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Author of 
"The Truth About Socialism," etc. 






Copyright, 1913-14 

Copyright, 1914 





IV " DIVIDE AND GOVERN " .... ... .. . 54 





VIII WAR AND THE ROTHSCHILDS . . . . ... . . 113 

IX REPUDIATE ALL WAR DEBTS . ; . .. ... . . 132 

X HENRY FORD'S BOMBSHELL .. .. ,., . . . 149 

U XI SOCIALISM . . ., . ,., : .. ...... 169 






EVERY time I go to Philadelphia, I go to the room 
in which the Constitution was made. I see the chair 
in which Washington sat. I see the pictured sun with 
gilded rays on the back of the chair the pictured sun 
that, throughout the convention, so puzzled Franklin, 
because he could not tell whether it was rising or setting. 
And, as I look about me, I am swept ;>;/ a- feeling of 

Here I am in the hall of the demi-gods bf'Wl'ofia-;!; 
read when a boy. 

Here I am where Washington was, where Franklin 
was, where Madison was, where Hamilton was. 

Here I am where the Constitution was born. 

Over and over again these feelings sweep through me, 
because the clutch of the things that one hears in his 
youth is a clutch indeed. 

But the clutch of the things that one hears in his 
youth is often a clutch that should be broken. The 
clutch of everything that is not true should be broken. 
The clutch of the Constitution is not true. 

It is not true, because the Constitution was not made 
to do what we believe it was made to do, nor was it 



made by the kind of men whom we believe made it. We 
believe the Constitution was made by the " wise and the 
good " of its day to enable the people of the United 
States to rule themselves to make a great experiment 
in democratic government. Yet the fact is that if 
to-day we were to delegate the task of drafting a na- 
tional constitution to a select committee of the National 
Association of Manufacturers and their attorneys we 
should not have a body differing materially in spirit 
from the convention of 1787. Nor should we be likely 
to get a Constitution that in spirit differed materially 
From the one that was made in 1787. 

The Constitution of 1787, under which we still live, 
was made by a small class to further the interests of 
that class. The gentlemen who made the present Con- 
stitution did not intend that the people should ever gain 
control of this government. The people were barred. 
Not a workingman, or anyone who by the widest stretch 
o_f the ^imagination could be considered a representative 
Of the vybFkrn'g class, sat as a delegate in the convention, 
ybe people were barred from the slightest knowledge 
cf.'the.-prDceedin'gs of the convention and after the pro- 
ceedings were finished, the people were barred from 
voting upon the Constitution itself. 

Never for a moment did it occur to those aristocratic 
ancestors of ours to let the people pass upon their work. 
Instead, the Constitution was submitted to state con- 
ventions elected by minorities of the people. In those 
days, only a part of the people could vote. Those who 
had property could vote. Most of those who had no 
property could not vote. Most people had no property. 

Yet, truthful as these statements are, almost nobody 
believes them. The public school teacher who gives chil- 
dren their first glimpses of American history does not 


believe them. The newspaper editor who takes the chil- 
dren, even before they leave school, and talks to them 
until they die, extols the Constitution almost as if it were 
a sacred document. Almost anywhere and everywhere 
can be found only those who believe that the funda- 
mental law of this land was wrought out by great souls 
wholly devoted to the cause of democracy. 

The only exceptions are those who know the facts. 
Men who have gone into the history of the Constitution 
and the histories of those who made it know better. 
They know that the Constitution was made to prevent 
the people from ruling themselves rather than to enable 
them to rule themselves. Also, they know that it is 
because the Constitution is doing much of what it was 
intended to do that the people are having great difficulty 
in ruling themselves. 

President Wilson is one of those who know the facts 
about the Constitution. In a book entitled " Division 
and Reunion " he gave some of the facts. He said : 

" The Federal government was not by intention a 
democratic government. In plan and structure it had 
been meant to check the sweep and power of popular ma- 
jorities. The senate, it was believed, would be a strong- 
hold of conservatism, if not of aristocracy and wealth. 
The President, it was expected, would be the choice of 
representative men acting in the electoral college, and 
not of the people. The Federal judiciary was looked to, 
with its virtually permanent membership, to hold the 
entire structure of national politics in nice balance 
against all disturbing influences, whether of popular im- 
pulse or of official overbearance. 

" Only in the house of representatives were the people 
to be accorded an immediate audience and a direct means 
of making their will effective in affairs. The govern- 


ment had, in fact, been originated and organized upon 
the initiative and primarily in the interest of the mer- 
cantile and wealthy classes. Originally conceived as 
an effort to accommodate commercial disputes between 
the States, it had been urged to adoption by a minority, 
under the concerted and aggressive leadership of able 
men representing a ruling class. The Federalists not 
only had on their side the power of convincing argu- 
ment, but also the pressure of a strong and intelligent 
class, possessed of unity and informed by a conscious 
solidarity of material interests." 

That is good history, but unfortunately it is not the kind 
of history that is taught in the public schools and per- 
petuated in the newspapers. Common people are not 
permitted to know that rich men founded this govern- 
ment for their own purposes. Common people don't 
fight well in wartime, for a government that they know 
is neither for them nor was ever intended for them. 
Nor do common people submit to continuous robbery in 
times of peace merely because the robbery is committed 
according to the rules laid down by a government that 
they know was founded by the rich for the benefit of 
the rich. 

Therefore, the common people are taught to hold the 
Constitution in veneration. If a foreigner wishes to 
become a citizen of the United States he must swear, 
among other things, that he believes in the principles 
laid down in the Constitution. If the people of this 
country knew the real principles and purposes that un- 
derlie our Constitution they would not permit a for- 
eigner who believed in it to enter the country. They 
would regard him either as a fool or a fraud. A for- 
eigner, at least, should be supposed to know something 


of the sort of government we have here. There is small 
chance for the average American citizen to know, but 
the foreigner, so long as he remains in his native land, 
is not lied to in his schools and by his newspapers about 
American institutions. 

Professor Beard of Columbia University is another 
man who knows the facts about our Constitution and 
the men who made it. I commend Professor Beard 
most heartily to all those who wish to be informed as to 
these matters. Professor Beard has recently published 
a book entitled " An Economic Interpretation of the 
Constitution of the United States " * that is far and away 
the best book of its kind ever written. Where other men 
have skimmed the surface, Beard has gone through to 
the core. He stayed months in Washington to get 
to the core. In his search for ancient papers and 
documents in the Treasury Department, he went into 
vaults that were so filled with dust that it was necessary 
to excavate the papers with a vacuum cleaner. But when 
he came back to the surface he had damning evidence 
against a good many of the " patriot fathers." He then 
knew why they were so anxious, not only for a new con- 
stitution, but for the particular kind of a constitution 
that was afterward adopted. He knew, because he 
looked up their investments and read some of their let- 
ters. If the patriot fathers were still living and doing 
business as they did 125 years ago we should call many 
of them grafters. 

Let us look at what Professor Beard terms his " con- 
clusions " which appear at the close of his book. They 
are presented as the statements of a man who did not 
obtain his views of the Constitution from public school 

1 Published by the Macmillan Company, New York. 


teachers, newspaper editors or other persons who know 
little or nothing about the Constitution. Professor 
Beard says: 

" The movement for the Constitution of the United 
States was originated and carried through principally 
by four groups of personalty interests which had been 
adversely affected under the articles of confederation: 
money, public securities, manufactures, trade and ship- 

" The first firm steps toward the formation of the 
Constitution were taken by a small and active group of 
men immediately interested through their personal pos- 
sessions in the outcome of their labors. 

" No popular vote was taken directly or indirectly on 
the proposition to call the convention which drafted the 

" The propertyless masses under the prevailing suf- 
frage qualifications were excluded at the outset from 
participation (through representatives) in the work of 
framing the Constitution. 

" The members of the Philadelphia convention which 
drafted the Constitution were, with a few exceptions, 
immediately, directly and personally interested in, and 
derived economic advantages from, the establishment 
of the new system. 

" The Constitution was essentially an economic docu- 
ment, based upon the concept that the fundamental pri- 
vate rights of property are anterior to government and 
morally beyond the reach of popular majorities. 

" The major portion of the members of the conven- 
tion are on record as recognizing the claim of property 
to a special and defensive position in the Constitution. 

" In the ratification of the Constitution, about three- 
fourths of the adult males failed to vote on the question, 


having abstained from the elections at which delegates 
to the state conventions were chosen, either on account 
of their indifference or their disfranchisement by prop- 
erty qualifications. 

" The Constitution was ratified by a vote of probably 
not more than one-sixth of the adult males. 

" It is questionable whether a majority of the voters 
participating in the elections for the state conventions 
in New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Virginia, 
and South Carolina actually approved the ratification of 
the Constitution. 

" The leaders who supported the Constitution in the 
ratifying conventions represented the same economic 
groups as the members of the Philadelphia convention; 
and, in a large number of instances, they were also di- 
rectly and personally interested in the outcome of their 

" In the ratification, it became manifest that the line 
of cleavage, for and against the Constitution, was be- 
tween substantial personalty interests on the one hand 
and the small farming and debtor interests on the other. 

" The Constitution was not created by ' the whole peo- 
ple' as the jurists have said; neither was it created by 
' the States ' as Southern nullifiers long contended ; but 
it was the work of a consolidated group whose interests 
knew no state boundaries, and were truly national in 
their scope." 

Professor J. Allen Smith, of the University of Wash- 
ington, gives similar testimony in his admirable work, 
" The Spirit of American Government." 

" It is difficult to understand," says he (pages 31-32), 
" how any one who has read the proceedings of the 
Federal Convention can believe that it was the intention 
of that body to establish a democratic government. The 


evidence is overwhelming that the men who sat in that 
convention had no faith in the wisdom or political ca- 
pacity of the people. Their aim and purpose was not 
to secure a larger measure of democracy, but to elim- 
inate, as far as possible, the direct influence of the people 
on legislation and public policy. That body, it is true, 
contained many illustrious men who were actuated by 
a desire to further what they conceived to be the wel- 
fare of the country. They represented, however, the 
wealthy and conservative classes, and had, for the most 
part, but little sympathy with the popular theory of gov- 

Professor Smith also says: 

" In the United States, at the present time, we are 
trying to make an undemocratic constitution the vehicle 
of democratic rule. The Constitution was framed for 
one purpose while we are trying to use it for another." 

Students of the Constitution, from Woodrow Wilson 
down, know such to be the case. Victims of the Con- 
stitution, from the lowliest workingman up, know noth- 
ing of the sort. They believe in the Constitution. 
They believe it was made for them. 

Gentlemen of this sort should wake up. The Con- 
stitution of the United States was made for them in the 
same sense that sheep shears are made for sheep. The 
gentlemen who made the Constitution had sheep to shear. 
They belonged to a class. The class to which they be- 
longed was the wealthy class. The wealthy class was by 
no means satisfied with the way things were going un- 
der the articles of confederation. Some of the sheep 
were getting away. Worse than that, they, were getting 
away with their fleeces on. Gentlemen who have sheep 
to shear are always pained at such a spectacle. We have 
the same sort of gentlemen with us to-day. They talk 


to-day whenever sheep get away as the rich men 
talked when the articles of confederation were in force. 

By this it is not meant that the articles of confedera- 
tion which were drafted by the Continental Congress in 
1787 and became effective in 1781, were above just 
criticism. They were not. They were good as far as 
they went but they did not go far enough. They con- 
tained nothing that was bad but they lacked much that 
was good. They also contained much that was good. 
They made the congress of the United States the great 
implement of the government. They put no courts 
above it. They put nothing above it. 

Congress, too, was composed of but one house; no 
senate was tolerated. And they made every member 
of congress subject to instant recall at the will of the 
people. The congressional term was only one year, but 
that made no difference. Members of congress were 
intended to be responsive to the will of those who elected 
them and provision was made for displacing them the 
moment they should cease to be so. 

The chief defect in the articles of confederation was 
that they gave congress too little power. States were 
permitted to snap their fingers at congress. States did 
snap their fingers at congress. Congress could appor- 
tion taxes among the several States, but it could not com- 
pel the States to pay them. Many of the States did not 
pay their taxes. That made the government anemic. 
It also made the government contemptible. In this 
world of governments, nothing is more ridiculous than 
a government that cannot govern. 

There were other troubles, too. We had a little trade, 
even in those days. We exported some things and im- 
ported others. The blessed tariff had also been dis- 
covered. But who applied the tariff? Congress? Not 


at all. The various States. Each State that had a sea- 
port made its own tariffs. And, unfortunately, no two 
tariff schedules were alike. Therefore, the cost of im- 
ported goods was not the same in any two States. 
Moreover, the States that had no seaports were held 
up by the States that had seaports. James Madison 
described the situation in picturesque phrase when he 
said that " New Jersey, placed between Philadelphia and 
New York, was likened to a cask tapped at both ends; 
and North Carolina, between Virginia and South 
Carolina, to a patient bleeding at both arms." 

But the saddest feature of the case was that the rich 
men of the day were bleeding both at the pocket book 
and at the bank book. They had invested in things that 
were not turning out. As the patriots of all days do, 
they had tried to make money out of the activities of the 
government. They had tried to use inside information 
to promote outside exploitation. They had sought to 
relieve the distress of the poor and the needy by buying 
up, at a few cents on the dollar, the scrip paid to Revolu- 
tionary soldiers, in the hope that the scrip would soon go 
to par. And the scrip had not gone to par. Nor had 
lands bought at a few cents an acre gone up to a few 
dollars an acre. 

Naturally, these gentlemen could see nothing good in 
a government under which they could not increase their 
riches. What was government for if not to increase the 
riches of those who had riches to increase? So they be- 
gan to abuse the government. They began to cry out that 
the government was worthless. Times were represented 
to be so hard that people arose from their breakfast tables 
hungry for their suppers. The rich men wailed so 
loudly about hard times that the echoes of their cries 
have rung through the centuries down to our times. 


Yet, there is just the slightest suspicion that this grief 
exhibition was a little overdone. There is just a suspi- 
cion that while times were indeed bad for the grafters 
they were not very bad for the rest of the people. Ben- 
jamin Franklin, who was alive and about during those 
years, said times were exceedingly good for the rest of 
the people. Professor Beard quotes him as saying so. 

"Early in 1787," says the professor (p. 47), "before 
the convention was called, Franklin declared that the 
country was, on the whole, so prosperous that there was 
every reason for profound thanksgiving. He men- 
tioned, it is true, that there were some who complained 
of hard times, slack trade and scarcity of money, but he 
was quick to add that there never was an age nor a coun- 
try in which there were not some people so circumstanced 
as to find it hard to make a living and that ' it is always 
in the power of a small number to make a great clamor/ 
But taking the several classes of the community as a 
whole, prosperity, contended Franklin, was widespread 
and obvious. Never was the farmer paid better prices 
for his products, ' as the published prices current abun- 
dantly testify.' " 

Thus do we see that history is usually but fable fabri- 
cated by one's favorite liar. The gentlemanly patriots 
who were moving heaven and earth to get a new con- 
stitution in 1786 and thereabouts, were unanimous in the 
statement that times were bad. To this day, they are dis- 
puted only by Franklin and the market reports of their 
day. Yet their word is almost everywhere accepted, 
chiefly because no other word is often heard. Not many 
persons ever heard of what Franklin said or of the mar- 
ket reports to which he referred. 

Our patriot forefathers were remarkable, however, for 
other reasons than their ability to see a famine where 


none existed. They were remarkable for their colossal 
audacity. What should we say, in our day, for instance, 
if Mr. Rockefeller and a contingent of great financiers 
were to call their lawyers around them and tell them 
to call a convention to meet in Chicago on a certain day 
to amend the Constitution of the United States? 
Should we not be likely to say to Mr. Rockefeller and 
his associates : " You gentlemen are doubtless very 
kind, but we have already provided the manner in which 
steps may be taken to alter our Constitution, and the 
manner you have proposed is not the one we have 

So had the American people, in 1787, laid down the 
method that should be followed in amending the articles 
of confederation. The articles specifically provided that 
no amendment should be made except by congress and 
the legislatures of all of the States. In other words, a 
proposed amendment must first be introduced in con- 
gress and, if approved, must then be transmitted to the 
legislatures of all the States. Nor could the amend- 
ment succeed if a single state legislature should object. 
Every legislature in the union must consent or there 
could be no amendment. 

That was fairly plain. No one should have misun- 
derstood. No one did misunderstand. And, at first, 
the patriot forefathers with the fat purses made an ef- 
fort to follow the law. They told congress how they 
should like to have the Constitution amended. They 
asked congress to pass the required amendments and 
send them on to the legislatures of the several States. 
Congress seemed deaf, so the requests were repeated 
again and again. But congress budged not; not to any 
great extent, at any rate. 

Then the patriot forefathers sought to take the situa- 


tion into their own hands. They went to the legislature 
of Virginia. They induced the legislature of Virginia 
to adopt a resolution inviting the legislatures of the sev- 
eral States to send delegates to meet in Annapolis in 
1786. The ostensible reason for the meeting was to 
" take into consideration the trade of the United States." 
Virginia appointed as her commissioners, James Madi- 
son and Edmund Randolph. The Virginia commis- 
sioners were at Annapolis, ready for business, at the ap- 
pointed time the first Monday in September, 1786. 
But only four other States were represented, and the 
meeting came to nothing. 

That is not quite an exact statement of the facts. 
The meeting did not come to nothing. No business was 
done, because no quorum was present, but the plans of 
the rich gentlemen who sought to bring the meeting 
about were revealed. They disclosed the fact that what 
they were about was to ignore the method provided by 
the Constitution for its amendment and force such 
amendments as they desired by methods of their own. 

Close observance will detect the manner in which the 
patriot forefathers revealed their intentions. It will be 
noted that the resolution adopted by the Virginia legis- 
lature in suggesting the Annapolis conference declared 
that the meeting was to be held to " consider the trade 
of the United States." Of course, anybody had a right 
to meet anybody who would meet him " to consider the 
trade of the United States." Therefore, it seemed per-' 
fectly plain and above-board for the legislature of Vir- 
ginia to propose that delegates appointed by the legisla- 
tures should do what an equal number of nobodies might 
have done quite as legally. 

But when no quorum appeared at Annapolis, the gen- 
tlemen who represented the five States that responded 


came out into the open. They adopted a resolution sug- 
gesting that another attempt be made to hold a confer- 
ence. And they suggested that the conference be held 
" to devise such further provisions as shall appear to 
them necessary to render the Constitution of the federal 
government adequate to the exigencies of the union." 
In other words, they recommended that a meeting be| 
held to amend the Constitution, though the Constitution 
itself said that it should not be amended except upon 
the initiative of congress and the concurrence of all the 
state legislatures. 

In short, it appears to have been the purpose of the 
energetic gentlemen who brought about the futile at- 
tempt at a conference at Annapolis to use it to introduce 
the actual convention that was held the next year in 
Philadelphia. James Madison said as much in a letter 
to Thomas Jefferson, under date of August 12, 1786. 
" Many gentlemen, both within and without congress," 
he wrote, " wish to make this meeting subservient to a 
plenipotentiary convention for amending the confedera- 
tion." Max Farrand, professor of History at Yale, goes 
even further. In " The Framing of the Constitution " 
(p. 9) Professor Farrand says that " The French rep- 
resentative in this country wrote home to his govern- 
ment, what was evidently whispered among the elect, 
that there was no expectation and no intention that any- 
thing should be done by the convention beyond preparing 
the way for another meeting, and that the report was 
hurried through before sufficient States were represented 
to be embarrassing." 

Professor Beard takes the same view. On page 62 
of his work on " An Economic Interpretation of the 
Constitution of the United States," he says that "Al- 
though the Annapolis convention was ostensibly con- 


cerned with commercial regulation primarily, there is no 
doubt that it was the creation of the men who had been 
working in congress and out for a general revision of the 
whole system." 

What should we think to-day if Mr. Rockefeller and 
some of his friends were to call a meeting, through a 
friendly state legislature, for a convention to revise the 
Constitution of the United States? And what should 
we think if the convention, instead of merely revising the 
Constitution, were to draft a new one? 

Of course, the situation in 1787 was not quite so 
bad as that. The appointment of delegates by state 
legislatures gave an official coloring to the Philadelphia 
convention. Yet it is a bald fact that the legislatures 
themselves had violated the spirit of the Constitution in 
sending delegates to a convention that, it was intended, 
should bring about amendments by extra-constitutional 
methods. That congress trailed along in February, 
1787, by inviting the States to send delegates to the 
Philadephia convention that was to be held in May, is 
of little importance. Congress felt that it had to trail 
along. The fact that the States were going ahead with- 
out either the approval or consent of congress was bring- 
ing the national law-making body into contempt. On 
February 21, when congress issued the invitation to the 
States to join in the Philadelphia convention, Virginia, 
Pennsylvania, New Jersey, North Carolina, Delaware 
and Georgia had already appointed delegates. The six 
other States that afterward appointed delegates were 
already preparing to do so. So congress was compelled 
to move or be run over to recognize the. coming con- 
vention or be humiliated. 

Who were the gentlemen who were so fearful lest 
the United States should not speedily become the pos- 


sessor of a properly amended constitution? Professor 
Beard says that four kinds of rich men brought about 
the Philadelphia convention. 

Gentlemen who had money at interest or capital seek- 
ing investment come first on his list. He says their in- 
terests " were being positively attacked by the makers of 
paper money, stay laws, pine barren acts and other de- 
vices for depreciating the currency or delaying the col- 
lection of debts." 

Next came the gentlemen who had investments in pub- 
lic securities. They were really the largest toads in the 
puddle. They owned paper that had a face value of 
$60,000,000. They had not paid $60,000,000 for it, 
however. More than half of them had paid only one- 
sixth or one-twentieth of its face value. They had paid 
only a little because the value of public securities had 
shrunken because of the inability of congress to compel 
the States to contribute money with which to pay the 
interest upon the public debt. But the gentlemen who 
bought the paper at low figures were good gamblers. 
They did not know what was going to happen, but they 
were willing to take a chance. Moreover, they were de- 
termined to try to make things happen that they wanted 
to happen. They were determined to try to bring about 
a new government under a new constitution a govern- 
ment that would bring the paper to par. 

" It seems safe to hazard a guess,'* says Professor 
Beard (p. 35), " that at least $40,000,000 gain came to 
the holders of securities through the adoption of the 
Constitution and the sound financial system which it 
made possible. This leaves out of account the large 
fortunes won by the manipulation of stocks after the 
government was established and particularly after the 
founding of the New York Stock Exchange in 1792." 


Capitalists engaged in .manufacturing clamored for a 
new constitution because they wanted a national gov- 
ernment that would have the power to put a protective 
tariff wall around them. Also, the gentlemen who were 
engaged in land speculation wanted a new constitution. 
Most of the patriot fathers were land speculators. Pro- 
fessor Beard mentions as land speculators " Washing- 
ton, Franklin, Gallatin, Patrick Henry, Robert Morris 
and James Wilson, as well as many less well known/' 
Timothy Pickering, who helped ratify the Constitution 
on behalf of Pennsylvania, frankly admitted that " All 
I am now worth was gained by speculation in land." 

" The situation," says Professor Beard, " was this : 
Congress, under the articles of confederation, adopted a 
policy of accepting certificates (of public indebtedness) 
in part payment for lands; and it was hoped by some 
that the entire national debt might be extinguished in 
this way. However, the weakness of the confederation, 
the lack of proper military forces, the uncertainty as 
to the frontiers kept the values of the large section held 
for appreciation at an abnormally low price. Those 
who had invested their funds in these lands or taken 
stocks in the companies felt the adverse effects of the 
prevailing public policy, and foresaw the benefits which 
might be expected from a new and stable government." 

In other words, gentlemen who had bought public 
paper at one-sixth or one- twentieth of its face value and 
then exchanged it for public land became aggrieved be- 
cause the rise in the price of their property did not meet 
both their expectations and their cupidity. The lack of 
" proper military forces," for one thing, kept their prop- 
erty from increasing in price. Therefore, it became as 
plain as day that a new government should be installed to 
put in the field "proper military forces" and do the 


other things that were required to make their invest- 
ments pan out. Wherefore, it appears that the ques- 
tion of whether one is a " patriot father " or a land 
grafter largely depends upon whether he grafted in the 
eighteenth century or in the twentieth. 

Such are the causes that led up to the creation of our 
present Constitution. They are not the causes that are 
told to school children, but they are the causes. Any- 
body who believes that a constitution framed in such 
circumstances was made especially for the common peo- 
ple is an optimist. 

Anyone who believes that what these men did 126 
years ago has nothing to do with present-day problems 
does not know much either about the cause or the cure 
of present-day problems. The prices of everything you 
consume are powerfully influenced by the decisions of 
the Federal courts particularly of the supreme court 
of the United States yet the gentlemen who decreed 
that the supreme court should forever be beyond your 
reach were the gentlemen who made the Constitution 126 
years ago. 

The prices of many commodities are also made high 
by reason of the fact that public service corporations and 
other gentlemen have bribed legislative bodies to give 
them franchises and other public property. In every- 
thing else, the law holds that fraud vitiates a contract. 
But in the matter of bribing a legislative body, the 
(United States supreme court long ago held that under 
the Constitution the act of a legislative body could not 
be set aside even if bribery were proved. 

That seems strange, but it is the law as the supreme 
court has handed it down to us and grafters have profited 
by it to the extent of hundreds of millions. Moreover, 
they are profiting by it now as they never did before, 


and this grafting must go legally on either until such 
time as the present Constitution shall give way to an- 
other, or until the United States supreme court shall be 
flogged by public opinion into reversing itself. 

Because of what these forefathers did in 1787 we now 
have a perplexing absurdity in the senate. So long as 
senators were elected by state legislators, it was intended 
that the senators should represent the States. But now 
that United States senators are elected by the people it 
is intended that they shall represent the people. If sena- 
tors represent people, it is manifestly absurd that 
the handful of people in Nevada should have the same 
representation in the senate that is accorded to many 
millions in New York. This is particularly absurd 
when the fact is considered that the Nevada senators 
may have it in their power to block a measure that has 
been endorsed by the house of representatives, contain- 
ing more than 400 members. Yet the Constitution de- 
clares that " no State, without its consent, shall be de- 
prived of equal representation in the senate." In other 
words, it is a question whether a constitutional amend- 
ment providing for representation in the senate upon the 
basis of population would be " constitutional," even if 
three- fourths of the States were to ratify it. Probably 
it would be. But the fact remains that the Constitution 
says that no State shall be coerced by others in the mat- 
ter of equal representation in the senate. 



1 PURPOSE to give a brief but illuminating sketch 
of each man who sat in the Federal constitutional 
convention of 1787. Some were grafters. Some were 
crooks. Some were of mediocre intelligence. Some were 
of extraordinary intelligence. But all were capitalists 
or the attorneys of the capitalist class. That is the great 
fact to remember. All were capitalists or the attorneys 
of the capitalist class. Not one of them was a member 
of the great property less working class which then con- 
stituted and still constitutes the bulk of the country's 
population. Not once during the sessions of the con- 
vention was the voice of the great working class heard. 
Whenever the class interests of the rich and the poor 
were considered and practically nothing else was ever 
considered only the voice of the rich class was heard. 
All of which tends to explain why it is so difficult to ex- 
tract " government by the people and for the people " 
from a constitution made by the rich for the rich. 

To save patriotic gentlemen the trouble of calling me 
a liar and a blackguard, I will say that in writing this 
chapter I shall, with one exception to which I shall call 
attention, confine my quotations to two books. Every 
statement of alleged fact about " the fathers " may be 
found either in " An Economic Interpretation of the 
Constitution of the United States," by Professor Charles 
A. Beard, of Columbia University, or in " The Framing 



of the Constitution/' by Professor Max Farrand, of 

A picturesque character was Jonathan Dayton, of the 
New Jersey delegation. So far as speculation is con- 
cerned, Dayton appears to have been the Charles W. 
Morse of the eighteenth century. He differed from 
Banker Morse chiefly in the fact that Morse was so un- 
fortunate as to get into jail while Dayton was so for- 
tunate as to keep out. Professor Beard quotes a con- 
temporary historian who said of this New Jersey dele- 
gate: "Jonathan Dayton, the late speaker of congress, 
is notorious from Boston to Georgia. The deeds of 
other members of congress were scarcely known beyond 
the circle of their respective States, but the speculations 
of this man have rung through the western world." 

Dayton was a plunger and what we should call in this 
day a grafter. By " grafter " I mean that he took ad- 
vantage of his official positions to make money. After 
he was elected to the constitutional convention he was 
engaged in buying military certificates and government 
securities. Military certificates were the " scrip " in 
which the Revolutionary soldiers were paid. On account 
of the poverty of the soldiers and the weakness of the 
government this scrip sold at a few cents on the dollar. 
Government paper of all kinds sold at a few cents on 
the dollar. Dayton knew this paper would go to par if 
the convention to which he had been elected should suc- 
ceed in launching a " stable " government. The con- 
vention might fail, but he was willing to take a chance. 
He was willing to take a chance in land, too. He 
bought up great tracts that he knew would increase 
vastly in price if the new constitution were to prove a 

While the convention was actually in session Dayton 


and a partner named John Cleves Symmes entered upon 
negotiations for " an enormous tract of land in Ohio." 
The tract must have been of some size, because one- 
seventh of the purchase price amounted to $82,198. 
And, at that, Dayton and his partner buncoed the gov- 
ernment out of $30,000 in the deal. By the terms of 
their agreement they were to pay one-seventh of the 
price in depreciated military scrip and government paper. 
Professor Beard says that " by collusion with Ludlow, 
the official surveyor, and the inadvertence of Hamilton, 
Secretary of the Treasury," they paid two-sevenths of 
the price in such depreciated stuff. 

Dayton was not only a grafter, but he was conscious 
of it. On April 17, 1796, when he was speaker of the 
house of representatives, he wrote a letter to a man 
named Childs with whom he had been speculating in 
public lands and public paper. " The contents of this 
letter," wrote Dayton, "are of such a nature as to ren- 
der it improper to be seen by anyone except yourself; 
burn it, therefore, when you have perused it." 

But Childs did not burn it, and was afterwards glad 
that he had not done so. Dayton brought suit against 
him and Childs produced not only the letter herein men- 
tioned, but fifteen others. After the production of the 
letters Dayton withdrew his suit. 

William Blount, of North Carolina, was another 
grafter who did not scruple to use public office to enrich 
himself. Born with a golden spoon in his mouth, in the 
form of a large landed estate, he devoted his life to an 
attempt to collect not only the teacup and saucer, but 
the teapot as well. In other words, he was " connected 
with land speculation on a scale." He also had 
the distinction of being the first gentleman expelled from 
the United States Senate, the same being done by a vote 


of twenty-five to one. President Adams caught him 
in a plot to wrest New Orleans and Florida from Spain 
and turn them over to England, sent a message to con- 
gress exposing him, and his expulsion quickly followed, 
the senate declaring him guilty of a " high misdemeanor 
inconsistent with public trust and duty." , 

But William Blount was not the only citizen of doubt-' 
ful standing who helped to represent the great State of 
North Carolina. Alexander Martin was also a mem- 
ber of the delegation. Martin's career would have been 
without a blemish, perhaps, if he had stayed out of the 
army. Rich planter and slave-owner that he was, the 
horrors of war were unfamiliar sights to him, and at the 
battle of Germantown he was not nearly so anxious to 
get the enemy as he was fearful that the enemy would 
get him. As a result he was tried on and convicted of 
a charge of cowardice, following which he was dis- 
missed in disgrace from the army. But while Martin's 
courage was not of the highest order it does not appear 
that he ever used public office for his own enrichment, 
or ever bought public securities for the rise that he must 
have known would follow the adoption of the Constitu- 
tion. He was simply a rich planter who looked at every- 
thing from the rich planter's point of view rather than 
from the point of view of the wage- worker. 

