
became apparent a little later when the question of
conscription came to the fore. Mr. Garrison's Con-
tinental Army could not possibly be raised without
conscription even its friends admitted that. And Mr.
Wilson, when the moment came, permitted a member
of Congress to announce in the House that in no cir-
cumstances would the President favor conscription. In
other words, the President's darling secretary of war
had full permission to swim, the only condition being
that he go not near the water.
It may seem as if an effort is being made to picture
the President as another Machiavelli somewhat of
an improvement, perhaps, over the original, but still
of the same kind. Such an inference would be ground-
less. No effort is being made. The writer is but a
mere relator of events in their chronological order.
What these events may show the President to be is
for the consideration of the reader, rather than of the
writer. Consider, for instance, what the President
was doing when the "preparedness" wave was at its
height and for some time afterward. He was doing
76 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
nothing. Munitions patriots were fuming. Bankers
were scissoring off maple toothpicks with their teeth.
The New York Times, a faithful munitions organ, was
editorially demanding that the defense bills "Must
Come to a Vote at Once."
The carefully manufactured newspaper wave of fear
was even beginning a little to recede and still no
word came from the White House. The Washington
correspondent of the New York Tribune, early in
January, sent a despatch to his newspaper expressing
the astonishment of the great interests that the Presi-
dent was doing nothing. They could not understand
how a President who had been so energetic in pushing
some of his other measures through Congress could be
so apathetic as to "his" most important measure -
the defense program. Only the New York Tribune did
not put any quotation marks around the word "his."
The President's loyalty to "his" own measures was
not questioned. The Tribune seemed only to feel that
he had gone to sleep. As if the President ever slept
except in bed!
Mr. Wilson permitted this situation to continue,
without a sign that it would ever end, until the latter
part of January. By that time the "preparedness"
wave had tremendously ebbed, leaving long dirty
marks to indicate what had been its higher levels.
Everybody admitted that the Garrison army idea was
dead beyond resurrection. With a Democratic major-
ity in the House of only twenty-three, more than
eighty Democrats were known to be opposed to the de-
fense measures and more were seeing the light every
day. The Republicans, while known to be willing to
supply the votes to pass the bills, were also known to
be unwilling to incur the odium that was sure to be
POLITICS OF "PREPAREDNESS" 77
attached to the party that might make possible the
enactment of the necessary revenue measures. The
"preparedness" advocates, with defeat staring them in
the face, were freely fighting among themselves. Then
and then only did Mr. Wilson cause it to be announced
that on January 27 he would speak in New York,
and that in February he would speak in several cities
on measures that he favored, among which, of course,
would be the "preparedness" bills. After the horse
was stolen he consented to lock the barn !
The real history of these momentous days will never
be written. Whatever may happen, the history that
will be written will judge Mr. Wilson leniently. Even
if a miracle should happen and, turning to militarism,
we should invite and, eventually, get war, still the his-
torian would say that in proposing great additions
to our military establishments, Mr. Wilson did no more
than express the country's desires, which, in a democ-
racy, a President should always do. History would
take no note of how the desires were manufactured.
It would merely record the fact (if it should become
a fact) that they existed. On the other hand, if the
country, recoiling from militarism, as it certainly is,
should cause the defense measures to be defeated, his-
tory, recalling the President's defense measures, would
content itself with the observation that he placed the
question before the country that it might answer it as
it saw fit.
We who are now living are not, however, dependent
upon history either for our facts or for our opinions.
Of course, results are, in a large sense, what we are
after, and if Mr. Wilson by putting up a defense pro-
gram "to be knocked down" shall contribute to the
defeat of the militarists, the tendency will be to rejoice
78 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
in the end rather than too closely to scrutinize the
means by which it was brought about. That is the
superficial, generous way in which the American people
invariably pass judgment. Yet, to those who see
more deeply into things, the fact is as plain as a pike-
staff that, as to this exceedingly perilous matter, Mr.
Wilson has been playing politics for a selfish purpose.
If he actually believed the country needed the great
additions to armament that he proposed, he should
have put his shoulder behind the measures that were
drawn to bring them about and pushed with every
ounce of his weight.
If he believed the country should not depart from all
its traditions by converting itself into an "armed
camp," he should not have contented himself by put-
ting up a program "to be knocked down."
When Mr. Wilson proclaimed his program the
question of "preparedness" was balancing in the scale,
with the chances in favor of the scale settling on the
side of militarism. The country did not know the
President was insincere. A breath might have deter-
mined the issue. Fortunately, the margin of safety
appears to have been large enough so that Mr. Wilson's
breath of selfishness did no harm. Mr. Wilson could
not have known how wide was that margin of safety,
yet for a purely selfish purpose he played on it with
the most reckless abandon. Posterity may forget
and forgive this. It will be more difficult for those
of the present generation who know what he has
But while there may be apologists for what may be
considered the President's "artfulness," there can be
no apologists for the shameful part played by some
of the great metropolitan newspapers in turning over
POLITICS OF "PREPAREDNESS" 79
their properties to the munitions patriots. They know
they are engaged in a crooked game. They know,
because they know what they are printing and what
they are excluding. They know what they are put-
ting big headlines on, and what they are putting
little headlines on. Any unknown gentleman who
returns from Europe with a superheated opinion that
this country should fly to arms can get ample space
and good headlines. Any one who believes otherwise
cannot get much of anything. Most of the opinion
adverse to "preparedness" is suppressed, and the little
that is permitted to get into print is put on back pages
under small headlines. I am speaking, of course, only
of the New York newspapers, who constitute the center
of the "preparedness" propaganda. These statements
are true of all the New York newspapers except the
Evening Post, a newspaper of high character but small
circulation. The Post has fought splendidly against
the whole "preparedness" program. Many newspapers
in smaller cities have done the same.
As to the suppression of news adverse to "prepared-
ness," I was sitting in one of the galleries of the
House of Representatives on January 10, 1916, listen-
ing to a speech by Judge Shackleford of Missouri
against the exportation of ammunition. Near the
close of his address Mr. Focht, a Republican of Penn-
sylvania, interrupted. To quote from the Congres-
sional Record of the same date :
"MR. FOCHT: The gentleman is opposed to any
foreign invasion of this country, and that our defense
should be amply prepared for it.
"Now, I want to call attention and ask the gentleman
to amplify some portion of his generally splendid
address, and that is in regard to the finances of Europe.
80 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
I think the gentleman recalls that Napoleon said, 'Give
me three things and I will have the universe at my feet/
and those things were 'money, money, money!' Now,
I understand that Europe is bankrupt, that the rest of
the allies are on the pay roll of Great Britain, and
that Great Britain is coming here borrowing on her
bonds and securities; and since money constitutes the
sinews of war, how are they going to prosecute any
war against us while they are financially broke?
[Applause.] In other words, several years ago when
Europe was at her maximum strength on land and sea
we heard nothing about this most lavish proposed
preparedness. Now, when Europe is on her back,
broke and bankrupt, and at her minimum strength, it
seems to me much of this fear at this particular time
is groundless. [Applause.]
"MR. SHACKLEFORD: I thought the gentleman
interrupted me for a question, but it turns out he has
not; nevertheless I must express to him my gratitude
for putting so much better than I could the very thing
I was thinking. I agree with him, and if I had time I
should like to discuss the impropriety of taking the
people's credit of this country and loaning it out to
the foreign countries who are engaged in war.
[Applause.] We should, rather, lend it to our own
people to support their own industries and carry along
prosperity for ourselves."
Mr. Focht's incisive reasoning was not met in the
House, though plenty of "preparedness" gentlemen
sat around, nor has it been answered anywhere else.
But did one New York newspaper pay any attention
to what he said? Did one of them deign to write
an editorial reply to it? Not one. So far as they
are concerned, Mr. Focht might as well be dead. For
POLITICS OF "PREPAREDNESS" 81
them he does not exist. They do not know him and
do not want to know him. Perusal of the Congres-
sional Record shows that hardly a day passes that some
sort of a blow is not landed in Congress upon "pre-
paredness." In New York, at least, little or nothing
is printed. But let the Honorable Gussie Gardner
emit a howl for men and guns and the newspapers ring
with it. The easiest way to get publicity in New York
last winter was to have something to say in favor
of adopting the European plan to avert war. The
hardest way was to be against it.
New York newspaper editors are not all fools. Some
of them, if they had a chance, would print some sense.
Not all of them would some of them would. The
difficulty is that New York newspaper editors do not
edit their own newspapers. The publishers edit the
editors. The publisher lays down to his editor the
newspaper's "policy." A "policy" is both a deadline
and a program. It is a list of things to do and a list
of other things not to do. Not to advocate opposition
to "preparedness" or even to give such opposition
favorable consideration in the news columns is a stand-
ing order in the office of every New York newspaper
except the Evening Post. The editor carries out
orders. The publisher gives orders.
The publisher is not a. publicist he is a business
man. Like other business men, he is making money,
owing money and looking for money. He has respect
for the views of the banker, because he owes him
money, or knows he may sometime want to owe him
money. He has respect for the views of business men
because he knows that they, like himself, are looking
for money and the easiest way to get it. What would
be good for them is likely to be good for him. What
82 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
would be bad for them would probably be bad for him.
As business men they are all in the same boat. And
any tendency on the publisher's part to pursue a public
policy opposed to the views of his business acquaint-
ances might make trouble for him. Business men, if
they choose, can reward those who play the game
according to the rules, as they can, if they choose,
punish those who refuse to do so.
If the publisher's commodity were soap instead of
what purports to be disinterested advice to the public,
his position would be ethically unassailable. A soap
manufacturer is nothing but a soap manufacturer.
He does not pretend to be saving the country except
from dirt. The publisher pretends to be saving the
country. Day in and day out he is telling his part of
the public what to do for their own good. In his
news columns he pretends to print the news. The
truth is that, when great public questions are before
the country, he usually takes an editorial position that
is dictated by the selfish interests of a small class of
which he is a part, and "prints the news" in such a
manner as to fortify his editorial position.
Such conduct constitutes a fraud against the pub-
lic. Newspaper readers are entitled to truthful news.
With regard to the "preparedness" mania, they have
not been getting it. It is not truthful to misrepresent
public sentiment. Public sentiment is misrepresented
when nine-tenths of the news space devoted to the
subject of "preparedness" is handed over to those who
favor it. It is not truthful to represent that this is
almost exclusively a land of Gussie Gardners and Hud-
son Maxims. We also have with us a considerable
number of persons who, unlike Mr. Maxim, have no
ammunition to sell and who, unlike Mr. Gardner, do
POLITICS OF "PREPAREDNESS" 83
not go to bed with goblins and get up with ghosts.
The greater part of the country has not lost its head.
None of it would have lost its head if the newspapers
had not lent themselves to the munitions patriots and
the great business interests that, for years, have be-
lieved big trade follows a big navy. The few who
are still nervous will quickly calm down if the news-
papers will but cease turning in false alarms.
The world-war at last shows signs of burning itself
out. The strain is telling upon all of the belligerents.
Each shows less speed. If the war were to end to-day,
nobody in Europe outside of an insane asylum would
want to start another to-morrow. The longer the
war lasts, the longer will the memory of it burn those
who have felt its fires. It seems likely to drag on,
at slower pace, for a year or two. Europe then more
than ever will deserve our pity rather than our fear.
It will be the saddest sight upon which the sun ever
shone. So far as we are concerned, it will be about
as dangerous as a cemetery. Yet, there are a few
powerful men among us who, for various reasons,
would have us arm vastly more heavily against
crippled, disillusioned Europe than they ever dared
urge that we arm when Europe was at the height of
its military power.
Maybe this is sense. More likely it is dollars. At
any rate, it is a crime. It is a crime against America.
It is a crime against Europe. It is a crime against the
world. We should be talking of something else.
When Europe comes out of her terrible struggle we
should not greet her with a knife. Europe is suffering
tremendously. When her misery ends she will be in
no mood to raise more armies and more navies. She
will be glad to sink back and rest from war for a
84 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
generation or two, while she binds up her wounds.
We should not even seem to threaten her. We should
be her friend the friend of every part of Europe.
If we so conduct ourselves that we deserve Europe's
friendship, we shall get it If we arm ourselves to
fight a cripple, some will call us fools, others will call
us cowards, and both will be right.
A CLOSE VIEW OF THE WAR-ALARMISTS '"
THE process of outraging public decency and call-
ing it a campaign for "preparedness" goes
merrily on in these United States. Perhaps never
before were more lies told, more truth suppressed,
more insincerity shown or more politics played. Every-
body who is in the game had his own particular reason
for getting into it, and these reasons are as dissimilar
as things can be. The munitions patriots are in it
in the hope of reaping immediate profits. Other great
capitalistic interests are in it in the hope of ultimately
obtaining profits from foreign trade gained at the
points of guns. A few timid gentlemen are in it
because their souls were so made that they scent fear
where there is no danger. Mr. Roosevelt is in it be-
cause he loathes "disgraceful peace" and would also
like to be in the White House. Mr. Wilson is in it
because he feared he might not be able to remain in
the White House unless he got into the fight for "pre-
But Mr. Wilson, as a fighter for "preparedness," is
something of a sight. It is sometimes difficult to tell
whether he is more dangerous to his friends or to his
enemies. He whirls around and fires rapidly in every
direction, sometimes shelling his opponents and, occa-
sionally, knocking down some trusted companion like
his late Secretary of War, Mr. Garrison. He has
86 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
never made a speech in favor of "preparedness" that,
somewhere in it, he did not give a conclusive reason
why he should not have made it. His speeches are the
arsenal toward which all opponents of "preparedness"
turn for their best ammunition. Enemies of "pre-
paredness" look fondly toward him as a gunner might
look to a soldier handing him shells. We can never
forgive him for playing politics about so grave a
matter, but we can never forget the weasel-words he
has slipped into his speeches the words that show his
speeches are not so.
Indeed, the campaign for "preparedness" is a most
amazing campaign. Many men who know nothing
of the subject of which they speak now pose as experts.
General Leonard Wood has been widely quoted as
saying that if the United States were at war with a
first-class power our navy would be at the bottom
of the sea in sixty days. What General Wood knows
about navies and where he learned it might be inter-
esting information. He used to be a doctor. Fate
made him the friend of Theodore Roosevelt. Though
Wood had never been to West Point, except, perhaps,
as a tourist, Mr. McKinley jumped him over the heads
of hundreds of others and sent him on his way to the
head of the army.
As a general in time of peace, Dr. Wood has worn
his gold braid gracefully, and, it is to be presumed,
drawn his salary regularly. He has never fought
a battle, or planned one that was fought. He has
never raided a city or defended one. Unproved
as he is, it may yet be true that, if he had an oppor-
tunity to become one, he would indeed be a great gen-
eral. But where and when under the shining stars did
CLOSE VIEW OF WAR-ALARMISTS 87
he ever qualify as a great admiral? Echo is still play-
ing handball with the word "where."
If Frank F. Fletcher be not a great admiral, Mr.
Wilson cannot be much of a President. Mr. Wilson
placed Admiral Fletcher in command of the Atlantic
Fleet. The Atlantic Fleet is the largest fleet we have.
If the invasion which Mr. Wilson says could not take
place and the munitions patriots say could easily
take place, were actually to be attempted, Admiral
Fletcher, unless displaced, would lead our sea-forces
to resist it. If he does not know a superior force from
an inferior force, he would be a poor man to lead.
He would be a poor leader because, while a leader's
first qualification is to know when to fight, his second
qualification is to know when to run. It is not good
strategy to accept battle with a superior force when
to fight means only to be annihilated. The thing to do
then, as we understand it, is to get back under the pro-
tection of your shore guns and let them help you.
The point toward which readers are laboriously
being led is that Admiral Fletcher, in December, 1914,
told the House Committee on Naval Affairs that, in
his opinion, the American Navy could defeat any
navy on earth except that of Great Britain. He specifi-
cally mentioned the navies of Germany, France, Italy,
Japan and all the others and said our navy could
whip any of them. If he is fit to lead our greatest
fleet, it is not a fact that our navy could be sunk in
sixty days by any first-class power. If our navy could
be so quickly disposed of, General Wood, rather than
Admiral Fletcher, should be in command of the At-
lantic Fleet. General Wood would at least know, when
sighting the mast-tops of a ferocious enemy, that he
should immediately retire to the protection of the
88 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
land fortifications. Foolhardy Fletcher might stay
and fight, in the belief that our forty-odd battleships
could whip Germany's thirty-nine or Japan's nineteen.
He might even stay if he should sight the British colors
at the mast-tops. Admiral Vreeland said England
would not dare remove from European waters more
than half of her navy. England, at the beginning of
this war, had but 72 battleships built, building and
authorized. Foolhardy Fletcher might believe that
if England should come here with thirty-six craft, he
might be able to stand them off with our forty-three.
General Wood would make no such mistake. His
experience as a doctor and a peace general would per-
mit him to fall into no such naval blunder. But why
is General Wood still in the army? The President is
Commander-in-Chief of the navy. If Fletcher does
not know an inferior force from a superior one, the
President could remove him and, if he desired, place
General Wood at his post. The President has not
done so. General Wood is still somewhere in the army,
and Admiral Fletcher is still in command of the
greatest fleet that ever wore the Stars and Stripes.
And this, notwithstanding the fact that the Presi-
dent, in one of his Western speeches, said our navy
ranked fourth among the world's navies. Admiral
Fletcher was compelled by Representative Wither-
spoon, in the House Committee hearings already men-
tioned, to admit that it ranked second. Admiral Bad-
ger, who once commanded the Atlantic Fleet, con-
curred in the opinion. Where did Mr. Wilson get his
authority for the statement that our navy ranks fourth ?
It is true that, almost in the next breath, he qualified
the statement by saying that owing to the excellent
material in the personnel of our navy, it would prob-
CLOSE VIEW OF WAR-ALARMISTS 89
ably prove, in actual combat, to be better than fourth.
But where did he get the slightest authority for saying
that it ranked fourth? The 1916 Naval Yearbook is
compiled by gentlemen who, for big-navy purposes,
are always trying to belittle our navy, yet this Year-
book contends only that our navy stands third, and
from the data it contains, it is difficult to understand
why it places it below second. Herewith is presented
the number of ships built, building and authorized by
the principal naval powers, according to the United
States Naval Yearbook for 1916. The figures for
the United States are as of July i, 1915. The figures
for the other countries are as of July I, 1914, no data
with regard to new construction being available since
the outbreak of the war.
England . .
Austria- Hungary ....