William Samuel Johnson of Connecticut never was 
in danger of military disgrace because he refused to 
join the army or support the Revolutionary cause in any 
way. He said he could not conscientiously help to make 
war against England. Having inherited enough money 
to entitle him to be described as a " gentleman," he had 
graduated from Yale and taken up the practice of law 
when the war came on and sent him into retirement. 
While the real patriots were fighting, Johnson, in the se- 


elusion of his home at Stratford, was making plans for 
the future. One of the best things that it seemed po; 
sible for him to do at the time was to marry the daugh 
ter of a " wealthy gentleman " of Stratford, which h 
did. As soon as the war was over he resumed the prv 
tice of law, worked up a lucrative practice, and spec 
lated so heavily in securities of one kind and anotl 
that he attracted the attention of Jefferson who branr 
him as one of a group of public men who were " opt- 
ing in securities." 

Though Johnson was a Tory during the war/ ff 
was so little real republican sentiment among the cr 
ists who controlled politics in Connecticut that J 
was elected to the United States Senate immediat .' 
lowing the adoption of the new constitution, 
records still in existence show that while Johnso i 
member of the senate he was dealing furipfcr" <fm- 
through his son in public securities, a single u 
tion sometimes running as high as $50,000. 

Robert Morris, the " financier of the Revolution, 
the greatest speculative plunger, not only in h-- 
vention, but in the country. He was interested 
ships that traded with the East and the West In 
had money invested in iron works and other i:-^ terrain 
he bought and sold land in all parts of the count-v/^r ' T ' 
thousands of acres; he was interested in every'ki 
government security that was in circulation during 
lifetime; and he had almost every kind of human 
perience that could come to a great speculator, inr'nd- 
ing friendship with the President of the United States 
and incarceration in prison for debt. At the height! 6 
his career, when the national capital was removed tarib 
New York to Philadelphia, Morris vacated his handsets 
residence in Market Street and turned it over to Prcoii 


dent Washington. Morris was so daring a speculator 

-ait he would perhaps have been the first American mil- 

-<inaire if, a few years later, he had not overreached 

>mself, lost his fortune, and landed in a debtor's cell. 

oMorris was not " crooked " in the sense in which the 

UK! was understood in his day by men of his class. 

we should consider him crooked if he were living 

sy and doing the same things. With his pockets 

:of soldiers' scrip and public securities that he had 

.it at bargain counter prices, Morris used to arise 

!j constitutional convention and fervently dwell upon 

-cessity of so drafting the Constitution that pub- 

: t would be restored. Of course, he was quite 

-lot in desiring that the public credit should be re- 

ut with his pockets full of paper that would be 

r !par by such restoration we cannot quite regard 

- a disinterested citizen. A man so upholstered 

x ach paper who should make such a yawp in the 

r anywhere else to-day would be drummed out 

tkic life if the facts ever became public. 

srft 'neur Morris, also of Pennsylvania, but no rela- 

iobert, was an interesting character. He had a 

>nkg, a crippled arm, and a reputation for 

.'v'ateobfthat was even more crippled than his arm. 

-'lit 7 as a braggart. One day while a group of dele- 

iwei* 1 gathered outside of Independence Hall, Mor- 

<>11 tii bragging about his personal bravery. As he 

.^ oached his peroration, during which he said he was 

afrnid of no man on earth, Alexander Hamilton came 

' A ig. Hamilton expressed a doubt that Morris was so 

tageous as he pretended to be and offered to wager with wine for the whole company that Morris 

vt 'uld not jdare to approach George Washington famil- 

;ttty and slap him upon the shoulder. Morris had gone so 


far with his bragging it required more courage to back 
up than it would to slap the shoulder of his country's 
father ; so he slapped it and won the bet. But as Morris 
himself afterward confessed, it was the most dearly won 
wager that he ever won, though Washington only 
" looked " at him. 

Morris was born into the powerful landed aristocracy 
that dominated New York, was graduated at King's 
College and began the practice of law. Like his name- 
sake, Robert, his money was invested in almost every 
conceivable sort of enterprise. In other words, he was 
in an excellent position to reap the full benefits of pre- 
cisely such a constitution as he helped to create. 

It is a singular fact that although Gouverneur Morris 
actually wrote the Constitution of the United States, the 
delegates to the convention had little or no confidence in 
him. They admired him for his biting wit and extraor- 
dinary command of language, but they thoroughly dis- 
trusted him. Morris was so shifting and slippery that 
people were compelled to distrust him. So prejudiced 
did the members of the convention become against him 
that, toward the last, if Morris had a suggestion to offer, 
he usually induced some one else to offer it for him, his 
theory being that his suggestion would be more likely of 
adoption if it were not known that he was the father 
of it. James Madison himself testified to that fact. 
Morris was chosen to take the resolutions drafted by 
the convention and whip them into the phraseology of a 
constitution only because of his acknowledged superiority 
in the use of the English language. 

Pierce Butler, of South Carolina, also liked to brag, 
but unlike Morris he boasted not of his courage, but of 
his ancestry. Butler, who was born in Ireland, chanced 
to be descended from the Duke of Ormond " and was 


inordinately vain of it." According to Coleman's " The 
Constitution and Its Framers," Butler's pride in his an- 
cestry subjected him to no little ridicule. His misfor- 
tune was, of course, that he was born not only to the 
baubles of aristocracy, but to great wealth. After he 
had played soldier as long as he cared to, he sold his 
commission in the British army and settled in South 
Carolina. One of his first acts thereafter was to annex 
himself to one of the aristocratic families of his adopted 
State by marrying the daughter of Colonel Middleton. 
Butler was a large slave holder, a lawyer and a politician. 
As a slave holder he lived a life of luxury without 
productive labor. As a lawyer he woke up the country- 
side with his oratory. As a politician he broke into the 
United States Senate, not once but twice. But as a rep- 
resentative of the working class who comprised the bulk 
of the country's population Butler never knew there 
was a working class except when he wanted to bleed it. 

Daniel Carroll of Maryland also made patriotism 
pay. Carroll not only had a large fortune, but he had 
it invested in so many directions that if anybody were 
to make money anywhere he was tolerably sure to get 
in on the pickings. As a holder of many public securi- 
ties that he had bought for a few cents on the dollar, he 
frequently impressed upon the constitutional convention, 
the necessity of "restoring the public honor" and 
bringing his scrip and bonds to par. Having funds in- 
vested in manufactures, he joined others in petitioning 
the first congress to provide a protective tariff. He was 
a member of congress at the time, but he nevertheless 
joined in the petition. 

Carroll's greatest achievement, however, came at the 
time when, as a member of congress, he helped locate 
the capitol at Washington "on land which he owned." 


Many a patriot pays for his patriotism with his lifeblood, 
but Daniel Carroll of Maryland knew a better way. He . 
made his patriotism pay him. He never got on the fir- 
ing line, but he was always down on the money line. 
Many an old Hoosier would have farmed that " Dud- 
dleston estate " which formed part of the city of Wash- 
ington and gone broke at it. Carroll farmed the gov- 
ernment and measurably increased his large fortune. 
He died in Washington in 1829 without a word of com- 
plaint against the world or anybody in it, since the world 
had given him everything he desired from " a classical 
education" to great honors and great wealth. 

James McHenry, of Maryland, early in life was also 
polished off with a classical education. Daniel Mc- 
Henry, the father of our hero, had prospered wonder- 
fully as a merchant, but James studied medicine and be- 
came an army surgeon during the Revolution. The ex- 
acting duties of the profession appear to have wearied 
him, however, for a little later we find him acting as sec- 
retary, first to Washington and then to Lafayette. The 
war over, James joined his brother John in buying town 
property always a fine occupation, since workingmen 
must live somewhere and to settle in their path with a 
warranty deed is often sufficient to cause them to pay 
one to get out of the way. James and John prospered 
amazingly when an event occurred that was exceedingly 
bad for John, but exceedingly good for James. John 
died and left James all his property. 

After that James never had to worry concerning the 
source of his next meal. " A casual letter of August 
4, 1792," says Professor Beard, " shows that one Dickin- 
son owed him an amount secured by a bond for $25,- 
ooo." With a number of other palm-itching gentlemen 
he organized the Insurance Company of North America, 


and also bought public securities when they were cheap. 
Throughout the constitutional convention he was a con- 
stant advocate of anything that would bring his securi- 
ties to par, and as soon as the government was estab- 
lished he joined those who petitioned the first congress 
to place a heavy protective tariff upon imports. In the 
higher reaches of statesmanship James may not have 
been a genius, but to this day nobody has contended that 
he did not know upon which side his bread was buttered* 
McHenry, too, knew how to make patriotism pay. 

We now come to the Pinckneys of South Carolina 
Charles and Charles Cotesworth. Mere Charles was the 
cousin of Charles Cotesworth. Charles, without a mid- 
dle name, was only twenty-nine years of age at the time 
of his election to the constitutional convention, and the 
opportunity to. sit in the same room with gentlemen like 
George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander 
Hamilton and others seems to have gone to his head. 
" Rather superficial, but brilliant," says Professor Far- 
rand, " with a high opinion of his own ability and with 
extraordinary conversational powers it is little wonder 
that Pinckney pushed himself forward, and it is not sur- 
prising that he seems occasionally to have been sharply 
snubbed by his elders." 

Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, " after receiving a fine 
classical education in England," began the practice of 
law in America and did well at it. That is to say, he 
made it pay. He did not prosecute damage suits for 
injured workingmen, but engaged in the vastly more 
genteel and lucrative employment of serving the landed 

During the Revolution he stopped long enough to be- 
come a fine soldier whose bravery was exceeded by that 
of no other, but with the coming of peace the chirp of 


the dollar again caught his ear. He became "a con- 
siderable landholder in the city of Charleston " ; had 
" numerous tenants living on his property," owned 
forty-five slaves, and during the heated term annually 
sought repose upon his magnificent country estate at 
Pinckney Island. Charles Cotesworth, like Charles 
Pinckney, was plentifully provided with public paper 
bought low for a rise, and therefore, like his cousin, 
served himself and his clients by acting as wet-nurse to 
the " public honor." 

George Mason, of Virginia, was another gentleman 
who would have had a most difficult time to get the 
workingman's point of view of anything. Mason had 
barely reached manhood when his father died and left 
him more land and slaves than he well knew what to do 
with. But like most gentlemen who inherit more money 
than they need, Mason also inherited an itching for more 

First, he speculated in western lands and gained the 
equivalent of chests of gold. Then he speculated in 
matrimony and brought home both the daughter of a 
Maryland merchant and an estate almost as large as his 
own. In 1749, therefore, he was in a most excellent 
position to join the Ohio Company in a colossal attempt 
to gain possession of land. How successful these gen- 
tlemen were may be judged from the fact that they soon 
obtained a grant of " six hundred thousand acres of land, 
lying mostly west of the mountains and south of the 
Ohio." Did you notice the word " grant " ? When a 
poor old farmer gets hold of forty acres he buys it, but 
when grafters get hold of 600,000 acres it is always 
granted to them. 

Mason's luck having started, could not be stopped. 
In 1754 we find him in the act of securing a "patent" 


on fifteen hundred acres of land in Northern Neck, Va. 
Remember that name Northern Neck. It was this 
tract that largely entered into Mason's deliberations 
when he decided to turn against the constitution that 
he had helped to make. When it dawned upon Mason 
that the convention was about to deposit a good deal of 
power in the federal supreme court it also dawned upon 
him that the court might make him pay more taxes than 
he cared to pay. 

" I am personally endangered," he said, " as an in- 
habitant of Northern Neck. The people of that part 
will be obliged, by the operation of this power, to pay the 
quit rent of their lands. * * * How will gentlemen like 
to pay an additional tax on lands in the Northern 

Upon what small things do great events sometimes 
turn? If Mason had not "patented" that fifteen hun- 
dred acre tract in Northern Neck he would have favored 
the Constitution. If his taxes had been in such shape 
that no court could make him pay more, he still might 
have favored the Constitution. If all the delegates had 
owned land in Northern Neck, perhaps we should never 
have had a constitution. Upon such trivialities do our 
sacred liberties depend. 

But from his point of view, Mason knew his business. 
When he died in 1792 " he devised to his sons alone some 
fifteen thousand acres, the greater part of his own ac- 
quisition, of the very best land in the Potomac region. 
Most of these estates were well improved, with large 
and comfortable mansions and all necessary outbuild- 
ings. But he left to be divided among his children what 
was solely acquired by himself: sixty thousand of among 
the finest acres in Kentucky, some three hundred slaves, 
more than $50,000 worth of other personal property, and 


at least $30,000 of debts due on his books, while his own 
indebtedness was absolutely nothing." 

John Dickinson, of Delaware, never knew what it 
meant to trudge off to a factory with his dinner pail or 
to take his place on the picket line during a strike. 
Dickinson's family belonged to the landed aristocracy of 
the south. He was educated in England and returned 
to America to practice law, settling in Philadelphia. 
Like so many others of our patriot forefathers, he early 
saw the advantage of marrying an heiress and proceeded 
at once to become the husband of Mary Norris, whose 
family estate, Fairhill, was one of the most magnificent 
country-seats of the day. 

"This house," says Simpson in "Eminent Philadel- 
phians," " was in its day a very grand mansion and a 
place of great celebrity, with a large front of sixty feet. 
It was surrounded by forest and evergreen trees of ma- 
jestic growth and well-arranged shrubbery. It com- 
manded a beautiful prospect of the city, with a distant 
view of the Delaware. The mansion was two stories 
high and most substantially built, with a very wide hall 
running through the center. The library was papered, 
but the parlors and hall were wainscotted with oak and 
red cedar, unpainted, but polished with wax and kept 
bright by constant rubbing. The carriageway was 
finely graduated and wound through an extensive lawn 
from its approach on the Germantown road which was 
bordered with shrubbery. The pleasure grounds, lawn, 
greenhouse and gardens, fish-ponds and walks embraced 
a large area of several acres in extent." 

Dickinson was chairman of the committee of the Con- 
tinental Congress that framed the articles of confedera- 
tion. Professor Farrand describes him as " able, 
scholarly and sincere, but nervous, sensitive and cautious 


to the verge of timidity." . He was so cautious when the 
Declaration of Independence was awaiting signatures 
that he refused to sign it. He never quite recovered 
from the blow that this refusal gave to his prestige. He 
was elected to congress and other high offices, but he 
" never succeeded in completely regaining public confi- 
dence a shadow of mistrust was always visible." 

Oliver Ellsworth, of Connecticut, although the son of 
a farmer, was apparently vaccinated against agriculture 
early in life. Ellsworth's father was one of those Con- 
necticut Yankees who could start with a pair of suspend- 
ers and, before sunset, trade them for a complete ward- 
robe. The old gentleman began with only $500, but by 
the time his son was old enough to absorb education he 
was sent first to Yale and then to Princeton. The father 
intended the lad for the ministry, but Oliver put aside the 
Bible for Blackstone and became a lawyer. In the early 
days of his practice he had nothing to do, so he married 
the daughter of William Wolcott, a rich man and " gen- 
tleman " of East Windsor. The qualities that con- 
tributed to success in those days were not peculiar, if -we 
may believe a gentleman named Brown who became Ells- 
worth's biographer. Ellsworth, said Brown, having 
great purpose and persistency but little imagination, rose 
rapidly to wealth and power. 

" It is doubtful," Brown continued, " if in the entire 
history of the Connecticut bar any other lawyer has ever 
in so short a time accumulated so great a practice. 
Measured either by the amount of his business or by his 
earnings, it was unrivaled in his own day and unex- 
ampled in the history of the colony. Naturally shrewd, 
and with nothing of the spendthrift in his nature, he 
quickly earned a competence, and by good management 
he increased it to a fortune which, for the times and the 


country, was quite uncommonly large. From a few 
documents still in existence it is clear that he became 
something of a capitalist and investor. He bought lands 
and houses and loaned money out at interest. He was a 
stockholder in the Hartford bank, and one of the original 
subscribers to the stock of the old Hartford broadcloth 

Nor was Ellsworth too busy to note the opportunity to 
make money by investing in the depreciated paper of his 
country. Professor Beard found the old gentleman's 
ink-tracks on some of the ancient papers that he un- 
earthed from the vaults in the Treasury Department. 

" With that natural shrewdness and economy which 
his latest biographer attributed to him," says Professor 
Beard, " Ellsworth accumulated a by no means negligible 
amount in public securities from which he profited by 
the rise of credit that accompanied the establishment of 
the new government. He was among the first citizens 
of Connecticut to have his paper funded into the new 
government securities, for he appears in December, 
1791, with $1,330.50 in deferred sixes, $2,660.98 in 
funded sixes and $1,995.75 m three per cents. His 
wife, Abigail, and other members of her family, the 
Wolcotts, had also invested in securities." 

Thomas Fitzsimons, of Pennsylvania, was one of the 
largest merchants and boldest speculators of his day. 
As a merchant he might have succeeded. As a specu- 
lator he might have succeeded. As a combined merchant 
and speculator he went down with a crash. He had 
strong family connections to hold him up. His father- 
in-law, Robert Meade, was one of the rich men of Phila- 
delphia. His brother-in-law was " one of the prominent 
merchants and shipowners of the city." 

Fitzsimons himself was a director of the Bank of 


North America and President of the Insurance Com- 
pany of North America. But he became tangled up 
with the speculations of Robert Morris and, when Mor- 
ris failed, Fitzsimons lost a good deal of his fortune. 

Fitzsimons was accused by his contemporaries of 
speculating heavily in the securities of the country. 
The speaker of the house of representatives in which he 
served is quoted by Maclay, a historian, as saying that 
in his opinion " Mr. Fitzsimons was concerned in this 
business (of speculating) as well as Mr. Morris, and 
that they stayed away (from congress) for the double 
purpose of pursuing their speculation and remaining un- 

Professor Beard says that Maclay's version was prob- 
ably correct, " for in 1791 Fitzsimons' agent, Michael 
Conner, presented for him certificates of 1778 to the 
amount of $12,000 nominal value which he had evidently 
bought up." 

The extent to which Fitzsimons and Morris plunged 
may be judged from the fact that in 1795 they put on 
sale in London " about 360,000 acres of land situated 
in Georgia." 



WASHINGTON had not paid his taxes for two 
years when he went as a delegate to attend the 
convention that made the Constitution of the United 
States. 1 Ford's edition of "The Federalist" says the 
" Father of his Country " was temporarily embarrassed, 
not by the failure of his crops, but by his inability to 
sell what he had raised. Whatever the reason, Wash- 
ington had a great deal of property upon which to pay 
taxes. In the one sense that he was the richest man 
in America, he was the Rockefeller of his day. The 
schedule of property attached to his will footed up $530,- 
ooo. In Virginia alone he owned " more than 35,000 
acres,'* valued at $200,000; "in Maryland, 1,119 acres, 
at $9,828; in Pennsylvania, 234 acres, at $1,404; in 
New York, about 1,000 acres, at $6,000; in the North- 
west Territory, 3,051 acres, at $15,255; in Kentucky, 
5,000 acres, at $10,000; property in Washington at $19,- 
132; in Alexandria, at $4,000; in Winchester, at $400; 
at Bath, $800; in government securities, $6,246; shares 
in the Potomac Company, $10,666; shares in the James 
River Company, $500; stock in the Bank of Columbia, 
$6,800; stock in the Bank of Alexandria, $1,000; live- 

1 The statements of historic fact made in this chapter are, unless 
specifically attributed to other sources, taken from Professor Beard's 
"An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United 
States," or from Professor Farrand's " The Framing of the Consti- 



stock, $15,653. His slaves were to be emancipated on 
the death of his wife." 

" Washington possessed," says Professor Beard, " in 
addition to his great estate upon the Potomac, a large 
amount of fluid capital which he judiciously invested in 
western lands, from which he could reasonably expect a 
large appreciation with the establishment of stable gov- 
ernment and the advance of the frontier." 

Washington, however, unlike some of the gentlemen 
who sat with him in the constitutional convention, was 
no grafter. He did not speculate upon the misfortunes 
of the government. He did not buy scrip at five or ten 
cents on the dollar. He never tried to use public office 
for private profit. Yet, much that Washington did as 
a public man redounded to his private profit. It was 
inevitable that it should thus redound. Washington was 
the richest man of his day. Whatever he did to help 
the business interests of the country helped him more 
than anybody else because he owned more property than 
anybody else. Washington could not help other busi- 
ness men without helping himself more than he helped 
any of the others. Nor could the working class have 
gained any advantage over the capitalist class without 
hurting Washington more than any one else. Wash- 
ington's economic interests therefore compelled him to 
stand with his class and against the working class. 

Washington did so stand. We of this age look upon 
him as a great popular advocate for two reasons: first, 
because we do not know much about him, second, be- 
cause Washington was so much better than some of 
those with whom he was associated. Washington had 
not much faith in the republican principle of govern- 
ment. He was by no means certain that the people 
would be able to rule themselves. He gladly signed a 


constitution that cut the people off almost with no power. 
But he was determined that the people should be given 
an opportunity to demonstrate whether they were com- 
petent to use the little power that he and others gave 
them. In other words, he did all that he could to bring 
about an honest trial of the new constitution. 

We still feel grateful to Washington for that. It was 
not much, but it was much more than many others did. 
It was much more than Alexander Hamilton did. 
Washington was willing to see us deprived of the right 
to elect the President. Washington was willing to see 
us deprived of the right to elect United States Senators. 
But Hamilton wanted the President, after a select little 
group had elected him, to serve for life. Hamilton 
wanted United States Senators, after select little groups 
had elected them, to serve for life. Hamilton wanted 
to give the President power to appoint all governors of 
States. And Hamilton wanted the President and the 
governors of States to have the power of absolute veto 
over Congress and the state legislatures. That we still 
honor the name of Hamilton is because, to this day, we 
know almost nothing of Hamilton. He was a brilliant 
man, but he was almost the last man who should have 
found favor in a republic. Socially, he was an aristo- 
crat. Politically, he was a monarchist. 

" Hamilton was not only a monarchist," said Thomas 
Jefferson, 1 "but for a monarchy bottomed on corrup- 
tion. In proof of this, I will relate an anecdote, for 
the truth of which, I attest the God who made me. Be- 
fore the President set out on his southern tour in April, 
1791, he addressed a letter of the fourth of that month, 
from Mount Vernon to the Secretaries of State, Treas- 
ury and War, desiring that if any serious and important 

i Anas, 1791. C. ix. 96 


cases should arise during his absence they would con- 
sult and act on them. And he requested that the Vice- 
President should also be consulted. This was the only 
occasion when that officer was ever invited to take part 
in a cabinet question. 

" Some occasions for consultation arising, I invited 
these gentlemen (and the attorney-general as well, if 
I remember) to dine with me in order to confer on the 
subject. After the cloth was removed and our ques- 
tion agreed and dismissed, conversation began on other 
matters, and by some circumstance was led to the Brit- 
ish constitution on which Mr. Adams observed : ' Purge 
it of its corruption and give to its popular branch equal- 
ity of representation, and it would be the most perfect 
constitution ever devised by the wit of man/ Hamilton 
paused and said : * Purge it of its corruption and give 
to its popular branch equality of representation and it 
would become an impracticable government ; as it stands 
at present, with all its supposed defects, it is the most 
perfect government which ever existed.' ' 

Hamilton was attacked during his lifetime as almost 
no other American was ever attacked. He was sus- 
pected of being a defaulter. He was accused of being 
a grafter. It is tolerably certain that he was not a de- 
faulter. It is improbable that he was even a grafter. 
But Hamilton was so adroit a man that it was and still 
is difficult to tell what he was. When beset by enemies, 
the flea could not outdo him in agility. No matter how 
dark the outlook, he always emerged triumphantly. He 
sometimes lost part of his baggage, but he always got 
through himself. His encounter with James Reynolds 
illustrates his capacity for hair-breadth escapes. Rey- 
nolds and Hamilton, who had been old friends, became 
estranged. Reynolds said that he and Hamilton had 


speculated in government bonds while Hamilton was sec- 
retary of the treasury. The story came to the ears of 
the speaker of the house of representatives. The 
speaker felt it to be his duty to investigate. In company 
with two other men he visited Reynolds. Reynolds cor- 
roborated the entire matter. Mrs. Reynolds added to 
the corroboration. The case against Hamilton seemed 
so plain that the speaker felt justified in confronting 
Hamilton and demanding an explanation. Hamilton 
cheerfully explained. He said that he had once had " an 
unhappy amour with Mrs. Reynolds," and that she and 
her husband cooked up the story against him to get even. 
The excuse was not new even in Hamilton's day. Many 
gentlemen had tried it without success. But Hamilton 
made it work. The speaker and his friends retired. Mr. 
Hamilton had explained ! That was enough. 

The complexity of Hamilton may well be illustrated 
by another story. As secretary of the treasury he pos- 
sessed information with regard to the probable future 
prices of government bonds. Any speculator who had 
this information could, of course, make money with it. 
Hamilton's wife's brother was a speculator. Ham- 
ilton wrote to his father-in-law, General Schuyler, 
asking him not to let his son speculate. The old gen- 
tleman appears to have acted upon the request. The son 
did not speculate. But the old general himself gambled 
in public securities like a sheep herder at a faro table. 
Professor Beard found records in the Treasury Depart- 
ment showing that during three months, in 1791, Gen- 
eral Schuyler speculated to the extent of more than 

But that is not all. Hamilton once told a man who 
wanted a tip on bond prices that the secretary of the 
treasury should be " like Csesar's wife." That sounded 


well. But a little later we find Mr. Hamilton industri- 
ously giving, buying and selling orders to brokers on 
behalf of his sister's husband, J. B. Church. Those 
orders, in Hamilton's handwriting, are still in existence. 
They form part of the Hamilton collection of manu- 
scripts in the Library of Congress. They represent the 
basis of a fortune which came as the result of the specu- 
lation. On the face of the letters, all of the fortune 
went to Church. Church might have divided with Ham- 
ilton, but there is no proof that he did so. It is upon 
the assumption that Church did not divide that Hamil- 
ton is acquitted of the charge of grafting. In other 
words, Hamilton is given the benefit of the doubt. He 
needs it. He was found close to the border line of 
graft. He was caught using a high public office to 
feather the nest of a relative. He is held blameless only 
because when he died there were few feathers in his own 
nest. But for the sake of his reputation, it is regrettable 
that he once .felt moved to make a remark about 
" Caesar's wife." Obviously, the remark was hypocrit- 

James Madison was perhaps the most influential man 
in the constitutional convention. He was born to great 
landed wealth, was graduated at Princeton and drilled 
in the principles of law. But the law did not appeal to 
him, nor did business. Only politics appealed to him. 
But the opportunity to make money out of politics did 
not appeal to him. Other patriotic gentlemen came to 
the convention heavily laden with public paper bought 
at pawn broker prices. Madison had none. When the 
other patriots flocked to the capital to take advantage 
of Hamilton's plan for buying up the paper at par, Mad- 
ison was not in the throng. But he was near enough 
to be disgusted at what he saw. Professor Beard says 


the " scramble of politicians and speculators " did more 
than anything else " to disgust Madison with the ad- 
ministration party and drive him into opposition." 
Madison himself, in writing to Jefferson, in July, 1791, 

" The subscriptions (to the bank) are consequently a 
mere scramble for so much public plunder, which will 
be engrossed by those already loaded with the spoils of 
individuals. It pretty clearly appears, also, in what pro- 
portion the public debt lies in the country, what sort of 
hands hold it, and by whom the people of the United 
States are to be governed. Of all the shameful cir- 
cumstances of this business, it is among the greatest to 
see the members of the legislature (congress) who were 
most active in pushing this job openly grasping its emolu- 
ments. Schuyler is to be the head of the directors, if 
the weight of the New York subscribers can effect it. 
Nothing new is talked of here. In fact, stock-jobbing 
drowns every other subject. The coffee house is in an 
eternal buzz with the gamblers." 

Madison, in short, was as good a democrat as he knew 
how to be. He befriended the people as much as he 
knew how to befriend them. But Madison lived at a 
time when the men who considered themselves the wisest 
had almost no faith in the capacity of the people to rule 
themselves. Madison believed the people were not ca- 
pable of ruling themselves. Madison believed a group 
of " superior " men should be set apart to elect the 
President. Madison believed state legislatures should 
elect United States senators. Madison believed the peo- 
ple should be represented only in the house of repre- 
sentatives, and that the house should not be permitted to 
do anything if either the senate or the President should 
object. In other words, while Madison represented the 


people as well as he knew how to represent them, he did 
not know how to represent them very well. He did not 
come from the people and did not share their longings. 
He came from the landed aristocracy, and viewed pub- 
lic questions from the point of view of the landed aris- 

James Wilson of Pennsylvania was one of the great- 
est lawyers who sat in the constitutional convention. 
Washington thought so much of him that he afterward 
appointed him to the supreme court. But Wilson, who 
was born in Scotland, was no more a " man of the peo- 
ple" than were the other members of the convention. 
He received a " fine classical education " in Scotland, 
emigrated to America, studied law, eventually became 
the attorney for many of the rich men of Pennsylvania, 
received large fees, became a director of the Bank of 
North America and a stockholder in the Insurance Com- 
pany of North America. Like other patriots of his 
time, Wilson also developed a weakness for land specula- 
tion. Unfortunately, he allied himself with one of the 
crookedest land corporations of his day the Georgia 
Land Company. He invested $125,000 in this fraudu- 
lent concern, and, in addition, owned 750,000 acres of 

Wilson's natural tendencies were probably toward 
democracy. Again and again, during the convention, he 
spoke against gentlemen of the Alexander Hamilton type 
who, if they could have done so, would have given the 
United States a constitution under which the people 
would have had no power. But it is in comparison only 
with such men that Wilson seems to have been a be- 
liever in popular rule. His investments and his busi- 
ness relationships prevented him from becoming a real 
democrat. If he were still living and preaching the same 


political doctrine that he preached in 1787, Mr. Taft 
would seem in comparison to be a dangerous radical. 

Benjamin Franklin had the workingman's point of 
view when, as a boy, he entered Philadelphia, munching 
a loaf of bread, but when he went to the constitutional 
convention he was worth $150,000. Franklin had great 
investments in land, as did Washington and many of the 
others, but he did not speculate in public securities. In 
his younger days, Franklin had given utterance to much 
radical doctrine, but when the constitutional convention 
assembled he was too old to do much more than pour 
oil upon the troubled waters, which he often did. He 
signed the Constitution, not because it represented his 
views of what. a constitution should be, but because he 
believed it was the best instrument that could be ob- 
tained at the time. In that, he was undoubtedly right. 
The working class, politically unorganized, was in no 
position to make an aggressive fight for the kind of 
government it wanted, while the capitalist class was well 

Abraham Baldwin, of Georgia, a graduate of Yale, 
was a lawyer whose fees enabled him to buy public paper 
when offered below par. The constitution that he helped 
to make put money into his pocket. 

Richard Bassett of Delaware inherited 6,000 acres of 
land, added to this through the practice of law, became 
one of the wealthiest men in the State and, as one of 
his biographer's says, " entertained lavishly at his three 
homes in Wilmington, Dover, and at Bohemia Manor." 
Plainly, he was precisely the kind of man to send to 
the convention as a representative of the common peo- 

Gunning Bedford, of Delaware, was a landowner, 
lawyer and speculator in public securities. 


John Blair of Virginia was a college graduate, a law- 
yer and a gentleman who knew upon which side his 
bread was buttered. He went to the convention loaded 
with public securities that could have been bought 
cheaply, and after the formation of the new government 
cashed them in at the treasury at 100 cents upon the 

David Brearley of New Jersey came from a family 
of great landlords, graduated from Princeton and set- 
tled down to the practice of law. He died before Ham- 
ilton's funding plan went into effect, but many of his 
relatives were found at the public crib at the proper 

Jacob Broome of Delaware was born to wealth and 
later became a stockholder in banks, cotton mills and 
many other concerns. A few public securities were 
found upon his person from time to time, but he was 
never a heavy speculator. 

George Clymer of Pennsylvania was born rich and 
married richer. He was about as much interested in 
the working class of his day as. a dog is interested in 
a rabbit and in much the same way. 

William R. Davie of North Carolina is chiefly re- 
membered because he made enough practicing law so 
that he could afford to buy a $5,000 colt, and because 
he left a large estate that was the subject of litigation 
before the United States Supreme Court so late as 1892. 

William Few of Georgia overlooked little. He 
farmed and practiced law and speculated in lands, and 
speculated in government securities to such advantage 
that he left an estate valued at $100,000. He was also 
connected with a crooked land company the Georgia 

Nicholas Gilman of New Hampshire bought soldiers' 


scrip from poor veterans for as little as they would take, 
and added to his investments by buying public securities 
upon the same principle. He came to the convention 
owning thousands of dollars' worth of such paper and 
later added to his holdings. In a single transaction, he 
worked off upon the government $11,021.95 worth of 
such stuff, receiving 100 cents upon the dollar therefor. 
Gilman was a good deal of a nincompoop in the con- 
vention, but otherwise he knew what he was doing. 

Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts was a merchant and 
grafter. Also he was quite shameless about his graft- 
ing. The owner of so many public securities that the 
amount annually due ,him as interest was $3,500, he 
had the audacity to demand that the Constitution not 
only empower congress to pay the public debt in full, 
but to make it obligatory upon congress to do so. Of 
the gentlemen who fleeced the old soldiers by buying up 
their scrip at 5 or 10 cents on the dollar, Madison quotes 
Gerry as follows : " As to the stock jobbers, he saw 
no reason for the censures thrown upon them. They 
kept up the value of the paper. Without them there 
would be no market." Gerry eventually opposed the 
Constitution. He himself said he opposed it because of 
the threatened predominance of the judicial department, 
but Oliver Ellsworth gave a different reason. He said 
Gerry was aggrieved because the convention refused to 
pledge the government to redeem all of the Continental \ 
currency at par a commodity of which he charged! 
Gerry with having a large supply. But Ellsworth never 
proved his charge and Gerry denied it, so there the mat- 
ter rests. As a "patriot father," however, Gerry was 
a sight. 

Nathaniel Gorham of Massachusetts was a merchant 


and land speculator. In 1786 he tried to put through 
a million-dollar land deal, but the gentlemen who were 
selling to him proved the more fortunate negotiators, 
with the result that Gorham's fortune was considerably 
depleted when he died in 1796. 

William C. Houston, of New Jersey, was a Princeton 
graduate, a college professor, a lawyer and a land specu- 
lator. He was of no importance in the convention, and 
died the next year. 

William Houston of Georgia was born and educated 
in England. Little is now known of him except that 
he amounted almost to nothing in the convention. 

Jared Ingersoll of Pennsylvania, after graduating at 
Yale, completed his studies in England and became a 
lawyer in Philadelphia. As an attorney he served the 
richest men in the State and became wealthy. So far 
as known, he was a speculator neither in land nor in 
public securities. 

Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer, of Maryland, was a 
planter, slave-holder and owner of small quantities of 
public paper. 

Rufus King of Massachusetts was the son of the larg- 
est exporter of lumber in Maine who also owned 3,000 
acres of land. Rufus was educated at Harvard, after 
which he married the daughter of a wealthy Tory, who 
removed to Connecticut during the Revolutionary War, 
where he remained in great seclusion until the fighting 
was ended. Later the old gentleman bobbed up in New 
York, where he became president of the chamber of com- 
merce. King was a large holder of bank stock and pub- 
lic securities. The Constitution put the public securities 
at par. 

John Langdon of New Hampshire was a large holder 


of government securities. A nephew who wrote a 
pamphlet about him described him as " a man that loved 
money, at an age when it gets the upper hand, that was 
prone to banking and funding, to whom such at- 
mospheres were familiar and congenial, that knew how 
to make it and keep it, and felt no envy of others that 
did so, too." > 

John Lansing of New York was a lawyer. He op- 
posed the Constitution, and early left the convention in 
disgust, never to return. After the establishment of the 
government, Lansing and most of his relatives came 
forward with cheap public securities to be redeemed at 

William Livingston of New Jersey, the son of a great 
landlord, after graduating at Yale, married an heiress 
and began the practice of law. He was a large owner 
of public securities, but died in 1790, and his son cashed 
in the paper at the treasury. 

Luther Martin of Maryland was a Princeton gradu- 
ate and a lawyer. He owned six slaves and some other 
property, but was never wealthy. He refused to sign 
the Constitution and tried to prevent its ratification. 

James McClurg of Virginia was a physician and 
banker. He did not overlook the opportunity to buy 
public securities at low rates, and on February 17, 1791, 
appeared at the public treasury with $26,819 worth, for 
which he was paid at par. 

John Francis Mercer of Maryland was a lawyer, 
slave-holder and holder of public securities. He broke 
away from his class, however, and opposed the Consti- 

Thomas MiffHn of Pennsylvania was a college gradu- 
ate, a merchant and a manufacturer. He was also one 
of the first manufacturers to yowl for a protective tariff, 


having presided at a meeting for that purpose while the 
constitutional convention was in session. 

William Paterson of New Jersey was a Princeton 
graduate and a lawyer. Nothing is known of his in- 
vestments. William Pierce of Georgia has also passed 
almost out of sight. Little is known about his prop- 
erty interests, except that he was a merchant in Sa- 

Edmund Randolph was a landed aristocrat of Vir- 
ginia. He practiced law with success, owned 7,000 acres 
of land and 2,000 negroes, but was nevertheless usually 
hard up. He objected to the court clause in the Con- 
stitution and refused to sign it. 

George Read of Delaware, the son of a planter, was 
a lawyer and a signer of the Declaration of Independ- 
ence. Unlike some of the other patriots, Read bought 
public securities from the government during the early 
days of the war, at a time when it appeared doubtful 
whether the securities would ever be worth anything. 

John Rutledge of South Carolina was a wealthy law- 
yer and planter. When elected governor of his State, 
after the war, he vetoed a more democratic constitution 
proposed by the legislature, on the ground that he pre- 
ferred " a compound or mixed government to a simple 
democracy, or one verging toward it. However un- 
exceptionable democratic power may appear at first view, 
its effects have been found arbitrary, severe and destruc- 
tive." A fine " father," indeed. 

Roger Sherman of Connecticut is usually referred to 
as "the shoemaker." Sherman was a shoemaker in the 
same sense that the late C. P. Huntington, of California 
railway fame, was a clock peddler. Sherman once made 
shoes for a few minutes, Huntington once sold clocks 
for a few minutes. Each soon quit such foolishness and 


began to make money. Sherman did so well that when 
Hamilton's funding scheme became effective Sherman 
cashed nearly $8,000 worth of public securities. 

Richard Dobbs Spaight of North Carolina owned a 
large plantation and seventy-one slaves. He owned no 
public securities worth mentioning. 

Caleb Strong of Massachusetts was a Harvard gradu- 
ate and a lawyer. Little is known of his economic in- 
terests except that he bought about $16,000 worth of 
public securities before the Constitution was drafted, and 
as soon thereafter as possible, converted them into the 
securities of the new government at par. 

Hugh Williamson of North Carolina was a college 
graduate, a physician, a merchant, a speculator in gov- 
ernment securities and a speculator in lands. In a let- 
ter to Hamilton, Williamson said that he had " the small- 
est of two large trunks " full of bonds. On June 2, 
1788, Williamson wrote to Madison about the Constitu- 
tion as follows : " For myself I conceive that my opin- 
ions ^re not biased by private interests, but having 
claims to a considerable quantity of lands in the west- 
ern country, I am fully persuaded that the value of those 
lands must be increased by an efficient federal govern- 

George Wythe of Virginia inherited a large estate 
and owned many slaves. He was a lawyer and a judge 
of distinction. He was a decent old fellow, according 
to his lights but his lights did not shine far. He 
emancipated his black slaves, but was blind to the fact 
that men can be slaves without being black. 

Robert Yates of New York was a lawyer, but not a 
grafter. He refused to speculate in public securities, 
refused to sign the Constitution and died poor. 

This completes the list of delegates who attended the 


constitutional convention. Most of them were lawyers. 
Fourteen were land speculators. Twenty- four were 
money lenders. Eleven were merchants, manufacturers 
or shippers. Fifteen were slave-holders. Forty of the 
fifty-five owned public securities. Of these gentlemen, 
Professor Beard says: 

" It cannot be said, therefore, that the members of 
the convention were * disinterested.' On the contrary, 
we are forced to accept the profoundly significant con- 
clusion that they knew through their personal experi- 
ences in economic affairs the precise results which the 
new government that they were setting up was designed 
to attain." 

Professor Farrand of Yale quotes a contemporary of 
the " fathers " who opposed the Constitution, as follows : 

" I do not wish to detract from their merits, but I 
will venture to affirm that twenty assemblies of equal 
number might be collected, equally respectable both in 
point of ability, integrity and patriotism. Some of the 
characters which compose the convention, I revere; 
others, I consider as of small consequence, and a num- 
ber are suspected of being great public defaulters, and 
to have been guilty of notorious peculation and fraud 
with regard to public property in the hour of our dis- 

Professor Farrand suspects that this gentleman's op- 
position to the Constitution carried him too far in cas- 
tigation of some of its framers. Yet the professor does 
not regard the fathers as a miraculous group. 

" Great men there were," he said, " it is true, but the 
convention as a whole was composed of men such as 
would be appointed to a similar gathering at the pres- 
ent time: professional men, business men and gentle- 
men of leisure; patriotic statesmen and clever, scheming 


politicians; some trained by experience and study for 
the task before them and some utterly unfit." 

The people themselves were never given an oppor- 
tunity to vote upon the Constitution. Professor Beard 
says " it is highly probable that not more than one- 
fourth or one-fifth of the adult white males took part in 
the election of delegates to the state conventions" that 
ratified the Constitution. He says that " if anything, this 
estimate is too high." He expresses the belief that not 
more than 160,000 voters " expressed an opinion, one 
way or the other, on the Constitution." The rest were 
either disfranchised because of their lack of sufficient 
property to entitle them to vote, or made silent by their 
dense ignorance as to what the elections were about. 
News did not travel rapidly in those days. Professor 
Beard declares that in many rural communities the elec- 
tions were held before most of the voters knew that 
elections were to be held. He also declares that " It 
may very well be that a majority of those who voted were 
against the adoption of the Constitution as it stood." 

Chief Justice Marshall's Life of Washington, in re- 
ferring to the campaign for the ratification of the Con- 
stitution, says: 

" So balanced were the parties in some of them (the 
States) that even after the subject had been discussed 
for a considerable time, the fate of the Constitution could 
.scarcely be conjectured; and so small in many instances 
(was the majority in its favor as to afford strong ground 
for the opinion that, had the influence of character 
been removed, the intrinsic merits of the instrument 
would not have secured its adoption. Indeed, it is 
scarcely to be doubted that in some of the adopting 
States a majority of the people were in the opposition. 
In all of them, the numerous amendments which were 


proposed demonstrate the reluctance with which the new 
government was accepted; and that a dread of dismem- 
berment, not an approbation of the particular system 
under consideration, had induced an acquiescence in it. 
, North Carolina and Rhode Island did not at^first accept 
the Constitution, and New York was apparently dragged 
into it by a repugnance to being excluded from the con- 

Thus do we see how silly are some present-day Amer- 
icans. They cannot bear to desecrate with a breath of 
criticism the sacred Constitution. They do not know 
that the sacred document was drawn up in part by a, 
group of grafters, and that the Americans of 1787 and 
thereabouts came within a hair's breadth of repudiat- 
ing it. 



/ / O OME men say we have outgrown our eighteen th-cen- 
^ tury Constitution. This observation is precisely as 
accurate as it would be to say that a dog suffering from 
fleas had outgrown its fleas. Fleas never fit dogs. The 
Constitution never fitted us. It never fitted us because 
it conflicts with the fundamental American ideal of ma- 
jority rule. The history of the government of the 
United States under the present Constitution is a long 
history of rule by minorities. The Constitution by no 
means makes majority rule impossible, but it makes 
rule by a compact, energetic minority exceedingly easy. 
It was meant to make minority rule easy. The men 
who made the Constitution did not believe that majori- 
ties should rule. The men who made the Constitution 
were thoroughly imbued with the old political maxim: 
" Divide and govern." That has ever been the maxim 
of the small, compact, well organized, intelligent but 
unscrupulous ruling class. Trump up fake issues! Fill 
the air with a din! Divide the majority into parties 
"and govern!" 

Almost all Americans believe otherwise. Almost all 
Americans believe that the Constitution provides for rule 
by majority. Almost all Americans believe that in spirit 
and substance, the Constitution and the Declaration of 
Independence are alike. Almost all Americans believe 
that the men who made the Constitution believed in gov- 



ernment by the people. Opposite views are held only 
by those who know the facts. 

James Madison probably had more to do than did 
any other man with the making of the Constitution. 
Madison is known as the " Father of the Constitution." 
His memory is kept verdant by those who revere the Con- 
stitution. Yet, in the matter of majority rule, Mr. 
Madison, when he was urging the adoption of the Con- 
stitution, talked and wrote precisely as Mr. Taft talks 
and writes to-day. Mr. Taft has much to say about the 
" tyranny of majorities." So had Mr. Madison. Mr. 
Taft has much to say as to the necessity of maintaining 
the Constitution to the end that the rights of minorities 
shall not be denied by majorities. So had Mr. Madi- 
son. Mr. Taft can never sleep quite well at night lest 
a " temporary majority," inflamed by " popular passion," 
shall trample upon the sacred rights of the minority. 
Neither could Mr. Madison. Mr. Taft's views, when 
they became sufficiently known, helped to send him into 
political bankruptcy. People who believe in majority 
rule would have no more regard for the Constitution 
and James Madison than they have for Mr. Taft if they 
knew the Constitution and James Madison as well as 
they know Mr. Taft. 

Nobody need be in any doubt as to where James Madi- 
son stood. He told where he stood and left a record 
of what he said. In Paper No. 10 of The Federalist, 
which was written by Madison, he said: 

"Among the numerous advantages promised by a 
well-constructed union, none deserves to be more ac- 
curately developed than its tendency to break and con- 
trol the violence of faction. * * * When a majority is 
included in a faction, the form of popular government, 
on the other hand, enables it to sacrifice to its ruling 


passion or interest, both the public good arid the rights 
of other citizens. To secure the public good and 
private rights against the danger of such a faction, and 
at the same time to preserve the spirit and the form of 
popular government, is then the great object to which 
our inquiries are directed." 

In the convention that framed the Constitution, Mr. 
Madison was even more explicit. Mr. Madison kept 
a Journal of the convention. In this Journal he quoted 
himself as well as others. On Wednesday, June 6, 
1787, he quoted himself as having spoken as follows: 1 

"Where a majority are united by a common sentiment, and 
have an opportunity, the rights of the minor party become insecure. 
In a republican government, the majority, if united, have always 
an opportunity. The only remedy is to enlarge the sphere " (that 
is, unite all the States under a federal government) " and thereby 
divide the community into so great a number of interests and parties 
that, in the first place, a majority will not be likely, at the same 
moment, to have a common interest separate from that of the 
whole, or of the minority; and, in the second place, that, in case 
they should have such an interest, they may not be so apt to unite 
in the pursuit of it." 

In other words, Mr. Madison did not believe in gov- 
ernment by the people. If "government by the peo- 
ple " means anything it means government by a major- 
ity of the people. Mr. Madison believed the majority of 
the people should have their way only at such times as 
they desired to perform acts which were not opposed 
by the minority. 

Let us now consider the structure of our govern- 
ment, as it is laid down by the Constitution, and see 
how remarkably it is adapted to the carrying out of Mr. 
Madison's ideas. Our government consists, as every- 
body knows, of three departments, the legislative, the 

i Elliot's Debates, Vol. V, p. 163. 


executive and the judicial. As the , Constitution came 
from the hands of Mr. Madison and his associates, the 
people were to elect only the lower house of congress, 
while other gentlemen were to choose the Senators, the 
President and the justices of the Supreme Court. Con- 
gress was given power to enact laws over the veto of 
the President, but a minority of one-fourth, in either 
house of congress, could block the majority and sustain 
the veto. The presidential veto has proved to be, as 
it was intended to be, all but insurmountable. And, 
while the Constitution neither authorizes nor forbids the 
supreme court to declare acts of congress unconstitu- 
tional, the court has usurped the power to do so, thus 
adding another factor to legislation. 

This system is called the " system of checks and bal- 
ances," because each department of the government is 
supposed to be a check upon each of the others. To 
persons who do not know much about the Constitution, 
it is doubtless comforting to feel that they live under a 
government of "checks and balances." Checks and 
balances suggest scales, and scales suggest justice. But 
this comfortable feeling does not last long when one 
learns whence came this system, how it originated and 
what it means. 

It did not come from America. It came from Eng- 
land. The king of England used to be an absolute mon- 
arch. His will was the only law. The rich, titled gen- 
tlemen of his day did not always like his laws. They 
yearned to place a check upon him. They knew of 
no way to place a check upon him except by taking 
a hand in the making of laws. So, to put a brake 
upon the king, they established a house of lords, com- 
posed of some of their own number. They could not 
make the king enact any law they wanted, but they could 


prevent him from enacting any law they did not want. 

That helped some. It helped the aristocratic persons 
so much that the common people took notice. They, 
too, had grievances. The king and the lords sometimes 
passed laws that the common people did not want. So 
the common people decided to put a check upon both the 
king and the lords by establishing a house of commons. 
Thereafter no law could be enacted without the consent 
of the commons. 

Thus do we see how naturally this two-headed legis- 
lative body came into existence, neither of which could 
do anything without the consent, not only of the other, 
but of the head of the State. Nor was it inconsistent 
upon the part of Mr. Madison and other gentlemen who 
were opposed to majority rule, to transplant this sys- 
tem to America. But what shall we say of Americans 
of. the present day, who, believing in majority rule, 
nevertheless perpetuate this system? The British house 
of lords was created to check the king, but whom do we 
wish to check with our senate? The British house of 
commons was created to check both the king and the 
lords, but whom do we wish to check with our house 
of representatives? The British king and the lords 
both acted as a check upon the commons, but why should 
we wish the President and the senate to act as a check 
upon the house of representatives? The British people 
no longer have any " checks and balances " in their gov- 
ernment. They put the king on the shelf, a long while 
ago, and the lords are now upon another shelf. The 
whole legislative power of the empire is vested in the 
house of commons. What the house of commons pro- 
claims as the law of England is the law of England. 
The king dare not peep and the lords dare do no more 
than peep. Nor does the highest court of England dare 


add to or subtract a comma from what the house of 
commons has declared to be the law. 

The wealthy men of America are indeed fortunate 
that America still clings to this ancient form of gov- 
ernment. The wealthy men of America, like wealthy 
men everywhere else, are not so much interested in ob- 
taining better laws for grafting as they are in keeping 
the good grafting laws that exist. The grafter's ideal 
of " good government " is therefore a government that 
"stands pat" and does nothing. If the government 
will " let well enough alone," the grafter will endeavor 
to take care of himself handsomely. Like any other 
marauder, he will attend to his victims if the police will 
only keep their hands off. 

But the prolonged cries of the victims frequently com- 
pel the governmental police to draw near. Bills are in- 
troduced in congress to prevent the particular kind of 
garroting that, for the moment, is disturbing the peace. 
It is then that the American system of " checks and 
balances " stands the grafters in good stead. The dis- 
tribution of legislative responsibility between two houses 
of congress, the President and the supreme court invites 
almost interminable delay and obscures responsibility. 
What the house agrees to, the senate objects to. What 
the senate agrees to, the house objects to. What they 
both agree to, the President may object to. What the 
President and both houses of congress agree to, the su- 
preme court may object to, or may " construe " in such 
fashion that it is made lifeless. These facts constitute 
some of the reasons why, in this country, a generation 
is required to bring about the enactment of a law that 
everybody wants. There are other reasons, but these 
are some of the reasons. 

[The division of legislative responsibility Hoes more. 


It makes both houses of congress houses of hypocrisy. 
There is and long has been, we will say, a great pop- 
ular outcry against something, with a demand that con- 
gress shall enact remedial legislation. For a time; the 
outcry is ignored. It eventually becomes so loud that 
it seems best to pay some attention to it. In one house 
or the other usually in the lower house a bill is 
introduced to remedy the evil. The sponsor for the bill, 
not infrequently, is a man of doubtful reputation who 
needs the favorable publicity that the bill will give him. 
Whoever he is, he lauds the bill in a speech. The news- 
papers all over the land publish the speech. The people 
read the speech and are filled with gratitude that con- 
gress at last has heeded their cries. Particularly are the 
constituents of those congressmen who speak particu- 
larly are these simple people filled with gratitude and 
pride. Their congressmen are in action. They are do- 
ing the people's work. Good news. The house passes 
the bill and it goes to the senate, where it is permitted to 

Back of the bill, however, is so much public sentiment 
that pressure is brought to bear upon congress at its 
next session. If possible, this pressure is resisted by 
trumping up other issues that, for the moment, fill the 
public eye and cause the people to lose sight of their 
purpose. Otherwise, another bill is introduced in the 
house. It may, like the first one, be introduced by a 
hypocrite who is secretly in the service of the interests 
at whom the bill is aimed, or it may be introduced by 
an honest man. In any event, there is more patriotic 
speech-making by both honest and dishonest men, all of 
which is faithfully reported in the newspapers, and again 
the house passes the bill. 

The practice in Washington among the representa- 


tives of the great grafters is never to make a fight against 
a bill in both houses. The wisdom of this policy is 
plain. One house is thereby always permitted to appear 
to be the friend of the people, while the killing of a 
measure in one house is all that is necessary. Every 
Washington newspaper correspondent knows this. Any 
one may confirm the statement by watching the course 
of legislation for a few years. In the past, it has been 
the custom to introduce these fake bills in the house, 
pass them to appease public clamor, and impose upon 
the senate the duty of killing them. Perhaps the sen- 
ators, now that they are elected by the people, will de- 
mand the right to pass a few fake bills themselves and 
let the representatives bear the odium of killing them. 

In any event, after a bill has finally been driven into 
the senate the second or third time, it may have behind 
it so much backing that it becomes necessary to make 
a fight against it. The usual way, when it cannot be 
killed in committee, is to extend the debate upon it as 
many months as possible, in the hope that something 
else may develop that will overshadow it and make it 
safe to permit the session to close with nothing done. 
If nothing larger comes along, the bill may be permitted 
to come to a vote and be beaten or it may be hamstrung 
with amendments and passed. The course, in any given 
case, is dependent upon the strength of the opposition 
and what seems, in the circumstances, to be the most 

Is this not a fine example of " government by the peo- 
ple " ? The picture is not overdrawn. The effort to es- 
tablish a parcel post was attended with far more dif- 
ficulties, and was prolonged over a greater period. A 
bill to establish a parcel post eventually became a law, it 
is true; but it was a sick bill when it came through. 


It established just as poor a parcel post as congress dared 
to establish in the face of a thirty years' demand for 
an honest parcel post. 

Here we see Mr. Madison " dividing and governing " 
on a scale more stupendous, perhaps, than he ever 
dreamed. Congress, which should be a reflex of pop- 
ular opinion, is the place where popular opinion most 
often goes down to defeat. Not down to unconstitu- 
tional defeat; down to constitutional defeat. Public 
rights are outraged, but outraged according to the high- 
est law of the land. 

Let us, then, examine even a little more closely the 
highest law of this land. Let us see how representa- 
tives in congress are elected. In a republic we should 
expect to see the vote of one man count for as much 
as the vote of any other. We should not expect to see 
the votes of some men count for more than the votes 
of other men. But in this make-believe republic of ours, 
in which majorities are divided in order that minorities 
may govern, the votes of some men count for much more 
than the votes of some others. Let us look into this 

The Constitution, as Mr. Madison and his associates 
left it to us, provided that representatives in congress 
should be residents of the States which elected them. 
Now that the union is composed of forty-eight States, 
that provision in itself would have divided the people 
into forty-eight times as many groups as there are polit- 
ical parties. But we have outdone even Mr. Madison. 
We have enacted an unwritten law that requires each 
representative to be a resident of the district by which 
he is nominated. There are now, in the United States, 
435 congressional districts. As there are four political 
parties of importance the Democratic, Progressive, 


Republican and Socialist the people are divided, in 
congressional elections, into four times 435 groups, or 
1,740 groups. If all the members of each political 
party were to vote for all of their respective party's 
candidates throughout the nation, the 'people would be 
divided into but four groups, but we are divided into 
1,740 groups. 

Kindly behold what this division does to us. 

In the State of New York, at the election held in 
1912, only 21,500 votes were required to elect a Demo- 
cratic member of congress. That is to say, the Demo- 
crats cast approximately 650,000 votes and elected thirty 
members of congress. 

If a man happened to be a Republican, however, his 
vote did not count for so much. The votes of 41,000 
Republicans were required to elect a Republican to con- 
gress. The citizens of New York who joined the Pro- 
gressive party fared even worse. One hundred and 
ninety-one thousand votes were required to elect a Pro- 
gressive to the national house of representatives. And 
the 75,000 citizens of New York who voted the Socialist 
ticket were denied any representation, though, if they 
had been Democrats, they would have been given three 
representatives. Thus we see that in the State of New 
York, in congressional elections, a Democrat's vote 
counts for twice as much as a Republican's, nine times 
as much as a Progressive's, and as many times more 
than a Socialist's as thirty is more than nothing. 

Every State affords a similar illustration; but let us 
take Iowa as an example. The Republicans of Iowa 
cast 24 per cent, of the vote and elected 72 per cent, of 
the State's representatives in congress. The Democrats 
cast 38 per cent, of the vote and elected 28 per cent, of 
the representatives. The Progressives cast 33 per cent. 


and elected none. The Socialists cast a fraction more 
than 3 per cent, and elected none. 

Throughout the nation, Mr. Madison's system of 
" dividing " the people into little groups resulted even 
more disastrously to popular government. The Demo- 
crats in 1912, cast 43 per cent, of the vote and should 
have had 187 representatives, but they obtained 291. 
The Progressives cast 28 per cent, of the vote and should 
have had 122 representatives, but they were given only 
20. The Republicans cast 23 per cent, of the vote and 
should have had 100 representatives instead of 124. The 
Socialists cast a fraction more than 6 per cent, of the 
vote and should have had 26 representatives instead of 

The electoral college absurdity was intended by Mr. 
Madison to be even more of an absurdity than it is, but 
it is still a constant menace to popular government. It 
is first a menace because it gives the small States voting 
power out of all proportion to their population. This 
is done by giving each State as many electoral votes as 
it has representatives and senators in congress. In the 
electoral college, for instance, the States of Delaware, 
Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, 
Arizona, Utah and Nevada, with a population of 2,835,- 
839 have 33 votes, while Michigan and Massachusetts 
have only 33 votes, though in 1912 they had a population 
of 6,176,589. In other words, in voting for President, 
3,340,750 citizens of Michigan and Massachusetts do not 
count. If they were to drop dead the result would be 
unchanged. Though they constitute more than half the 
population of these two great States, they are denied all 
representation, because the citizens of the nine little 
States are given too much representation. Putting it in 
still another way, each citizen of the nine little States 


has more than twice the voting power of any citizen of 
Massachusetts or Michigan. 

It should thus become plain to the dullest that the 
electoral college is still an enormous stumbling block 
to popular government. The danger that lay in this 
fraudulent institution was by no means removed when 
the people took from the electors the right to vote for 
their individual choices and imposed upon them the ob- 
ligation to vote for the nominees of the parties who 
elected them. The electoral college still makes it pos- 
sible for a man to be chosen President who did not 
receive a majority of the votes, and it sometimes makes 
it impossible for a man to be chosen President who did 
receive a majority. Mr. Tilden received a majority of 
the people's votes, but was nevertheless defeated in the 
electoral college. Though the Constitution says that no 
man shall be declared elected President unless he shall 
have received a majority of the electoral votes, it takes 
no note of the fact that the recipient of a majority of 
the electoral vote may have been opposed by more than 
half of the people. More than half of the people voted 
against Lincoln in 1860. More than half of the people 
did not vote for Mr. Wilson in 1912. The fact that 
Mr. Lincoln later immortalized himself in the Presidency 
has nothing to do with the wrong in the Constitution 
that makes possible the seating of a President whom 
more than half of the people did not want. If Mr. Lin- 
coln had been an incompetent, the Constitution would 
still have required that he be installed. 

The same may be said of Mr. Wilson, who received 
435 electoral votes when, upon the basis of his percent- 
age of the total popular vote, he should have had but 
229. If each of the chief four candidates had received 
the electoral vote to which his percentage of the pop- 


ular vote entitled him, Taft would have received 122 
votes instead of 8; Roosevelt would have received 148 
instead of 88, and Debs would have received 32 instead 
of none. Mr. Wilson would have thus had 229 votes, 
with which to face a combined opposition of 302. By 
the terms of the Constitution, the election would have 
been thrown into the house of representatives, where, 
if each party had had the representation and only the 
representation to which its percentage of the total vote 
entitled it, the Democrats would have had only 187 votes 
with which to confront a combined opposition of 248. 
Conceivably the time may come when this inaccurate 
system of registering the people's will may result in giv- 
ing a majority of the electoral vote to a man whom the 
great majority of the people distrust and have reason to 
distrust. At a critical time, such an " election " might 
precipitate a revolution. At any time such an election 
is an assault upon the fundamental principles of pop- 
ular government. 

"he manner in which presidential candidates are nom- 
inated is also a denial of popular government. The Con- 
stitution makes no provision for the nomination of 
candidates. Therein the Constitution is grossly inade- 
quate. The right to vote for presidential candidates is 
of exceedingly small importance provided it be not pre- 
ceded by the right to determine who the candidates shall 
be. The people have never yet determined who their 
candidates should be. Politicians, usually backed by 
great business interests, have always usurped this pop- 
ular function. Out of the struggles of politicians, good 
candidates have sometimes come, as Lincoln came, but 
such good fortune is not to be credited to the system 
that produced it. 


The failure of the Constitution to provide definite 
means by which the people may nominate their own 
candidates is a failure of the first importance. The presi- 
dency has become too powerful an office for its incum- 
bent to be the selection of a minority working in the 
dark. Nor can the United States be a real republic until 
its citizens shall be given the opportunity both to choose 
their own candidates and to vote directly for them. 

The election of United States senators by state legis- 
latures was another great injustice that Mr. Madison 
and his associates inflicted upon the American people. 
Nor has the wrong been righted by the constitutional 
amendment that gives to the people the right to elect 
senators. The fiction that the senate should represent 
the States and not the people no longer exists. The sen- 
ate is now, no less than the lower house, a representative 
of the people themselves. What an absurdity it there- 
fore is that Nevada, with a population of 81,875, should 
have as many senators as New York has, with a popula- 
tion of 9,113,614. New York, having as it does, more 
than in times the population of Nevada, still has no 
more representation in a purely representative body such 
as the senate has come to be. This is equivalent to giv- 
ing each citizen of Nevada in times as much represen- 
tation in the senate as any citizen of New York enjoys. 