Based upon the Navy Department's own figures,
what nation has elbowed the United States into fourth
place since the Yearbook was printed early in 1916?
If Germany was indeed second at that time, no amount
of additional construction could have affected our rela-
tive standing. The same holds true with regard to
England. What nation has added to its navy so
rapidly that Mr, Wilson had reason to say that it
90 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
had taken third place from us? Is it France, which,
according to our Navy Department, had only thirty
battleships, as against the thirty-nine that our Navy
Department graciously conceded to us? Or is it
Japan, which had only nineteen ?
The truth of the matter is that figures can be
juggled, and the General Board of the Navy, which
is always working for a larger American navy, has
long been accused of juggling figures to indicate that
our navy is smaller than it is. Before the naval appro-
priations were made at the session of Congress that
convened in December, 1915, Representative Wither-
spoon read a list of forty battleships that we owned,
and all the naval witnesses whom he grilled admitted
that we had them. A few weeks later, appropriations
were made for two dreadnoughts so large that no navy
in the world can match them. We should therefore
now have forty-two battleships. The Naval Yearbook
says we have but thirty-nine. But the Yearbook admits
that certain discretion is used in determining what
is a battleship for statistical purposes and what is not.
A ship more than twenty years old is not included
unless it has been overhauled. The charge has often
been made by responsible members of Congress that
the General Board of the navy removes from our navy,
for statistical purposes, ships of the same worth that
it includes, for statistical purposes, in the navies of
other powers. Certainly Admiral Fletcher knew what
we had a year ago when he said our navy was not
second to that of Germany; and, in a recent report,
he said that our navy was 15 per cent, stronger than
it was a year ago, and 30 per cent, more accurate in
gunfire. (Congressional Record for February 3, 1916,
CLOSE VIEW OF WAR-ALARMISTS 91
What about the German navy, in comparison with
what it was at the outbreak of the war? Nobody
outside of Germany knows how many ships have been
added since August I, 1914. Nobody outside of Ger-
many knows all of the German ships that have been
lost. But the American Naval Department knows
some of the German ships that have been lost, and,
in the 1916 Yearbook, prints their names, tonnage,
size and number of guns. In the Yearbook it is not
contended that these are all the German ships that have
been lost. It is asserted only that the ships mentioned
were lost between the outbreak of the war and August
i, 1915. Here are the figures of German losses during
the first year of the war, as vouched for by our own
Five armored cruisers;
Ten protected cruisers;
Three small cruisers;
Four torpedo boats;
Four mine-layers ;
Eighteen auxiliary cruisers ;
One battleship sold to Turkey.
Sixty-nine ships of a total tonnage of 238,904, every
ship of which was included in Admiral Fletcher's cal-
culation of Germany's naval strength when he said
that in his opinion our navy was stronger than that
of Germany. Since then, two dreadnoughts of 32,000
tons each have been ordered for our navy, in addition
to eighteen submarines, and a considerable number
of other ships.
92 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
What nation, by passing us in naval strength within
a few weeks, thereby justified Mr. Wilson in placing
our navy in fourth place? According to the 1916
Naval Yearbook, our Naval Department knows that
France, during the first year of the war, lost twelve
ships, including a battleship, an armored cruiser, a
gunboat, two destroyers and some submarines. Eng-
land is declared to have lost 42 ships, of a combined
tonnage of more than 254,000, eight of which were
battleships. Is it Japan that has gone ahead of us?
Not likely. Our last Naval Yearbook says that Japan
actually has only fifteen battleships, and that the last
of the other four with which she is credited will not be
finished until 1917.
If the United States is a peg below the low place to
which the makers of our last Naval Yearbook assigned
us, Mr. Wilson, it would seem, should get some new
makers of our Naval Yearbooks. If not, it would seem
as if Mr. Wilson should be more cautious in his state-
ments. It is difficult to believe that the Naval Year-
book would assign to our navy a higher relative place
than it deserves. It is not difficult to believe that it
would assign to our navy a lower place than it de-
serves. Something is wrong, somewhere, either
Admiral Fletcher, the General Board of the Navy or
Mr. Wilson. They cannot all be right because no two
of them agree.
It would be quite easy to ascertain where we stand
upon land if we were to take the word of a very
eminent gentleman who qualified to give expert testi-
mony about armies by spending his life as a New Jersey
lawyer and judge. The gentleman in question is Mr.
Garrison, former Secretary of War, who, happily, is
now of no consequence except as he may serve as an
CLOSE VIEW OF WAR-ALARMISTS 93
admirable illustration of the vociferousness of some
of our inexpert advisers. Mr. Garrison was quite
sure we were woefully unprepared. Nothing but a
"Continental Army" with its inevitable conscription
would put us right. Yet, the man who is in charge
of our coast defenses does not think so. He never
practised law in Jersey or presided over a Jersey court,
but he has practised a good deal with fourteen-inch
guns, and weapons of smaller caliber.
The gentleman in question is Erasmus Weaver. He
is a brigadier-general in the United States Army. He
is chief of the coast artillery division. His duty, in
the event of attempted invasion of this country, would
be to direct the operations of the land fortifications.
Eminent lawyers and others say these land fortifica-
tions are not good for much. No self-respecting
European army of 40,000 or 50,000 men would humili-
ate themselves by halting before our land fortifications.
Yet General Weaver, testifying before the House Com-
mittee a year ago said (Congressional Record, Feb-
ruary 3, 1915, page 2265) :
"I have been a close student of the whole subject,
naturally, for a number of years, and I know of no
fortifications in the world, so far as my reading, obser-
vation and knowledge go, that compare favorably in
efficiency with ours."
But that was a year ago. Time is rapidly passing.
Maybe we have since become out of date, as to fortifi-
cations. It would not seem so, however. General
Weaver, on January 19, 1916, again appeared before
the House Committee on Military Affairs. He said if
he had 11,000 more men to man our coast guns he
would ask for nothing more. I quote from pages 48-
49 of the report of the hearings:
94 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
"MR. MCKELLAR : If we conclude to carry out your
recommendations and give you the 11,000 men, then,
as I understand you, you would have a perfect system
of coast defense that you think would be adequate for
any purpose ?
"GENERAL WEAVER : Yes.
"MR. MCKELLAR: Your idea is that your guns
are sufficient now ?
"GENERAL WEAVER: The guns now mounted and
those contemplated will give us an entirely satisfactory
"MR. MCKELLAR : You do not take any stock in the
idea that the ships of foreign nations carry guns of
long enough range to silence your guns?
"GENERAL WEAVER : No."
What a man for chief of our coast artillery! Does
he not know that we are totally unprepared and that
only the fear, perhaps, of meeting General Leonard
Wood in person, keeps the enemy from our gates ?
But the worst is yet to come. On page 50 of the
report of the House Committee hearings appears the
"MR. MCKELLAR : I want to ask you, General, with
our present condition, is our condition of preparedness
for defense deplorable?
"GENERAL WEAVER: Except in the matter of per-
sonnel, it is not.
"MR. MCKELLAR : It is in excellent condition, with
the addition of a few officers and men, such as have
been recommended by the department and by you?
"GENERAL WEAVER: Yes, sir."
Turning to page 69, we find this:
"MR. MCKENZIE: In your judgment, is it not un-
'fair and misleading to the American people to have a
CLOSE VIEW OF WAR-ALARMISTS 95
public man make a statement that would lead you to
believe that the coast cities of our country are wholly
at the mercy of some invading enemy?
"GENERAL WEAVER : I do not know that there is
any officer who is acquainted with the facts that would
make such a statement.
"MR. McKENziE: Any public man; I do not say
"GENERAL WEAVER: I hesitate to criticize public
To what depths of degradation has not this general
sunk! Does he not know that Mr. Stanwood Men-
ken, President of the National Security League, is
going around the country telling how easily "40,000 or
50,000 men" could land upon our shores, shoot up
New York and hold the city for an enormous indem-
nity? Has this general no conscience? Apparently
not. Neither has General Nelson A. Miles. General
Miles endorses all that General Weaver says and adds
more. It is true, the general never practised law in
New Jersey or medicine anywhere, though he was" a
major-general at the close of the Civil War and later
lieutenant-general. This is what General Miles said
about our land fortifications (Congressional Record,
February 3, page 2265) :
"Having had much to. do with placing and con-
struction of our fortifications and inspecting every
one along the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf Coasts, as well
as having had an opportunity of seeing all the great
armies of the world and many of their strongest forti-
fications, including the Dardanelles, I am prepared to
say that our coasts are as well defended as the coasts
of any country, with the same class of high-power guns
and heavy projectiles, and I have no sympathy for
96 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
the misrepresentations that have been made in the
attempt to mislead the public."
Isn't that the limit? Nope. On February 8, 1916,
the General went before the House Committee on
Military Affairs and said :
"Overseas expeditions, such as we are told would
succeed against the United States, are expensive and
as a rule disastrous. These overseas expeditions spring
from the minds of men writing on preparedness
who know less about preparedness than anything
But General Miles never had the benefit of long
years of experience at the New Jersey bar. Otherwise,
he might not have added that while 500,000 men might
be placed upon ships, that many could not be landed
upon our shores, and that he "would want to live in
some other country" if we could not drive off even
500,000 men from our soil. It is perfectly plain that
in future, our greatest generals will be graduated from
law schools, while our great admirals will come from
Whether Mr. Wilson is trying to help or to hurt the
"preparedness" propaganda is puzzling both the advo-
cates and the opponents of increased military
expenditures. If the President were a stupid, clumsy
fellow, it might be easy enough for either side to
believe in his sincerity while denouncing him for occa-
sionally shooting his own friends. But the President
is particularly adroit and peculiarly agile. Like the
conventional gentleman of the French cynic, he "never
wounds anybody's feelings unintentionally." When
he leads a gentleman to the mountain top and, after
briefly viewing the beautiful scenery, proceeds to kick
him into the valley, we may therefore be certain the
CLOSE VIEW OF WAR-ALARMISTS 97
victim can recover nothing upon his accident insurance
because it was no accident.
The late Secretary of War, Mr. Garrison, must
feel much as might a guest at a wealthy friend's house,
who had been royally entertained during the day and,
at night, shown to a bedroom in which a pistol for
suicidal purposes was prominently placed on the table
beside the reading lamp. When Mr. Garrison con-
ceived the idea of a great "Continental Army," White
House approval came like April showers to flowers.
Full reports were given out to the press and the Ameri-
can people were invited to behold how noble or, as
Mr. Wilson would say, how "handsome" was the
plan of the great Secretary of War. Chairman Hay,
of the House Committee on Military Affairs, soon
announced that his committee would never report
favorably upon the bill, and that the committee would
propose, in its place, a regular army based upon the
National Guard. Mr. Wilson, in his New York speech
on January 27, 1916, threw a delicate bouquet at the
National Guard in the center of which was found this
"But you know that under the constitution, the
National Guard is under the direction of more than
two score states, and that it is not permitted to the
national government directly to direct its development
and organization. And, that only upon occasion of
actual invasion has the President of the United States
the right to ask those men to leave their respective
states. I, for my part, am afraid, though some gentle-
men differ with me, that there is no way in which that
force can be made a direct source as a national reserve
under national authority."
What more might a Secretary of War ask? Had
98 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
not the President hit Mr. Hay's plan on the head?
It would seem as if he had. It was true that nobody
believed a Continental Army could be raised without
conscription, as it was also true that Mr. Wilson had
authorized the statement that he was opposed to con-
scription. Still, Mr. Garrison went his warlike way,
evidently believing that the President was on his side,
rather than that of Mr. Hay.
But there came a time when Mr. Garrison began
to have misgivings. Rumors flew about that Mr. Wil-
son was not so warm toward the Continental Army
plan as the Secretary of War might wish him to be.
Mr. Garrison, by this time, was so thoroughly com-
mitted to the Continental scheme, and was so on record
with regard to the desirability of conscription, if
necessary to raise the army, that he could neither back
up nor go forward without help. So he wrote to the
President, under date of February 9, to ascertain in
writing precisely where he stood with regard to Mr.
Hay's National Guard proposal.
Mr. Wilson, under next day's date, told him.
Though the President gently rapped Mr. Garrison's
knuckles for talking so much about conscription, the
letter was otherwise chiefly remarkable for what it did
not say, precisely as a crutch that is not there is chiefly
remarkable for the support it does not give. Mr. Wil-
son was no longer "afraid" the National Guard scheme
would not work he was merely "not yet convinced"
that it would work. When Mr. Wilson begins to slide,
it is always wise for all hands to get off the floor, as
it is difficult to tell where he will stop. Mr. Garrison
got off the floor by resigning.
As political coroners, we may now view the remains
of the Continental Army. What say you, gentlemen,
CLOSE VIEW OF WAR-ALARMISTS 99
how did this noble creation come to its finish ? Is this
a case of murder, or a case of accidental death? If
Mr. Wilson really was in favor of the Continental
Army plan, we must assume that it was through sheer
clumsiness that he led the chief advocate of the measure
into a position where he felt compelled to resign. If,
on the other hand, Mr. Wilson secretly opposed the
Continental Army, nobody can deny that he despatched
his gallant secretary in as graceful a manner as ever
a deed was done.
Mr. Wilson has a wonderful smile. Political op-
ponents who bask in it seldom know the knife has
slipped between their ribs until they observe that their
shoes are full of blood.
If the President, when he was dealing with Gar-
rison, was really working for "preparedness" he must
be set down as a frightful blunderer. If he was
secretly working against "preparedness," he but con-
firmed the truth of the statement that Oswald Garrison
Villard, publisher of the New York Evening Post, said
Colonel E. M. House, the President's closest friend,
made to him. Mr. Villard said Colonel House told
him: "The Wilson Defense Program was put up to
be knocked down."
Senator Fall, of New Mexico, seems to have sensed
something of the real situation after the resignation
of Mr. Garrison. Under date of February 15, the New
York Times printed two-thirds of a column under the
heading: "Accuses Wilson of Shifting Policy
Senator Fall Believes the President Is Again Under
the Bryan Influence." Here are a few paragraphs
from the article :
"United States Senator Albert B. Fall, Republican,
of New Mexico, charged President Wilson yesterday
loo INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
with deserting the cause of national preparedness for
the sake of the Bryan influences.
" 'The President's sudden change in his prepared-
ness policy can be accounted for only on one ground
he has gone back to Mr. Bryan and surrendered to
the Bryan influences,' said the Senator.
"It may be recalled that President Wilson, during
his tour in advocacy of preparedness, so shaped his
itinerary as to keep clear of the Bryan influences. But
he counted on the support which this part of his defense
program was expected to bring him to secure also the
support of the Southern members of Congress, and
being disappointed in this he has surrendered com-
pletely to the opponents of the measures which he pro-
claimed were so vital to the safety of the country.
"Secretary Garrison in his position was able to
realize quickly the change in the situation, and, finding
the ground cut from under him, he retired."
Without question, the belief is gaining ground on
both sides of Congress that there is more of politics
than sincerity in the President's present attitude toward
"preparedness." Heaven knows there is sufficient
ground for suspicion. The statement that Mr. Villard
attributes to Colonel House is, in itself, enough to
show where the President stands if he has not changed
again. A close analysis of the President's Western
speeches leaves the preponderance of improbability
upon the side of the President's insincerity. If his
speeches be considered as hurrah-talk for men who
cannot think, it is doubtless true that their tendency
would be to make that kind of men favor "prepared-
ness." The speeches are plentifully sprinkled with
references to "our country" and our national honor.
But running through the speeches, like a vein of silver
CLOSE VIEW OF WAR-ALARMISTS 101
through a rock, are paragraphs that, when put together,
say, as plainly as if the President had used the words:
"For goodness' sake, do not go crazy over prepared-
ness. The country is in no danger of invasion. I
know of no nation that seems likely to try to invade
America and no nation could invade America if it
wanted to. I am compelled to play a part in order to
prevent Mr. Roosevelt from working you all up and
putting me out of the White House, but there will be
no war so long as I am President unless you want war
to avenge the loss of some rich American exporter's
cargo of goods and I cannot see where there would be
much glory in dying to protect some rich man's
Keep this imaginary Presidential declaration in mind
while reading extracts from some of Mr. Wilson's
In New York, on January 27, Mr. Wilson said :
"Nobody seriously supposes, gentlemen, that the
United States needs to fear an invasion of its own
territory. What America has to fear, if she has any-
thing to fear, are indirect, roundabout, flank move-
ments upon her regnant position in the Western Hemis-
Would the President have been likely to say that
if he had really been in favor of "preparedness" ? The
only excuse for "preparedness" is defense. When the
average American is told that his country is in need
of defense, he thinks of invasion. Munitions patriots
and others have repeatedly declared that we might
easily be treated to the fate of Belgium. The Presi-
dent brushed the thought aside, and flung in the remark
about our "regnant position in the Western Hemis-
phere," which has about as much power to incite the
102 INVITING WAR. TO AMERICA
population to arms as would a similar remark about
In Cleveland, on January 29, the President took the
other tack and urged the creation of an armed force
that could move on the "shortest possible notice,"
"You will ask me: 'Why do you say the shortest
possible notice?' Because, gentlemen, let me tell you,
very solemnly, you cannot afford to postpone this
thing. I do not know what a single day may bring
forth. I do not wish to leave you with the impression
that I am thinking of some particular danger. I merely
want to leave you with this solemn impression that I
know that we are daily treading amid the most intri-
cate dangers. ..."
Having assured the people in New York that there
was no danger whatever of invasion, Mr. Wilson
naturally realized that the people would wonder
whether he had some particular possible enemy in
mind, and, if so, if that possible enemy had com-
mitted some outrage of which the people of this
country were not yet aware. So in Topeka, Kan., on
February 2, he said :
"You will ask me, 'Is there some new crisis that has
arisen?' I answer, no, sir; there is no special new,
critical situation which I have to discuss with you, but
I want you to understand that the situation every day
of the year is critical while this great contest continues
No danger of invasion, no particular possible enemy
in mind, no outrage of which only he knew, and still
the country was "daily treading among the most intri-
cate dangers." Here were all the elements of a conun-
drum, upon which Mr. Wilson, in St. Louis,
CLOSE VIEW OF WAR-ALARMISTS 103
on February 3, proceeded to throw the following
"Gentlemen, the commanders of submarines have
their instructions, and those instructions are consistent,
for the most part, with the law of nations, but one
reckless commander of a submarine choosing to put
his private interpretation upon what his government
wishes him to do, might set the world on fire. . . .