This is neither common sense nor political honesty. 
It is equally remote from any principle that should under- 
lie a republic. A republic cannot exist upon such prin- 
ciples. The senate, though it has but 96 members, has 
equal powers with the house in all legislative matters, 
and exceeds the house in that it shares with the presi- 
dent the power of making treaties and filling public of- 
fices. Since the senate no longer represents the States, 


but the people, every consideration of justice therefore 
requires that representation in the senate should be based 
upon population. It is a manifest absurdity that New 
York, with a population of 9,113,614, should be repre- 
sented by only two senators, while 36 senators should 
represent the 8,635,666 persons who live in Montana, 
Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, 
Utah, Nevada, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, 
Rhode Island, North Dakota, South Dakota, Delaware, 
Florida, California and Oregon. The nation perhaps 
might well consider it an affliction if New York had 
36 such senators as it usually has, but if the people of 
New York were actually to nominate and elect their 
senators, there is a possibility that such gentlemen would 
not be chosen. 

At any rate, as citizens of the United States, residents 
of any State are entitled to equal representation in the 
senate with residents of any other State. As the Con- 
stitution now stands, this right is denied to all of the 
citizens of the larger States. 

In this brief space no attempt has been made to do 
more than point out some of the more grievous wrongs 
that are imbedded in the structure of the Constitution. 
I do not call these wrongs defects because they did not 
come about by negligence or by ignorance. They were 
placed in the Constitution to make this the sort of a " re- 
public" that the aristocratic gentlemen of 1787 wanted 
the United States to be. Our patriotic forefathers be- 
lieved we could not be trusted to conduct this govern- 
ment as their interests required that it should be con- 
ducted, so they drafted a constitution under which 
government by the people became a practical impossibil- 
ity. They talked glibly about a " republic " and handed 
the people the sop of representation in the house of rep- 


resentatives, because they realized that unless they made 
a pretense of creating a republic the new Constitution 
would be rejected. 

Doubtless these statements will come as something of 
a shock to those persons who know nothing in particular 
about the Constitution except that they have always been 
told that it is almost a sacred document. Little law- 
yers, puffed with pride that the Constitution underlies 
so much of their learning, are also likely to remain un- 
convinced that t}ie organic law of the United States is 
not the last word in republican government. But men 
of information and intelligence will not be surprised. 
To such as these, all that has been set down here is but 
an old story. President Wilson knew all of these facts 
and others when, long before he became President, in 
writing about the Constitution, he said that " it had been 
meant to check the sweep and power of popular majori- 
ties " ; that it was " not by intention a democratic gov- 
ernment " ; and that " the government had, in fact, been 
originated and organized upon the initiative and pri- 
marily in the interest of the mercantile and wealthy 

Mr. Wilson, writing long before he became President, 
also knew how it came about that this Constitution, 
which the rich men of the eighteenth century created for 
the benefit of themselves and their class, was eventually 
palmed off as a great instrument for popular rule. Con- 
certed, energetic means were taken by the rich men of 
the day to change public opinion, which, from the be- 
ginning, had been hostile to the Constitution. As the 
result of such efforts, said Mr. Wilson, 1 criticism of 
the Constitution " soon gave place to an undiscriminating 
and almost blind worship of its principles * * * and 

1 Congressional Government, p. 4. 


criticism was estopped. * * * The divine right of kings 
never ran a more prosperous course than did this un- 
questioned prerogative of the Constitution to receive uni- 
versal homage. The conviction that our institutions 
were the best in the world, nay, more, the model to which 
all civilized States must sooner or later conform, could 
not be laughed out of us by foreign critics, nor shaken 
out of us by the roughest jolts of the system." 

After the passage by congress of the Underwood tar- 
iff bill, Mr. Wilson issued a statement in which he con- 
gratulated the country upon the enactment of a law re- 
ducing the tariff after a fight that had lasted " a long 

How much control have the people over a government 
that requires " a long generation " to respond to their 
demand for lower tariff duties? 

" Divide and govern " that's the thing. Split the 
majority into small parties and the minority will take 
care of itself. Such was the philosophy of Mr. Madi- 
son. The Tammany statesman who said " Give the peo- 
ple what they want, but make it unconstitutional," had 
substantially the same philosophy, but lacked the fine 
choice of language that characterized Mr. Madison. 



NAPOLEON BONAPARTE once remarked to his 
friend, Count ^ Roederer, that "a constitution 
should be short and obscure." A bulldog, if it could 
speak, would doubtless still contend that the best kind of 
chain with which to prevent a bulldog from biting com- 
mon citizens is a short, weak chain. But if common 
citizens were, by becoming the aggressors, to exchange 
places with bulldogs, we should scarcely expect the com- 
mon citizens to chain themselves firmly to posts merely 
because they had deemed it wise to chain the bulldogs 
when the bulldogs were fighting them. 

That which is plain to everybody, however, when it 
pertains to bulldogs, is plain almost to nobody when 
it pertains to constitutions. 

A constitution, except in so far as it provides the ma- 
chinery of government, is a chain upon the hind leg of 

The chain fixes a line beyond which the government 
cannot go. If government be by a thievish minority in- 
terest, it behooves the productive majority to shackle 
the minority with a constitution. 

But if government be by the productive majority, the 
logic that brought the constitution into being no longer 

The people, having taken over the control of govern- 


ment, have no need to hamper government, because to 
hamper government now means, not to hamper their op- 
ponents, but to hamper themselves. 

In other words, the question as to whether the peo- 
ple are benefited by living under a constitution bristling 
with " dont's " is solely a question as to whether the 
people, or those who would rob them, are in control of 
the government. 

The question as to whether a thievish minority inter- 
est is helped or hurt by a restrictive constitution is also 
solely a question as to whether the minority interest is 
in control of the government. If the minority be in 
control of the government, a constitution can be of no 
value to the minority except as a protection against a 
threatened uprising of the majority. 

If the sway of the minority be threatened, the inclina- 
tion of the minority toward a constitution will exactly 
correspond to the minority's fear of the majority. 

In short, the attitude of the thievish minority toward 
a constitution is and ever has been a sort of thermome- 
ter, the ups and downs of which reflect the minority's 
faith or lack of faith in its own ability to keep the con- 
trol of government from the majority. 

So long as a minority, as personified by an absolute 
monarch, has firm faith in its power to hold on, a re- 
quest for a constitution is regarded as an imperti- 

If the majority be so restless that it seems expedient 
to pacify them, yet so ignorant that they can readily be 
deceived, it has ever been the custom of gentlemen like 
Napoleon Bonaparte to favor " short and obscure " con- 

But when the majority become so insistent that they 
constitute a real menace to minority rule, then it is that 


the minority, looking forward to the time when they 
will be driven from power, come out strongly for the 
written word in constitutional law. 

When minorities and majorities exchange places they 
also always exchange their opinions with regard to the 
desirability of hampering the governing power with re- 
strictive constitutions. 

The minority, in the face of danger, modify their 
opinions even more rapidly than the transposition pro- 
ceeds, because the minority are better informed and 
more energetic than the majority. The majority, busy 
with their daily labor and less concerned with govern- 
ment, change their views less rapidly than the transposi- 
tion proceeds. Their minds, in other words, follow the 
event at some distance. 

All of which explains why the grafting class of this 
country, as it sees governmental power slipping through 
its hands, stakes more and more upon the Constitution, 
while the people, as they gain power, progress steadily 
toward a state of mind that will ultimately cause them 
to destroy the Constitution. 

Yesterday they destroyed the senate that was and 
fashioned a new one. 

To-morrow they will discover that having done no 
more than destroy the senate that was they might as well 
have done nothing. 

Thus is the Constitution destined to go down before 
the logical processes of the people's own thought. 

It cannot stand because it ought not to stand. 

It must give way as everything must give way that 
was reared to prevent the people from asserting and ex- 
ercising mastership over themselves. 

It may therefore not be amiss at this time to sketch 
the general outlines of a constitution under which the 


people of the United States could actually become self- 
governing. Accustomed as we are to the sight of 
scores of men, wrestling for months to draft a consti- 
tution for a State, it may seem preposterous for an in- 
dividual to present, in a few pages, the general outlines 
of a constitution for the United States. 

If we reflect a moment, however, we shall see 
wherein the two tasks radically differ. 

When we see a state constitutional convention in ses- 
sion, we behold gentlemen representing every variety of 
conflicting business interest who, for the most part, are 
in agreement upon but one point they most earnestly 
desire to fashion a fundamental law under which a small 
minority (the capitalist class) may rule the great ma- 
jority (the working class). 

That this is no small task may be realized when the 
fact is considered that, to accomplish the desire of the 
capitalist minority, the political institutions of the State 
must be so fashioned that the majority will seem to have 
dominating power that actually resides in the minority. 
In other words, while giving the minority the substance, 
the shadow must be given to the majority. 

To foist upon the people of a great State, who both 
believe in and demand self-government, a constitution 
under which a mere handful actually govern, is indeed 
a task that may well engage the careful attention of the 
most artful corporation lawyers and their lesser associ- 
ates. It is a task that, in difficulty, suggests the plac- 
ing of a pyramid in perpetual balance upon its apex. 
But the task of drafting the outlines of a constitution 
under which the people could really rule themselves 
presents neither such embarrassments nor such diffi- 
culties. It is relatively as much more simple than the 
drafting of a fraudulent constitution as straightforward 


truth-telling on the witness stand is simpler than pro- 
tracted lying and for much the same reasons. 

N A constitution under which the people could actually 
govern themselves should make a congress, composed 
of a single house, the chief instrument of government. 
A measure, having passed the scrutiny and received the 
indorsement of that single-bodied congress, should be- 
come the law. No senate should be permitted to mangle 
or kill it. No president should be permitted to touch it. 
No supreme court should be permitted to alter a word 
of it. Even the constitution should contain nothing to 
prevent congress from enacting either that or any other 
law. But the people should have the right to halt the 
execution of the law and, after consideration, kill every 
word of it. 

A congress, to be worth while, should have great 
power, but, to be safe, it should be offset by a greater 
power. The people's rights can never be safe so long 
as that greater power resides elsewhere than in the peo- 
ple themselves. These rights are too precious to en- 
trust to any one man, even though he be the president. 
They are too precious to entrust to any nine men, even 
though they wear black robes and be justices of the 
United States Supreme Court. The voice of congress 
should be regarded as the presumptive voice of the peo- 
ple, and nobody but the people themselves should have 
the right to countermand its orders. 

Congress should consist of but one house because, in 
a nation fitted for self-government, that government is 
best, in the long run, which responds most promptly to 
the desires of the people. Every check that the pres- 
ent Constitution places upon the house of representa- 
tives was placed there, not to safeguard the interests of 
the majority, but to safeguard the interests of the mi- 


nority. Congress was split into two houses to assist 
the few in thwarting the will of the many. The Presi- 
dent was given a qualified veto to enable the minority 
and the President to overcome the majority. The su- 
preme court, too, in usurping the power to declare acts 
of congress unconstitutional, sought only to prevent the 
representatives of the majority from enforcing their 
will. Each of these devices has done and is doing what 
it was intended to do. 

The division of congress into two houses helps only 
the grafters. If congress were divided into three 
houses, the situation of the grafters would be still more 
pleasurable to the grafters. The longer the gauntlet 
down which a bill must run, the greater the opportunity 
for grafters to knock it out. If congress were com- 
posed of half a dozen houses, with the consent of all 
necessary to the enactment of any law, it would be im- 
possible to enact any law worth enacting. 

The argument that is most frequently offered in justi- 
fication of a congress composed of two houses is that 
hasty, ill-advised legislation is made less likely and that 
government is thereby given greater stability. But 
government should possess not only the quality of 
stability, but the quality of mobility. It should move 
when the people order it to move. A government that 
is incapable of a large degree of mobility will not, in 
fact, forever remain stable. A thoughtful, aspiring 
people will not forever tolerate a form of government 
that tantalizes them with its procrastinations and its 
general inadequacies. And, so far as " hasty, ill- 
advised legislation " is concerned, this plea is but a sub- 
terfuge. No interest in this country has compelled so 
much hasty, ill-advised legislation as the selfish interest 
that usually controls this government. What this in- 


terest really fears is all legislation, " hasty " or other- 
wise, that makes the business of grafting less remunera- 

While congress should be composed of but a single 
house upon which not even the Constitution should place 
any restrictions, the people should have the power, 
through referendum, to repeal or modify any and every 
law that congress may enact. When the people have 
this power, constitutional restrictions upon congress will 
be unnecessary, because every measure will then be 
passed subject to the approval of the people. This ap- 
proval may be manifested by silent acquiescence, or by 
an affirmative referendum vote. In any event, no law 
can exist against the people's wishes. Such laws as the 
people oppose they will, if necessary, destroy by direct 
vote. If congress shall neglect or refuse to enact such 
laws as the people desire, the people will then enact such 
laws by direct vote. With such powers, including the 
power of recall, vested in the people themselves, the 
rights of citizens will be safeguarded as no flimsy words 
in a constitution ever safeguarded human rights. 

The right of the people to repeal and enact laws and 
recall public officials should be exercised according to 
laws approved by the people. It should be made 
impossible for a disgruntled minority, of insignificant 
proportions, to keep the government continually in a tur- 
moil by constant appeals to the initiative, the refer- 
endum, and the recall. The percentage of petitioners 
required to submit a question to the electorate should 
therefore be made high enough to shut out triflers with- 
out constituting a serious barrier to the well-intentioned. 

On the other hand, better means should be provided 
for obtaining the number of signatures necessary to set 
the machinery of direct legislation in motion, This 


machinery is exceedingly defective in those States in 
which the initiative, the referendum and the recall are 
in force. The law makes no provision whatever for the 
gathering of signatures. Interested persons or organi- 
zations are therefore left to hire canvassing forces 
and to pay them. The gathering of signatures in this 
manner is exceedingly expensive. The cost has often 
been reported to be as much as ten cents each. This 
charge amounts to a considerable sum, even in a city 
where only a few thousand signatures are required. 
Such a charge would make it impossible for any but a 
very rich man to set in motion a national referendum 
for the repeal of a law enacted by congress. Yet, if 
direct legislation be not made accessible to the people, 
it is not direct legislation. It is a sham. 

Perhaps as good a way as any to bring direct legisla- 
tion within reach of the people would be for the gov- 
ernment to utilize* the postal service in the circulation of 
petitions. We have approximately 60,000 post offices. 
Upon the payment in advance of a sum sufficient to 
cover the cost of printing 60,000 copies of the petition 
setting forth the question at issue, the government might 
undertake to place a petition in each post office and 
authorize the postmaster to witness signatures. If not 
enough signatures should be obtained within a stipulated 
reasonable time to cause the matter to be submitted to 
a vote of the people, the deposit made by the instigator 
should be retained by the government. If the required 
number of signatures should be obtained, however, the 
deposit should be returned, on the theory that any law 
that is so objectionable, say, to 10 or 15 per cent, of the 
voting population that they demand its repeal is at least 
so questionable that the public should bear the expense 
of submitting it to the great jury of the public. 


The cost of obtaining a million signatures in this way 
might be set at $2,000. The same number of signa- 
tures, at 10 cents each, would cost $100,000. The 
$2,000 charge would discourage triflers. The reduction 
from $100,000 to $2,000 would encourage the well-in- 
tentioned. The return of the $2,000, in the event of 
the required number of signers being obtained, would 
make direct legislation still more accessible to the peo- 
ple. Nor would the $2,000 deposit stand in the way 
of any proper use of direct legislation. Two thousand 
dollars would constitute a greater sum than any in- 
dividual, except a rich man, would care to stake. 

But the way should not be made easy for an individ- 
ual having few or no followers to submit a question at a 
general election. Serious matters of national impor- 
tance will always command enough adherents to make 
the raising of $2,000 insignificant. Rich individuals 
who might be willing to risk $2,000 in the hope of com- 
pelling a vote on a matter to which the public was op- 
posed would cease to be active as soon as they had failed 
a few times and lost their money each time. 

The manner in which the initiative, the referendum 
and the recall should be operated, or how fraudulent 
signers of petitions should be punished, are not, how- 
ever, subjects that should be considered in a constitu- 
tion. The foregoing suggestions are made merely to 
indicate the ease with which congress might be held in 
perfect check by the people. I simply make the point 
that no popular government can be conspicuously effi- 
cient unless it is built around a great congress ; a congress 
unshackled by constitution or courts, yet a congress that 
is at all times under the control of the people. 

Members of congress should not be elected by dis- 
tricts, or even by States, but by the people of the United 


States, voting at large. Nominations should be made 
by districts, but the electors of a district should not be 
confined to their district in the choice of a candidate. 
Electors in Maine should have the right to nominate 
for congress a citizen of California. The present Con- 
stitution 'does not require that a congressional candidate 
shall be a resident of the district from which he is nomi-' 
nated, though it does require that he shall be a resident 
of the State, but custom, which has acquired the force 
of law, requires that he shall be also a resident of the 

i> "The present method of nominating and electing mem- 
bers of congress works against the interests of the peo- 
ple in several ways. The provision requiring a member 
of congress to be the resident of the district and the 
State which he represents tends to make him, when he 
goes to Washington, not a national legislator, which 
is all he should be, but a state legislator and even a 
district legislator. From the moment he takes office, he 
is likely to think more about his district and his State 
than he does about the United States. Whereas his first 
concern should be to serve the United States, the cir- 
cumstances of his election compel him to shape his 
official conduct so that it shall make particular appeal 
to his district. 

A member of congress, having political ambitions to 
gratify, naturally seeks to make particular appeal to the 
people who have it in their power either to keep him in 
or withdraw him from congress. The people of the 
United States have no control over a member of con- 
gress, though they pay him his salary and he is supposed 
to have no other official duty than to serve them. On 
the other hand, the voters who reside in the district of 
a member of congress have power to do with him as 


they will. Thus does it come about that the present 
system of electing members of congress causes them to 
exhaust their resources to placate, appease, cajole, 
wheedle and, with patronage, to buy enough voters in 
their respective districts to keep the incumbents in their 

And the division of the people into more than 1,700 
groups, instead of the four or five groups into which 
they should be divided, brings about a false representa- 
tion in congress. The parties whose votes are geo- 
graphically distributed most fortunately gain unjust ad- 
vantages. In each district, all of the votes in excess of 
a bare plurality are lost. Two hundred thousand more 
Democrats could move into Texas, for instance, with- 
out changing a single political result. Their votes 
would not count (because they could not count) against 
Republican votes cast in other States. A vote cast in 
any congressional district does not count against an 
opposition vote in any other district. Thus does it come 
about that by dividing the country into more than 400 
districts we sterilize the votes of more than 400 groups 
of citizens the votes of all of those in excess of a 
bare plurality in each district. 

Theoretically, this system should produce the best 
possible results. Apparently, we have here a system 
that tends to make each member of congress do his best 
for his district; and, if each of 435 congressional dis- 
tricts be admirably served, it might seem as if the na- 
tion that is composed of these districts will be ad- 
mirably served. But, in practice, this system does 
not so work out. The selfishness of each district is 
pitted against the selfishness of each of the other dis- 
tricts. At each session of congress a majority vote 
against their consciences to erect public buildings that 


should not be built, to dredge creeks that should 
not be dredged, and to do scores of other foolish 
acts that should not be done, involving the expenditure 
of hundreds of millions, merely because each is intent 
upon winning a few votes by giving unjust advantages 
to his district. Each man knows that most of the other 
appropriations should not be made, as he knows that the 
appropriation for his own district should not be made, 
but he also knows that unless he votes for all the steals, 
which are lumped in a single bill, he cannot put through 
his own steal. 

This process of causing perhaps 350 representatives 
to vote for a great many appropriations that they know 
to be bad, merely to get appropriations for their respec- 
tive districts that they also know to be bad, is known as 
" log rolling." It is at the bottom of much vicious legis- 
lation. It has its source in the election of members of 
congress by districts and States. A public official 
should be elected by the persons whom he is supposed to 
serve. A member of congress has no other legitimate 
public business than to serve the people of the United 
States. The people of the United States should there- 
fore elect members of congress. 

The names of all the congressional candidates in the 
United States should go upon a blanket ballot, under 
party and state designations. The candidates of each 
party should be placed in a separate column, and the 
usual provisions should be made for voting a straight 
ticket by placing a cross at the head of it. With six 
congressional tickets in the field, the congressional ticket 
for the nation would be six columns wide and perhaps 
four feet long. The voting of a straight ticket for 435 
candidates, however, would require no longer than it 


takes to make a cross, and the substitution of a dozen 
names would require but a minute or two more. 

The criticism of this plan that might most certainly be 
expected is that it would require the voter to pass his 
opinion upon so many candidates whom he did not 
know, since the voter in each State would vote for the 
candidates in all the other States. This criticism, how- 
ever, is not valid. In the first place, the average voter 
now knows next to nothing of the congressional candi- 
date for whom he votes. He has much misinformation 
about the candidate of his party in his district, but little 
actual information. 

But the fact that really undermines the objection is 
that personal knowledge of a candidate has almost noth- 
ing to do with the question of whether a given man 
should vote for him. Voters are too frequently misled 
by shallow pleas in favor of this or that candidate, who 
is urged upon their consideration because of certain real 
or supposed virtues. Merely because a man is a " fine 
father," a " good husband " or an " exemplary citizen " 
is , no reason why anyone should vote to send him to 
congress. The casting of a ballot should be determined, 
first, by the principles for which the candidate stands; 
second, by the probability that, if elected, he will stand 
by his principles. 

No one who has not special and authenticated in- 
formation with regard to the unfitness of a candidate 
on his own ticket can do any better than to vote for all 
the congressional candidates of his party throughout the 
United States. 

In this matter, political principles count for more than 
men. Good political principles can make even a medio- 
cre member of congress useful, but bad political princi- 


pies cannot be made good by the best man. Therefore, 
each .citizen is best represented in congress by the man 
who best expresses the citizen's political views, quite re- 
gardless of whether the member of congress is person- 
ally agreeable to the citizen or not. 

Party representation in congress should be in exact 
proportion to party strength in the nation. One of the 
greatest evils of the district method of electing mem- 
bers of congress is that it oftentimes enables a party that 
polls three-tenths of the popular vote throughout the 
nation to have half or perhaps more than half of the 
members of congress. 

Each party should nominate as many candidates for 
congress as there are seats to be filled, or as the party 
may choose to contest. The election having been held, 
the percentage of the total vote cast by each party should 
be ascertained. Then, of the candidates on each ticket 
receiving the greatest number of votes, enough should 
be set apart to give each party as great a percentage of 
the membership of congress as it had of the popular 
vote, and the number so set apart should be declared 
elected. In the event of the death or resignation of a 
member of congress, his place should be filled by the 
candidate of his party who received, at the preceding 
election, the next largest number of votes. This 
method would automatically prevent seats from remain- 
ing 1 vacant while rendering it unnecessary to hold special 

The President of the United States should be the 
business manager of the nation. He should be nomi- 
nated and elected by the people at large, without the inter- 
ference of a convention or an electoral college, and a 
clear majority of all votes cast should be required to 
bring about his election. In the event of no candidate re- 


ceiving a majority at the regular election, the people 
should immediately proceed to choose a president from 
the leading two candidates. And, having been elected, 
the President should be subject to recall, at any time, 
by a majority of those voting. 

The President should be an executive officer. He 
should have no power to veto acts of congress, nor 
should his approval be necessary to the validity of any 
congressional act. His chief duty should be to execute 
the will of the people, as expressed through acts of 
congress. In performing his duties, the President, as 
such, should have no " policy " apart from the policy 
of congress. Since the people cannot daily outline their 
attitudes on the various questions that present them- 
selves, it is more nearly safe to entrust congress with 
the task of declaring what is the popular will than to 
permit any one man, however exalted his station, to do 

This means, of course, the diminishing of the Presi- 
dent's power, but the President's power should be 
diminished. The people of the United States have only 
a certain amount of power. It must be vested among 
one or more men. If all the power were vested in the 
President, he would be an absolute monarch. If all 
the power were vested in congress, the President would 
be a weakling. The proper line of division is to place 
all of the legislative power in the hands of congress, 
and all of the executive power in the hands of the Presi- 
dent. We now place all of the executive power and 
part of the legislative power in the hands of the Presi- 
dent. The Presidential right to veto acts of congress is 
legislative power. To the extent that the President holds 
legislative power, congress is weakened. To the extent 
that the President, in executing the laws of congress is 


permitted to have a " policy " apart from the policy of 
congress to that extent, too, the power of congress 
is weakened. And the people should never permit the 
legislative power of congress to be weakened. 

Since the people must delegate their legislative power, 
it is much more nearly safe to delegate it to a large 
body of men than it is to delegate it to one man. We have 
chosen to delegate it to congress. If we cannot trust a 
majority of 435 men, we cannot trust any one man. 
Nor should we expect our business to be transacted if 
we permit one man in the White House, having veto 
power, to count for as much as two-thirds of the mem- 
bers of both houses of congress nearly 400 men in 
all. No President is 400 times wiser or better than any 

Yet the presidency should be by no means shrunken 
to an impotent office. The business managership of a 
concern capitalized at one hundred and twenty billion 
dollars and having ninety million stockholders would 
seem to call for about all the ability that any man pos- 
sesses. Such a concern is the United States. Congress 
should be its board of directors. The President should 
carry out the will of the board. He should both have 
and make frequent use of the right to enter congress 
either to advise or to consult. The President and con- 
gress should work in close touch and in decent harmony. 
But, having advised, the congress and not the President 
should decide. If the President cannot abide by the 
will of congress, he should resign. If he will not re- 
sign, either he or the congress should be recalled. 

Under a democratic constitution, State lines would 
also largely disappear. They are now little more than 
relics of a day that is past. We came into this union 
thirteen struggling little States, each intensely jealous 


of its own rights and mightily afraid of foreign aggres- 
sion. We have evolved into a nation. If we are any- 
thing to-day, we are Americans, rather than Mis-- 
sourians, Californians or New Mexicans. We are no 
longer jealous of each other or afraid of our neighbors. 
The telegraph and the railroad have brought us together, 
and made us acquainted. Our needs are common to us; 
all and known to us all. No longer is there reason why' 
each State should make its own laws pertaining to sub- 
jects that are of equal interest throughout the nation. 

It is absurd, for instance, to give congress the right 
to legislate against child labor in the District of Colum- 
bia, in which comparatively few children live, while 
forbidding it to legislate against child labor where al- 
most all the children live. 

In other words, there are certain evils that we all rec- 
ognize as evils: child labor; the overworking of women 
and men ; insanitary and inadequate housing ; adulterated 
and poisoned food; robbery in all of its various mani- 
festations, either through the watering of stocks or the 
exacting of exorbitant prices for services or commodi- 
ties these are but a few of many similar subjects that 
might be mentioned. Yet congress is forbidden by 
the Constitution to legislate against any of these evils 
except in the case of products shipped from one State to 
another, unless the evils chance to exist in the District 
of Columbia. We who live elsewhere must apply to 
our respective state legislatures. Each battle for the 
improvement of conditions must therefore be fought 48 
times before it becomes effective over the nation. 

Such conditions play splendidly into the hands of 
wrongdoers, but they harm every one else. If child 
labor is harmful, it should be prohibited throughout the 
nation by a single act of congress. If bad food and 


bad housing are not to our liking let us end them and 
at once. We have been fighting child labor in state 
legislatures almost since the oldest inhabitants were 
children, yet child labor persists with little prospect that 
present methods will end it before the birth of the grand- 
children of those who are now children. In other 
words, state lines which, in the beginning were set up 
for public protection, have become obsolete for their 
original purposes; and, having become obsolete, they 
have been seized upon by grafters of various kinds to 
retard and delay the people in their efforts to run down 
grafters. Matters that exclusively concern certain com- 
munities may well be left to the consideration of local 
legislative bodies, but congress should have complete 
power to deal with any subject that concerns all the 
people of all the States. 

Such are the outlines of a constitution under which 
the people could actually govern themselves. I have 
done no more than sketch the outlines because it would 
be absurd for any individual to presume to fill in the 
detail. It should go without saying that women as well 
as men should vote, and that the people should have the 
right, at all times, to amend the Constitution, either upon 
their own initiative or upon the initiative of congress. 
Judges should be elected by the people, subject to popu- 
lar recall, and no court should have the power to declare 
any act of congress unconstitutional. No court should 
have even the power to interpret the law. If the law 
be so obscure that men of average intelligence cannot 
understand it, no court should be permitted to hazard a 
guess as to what congress meant and give its guess all 
the force of law. Rather should the court return such 
laws to congress with the suggestion that they be phrased 
in simple, understandable language. 


I am emboldened to believe that the foregoing sketch 
may not be entirely without merit from the fact that 
each part of it is now in successful operation somewhere 
in the world. The legislative body composed of but a 
single house is, to all intents and purposes, in existence 
in England. Proportional representation in congress 
is in effect in Switzerland. France and Switzerland 
both exalt the legislature at the expense of the executive, 
while the initiative, the referendum and the recall are in 
successful operation, not only in Switzerland but in sev- 
eral American States. 




WE need a new constitution. We cannot govern 
ourselves with the one we have. We have never 
governed ourselves with the one we have. A few have 
always governed us that they might the more easily prey 
upon us. We have had worse government than we 
should have had under a better constitution, but under 
the best constitution, we should not have had the best 
government. Something more than a good constitution 
is required to produce good government. Back of the 
constitution must be people who know how to get what 
they want. They must know wherein their own interests 
lie. They must not be for a protective tariff merely be- 
cause a certain group of grafters can use a protective 
tariff in their business. They must not be for a low tariff 
merely because a certain other group of grafters cannot 
use a high tariff in their business. They must know, not 
merely what they want, but how to get it through gov- 

The best constitution cannot supply such wisdom 
or any wisdom. No good constitution can do more than 
to provide the governmental machinery with which the 
people may apply such wisdom as they have. The ma- 
chinery is necessary, but it is not all. If we have noth- 
ing worth while to express through government, we 



should not be surprised at government that is not worth 
while. That is what is the matter with the people of 
England, and, to a certain extent, we may say the peo- 
ple of California, Oregon, and Arizona. The people of 
England have the power to rule themselves. No written 
constitution is in their way. No courts are in their way. 
Whatever the people of England say is the law is the law. 
But the great misfortune of the people of England is that 
they have no ideas of value to themselves to express 
through the law. They let their grafters do their think- 
ing for them as we let our grafters do our thinking for 
us. The people of England, possessing, as they do, the 
machinery for self-government, are like business men 
sitting at telephones without a business idea to transmit 
through the phones. 

Almost the same may be said of the people of Cali- 
fornia, Oregon and Arizona. The Constitution of the 
United States is over them, so they are not so nearly free 
as the people of England. But, in so far as citizens of 
States can be made free by state constitutions under 
which self-government is possible just to this extent 
the people of these three western States are free. All 
have the initiative and the referendum. The people of 
California can recall any official, from the governor 
down, except the judges, and the people of Arizona can 
recall their judges. Yet the people of these States are 
making but small use of their great powers because they 
do not know how to use them. Rich men rule in Cali- 
fornia, Oregon and Arizona. Rich men rule because 
the rest of the people accept the fundamental political 
ideas of the rich and vote to perpetuate them. 

In some of the following chapters, I shall dwell upon 
certain great matters of governmental policy and public 
habit that would have produced bad government if per- 


formed under the best constitution. Nothing that we 
do is worse for us than to permit the" newspapers to 
make our political issues and our political heroes for 
us. Most of the great newspapers are controlled, in one 
way or another, by the great grafters. They may know 
how the great grafters could .be caught, but if they do 
know, we may be quite sure they will not tell us. Each 
day they pretend to tell us, but upon no day do they tell 

We have followed all the advice they have given with- 
out improving conditions. We have even stultified our- 
selves to follow their advice. We have elected Republi- 
cans and then kicked them out to put in Democrats. 
We have declared for a high tariff and then for a low 
tariff. We have done precisely as we have been told to 
do. Yet nobody can tell from the burden upon his back 
which party is in power. What is promised this year 
is withheld next year. The cost of living is always 
" about " to come down, but it never comes down. Yet, 
one group of grafter newspapers or another are always 
telling us that we have done precisely right. When we 
elect Republicans, the Republican newspapers commend 
our judgment. When we elect Democrats, the Demo- 
cratic newspapers commend our judgment. We never 
commend our own judgment, because we have no reason 
to feel satisfied with what we have done. We are 
therefore usually engaged in voting " against " some 
party, rather than " for " another. That is because less 
thought is required to repudiate a party that has be- 
trayed us than to choose another that will not betray us. 
The grafters, through the newspapers, take advantage 
of this state of mind and lead the public back and forth, 
from one capitalist political party to another. 



\ \ ARON BURR once undertook to define judge-made 
J /TL law. " The law," he said, " is whatever is boldly 
/ asserted and plausibly maintained." 

Burr might have gone much further and still been 
within the facts. He might have said that public 
opinion is whatever is boldly asserted and plausibly main- 
tained by most of the newspapers and magazines. 

Nobody has ever come within gunshot of adequately 
estimating the power of printer's ink. It is a power so 
great that, in comparison, every other power in a repub- 
lic seems puny. We hear much of the money power, 
but money without ink has no power. Money is power- 
ful only because it can buy ink. Give me all the ink 
and Rockefeller all the money and I will undertake to 
create a public opinion that will render Rockefeller's 
money as sterile as a stone. That public opinion is so 
often monstrously wrong is because the little class that 
owns most of the money also owns most of the ink. 

It may be pleasing to the rising generation to know 
how this game is worked. It may beguile the mind of 
youth to see the stuff of which our greatest political 
heroes are made and to behold the manner in which the 
blackest lies are palmed off as whitest truth. If so, let 
us give heed to Washington, for it is there that our 
heroes are spawned. Washington, always politically 
pregnant, never is without a new hero in process of crea- 



tion. Great uncertainty usually exists as to who shall 
be born next. Great rivalry always exists as to who 
shall be next born. A beautiful fairy story was once 
written about the competitive eagerness with which the 
little children in Babyland strive to be wafted into this 
world. I always think of this story when I am in Wash- 
ington. In the days when William Sulzer " the same 
old Bill " was a Tammany congressman, it was a gor- 
geous sight to see William soothing himself with the 
belief that he was about to be born into the hero class. 
In those days, it was Sulzer's pleasing custom to 
promenade down " Peacock Alley," at the New 
Willard, at the precise after-dinner moment when he be- 
lieved most eyes would be upon him. Being 227 miles 
from his poverty-stricken New York constituents, of 
course he wore evening dress, including a velvet waist- 
coat. Naturally, also, he walked slowly, as great men 
should. And, having navigated the " Alley," it was his 
custom to take up a position against one of the imitation 
marble columns in the lobby, to be greeted by whomso- 
ever should see fit. It was indeed an inspiring sight to 
see him gazing solemnly at the floor while gentlemen 
having the wit of kittens begged his indulgence as if he 
were a king. It was indeed a grand sight but it is no 
more, for William has gone from Washington, and other 
imitation heroes are leaning against the imitation marble 
columns at the Willard. 

Yet, some of the imitation heroes seldom or never go 
to the Willard. The Hon. Oscar W. Underwood is one 
of these. The Honorable Oscar, as the father of a tariff 
law that bears his name, has become too exclusive to 
mingle with the cheap embryo heroes that swarm around 
taverns. Gentlemen who wish to see him will have to 
go where he is he will meet them at no half-way 


house. Gentlemen who wish to see him will also have 
considerable trouble to find him, for Mr. Underwood has 
become so rich in ink-made renown that, in at least one 
respect, he resembles gentlemen who are money-rich 
he has many official abiding places. 

As a mere congressman, he has a right to an office in the 
great marble House Office Building, but as the chairman 
of the Ways and Means Committee, he does not exercise 

As the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, 
he has a right to an office in that splendid committee 
room in which so many stupendous steals have been 
engineered; but, as the leader of the Democratic ma- 
jority in the House, he does not exercise it. 

Anyone who wishes to find Mr. Underwood will have 
to ask questions as he cannot be found in either of the 
afore-mentioned offices, nor is his name upon the glass 
of any door. Anyone who asks questions will even- 
tually be informed that the object of his search may be 
found only by following a narrow hallway, which skirts 
the east side of the chamber in which the house of repre- 
sentatives sits. 

This hallway, which is bounded on one end by a 
statue of Thomas Jefferson, is bounded on the other by 
a live negro. This negro, upon request, will give the 
information that Mr. f Underwood's office is inside the 
unmarked door beside the elevator shaft; and, quite 
likely, the negro will rap on the frosted glass and bring 
to the door Mr. Underwood's secretary. And, in a lit- 
tle room, no larger than many a grocer's parlor, bereft 
of all the dimensions and gorgeous upholstery that little 
men require to make them seem large, Mr. Underwood 

Mr. Underwood is a very interesting gentleman, 


partly because fate may sometime catapult him into the 
White House, and partly because of his personal quali- 
ties. I should say that the department store business 
lost a great floorwalker when Mr. Underwood set his 
feet upon the road that led him into politics. He is a 
perfectly sanitary looking man of 52 years. When he 
walks, he has the soft, measured, confident tread of a 
floorwalker. His hair is combed just as it should be, his 
soft eyes beam in precisely the proper way. Though 
we were talking tariff and such things, -the thought was 
always in my mind that the next moment he would say : 
" Three aisles over at the rear of the store." 

My particular mission to Mr. Underwood was to ascer- 
tain from so eminent an authority exactly wherein and to 
what extent the tariff law of 1913, then new, would ease 
and simplify the common people problem of keeping 
alive. I knew that, in this respect, the Democratic plat- 
form upon which Mr. Wilson was elected and to which 
Mr. Underwood subscribed, had promised much. That 
platform had bitterly upbraided the Republican party for 
its " attempts to escape responsibility for present condi- 
tions by denying that they are due to a protective 
tariff." If the Republican tariff were the cause of the 
high cost of living, or much of it, it therefore seemed a 
fair conclusion that the destruction of the Republican 
tariff would do away with the high cost of living, or 
much of it. 

But, before we enter the actual presence of the gen- 
tleman who should be known from one end of the coun- 
try to the other as " The Overestimated Mr. Underwood," 
let us indulge in certain reflections that may give us 
brief nourishment. A number of years ago, when Mr. 
Roosevelt was President, his proposals did not always 
meet with unanimous endorsement, even among radicals. 


Some radicals believed Mr. Roosevelt did not go far 
enough; others believed he went too far. But both 
kinds of radicals heartily united in an appreciation that 
took substantially this form : " Well, thank God, we 
have at least progressed to the point where a politician 
who wants to win public favor must talk about some- 
thing else than the tariff." In other words, these simple 
radicals believed that the fraudulent old tariff issue had 
finally been put on the shelf. 

Kindly observe, now, how the power to determine just 
what use shall be made of printer's ink also determines 
what people shall think about. After the defeat of 
Bryan in 1908, certain great Democratic newspapers be- 
gan a concerted campaign to bring the tariff question to 
life. In this campaign the New York World took the 
lead. First, there were brief editorials of regret that 
the good old days of Grover Cleveland were past, coupled 
with the expression of the fervent belief that if any 
Democrat of national reputation would go to the front 
on the tariff issue, the people would rally to his support 
and restore the Democratic party to power. What good 
ever came to the common people as the result of the 
Democratic party coming into power, the World did not 
pause to explain; newspapers that are engaged in a 
" campaign of education " never take the trouble to tell 
the people anything new that is true. 

At any rate, the World continued to harp on the 
tariff until it broke forth in a series of cartoons en- 
titled "The Empty Market Basket." "The Empty 
Market Basket " was an attempt to visualize the twin 
horrors of American life the high cost of living and 
the Payne tariff law. The visualization was brought 
about by presenting a picture of a woman carrying a 
market basket. The woman of course wore a shawl 


over her head, was tagged by two or three half -starved 
children, and her basket was empty. A brace of pups 
labeled "High Tariff" and "High Cost of Living" 
were presented in the act of wrestling >n the grass with 
a couple of pounds of ham and bologna sausage that 
they had hooked from the basket. The changes were ( 
rung, day after day, upon some such scenery as this, 
while editorials in adjoining columns blared and bleated 
about the tariff being a " tax upon poverty." If we 
could only get rid of this terrible tariff, we should be 
all right. The cost of living would come down, a poor 
man could look his grocer in the eye without fainting 
away, and life for the average mortal would take on a 
rosier hue. 

Ink finally wrought its miracle. That which the rad- 
icals of a few years before believed could never take 
place again once more became a reality. Old Man 
Tariff, the hero of a hundred wars (all fakes) was back 
on the stage doing his ancient monologue. Close ob- 
servers could see that his cheeks were as hollow as his 
promises, that his eyes were sunken in because there were 
no brains behind them to keep them in place, and that 
to send this old faker to do battle with the high cost of 
living would be to invite the gods to order the whole 
population into idiot asylums. But the ink pots kept 
up their clamor about the absolute power of a lower tariff 
to reduce the cost of living, and the fates were kind to 
the tariff fakers. The fates were kind because they 
caused Mr. Roosevelt to break with Mr. Taft and thus 
divide into two groups those who believed in a protec- 
tive tariff. Through this breach the gentlemen who 
had wept so copiously into " The Empty Market Basket " 
crept to power and reduced the tariff. 

We are now prepared to listen to Mr. Underwood 


with understanding. The negro taps on the unlettered 
door. The secretary opens it. We enter. We do not 
at first see Underwood. Small wonder. He is not in 
the direct line of vision. He is over in a corner behind 
a desk that is in perfect order. Mr. Underwood is also 
in perfect order. I must say again that a better bar- 
bered man never pointed the way to the silk counter. 

I first told Mr. Underwood that I understood that his 
new tariff law was to bring about a great reduction in 
the cost of living. I had understood no such thing from 
any responsible person, but I simply thought I would 
throw out the line and see how far he would go with it. 
He did not go far. As compared with the old " Empty 
Market Basket " brigade he hardly moved. He said 
the new law would reduce the cost of living " a good 
deal." I asked him what he meant by a good deal. 
He did not care to say. I did care to have him say. I 
pressed him to be more nearly definite. He said he? 
could not be more nearly definite that he could not 
speak in terms of money because one family might save 
one sum and another family a different sum, depending 
upon their respective manners of living. I sought to 
sweep away this defense by asking him to estimate in 
dollars the amount that would be saved annually by the 
American wage-worker's family, whose income is $500 
a year. 

Mr. Underwood would not answer. He would like to 
answer me he assured me so. But he could not even 
approximately answer such a question unless he were to 
make a careful calculation covering the amounts of food 
and the kinds of food, the amounts of clothing and the 
kinds of clothing that are consumed by average Ameri- 
can families, and then figuring up the saving on the 
basis of the new law in comparison with the old. I told 


him that I did not seek exact figures, which nobody could 
give after any amount of calculation, but approximate 
figures. I sought to help him along by asking what would 
be the annual saving on $375 a year spent for food and 
clothing, that being about the sum that $500 a year fami- 
lies have after paying their house rent. Still he sat in 
his chair and gave me the wise statesman look combined 
with silence. 

Then I tried him with a different hook. I asked him 
if he believed an annual saving of $25 would seem " a 
good deal " to a family in receipt of $500 a year. He 
said he did. I then asked him if, in asserting that the 
new tariff would reduce the cost of living " a good deal," 
it would be just to understand him as meaning a saving of 
approximately $25 a year. But he said he did not want 
to be quoted at all in terms of money. I should have 
been glad to carry the grand news that, having won a 
great victory at the polls in 1912, each poor American 
family might expect to have the cost of living reduced 
almost 50 cents a week, but I could get no Underwood 
authority for it. 

So I passed on to other phases of the same subject. 
I asked him upon what articles this possible saving of 
50 cents a week might be expected. I shall never for- 
get his answer. He said: "The cost of vegetables 
along the Canadian frontier will be considerably re- 

Now, anybody who knows anything about the Cana- 
dian frontier and the sparse Canadian population that 
fringes the edge of Canada, knows exactly what this 
promise held forth. Anybody who knows anything 
about the export vegetable product of Canada knows that 
free importation of Canadian garden truck wquld have 
about the same effect upon the prices of similar products 


in the United States that a squirtgun full of water would 
have upon the temperature of hell. In parliamentary 
phrase, I called Mr. Underwood's attention to this fact 
which, in substance, he readily admitted. He conceded 
my contention that Canadian products could not pene- 
trate more than twenty or thirty miles into the interior, 
as he also admitted that the quantity would be insuffi- 
cient to supply more than a few families close to the bor- 

" But," said Mr. Underwood, " we may get some pota- 
toes from Ireland. We have long imported Bermuda 
onions into this country, and I should not jwphder if we 
should get quite a lot of stuff from -Bermuda- ^nji, s I. 
said, from Ireland." '*/'" s... 

Don't laugh go on. Hear what the gentleman said. 

" The cheaper grades of cotton will be reduced a third, 
the cost of woolen goods, including men's clothing, will 
be substantially reduced, and I expect the price of sugar 
to be reduced almost if not quite one-half. But sugar 
will not reach the bottom price for three years, and the 
reductions in cotton and woolen goods will hardly be 
felt before next summer." 

" Mr. Underwood," said I, " I believe the Democratic 
party has made an honest reduction of the tariff. As a 
result, the cost of living may or may not be materially 
reduced, depending upon whether the trusts, jobbers, 
retailers and other gentlemen are able to absorb the re- 
ductions or whether they are compelled to pass them 
along to the people. But, assuming that the reductions 
will be passed along and that the cost of living will be 
materially reduced, can you show me wherein the people 
will be helped?" 

Mr. Underwood looked up from his clasped hands in 


" Isn't the high cost of living what the people are 
crying out against ? " he asked. " Will not they be bene- 
fitted if the cost of living be reduced? " 

I admitted the obvious fact that the people were op- 
posed to high living costs and in favor of lower ones. 
I also asserted that the people did not know what caused 
their misery and therefore did not know what would cure 
it. I offered in proof the peculiar political fate that has 
followed Mr. Bryan. In 1896, the cost of living was so 
low that Mr. Bryan urged the people to turn the coun- 
try over to him in order that, with free silver, he might 
lincrease, tl^e; .cost- of all commodities, including labor. 
The people declined,, but the trusts and other agencies re- 
;moi<ecj, 'the; low ; prices of which Mr. Bryan complained. 
They removed them so completely that no vestige of 
them was left. They removed low prices so completely 
that Mr. Bryan and his party, having formerly sought 
power to increase prices, sought power in 1912 to lower 
them. In other words, Mr. Bryan, in campaigning for 
Wilson in 1912, asked that his party be given power to 
destroy the high prices that in 1896 he said were desir- 
able. And the irony of fate gave Mr. Bryan his great- 
est political office for the part he took in 1912 in trying 
to restore the low prices against which he protested so 
bitterly in 1896. 

" Suppose your new law/' said I to Mr. Underwood, 
" were to make the cost of living as low as it was in 
1896. The people were desperate in 1896. Does your 
law contain anything that would make them happier 

We had come somewhere near the nub of the question. 
The people are never prosperous whether the cost of 
living is high or low. As a mass, their wages are just 
enough to cover the cost of living and no more. Mr, 


Underwood, as a man of affairs, might be presumed to 
know these facts. Apparently he did know them, be- 
cause he ran from them like a deer. 

" I have not time to go into this matter," he said. " I 
am very busy now. Here are copies of two speeches that 
I made on the tariff question. They set forth my views 
in full. You may have them, if you like." 

" Do these speeches answer my question? " I asked as 
I reached for the copies of the Congressional Record 
that he handed to me. 

" No," he replied. 

"Well, don't you care to answer it?" I asked. "It 
would seem to be worth answering. Low prices made 
only misery in 1896. If your law contains something 
that will not make low prices mean misery now, it will 
take you but a moment to say what that something is. 
It will take even less time for you to say that that ' some- 
thing ' is in your law without describing it." 

" I am very busy," repeated Mr. Underwood. " I 
could not go into that matter without more time." 

Now, we may as well clear the decks and get into ac- 
tion. Mr. Underwood would not have had time to an- 
swer if I had had the power to give him a thou- 
sand years and had given them to him. As a matter of 
fact, as soon as I shifted to a less pestiferous phase of 
the subject, Mr. Underwood continued to talk to me for 
half an hour. But no Democrat has any time to talk 
when he is asked why the great mass of the people are 
able to get only a bare living whether the cost of living 
be high or low. 

In an article entitled " What the Tariff Fight Does 
Not Mean to You," which was printed in the June 
(1911) number of Pearson's Magazine, I had the honor 
to observe that the tariff issue, so far as it pertained to 


workingmen, was a fraud. The facts remain the same 
as I then stated them. The tariff issue is of importance 
only to the members of the capitalist class. With them 
it is a very real issue. It is a real issue, because the 
tariff, or the lack of it, determines which of the capital- 
ist class shall obtain the lion's share of what the work- 
ing class produces. 

Here is the situation: The working class of the 
United States annually produces a certain amount of 
wealth. Part of this wealth goes back to the workers 
in the form of wages. The scramble of capitalists, 
which they seek to dignify with the name of " business," 
is to get the money that the workers have received. 
This money can be obtained only by selling the workers' 
goods. The more the goods can be sold for, the greater 
the profit that can be obtained. If the goods offered by 
a certain class of manufacturers come in competition 
with foreign goods, a protective tariff keeps prices and 
profits high by excluding the foreign wares. Such capi- 
talists are naturally in favor of a high protective tariff. 
As mere business men, they would be fools if they were 

But there are many American business men whose 
goods do not come in competition with foreign wares. 
These men are placed in a most uncomfortable predica- 
ment by a high tariff. It is easy to see why. The work- 
ing class has only a certain amount of wages with which 
to buy goods. If a few protected interests, dealing in 
the necessities of life, are enabled by the tariff to charge 
extortionate prices, the working class has only a small 
sum with which to buy the products of the gentlemen 
who cannot use a tariff in their business. Men who 
have but little can pay but little and buy but little, so 


the unprotected interests are forever throwing their goods 
upon a poverty-stricken market. 

Such business men would be fools if they were not in 
favor of a low tariff. A low tariff would mean that 
their customers would have more money with which to 
buy and could therefore be compelled to pay higher 
prices. They would have more money with which to 
buy because they would not have been so much depleted 
by the high tariff gentlemen. 

The question of tariff or no tariff is of no funda- 
mental importance to the working class, because wages 
always rise and fall with the cost of living, and whether 
this cost be high or low, nothing is left for the average 
worker. When wages and the cost of living were low, 
in the early 'go's, the American working class would 
have been overjoyed if it could have believed that, in a 
few years, wages would be as high as they are now. 
But the working class is not now overjoyed because the 
cost of living has so increased that nothing is left of the 
high wages. The working class can be prosperous only 
when wages and the cost of living are far apart when 
the cost of living is far below wages yet under the 
capitalist system, the wages of the average man are fixed 
by the cost of his living and never exceed it. 

It is not difficult to see why this is so. Capitalists 
buy labor as they buy anything else for as little as 
they can. They even talk about the " labor market," as 
they talk about the pig iron market or the lumber market. 
Workingmen are offered as little as capitalists believe 
they will accept. Workingmen are always so much 
more numerous than jobs that laborers are always com- 
pelled to compete with each other for jobs. Working- 
men who are out of jobs are always willing to work for 


what it costs to live on the lowest scale they will consent 
to live. It is better to work for a poor living than it is 
to have no living. Thus the man who has no work 
fixes the wage of the man who is at work. The man 
who is at work must agree to work for wages that rep- 
resent only a bare living, or the man out of work will 
take his job. 

Nor is there, under the capitalist system, any escape 
for the working class from such conditions. Times 
would be better if there were two jobs for each man in- 
stead of two men for each job, but under the capitalist 
system, there can never be two jobs, nor even one job for 
each man. A man employed implies the existence of a 
market for his product. The working class constitutes 
the market for the great bulk of the goods that are pro- 
duced. Diminish the working class and the market is 
thereby automatically reduced correspondingly. So 
long as private individuals own the industrial machinery 
of the country, so long will workingmen be compelled 
to accept wages that represent only the cost of living. 

This is so plain that it would seem as if the mere state- 
ment of it would be sufficient to carry with it conviction. 
Who has observed the rise and fall of wages without 
noting that the cost of living fixes wages? The present 
high wages are due to nothing but the high cost of living. 
Whoever heard of workingmen striking for grand 
pianos, Persian rugs, and college educations for their 
children? Who has not heard of workingmen striking 
for enough wages to keep their families alive? When 
men can live on their wages, they never strike for money 
to put into the bank. Workingmen who should strike 
for money to put into the bank would be frowned upon 
by the community. Who would be willing to walk 
five miles a day to and from his work merely to enable 


striking street car men to put money into the bank? 
Not one man in a thousand. We are precisely as igno- 
rant as that. If the whole working class would strike 
to put money into the bank, the working class would 
have money in the bank. Nothing can defeat the work- 
ing class except the working class itself. It comprises 
more than 90 per cent, of the population. It includes 
all of the brawn in the country. It includes most of the 
brains in the country. There are not many brains in the 
country, but such as there are belong to the working 
class. Not enough exceptions exist to be noted. Every 
man of great social value comes from the working class. 
They are the ones who invent whatever is invented and 
who run whatever is run. Edison came from the work- 
ing class. J. P. Morgan did not. 

The only remedy for this situation is that which is 
provided by Socialism. The working class of this coun- 
try is producing great value and getting little of it. 
Every man in his senses knows it. Mr. Morgan knows 
it. Mr. Ryan knows it. George W. Perkins knows it. 
Even Oscar W. Underwood knows it. I should dislike 
to rest the case of Socialism upon any statement made 
by the over-estimated Mr. Underwood, but I cannot 
forego the temptation to prove by quoting from one of 
the tariff speeches that he gave me that he knows only 
too well that American manufacturers are skinning 
American workingmen to the bone. 

The speech from which I shall quote was made by 
Mr. Underwood on March 25, 1909. The Payne tariff 
bill was under discussion. Mr. Underwood was seek- 
ing to show that the bill was a fraud. The particular 
point that he wished to puncture was the contention that 
a protective tariff was necessary to enable American 
manufacturers to compete with their foreign rivals. 


Mr. Underwood contended that the profits of American 
manufacturers were so large that they needed no pro- 
tection. Mr. Underwood contended that American 
manufacturers paid their employees so much less than 
they earned that they need fear no competition. In 
making this contention, the Congressional Record that 
he himself gave me quotes him as saying: 

"I find in the report of the secretary of internal affairs of the 
State of Pennsylvania a very interesting and accurate tabulation of 
statistics of manufactures. It is Official Document No. 9, page 69. 
This document shows that the combined production of the steel 
works and rolling mills for the year 1907 for the State of Penn- 
sylvania amounted to 12,953,000 gross tons, at a total valuation of 

"The average yearly earnings of persons employed in the steel 
works and rolling mills are shown to be $663.80 per year in the 
mills of Pennsylvania. . . . The Pennsylvania report which I have 
just referred to shows that the average value of the production of 
each employee in the mills of Pennsylvania amounts to $3,661. In 
other words, the average wage in the iron and ste'el mills in Penn- 
sylvania is $663 as compared with an earning capacity of each 
employee of $3,661, making the labor cost only 18 per cent, of the 
value of the product of the employee. 

"The same report, referred to above, shows that the average 
yearly earnings of men employed in the tin-plate industry in Penn- 
sylvania amounted to $722, and the average value of the production 
for each employee amounted to $2,127, making the labor cost 23 
per cent, of the value of the product. . . . 

" The same report shows that the average value produced by each 
employee in the manufacture of cotton and woolen yarns in Penn- 
sylvania is $2,825, and the average yearly earnings of each employee 
are $363. This report shows that the textile industries of Phila- 
delphia pay their employees on an average $429 a year, and that 
these employees produce an average value of product amounting to 

"The same report shows that the average value produced by 
each employee in cotton, woolen, waste, and shoddy manufactures 
amounts to $5,846, and the average yearly wage in these industries 
was about $449; that the woolen and worsted goods produced by 
each employee amounts to $2,445, an d the average yearly earnings 
amount to $454. 

" When it is borne in mind that the average ad valorem rate of 


duty on the importations of worsted goods runs all the way from 
50 per cent, to 140 per cent., and the percentage of labor cost is 
only 18 per cent, of the value of the product produced by each man, 
and the English workman receives at least one-half the American 
wage scale, making a difference in the labor cost in any case not 
to exceed 9 or 10 per cent, of the value of the American product, it 
shows what an enormous protection is given to the industry above 
the difference in the labor cost at home and abroad." 

Now, nothing about the foregoing statements except 
the italics are mine. They are Mr. Underwood's. He 
vouched for their truth. I do not. I do not believe 
they are true. They are substantially true, but they are 
not exactly true. In computing the value of the 
worker's product, in each case, he did not take into ac- 
count the cost of raw material. The cost of raw ma- 
terial represents wages, waste and profit. Whether Mr. 
Underwood did not know these facts or whether it did 
not suit his purpose to state them, I have no means of 
knowing. If he did not know them, he is too ignorant 
to take part in a discussion of the tariff. If he did know 
them and yet did not state them, he is intellectually too 
dishonest to take part in the discussion of the tariff or 
anything else. The plight of the American working- 
man is not quite so bad as he stated it to be, but it is bad 
enough. It is so bad that the American workingman 
never gets ahead while the class that employs him never 
goes back. 

We are now beginning to get a near view of Mr. Un- 
derwood. We are beginning to see this man as he is. 
He is a hero made of printer's ink. He poses as a cham- 
pion of the people, yet if he is a champion of the peo- 
ple, Thomas F. Ryan is a champion of the people and 
August Belmont is a champion of the people. Ryan and 
Belmont are " Democrats." Underwood is a " Demo- 


But when their party comes into power, gentlemen 
like Mr. Underwood who have promised so much to 
get office slow up a bit. With the tariff reduced and 
its full results about to be known of all men, it became 
futile to make loud claims. So they moderated their 
tones. The people were gently cautioned not to ex- 
pect too much from the low tariff nor to expect that lit- 
tle too soon. But Democrats do not dare to talk that 
way when they are campaigning. The promise of a few 
cheap cabbages from Canada would not have won the 
election for Mr. Wilson in 1912. In 1912, the reduc- 
tion of the tariff was to fill the " empty market basket." 
In 1913, with the facts about the tariff about to become 
known, the tariff reduction was nothing that Mr. Un- 
derwood cared to talk about in precise terms. 

Having revealed Mr. Underwood as exactly the sort 
of a man whom it is more pleasant to meet before elec- 
tion than afterward, I shall now reveal him as a man 
who knows so little about his great subject, the tariff, 
that he denies in one speech what he asserts in another. 
I am indebted for this privilege to the copies of the two 
speeches that Mr. Underwood himself so kindly gave 
me. In Mr. Underwood's tariff speech of March 25, 
1909, he said: 

"There is no doubt that a tariff bill can be written, based fairly 
on the difference in the cost of production at home and abroad." 

On April 23, 1913, in speaking upon his own tariff bill, 
he said : 

"As a matter of fact, I contend that the theory is not defensible; 
that it is impossible for anyone to reach a conclusion based upon 
the difference in the cost-of-production theory." 

Now, if a Socialist were to have such head-on col- 
lisions with himself, everybody would understand. By 


the common consent of the uninformed, a Socialist is 
necessarily a jackass. He never knows what he is talk- 
ing about. He changes his opinions from day to day. 
But please bear in mind that Mr. Underwood made the 
foregoing statements. They are not important, it is 
true. They express only the opinions of Mr. Under- 
wood. But since the ink-spreaders are so insistent in 
presenting- Mr. Underwood as a great statesman, and 
since he himself is trying as hard as he can to head for 
the White House, it is interesting if not important to 
show exactly how profound he is. 

One more quotation from Mr. Underwood's speech 
of April 23, 1913, and I believe I shall have proved by 
his own words the bitterness of the fraud, from the 
working class point of view, that is constituted by his 
tariff law. In speaking of the high cost of living, as 
affecting manufacturers, he said: 

" It is this high cost of living to employees that of necessity in- 
creases the cost of production. It is the high cost of supplies that 
industry must bear that increases its cost of production. It is this 
increased cost of production that has chained American indus- 
tries to our shores and prevented them from going out among the 
nations of the earth to spread the goods and wares of American 
enterprise in foreign markets and to secure the fruits of American 
labor and American enterprise to the people of our great country." 
[Applause on the Democratic side.] 

Do you get the significance of that? Do you catch 
the appeal that is made to the cupidity of manufacturers 
who cannot be helped by a protective tariff ? Mr. Under- 
wood's law, according to his own statement, was framed 
to reduce the cost of production by reducing wages, and 
thus enable " American enterprise " to " spread its 
goods " in foreign markets. Please also observe Mr. 
Underwood's admission that wages are based upon the 
cost of living, following it both up and down. 


" It is the high cost of living," he says, " that of neces- 
sity increases the cost of production," by compelling 
employers to pay wages enough to enable their employees 
to live. 

Are American workingmen fools? 

No; not quite. They are the victims of printer's ink. 
The present industrial situation is so absurd that it could 
not exist for another five years if the truth about it were 
told and re-told to all the people. It is only because 
all the batteries of the press are devoted to the tremen- 
dous task of making black seem white that black seems 
white to so many people. If most of the newspapers 
and magazines were to be devoted for the next five years 
to explaining and advocating Socialism, a public opinion 
would be formed that would compel the government to 
take over the ownership of all the great industries of the 
country and operate them for the sole benefit of the 

But that would put the grafters out of business, and 
that is precisely what the grafters do not want. That 
is why they control the visible supply of printer's ink 
and make into heroes gentlemen like The Overestimated 
Mr. Underwood. 



HERE shall be set down in simple phrase the story 
of the Rothschilds. The Rothschilds do not 
amount to much. They never amounted to much. The 
first one was a rag picker. So is the last one. All the 
Rothschilds in between have been rag pickers. The 
Rothschild picking now is merely done in a different way. 
The old way was the slow way. The picking was done 
for the rags themselves, and sometimes the task was plied 
at a pile of refuse in the street. 

The new way is somewhat of an improvement upon 
this. The new way is to pick rags for what is in their 
pockets. The work is not done in the street. The 
hands are never soiled. The returns are always abun- 
dant. And, by the providence of the gods that watch 
over multimillionaires, there is never any shortage of 
rags. The sun shines, the rain falls, and, behold! A 
constant crop of human beings springs from the earth 
to wear rags to be picked. 

The new way to pick rags is with debts. The Roths- 
childs taught the world how to run drunkenly into debt. 
We common people shall never know, perhaps, all of 
the hidden meanings that are wrapped up in that won- 
derful word " debt." It has so many meanings, so 
many morals and so many vices. The poor are always 
urged by their betters never to go into debt. The rich 



and the moderately rich, of course, go into debt as much 
as they please, or as much as they can. 

But we are told that there is a difference, in this re- 
spect, between the poor and the rich. The poor cannot 
pay. The rich can. This is not always true. Nor yet 
does it explain the mixed morality of debt. The rich 
do not always require that those who become indebted 
to them shall pay their debts. This requirement has 
not been made, in certain instances, since the time of 
the early Rothschilds. 