There are cargoes of cotton on the seas, cargoes of
wheat on the seas, there are cargoes of manufactured
articles on the seas, and every one of these cargoes
may be the point of ignition, because every cargo
comes into the field of fire, comes where there are
flames which no man can control."
Here, at last, we see the "intricate dangers" among
which we are "daily treading." A cargo of hams may
be sunk! If so, would not that constitute an enormous
stain upon our national honor, for which we should
go to war ? We can almost imagine Mr. Wilson trying
to keep his face straight. He must have laughed to
himself when he suggested that we should go to war
if a submarine commander, against his government's
orders, should sink a cargo of American hams. Mr.
Wilson, of course, well knows that international law
requires of no government that it shall do more than
exercise "due diligence" in its efforts to prevent its
citizens and soldiers from doing harm to the persons
and properties of the citizens of other nations. If
nations were to be held responsible for the unlawful
and unauthorized acts of its citizens, the world would
be at war all the while. Again and again, American
citizens have mobbed and slain the citizens of other
nations. A number of Italians were slain in Louisiana
about 25 years ago, and when the federal government
104 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
pleaded its helplessness to interfere with the affairs
of a state, Italy did no more than to withdraw her
ambassador, for a time, in silent protest. Further-
more, if Mr. Wilson had believed what he said, he
would have urged Congress to declare war when the
Lusitania was sunk.
However, we must get back to those "intricate
dangers." American passengers, bound for Europe,
might be drowned. International law gives them the
right to travel in safety. Speaking at Topeka, Kan.,
on February 2, Mr. Wilson said :
"For one thing, it may be necessary to use the force
of the United States to vindicate the right of American
citizens everywhere to enjoy the protection of interna-
Having proclaimed the right of passengers, under
international law, to travel in safety, in the same speech
at Topeka, he added:
"There is another right that we ought to safeguard,
and that is our right to sell what we produce in the
open neutral markets of the world. We have a right
to supply peaceful populations with food. We have
a right to supply them with our cotton to clothe them.
We have a right to supply them with our manufactured
So, here we have the situation simmered down about
to this : American passengers are not in much if any
danger, since most submarine warfare is conducted
in accordance with international law, nor are Ameri-
can cargoes, for the same reason, in much danger.
But Great Britain's irregular blockade, against which
Mr. Wilson has protested on the ground that it is in
violation of international law, is interfering with the
desires of American exporters to reap profits from
CLOSE VIEW OF WAR-ALARMISTS 105
trade with neutrals. "We have a right" to supply these
peoples with our food, cotton and manufactured prod-
ucts, but England's irregular blockade is interfering
with us; and every interference with our rights under
international law is a stain put upon our national honor.
As to the necessity of keeping our national honor well
polished, Mr. Wilson expressed himself at Cleveland,
on January 29, as follows:
"You may count upon my part and resolution to
keep you out of the war, but you must be ready if it
is necessary that I should maintain your honor. That
is the only thing a real man loves about himself."
Why not go to war, if necessary, to maintain the
right of some rich gentleman whom you never saw
and for whom you do not care a whoop, to ship his
goods to neutrals and get his money? Mr. Wilson
made himself plain as to this in Kansas City on Feb-
ruary 2 in the following paragraph :
"Our life is but a little span. One generation fol-
lows another very quickly. If a man with red blood
in him had his choice, knowing that he must die, he
would rather die to vindicate some right, unselfish to
himself, than die in his bed."
Did Mr. Wilson expect that the people would rise
en masse, as it were, to resent any interference with
the continuous movement'of American beef to Europe,
yielding their lives, if need be, in the performance of
this sacred duty to their national honor or was the
President merely trying to show how stupid it would
be to become all heated up when there is nothing more
serious at stake than the right of a few rich men,
"under international law," to keep their exports going
and their profits coming?
Now, the foregoing is not a "framed-up" case
io6 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
against the President. The quoted paragraphs are
actual extracts from his speeches. No words have
been put into his mouth. Perhaps I should add a few
more of his own words. In his Topeka speech, after
elaborating upon the exalted character of our national
purposes and the exceeding rectitude of our national
conduct, he said:
"Every nation that makes right its guide and honor
its principle is sure of. peace."
Readers may differ as to whether the foregoing
sentiment is true, but the fact remains that the Presi-
dent said it was true, and if he believes it is true, and
also believes we are nationally as just and high-minded
as he says we are, why should we fear attack, and why
should we burden ourselves with taxation and con-
scription to "prepare"? Something is wrong some-
The President, in his address to Congress, in Decem-
ber, 1914, said:
"We are at peace with all the world. No one who
speaks counsel based on fact and candid interpretation
of realities can say that there is reason to fear that
from any quarter our independence or integrity of our
territory is threatened. . . . We have never had, and
while we retain our present principles and ideals, we
shall never have, a large standing army. . . . The
country has been misinformed. We have not been neg-
ligent of the national defense. . . . But I turn away
from the subject. It is not new. There is no need to
discuss it. We shall not alter our attitude toward it
because some amongst us are nervous and excited."
The President has altered his attitude toward the
subject of "preparedness"; altered it in spite of the
fact that he still says no thoughtful man seriously
CLOSE VIEW OF WAR-ALARMISTS 107
believes this country could be invaded. In New York,
on January 27, he said he had altered his attitude
because he had "learned something during the last
What has he learned that Theodore Roosevelt is
trying to ride his way back into the White House
upon a tidal wave of popular fear that he has done his
best to conjure up?
If Mr. Wilson has learned anything that would
justify the enormous military expenditures that he
proposes, he certainly has not told what it is.
QUESTIONS FOR THE PRESIDENT
PRESIDENT WILSON, during his western tour,
* frequently said that he knew not in what hour this
nation might be plunged into war and that we should
hasten to "prepare." At Cleveland, on January 29,
1916, he urged the creation of an armed force that
could move "on the shortest possible notice" and
"You will ask me : 'Why do you say, the shortest
possible notice?' Because, gentlemen, you cannot
afford to postpone this thing. I do not know what a
single day may bring forth."
Against these statements should be considered some
facts that were brought out in the House of Repre^
sentatives on February 7, 1916, and published in the
Congressional Record of that date. Here are the
On March 3, 1915, the Congress authorized the
construction of two dreadnoughts larger than any
nation now owns. Not even one splinter has been laid
upon another to begin the construction of these ships.
When the ships were authorized it was the desire of
the administration that they should be built in govern-
ment yards, of which there are two, one at Mare
Island, Calif., and one at Brooklyn, N. Y. In each of
these yards a dreadnought is building that will not be
completed until September, 1916. The keels of the
QUESTIONS FOR THE PRESIDENT 109
great dreadnoughts authorized in March, 1915, cannot
be laid in government yards until the ships building
are completed. But President Wilson might have
directed Secretary Daniels to abandon his plan to build
the ships in government yards, advertise for bids from
private builders and directed that construction be begun
at once and continued with three shifts of men working
eight hours each during the entire twenty-four hours.
Or, if Congress, in the act authorizing the construction
of the ships, had specifically provided that they should
be built in government yards, the President might have
asked Congress to authorize their construction in pri-
vate yards. The President has done neither of these
The Congressional Record of February 7, 1916, also
contains the information that 66 warships which, when
completed, will cost $185,000,000, are in process of
construction, that the administration has never even
intimated that it would be pleased if construction were
accelerated, and that the men employed on these ships
are working only eight hours a day, in the face of the
fact that it would be perfectly feasible to employ three
crews working twenty-four hours a day.
These facts were printed in the Congressional Rec-
ord. I read them in the Record, but nowhere else. I
do not assert that they were printed nowhere else.
I know only that I read most of the New York news-
papers and did not see these facts until I saw them
in the Record. If they were printed at all they were
printed obscurely, and without any of the emphasis
that, it would appear, should have accompanied them.
It seemed as if these facts should be brought before
the country. An invitation that came to me in March,
1916, gave me what I believed would be an opportunity
no INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
to bring them before at least part of the country. The
Anti-"Preparedness" Committee asked me to go to
Washington and argue against "preparedness" before
the House Committee on Naval Affairs. I laid these
facts before the committee and followed with an argu-
ment along this line :
If anybody knows whether we are in danger of being
attacked it is the President, since he is in charge of our
diplomatic negotiations, and, although he has publicly
asserted that he has told the country everything, still
there may be impressions in his mind, too nebulous to
describe, that make him more nearly competent than
anybody else to judge correctly as to the probability
or the possibility that we shall be attacked. We all
know what the President has said that he knows
not what the next day may bring forth and that we
should hasten to "prepare." But actions as well as
words tell what men think. What do the President's
actions tell as to what he thinks? If he really believes
our danger to be as great as he says it is, would he
be clamoring for more dreadnought authorizations
when he has not taken advantage of the two authoriza-
tions made more than a year ago ? Would he let con-
struction upon 66 other ships dawdle along at an
eight-hour-a-day pace when it might as well be boom-
ing along at a 24-hour-a-day pace? I might have
added : "Would he have maneuvered Big Army Gar-
rison out of the War Department and appointed
Newton D. Baker, who, as mayor of Cleveland, was
one of the few mayors who absolutely refused to have
anything to do with the 'preparedness* movement?"
But there was no time for the last question. Chair-
man Padgett with his gavel sounded the signal for a
great tumult: The chairman expressed indignation
QUESTIONS FOR THE PRESIDENT in
that I should dare to question the sincerity of the Presi-
dent of the United States. I said that if the President
were five times as large as he is and the White House
were five times as white as it is, still would I question
the sincerity of the President with regard to the degree
of fear that he entertains that we shall be attacked by
any European power. I was invited by the chairman
to withdraw my statement from the record. I refused
and asked him if he would like to hear a much stronger
statement concerning the President's sincerity that had
been made to me that morning by one of the most
prominent Democratic members of Congress. I had
no intention of mentioning the statesman's name,
because he had spoken to me in confidence, and I had
no authority to do so; but I was willing to tell what
he had said. The Democratic gentlemen upon the
committee did not seem to want to hear. Several cries
of "No" went around the room. When the chairman
declared that he would expunge my charge from the
committee's records, I told him I had no concern as to
what he might do in that direction, nor had I because
I knew he could expunge nothing from the newspapers
whose reporters were present, and nobody ever reads
the records, anyway. When a member of the com-
mittee informed me that congressional ethics forbade
any reflection upon the. President's sincerity, I asked
him if congressional ethics permitted congressmen
to say to writers and to each other what they pleased
about the President, provided only they said the oppo-
site in public? There was a good deal of turmoil in
the room and I heard no answer to this question.
Then Chairman Padgett expressed the intention of
adjourning the hearing which meant shutting me off.
Representative Callaway of Texas, who is about as
H2 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
tall and lean and rangey as a Texan should be, came
forward with a protest. He said any American citizen
had a right to criticize the President, or any other
official, provided he kept within the law, and that in
his opinion I had kept within the law. I think one or
two others protested. At any rate, I was permitted to
Now, the importance of what I have written about
the "scene" before the committee lies in what is to
come. Here it is : Immediately after the adjournment
of the committee several of its members came to me,
introduced themselves in the most cordial fashion,
expressed interest in and approval of my opposition to
the administration's "preparedness" program, and one
of them gave me some additional facts for use against
the President. He said :
"What you said about the dreadnoughts authorized
more than a year ago not being begun until next Sep-
tember is true as far as it goes, but it does not go far
enough. Those dreadnoughts will not be begun until
next January or February. The ships now building
at Mare Island and Brooklyn will not be completed
until next September, but the ships authorized in
March, 1915, are to be so much larger than anything
we have ever built that the ways in each shipyard will
have to be considerably extended before the keels can
be laid, and it will require four or five months to
extend the ways."
The truth of the matter is and I assert this upon
the basis of first-hand information that the Presi-
dent's own party in Congress is bursting with
disloyalty to him. It is a loathsome, political row.
Principles and politics are so mixed that it is difficult
to tell where one ends and the other begins. Some
QUESTIONS FOR THE PRESIDENT 113
of the biggest men in the President's own party say
things to me about him that I would not think of
asserting upon my own responsibility. One of them
said: "The President would be the greatest traitor
this country ever produced if he really feared attack,
yet did no more to be ready to repel it than he is
doing. The President, however, is not a traitor. He
knows we shall have no war with any European power
unless he makes one." I asked another Democrat of
national reputation a question which, because of its
bearing upon international relations, it would be unwise
to quote, and the answer that he gave me was not only
flavored with profanity, but also with scorching criti-
cism of the President. Yet, when I toned down the
utterances of some of the most prominent members
of the President's own party, and ventured to express
before a committee of Congress the opinion that the
President was insincere in laying so much stress upon
the possibility that we shall be attacked, I was treated
by the chairman and one or two others as if I had
committed a reprehensible act.
I can say this for Congress, from my personal
knowledge: That part of it which belongs to the
Democratic party is largely composed of cowards.
They talk one way in private and another way in
public. The President is. a better politician than they
are, and when he swings the lash they run. The Presi-
dent is a better politician than they are, first, because
he has more courage, and, second, because he is a
better judge of men. He measured with deadly
accuracy the Democratic membership of the house
when, in the face of the statement made to him by
Speaker Clark and others that the house stood at least
two to one in favor of warning Americans off armed
114 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
merchantmen, he nevertheless publicly declared his
belief that the statement was "false" and called upon
Congress to put itself upon record. The house crawled.
The house had no courage. It was too busy playing
politics. Nor was it good politics, even from a fac-
tional Democratic point of view. Nothing is good
politics that fails. The house, after having declared,
through its leaders, that it was opposed to the Presi-
dent, nevertheless gave him what was considered at
home and abroad an endorsement of his policy with
regard to armed merchantmen.
President Wilson, wavering back and forth as he is
between "preparedness" and what, eighteen months
ago he would have called sanity, is much more entitled
to sympathetic consideration than is the Democratic
party in Congress. The President started out right
by opposing "preparedness." He is no longer opposing
it unless such acts as the appointment of a pacificist
Secretary of War may be regarded as opposition. But
consider what are the motives and impulses surging
within him and without him. The President is human.
It is human to be ambitious. An ambitious man who
is in the White House for one term usually wants to
remain another term. If a considerable part of the
country, particularly in the East, had not been fright-
ened with the bogey of war, President Wilson might
reasonably have looked forward to reelection upon a
platform which contemplated no unusual additions
to the army and navy. But the big interests that have
long wanted great armaments to safeguard their
present and prospective foreign investments saw in
the fate of Belgium an opportunity to get great ar-
maments by creating fear. And the great interests that
are engaged in the manufacture of munitions of war
QUESTIONS FOR THE PRESIDENT 115
also saw their opportunity. A good many honest per-
sons became frightened and some of them formed
"leagues" for the defense of America.
Yet, all of these things might not have swerved
the President if Mr. Roosevelt had not begun, with
savage slashes, to capitalize this fear for his own
political purposes. First, the President was de-
nounced by Mr. Roosevelt for not advocating
"preparedness." When the President did advocate
"preparedness" he was again denounced by Mr. Roose-
velt for not advocating more of it. The Mr. Roosevelt
referred to, by the way, is the same gentleman who,
as President, in 1906, advised Congress, that in his
opinion it was not desirable to increase the size of the
navy; that we should content ourselves with replacing
ships as they might become incapacitated by age.
Some of us have known, at least since the days of
Emerson, that "The President pays dearly for his
White House." There is but one way in which a
President can pay. It is in the sacrifice to political
expediency of his own honest opinions. That is pre-
cisely what Mr. Wilson appears to have done in the
matter of "preparedness." I should hesitate to pass
judgment upon him if he had not passed judgment
upon himself. The dreadnoughts authorized more
than a year ago, but not to be started until next winter ;
the 66 other ships which are leisurely building; the
judicial juggling of Secretaries of War to get a mili-
tarist out and a pacificist in; the bald statement that
nobody seriously believes this country could be invaded
these and many other acts and words that might be
cited show where the President really stands.
If Mr. Wilson had been made of sterner stuff it is
doubtful if he could ever have reached the White
ii6 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
House. Let us gain what small comfort we may from
the thought that since it seems inevitable, as Emerson
said, that the President shall pay "dearly for his White
House" that Mr. Wilson seems determined to get back
all the change he can. While calling for more dread-
noughts, he delays the beginning of those ordered long
ago. Sixty-six other ships lazily lie on the ways. He
assures us we are in no danger of invasion. What
more can the poor man do and hold his White House?
It is the fashion in Congress to accuse the President
of assuming a tyrannical attitude toward the national
legislature in general and the Democratic members of
it in particular. One of the best known Democrats
in Congress said to me: "Tyrants gather around
themselves two kinds of persons courtiers and
cowards." Another man, equally well known, said:
"You writers are largely to blame for the fact that the
President is assuming powers that the constitution does
not give him, and for the further fact that the Con-
gress is losing powers that are plainly vested in it
by the constitution. You are always exalting the
Presidency and belittling Congress. The people are
beginning to believe that Congress is an inferior body,
of less importance than the President. I well remem-
ber when Mr. Roosevelt was in the White House
that some of my constituents used to say when I went
home: 'Well, you have a man in the White House
now who can make you fellows do as he tells you.' '
These are interesting observations. Mr. Wilson,
it is true, is well equipped with cowards and courtiers,
but it may be worth mentioning that he did not select
them and place them in Congress. Not every man
in Congress, by any means, is a coward, and no one
need be who has the courage to stand for the right,
QUESTIONS FOR THE PRESIDENT 117
as he sees it, regardless of consequences. Nor can it
be truthfully said, in my opinion, that Mr. Wilson
is a tyrant. That he is an intellectual aristocrat is
probably true. That he has a good deal of contempt
for some of the weaklings in his own party is also
probably true. I know of no reason why he should
not have such contempt. Naturally, in playing politics
with these gentlemen, he adapts his tactics to their
measure. Against their weaknesses and their coward-
ice he pits his own daring. Having been officially
informed that the house was two to one against him
on the question of whether Americans should be
warned against riding on armed merchantmen, he pub-
licly flung the word "false" at the statement and chal-
lenged the house to go on record. The house cringed.
The house, by its timidity, placed its own leaders in
the attitude of gentlemen who did not know what
they were talking about.
Did the President thereby become a tyrant? Non-
sense! He had no power to make the house do his
bidding. His victory was not due to his own strength,
but to the weakness of the house. The house had the
votes, but did not dare use them.
Nor is it true that the Congress may rightfully
place the responsibility for its declining powers upon
the press. Congress is itself to blame. Congress will
be respected and respectable the moment it has the
courage to exercise its constitutional powers. These
powers are great. Against them, when used, no Presi-
dent can prevail.