The Rothschilds taught the world how to run so 
deeply into debt that it can never pay what it owes. The 
Rothschilds taught the rich men of the earth to smile 
and be glad to permit such debts to be incurred. But 
such debts must not be personal debts. They must be 
debts owed by governments so that entire peoples may 
thus be mortgaged. And, when entire peoples are 
mortgaged, what more might a gentle multimillionaire 
ask? Why should he require that the debt be paid? 
Better for him and his class that the debt be not paid. 
So long as the debt stands the people are mortgaged to 
him. They plant. He reaps. He holds the bond. He 
can draw interest upon it until the bond is due and then 
exchange it for another bond and draw interest some 
more; or he can sell his bond to some other millionaire 
and thus get his money back. 

It is really so great a device that these gentlemen 
themselves assure us that the existence of a national debt 
is " the first stage of a nation toward civilization." Of 
course, such assurances are often given, not by the rich 
personally, but by the eminent political economists who 
are employed by them to provide wholesome reading 
matter for the common people. The line that I have 


just quoted is taken, I may say, from the article on 
" National Debt " in the " Encyclopaedia Britannica." 

While the dead Rothschilds are sleeping the sleep of 
the just and the live Rothschilds are picking the rags 
of the just, let us proceed to a brief examination of the 
extent to which the world has become " civilized." 
Great Britain owes a debt of three billion eight hundred 
millions, all incurred in war, " a sum," says David Starr 
Jordan, President of Leland Stanford, Jr., University, 
" which has never been repaid, will never be repaid and 
can never be repaid so long as the natural growth in 
national wealth, due to peace, invention and commerce, 
is all swallowed up by the incredible burden of arma- 
ment." 1 

Norman Angell draws out the telescope a little far- 
ther and presents a sharper image of England's debt- 
ridden civilization. He pictures an Englishman proudly 
watching the procession of subject peoples passing in 
review at the time of the last coronation. The Eng- 
lishman speaks: 

" I own India, Africa and the Antipodes, the islands 
of the tropic seas, the snows of the north, the jungles 
of the far continents, and I am starving for a crust 
of bread. I rule all the black millions from which these 
legions have been drawn. My word is law in half a 
world, and a negro savage turned from me in disgust 
when I cringed before him for alms." 

Mr. E. Alexander Powell, an economist who is also 
an observer, once said this to the readers of the Sat- 
urday Evening Post about Great Britain's debt: 

" Would the people of Great Britain have you believe 
that they are free? Great Britain owes a war debt of 

*" Unseen Empire," p. 6. 


more than three billion eight hundred millions of dol- 
lars. By it she is bound for all time and eternity. She 
can never pay the debt and she knows it. She never 
expects to pay it. Of this incalculable sum every in- 
habitant of the United Kingdom owes something over 
eighty dollars. Every child born under the Union Jack 
between Land's End and John O'Groat's is confronted 
)with a bill for a like sum." 

Great Britain and Ireland also have municipal debts 
amounting to two billion eight .hundred millions of dol- 
lars, a sum which is constantly increasing. The rate of 
increase may be judged from the fact that in 1901 these 
debts amounted to one billion eight hundred and eighty 
millions. The leisurely, cultivated gentlemen of Eng- 
land are therefore drawing interest on only six billion 
six hundred millions of public debt, and intend to draw 
it " for all time and eternity." The delightful nature 
of this undertaking may be slightly sensed when it is 
explained that the impoverished people of Great Britain, 
in 1911, paid an interest charge of $101,060,000 on the 
national debt and almost as much more on the municipal 
debts. Multiply this by eternity and you may perceive 
exactly what confronts the people of Britain, provided 
the sum be not swelled by more debts which it will be. 

In France the civilizing influence of public debt has 
proceeded even further. The national debt of France 
as almost six and a half billions of dollars and the mu- 
inicipal debts are nearly a billion more. The French 
are therefore "civilized" to the extent of about seven 
billions of dollars. The annual interest charge on the 
national debt is almost $200,000,000. The interest on 
the municipal debts amounts approximately to $40,000,- 
ooo. Nor is the end in sight. In 1906 the cities of 


France owed $900,000,000. To this colossal sum a 
hundred millions have been added in seven years. 

Germany is in debt to its ears. The national and 
state debts combined amount almost to four and a half 
billions. The municipal debts amount to two and a half 
billions. " The municipal debt of most German cities," , 
says President Jordan, " has doubled every ten years for 
a long time." The annual interest on the national and 
state debts amounts to $175,000,000. The interest on 
the municipal debts is $100,000,000. Such is the story 
of Germany's greatness. Seven billions of debts and 
growing; two hundred and seventy-five millions of an- 
nual interest and growing. Also a Socialist party 
that is greater than any other political party in Germany 
and growing. 

Beside such colossal spenders the American people 
seem quite small and obscure. Our national debt is a 
little less than a billion. Our state and municipal debts 
are about two billions. Our total annual interest 
charges are about fifty millions'. But, like all other sim- 
ilar interest charges, they are to run " for eternity." 
That is not the way the bonds read, but that is the way 
the facts run. Like all other self-respecting peoples, we 
have no intention of paying our debts. Or, to be more 
nearly accurate, the capitalists who expect to exploit us 
" for all time and eternity " have no intention of per- 
mitting us to pay our debts. They trump up new 
schemes to cause us to go more deeply into their debt. 
They intoxicate us with the strong fumes of "world 
power." They tell us how fine a thing it is to be reck- 
oned among the great nations of the world. They 
cause us to maintain great military establishments and 
to build more and greater dreadnoughts. Thirty years 


ago we spent almost nothing on the navy and little more 
on the army. Now we are spending $300,000,000 a 
year on the army and navy. Almost a million dollars 
every week-day. Sixty-five cents of every dollar that is 
raised by the American government by taxation is spent 
for wars past or to come for pensions, battleships or 
soldiers. The national tax amounts to $6 a head. Na- 
tional, state and city taxes, according to President Jor- 
dan? amount to $38.50 per capita. Multiply this sum 
by the number in your family and you may know how 
much is being collected from you, in one way and an- 
other, to support the various governments under which 
you live. 

The bonded debts of the world amount to sixty billion 
dollars. The annual interest charge upon this is ap- 
proximately two and a half billions. Of the total bonded 
debt thirty-eight billions are owed by nations and the 
remainder by cities and states. President Jordan de- 
clares that all national debts represent expenditures for 
war the exceptions are insignificant. 

Let us now drop these harrowing figures and go back 
to soothing scenes. Maier Amschel, founder of the 
Rothschild family, was born in the Jewish quarter of 
Frankfort, Germany, in 1743. Apparently, he was born 
to hard luck and plenty of it. As a Jew he was com- 
pelled to lived in the Ghetto. The Ghetto consisted of 
a single thoroughfare Jew street in which for cen- 
turies representatives of this race had been herded by 
the Germans. Every night, at a certain time, a Ger- 
man stretched a chain across each end of the street, 
after which no one might enter or leave. Each morn- 
ing the chain was removed. Napoleon once tore the 
chains down and told the Jews they might live where 

i " War and Waste," p. 91. 


they pleased, but a little later Napoleon himself was 
compelled to move on, and then the Jews were forced 
to return to their old quarters. Benjamin Franklin 
used to say that " three moves are as bad as a fire," but 
it seems this is not always so. Much depends upon 
who does the moving. The Germans made the Jews 
buy back their own houses and pay $200,000 for them. 

The lad who was to found the house of Rothschild 
had not, in his youth, even the name of Rothschild. At 
the time he was born the fashion of having surnames 
had not become general in Europe. Not because of pov- 
erty, but through custom, names were transposed or 
otherwise juggled, and thus made to serve for different 
persons. Thus, while this lad's name was Maier Am- 
schel, his father's name was Amschel Moses. The 
name " Rothschild " came from the red shield, or, as 
it is said in German, the " rothes schild," which desig- 
nated the house in which the family lived. In those 
days there were no street numbers. Each family hung 
out some picture or emblem to mark their abode. When 
families were compelled to choose surnames this Jewish 
family, remembering the red shield, decided to call 
themselves Rothschild. 

Life in the Ghetto of Frankfort at that time sug- 
gests many interesting reflections. When we read of 
the chained street we think of the place as a prison. 
When we read that after Maier Rothschild became a 
millionaire his aged mother insisted upon ending her 
days in the old house on Jew street with the red shield 
then we know the Ghetto, to this woman at least, 
was not a prison. Nor is it likely that Frankfort's 
Jewish quarter of that day was so poverty-stricken as 
the East Side of New York is now. The Frankfort 
Jews had the $200,000 with which to buy back their 


own houses from the Germans. The Jews in the East 
Side of New York do not own the quarters in which 
they live. The most onerous feature of Jewish life in 
the Frankfort of that day* was, perhaps, the German 
provision that not more than two Jewish couples could 
be married each year. Marriages were not made in 
heaven in those days they were " made in Germany " ; 
one every six months. 

As a boy Maier Rothschild picked rags, bought junk, 
and peddled such merchandise as he could carry in a 
pack or push in a cart. His father, wanting him to 
become a rabbi, sent him to a theological school, but the 
old gentleman died soon afterward and left so little 
money that the youngster was taken out and set to work. 
His first job was as a dealer in old coins. No coin had 
been minted since the days of Julius Caesar of which he 
did not know the exact value. Also, he had a perfect 
knowledge of the exchange values of the current coins 
of all the European nations. For a little while he was 
lured away by a job in a bank at Hanover, but he soon 
returned to Frankfort and resumed his old business. 
He accumulated money and, in a few years, bought the 
house in Jew street in which he was born. 

Rothschild's operations, together with his quickness 
and sharpness, at length attracted the attention of Land- 
grave William IX, whom Americans will more quickly 
recognize under his later title of Prince William I of 
Hesse. It was this gentleman who farmed out Hessian 
soldiers to England to fight America in the Revolution- 
ary War. Benjamin Franklin tells, in one of the let- 
ters that he wrote from Paris at the time, of the profit- 
able manner in which the king of Holland contrived 
to show his contempt for such action. The laws of 
Holland imposed a tax of something like a dollar a head 


upon cattle marched across Holland to a seaport. The 
Dutch king, believing that soldiers farmed out to fight 
were no more than " cattle," imposed the tax, which 
the Hessian prince was required to pay from the sum 
that England gave him. 

William IX and his father who preceded him together 
received from England $1,290,000,000 for selling Hes- 
sian soldiers to fight against America. It was the neces- 
sity for handling this large sum of money that brought 
the landgrave and Rothschild into close relationship. We 
thus see how the fortunes of the Rothschilds and Amer- 
ica are and, from the beginning, have been peculiarly 
intertwined. The house was not founded upon Amer- 
ican money, but it was founded upon money that Roths- 
child could not have reached if America had not gone 
to war with England. Years later it became the policy 
of Nathan, the next head of the Rothschild house, never 
to lend money to an American State. The present in- 
vestments of the Rothschilds in American industries is 
estimated at $100,000,000. In other words, the Roths- 
childs having forgiven us for being poor, are now will- 
ing to attach their pipe lines to our pockets and draw off 
their interest. And we, of course, have no grudge 
against them because their fortune is founded upon 
money stained with American blood. Indeed, it is 
pleasant to see brethren dwelling together in harmony. 

I may say, parenthetically, that Maier Rothschild is 
drawn into this picture of national debts because, with 
William Pitt, he is primarily responsible for the load 
of debt under which the world is staggering. Before 
Pitt's time the national debt, as we know it to-day, did 
not exist. Most of the borrowing was done by the kings 
themselves upon their own security. Parliaments raised 
what they could by taxation and by short loans, but no- 


body mortgaged much of the future. England's wars 

particularly her war with us in 1775-83 plunged her 
into debt. Pitt, as her prime minister, was put to his 
wits. The nation's borrowing capacity along eld lines 
was exhausted. Pitt then conceived the idea of using 
his country's revenues, not to meet current expenses, but 
to pay the interest upon loans. He laid down the doc- 
trine that England belonged to the Englishmen then liv- 
ing not to those who had not yet been born. He 
therefore declared the right of England to mortgage un- 
born generations by borrowing as much as current income 
would pay the interest upon. And Maier Rothschild and 
his later tribe were the ones who helped Pitt and his 
successors to do it. Thereafter a million of annual in- 
come no longer meant a million of annual income. It 
meant as much as a million of annual income would pay 
interest upon. At 4 per cent, it meant twenty-five mil- 
lions to be kept forever and ever. If income could be 
increased a hundred millions, it meant that twenty-five 
hundred millions more could be borrowed merely by 
paying interest upon it forever. It was bad financiering 

but it produced the wanted money. 

Since that day no child has been born under the Brit- 
ish flag except to a heritage of debt incurred for wars 
waged before it was born. Inasmuch as the system of de- 
ferred payments spread to all other " civilized " nations, 
no child has since been born in any one of them except 
to a heritage of debt. Unless these debts are paid or 
repudiated, no child can ever be born not even until 
the crack of doom in any civilized nation except to a 
heritage of debt. Economists now tell us that Great 
Britain cannot pay her debt and knows it. France is 
even more deeply in debt than Great Britain. Germany 
is plunging into the mire as rapidly as her kaiser can 


build dreadnoughts to send her there. We are some- 
what behind in the race to ruin, because we started late, 
but, having started, we are going strong. 

We may now with more understanding resume con- 
sideration of Maier Rothschild. He loaded Great Brit- 
ain up with debt, piled as much debt as he could upon 
the back of Denmark, yet found time to manage the enor- 
mous fortune of William, the Hessian prince. William 
hated Napoleon with a hatred that knew no bounds. He 
farmed out Hessian soldiers to England to fight against 
France. He said publicly that he would rather be a 
Prussian general than a king by Napoleon's favor. So 
when Napoleon headed William's way William knew pre- 
cisely what to expect and to do. He knew that Na- 
poleon would make him a prisoner and confiscate his 
wealth if he could get his hands upon him and his money. 
Napoleon confirmed the first part of the prince's expecta- 
tions by issuing the following bulletin : 

" The house of Hesse-Cassel has sold its subjects to England for 
many years, and the prince has made large sums of money by this 
means. This shameful avarice puts an end to the house. It has 
ceased to reign." 

Having ceased to reign, there was nothing to do but 
run, and William ran. Before he fled he entrusted more 
than $3,000,000 to Rothschild. A legend declares that 
Rothschild secreted this sum in wine casks in his cellar, 
but this is not true. Money in a wine cask draws no 
interest. Rothschild sent $3,000,000 to his son Nathan 
to be lent in London. How much more the prince left 
in his keeping no one knows. 

We shall now see how the gods play into the hands 
of the pure and good. Before the Hessian prince 
deemed it safe to return Maier Rothschild died. The 


prince believed he should never see his money again. To 
his great surprise and delight, Rothschild's sons of 
whom he left five, by the way, together with five daugh- 
ters returned all of the money entrusted to their 
father, together with the interest thereon. Every king 
in Europe heard the good news and became more than 
ever convinced that the Rothschilds were good men to 
tie to. 

Maier Rothschild, when he died in 1812, was worth 
many millions of dollars at any rate, he had many 
millions. He enjoined his sons to stick together, to con- 
sult their mother on business affairs, and to marry only 
their own relatives. Each son was to manage a bank 
in each of the five great capitals of Europe. Nathan 
was assigned to the management of the London bank, 
and by virtue of his ability became the head of the fam- 

History records that there was only one Napoleon at 
the battle of Waterloo and that he was too small for 
his job. The fact is there were two Napoleons at Water- 
loo, and the second one was big enough for his job, with 
some to spare. The second Napoleon was Nathan 
Rothschild the emperor of finance. During the try- 
ing months that came before the crash Nathan Roths- 
child had plunged on England until his own fortunes, 
no less than those of the warring nations, were staked 
on the issue. He had lent money direct. He had dis- 
counted Wellington's paper. He had risked millions by 
sending chests of gold through war-swept territory 
where the slightest failure of plans might have caused 
its capture. He was extended to the limit when the fate- 
ful hour struck, and the future seemed none too certain. 
The English, in characteristic fashion, believed that all 


had been lost before anything was lost - before the first 
gun bellowed out its challenge over the Belgian plains. 
The London stock market was in a panic. Consols were 
falling, slipping, sliding, tumbling. If the telegraph had 
been invented, the suspense would have been less, even 
if the wires had told that all was lost. But there was 
no telegraph. There were only rumors and fears. 

As the armies drew toward Waterloo Nathan Roths- 
child was like a man aflame. All of his instincts were 
crying out for news good news, bad news, any kind 
of news, but news something to end his suspense. 
News could be had immediately only by going to the 
front. He did not want to go to the front. A biog- 
rapher of the family, Mr. Ignatius Balla, 1 declares that 
Nathan had " always shrunk from the sight of blood." 
From this it may be presumed that, to put it delicately, 
he was not a martial figure. But, as events came to a 
focus, his mingled hopes and fears overcame his inborn 
instincts. He must know the best or the worst and that 
at once. So he posted off for Belgium. 

He drew near to the gathering armies. From a safe 
post on a hill he saw the puffs of smoke from the open- 
ing guns. He saw Napoleon hurl his human missiles at 
Wellington's advancing walls of red. He did not see the 
final crash of the French, because he saw enough to con- 
vince him that it was coming, and therefore did not wait 
to witness the actual event. He had no time to wait. 
He hungered and thirsted for London as a few days be- 
fore he had hungered and thirsted for the sight of Water- 
loo. Wellington having saved the day for him as well 
as for England, Nathan Rothschild saw an opportunity 
to reap colossal gains by beating the news of Napoleon's 

1 The Romance of the Rothschilds, p. 88. 


defeat to London and buying the depressed securities of 
his adopted country before the news of victory should 
send them skyward with the hats of those whose brains 
were still whirling with fear. 

So he left the field of Waterloo while the guns were 
still booming out the requiem of all of Napoleon's great 
hopes of empire. He raced to Brussels upon the back 
of a horse whose sides were dripping with spur-drawn 
blood. At Brussels he paid an exorbitant price to be 
whirled in a carriage to Ostend. At Ostend he found 
the sea in the grip of a storm that shook the shores even 
as Wellington was still shaking the luck-worn hope of 
France. " He was certainly no hero," says Balla, " but 
at the present moment he feared nothing." Who would 
take him in a boat and row him to England? Not a 
boatman spoke. No one likes to speak when Death calls 
his name, and Rothschild's words were like words from 
Death. But Rothschild continued to speak. He must 
have a boatman and a boat. He must beat the news of 
Waterloo to England. Who would make the trip for 
500 francs? Who would go for 800, 1,000? Who 
would go for 2,000? A courageous sailor would go. 
His name should be here if it had not been lost to the 
world. His name should be here and wherever this 
story is printed, because he said he would go if Roths- 
child would pay the 2,000 francs to the sailor's wife be- 
fore he started; because he expected to be drowned on 
the way across. 

But he was not drowned. He landed Rothschild in 
Dover. By express post he hastened to London. The 
next morning he was at his usual place in the stock ex- 
change. With consummate art he acted his part. He 
was as pale as death and his knees shook. 

" The stock brokers, usually so cold-blooded," says 


Balla, 1 "walked about restlessly, speaking little to each 
other, every man shuddering in body and soul as if in 
presence of some dread unknown. Dismal news passed 
from mouth to mouth. In a low tone they discussed 
the defeat of Bliicher, and it was whispered about that 
Napoleon's heavy guard had beaten Wellington's army. 
Rumors that they had no means of checking sufficed at 
such a time to make them lose their heads altogether, 
and the state of things was made worse by the lamentable 
spectacle that Nathan Rothschild presented. He leaned 
against a column like a man who was condemned to 
death, and seemed hardly able to stand upon his feet; 
the placid, cold-blooded Caesar who had never before lost 
his balance in the most furious storms of the financial 

" What they had regarded as idle rumor seemed now 
to take the shape of undeniable truth, for the countenance 
of Nathan Rothschild told more than the vague whis- 
pers of the crowd. A fear amounting to panic broke 
on the entire exchange like a flash of lightning; the pas- 
sionate and irreconcilable enemy of England was once 
more free, and no one could now restrain him if he chose 
to fall on Europe again as the scourge of God. 

" The fear fell on the city like a devastating cyclone. 
The news increased in volume and terror and filled men 
with alarm. A wild panic ensued. The rate of ex- 
change fell from minute to minute until it reached its 
lowest point, and, when it was seen that both Rothschild 
and his agents offered securities for sale in large quan- 
tities, even flung them on the market, nothing could ar- 
rest the disaster. It was as if a mania had seized the 
crowd; in a few minutes the strongest banks began to 
waver and the value of the most solid securities sank 

1 The Romance of the Rothschilds, p. 90. 


alarmingly as if they were images of false gods which 
the disillusioned faithful, thirsting for vengeance, cast 
from their pedestals and trod under foot. 

" Meantime the deathly pale man at the column 
laughed in his sleeve. While sympathetic souls ex- 
pressed their concern for Nathan Rothschild, whose great 
firm, it was thought, must now sink into the dust, de- 
stroyed by its colossal losses, he was quietly buying up all 
the securities offered by means of secret agents whom no 
one knew. ... In a single day he had gained nearly 
$5,000,000. The next day came the news of Napoleon's 
defeat. Rothschild himself told it at the opening of the 
exchange, with radiant countenance." 

Such was the man who helped Great Britain increase 
her debt, which, in 1790, was little more than $1,000,000,- 
ooo, to more than four billions at the close of the Na- 
poleonic wars. The Napoleonic wars could not have 
been fought without the device born in the brain of Pitt 
and put into practice by the first Rothschild. The liv- 
ing could be killed in such colossal numbers only by mort- 
gaging the earnings of the unborn. And these earnings 
were mortgaged far into the future, not only in England, 
but in all of the other nations concerned. 

Wars are supposed to be declared by governments. 
Parliaments and kings are supposed to decide whether 
hostilities shall begin. Never, since the device of the 
modern national debt, has this been true. The great cap- 
italists decide whether there shall be war. If they want 
war, they force it. There are several ways in which 
they can do this. They can do it by direct action of their 
representatives in government. Or they can do it by fo- 
menting disorder and yelling for help to save the lives 
of " innocent citizens " who are temporarily residing in 
the country that is to be attacked. And if they are op- 


posed to war they refuse to advance the money with 
which to wage it. 

So long ago as during the lifetime of Nathan Roths- 
child's mother she herself was aware of this fact. A 
woman once came to her in tears. War was about to 
break out, she declared, and her only son would be killed 
because she had no money with which to buy his relief 
from military service. " Do not be alarmed," the aged 
Mrs. Rothschild replied. " There will be no war. My 
sons will not provide the money for it." 

Yet these men these rich men of the Rothschild 
type who hold in their hands the fates of little peo- 
ples, are exceedingly common clay. We are always told 
that they are exceedingly remarkable men, but except 
for their remarkable greed and their unusual capacity 
for satisfying it this is not so. Nathan Rothschild was 
a bold gambler, and at the London stock exchange, the 
day following Waterloo, he turned a very pretty trick, 
but a cheap stockbroker once tricked him to a finish. 

The stockbroker, passing Rothschild's house outside 
of London one night, noticed a light burning at an un- 
usual hour. His suspicion that some plot was under 
way was increased when Rothschild and a number of 
men entered a coach and ordered the driver to take them 
to Rothschild's London house. The stockbroker or- 
dered a carriage and hastened after them, planning by 
trick and device to get into the house, hear what they 
were talking about and, with the information thus gained, 
gamble on the stock market. The best way he could 
think of to get into the house was to burst into the room 
in which they were holding a conference and fall to the 
floor in a pretended fit. This he did, hitting the rug 
like an ox struck with an ax. Rothschild himself was 
one of the first to pick him up and help carry him to a 


sofa. Rothschild himself chafed the poor gentleman's 
legs in an effort to restore circulation, and also sprinkled 
him with cold water. While the man did not appear to 
regain consciousness, he did not seem to be dying, so 
the conference continued. At the conclusion Rothschild 
told his servants to take the man away as soon as he 
recovered. Then Rothschild and his friends departed. 
They had no more than turned the corner before the in- 
valid jumped from the sofa and bounded out of the 
house like a rubber ball. The next day he plunged on 
the stocks that Rothschild and his friends were prepared 
to buy and made a fortune while they made nothing. 
Worse than that, he told the story and Rothschild be- 
came, for a brief moment, the laughing stock of the stock 

Nor was Nathan Rothschild happy. He jeered at 
friends who suggested that with his wealth and standing 
he should be in the enjoyment of great bliss. Like all 
rich men, he received many threatening letters. The let- 
ters frightened him. He lived in constant terror of as- 
sassination. He suspected every caller whom he did not 
know of being a possible maniac bent upon his destruc- 
tion. It is related of him that two men suddenly pre- 
sented themselves before him in his office. He spoke 
to them and they did not reply. Instead, one of the men 
began to fumble in his pocket. Rothschild instantly 
began to hurl at them every portable thing he could lift, 
while at the same time calling loudly for help. The men 
were country bankers who, at sight of the great banker, 
suddenly lost their tongues. The man who fumbled in 
his pocket sought only a letter of introduction that he 
had brought with him, but which, owing to stage fright, 
he could not find. 

Bismarck, with all his " blood and iron " foolishness, 


knew how to detect other kinds of foolishness in other 

" I have known a good many members of the Roths- 
child house," he said, " and what strikes me about all of 
them is their love for money. Each of them is always 
anxious to leave to each of his children as much as he 
himself inherited, and that is nonsense." 

Almost a hundred years ago the Rothschild millions 
caused the emperor of Austria to " ennoble " the five 
Rothschild brothers by " creating " them barons. From 
that day to this no male member of the family has lacked 
a title. The present head of the English Rothschilds is 
a lord. That does not indicate what he is so much as 
it indicates what the English people are. Being a 
Rothschild no longer requires conspicuous ability. The 
family is so rich that if it were composed of imbeciles 
it could hardly avoid making money. As " Baron " 
Albert Rothschild once said : " The House of Rothschild 
is so rich that it cannot do bad business." And yet most 
people in the world are so poor that they cannot do good 



WHEN in doubt about a supposed truth, measure it 
by man. See if it fits him as he is. See if it fits 
him as he hopes to be. If it does not fit him both ways, 
it is not truth. The full stature of man is the standard 
measure of truth. When in doubt, we must go back to 
it as navigators, betrayed by false compasses, go back 
to the stars. We must go back to it because there is 
no other place to go. Whatever is best for man is the 
greatest truth. Whatever is worst for man is the great- 
est error. Nor can there be any higher morality 
than this. Any plan or purpose that helps the race can- 
not be immoral. Any plan or purpose that hurts the 
race cannot be moral. 

I have laid down these principles, at the moment, for 
a particular purpose. Upon the basis of these princi- 
ples, I am going to advocate the repudiation of every 
national debt in the world. I do not expect, as a result, 
that any national debt will soon be repudiated the 
mass-mind, unfortunately, does not act so quickly. But 
I do hope, more fervently than I can express, that the 
idea will take root in the minds of the working people 
to whom I give it. I hope that working men and 
women, in knots of two and three, will begin talking 
about it. I hope the groups will grow both in number 
and in size. I hope that every national debt pot-pie will 
become thoroughly and strongly saturated with the flavor 



of repudiation. With this flavor, the bones and the fat of 
the working class will not make such nice picking. Rich 
men will not furnish war funds to fighting governments 
if the reverberated threat of repudiation make them 
doubt whether they will ever receive the interest upon 
their bonds let alone, the face of the bonds themselves. 
And, when rich men become afraid to stake fighting gov- 
ernments, wars will end, because wars can no longer be 
fought with the revenues that can be derived from cur- 
rent taxation. They are too expensive for that. Wars 
can be fought only by mortgaging unborn generations to 
the day of doom. 

I assert that it is immoral (as well as stupid) even 
to pay the interest upon national debts and that it would 
be the highest morality to repudiate the debts themselves. 
" The national debts of the world," says David Starr 
Jordan, President of Stanford University, 1 " when fully 
analyzed, are war debts, pure and simple." War debts, 
no more than wars, are ever pure and simple. They 
are always impure and complex. Wars are always con- 
flicts for advantage between ruling classes, in which the 
working classes do the fighting and the paying while 
the ruling classes do the winning. 

These debts, which were immorally made, cannot be 
morally paid. They cannot be morally paid, because 
even to pay the interest upon them means to tap the 
veins of the working class until the end of time. I say 
" until the end of time," because it is manifestly the in- 
tention of the exploiting classes to keep these debts in- 
tact to the end that they may draw interest forever. 
Who knows of a great nation on earth that is paying 
its debt? The debt line of every nation proceeds along 
a zigzag course, but its general direction is upward. 

1M Unseen Empire," p. 26. 


It is monstrous that the working class of Great Brit- 
ain should pay interest, until the end of time, upon debts 
that were contracted, not for the benefit of the working 
class, but to the great harm and injury of that class. It 
is also inconceivable that it should do so. It will prob- 
ably be a long while before time ends. Some time in 
the interval people are going to wake up. There will 
be talk of repudiation. More than that, there will be 
repudiation. The time to begin the talk is now. The 
time to begin the actual repudiation will be the earliest 
moment at which the working class can be made to put 
its shears to the knot. And, what is true of Great Brit- 
ain is true of the ^United States as well and of every 
other nation. They are all in the same boat. The 
amount of their respective debts differ, but the principles 
that underlie them do not differ. Nor will there be any 
difference in the consequences that will follow eternal 
recognition of the debts. 

We have all been educated, it is true, to shrink at the 
sound of the word " repudiation/' We have been 
taught to believe that the word is stained with shame 
and steeped with dishonor. Who so teaches us? Do 
we never ask ourselves that ? Why is repudiation neces- 
sarily shameful? Do we never ask ourselves that? Is 
it shameful to repudiate wrong to take up right? Is it 
shameful to repudiate a criminal arrangement that was 
foisted upon us by men intent upon robbing us? Is it 
shameful to repudiate a criminal arrangement that will 
keep the world embroiled in wars so long as it endures? 
Ought this arrangement to be permitted to exist for- 
ever, even though the price of its existence be wars for- 
ever and greater robbery than ever greater robbery as 
war debts become larger and larger? The United 
States government, after the Civil War, certainly did 


not hesitate to compel the South to repudiate its war 
debt. It forbade the South to pay the debt. The gov- 
ernment thus sought to protect its life by making re- 
bellion dangerous even to money-lenders. Why then, 
may not a whole people, or a whole world, with equal pro- 
priety, repudiate war debts that are intended to rob them 
for all time? 

Oh, Mr. Taft will tell you that you should bend to 
your burden and protect your " honor." Every rich 
man in the United States will so tell you. Some of them 
may even whimper a little about the " widows and or- 
phans " who would be thrown into the poorhouse if the 
national bonds upon which they are now living were to 
be repudiated. They may even most carefully explain 
to you that these widows and orphans are " innocent 
persons "; that, regardless of whether there was ever any 
chicanery in the creation of war debts, these " widows 
and orphans " are nevertheless not guilty. But why 
should you have the slightest interest in what Mr. Taft 
and these other gentlemen may say? Who is Mr. Taft? 
Who are the other gentlemen? Who are you? Can 
you not think for yourself? Do you need to have Mr. 
Taft think for you ? Do you need to have anybody else 
think for you? Cannot you measure supposed truth by 
yourself once in a while? Do you never know how you 
feel about anything ? Have you no respect for your own 
feelings when you know what they are? 

What this world needs more than almost anything 
else is independence of thought. The average man has 
no confidence in his own judgment unless his judgment 
happens to coincide with that of somebody whom he 
believes to be wise. If the average man has a thought 
that is different from the prevailing thought of the day, 
he suspects both himself and his thought. He believes 


he cannot think straight and he decides that his thought 
is crooked. 