At this moment there is enough irrefutable evi-
dence before Congress to block, if it were heeded, the
"preparedness" program. The opposition of the farm-
ers should be sufficient. The farmers constitute a third
ii8 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
of our population. Any radical change to which they
are earnestly opposed might well be held in abeyance
until it could be definitely ascertained whether a ma-
jority of the people favored it. The newspapers of the
East say that the farmers are in favor of "prepared-
ness." The farmers themselves say they are not. The
farmers themselves have told Congress they are op-
posed to any increase whatever in the army and to any
material increase in the navy.
The attitude of the farmers in this matter is so im-
portant that an extended extract from the testimony
of a representative of the National Grange before the
House Committee on Military Affairs will be given
here. The hearing took place on February 8, 1916.
Three officials of the grange made statements to the
committee. I shall quote from the statement of Mr.
L. J. Taber, of Barnesville, Ohio, master of the Ohio
State Grange and a representative of the National
Grange. Here is the statement:
"MR. TABER: I wish to state, as you gentlemen
have probably noticed, that there are three classes of
people who have come before this committee oppos-
ing the present propaganda of preparedness first,
those who are opposed to war in any form, those who
believe that there never was an honorable war or a
dishonorable peace. We are not of that class.
"The second class are those who come here op-
posing preparedness because they have, possibly, sel-
fish or other motives, and who are opposed to the use
of an efficient or strong military power because it
might be used to maintain order, and in preventing
sometimes the fruits of strikes, and the like. We are
not of that class.
"There is a third class who come here opposing
'QUESTIONS FOR THE PRESIDENT 119
preparedness because they really believe that at the
present time, that the conditions surrounding us do
not demand an increase of the Army and the Navy.
"I wish to say you are probably all aware of this
fact, that the charge has been made in the eastern and
western metropolitan papers that the agricultural sec-
tions of the great middle West are deficient in patriot-
ism, but I think you will agree that such is not the
truth, and that the record will show that the enlist-
ments from among the farmers of America have been
greater than those from the centers of population, and
I dare say in the future the enlistments from the
farmers in the great agricultural districts will be
greater than the enlistments in the great centers of
"The farmers of this country are unanimous on this
proposition in regard to a great military increase at
the present time. It is not the result of a lack of
patriotism; it is not because they are advocates of
peace at any price, but, my friends, it is because they
know why, or at least think they know why, they are
opposed to this great increase at the present time.
"I think you understand the organizations that
exist among the farmers the local organizations, the
county organizations, the State organizations, and the
National organization. .1 am speaking directly for
the grange. These questions have been discussed from
the subordinate to the national body, and a vast per-
centage of the farmers represented in an organized
capacity in this organization are opposed to a great
increase in the Army or the Navy.
"At the Oakland convention the National Grange
went on record in connection with this matter, and I
will read you the resolutions unanimously adopted at
120 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
that convention, at which 32 States were represented,
and after that question had been discussed in the
"THE CHAIRMAN: When were those resolutions
"MR. TABER: Those resolutions were adopted at
the Oakland convention of the National Grange, after
a full discussion, on the i6th of November, 1915."
"MR. KAHN: You mean Oakland, Cal?"
"MR. TABER : Yes, sir. Thirty-two States were
represented, and on roll call, after being discussed by
nine gentlemen, the resolutions were unanimously
"The resolutions adopted were as follows:
" 'Whereas there is widespread agitation for the
increase of the Army and Navy, involving a huge ex-
penditure of money, upon the pretext and supposi-
tion that they may be needed to defend this nation
against attack from other nations; and this urgent
plea under the name of preparedness is being advo-
cated by special interests that will be financially bene-
fited thereby ; by those who, not directly benefited, but
who, through special privilege have amassed great
wealth and who wish to increase the Army for their
protection; by those who, from training, have a taste
for militarism; and by metropolitan newspapers in-
fluenced by the foregoing classes, and by their adver-
tising patronage; and
" 'Whereas the reply to it all is :
"*(i) All the large nations of the world from
whom the United States has any reason whatever to
fear in its present state of preparedness, are slaughter-
ing each other and daily growing weaker physically
and financially; one-half their fighting force is already
QUESTIONS FOR THE PRESIDENT 121
killed or maimed and crippled, and, within the prob-
able duration of the war, in the end will be in a
pitiable and helpless condition. And it is against these
helpless nations that selfishness and men who have
lost their heads and been carried off their feet are
crying out for preparedness. This world's war will
close with public sentiment against war as a means of
"'(2) A nation on the eastern continent sur-
rounded by other nations may be forced to arm so
long as neighboring nations continue to do so. But
the United States is separated from them by wide
oceans far from their base of supplies, and the rea-
son for a nation in Europe or Asia arming does not
apply to us.
"'(3) Preparedness that will make us efficient
and strong in time of peace as well as war is a wise,
economic, industrial, and educational policy that will
increase opportunity, encourage thrift and industry,
increasing the number of home owners and tending to
make a prosperous, happy and contented people. In-
stead of following a military policy that ruined the
civilization of Rome and Spain, and is now destroying
that of the other nations of Europe, we should learn
wisdom, and that the victories of peace are greater
than the victories of war. The $5,000,000,000 con-
templated to be spent on the Army and Navy, at
$5,000 per mile, would build 1,000,000 miles of macad-
amized pikes in the United States, crossing it 500
times from ocean to ocean, or from its northern to its
southern boundary, putting the money among the peo-
ple, tending to make them prosperous, happy and con-
tented, to love their nation and ready to defend it.
With such a road system an unlimited number of men
122 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
could be transferred in motor cars and concentrated
quickly where needed.
" 'We call attention to the fact that the regular
soldier has no wife, is not allowed to marry, has
nothing to defend, and the volunteer soldier in times
of war has ever excelled him the regular soldier in
time of war permanently dropping out of sight. They
were whipped at the first battle of Manassas, in our
late war, by volunteers and were never heard of after-
" 'Whereas we hope the time will soon come when
democratic ideals will prevail all over the world ;
when kings, kaisers, and czars shall be no more and
their crimes shall be memories of a past age; when the
dove of peace, like a winged messenger of Heaven,
shall hover over all the earth ;
" 'Whereas should all profit be taken away from the
manufacture of armor plate and munitions of war and
supplies by Government manufacture or control of
profits, we believe that much of this clamor for "pre-
paredness" would soon cease: Therefore, be it
" 'Resolved, Until universal peace is established, we
favor the manufacture of its own munitions of war by
the Federal Government.
" 'Resolved, That we are opposed to any increase
in the standing Army or any material, increase in the
" 'Resolved, That we approve the stand the Presi-
dent has taken to maintain peaceful relations with all
" 'Resolved, While we recognize the right of the
Government to draft men to protect the Nation, we
believe property rights inferior to human rights, and
that in event of war to repel invasion or to protect
QUESTIONS FOR THE PRESIDENT 123
our rights on a foreign soil we demand the Federal
Government shall assume control of all transportation
lines and all plants that may be used for the manu-
facture of the munitions of war.
" 'Resolved, That until such time as the confidence
in human integrity and human righteousness enables
the people of the earth to maintain world-wide peace
without the intervention of military and naval police
forces, we favor the formation of an international
police force to be contributed to by all adhering na-
tions and to be used under the direction and control
of such international court of control as the adhering
nations may decide.'
"The committee on peace which submitted those
resolutions to the convention was made up from the
following: Messrs. W. N. Cady, L. J. Taber, J. D.
Ream, and Mrs. Alice Young, Mrs Delia Culbertson,
and Mrs. Carrie R. Holmes.
"These resolutions appear in the journal of pro-
ceedings of the convention, beginning at page 167.
"This, as was stated, is in a measure the attitude
we find in the rural sections. We think possibly
there may be one other reason for the psychology
of the times the fact that those in the cities who
have followed the disastrous conflict across the water
have more nearly lost their bearings than the men
and women who are out on the farms.
"The change in the attitude at the present time of
those who have watched the conflict, the reversal of
opinion by the leaders in every walk of life, has not
affected those out on the farm as completely as it has
affected those in some other classes.
"As I have said, the farmer, being a little more
conservative, has not been so susceptible to what I feel
124 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
is possibly a psychological influence which has changed
the attitude of many men in positions of leadership.
"So I say we insist that the greatest defense of
America is found first in preparation for peace, be-
cause war has become, in a measure, a question of
"Some of you possibly have read the extracts from
an editorial in a recent issue of a German paper, in
which that paper congratulates the German people
upon the fact that both England and the United States
were preparing to enter upon a policy of preparation,
placing the burden of taxation largely upon the peo-
ple, and congratulating themselves that they would
in the future be on a better footing with those coun-
"We believe that the adoption of a policy by this
Nation which is proposed to give us the greatest
Navy in the world and a great Army, because of the
fear of something that probably will not happen, and
adding to the burdens of taxation on the people, would
be a greater weapon in the hands of an enemy than
our proposed lack of preparedness."
The Socialists, who will probably be found to rep-
resent considerably more than a million voters and at
least 5,000,000 of our population, are opposed to "pre-
paredness," a great number of labor organizations are
opposed to it, yet Congress but weakly opposes the
President, who was himself openly opposed to it until
the great financial interests, the munitions manufac-
turers and Mr. Roosevelt spread so much fear that
Mr. Wilson, apparently, deemed it a necessary political
step at least to appear to bend somewhat to the storm.
And the newspapers of the East continue to assert that
the country is "behind the President" whatever that
QUESTIONS FOR THE PRESIDENT 125
may mean ! One has to skate some to be behind the
President these days.
The fraudulent character of the "preparedness"
campaign is nowhere better shown than in the proposal
that this Congress shall authorize all of the warships
that it is intended to build within the next five years.
This means that if, in a year from now, it should be-
come apparent to everybody that there was no need
of such colossal expenditures, the hands of Congress
for the next five years would be tied. The hands of
Congress would be tied because, the ships having been
authorized, contracts would be awarded. Contracts
are legal things which the courts, if called upon to do
so, would sustain. Inasmuch as the two dreadnoughts
authorized more than a year ago have not been begun,
why this feverish desire to compel the present Con-
gress to deliver all of the authorizations that the
militarists demand for the next five years? Are cer-
tain interests afraid this artificial wave of fear cannot
be much longer sustained? It has always been the
custom for each Congress to make only current ap-
propriations. Why try to cause this Congress to
legislate for its unelected successor?
Also, they tell us that we may be attacked to-
morrow. If so, what good will the ships contemplated
in the five-year program do us? None of these ships
could be made ready to shoot within three years.
The last of them could not be completed until 1924.
What is the answer to these questions? There
is but one answer. The "preparedness" campaign is
That is the answer.
BEWARE OF THE "MOVIE"
ONE great moving picture play has swept over the
United States as a storm-cloud rilled with light-
ning might drive over the* land. Another "movie"
of the same sort has left New York and will soon put
the fear of invasion into the hearts of millions. These
moving picture plays are frauds. They are impres-
sive only because the art of the stage manager and the
photographer almost benumb spectators into the be-
lief that they are portraying events that have actually
happened. On the "movie" screen, it is as easy to
show Washington burning an orphan asylum as it is
to show him crossing the Delaware.
The story the war "movie" tells is as simple as
it is horrible. During the great war in Europe,
America was warned to "prepare." America did not
heed the warning. A little later, New York is under
bombardment, the sky-scrapers come tumbling down,
Washington is captured and the United States is com-
pelled to buy peace at the price of an enormous in-
I have observed how these plays affect spectators.
People seem dazed, and leave the theater in a sober
mood. I have heard people say: "That shows what
may happen to us if we do not prepare."
When the Civil War closed, the "movie" had not
BEWARE OF THE WAR "MOVIE" 127
been invented. If it had been, why could not such a
play as this have been put on :
ACT i SCENE i.
General Grant shown in the act of passionately ad-
dressing multitudes in New York, Chicago, and other
cities. "We must keep our great army and navy in-
tact," said he. "Europe will not fail to strike at us
after the north and the south have worn themselves
out fighting each other."
ACT I SCENE 2.
Populace shown in the act of going to sleep. "Gen-
eral Grant is a dreamer." Grant bemoans the stu-
pidity of his countrymen, but can do nothing.
ACT II SCENE I.
Cable operator shown in the act of taking a cable-
gram from Europe. "France and England have de-
clared war on America. Warships convoying troop-
ships have sailed for the United States."
ACT II SCENE 2.
President Grant reads to his cabinet the cablegram
announcing the declaration of war. Every face turns
white. Our navy has been permitted to rot at the
docks. Our army has melted away. There is nothing
to do but to improvise ,an army of raw recruits. Who
shall lead them? "I am the commander in chief of
the army," says President Grant, "and I will lead
our army in person." Cabinet officers cry, "No, no,
you shall not thus sacrifice yourself. The people,
against your advice, let the splendid army you once led
dwindle to a miserable 25,000 now let them pay the
penalty." Grant says : "I must do the best with what
soldiers we have. I shall lead the army."
128 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
ACT III SCENE I.
General Grant shown at the head of his "army"
near New York. Foreign ships appear in the distance.
Troops come ashore and are engaged by the Ameri-
cans. Grant tries to rally his raw recruits, but they
are no match for the seasoned Europeans. Foreigners
gain a foothold on shore and push back the Americans.
Foreigners set up their cannon at the lower end of
Manhattan Island and shoot up Broadway. Buildings
crash into the street, burying hundreds of persons.
ACT III SCENE 2.
Grant fights stubbornly but is steadily pushed back.
We see him now at the head of his army. A terrible
cannonade fills the air with smoke and we lose sight
of him. The smoke-cloud slowly lifts. Horrors!
What is this we see? A stretcher, reverently carried
by four men. Grant is dead a victim of the unpre-
paredness against which he fought.
No such play was written at the close of the Civil
War. Why? Because of its manifest absurdity? No.
Far more probability would have attached to such a
play then than is attached to any of the dreams of
disaster that the preparedness gentlemen are dream-
ing now. We were then weak from war and Europe
was strong from peace now the conditions are re-
versed. England had shown her unfriendliness by
permitting Confederate privateers to be fitted out in
English shipyards an act for which she paid, by the
Geneva award, damages in the sum of $15,000,000.
The vain, stupid Emperor of the French, Napoleon
III, was already planning to put a scion of the house
of Hapsburg on the throne of Mexico, in defiance of
BEWARE OF THE WAR "MOVIE" 129
the Monroe Doctrine. The situation contained many
facts from which a good dreamer of disaster could
have conjured up a horrible dream.
But nobody tried to scare America. As soon as
France retired from Mexico, our great army was re-
duced to 25,000 men. This came about while Grant
was President. While Grant was President our navy,
which at the close of the Civil War was the most pow-
erful in the world, rotted away until it practically
ceased to exist.
Why was there no demand for "preparedness" at
the close of the civil war? Why did a great military
man like Grant see no dangers for weak America from
strong Europe? Why was there no "movie" play
to "awaken" the people?
There was no "movie" play because "movies" had
not been invented. Also, some other things that we
now have did not exist. We had no gentlemen en-
gaged in the building of dreadnoughts at $18,000,000
each. The ships of that day were small and cheap.
We had no gentlemen engaged in selling armor plate
to the government at prices ranging from $430 to
$600 a ton, though the same gentlemen nowadays sell
it to our government at these figures and to other
governments sometimes for as little as $220 a ton.
Nor had we any gentlemen who were intent upon
breaking into the markets of the world. The rich
men of fifty years ago were not seeking foreign mar-
kets, and therefore felt no need of a strong navy to
help them. They were intent upon the development
and exploitation of the United States. They had
taken advantage of Lincoln's preoccupation with the
war to put the transcontinental railroad land steals
through Congress under his nose. Their only desire
130 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
was to invest their money in the United States and
reap such profits as they could.
Now, everything is changed. The United States
is becoming, so far as the investment of capital is
concerned, a good deal of a sucked orange. In other
words, America has changed from an importer to an
exporter of capital. We no longer bring capital from
abroad to finance our industries. We send capital
abroad to finance the industries of other people. A
single instance of our activity in this direction is
afforded by the fact that a group of men acting under
the leadership of Mr. Rockefeller's National City
Bank have formed a company, the avowed purpose
of which is to go abroad and seek monopolies and
privileges in any and every country on the globe.
The most powerful American capitalists are frankly
in search of foreign investments and foreign trade.
The nation that has the most of these things is always
the most hated nation. The gentlemen who are going
about it to get these things know that. They know
they will need fleets and armies to hold what they
hope to get. They could not go to the American
people and say : "You will not share in this prosperity
which we hope to get for ourselves, nevertheless, we
want you to provide a great army and a great navy
to enable us to get and hold all we can." So they
conjure up the bogey of invasion. They believe they
can get the army and the navy they want if the people
can be well scared.
MR. ROOSEVELT AND WASHINGTON !
OO far as Mr. Roosevelt is concerned, America is
^ divided into two classes those who gnash their
teeth at him and those who regard him as an able,
far-seeing man. The latter class, quite unhappily for
Mr. Roosevelt but quite happily for the rest of us
is smaller than it used to be. There would be a third
class that would regard him as a joke if the public gen-
erally knew him as well as the late John Hay did.
John Hay was one of Lincoln's private secretaries and,
later, Mr. Roosevelt's Secretary of State. Mr. Hay
has been dead ten years but his diaries and letters
were not published until the summer of 1915. (The
Life of John Hay; Houghton, Mifflin Co.) Here
is a letter that Mr. Hay wrote from Washington on
June 15, 1900, to Mr. Henry White, at the American
embassy in London:
"Teddy has been here; have you heard of it? It
was more fun than a goat. He came down with a
sombre resolution thrown on his strenuous brow to let
McKinley and Hanna know once for all that he would
not be Vice President, and found to his stupefaction
that nobody in Washington but Platt had ever dreamed
of such a thing. He did not even have a chance to
launch his nolo episcopari at the major (McKinley).
That statesman said he did not want him on the ticket
132 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
that he would be far more valuable in New York
and Root said, with his frank and murderous smile,
'Of course not you're not fit for it.' And so he went
back quite eased in his mind, but considerably bruised
in his amour propre."
That was the way Mr. Hay wrote about Mr. Roose-
velt in 1900. After Mr. Roosevelt became President
and Mr. Hay and Mr. Root continued in his cabinet,
each played the courtier and hailed him as a great
man. But Mr. Hay's letters show that he was never
able entirely to conceal from himself the fact that he
had a certain feeling toward Mr. Roosevelt that
amounted almost to contempt. On October 17, 1903,
Hay wrote in his diary :
"I lunched at the White House nobody else but
Yves Guyot and Theodore Stanton. The President
talked with great energy and perfect ease the most
curious French I ever listened to. It was absolutely
lawless as to grammar, and occasionally bankrupt in
When Mr. Roosevelt seemed to have this country
at his heels, it was difficult even for his political
enemies to consider him, as John Hay once secretly
did, as something of a joke. Mr. Roosevelt's article
in the November (1915) number of the Metropolitan
may well be considered a national calamity. Mr.
Roosevelt therein reveals himself as a desperate man,
struggling blindly, bloodily and desperately to regain
his lost political prestige. The article was evidently
written in two parts. The first three-quarters are de-
voted to finding fault with Mr. Wilson for everything
MR. ROOSEVELT AND WASHINGTON! 133
in general and, in particular, for his refusal to ad-
vocate "preparedness." Then there is another section
that was evidently written after Mr. Wilson yielded
to the fears aroused by the munitions patriots. But
in the last section of the article, as in the first, Mr.
Roosevelt refuses to be happy. So far as the Presi-
dent is concerned, Mr. Roosevelt is like the crusty old
lady who "was mad if the cat had kittens and mad
if she didn't." To spend two billions, in five years, as
Mr. Wilson would like to do, would not be satisfactory
to the Oyster Bay ex-President. Mr. Roosevelt, of
course, embraces the occasion to repeat the assurance
that he is devoted to peace, but the rest of the article
indicates that he is about as passionately devoted to
it as ducks are to the desert. If confessions between
the lines count for anything, what Mr. Roosevelt is
passionately devoted to is the White House.
Mr. Roosevelt never writes anything to show how
great he is himself without also dragging in Wash-
ington and Lincoln. This time, he adds Grant. Grant
was President when Charles Dickens visited this coun-
try and commended the administration for the manner
in which it protected its citizens abroad. Mr. Roose-
velt cannot contemplate the present degenerated condi-
tion of the government, in this respect, without "bitter
shame." That is too had. We who live here have
forgotten what American abroad it was whom Grant
protected, but if Charles Dickens were still alive, he
doubtless could tell us. Grant was the man who said :
"Let Us Have Peace," and these words are carved
in enduring marble upon his tomb.
But Roosevelt has no particular admiration for
Grant none that would cause him to drag the old
general's name into an argument for preparedness
1 3 4 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
without a selfish and dishonest reason. So far as
Grant is concerned, Mr. Roosevelt, a little farther
along in his article, convicts himself of dishonesty
in juggling with the general's fame. I quote :
"Twenty years after the Civil War, we had let our
army and navy sink to a point below that of any third-
class power in Europe."
That, according to Mr. Roosevelt, was very bad.
But under whose administrations did the army and
navy thus shamefully deteriorate? Well, two of them
were General Grant's. Grant was President from
1869 to 1877. During Andrew Johnson's adminis-
tration, a considerable portion of the army was re-
tained to meet possible trouble with France because
of the occupation of Mexico by Maximilian. The
old Civil War navy was still there, because it had not
yet rotted away. But during Grant's administrations,
the army shrunk still more and the navy reached a
point almost as low as it ever did. Six years after
Grant retired, the contracts for the first ships of the
"new navy" were let by Secretary of the Navy William
E. Chandler, under the administration of Chester A.
Don't blame Mr. Roosevelt. In the haste of pacing
up and down the floor dictating a "vigorous" article
in favor of "preparedness," a man cannot remember
everything. But if Mr. Wilson had beaten Mr. Roose-
velt in coming out for preparedness, is it too much to
suspect that Roosevelt would have been in favor of
"adhering to our ancient traditions of a small army
and a small navy" and cited the decadence of the
army and navy under Grant as proof that Grant, if
MR. ROOSEVELT AND WASHINGTON! 135
alive, would be on his side? It is a pretty green
stick of wood that Mr. Roosevelt cannot use either
for a stool or a candle.
Mr. Roosevelt roundly berates the administration
because it did not, immediately upon the outbreak of
the war in Europe, begin loading the nation with
guns. "If we had done so," he says, "we would now
have been able to make our national voice felt ef-
fectively in helping to bring about peace with justice
and no other peace ought to be allowed."
What would George Washington whom Mr.
Roosevelt so often and so generously approves what
would Washington have thought if anybody had told
him he should prevent any peace in Europe that he
did not consider just? Washington said, over and
over again, that America should always keep clear of
European rows. If he had said that America should
always stick its nose into European affairs, Mr. Roose-
velt would doubtless have cited him as authority, but
as he said precisely the opposite, the father of his
country, upon this occasion, was compelled to go with-
out honorable mention or any mention.
But suppose Mr. Wilson, in 1914, had prepared?
How could we have made the "national voice" effective
in helping to bring about "peace with justice"? Mr.
Roosevelt always couples "peace" and "justice" as an
old waiter, from force of habit, couples "ham" and
"eggs'' but what could we have done? More dread-
noughts would have been useless, since Great Britain
already has a navy three times as large as that of
Germany, and is prevented from destroying the Ger-
man fleet only because of the mine fields that lie in
front of it. Should we have sent a million soldiers
abroad? Italy, some months after the war began,
136 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
threw more than a million soldiers into the ranks of
the Allies and "peace with justice" has not yet come.
Should we have sent two millions of soldiers? Would
you like to be one of the two millions to face the
guns of Germany ?
Mr. Roosevelt asks you to shudder over the fate of
Belgium, which he says, came about as the result of
her unpreparedness, though in an article in the Out-
look a few months after the beginning of the war
he said we were in no wise responsible for what hap-
pened to Belgium. On her eastern border, Belgium
had the best forts that money and engineering skill
could build. Though Germany came with a rush,
Belgium also came with a rush and stood off the
German armies until France, which was prepared,
could come up. In the light of all that has since
happened to other armies that opposed the Germans,
how badly do you believe Belgium was prepared? If
Belgium, with all her forts and her compulsory mili-
tary service was, in Mr. Roosevelt's opinion, unpre-
pared, can you imagine what the United States would
be if it were sufficiently prepared to suit Mr. Roose-
velt? And, while at Mr. Roosevelt's request, you are
shivering at the fate of Belgium and preparing to
answer his question as to whether you wish to fare
likewise, turn these facts over in your mind : Belgium,
a nation of 7,000,000 population, lies beside a nation
of 70,000,000. It was but a run and a jump from
Germany into Belgium's front yard. The most popu-
lous nation that could run and jump into our front
yard is Mexico, with 15,000,000. All the other na-
tions would have to take ships and come 3,000 miles.
Germany's population is ten times that of Belgium.
If there were a nation of a thousand millions right
MR. ROOSEVELT AND WASHINGTON! 137
beside us, our position would be precisely that of
Belgium. Where is the nation?
This also from Mr. Roosevelt:
"Most certainly we should avoid with horror the
ruthlessness and brutality and the cynical indifference
to international right which the government of Ger-
many has shown during the past year, and we should
shun, as we would shun the plague, the production in
this country of a popular psychology like that which
in Germany has produced a public opinion that backs
the government in its actions in Belgium, and cheers
popular songs which exult in the slaughter of women
and children on the high seas."
Mr. Roosevelt is not ignorant of history and he
therefore knows how reluctantly the Germans em-
braced militarism and its inevitable fruits.
So far as brutality is concerned, Mr. Roosevelt ap-
parently does not yet know that war brutalizes men.
He thinks that only the Germans are brutal. He
has doubtless never heard about our own General
"Hell-Roaring" Jake Smith's order in the Philippines
that every building be burned and every native more
than eight years old be slain. Nor evidently has he
ever heard how American soldiers used to attach a
hose to Filipinos and fill them with water until their
bowels nearly burst. Mr. Roosevelt would be per-
fectly fair if he had read all of the newspapers.
Whenever he is apparently unfair, it is because he is
a busy man busy trying to break into the White
Mr. Roosevelt, in this remarkable article, also pro-
claims the discovery that every fat, flabby pacifist is
138 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
working against democracy, and declares that, if
democracy goes down, the pacifists will be "primarily
to blame." Why? Because "the first and the greatest
of these responsibilities" (of a democracy) "is the
responsibility of national self-defense."
Mr. Roosevelt, not having a democratic hair in his
head, is mistaken. The first responsibility of a de-
mocracy, or any other kind of a government, is to dis-
pense justice at home. Its second duty is to dispense
justice abroad by treating other nations fairly. Its
third duty is to be prepared to resist such unjust
attacks as may be made. Its fourth duty is not to go
crazy as do some men who go to the police stations and
solemnly tell the sergeant that mysterious persons are
always following them to shoot them up. Sane men
occasionally go to the police and get permission to
carry a concealed weapon, but sane men do not fill
their pockets with pistols and wheel a cannon in front
of them to and from their work. When an individual
is constantly beset with fears that "mysterious per-
sons" are about to take his life, men call him insane.
A nation can also become insane through fear. Every
European nation, for twenty years, has been crazed
by the fear caused by the piling up of armaments.
Mr. Roosevelt's idea seems to be that it is the first
duty of a democracy to go crazy.
Mr. Roosevelt also believes in conscription. Un-
like the Union League Club of New York, which
unanimously adopted a resolution urging the gov-
ernment to resort to conscription, Mr. Roosevelt
avoided the use of the word itself. Instead, he
"I believe in universal service. Universal service
represents the true democratic ideal. No man, rich
MR. ROOSEVELT AND WASHINGTON! 139
or poor, should be allowed to shirk it. In time of war
every citizen of the republic should be held absolutely
to serve the republic whenever the republic needs him
or her. The pacifist and the hyphenated American
should be sternly required to fight and made to serve
in the army and to share the work and danger of their
braver and more patriotic countrymen ; and any dere-
liction of duty on their part should be punished
with the sharpest rigor."
Wouldn't this be a lovely land in which to live if
every young man were required, upon reaching a cer-
tain age, to spend a certain amount of his time each
year in maneuvering with an army and, at the out-
break of any war that might be trumped up, were
dragged from his home and sent to the front? Since
we have never had such pleasures, is it not strange
that foreigners who do have them at home quit their
homes to come here? Here we see Mr. Roosevelt's
democracy at its best. He would not trouble the peo-
ple to vote on the question as to whether we should
declare war, but war having been declared by a few
he would give every man an equal opportunity to be
killed. Mr. Roosevelt, so it was reported a few years
ago and, so far as I know, never denied by him, once
said in a letter to a friend that he hoped he might
die on the battlefield. . How undemocratic it would be
for him to crave an honor that he would deny to
others. Nor does Mr. Roosevelt ever forget this part
of his democracy. When in the heat of battle in
Cuba, he saw a Spaniard running from him, Mr.
Roosevelt democratically honored the poor fleeing
peasant by shooting him in the back and then
bragged about it in a magazine article. His exact
140 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
"Lieutenant Davis' first sergeant, Clarence Gould,
killed a Spaniard with his revolver. ... At about
the same time I also shot one. . . . Two Spaniards
leaped from the trenches not ten yards away. As
they turned to run I closed in and fired twice, miss-
ing the first and killing the second."
Having made himself solid with American men by
trying to provide each with a bloody grave, Mr.
Roosevelt closes his article by seeking the approval
of women. Here is his appeal :
"As for the woman who approves the song, 'I Did
Not Raise My Boy to Be a Soldier,' her place is in
China by preference, in a harem in China and not
in the United States. But she is all right if she will
change the song into 'I Did Not Raise My Boy to Be
the Only Soldier.' "
Mr. Roosevelt could hardly have obtained his ideas
about women from his mother, who though she died
many years ago, is still remembered as a noble woman.
So far as his important public utterances go, he seems
to regard women chiefly as sex animals. If they
meet his approval, they must devote their sexual
powers, for a long term of years, to bearing a great
number of children. If they do not meet his approval,
he would hurry them off to a harem where their sex
might prove a delight to men. Mr. Roosevelt has a
noble wife. Where did he get such ideas about
No man can speak for women about this phase of
Mr. Roosevelt's character. Only women know
whether they are complimented or insulted by Mr.
MR. ROOSEVELT AND WASHINGTON! 141
Roosevelt's belief that if they do not raise their boys
to be soldiers they should be put where their only
duty will be to devote their bodies to the gratification
of the lusts of men. It seems as if it would be a little
cruel to send to a gilded sex-slaughterhouse, gentle,
kindly women whose only offense was that they wished
their sons neither to kill nor be killed; but kindly,
gentle women know best about that. I know a gentle,
white-haired woman of 70 years, who, under Mr.
Roosevelt's ruling, would be an inmate of a Chinese
harem. In a way, I should like to ask her what she
thinks of Mr. Roosevelt's statement. I shall never
ask her, however. I should be ashamed to.
POLICIES THAT MAKE FOR WAR
WHEN war threatens, the danger may be met in
either of two ways. Great armies and navies
may be raised while the causes that make for war are
left to operate. The other way is to remove the causes
that make for war. The first way is expensive, un-
certain and oftentimes disastrous. Whether the war
be lost or won, it is always lost in the sense that it
bequeathes to each side a vast amount of human suffer-
ing. Moreover, there is no certainty that any amount
of preparation can insure success. "Preparedness"
is the secret of no nation.
The second method of meeting the danger of war is
cheap, much more nearly certain, and contains every
good prospect that can be embodied in a political
program. Yet it is the method that capitalist states-
men seldom employ. They choose such national poli-
cies as, in their judgment, seem likely to bring the
most profits to the capitalist class and, when war
threatens, shout: "The country is in danger! Bring
up the guns."
We Socialists take to ourselves no particular credit
for intelligence when we assert that the capitalist
method of meeting the danger of war is an exceed-
ingly bad method. It is not bad for the capitalist class,
perhaps or at any rate, the gentlemen who compose
POLICIES THAT MAKE FOR WAR 143
that class seem not to think so but it is bad for the
people. We Socialists assert that to remove the
dangers of war is better than to let the war come after
having raised enough forces to win it. We assert that
the abandonment of an unjust or an unwise policy is
the -equivalent of enough armies and dreadnoughts
to enforce such a policy.
We are told, as one of the reasons why we should
vastly increase our navy, that we have great insular
possessions that should be defended. President Wil-
son specifically made this assertion in the autumn of
1915 in an address before the Manhattan Club of
New York. Every advocate of a greater navy makes
the same argument. None of them becomes definite
and says that to hold the Philippines we need ten or
twenty or thirty more dreadnoughts. The nearest
that any of them comes to being definite is to say
that we should always have in the Pacific a fleet as
large as that of Japan, which contains nineteen dread-
noughts. They all consider that the Philippines and
our other insular possessions constitute a danger of
war, and, in true capitalist fashion, most of them wish
to meet the danger, not by removing the cause, nor
even by looking into the right or the wrong of the
matter, but by preparing to fight.
American possession, of the Philippines undoubtedly
constitutes a continuous danger of war. Probably
twenty dreadnoughts would be required to hold them
if any nation should try to wrest them from us.
Twenty dreadnoughts would cost about $350,000,000.
How much would it cost to enact a law based upon the
following plank in the platform upon which President
Wilson was elected :
"We reaffirm the position thrice announced by the
144 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
Democracy in national convention assembled against
a policy of imperialism and colonial exploitation in the
Philippines or elsewhere. We condemn the experi-
ment in imperialism as an inexcusable blunder which
has involved us in enormous expense, brought us
weakness instead of strength, and laid the nation open
to the charge of abandonment of the fundamental doc-
trine of self-government. We favor an immediate
declaration of the nation's purpose to recognize the
independence of the Philippine Islands as soon as a
stable government can be established."
This demand was placed in the Democratic platform
in 1900, and was repeated in the next three national
platforms. A bill was introduced in the United States
Senate in the winter of 1916 to set the islands free
in not less than two years, nor in more than four
years. So many Democrats voted against it that the
Senate was equally divided. The Vice-President, Mr.
Marshall, to his great honor, cast off the tie by voting
for the bill. According to newspaper reports, how-
ever, the President was opposed to releasing the Phil-
ippines in less than ten years. Whether the House
will pass the bill, and if so, whether the Philippines
will be set free at the appointed time, remains to be
seen. Meanwhile, gentlemen are still crying out that
our navy should be increased to the end that, among
other things, we shall be able to meet the danger
of war over the Philippines.
As common sense is understood among capitalist
statesmen, the American attitude toward the Philip-
pines may pass for wisdom. We Socialists are quite
frank in taking the other view. We believe the
Philippines constitute a danger which the capitalist
class recognizes, even while refusing to remove it,
POLICIES THAT MAKE FOR WAR 145
because of the profits that certain members of the
capitalist class receive or hope to receive as the re-
sult of the retention of the islands. Moreover, we
Socialists do not believe Americans have a greater
right to rule Filipinos than Filipinos have to rule
Americans. Gentlemen who perceive any flaw in our
reasoning will do us a favor if they will point it out.
America's conduct cannot be justified by the claim
that we are more nearly civilized than are the Fili-
pinos. Germans may feel that they are more nearly
civilized than the English. The French may feel
that they are more nearly civilized than are Americans,
yet we should hardly welcome the conquest of America
merely because some other nation might feel that it
had outstripped us in progress. We may rest assured
that the Filipinos feel as we should in their circum-
Another reason that is urged in behalf of a gigantic
navy is the Monroe Doctrine. The Monroe Doctrine,
in brief, is this: That no European nation shall in-
crease its territory in the Western Hemisphere. The
doctrine was proclaimed to lessen the likelihood of war
between the United States and European nations.
Behind the doctrine was no idealism, nor any altruism.
We were not trying to help the weak governments of
Central and South America, which we could not have
helped if we had wanted to do, because we too, a hun-
dred years ago, were weak. We were trying only to
preserve our own peace by keeping the troublesome
nations of Europe away.
The Monroe Doctrine has now become, not a guar-
antor of our peace, but probably the greatest of the
war-dangers that are mentioned by capitalist states-
men. So long as the doctrine stands, it is in the power
146 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
of any nation that may see fit to challenge it, to hurl
us into war at a moment's notice. It is like a fuse
hanging out a window that any passer-by may light.