The result is that a few men do the thinking for all 
the others. And who are these few men? Most of 
them are gentlemen who have some sort of connection 
with the coffers of the rich. These gentlemen teach us 
what is moral and what is immoral. We do not let 
burglars tell us that it is immoral to hire policemen to 
chase burglars, but we let capitalists tell us that it is 
immoral to repudiate fraudulent debts that capitalists 
have foisted upon us for their own enrichment. It is 
not immoral for a capitalist to repudiate an obligation 
that has been fraudulently placed upon him by another 
capitalist. Indeed, it is not. It is entirely moral to re- 
pudiate such an obligation. The courts are always lis- 
tening to such wrangles. A fraudulent contract be- 
comes moral only when it is aimed at no capitalists 
when, instead, it is aimed at the people and capitalists 
are at the trigger. 

Each of these statements is true. Mr. Taft is feeding 
at the capitalist crib and has so fed all his life. At 
present, he happens to draw his sustenance from Yale, 
an institution in which a poor boy of any sensibilities 
would feel about as much at home as a tramp would feel 
at an Astor coming-out party. Prior to his Yale en- 
gagement, he had spent his adult life drawing some sort 
of a salary from the government. He could not hold 
his Yale position, nor could he have held any of his 
other positions, if he had not expressed the capitalist 
view with regard to the " sacredness " of national debts. 
Unquestionably, he believes national debts are sacred. 
But the point is, that if Mr. Taft had never been de- 
pendent upon capitalists for his sustenance, he might 
not have been dependent upon them for his opinions. If 


his way through life had been hard, he might have given 
some thought as to why it was hard. And, if rich men 
were not the beneficiaries of the system that creates na- 
tional debts, these rich men, too, might have entirely 
different opinions with regard to the " immorality " of 
repudiating debts that were never incurred for the bene- 
fit of the people, but which will, unless repudiated, run 
to the end of time to the great harm of the people. 

Indeed, we need accept no lesser authority than Wil- 
liam Pitt himself, the originator of the modern national 
debt, to justify the repudiation of all national debts. 
William Pitt conceived the idea of spending national in- 
come, not for current expenses, but to pay the interest 
upon as much money as he could borrow. The con- 
ception was precisely what he needed, because it enabled 
him to lay his hands upon approximately twenty times 
as much money as he could otherwise have obtained. 
The only questionable feature about it was that it left 
great debts for posterity to pay. Pitt said he did not 
care about posterity. David Starr Jordan declares 
Pitt's view to have been that " the owners of England 
were the people actually alive at any given time. The 
past had no stake in it; the future had acquired no in- 
terest. Therefore, if the men of Great Britain chose 
to mortgage their nation to secure some present good, 
it was their right." 

I perceive no flaw in Pitt's logic. But I respectfully 
call attention to the fact that he is dead. As a dead 
Englishman, he has no rights. Nor have his friends 
any rights, because they, too, are dead. Most of the 
Englishmen who followed Pitt and helped pile up four 
thousand millions of national debt are also dead. They 
are now in a position to be treated precisely as Eng- 
lishmen now living were treated by Mr. Pitt and his 


friends before the present generation were born. Mr. 
Pitt contemptuously snapped his fingers at what unborn 
generations might think of the debts that he had piled up 
for them to pay. Why may not the present generation 
as logically snap its fingers at Mr. Pitt's debts and 
all the other debts that have been contracted since his 
time? Why may not the present generation of English- 
men as consistently snap their fingers at what unborn 
generations of capitalist grafters may think of the re- 
pudiation of bonds upon which they would have drawn 
interest if the bonds had been permitted to exist? And, 
what Englishmen may consistently do, why may not all 
other peoples in like circumstances also do? 

It is a poor rule that will not work both ways. Too 
long have the common people of this world been the 
victims of rules that were permitted to work only against 
them. Our whole code of financial morals is composed 
of such rules. The common people are taught by the 
capitalists who exploit them that nothing is more repre- 
hensible than to buy something from a capitalist and not 
pay for it. The twin brother of this rule would be that 
no capitalist should ever sell anything to the common 
people that was not precisely what it purported to be, 
and which was not also actually worth the money paid 
for it. Do you see this twin brother around very 
numerously in the stores? Do you see him in real es- 
tate offices? Indeed, you do not. The rule of the cap- 
italist world is to sting the buyer as badly as he can be 
stung. The stinging is done in two ways. Either the 
price is right and the quality is not, or the quality is 
right and the price is not. In either case the customer 
is flimflammed. In one case he pays too much for a 
poor article, and in the other he pays too much for a 
good article. 


In neither case, of course, is the customer compelled 
to buy oh, no. He may starve or freeze to death if 
he should prefer. The capitalist always virtuously falls 
back upon the principle of the common law : " Let the 
buyer beware." Let the buyer exercise "judgment." 
Let him not be deceived by tradesmen who charge too 
much. Let him remember, above all things, that he has 
the blessed privilege of " freedom of contract " and that 
nobody, therefore, can coerce him into buying anything 
at a price that does not suit him. 

But no capitalist ever entertains the thought that any- 
thing dishonorable attaches to a mercantile fortune com- 
posed of dollars charged in excess of the real value of 
the things sold. The test of virtue that capitalists apply 
among themselves is simply, " Can we get away with 
it?" If a merchant can charge too much and "get 
away with it," his fortune is an honorable monument to 
his business sagacity, and he, himself, is a credit to his 
community. But this test is for capitalists only. For 
a workingman it is always wrong to cheat the capital- 
ist. Even if the workingman " gets away with it " it 
is wrong. If he cheats his grocer, dodges rent by mov- 
ing nights, buys his clothes on credit and never pays 
for them in short, if he manages his affairs so 
" shrewdly " that, in the course of a dozen years he is 
able to buy a $2,500 cottage, even then he is not hailed 
by the local capitalists as a "prominent citizen." He 
is only a dead beat. But, in actual fact he differs from 
the merchant prince dead beat only in the circumstance 
that the merchant prince has made a million out of his 
knavery while the workingman .has accumulated only 

Why should the common people of this world any 
longer permit such a class to tell them what is moral and 


what is not ? Why should not the common people begin 
to build a code of business morals of their own? As a 
matter of justice, there is no reason why the common 
people should not at once begin to dead beat tradesmen 
to the extent that tradesmen charge them more for goods 
than the goods are worth; nobody now pays the prices 
demanded for coal and meat because he wants to or be- 
cause he believes those prices are just. I do not advo- 
cate the cheating of tradesmen because nobody knows 
where to draw the line between what they are entitled 
to and what they charge. Lacking a line, one form of 
robbery would simply be exchanged for another. In- 
stead of the tradesman robbing the customer, the cus- 
tomer would rob the tradesman. That, perhaps, would 
be a delightful change to many customers, and, in prin- 
ciple, it would be no worse than the present system. But 
what this world needs is not more or different robbery, 
but more honesty. We shall progress only as we be- 
come more nearly fair in dealing with each other. We 
should only intensify robbery by becoming a world of 
dead beats. We should have no right to withhold from 
tradesmen what we might happen to believe they wrong- 
fully extort, from us, because we have no means of 
knowing how much this extortion is. But we know 
exactly how great is the element of robbery in the thirty- 
seven thousand millions of national debts that are 
charged up against the world. The element of robbery 
is precisely thirty-seven thousand millions, because the 
debts all represent the cost of wars waged by groups of 
capitalists for their own enrichment. 

The greatest reason, however, for repudiating national 
debts is to make war impossible. Please consider what 
would be the present situation in Germany if there were 
abroad in the land a strong sentiment in favor of the 


repudiation of the five billions owed by the imperial and 
state governments. Germany is preparing to go to war. 
The historian of the Prussian army, Lieutenant-Colonel 
Baron von der Ostensacken in 1913 wrote a book in 
which he declared that " a world-wide war is unavoid- 
able." In this, of course, he may be in error, but he is 
not in error in declaring that the governing class in 
Germany believes a great war is coming. Germany is 
extending itself to the limit to be ready. She is increas- 
ing one of her war chests from $30,000,000 to $90,000,- 
ooo. She is raising $250,000,000 by a special tax. She 
is adding $50,000,000 to her regular annual outlay for 
military expenses, which is already $318,000,000. She 
is preparing for a war that Edgar Crammond declared 
in a recent issue of the Nineteenth Century, would cost 
Germany one billion eight hundred millions during the 
first six months. 

Of course, the war, if it comes will be only a colossal 
curse to the common people of .Germany. It could not 
come if the capitalists of Germany and the capitalists 
of some other nations were not bent upon the robbery 
of each other. As it is, no such war could come if it 
were incumbent upon the German government to tax 
one billion eight hundred millions out of the people as 
rapidly as the guns burned it up or keep the peace. 
No nation in the world could raise so great an amount 
of money in so short a time not at least, without 
hurling the nation into certain and terrible bankruptcy. 
But any great nation can raise this sum by mortgaging 
its unborn generations until the end of time. It is there- 
fore entirely possible that the Prussian army officer 
whose book was stamped with the " complete approval " 
of the unofficial organ of the German war office, may be 
right. Germany, indeed, may be embroiled in a world- 


wide war, because under the deferred payment system 
of national debts, Germany can raise the money to 
fight it. 

How much could the Kaiser raise for war if his work- 
ing people were talking noisily and rather carelessly 
about the repudiation of all war debts? Do you be- 
lieve, if such were the talk, that the gentlemen who are 
already bleeding Germany out of the interest upon five 
billions which they have already lent do you believe 
they would be willing to lend almost two billions more, 
only to have the whole seven billions repudiated? Do 
you believe that if repudiation were threatened all 
around the world that any nation could borrow enough 
money to attack Germany? 

Don't forget: war cannot be fought without money 
thousands of millions of it. War too, with the rest 
of the world, has changed. Men are not enough. Guns 
are not enough. The modern machinery of war has 
made it so expensive that the living cannot pay the cost. 
The cost can be paid only by charging it against those 
whose hearts have not yet begun to beat and which will 
not, perhaps, begin to beat for half a century. The 
fraudulent system of incurring national debts that can 
never be paid is intended to prolong this misery until 
the last heart on earth has stopped beating. 

Is it not worth while to take the weapons away from 
these brawling marauders and compel them to keep the 
peace? Oh, of course! Everybody is against war. 
But have you noticed how strangely the capitalist gen- 
tlemen who are trying to spare us from further wars 
are going about it to execute their benevolent designs? 
Suppose these gentlemen, instead of trying to end war 
for us, were trying to stop drinking whiskey. Let us 
imagine these gentlemen as the town drunkards of their 


respective communities. As town drunkards they have 
shot up their streets, beaten inoffensive citizens, robbed 
wayfarers, and generally made themselves spectacles. 
The carousing has not been without compensation, how- 
ever, because robbery pays and they rob. But even- 
tually, they profess a change of heart and become de- 
clared advocates of total abstinence. They beat their 
breasts and call upon all men to witness their sincerity. 
But, with their beating, they also do a little qualifying. 
Whiskey, of course, is bad but then. It is some- 
times necessary, you know. People have been known 
to drop dead because there was no whiskey near at hand 
to save them. It is always best to be prepared. What 
should you say if, upon examination, you should dis- 
cover that each of these gentlemen, who, when he was 
a common drunkard, had a jug of whiskey in his cellar, 
now had eight barrels? If each of the gentlemen were 
continuing to drink and rob as much as ever, should you 
pay much attention to their pleas for temperance, or 
their explanations that the eight barrels of whiskey in 
each cellar were merely for emergency use in case of 
sudden heart failure? 

Why, then, does any sane person concede the slight- 
est sincerity to the protestations of our capitalist states- 
men, philosophers and flunkeys in general, that they are 
opposed to war? They are preparing for war as they 
never before prepared not only in the United States, 
but in every other large nation. Twenty-five years 
ago in 1889 Congress appropriated $44,000,000 
for the Army and $21,000,000 for the Navy. For the 
fiscal year that began on July i, 1913, Congress appro- 
priated $94,000,000 for the Army and $141,000,000 for 
the Navy. In 1899 we did not have a battleship. Now 
we have thirty-eight. We went into the Spanish War 


with only five battleships that cost $3,000,000 apiece. 
Now that we are trying to rid ourselves of the horrible 
curse of war, we are paying $7,500,000 apiece. In fifteen 
years, the price will very likely be $12,000,000. In 
fifteen years, each of our present thirty-eight battleships 
will be obsolete, precisely as the battleships of the 
Spanish war period are now obsolete. Also, in fifteen 
years, the capitalists who are trying so hard to end war 
will undoubtedly have so far succeeded that we shall 
then require no more than 100 battleships to "protect 
our interests." A hundred battleships at $12,000,000 
apiece will cost only one billion two hundred million 
dollars, which none of us, of course, will miss. Also, 
it will cost a few dollars now and then to keep those 100 
battleships in commission. 

As a matter of fact, while our national debt is not yet 
so large as that of Great Britain, France or Germany, 
we are racing more rapidly than any other nation toward 
the cataclysm that the crime of militarism invites. In 
other words, this government is devoting a greater pro- 
portion of its expenditures to wars, past and future, 
than is any other nation. The congressional appropria- 
tions for the year ending June 30, 1914, for instance, are, 
in round numbers, $685,000,000. Our appropriations for 
army, navy, fortifications and pensions are $433,000,- 
ooo, or 64 per cent, of our national expenditures. I 
have not the latest figures for foreign nations, but in 
1911, Germany spent only 43 per cent, of her appropria- { 
tions for war, Great Britain 34, France 31, Russia 23, 
and Japan 32. 

Here are some other facts that anybody who regards 
them as worth while may ponder over : 

The military expenditures of the leading seven mili- 


tary nations increased from 1881 to 1911 from $656,- 
000,000 to $1,800,000,000 a year. 

The public debts of the five great military nations of 
Europe have more than doubled during the last twenty 

The interest charges of these nations have quadrupled 
during the last thirty years. 

Every man, woman and child in the United States 
must pay $4.70 in 1914 to make up the appropriations 
for wars, past and future. In other words, the head of 
a family of five must pay, when he buys groceries, and 
other supplies, $23.50 to the war fund. A French 
family of the same size pays $35 ; an English family $38. 
Moreover, the poor people who do the paying in time of 
peace, do the fighting and the dying in time of war. 

The plain fact is that the rich men of the world can- 
not be depended upon to prevent war. If the working 
men and women want war stopped, they will have to 
stop it. In what better way can they stop it than to 
begin to agitate in favor of the repudiation of all war 
debts? Let the talk become loud enough let enough 
men and women take part in it and a cloud will at 
once be cast upon every war bond in existence. The 
capitalist, so far as lending money is concerned, is a 
fair-weather bird. He is afraid of clouds. If he be- 
lieves public sentiment is swerving toward the repudia- 
tion of war debts, he will be exceedingly slow to invest 
his money in more war bonds. That will dry up the 
wellsprings of the fighters. If they cannot borrow, they 
cannot - engage in war. Then we shall have peace. 

How long shall we, of the United States, have peace, 
with the government able to mortgage unborn genera- 
tions? Who can tell? Nobody. The second war with 
Mexico came upon us like a midnight peal of thunder. 


We had long heard the distant rumbling. We had long 
known that war might come. Yet when war actually 
began, nobody was more stunned than the people of the 
United States. 

No war better illustrates the danger of great military 
establishments. President Wilson is a man of peace. 
When war came, probably no one was more stunned 
than Mr. Wilson. Yet history will place upon Mr. 
Wilson the responsibility for bringing about the war. 
He did not intend to bring it about, but he did bring it 
about. If the United States had not been powerfully 
armed, he would not have done so. 

Let us not blink the facts. General Huerta overthrew 
and usurped the powers of government in Mexico. Un- 
less current history does him great injustice, he went 
into office with blood on his hands. As a mere matter 
of international law, he was undoubtedly entitled to 
recognition as the head of the Mexican state. Great 
Britain recognized him as such. France recognized him 
as such. Germany recognized him as such. The United 
States did not. Woodrow Wilson stood in the way. He 
said, in effect, that he would enter into no governmental 
relationships with a man who rose to power over the 
body of his murdered predecessor. 

President Wilson shall not here be criticised because 
he refused to recognize the government of General 
Huerta. International law may not have been on Presi- 
dent Wilson's side, but every instinct of decency was on 
his side. Rulers of states often set aside international 
law to express their personal preferences in such matters. 
Mr. Taft never recognized the republic of China, though 
the republic of China, when Mr. Taft went out of office, 
had been in existence more than a year. Mr. Wilson 
was entirely within his rights when he speedily recog- 


nized the Oriental republic that Mr. Taft had refused to 
recognize, and withheld his recognition from the Mexican 
dictatorship that Mr. Taft was about to recognize. 

So far, so good. But a different aspect was placed 
upon the situation when Mr. Wilson set about it to drive 
General Huerta from power. A different aspect was 
placed upon the situation when Mr. Wilson sent John 
Lind to Mexico, with instructions to set in motion the 
machinery for General Huerta's elimination. What those 
instructions were, perhaps the world will never know. 
We may judge what they were, however, from the in- 
spired reports that soon began to find their way into 
American newspapers. Persuasion was first tried. 
Then an effort was made to starve Huerta out by cut- 
ting off his money supplies. Mr. Wilson once believed 
and said that General Huerta was tottering to his fall 
as the result of inability to get money with which to 
carry on his government, but Mr. Wilson was wrong. 
General Huerta obtained money money by the million. 

As it became evident that Huerta could not be starved 
out, Mr. Wilson's determination to drive him out of 
office seemed to grow. Mr. Wilson's iron jaw was not 
put on him by mistake. He is not a man to come to 
quick conclusions, but when he makes up his mind to 
do a thing and has the power to do it, he does that thing. 
Nor is he a man without a temper. The more that 
Huerta resisted him, the more he disliked Huerta. I 
was in the White House during February before the 
war began and saw Mr. Wilson's hatred of Huerta flash 
up like a flame. " What can General Huerta do," in- 
quired a visitor, " to obtain recognition from this gov- 
ernment?" Mr. Wilson's jaws went together and bit 
off the one word " Nothing." He did not storm as Mr. 
Roosevelt might have done. He hardly raised his voice. 


But in his quiet demeanor was packed all the determina- 
tion that can be put into the human intellect. If I had 
been Huerta, I should have feared that man. 

Huerta did not know Mr. Wilson, but hated him. 
Huerta had every reason to hate Mr. Wilson. Unless 
we know better, we always hate those who are in our 
way. Mr. Wilson was in General Huerta's way. Mr. 
Wilson stood in the way of the complete realization of 
General Huerta's greatest ambition. And, quite natu- 
rally, Huerta's hatred of Wilson was reflected, more or 
less, by the officers who served under Huerta. 

It was the reflection of Huerta's hatred by his sub- 
ordinates that caused the insults that precipitated war. 
Never before did we go to war (unless the war of 1812 
be considered an exception) as the result of an insult to 
our flag. Benjamin Franklin once said that no cause 
was sufficient to create war between two nations that 
wished to keep the peace and that no cause was too small 
to provoke war between two nations that wished to fight 
each other. More than a hundred years after Franklin's 
death, his wisdom comes back to us* Huerta apologized 
(orally and by proxy) for the insults tha,t had been 
offered through his government, to our flag. Mr. Wilson 
said he must salute the flag. 

Why came the second war with Mexico ? Because two 
men fell out, and one of them, having the power to de- 
stroy, by force of arms, the power of the other, deter- 
mined to resort to war. Starting with the best inten- 
tions, Mr. Wilson gradually became enmeshed in the 
most tactless actions. If Mr. Wilson had contented him- 
self with the refusal to recognize Huerta, the second war 
with Mexico would have been indefinitely postponed. 
But the moment Mr. Wilson sent Mr. Lind to Mexico 
for the purpose of driving Huerta from power that 
moment Mr, Wilson set his feet upon dangerous ways. 


Mr. Wilson's state of mind being what it was, from the 
moment the demand was made upon Huerta to retire the 
question of peace or war passed to the hands of Huerta. 
No nation can make a demand without suffering humilia- 
tion if the demand be refused. Mr. Wilson placed him- 
self in a position where, in the event of opposition, he 
must fight or be humiliated. General Huerta provided 
the opposition and Mr. Wilson provided the war. 
Mr. Wilson's misfortune and the misfortune of the 
American people was due to the fact that he had at 
his elbow too many great military weapons. If he had 
known, at the beginning, that he could not force Huerta 
out, he would not have demanded that he go. Switzer- 
land never demands that the reigning dynasty of Great 
Britain shall renounce the throne. But Mr. Wilson had 
the men, the ships and the money with which to whip 
Mexico, and, without realizing it, events drove him into 
a position where he determined to use his power. 

The possession of weapons always carries with it the 
temptation to use them. When we were practically un- 
armed, thirty-five years ago, we were in no danger. No- 
body tried to attack us. Nobody dared to attack us. 
Everybody knew that, if attacked, we could overwhelm 
any nation that should attempt to land an army upon our 
shores. We could do the same to-day. We need no 
navy. We need no more than the skeleton of an army. 
With such land fortifications as we have, or could easily 
provide, nobody could capture a city, and certainly no 
nation would be so foolish as to try to land an army 
among us. 

With the money that we are wasting upon military 
expenditures, we could annually build a double-track 
railway across the continent at an average expenditure 
of $50,000 a mile. 

With the same money, we could annually establish 


twenty great universities, at a cost of $20,000,000 each. 

Or, with one year's military expenditures, we could 
establish national stock ranges, produce our own beef 
cattle, slaughter them and pack the meat in government 
institutions and sell meat to the people at the cost of pro- 
duction. The beef trust might not like this, but other 
people might. 

Or, with one year's expenditures, we could build 144,- 
ooo houses at $3,000 each. If we desired, we could sell 
these houses at cost, instead of $4,500 or $5,000 each, 
as the real estate gentlemen do, or we could rent them 
for just enough to keep them in repair. 

The government of New Zealand is already doing 
practically this, though in a small way as yet. 

Or, with one year's military expenditures, we could 
build 50 flour mills at $50,000 each, and sell flour to the 
people at cost; 50 shoe factories at $50,000 each, and 
sell shoes to the people at cost; 100 furniture factories 
at $100,000 each, and sell furniture to the people at 
cost and still have spent only $15,000,000 of the 
$433,000,000 that we are this year expending for wars 
past and present. 

With the remaining $418,000,000 we might establish 
other industries to compete with the grafters. 

The foregoing are but illustrations of what the work- 
ing people of the world could do if .they would repudiate 
the world's war debts, end war forever, and then take 
over the control of their own governments. Perhaps a 
" widow " or " orphan," here "and there, would miss the 
interest upon a war bond, but what of it? Granted that 
injustice would actually be done in some cases, is it not 
better that injustice should be done to a few than that 
war should curse the world indefinitely and war debts 
rob the world until the end of time? 



HENRY FORD, in 1914, did what the best consti- 
tution could not have done he cracked the shell 
of hell. He who will may put his eyes to the crack and 
look out. Everyone in the world is putting his eyes to 
the crack, though not all of them are looking out. The 
whole world is talking about Ford. Wherever men and 
women toil most, there is the talk most earnest. 
Five dollars a day for floor sweepers think of it. 
Twelve millions a year given to employees can we be 
dreaming? And daily hours cut from nine to eight 
will not somebody kindly wake us up? 

Nobody can wake us up. We are not asleep. All 
that we have read about Ford is true. The great auto- 
mobile manufacturer is giving away money by the mil- 
lion not as Rockefeller gives it, to universities and 
churches; not as Carnegie gives it, to found libraries in 
his own honor Ford is giving the millions back to the 
men who hammered them out with their bones. He 
might have kept them all. He voluntarily chose not to. 
For Ford, as a human being, I am strong. He is a man. 

I should like now to have you look through the crack 
that Ford has put into the shell of hell as I look through 
it and then ask yourself whether I have pointed out 
anything that is not there. But to see through this 
crack clearly it will be necessary for you to keep Ford's 
millions a little away from your eyes. A silver dollar, 



held within half an inch of your eye, you know, will 
shut off the view of a valley a thousand miles long. 

I said I was strong for Ford. I am. I am strong 
for him because he wears no bristles upon his back. I 
am strong for him because he is doing what no other 
man of his income ever did giving back to his em- 
ployees half of his profits. But I am strongest for him 
because he has proved many things that Socialist writers 
have been telling you for years. When we wrote you 
yawned. You said we were dreamers. Some of you 
said we were fools. No matter what you said. The 
point is, you did not believe us. We pictured to you a 
world for which you did not dare to hope. You did 
not believe a world so much better than this could exist. 
But you were wrong. Ford has proved you were 
wrong. You were wrong because you did not dare to 
hope enough. The human race never dares to hope 
enough. So long has it been harnessed to hardship that 
it scarcely dares hope at all. A politician who promises 
next to nothing and does not deliver that is usually 
believed. We Socialists, who promise what the earth 
really holds, are set down as idle dreamers or malicious 

It is time now to get down to brass tacks. Money 
talks. Ford's money is talking. We Socialists told you 
that under a just system of industry even the lowliest 
worker need not lack a decent living. Ford has not 
established a just system of industry, even in his own 
factory. He is returning only half of his profits. But 
the lowliest man who works for Ford receives not less 
than $5 a day/ That is $1,565 a year. Ford is paying 
many of his workingmen more than $2,000 a year. The 
average annual wage of the American workingman is 
less than $500 a year. 


The difference between what Ford is paying and what 
the others are paying indicates part of the robbery that 
the others are practising upon their victims. It does 
not represent all of the robbery, because Ford is not yet 
paying his employees what they earn. Ford's em- 
ployees, like all other employees, earn all that is 
produced in excess of what is actually produced 
by the proprietors themselves. Most great proprie- 
tors produce nothing. Ford is an exception. He is 
entitled to his just reward. But his just reward is not 
what he is getting. His plant, in 1913, produced $25,- 
000,000 of profits. Ford took more than half of this 
sum and his six partners took the rest. No man on 
earth can earn $12,000,000 or $15,000,000 a year. 

No man on earth can wisely use so much a year. 
Ford knows this as well as anybody. The fact that he 
has chosen to surrender half of his profits shows that 
he knows it. The fact that he has chosen to return half 
of this money to his employees instead of using it to 
found libraries and endow colleges shows that he knows 
to whom it belongs. Ford has been a workingman him- 
self. He is not entirely blind. He knows what it 
means to work and get only a part of what one earns. 

But let us hurry along. We Socialists told you that 
under a just system of industry even the lowliest work- 
ingman need not lack a decent living. You hooted at us. 
You said we were fools. The rich men said we were 
crooks. What does Ford say? He says he can afford 
to pay and will pay floor sweepers not less than $5 a day. 
What do you think of a minimum of $5 a day? You, 
Mr. Average American Workingman, who receive less 
than $500 a year, what do you think of $1,565 a year? 
Could you live in comparative decency on that? Would 
your family feel a little more comfortable than it now 


feels on less than $500 a year? How would you like 
to work for Ford? Would you accept a job in his fac- 
tory if he were to telegraph you? Would you suspect 
his money of being counterfeit? 

Then, why do you always suspect Socialist promises 
of being counterfeit? Can nothing but the actual sight 
of money convince you? All that Ford has told you in 
terms of money we have told you in words. We have 
told you even more. We have told you that you may 
have all your labor produces if you will but go about it 
in a sensible way to get it. Ford has told his employees 
they may have half of the additional $25,000,000 a year 
that they should get. When Ford promises to return 
ten or twelve millions a year you take him exceedingly 
seriously. If you are near enough to his factory, you 
crowd around the gates and howl for jobs. You block 
the streets until the police have to come and chase you 
away. But when Socialists tell you that you could just 
as well have the whole $25,000,000 as half of it, you 
yawn and declare you believe you will vote the Demo- 
cratic ticket and keep the tariff down or vote some other 
ticket and put the tariff up. 

The man who perpetually yawns is exceedingly likely 
to dislocate his jaw, but he is not in great danger of 
yawning a new suit of clothes upon his back, or a bar- 
rel of flour into the kitchen. It is time that we, as a na- 
tion of working men and women, began to give some 
serious thought to the problem of how we may best go 
about it to make life more nearly worth living. If noth- 
ing can convince us except the actual sight of money, let 
us thank God that Ford has money. He has put a crack 
in the walls that even a donkey should be able to see 

But we should ask too much of Mr. Ford if we were 


to require him to pull us through the crack. Ford has 
done enough for us. We should now do something for 
ourselves. He has shown us that half of his profits 
are enough to enable him to reduce daily hours from 
nine to eight and increase the pay of all men more than 
22 years old to $5 a day. We should be able to do the 
rest of the problem ourselves. It is nothing but a prob- 
lem in mental arithmetic. We have only to divide the 
remainder of Ford's annual profits by the number of his 
employees to ascertain how much more Socialism would 
increase wages. 

The remainder of Ford's profits are $12,500,000. 

The number of his employees is 25,000. 

Enough profits are left to increase by $500 a year 
the wages of each man, woman and child who works 
for Ford. 

That would be a little more than $2,000 a year for 
floor sweepers and still more for others. 

If Ford should say to his employees that he would 
give each of them $500 more a year, you would believe 
him. You would believe him because you know he has 
the money. Yet Ford cannot divide $12,500,000 by 
25,000 more accurately than I can. I know what the 
result is as well as he does. I know that if Ford's em- 
ployees, in common with all the rest of the people in the 
United States, owned the Ford factory, precisely as they 
do the parcel post, that the employees, instead of Mr. 
Ford and his partners, would get the remaining $12,- 
500,000 a year. All this is but the simplest truth, and 
the sooner the working class of the United States 
awaken to its truth the sooner will " Ford wages " and 
better be paid to everybody in the United States. 

But every industry in the United States is not a Ford 
automobile factory this from our friends the grafters 


who want to keep things precisely as they are. Hardly 
anybody, they say, is making so much money as Ford 
and almost nobody could afford to pay so much wages 
as he is paying. 

Nonsense? Every great industry in the United 
States can afford to pay as much as Ford is paying. 
Little business men could not afford to pay as much, be- 
cause they are doing business in a wasteful, picayuneish 
way, but the great industries are as well able as Ford to 
pay what he is paying. The automobile industry is 
highly competitive. Ford's business seems an exception 
to ordinary industries only because his dividends are so 
large. Let me tell you why his dividends are so large. 

The Ford Automobile Company in 1913 made profits 
of $25,000,000. The rule among big business men is 
to issue as much stock as the profits will pay dividends 
upon. That is the way business men estimate values. 
Earning power is the test. If a concern can produce 
profits of $1,000 a year, the concern must be worth $25,- 
ooo, because $1,000 is 4 per cent, of $25,000. The ad- 
vantage of this scheme is that it gives the insiders an 
opportunity to get their own profits quickly. They do 
not wait weary years for dividends. They simply start 
the presses to printing stock. The stock is sold to the 
public at high prices and bought back, in panic times, at 
low prices. The insider cannot lose. The outsider can- 
not win. The insider does not intend the outsider shall 

The Ford Automobile Company,- as I have said, pro- 
duced in 1913 profits of $25,000,000. It was known far 
and wide as a highly prosperous concern. According to 
all the rules of high finance, it should have been capi- 
talized at an enormous sum. According to all the rules 
of high finance, its stock should have been touted broad- 


cast as a great investment and sold to everybody who 
could be induced to buy. If Henry Ford had been the 
ordinary big business man, he would have done these 
things. Upon the basis of his $25,000,000 of profits 
he would have capitalized his concern at $625,000,000 or 
thereabouts. Upon a capitalization of $625,000,000 he 
could have paid an annual dividend of 4 per cent. As 
the owner of more than half of the stock he could have 
put more than $300,000,000 into his own pockets and 
become another Carnegie. He' could have reduced 
wages, starved his employees into strikes, shot them 
down if necessary, and virtuously resisted all demands 
for more wages by declaring that he was already paying 
so much wages that he could pay only 4 per cent, interest 
upon his stock. 