It takes the preservation of peace in America out of
the hands of Americans and places it in the hands of
others. A few years ago, the Danish parliament, ac-
cording to the newspaper reports of the time, had
all but completed negotiations to sell the Danish West
Indies to Germany. Strong protests from America
halted proceedings. Sooner or later, one or more
European nations and perhaps a combination of
European nations are going to try to erect colonies
in South America. Germany may try. Germany and
England may try. When the attempt is made, either
we shall have to abandon the Monroe Doctrine or
Is it worth while to fight? President Wilson, in a
speech at Topeka, Kansas, on February 2, 1916, while
urging the upholding of the doctrine, said:
"So far as dollars and cents and material advantage
are concerned, we have nothing to make by the Mon-
roe Doctrine. We have nothing to make by allying
ourselves with the other nations of the Western Hemi-
sphere in order to see to it that no man from outside,
no government from outside, no nation from outside,
attempts to assert any kind of sovereignty or undue
influence over the peoples of this continent."
Why then should we heavily arm to maintain this
doctrine? If it is no longer a life-preserver, but a
millstone around our necks, why should we cling to
it? Money is the last reason on earth why we should
cling to it, but the President says there is no money
in it. The President's spokesman in the Senate, Mr.
James Hamilton Lewis of Illinois, is only one of
POLICIES THAT MAKE FOR WAR 147
hundreds who regard the Monroe Doctrine as the
greatest of our war-dangers. He would not remove
this danger by abandoning the doctrine he would
meet it in characteristic capitalist fashion with guns.
But in order that there may be no misunderstanding
as to how great a danger Senator Lewis regards
the Monroe Doctrine to be, I will quote a few sen-
tences from the New York Sun's report of his speech
before the Hudson County (N. J.) Bar Association
on the evening of February 5, 1916. Senator Lewis
"The future troubles of America will grow out of
the reconstruction and enforcement of an international
contract designated the Monroe Doctrine. The con-
flicts of America will not come during this war, but
afterward, and will be sustained by the combined en-
mities of all the countries now at war. These coun-
tries will deny us the right to serve as guardian of
South America, and they will insist that if any coun-
try of South America is willing that a European power
should establish its government in South America it
will be none of our business to prevent it
"The desire for trade in South America by the
European governments and for a new field of ad-
venture will cause a demand on the United States to
surrender its present -position with regard to the
Monroe Doctrine. Then will come the first conflict
"The European countries defying us will bring their
forces to South or Central America and establish
them, and will challenge us to dislodge them. They
will know that the United States has not one friend
among the nations which would give a life or spend a
dollar out of affection for us.
148 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
"Great Britain and Germany will form an alliance
for commercial purposes. They will unite in opposing
Former Secretary of War Garrison, while address-
ing the House Committee on Military Affairs on
January 6, 1916, was asked by Representative Kahn
of California whether he did not consider the Monroe
Doctrine "a constant source of danger to the coun-
"Absolutely," replied Mr. Garrison. "We must be
prepared to defend it by arms, or abandon it."
The Monroe Doctrine is but an example of a kind
of facts that come up in history again and again
the use of a law or a principle for quite a different
purpose than it was originally intended. The phrase
"due process of law" when inserted into Magna Charta
was placed there to protect the people against abuses
from the king. In America, where the common law
of England is used, great corporations use the "due
process of law" phrase to nullify laws enacted by
public demand to compel corporations to pay more
taxes or charge less for their commodities. In like
manner, the Monroe Doctrine, which was devised to
insure the peace of America, is retained after it has
become a positive menace, for no other reason than
that American capitalists would hold the Western
Hemisphere as their own private preserve. President
Wilson spoke only a part of the truth when he said
the Monroe Doctrine offered no financial advantage
to the United States. This doctrine, it is true, offers
to the American people no possibility of financial gain,
but Central and South America offer great possibili-
ties of financial gain to any group or groups of capi-
talists who may be able to exploit them. Senator
POLICIES THAT MAKE FOR WAR 149
Lewis put his finger on the facts when he said that the
European "desire for trade in South America" would
cause European governments to challenge the Monroe
Doctrine. It is the American desire for profits in
Central and South America that causes American
capitalists to demand the enforcement of the Monroe
Doctrine even at the cost of war.
The pretension that there is anything altruistic in
the demand is absurd. American capitalists daily and
hourly sacrifice the interests of Americans here at
home, and their treatment of Latin Americans has
long been such that the United States is hated from
the Rio Grande to Cape Horn.
The pretension that any measure of safety lies in
the exclusion of European governments from the
Western Hemisphere is also absurd. The same gentle-
men who are clamoring for the upholding of the Mon-
roe Doctrine never tire of telling how easy it would
be for any first-class European power to transport a
large army across the Atlantic and land it upon our
shores. A large part of South America is as far from
us as Europe is. Are we to believe that the addi-
tional one or two days of sail from Europe, over
what it would be from South America, is all that has
saved us from invasion for the last hundred years?
When the Monroe Doctrine was proclaimed, Europe
seemed far from AmeVica and throughout America,
there was great horror of Europe. We remembered
our two wars with England. We remembered the
bloody French Revolution. We remembered the
Napoleonic wars. Far away, upon our own shores,
we looked upon this land as a haven of rest, where
we should always be secure provided we were able to
keep Europe away.
150 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
Time has brought great changes. We now know
that Europeans are fully as civilized as ourselves, and
the more intelligent know that the governments of
France and England are at least as democratic as our
own and, that after this war, democracy will make
great strides in Germany. Why should we object
to the establishment of European colonies in the West-
ern Hemisphere? Has Canada been a bad neighbor?
Are we so fond of Mexico that we would wade
through blood to preserve her? What if the French
had remained in Mexico when they came fifty years
ago? We know the French people. Do we regard
them as bad ? Have we reason to prefer the Mexicans
as near neighbors?
By this line of reasoning it is not intended to reach
the conclusion that if Germany were to take over
Brazil that, if the capitalist system were to continue,
we might not eventually find ourselves at war with
Germany. The capitalist system makes wars by creat-
ing their causes. But if Germany were to seize a great
outlet in South America she would want generations
of peace in which to develop the country. Would
it be unwise to say that, if we must have war with
Germany or any other nation it would be better to
postpone it seventy-five years than to have it five years
hence over the Monroe Doctrine?
A great many things may happen in less than
Common people, the world over, may come to
realize that wars are made by the conflicting greeds
of the capitalist groups of the nations, all bent upon
obtaining the same profits. The recognition of this
fact is making enormous strides. The war in Europe
is opening eyes to this fact that, up to this time, have
POLICIES THAT MAKE FOR WAR 151
remained closed. Why then not postpone every war
that insistence upon the Monroe Doctrine might
The Monroe Doctrine is so bad that our worst
enemy might easily be perplexed if it were to try to
design any single political principle more dangerous
to our peace. As a reason for a greater navy it is a
fraud. So is every reason for a greater navy. These
gentlemen say they want a greater navy because we
must protect the Panama Canal. These same gentle-
men, a dozen years ago, advocated the Panama Canal
because it would "double the strength of our navy"
by enabling us to shift our fleet from one ocean to the
other without going around Cape Horn.
John Hay, who, as Secretary of State, paved the
way for the canal, never dreamt that we should fortify
it. He believed we should neutralize it. Why not
neutralize it, by binding all the world not to close
it? Some nation might break its promise and close
it for a brief period, but are we sure we can always
keep it open by placing force back of it? Are we the
unbeatable nation? Can we never be vanquished in
war? Have we reason to be sure that we could
keep the canal open more days to the century by
placing force behind it than we could by placing it
under the joint protection of the world?
"CONSPIRATORS AND LIARS"
THE President of the United States, on March 25,
1916, found it necessary to issue a statement,
over his signature, warning the people of the United
States not to heed the lying reports published in the
American press with regard to our relations with
Mr. Wilson specifically said that "The object of this
traffic in falsehood is to create intolerable friction be-
tween the government of the United States and the
de facto government of Mexico for the purpose of
bringing about intervention in the interest of cer-
tain American owners of Mexican properties."
In other words, we are told by the President of the
United States that certain American gentlemen who
own cattle ranges, forests and mines in Mexico are
so desirous that their property shall be increased in
price that they are eager to exchange American lives
for Mexican treasure, and that a considerable part
of the American press is willing to lie to bring about
the desired result.
These are astounding statements. Coming from
the White House, as they did, they attracted wide-
But do the American people believe this is the first
time that Americans have conspired against the wel-
fare of the people?
Do the American people believe this is the first
"CONSPIRATORS AND LIARS" 153
occasion upon which American capitalists have sought
to hurt the poor that the rich might be helped?
Do the American people believe this is the first time
that American newspapers have lied to further the
schemes of the rich?
If so, the American people would do well to open
their eyes to the facts.
What President Wilson, over his signature, has
proclaimed to everybody is not a new thing, but a
very, very old thing.
Every minute of every hour of every day, the
capitalist interests that control this government are us-
ing it, in one way or another, to entrench the rich
in their riches, which necessarily means the keeping
of the rest of the people hard at work for a bare
The American press is controlled by the class that is
fattening upon the masses, and daily defends what-
ever helps the rich and attacks whatever menaces their
The American press has not been doing these things
for a day or a week or a month it has been doing
them ever since there was an American press. It
could not defend the capitalist system, which it does,
and do otherwise.
The American press has not suddenly learned to lie
about Mexico it has lied whenever and about what-
ever the great capitalists desired.
It lies when it says that the tariff question has any-
thing to do with the welfare of the great mass of
the American people. The tariff question has to do
only with the determination of which part of the
capitalist class shall have an advantage in the ex-
ploitation of the American people.
154 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
A part of the American press is lying when it
flaunts before the people the danger of invasion by a
European army, and urges militarism under the mask
of "preparedness." The President himself has pub-
licly declared that "nobody seriously believes this coun-
try need fear invasion," and the President himself
publicly opposed "preparedness" until rival politicians
forced him to seem to favor it. Yet, lying newspapers,
under the control of the great interests that want a
huge navy to safeguard their foreign investments,
continue to assert that we are in danger of invasion
from a Europe so mutilated that it can barely hold
up its head.
The American press lies daily and hourly about
Socialism. It heaps upon Socialism all of its scorn,
all of its derision, all of its contempt. Why? Be-
cause Socialism would harm the country? By no
means. Because in the opinion of the great capitalists,
Socialism would cut off their great grafts. If Social-
ism were a fool's dream, the capitalist interests and
their newspapers would pay no attention to it. They
care nothing for fools' dreams. But they care a great
deal about anything and everything that has within it
the power to take this country from the few and turn
it over to everybody. They know only too well that
if the great industries of the country were collectively
owned by the people and operated by the govern-
ment not for anybody's profit but for everybody's
welfare that the day of the capitalist class would
be ended. By opposing us, lying about us and slander-
ing us they really declare how convinced they are that
Socialism, if put to the test, would do what its ad-
vocates assert it would do end poverty. Working-
men whom the capitalist system is sweating into four
"CONSPIRATORS AND LIARS" 155
rooms and a lean living may doubt whether Socialism
would work. The great capitalists who are sweating
the workingmen have no such doubts. They fear and
despise Socialism as a safe-cracker fears and despises
a policeman and for much the same reason. If there
were a burglars' press we might expect to find in it
an endless succession of editorials intended to demon-
strate to householders that a police force would
inevitably tend to destroy the liberties of the
We Socialists welcome President Wilson's warning
to his countrymen. It is altogether the most valuable
contribution that he has made to the welfare of the
many millions who look to him to wield his great
powers in their behalf. The lower tariff that Mr.
Wilson promised and gave did not help any. When
the President and Congress "reformed the currency"
nobody worked fewer hours, received more wages or
paid less for his living. None of the President's other
"reforms" did the masses any good. But the pos-
sibility of every good is wrapped up in the stalwart
statement that American capitalists, when it suits their
convenience to do so, can and do conspire against the
country's welfare, and that many American news-
papers, upon such occasions, can and do He.
The simple truth is that the crimes the President
has charged to these interests are the smallest of their
crimes. They are the smallest of their crimes because
they pertain to a single fact our relations with
Mexico. Their great crimes pertain to the continuous
attempts of the capitalist class of America to bulwark
and entrench a system that makes of this country but
a vast place where millions sweat out their lives in
hopeless drudgery, while a favored few draw unto
156 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
themselves such riches as the world never before
The President blew a blast across the land that
should challenge every one to thought. Where the
President stopped writing, the American people should
begin thinking. Are we to believe that the rich men
accused of trying to bring on war with Mexico are the
only unscrupulous capitalists in America? Are one
set of American capitalists better or worse than an-
other? Is it a recognized fact that while the Gug-
genheims and the Hearsts are scoundrels that the
Morgans and the Rockefellers are above reproach?
Where is the authority for such classifications ? Where
did any of them ever get a certificate attesting his
unselfishness and his desire to give the people of
this country the full value of the wealth they produce?
The simple truth is that, the world over, capital-
ists are capitalists, precisely as, the world over, capi-
talism is capitalism. Every great capitalist is a burglar
working at the pockets of the people. He is working,
it is true, within the law. So much the worse for the
law. It is the law of which Socialists complain. What
we are trying to bring home to the consciousness of the
American people is that the law was made by capi-
talists and operates in their favor. It is not a wise
provision that makes the nation's industries the lawful
subject of private ownership. These industries are
our life. They represent the bread and meat and
and shelter of the people. Under private ownership,
it is inevitable that a few shall own and control the
industries. Is it any wonder that a few are enor-
mously rich, having, as they do, the power to determine
what others shall pay for the necessities of life? Is
it any wonder that the rest are poor? What would
"CONSPIRATORS AND LIARS" 157
be the effect upon prices if the government were to
build factories and compete with those who charge
exorbitant prices? Do you believe such a plan would
effect prices more or less than do suits to "destroy the
Think these matters over for yourself. Use your
own brain. Do not let the lying newspapers or the
conspiring capitalists advise you. Some of the great
capitalists who denounce Socialism are the gentlemen
who, according to the President, tried to trade the
lives of thousands of young Americans for blood-
stained Mexican gold.
If this country is to be relieved from the poverty
that afflicts it, and spared from the fate that has
overtaken Europe, the common men and women of
America must perform these tasks. The rich will not
save it. The ignorant cannot save it. The alert, the in-
formed, the intelligent and the thoughtful must do it.
Perhaps you have never cast a ballot in the interest
of the people of the United States. If not, might it
not be well if you were to say with your next ballot
that you refuse longer to stand for a system that en-
riches a few, pollutes the land with capitalistic con-
spirators, and chloroforms the country with news-
Americans, if they will, can sound a note that will
reverberate throughout the world. The need is great,
the hour is dark, but what men have done, men can
do and minority parties have been converted into
majority parties. The people of this country can save
this country, but they cannot do it by voting with the
conspirators and the liars, whose only conscience is
their pocketbook, and whose only standard of justice
is the outer wall of the penitentiary.
THINGS WORTH FIGHTING FOR
THE lines upon which the Socialist party should
wage its campaign this year are plain.
Our first task should be to exert every particle of
energy we possess toward preventing our government
from embroiling this nation in the European war.
If we could speak but one word this year that word
should be "Peace." Precisely as murder is a more
grave crime than robbery, so is the capitalist crime of
mass-murder in war more horrible than the capitalist
crime of exploitation of labor in peace.
We should therefore lay the emphasis upon our
greatest danger, which is war with a European power
over some technicality of international law. We are
not interested in technicalities. We are interested
We should next concern ourselves with the task of
impeding, hampering, delaying and, if possible, pre-
venting the enactment of certain legislation which,
though put forth under the guise of "preparedness"
is really but the attempt of the American capitalist
class to obtain great armaments with which to safe-
guard both their present and their prospective foreign
investments and by "enforcing American diplomacy"
to obtain additional markets and increased profits from
foreign trade. The American working class has no
THINGS WORTH FIGHTING FOR 159
interest in this sort of foreign trade. It is interested
in domestic consumption.
If American capitalists, during the present Euro-
pean war, could obtain control of all the world's
markets outside of Europe, that moment would our
fate be sealed.
If necessary, a combination of all the other nations
would be made to destroy us. We could not build
a navy strong enough to make us safe. If we can
prevent our capitalists from building a greater Ameri-
can navy, they will not feel safe in investing so much
money abroad, nor will they be likely to obtain and
hold so much foreign trade.
Since modern war comes as the result of commercial
rivalries between capitalistic groups of various na-
tions, it will hold true, in the long run, that the danger
of America becoming involved in war will be in pro-
portion to the size of our foreign trade and the extent
of American investments abroad.
We should seize upon the war in Europe as concrete
proof of the correctness of that part of the Socialist
philosophy that designates capitalism as the cause of
modern war. We should seek to show the American
people, by careful, patient reasoning that the same
forces that brought about the war in Europe are
operating here. We should show that the same sys-
tem that kills the workers in war robs them in peace.
We should use the European war as the door of ap-
proach to the public mind.
The average man seldom has at any given time more
than one open door to his mind.
At the present moment that door is and for months
to come will be the European war. It is always easier
to make Socialism understood by attaching to it some-
160 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
thing that is more or less understood by the one ad-
dressed. Everybody understands the European war
came about not because of the assassination of the
Archduke of Austria, but because of the conflicting
economic interests of groups of capitalists. That
is a good deal for the world to understand and we
should make the most of it
As a party we also have an international duty to
perform. The war in Europe is plainly nearing its last
stage. Peace will probably come within a year. We
should be watchful for an opportunity to do whatever
may be done, if anything, to hasten the war's end.
Perhaps no such opportunity will come, but if it
should come, we should not miss it.
In any event, when the end comes, we should unite
with our European comrades to make certain that
the peace attained shall be a just peace, a peace which
shall not contain the germs of another war.
It comes but to few generations to live during the
time of great historic events. The fierce light of pres-
ent events will cast long shadows across distant cen-
It is not a pleasant time to live, but it is a great
time to live. It is a great time in the sense that if ever
there was need of such a doctrine as ours, it is now,
when the development of capitalism is shattering half
of the world and is threatening the rest.
Let us go forward in this campaign with the mighty
resolve to work as we never worked before; to give
our message to the country so plainly that he who runs
may read, and so persistently that he who runs must
Fifty centuries looked down upon the soldiers whom
Napoleon gathered at the foot of the Pyramids. All
THINGS WORTH FIGHTING FOR 161
the centuries that are to come will look back at those
who are now on this earth.
The world is yearning for a message that will save
it, and we have the message!
WHAT DOES AMERICA LACK TO MAKE IT HAPPY?
TTT'HAT do we need? When a child is born, the
rr first concern of those about it is not to supply
it with food. Warm blankets, provided by the
thoughtful mother weeks before, are wrapped around
it. The human body is so constituted that it can
withstand only slight variations in the temperature of
the blood. From birth until death, the body, in winter,
must have clothing.
There is practically no limit to the amount of cloth-
ing that might be manufactured in the United States.
We can produce as much cotton as we want, as much
wool as we want, and build any amount of machinery
that may be necessary. We already have a tremendous
equipment of cloth-making and clothes-making ma-
chinery. All we lack is the right to use it when we
We need food.
If Texas were as well tilled as Belgium used to be,
enough food could be produced within its borders
to feed all of our hundred millions. We also have
forty-seven other states and one federal district in
which something might be raised. We have the land,
the men and the machinery with which to make an
abundance of every kind of food that is necessary to
the well-being of each of us. So far as ability to
create foodstuffs is concerned, no more reason exists
WHAT DOES AMERICA LACK? 163
why any one should go hungry or fear hunger than
there is reason why anybody should fear a shortage of
air to breathe. Yet, a few days ago, I saw a man faint
on a subway platform in New York for lack of food.
Everybody needs a roof over his head some place
to call his home. If it were necessary to do so, the
number of houses in this country could be doubled.
To build a house for every house that exists would
give an enormous amount of work to the people.
Millions of men are always unable to get an opportu-
nity to work. There is no scarcity of clay out of
which to make bricks or of any of the materials that
are required to make a house. Workingmen have
made all of the houses that exist, yet the great major-
ity of workingmen do not own their own homes.
After they built them, they lost them. Why are there
not enough good homes for everybody, and why do
the workers, who built all the homes, own so few
Every house, except in the 4 far south, must be heated
The earth contains plenty of coal. The country con-
tains enough undeveloped water power to heat every
house in it if there were not a pound of coal and
the cost of producing electricity is so low that every
house could be heated cheaply. Why is it so hard to
get enough money to keep the house warm in win-
ter? Why are the poor seldom comfortable from fall
Furniture is necessary.
What limit could be placed upon the amount of
machinery we could make with which to manufacture
furniture? We still have some timber that the lum-
ber barons have not juggled into millions for them-
164 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
selves. Mr. Edison says steel is better than wood for
furniture-making purposes, anyway. Chairs, tables,
and many articles of office furniture are already made
of steel. Steel is made of iron. The earth is stored
with iron. Of course, a good deal of labor would be
required to convert a large amount of iron, first into
steel and then into furniture but are not many per-
sons looking for work?
Pianos, phonographs and the like are also nice.
Poor people like music.
They say in New York that the poor people, who
pay to get in the galleries at grand opera, sit more
quietly and appear to be more interested than do some
of the rich ones below. One cannot always sit quietly
in a box. Diamonds scintillate most when they are
moved about in the light. At any rate, why should not
everybody's love for music be gratified by the best sort
of musical instruments in his home? A good phono-
graph really yields music. The cheap ones do not.
Why should not each home contain a good piano and
a good phonograph? Because so much labor would
be required to produce them? That cannot be. Is
it not the opportunity to labor that we so often lack?
When our politicians want our votes, do they not
promise us "plenty of work at good wages"?
Education is important.
Only five or six children who enter the primary
grades ever enter high school and still fewer ever
go to college. Why? If we wished, we might have
ten times as many teachers as we have. Why should
not every child be permitted to finish high school?
Why should we accept the poverty of the parents as
an excuse for dragging a child from school and thrust-
ing him into a workshop? We have millions of men
WHAT DOES AMERICA LACK? 165
who cannot get work. Why make a bad situation
worse by making children work? Children can do
certain kinds of work and can be hired more cheaply,
but do these constitute valid reasons for robbing so
many children of their only opportunity to get an edu-
cation? Everybody regrets that the children are
robbed, and the men who employ the children feel
sorrier than anybody else, but exceedingly little is
being done to help the children. How can the children
be helped so long as the little they can earn is neces-
sary to keep the pot boiling at home? We Socialists
say they cannot be helped without so changing con-
ditions that a few rich men cannot keep so many mil-
lions poor. We are not merely sorry that the chil-
dren are robbed we are indignant. Perhaps that is
because we are not "practical." The men who are
profiting from the system that robs the children say
we are not practical. What does "practical" mean?
In addition to a good phonograph, and some other
little things, each head of a house each grown per-
son should have something else. He should have
some land to live upon. It would not matter whether
he "owned" the land. "Own" is such a funny word
to use in connection with any part of the earth's sur-
face. It reminds me of my grandfather, who once
pleased my childish fancy by solemnly giving me a star
that nightly hovered over our house. The same power
that made the star made every foot of the earth. No
man had anything to do with either.
A lot of grown people experience the same joy in
"owning" parcels of the earth that I used to take,
when a child, in "owning" the star. As a matter of
fact, the only important thing about either the star
or enough of the earth to live upon, is the right to
166 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
use the thing, so long as desired, without disturbance.
All we care about the stars is to look at them. To
shut off our view would constitute disturbance. All
we care about the earth is to live on it and get our liv-
ing from it. For any man to exact toll for the use
of the earth should create disturbance. What a man
builds on the earth should be his own, but the earth
was made by the power that created the universe, and
every one born upon it should have a right to use some
part of it as long as he wants to, without tribute to
anybody. No one should be required to live all his
life on the same piece of land, but no one should be
permitted to hold any piece of land a moment longer
than he desired to live upon it. Fortunately, there is
enough land in this country for a great many more
millions than are here to live upon it. Everybody
would have enough land to live upon if an interested
few were not permitted to "own" land upon which
they do not live.
This should be changed. We need the earth. It
is important. It is not important that a few should
derive a profit, without labor, by claiming to "own"
certain parts of the earth. Private ownership of the
earth is a bad principle. The right of each to the
exclusive control of what earth he needs is a good
principle. The mere fact that the bad principle was
here first is no reason why it should remain until the
last. We who live upon this earth can establish
whatever principles of this sort that we may choose
to establish. The earth is not for Astor but for
What do we lack? What do we lack to make us a
comfortable and, so far as material things can con-
tribute to that end, a happy people?
WHAT DOES AMERICA LACK? 167
Can you think of anything?
One thing may be mentioned. We lack the de-
termination to take over the earth that no man made,
and the improvements upon it which every human be-
ing has helped to make, and convert them to our own
uses, now and forevermore.
The Socialist party exists only for the purpose of
supplying this lack. We Socialists are trying to create
a public determination to increase the owning class
from a few to as many millions as there are in the
nation. We perceive that every way the people turn
they are confronted and perplexed by little gentlemen
who own this or that. They are troublesome gentle-
men. They always have their hands out. They want
to be supported. They want to pay as little wages
as they can and keep the rest that the workers pro-
These little gentlemen are not important, though
they think they are. Mr. J. P. Morgan was quite
vexed one day, upon returning from Europe, because
when the ship had almost crossed the ocean in record
time, a sudden storm made it half a day late in reach-
ing port. The New York newspapers consumed valu-
able paper and ink in laying before millions of little
men and women the full extent of Mr. Morgan's ex-
asperation at the weather. Mr. Morgan is undoubt-
edly entirely conscientious in the belief that he is a
person of vast importance, and therefore entitled not
only to fair weather, but to be more than royally sup-
ported by the working class of the United States. It
is doubtful, however, if this is so. Mr. Morgan is
not a producer of milk, but a skimmer of cream. He
is important only to himself. He is entitled to a man's
share of opportunity in this world but no more. Yet
if he were to try to live upon what he is now produc-
ing, he would starve to death, unless relieved by alms,
in a few days. He is no worse than others of his class.
That is not the point. The point is that the others are
no better than he is. They are all skimmers of cream.
The mere fact that they would like to continue to skim
is not important What matters it what they want?
They are entitled to only a fair chance with the rest
"The earth for those who live on it" is the ideal for
which we Socialists strive. It is all a matter of chang-
ing the laws. Laws are made by governments. Gov-
ernments are made by people or at least exist by
consent of the people. When the people begin to de-
mand things, and perhaps to growl a little, govern-
ments give up a little. The Socialist vote, at present,
is a growl. The larger it becomes, the more the
present owning class will give up. It is a good deal
like a balloonist throwing sandbags overboard to keep
from going down. When the Socialist vote becomes
large enough, the day of the important little gentlemen
will have passed and the day of the rest of the people
will have come.
A million votes added to either of the other political
parties at the next election would have for the people
of this country no significance. Not one additional
good law might reasonably be expected as the result
of it. But if a million were to be added to the Socialist
vote, the ruling class of America would hasten to
throw over sandbags in the form of concessions to
the working class. These gentlemen, when pressed,
are always willing to give up something to keep the
rest. There is no other way of getting so much in
the way of immediate, practical results from a ballot
WHAT DOES AMERICA LACK? 169
cast at the next election as by voting the Socialist
ticket. The gentlemen in Washington and in Wall
Street always watch the Socialist vote. They know
what it means.
FACTS FOR FARMERS
"CHARMERS and their wives and children work too
* hard and get too few of the things in this worldl
that are worth while. It is not necessary to tell farm-
ers this. They know it. The only question worth
considering is : Is there any remedy for this condition?
Any Republican politician will tell you there is a rem-
edy and that he has it. Any Democratic or Pro-
gressive politician will tell you the same. The remedy
of each of these gentlemen is to put somebody out of
office and put him in.
For a hundred years and more, American farmers
have been trying to improve their condition by putting
somebody out of office to put somebody else in. The
plan has not worked well for the simple reason that
the men who were put out and the men who were put
in stood for much the same thing. Neither class of
politicians was willing to get at and do away with the
things that really keep the farmer and his family hard
at work and poorly paid.
Another class of gentlemen tell the farmers that
what is the matter with them is that they do not know
enough about farming. They do not raise enough on
their land. They raise little because they lack the
scientific knowledge with which to raise more.
Scientists tell farmers this. James J. Hill, who has
FACTS FOR FARMERS 171
made millions but not at farming says the same.
What hurts Mr. Hill more than anything else is that
American farmers raise an average of only about
thirteen bushels of wheat to the acre when they might
as well raise thirty-three, as they did in Belgium be-
fore the war. It is easy enough to understand why
Mr. Hill feels hurt. He is in the railroad business.
He would make considerable more money if he could
haul thirty-three bushels of wheat for every thirteen
bushels that his railroads now haul.
That does not much matter. The real question of
importance is : Would the farmers make more money
if they produced thirty-three bushels of wheat to the
acre instead of thirteen? The easy way to answer
this question is to say they would. The plain truth
is that they would not and of this there is proof.
The first fact that American farmers should con-
sider is the Belgian farmers. They raise thirty-three
bushels of wheat to the acre. Mr. Hill tauntingly
says so and it is true. But does this great production
make the Belgian farmers rich? Did anybody ever
hear of an American farmer emigrating to Belgium?
Is it not a scandalous fact that the people of Belgium
are miserably poor and densely ignorant? They are
not to blame for being ignorant. They have no op-
portunity to learn. They are working too hard, rais-
ing thirty-three bushels of wheat to the acre.
But we need not go to Belgium to find proof that
increased farm production does not mean correspond-
ingly increased prosperity for the farmer. We have
abundant proof in the United States.
When the first federal census was taken in 1790,
ninety-seven Americans out of each one hundred were
living on farms. When the last census was taken in
INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
1910, only thirty Americans out of each one hundred
were engaged in agriculture. Yet the thirty that re-
mained on farms produced more pounds of food for
each person in the United States than the ninety-seven
produced in 1790. In other words, although the pro-
portion of the population engaged in agriculture had
been decreased two-thirds, the remaining third pro-
duced more for each person in the country than the
entire three-thirds were able to produce in 1790.
Why? Because improved agricultural machinery had
vastly increased the power of each farmer to produce
It would be idle to deny that the farmer has re-
ceived nothing from his increased power of produc-
tion. It would be as idle to assert that he has received
all of his increased product. He has received nothing
like his increased product. Like the industrial worker
in the city, the farmer has received but a little of the
increased product that improved machinery has en-
abled the farmer and the industrial worker to produce.
Machinery has increased the productivity of the in-
dustrial worker by scores of times. The industrial
worker lives better than his great-grandfather did,
but he has to worry more about getting a job than his
ancestors did, and he is still so poor that he cannot
afford to live decently nor to keep his children in
school long enough to give them a decent education.
And the farmer is still poor. By keeping at it all the
while, he manages to get along, but it is a hard strug-
gle. His wife is compelled to work as hard as he
does or a little harder his children are put to work
when they should be at school, yet if one farmer's
son out of a million happens to go to a city and do
well, grafters in the city try to coddle the farmer by
FACTS FOR FARMERS 173
citing the instance as proof that in this glorious coun-
try poverty is no barrier to success.
Let us now look at such a world as no farmer ever
saw. Suppose improved machinery were to make it
possible for one man of each one hundred of our
population to produce all the food that all the rest of
us need. Suppose there were only 1,000,000 Ameri-
cans instead of 30,000,000 engaged in agriculture.
Would the million receive thirty times as much income
as the 30,000,000 now receive ?
Your Republican, Democratic and Progressive poli-
ticians will tell you they would. We Socialists tell you
they would not.
Let us tell you what would happen. Twenty-nine
millions of Americans who are now living on farms
would be compelled to move into cities and seek em-
ployment in factories and in stores. They would be
compelled to move into cities because they would be
unable to find work on farms. They would be unable
to find work on farms because there would not be
thirty times the demand for farm produce that there
was when 30,000,000 farmers were at work. The de-
mand for farm products does not so much depend
upon hunger as it does upon the ability of human
beings in cities to buy something to eat. Every day
there are persons in cities who are hungry, but they
create no commercial demand for farm products for
the reason that they have no money with which to
pay for them. They have no money for the reason
that they can find no employment in factories, stores
and other places where men and women work.
Now imagine, if you can, what would happen in
cities if 29,000,000 Americans from the farms should
be compelled to move from their farms into the cities.
174 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
They would at once be compelled to compete for jobs
with the millions who are already in cities, not all of
whom, by any means, are now able to find work.
These 29,000,000 would be very eager for work. They
would have to find work or starve. What would they
do? What could they do? The only thing they could
do would be to say : "We will work for less than those
receive who are now at work."
What would American employers do? What do
they always do? Wouldn't they buy labor where
they could get it the cheapest ? That is what they have
always done and are still doing. The standard of liv-
ing would have to come down. The standard of
living would come down. Every family would take
twenty-five or thirty roomers, as each city family does
in Hungary. Men, women and children would be
huddled indiscriminately on the floor. Men who work
nights would get into beds still warm from the men
who had just arisen to work days. The decreased
cost of producing food on the farm would result in
cheaper food, but it would not be enough cheaper
to enable those in the cities to live as well as they
now live, but it would be too cheap to make the farm-
ers prosperous. Then, as now, the middlemen would
skim off the cream. They would pay the farmer as
little as they could and charge the consumer as much
as they could. For most of the country, the condi-
tions of life would actually be worse because be-
cause invention had increased the productivity of
farmers 3,000 per cent.
Does this sound like a dream? It is worse than
that. It is a nightmare. But it is unfortunately a
fact. It is not spun out of imagination it is con-
gealed from experience. Precisely this, on a smaller
FACTS FOR FARMERS 175
scale, has happened and is happening in the United
States. Improved agricultural machinery has driven
from the farms sixty-seven of each ninety-seven who
were engaged in agriculture 126 years ago. Foolish
men in the cities talk about the foolishness of men
in the country who do not know enough to stay on
their farms. Other foolish men in the cities advocate
a "back to the land" movement as the cure for all of
our economic troubles. The fact is that farmers come
to the cities because improved farm machinery is driv-
ing them out of the country. There is only a certain
demand for food and thirty can now better satisfy
it than ninety-seven could in 1790. Under the present
system, every improvement in agricultural machinery
and agricultural methods that shall be made will
result in driving more men from the farms to
compete with the workers already in the cities for
It is easy enough to say this is not so, but it is
not so easy to prove that it is not so. It is easy
enough to say there is still more work in the country
than there are men to do it. Many farmers make
the mistake of trying to judge the conditions in the
entire country by their own experience or that of a
neighbor. Because old Bill Brown wanted a farm
hand last week and could not find one or found one
who was so disgusted and disheartened that he had
turned to drink the retort is made : "There is plenty
of work in the country, but city workers are too lazy
or too drunk to come out here and do it." That
is not a fair way to judge conditions. It is like judg-
ing a great picture by looking at one little corner of
it. A great picture of a battlefield might look like
a cornfield if there were a hill of corn in one corner
176 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
of it and a spectator were to look only at the hill of
corn and not at the charging horses or the guns.
The fact is that those who are now engaged in
farming could not if they would give continuous em-
ployment or even occasional employment to the mil-
lions who cannot find work in cities. It is also absurd
to expect that a man who has a family settled in the
city can leave them at any moment to go hundreds or
thousands of miles into the country to get a few days'
work. If he is out of work, the chances also are that
he is out of money and therefore cannot pay his rail-
road fare, and, if he knew where the job was (which
he doesn't) and had the money to pay his railroad fare
(which he hasn't), in nine cases out of ten he would
not be given enough work to buy a round-trip ticket
and take care of his family while he was away. And
no man, knowingly, is going to spend his last cent for
a ticket from Chicago to a farm near Omaha to earn
so little money that he will be more in debt when he
returns than he was when he left. Rather than do
this, men will remain in the cities and walk the streets
looking for work that may return enough money to
pay expenses. Men do thus remain in the cities and
walk the streets looking for work. What wonder if
some of them turn to drink ?
What is the matter with the world? Nothing that
has not been the matter with it from the beginning.
A few men are running the world in their own inter-
est. A few men are trying to roll in wealth at the
expense of the rest of us. That is nothing new. That
is what chattel slaveholders tried to do and did.
The method by which a few men live on the others
changes with the ages. When the people get their
eyes on one method and abolish it, the grafters plan
FACTS FOR FARMERS 177
another method. They can no longer own men, but
they can get hold of what men produce. That is all
they ever owned men for. The wealth that men pro-
duce is what they are after. They rob industrial
workers in the cities by one method and farmers
by another method, but both methods are a part of
the same system.
We Socialists call the present system of produc-
ing and distributing wealth the capitalist system be-
cause it is based upon the private ownership by capital-
ists of the machinery of production and distribution.
In the cities, the capitalists own the great manufac-
turing industries and will not permit men to work
except for wages that represent but a part of their
product. In the country, the capitalists do not yet
own the farms, but they fix the price of everything
the farmer buys and of everything he sells. The
price of the reaper is not what the farmer may believe
would be a reasonable charge, but what the capitalist
believes he can get. The price of wheat is not what
the farmer believes it is worth, but what the speculator
believes he can buy it for. Freight rates and elevator
charges are not what the farmer would be willing to
pay, but what the railroad man and the elevator man
say he shall pay.
Every capitalist tells the farmer he is the most in-
dependent man on earth and then straightway pro-
ceeds to demonstrate that he is among the most
dependent. Like the industrial worker in the city, he
is the victim of the capitalist class. He and his wife
are free to work until the grave closes over them and
that is about all. Their liberty is a sham, their in-
dependence a fraud. They are ground under an
oppressive system so unjust that even if improved
178 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
machinery were to make it possible to produce one
hundred bushels of wheat to the acre, and everything
else in proportion, the problem of poverty would still
be unsolved. So long as farmers and factory workers
remain apart, the problem will remain unsolved. If
ever the victims are to throw off their master, they
must get together.
We Socialists suggest that the power be destroyed
by which a few rob the many by owning privately
what the many must use. We suggest that the people,
through the government, displace the capitalist class
by owning what the capitalist class now owns. We
do not see how there could ever be any more robbery
if the people themselves could produce wealth without
the consent of the capitalist class and consume it with-
out paying tribute to the capitalist class. We would
have the people, collectively, own the great railroads
and all of the great industries. Wherever we might
find landlords robbing tenant farmers, we would have
the people, collectively, own the land and permit farm-
ers to work without paying tribute to a landlord. We
would apply the principle of public ownership wher-
ever we might find capitalists using private ownership
to perpetrate private plunder. And we would have a
government made responsive to the public will by the
initiative, the referendum and the recall.
Every Republican, Democratic and Progressive
politician wants to help you without interfering with
the gentlemen who are using private ownership of
what should be public properties to feather their own
nests. They all tell you we Socialists are wrong.
You have been voting as they told you, probably since
you were old enough to vote. // they know how to
help you, why have they not done so?
DEAR LAND AND POOR PEOPLE
T T is the general opinion in cities that farmers are
* prosperous. The editor of Better Farming, an
agricultural paper published in Chicago, in 1915 in-
formed the public generally that "the farmer is the
real capitalist." Land had enormously increased in
price, he said, and "the purchasing power of the farm
family has doubled in ten years."
The truth of the matter is presented in the follow-
ing editorial from the New York Times:
"A report issued by the Department of Agriculture
will be dismal reading for the people who so confi-
dently preach the doctrine that the welfare of a coun-
try is largely dependent on the division of its land into
a great number of small farms. This is the assump-
tion on which is based most of the talk about the
wisdom and virtue that lie in rural as opposed to urban
life, and with it goes the other very common assump-
tion that farms of many acres are to be reprehended
and those of few praised.
"The departmental experts have been collecting
exact information on this important and interesting
subject, and they have figures to prove that the finan-
cial status of the small farmer is usually unsound and
therefore hopeless. His costs of cultivation are dis-
proportionate to his profits in almost all cases. In
i8o INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
short, it is only farming on a fairly extensive scale
that gives a reasonable return on investment and labor.
"Anybody who thinks of heeding the advice so
often heard almost invariably from those who do
not even dream of taking it themselves should not
go 'back to the land' until he is sure of having land
enough to make a living on. And that takes capital."
The fact is that, agriculturally speaking, we are
going the way of the Roman empire. The price of
land in the empire was high. The land was fertile.
"Farmers" like the Chicago agriculturalist-editor
would have said and doubtless did say that the Ro-
man farmer was "the real capitalist" of his country.
Yet the Roman farmers did not think so. They could
not discover that they were making a living. The
sons of farmers began to quit their farms and seek
occupations in the city just as our farmers' sons are
now quitting the country for the cities. The empire's
food supply was threatened. The danger eventually
became so great that soldiers were stationed at the
gates of Rome with orders to shoot down any and all
farmers that might try to enter.
Nor was that all. Rome's wars for years were
conducted chiefly for the purpose of capturing agri-
cultural supplies from other nations, and these sup-
plies were brought to Rome and distributed among the
very farmers that should have produced them for them-
selves!. Why they did not produce them for them-
selves is an interesting story.
The same facts held good with regard to the valley
of the Euphrates. In Bible times, this was one of the
richest valleys in the world. It supported a teeming,
industrious population. Then the price of land be-
DEAR LAND AND POOR PEOPLE 181
came high. The valley of the Euphrates is to-day
a bleak waste, giving over to thin, scattered patches of
grass. The land is exhausted because it held true
there as everywhere, that when others exploit the
farmer, he exploits his farm. Unable to fertilize it,
he takes out without putting back until there is no
more to take out.
In the census of 1910, Iowa was the only state in the
Union that showed a loss of population as compared
with the preceding census. According to city editors
of farm papers, it should have shown a great gain.
Superficially, Iowa farmers are smothered with pros-
perity. Land is $150 an acre, and much of it is held
at $200. Fifty years ago, some of the same land
sold for $10 an acre.
Why does dear land hurt farming? There are sev-
eral reasons. Consider the lowan of half a century
ago who had 160 acres of land that cost him $10 an
acre. The price of his farm was $1,600. If, instead
of buying a farm, he had put his $1,600 out at interest
at 6 per cent, he would have had an annual income
of but $96. He could not have lived on that. There-
fore, he was compelled to invest it in something upon
which he could expend enough labor to make a living.
At $150 an acre, the same farm would now be worth
$24,000. The annual interest on $24,000 at 6 per
cent is $1,440. Considerable labor is required to ob-
tain so much money, each year, from the soil. The
temptation is to rent the farm and get the $1,440 with-
out earning it. That is the beginning of landlordism
and tenantry. The high price of land, which makes it
impossible for the poor to buy farms, provides the
tenants. The owner moves into the village and lives
on his income.
182 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
When the owner lived upon and worked his own
farm it was required to support only himself and his
family. As soon as he rents it, it is required to sup-
port two families. Where the owner found it com-
paratively easy to make a living, the tenant finds it
almost impossible to do so. Every year, the tenant
must raise $1,440 worth of crops that he does not get.
Exploited himself, he exploits his land. Under con-
tinuous exploitation, the fertility of the soil decreases.
Crops become poorer. That is why the farmers of the
Roman empire could not raise enough to support them-
selves. The price of land was too high. Owners re-
tired to live in idleness, while tenants came to work
High land prices in a community are like high blood
pressures in human beings they are danger signals.
When a human being's blood pressure becomes high,
he is in danger of apoplexy and death. When a
nation's land values become high, the community is
in danger. Poor men, unable to buy land, are com-
pelled to rent. Owners, seeing an opportunity to ob-
tain part of the product of a farm without earning
any of it, are eager to rent. Land soon becomes so
depleted that a given amount of it can no longer sup-
port so many persons, and population decreases. The
farming land that to-day sells for $200 an acre is
really not as good land as it was when it was sold for
$10 an acre. Based on its productive capacity, it
should sell for less than it did when it was new and
strong. Its present price is purely artificial. It rep-
resents only the pressure of population upon agricul-
tural resources. If the pressure were twice as much,
land prices might be twice as high and the difficulty
of making a living on a farm would be much greater.
DEAR LAND AND POOR PEOPLE 183
It is well that the agricultural department has told
the truth about farming. Farmers' sons, for twenty-
five years, have not been fleeing from the farms for
nothing. They are not fooled by city talk about the
"prosperity of the farmer." They know the facts.
They know the farmers are not prosperous. And,
now we have the word of our national government for
it that "small farms do not pay;" that only the rich
can do well at farming.
Are we going to do anything about these facts?
What are we going to do? Can we conceive of a
prosperous, happy nation that, agriculturally, is not
made up of small farms? Shall the poor man have no
chance anywhere in America? Do we want America
to become a nation of large farms, operated by great
capitalists, employing hired labor at the lowest price
they can obtain it in a labor market that is always
glutted? Do we want this to become a nation of
great landlords and little tenants? We wonder that
the English, in a little island like England, permit a
few dukes to own most of the land. Are we to sup-
pose that the English forced this land upon the dukes
or is it possible that conditions in England gradu-
ally wrested the soil away from the peasantry and
handed it over to a handful of idle owners? What
conditions would be more likely to wrest soil from
a peasantry than high land prices?
This is a burning question to-day. It is not a
question of when, if ever, America will be owned by
seven grand dukes. What we are confronted with
to-day is the scandalous fact that in a rich agricultural
country, and with farm products selling at exorbitant
prices in the cities, farming on a moderate scale can-
not be made to pay. And that is a fact that should
184 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
be of great interest at least to some millions of small
It is not a question of middlemen. Cut out the
commission men and the result would be the same.
If farmers were to receive for their produce the same
price that city people now pay for it the problem would
remain unsolved. Land prices would increase some
more. Tenants would be required to pay more for
the use of land. Nothing would be settled. Idlers
would still be drawing unearned incomes from farms,
either as landlords or as the holders of mortgages,
and hungry tenants, exploiting the land, would be de-
creasing its fertility.
The presumption is that the average farmer would
do the wise thing if he knew what the wise thing is.
He is not wedded to his hardships. He knows he
is not having much of a life. But he is pretty busy
with his farming. When he gets through at night he
is tired. He is not in a frame of mind to blaze out
new paths. He is hardly in a frame of mind to read
of new paths that others have blazed out. Like every-
body else, he is looking for the "easiest way." What
is the easiest way? Why, increase or decrease the
tariff on wool, as the case may be, or determine to
vote out at the next opportunity, the set of officials
that, at the last opportunity, he voted in.
The farmers of this country, for fifty years, have
been proceeding upon these lines and accomplished
nothing. Conditions to-day are, broadly speaking,
worse than they ever were before. Farmers, this year,
may be getting a little more for their wheat, because
of the European War, but that is of no lasting sig-
nificance. The great stubborn fact remains that farm-
ing on a moderate scale in this country does not pay.
DEAR LAND AND POOR PEOPLE 185
The small farmers have always known it and now the
government admits it. Conditions are worse than they
ever were before because the price of land is higher
than it ever was before, the difficulty of buying land
is therefore greater than it ever was before, and the
soil, which is the basis of our agricultural resources,
is poorer than it ever was before. It is becoming
farmed out. Much land in the older, eastern states, is
no longer worth tilling, and the best land is not what
it was when the plow first turned it.
VT'EARS ago, Emerson said: "America is only an-
_* other name for opportunity." He might have
said the same of a gambling house. I once saw a
Wyoming sheepherder win $2,200 at faro bank in
half an hour. An American occasionally gets some-
thing more for a life of hard labor than a bare living.
A gambler occasionally wins at faro. The gambling
house is never praised. Why not look America
squarely in the face, too? Why not analyze life as it
is here and see exactly what it means?
The head of the telephone trust, Mr. Theodore N.
Vail, has some ideas as to what life means in America.
He began as a country doctor but soon abandoned
medicine. Probably he rattled about as most young
men do when they are blindly struggling for a place
in the world. Vail finally became a street railway
operator in Brazil, made some money, returned to
America, entered the telephone business, became the
president of the Bell company and a multimillionaire.
The day he was 70 years old he compared the op-
portunities of the past with those of the present and
"America never before contained so many oppor-
tunities. The young man who is willing to work and
has ability and a good education is the one who is
Let us consider Mr. Vail's first requirement for
success, which is willingness to work. Practically the
whole nation can meet that test. No slurs can be cast
at men who work from ten to twelve hours a day at
hard, monotonous work, and there are millions who
do so. There are always more men who are not only
willing but eager to work than there are jobs. From
this point of view, we are all prepared to grasp the
great opportunities that Mr. Vail sees before us.
How about the second test ability? We shall first
have to guess what Mr. Vail meant by ability. First,
of course, he meant men whose minds have unfolded
to a considerable degree to the world about them.
A Russian peasant's mind is closed like a bud that the
spring rains have not yet opened. Only thinking can
unfold a mind. Only experience with the world about
one can make one think. Mr. Vail can think because
he has brushed up against life in many phases. He
has had nearly every advantage that a human being
can have. But what if he had remained a country
doctor? What if circumstances had held him to a
place in a factory?
Most Americans are and always will be held to
humble tasks to plowing and sowing and running
street cars and laying asphalt pavement and running
machines that knit socks and running other machines
that make breakfast food. This must always be so
because we cannot live without socks and food and
we cannot get to our work without street cars. A
million $6-a-week girls can be telephone operators,
but there can never be but one head of the telephone
trust, because but one is needed and at present that is
So most of us cannot pass and can never pass
188 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
Mr. Vail's second requirement, for the reason that we
lack "ability" in the sense in which he uses the word.
Our minds are more or less closed because too close
confinement to dreary jobs has kept our thoughts on
little things and away from big things.
Mr. Vail's third and last requirement is a "good
education." What chance have we? Ninety-five per
cent of the children who enter the primary grades
never get so far as the high school. The unsanitary
housing conditions that are enforced upon the poor
tell part of the reason why. The abnormal infant
mortality that is found among the poor takes many a
little student from his desk. Hard times take others.
The parents need the little sums that the children
could earn. The half-grown girl goes to a department
store and the boy quits school to go into a factory.
By the time high school is reached, only five of each
hundred who entered school are left. Most of the
five finish high school and then go to work. The
odd child quite frequently the rich man's child goes
to college or a technical school and gets what Mr. Vail
calls a "good education."
I may not have stated this fairly, though I have
tried to. After reading it over, I can see no mistake.
If there be no mistake, and Mr. Vail has made no
mistake in stating the qualifications that are necessary
to take advantage of the great opportunities that
America presents, I must say that I cannot see where
the poor boy or girl has much show. But maybe
I am wrong. Let us go a little further.
Mr. Vail speaks of the great opportunities that
America offers to young men who are willing to work
and who have both ability and a good education. He
naturally expects that such men will become managers,
directors and presidents of great corporations. Mr.
Vail would hardly call the running of a corner grocery
a great opportunity. He would have hardly talked
so much about opportunity on his seventieth birthday
if he had meant that running a street car, or driving
a hack, or breaking on a freight train, or shoveling
coal under a boiler was a great opportunity. Yet it
is these humble tasks, and others like them, that con-
stitute the work of America and the work of the
world. No great ability is required to shovel coal.
No technical ability is required to drive a delivery
wagon. A man who had never been to college might
be a good locomotive engineer. Willingness to work
is the only requirement mentioned by Mr. Vail that
is necessary to the doing of most of the jobs that are
to be done. Most work is done with machinery. The
inventor puts in the brains. The worker puts in the
muscle and a little technical skill that he has picked
up around the shop. A college man a man "of
good education" would not, if he could help it, take
such a job, and if he could not help it, his education
would do him no good.
The trouble with Mr. Vail's world is that it is only
for a few. He has neglected to consider the human
race. If all railway employees, provided they were
willing to work, were well educated and able, could
be railway presidents, Mr. Vail's world would be a
fine place in which to live. But this is not such a
world and never can be. It is and must be a world
in which most men and women must earn their living
by doing humble tasks. There is no way of growing
potatoes except by planting them, and the only way
to produce woolen clothes is to raise sheep.
The only kind of opportunity that is worth talking
190 INVITING WAR TO AMERICA
about is opportunity for all. All men are not fitted
to receive "good" educations. But all men are fitted
to receive all they produce, and each is fitted, in his
own way, to enjoy the world in which he lives. Most
of us know next to nothing of the world in which we
live. We know all about the places in which we work.
We could almost go around in the dark without bark-
ing a shin or making a misstep. But we know very
little about the world. A single tree contains more
beauty than the average mind has ever absorbed. The
mind is not to blame. It is the shop, the factory and
the everlasting grind of monotonous toil. We could
all see if we had the time. We have not the time.
Opportunity in America will never exist in any true
sense until every person who comes here, either by
birth or by steamship, is enabled to get some real
knowledge of the world about him. This can come
only when men have leisure and contented minds.
Leisure and contented minds can come only when we
all go about it, collectively, to produce, with the least
effort and in the least time, what we need.
If we want this to be a world of happiness it must
be a world of square-dealing. Nobody need worry
himself about the young man, willing to work, who
has both ability and a good education. He will get
along. Nor should we exult over any success that
may come to him. His success is of absolutely no
significance so long as most other people can, in the
very nature of things, have no success. The only
success that is worth talking about is the success that
is within the reach of every human being. So long
as America has opportunities only for a few it is not
the land of opportunity; it is simply a sweating-out
place where human beings are trying to learn to live.
Books by Allan L. Benson
THE TRUTH ABOUT SOCIALISM: a plain statement of Socialism
that Eugene V. Debs says is "the very clearest and cleverest of
all." 1 88 pp.; cloth, $1.00; paper, 25 cents. Ninth edition.
Published by B. W. Huebsch, New York.
OUR DISHONEST CONSTITUTION: a survey of the men who
made our organic law and an explanation of why they made it
as it is. "Mr. Benson," says the Chicago News, "states the facts
so vividly and with so much sarcastically grim humor, that his
book is extremely readable." 1 82 pp. ; cloth, $i .00 ; paper, 25 cents.
Published by B. W. Huebsch, New York.
THE USURPED POWER OF THE COURTS: an analysis of the
steps by which the United States Supreme Court claimed the
power to declare acts of Congress unconstitutional, though no
other court on earth claims such power, the constitution gives
our Supreme Court no such power, and the court, for several
years, did not claim to have such power. This pamphlet has
had a circulation of more than 200,000 copies and in 1915 was
considered at some length in a report made by the Bar Associa-
tion of the City of New York to the convention assembled to
draft a new constitution for the State of New York. 64 pp.;
paper, 5 cents. Published by National Socialist Party, Chicago.
A WAY TO PREVENT WAR: both a plea and a plan for the dem-
ocratization of diplomacy and the war making power. A book
that has been favorably reviewed by the labor press of the world.
Two resolutions have been introduced in Congress since this book
was published in May, 1915, proposing amendments to the Con-
stitution of the United States in harmony with one or more of
its fundamental provisions. 180 pp.; cloth, 50 cents; paper, 25
cents. Published by the Appeal to Reason, Girard, Kan.
INVITING WAR TO AMERICA: This is the complete Baedeker to
the land of the three P's: Patriotism, Preparedness and Profit. It
will confirm your suspicion that the path of glory leads to the
corner of Broad and Wall streets. It is convincing proof that the
invitation to bloodshed and bankruptcy is not in the interest of
national defence but of profits for economic parasites. Cloth f
$i .00. Published by B. W. Huebsch, New York.
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA AT LOS ANGELES
THE UNIVERSITY LIBRARY
This book is DUE on the last date stamped below
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