But Henry Ford did none of these things. The Ford 
Automobile Company, instead of being capitalized at 
$625,000,000, is capitalized at $2,000,000. The stock 
of the company, instead of being scattered broadcast 
through the country, is owned by seven men, Mr. Ford 
himself owning more than half. Mr. Ford, in other 
words, has been and is engaged in the making and sell- 
ing of automobiles rather than in the making and sell- 
ing of stock. 

Therein Ford differs from the conventional big busi- 
ness man. Because his company is honestly capitalized, 
his books in 1913 showed a profit of more than 1,200 
per cent. It is because his books showed a profit of 
more than 1,200 per cent, that the Ford company is 
pointed out as an unusually successful enterprise. If 
the Ford company were capitalized for seven or eight 
hundred million dollars, the very men who now regard 
it as a gold mine would regard it as a gold brick. 

And it would be a gold brick to everybody except the 


men who sold the brick. They would have the seven 
or eight hundred millions and would be so respectable 
that their respectability would shed censure as a duck's 
feathers shed rain. But the cheated stockholders would 
be dissatisfied with the small return upon their invest- 
ment, and the workers would be dissatisfied with their 
wages. The wages of floor sweepers would not be in- 
creased from $2.34 a day to $5, nor would $12,000,000 
be handed out each year to other employees. More 
likely the wages of everybody would be reduced. And 
the reduction would be based upon the excuse that is 
everywhere given by big business men : " We must re- 
duce wages in order to pay our stockholders a fair rate 
of interest." 

We hear this cry every day. The railroad companies 
want to reduce wages or increase freight rates they 
do not much care which. The mining companies can- 
not afford to pay their employees living wages. No mil- 
lionaire will admit that he is making a dollar in excess 
of necessary household expenses. Ford is the only mil- 
lionaire in the United States who is crying to his em- 
ployees to help him spend his money. 

Yet common sense should tell us that the Ford plant 
is not the only industry in the United States that is mak- 
ing much money. Why should the Ford plant be so 
considered? The Ford plant makes nothing but auto- 
mobiles. Automobiles are not necessary to life. Most 
people do not have them. Most people never will have 
them. Concerns that make and sell what everybody 
must have should be much more prosperous than a con- 
cern that deals in what only a few can have. A great 
railroad system should be much more prosperous than 
an automobile plant. The Beef Trust should be more 
prosperous than an automobile plant The Woolen 


Trust should be more prosperous than an automobile 
plant. The Steel Trust should be more prosperous than 
an automobile plant. Yet not one of these trusts de- 
clared a dividend in 1913 of 1,200 per cent. Not one 
of these trusts has since established a minimum wage of 
$5 a day and reduced daily hours from nine to eight. 
Not one of these trusts pays anything but the lowest 
wages upon which its employees will consent to exist. 
They are all doing business feeding, transporting and 
otherwise serving the American people, but they are all 
paying wages that Ford's employees would not look at, 
and calling upon the police, if necessary, to prevent their 
employees from using force to get more. 

The American people are being fooled that's all. 
The business buccaneers of this country are concealing 
their profits behind watered stock. What Ford is doing 
all the great business interests of the United States could 
do if they would. 

The railroads could decrease freight and passenger 
rates and increase wages. 

The Beef Trust could increase wages and reduce the 
price of meat. 

The Woolen Trust and the Steel Trust could sell 
their products for less and pay their employees more. 

Ford wages can be duplicated by any trust that is will- 
ing to retire its watered stock and return to its employees 
half or more of the profits. 

But there comes the rub. To get the desired result 
both of the foregoing conditions must be brought about. 
Capitalization must be brought down to an honest basis 
and capitalists must be found who will give half of their 
profits back to their employees. The fulfillment of 
either of the conditions without the other will not be 
enough. It is theoretically possible, though highly im- 


probable, that the trusts will be forced to an honest capi- 
talization. But what if the trusts were to be forced to 
an honest capitalization to-morrow? What good would 
that do the men and women who work for the trusts? 

That is a question that is not answered by gentlemen 
who would settle everything by squeezing the water out 
of stock. Squeezing water out of stock, while a highly 
meritorious proceeding, does not necessarily amount to 
anything to the employees of stockholders. Squeez- 
ing the water out of stock merely prevents rich men 
from gold-bricking small investors. It does not com- 
pel stockholders to pay wageworkers more wages. 
Ford's honest capitalization did not amount to anything 
to his employees until he coupled with it a determination 
to return to his employees half of his enormous profits. 
Without undermining the very foundations of the capi- 
talist system, what law can be passed to compel capital- 
ists to return half or more of their profits to their em- 
ployees? No such law can be passed. Therefore, the 
squeezing out of water from stock is no remedy for in- 
sufficient wages. It is a remedy only for a certain class 
of bad investments. 

The only remedy for the miserable conditions under 
which labor exists is Socialism. Ford's plan, splendid 
as it is in comparison with the policies of other capital- 
ists, is defective in many particulars, of which I shall 
mention two. It gives his employees only half of the 
$25,000,000 annual profits, when they should have all 
of the profits except what might justly be paid to him 
as compensation for his services, which are of undoubted 
value; and, being entirely voluntary, it may be with- 
drawn by him at any moment. 

No man should have the right to withdraw at any 
time anything to which any other man is entitled. 


Either Ford's employees create the wealth that is pro- 
duced in his plant or they do not. If they do not create 
this wealth, it would be interesting to discover who does 
create it. If they do create it they are entitled to all 
they create all the time. If they did not create the 
$25,000,000 of profits that the plant produced in 1913, 
then Ford and his six partners did create it and are now 
doling it back to their employees in the form of charity. 
If the workers of this country, in demanding higher 
wages, are seeking charity, I have not heard their cry 
aright. If Ford, in announcing his profit-sharing plan, 
branded it as an act of charity, I did not read his an- 
nouncement aright. 

"All our men," said Henry Ford to the New York 
Times, on January n, 1914, "have helped us in our 
business. We feel they are entitled to share in the 

Not a word about charity in that. Nor in this : 

" I do not believe in prolonging the conditions which, 
ever since the Civil War, have been developing into a 
curse upon the country the conditions which have 
built up a few millionaires and actually pauperized mil- 
lions or kept them poor. Such conditions are out of 

Such conditions certainly are out of date. Such con- 
ditions were never in date. They were never just. 
They are not just now. But to declare them " out of 
date " accomplishes nothing. Even if they are out of 
date, the conditions still exist. What we need is to put 
them out of existence. How can we do that? Ford's 
plan will not do it. Ford's plan is voluntary. If we 
wait until the great capitalists of this country voluntarily 
offer to relinquish half of their profits to their employees, 
we shall probably wait until Gabriel blows his horn. 


Who is willing to wait so long? If every capitalist 
should voluntarily follow Ford's example to-morrow, 
what could prevent them from changing their minds day 
after to-morrow? 

Don't let your mind buckle up at this point. Here is 
where you should do your thinking. It is because you 
always stop before you get to this point that you never 
get anywhere. We have uncovered the loot how are 
we to recover our property? 

We have shown that stock watering is a device by 
which profits are concealed how are we to get what 
we have lost? 

You cannot do it by decreasing the tariff. 

You cannot do it by increasing the tariff. 

You cannot do it by fussing with the currency. 

You cannot do it by passing more foolish laws against 
the trusts. 

Only one law can be enacted against the trusts that 
will do the people any good. Pass a law compelling 
the trusts to sell their plants to the government, at a 
just price, and you will have done something. You will 
then be in a position to know that you will get the profits 
made by the trusts. Owners never have any difficulty in 
collecting the profits that their industries make. Out- 
siders are the only ones who have difficulty in collecting 
profits on other people's property. 

The American people are outsiders. They should be 
insiders. The people of the United States should own 
the industries of the United States. They do all the 
work in these industries. They have need for all the 
products of these industries. Why should they let a 
few insiders own everything while all the rest of the 
people stand outside and pay everything? It is not be- 


cause industry would cease if the insiders ceased to own. 
Owners are not workers. They used to be, a hundred 
years ago, but they are not now. Business has grown 
too big. Owners now merely own. Morgan makes no 
steel, nor helps move a railway train. Rockefeller only 
plays golf. Not a great captain of industry works any- 
thing but the public. With rare exceptions, such ener- 
gies as they devote to business are devoted only to the 
business of profit-making. 

Profit-making does the public no good. If the pub- 
lic must be buncoed out of a profit, the public has no in- 
terest in the destination of the profit. It is immaterial 
to the public whether the profit goes to Morgan, to 
Rockefeller or to the Vanderbilts. The public should 
not, therefore, be compelled to pay Mr. Morgan for so 
arranging matters that a certain profit goes to him rather 
than to somebody else. That kind of " work " does 
not constitute public service and should not be paid for 
by the public. 

Yet it is the only kind of work these gentlemen do. 
To do this "work" is the only excuse they have for 
owning the country's industries. If they were to get 
out, the industries would go on. The men who are 
making steel would continue to make steel. The men 
who are digging coal would continue to dig coal. The 
men who are weaving wool would continue to weave 
wool. Nothing would happen except that a few 
grafters would no longer be permitted to fatten at the 
expense of everybody else. What Ford has done for 
his 25,000 employees would be more than duplicated for 
every other working man and woman in the United 
States. Ford is giving only half of his profits back to 
the men who originally created them. Socialism would 


hand over the other half. Socialism would leave noth- 
ing for the mere owner for the man who did nothing 
but stand at the pay window with a club. 

Men like Henry Ford would be taken care of. Men 
like Henry Ford are as easy to take care of as they are 
scarce. In the New York Times interview that I have 
quoted he said: "I don't expect to leave much of a 
fortune when I die." He knows how little money can 
do toward the making of happiness. Yet he knows how 
necessary it is that everybody should be able to receive 
for his labor enough money to enable him to live com- 
fortably. " I believe it is better for the nation," he said 
to the Times, " and far better for humanity, that be- 
tween 20,000 and 30,000 men and women who work for 
me should be contented and well fed than that a few. 
millionaires should be made." 

The needs of all the rest of the people are as great 
as the needs of Ford's employees. He believes and 
quite rightly that he has helped humanity by giving 
half of his profits to his employees. I believe humanity 
would be helped tremendously more by giving all of the 
profits that now go to capitalists to the working men 
and women who are creating them. That is what 
Socialism stands for. 

And that is what we need in this country. We need 
to widen the margin between income and necessary ex- 
penditure. It does no good to increase wages if the 
cost of living be also increased so much that nothing is 
left of the increased wages. Nor does it do any good 
to reduce the cost of living if wages be so reduced that 
the worker can pay only for the cheaper living. The 
people of this country will never be any better off until 
the cost of living can be tremendously reduced without 
reducing wages at all, or until wages can be tremen- 


dously increased without increasing the cost of living at 
all. Which brings us to the paltry promises that the 
other political parties make and don't keep. 

How miserable are the promises of the Democratic 
party empty though they have proved to be beside 
what Henry Ford is actually doing. The Democratic 
party promised to reduce the cost of living by reducing 
the tariff. If anyone can show that the cost of living 
has gone down since the Underwood tariff law became 
effective he will have accomplished something that 
Bradstreet's has been unable to do. The Democratic 
party promised that it would increase prosperity by " re- 
forming " the currency. The winter after the currency 
was reformed 325,000 men were idle in New York City 
alone, and millions more were idle throughout the coun- 
try. The Democratic party promised to stop extortion 
by " strengthening " the laws against the trusts, but 
when Mr. Wilson outlined his anti-trust program to 
congress Wall street smiled and declared publicly that 
the President's statesmanship was superb. 

Nor is that all. What if the Democratic party had 
actually kept its promise to reduce the cost of living? 
W T hat if the Democratic party had made the average 
man's living cost nothing? The average man's living 
must cost less than $500 a year, because his total income 
is less than that sum. What if the Democratic party 
had enabled the average man to live for nothing and 
save his whole income of less than $500 a year? What 
would that achievement have amounted to beside the act 
of Ford in paying even his floor sweepers $1,565 a year? 
If Ford's floor sweepers want to live on less than $500 
a year, as most American workingmen are compelled to 
live, each of Ford's floor sweepers can save more than 
$1,000 a year. Ford actually increased the wages of 


each of his floor sweepers $833 a year. He more than 
doubled their wages, swelling them from $732 to $1,565. 
The Democratic party never promised the working peo- 
ple of the country more than a paltry reduction in the 
cost of living, with no guarantee whatever that wages 
would not be correspondingly reduced. As a matter of 
fact, the Democratic party has not reduced the cost of 
living at all. Yet Mr. Wilson continues to enjoy world- 
wide renown as a great statesman. 

Nor did Mr. Roosevelt, in his most extravagant mo- 
ments, ever promise anything that could be compared 
with what Henry Ford has done and is doing. Mr. 
Roosevelt, if he be read carefully, never really promised 
much of anything. He talked glibly about " social jus- 
tice/' but he never took the trouble to translate his 
phrases into terms of beef and potatoes. Any political 
phrase that cannot be translated into terms of beef and 
potatoes is poor politics for those who consume the 
political phrase but cannot consume the beef and po- 

What we need in this country is more food, more 
clothing, better shelter, more leisure and less political 
hot air. Mr. Roosevelt, willing, as he always is, to 
promise at least all he believes he can deliver, really 
never promised anything that was definite enough to 
be identified by an adding machine. If he had prom- 
ised to the people of the whole country even half of 
what Ford is actually delivering to his employees, it is 
a grave question whether he would have received as 
many votes as he did. It would have seemed too much. 
Nobody would have believed the country's industries 
could stand the drain. Yet Ford, honestly capitalized as 
his company is, has turned the trick and is still paying 


an annual dividend of 600 per cent, upon his $2,000,000 
of stock. 

We who live in this country should dare to hope. 
We are living in both a marvelous country and a mar- 
velous age. We have the men, the machinery and the 
materials with which to produce everything we need. 
We should no longer be content with a bare living. We 
should live well and live easily. We should work less 
and consume more. We should demand much and in- 
sist upon getting it. We should have no patience with 
politicians who promise us trifles and give us nothing. 
Any politician who promises us trifles is either crooked 
or lacking in realization of what are our just deserts. 
We who do the work of this country are entitled to 
everything that is produced in this country. We should 
have no multi-millionaires here. We should have no 
paupers here. We should have neither if everyone were 
to have the value of what he creates and no more. 

We need only to go about it sanely to satisfy our 
needs. The industries of this country are no longer 
suited to private ownership. Anything that cannot be 
run by its owners is too large for its owners to own. 
Lincoln said no man was good enough to govern an- 
other man without that other man's consent. We say 
that no man has a moral right to own what he cannot 
operate, but which other men must operate if they are 
to live. The small group of men who own the indus- 
tries of this country cannot operate them and do not 
need them. The great group of men who operate the 
industries of this country do not own them, but must 
have access to them if they are to live. They cannot 
obtain access to them except by making terms with their 
owners. The terms are always the lowest wages upon 


which the workers will consent to exist. These must be 
the terms because there are always idle workers ready 
to take the jobs for wages that will yield a bare living. 
Democrats declare these statements are false. Pro- 
gressives declare these statements are false. Republi- 
cans declare these statements are false. We Socialists 
respectfully call attention to the fact that the capitalists 
who are robbing you are financing each of the parties 
that declare we Socialists are liars. We also call your 
attention to the conditions that now exist and have ex- 
isted since you were born and long before. The 
workingmen of this country, like workingmen the world 
over, have been and still are poor. 

If you want to fill your pockets, you must open your 
eyes. Two classes are struggling for the possession of 
the wealth that is being produced in this country. The 
workers are trying to keep what they make. The capi- 
talists are trying to get all they can. Strikes are an ex- 
pression of this conflict. Politics is an expression of 
this conflict. Of the two politics is the more important. 
The gentlemen who are relieving you of so large a pro- 
portion of what you produce are proceeding according to 
law. They know, because they made the law. They 
are exceedingly particular as to what the law shall be. 
They would like the law always to be on their side. It 
is easier to do anything when the law is on one's side. 
You should know this as well as they do. You should 
know it so well that you would go about it intelligently 
to make the law as you want it. 

That is precisely what you do not do. When you 
strike you do not choose J. Pierpont Morgan or John 
D. Rockefeller as your leader. You choose one of your 
own men. But when you go after something of much 
more importance that is to say, political power you 


always choose J. Pierpont Morgan or John D. Rocke- 
feller as your leader. I mean you always vote with 
some party that is controlled and financed by the rich 
men whom you wish to conquer. 

You see Roosevelt, but you do not see George 
W. Perkins. 

You see Wilson, but you do not see August Belmont 
and Thomas F. Ryan. 

You are solemnly assured that Perkins, Belmont and 
Ryan do not count, but when your hero has finished his 
term in the White House they are always more enthusi- 
astic about him than you are. You may not know why, 
but they do. You believed he belonged to your side. 
They knew he did not. Some of the men who recently 
built a monument in Princeton, New Jersey, to the 
memory of Grover Cleveland are the men whom Cleve- 
land was elected to put out of business. It is always 
so. A man who is elected by the capitalist class cannot 
be depended upon to prevent that class from preying 
upon the people. 

The Socialist party is trying to take possession of 
this country on behalf of the men and women who are 
doing the work of this country. It is not financed by 
any capitalist. Its only source of income is the 25 cents 
a month that each of the workers who belong to the 
party pays into its treasury. It has no other purpose 
than to promote the public welfare. It knows not how 
the public welfare can be promoted except by urging the 
people to take over the ownership of the country's indus- 
tries and operate them for the public benefit. We be- 
lieve we can pack meat without Mr. Armour. We be- 
lieve we can do everything there is to be done without 
the help of anybody. We know we can do everything 
that is to be done, because we have always done it and 


are still doing it. We should only miss the activities of 
the gentlemen who keep us poor while we are working, 
We believe we could endure their absence. We also be- 
lieve we could endure the absence of their agents in con- 
gress. We believe congress, without any trust agents in 
it, would be quite a respectable body. We should not 
trust it too far we should hold it in check with the 
initiative, the referendum and the recall but we be- 
lieve it would do very well. Since the government has 
succeeded in digging the Panama Canal, we believe it 
could be trusted to dig coal and grind wheat, weave cloth 
and smoke hams. 

In short, we believe so much in our country that we 
are exceedingly anxious to take possession of it. We 
should like to place everybody, not merely on a level with 
Mr. Ford's floor sweepers, but up with his $3,000 or 
$4,000 year mechanics. At present each of Mr. Ford's 
floor sweepers is annually in receipt of an income that 
is more than three times as great as that of the average 
American and Mr. Ford has enough left to pay a 
dividend of 600 per cent, upon his stock. Mr. Ford 
and his floor sweepers may be proud of this fact, but 
how do you feel about it? 

Join the Socialist Party. Vote the Socialist trcket. 
Get in line. It is unthinkable that present conditions 
can forever continue. The ownership of the earth can- 
not forever be kept in the hands of a few. The workers 
must be the owners. Do you believe otherwise? If 
not, vote the only ticket that will express your desires. 
Dare to hope and then vote as you hope. 



QOCIALISM has been variously defined as a disease, 
^ a crime, and a sport, while the simple truth is that 
it is nothing but a program combined with a passion. 
The program of Socialism is as prosaic as that of a dog 
that has fleas. We merely propose to shake off the gen- 
tlemen who are .riding upon our backs and relieving us 
of our tissue. We passionately present our program 
because it is a program to bring about social justice. 
We do not apologize for becoming somewhat in earnest 
in our efforts to rid the world of social injustice. 

Perhaps the master fallacy of the American people 
is that this country contains no classes that we are 
all little brothers working together to fulfil some sort 
of glorious mission, and that "the interests of capital 
and labor are identical." If anybody can demonstrate 
to us that the interests of burglars and householders are 
identical, we Socialists shall be willing to concede that 
the interests of capital and labor are identical. In the 
sense that burglars and capitalists are both engaged in 
the pleasant occupation of appropriating wealth created 
by others, capitalists and burglars are alike. They are 
unlike chiefly in the particulars that burglars always 
work outside of the law and do not have the effrontery 
to contend that the interests of themselves and their 
victims are as nearly alike as two peas. 


Yet this is no new event in the world's history. Since 
man first learned to convert his labor-power into wealth, 
there has always been a struggle for its possession. 
This struggle, from age to age, has taken various forms. 

Precisely as rapidly as the oppressed have compelled 
their oppressors to abandon one form of pillaging they 
have adopted another. In the beginning, the method 
was plain highway robbery. Then came the pretense to 
actual ownership of men's bodies which was followed by 
serfdom. Afterwards came capitalism, under which a 
small class of men own the natural resources and in- 
dustrial machinery of the world and give those who do 
the work only enough to enable them to come back in 
the morning for more work. 

In fact, this dodging from pillar to post has gone on 
so successfully and at such great length that we Social- 
ists should have no interest in trying to interfere with it 
were it not that we remember the old story about the 
coon that ran from one hole to another as rapidly as it 
was smoked out. The coon finally came to the last hole, 
and was caught. We Socialists believe we can demon- 
strate that the capitalists have come, to their last hole. 

Seventy years ago, Socialist thinkers and writers pre- 
dicted the coming of trusts and accurately described 
them as they exist to-day. Nobody paid any attention 
to these gentlemen. There was not a trust in the world. 
Not until more than thirty years later was there a trust 
in the world. But these Socialist gentlemen were un- 
easy. They believed they could see something. The 
steam engine had been invented. For the first time in 
the world's history, man was beginning to harness the 
forces of nature for the production of wealth. 

The Socialist gentlemen figured it out this way: man- 
ufacturing will prove to be a profitable industry. The 


profits of the industry will attract capital to it. For a 
time the volume of production will not outrun the buy- 
ing-power of the people. When the volume of produc- 
tion, increased by the desire of capitalists to get profits, 
does exceed the buy ing-power of the people, profits will 
become smaller. As profits become smaller, the compe- 
tition among capitalists for profits will become more in- 
tense. As competition becomes more intense, the capi- 
talists that are economically weakest will go under. But 
the capitalists that remain will not be of equal strength 
and again the strongest will compete with the weakest 
to drive them out of business. Thus the struggle will 
go on until competition shall be proved to be not the 
" life of trade," but the death of trade. Then the com- 
petitors will go about it to restore profits by combining 
into great corporations and ceasing to compete. In 
other words, they will form monopolies, primarily to 
end competition, but having been formed, they will also 
be used to practice extortion. And the monopolists 
will use their financial power to control government and 
public opinion, to the end that their monopolies shall not 
be destroyed by government and public opinion. 

But the Socialist prophecy of seventy years ago did 
not stop quite there. It looked ahead and asked: 
" What will the people of seventy or a hundred years 
hence do when great combinations of private capital 
own everything and rob everybody?" It was a fair 
question. What could the people do? Obviously they 
could do only one of three things. They could destroy 
the trusts. They could let them remain in private 
ownership and try to regulate them through the govern- 
ment. Or they could take over the ownership of the 
trusts, through the government, and operate them for 
the public good. 


The destruction of the trusts was considered so re- 
mote a possibility that it was discarded. These early 
Socialists could not believe that the world would de- 
liberately go back to small competitive production, with 
all its waste of human energy and natural resources. 
Nor did they believe the people would be satisfied to let 
the trusts remain in private hands. They did not be- 
lieve the people, through the government, would be able 
to regulate the trusts. They believed that the trusts so 
long as they existed, instead of being regulated by the 
government, would regulate the government. So these 
early Socialists reached the conclusion that the people 
would ultimately be compelled to organize politically 
upon the basis of their working-class needs, capture the 
powers of government from the capitalist class, take 
over the ownership of all the great industries, and 
operate them for the public good rather than for private 

That is the Socialist program: government ownership 
of the trusts together with public ownership of the gov- 

Many gentlemen declare that the public never has 
owned the government, does not own it, and never can 
own it. Such gentlemen declare that if the government 
owned the trusts we should have such an era of fraud, 
corruption, deviltry, and despotism as the world has 
never seen. 

We Socialists admit that if capitalist government 
should own all of the trusts we should doubtless regret 
that Columbus ever discovered America. But we re- 
spectfully point out to such gentlemen that they derive 
their views of government from the sort of government 
we now have and from the sort of government we have 
Always had. We respectfully point out to these gentle,- 


men that the sort of government we have and the sort 
of government we have always had, is capitalist govern- 
ment. Capitalist government is government by a small 
class for the benefit of that small class. 

The kind of government that we Socialists are trying 
to bring about is government by the working class for 
the benefit of the working class. And when we say 
" working class " we do not wish to be understood as 
meaning only gentlemen who wear patches upon their 
trousers and work for $1.50 a day. We mean all of 
those persons who are expending either mental or 
physical effort or both mental and physical efforts 
to bring about the production of wealth. We mean 
railway superintendents no less than railway trackmen. 
We mean everyone who is producing wealth as distin- 
guished from those who are trying to extract profits 
from the wealth that others have produced. 

But how do we propose to make government respon- 
sive to the will of the people ask our opponents? It 
has never been responsive to the will of the people. 
Are we miracle-workers? 

We are not. Neither are we blind. Do we not see 
congress heavily peppered in both branches with the 
representatives of trusts? Do we not see the supreme 
court composed of nine gentlemen whom we neither 
chose nor can dismiss? Do we not see these black- 
robed gentlemen handing the trusts what they want, and 
taking from us what we want? Do we not see them 
declaring the laws we want unconstitutional, and declar- 
ing the laws we do not want constitutional? 

Therefore, when we gain control of this government* 
as we confidently expect to do before many years, we 
shall call a constitutional convention and do a few things 
to our constitution. We shall take from the. President 


and the corporations the onerous duty of selecting jus- 
tices of the United States Supreme Court and entrust 
this task to the people. We shall install the initiative 
and the referendum upon a national scale so that the peo- 
ple can enact any law they want that their representa- 
tives may refuse to enact, and kill any law that they do 
not want that their representatives refuse to kill. And 
we shall apply the recall to every elective official from 
the President down. We shall proceed upon the theory 
that if the people may be trusted to elect a man whom 
they do not know they may also be trusted to fire a man 
whom they do know to be bad. Doubtless we shall be 
very revolutionary and very incendiary in all of this, but 
we are going to do it. We shall expect to bring about 
no Utopia, but we shall expect to bring about a govern- 
ment that is as wise as the people. 

" Ah, but the capitalists will bedevil you still," say 
our opponents. " They will get into office by hook or 
crook and put your plans awry." 

Kind Christian friends, you are wrong again. You 
have forgotten about the boy who wanted the core of 
the other boy's apple. There ain't going to be no capi- 
talists under Socialism. Under Socialism the people, 
through the government, will furnish their own capital. 
No possibility will exist for private capitalists to exist. 
Government will not be corrupted by the senators of the 
steel trust because the government will be the steel trust. 
Had you never thought of that? Will you not please 
think of it again before you say that under Socialism 
corrupt men would dominate the government. Private 
profit is what makes men corrupt. We are going to do 
away with private profit. We are going to make things 
for use instead of for profit. 

" A beautiful dream," say gentlemen who feel that 


it is almost a shame to wake us up. "Let us grant," 
they continue, " that government could wisely manage 
industry if it could become the owner of industry, but 
have you figured out where you could get the money to 
buy the trusts?" 

Indeed we have. It is a poor trust that does not 
make an average net profit of 10 per cent, per annum. 
Most of them make much more. When we gain con- 
trol of the government we shall enact laws compelling 
the trusts to sell to the government at prices that repre- 
sent actual values; no wind, no water just values. 
We shall not try to buy all the trusts at once. We shall 
acquire them one at a time and take over the reins of 
one before we grasp for the reins of another. And to 
all of these trusts we shall give in return for their prop- 
erties United States bonds payable in 50 years. That 
will spread the cost of the trusts over two and a half 
generations. Then we shall establish a sinking fund 
and put into it each year two per cent, of the face value 
of the bonds. We shall also establish sinking funds to 
provide for deterioration, but that will be a private mat- 
ter among ourselves and need not concern the trusts. 
And we shall get the money we put into these sinking 
funds by selling goods at a little more than two per cent, 
in excess of what it costs to produce them. In other 
words, we shall make the trusts pay for themselves. 
And while they are paying for themselves the people 
will be enabled, to buy goods almost at cost instead of 
paying the exorbitant profits that the trusts now exact. 

At any rate, such is the substance of the plan that 
Representative Victor L. Berger embodied in a bill that 
he introduced in congress, and without doubt some such 
plan will be ultimately adopted. Only one development 
can prevent it. If Socialism shall be too slow in com- 


ing, the tyranny of the trusts will undoubtedly compel 
the people to confiscate them, precisely as Lincoln con- 
fiscated the slaves. Henry Clay, twenty years before 
the Civil War, wanted the government to buy the slaves 
at double their market price and thus avoid the war that 
he saw coming. But the slave owners did not want to 
give up their good thing. So their good thing was taken 
from them by a very good man, and they received not 
a cent of compensation. We Socialists prefer to pay 
and we know how we could pay. We want no war. 
We live here, and we want this to be a good place in 
which to live. It can never be a better place in which 
to live until the common people learn how to use the 
government, to promote their own interests and obtain a 
constitution under which this can be a real republic. 


(Adopted at Indianapolis, May, 1912) 

THE Socialist Party of the United States declares that the 
capitalist system has outgrown its historical function, and has 
become utterly incapable of meeting the problems now con- 
fronting society. We denounce this outgrown system as incompe- 
tent and corrupt and the source of unspeakable misery and suffer- 
ing to the whole working class. 

Under this system the industrial equipment of the nation has 
passed into the absolute control of a plutocracy which exacts an an- 
nual tribute of millions of dollars from the producers. Unafraid 
of any organized resistance, it stretches out its greedy hands over 
the still undeveloped resources of the nation the land, the mines, 
the forests and the water-powers of every State in the Union. 

In spite of the multiplication of labor-saving machines and im- 
proved methods in industry which cheapen the cost of production, 
the share of the producers grows ever less, and the prices of all the 
necessities of life steadily increase. The boasted prosperity of this 
nation is for the owning class alone. To the rest it means only 
greater hardship and misery. The high cost of living is felt in 
every home. Millions of wage-workers have seen the purchasing 
power of their wages decrease until life has become a desperate 
battle for mere existence. 

Multitudes of unemployed walk the streets of our cities or trudge 
from State to State awaiting the will of the masters to move the 
wheels of industry. 

The farmers in every State are plundered by the increasing prices 
exacted for tools and machinery and by extortionate rents, freight 
rates and storage charges. 

Capitalist concentration is mercilessly crushing the class of small 
business men and driving its members into the ranks of propertiless 
wage workers. The overwhelming majority of the people of Amer- 
ica are being forced under a yoke of bondage by this soulless in- 
dustrial despotism. 

It is this capitalist system that is responsible for the increasing 
burden of armaments, the poverty, slums, child labor, most of the 
insanity, crime and prostitution, and much of the disease that afflicts 



Under this system the working class is exposed to poisonous con- 
ditions, to frightful and needless perils to life and limb, is walled 
around with court decisions, injunctions and unjust laws, and is 
preyed upon incessantly for the benefit of the controlling oligarchy 
of wealth. Under it also, the children of the working class are 
doomed to ignorance, drudging toil and darkened lives. 

In the face of these evils, so manifest that all thoughtful observers 
are appalled at them, the legislative representatives of the Republi- 
can, Democratic, and all reform parties remain the faithful servants 
of the oppressors. Measures designed to secure to the wage earners 
of this nation as humane and just treatment as is already enjoyed 
by the wage earners of all other civilized nations have been smoth- 
ered in committee without debate, and laws ostensibly designed to 
bring relief to the farmers and general consumers are juggled and 
transformed into instruments for the exaction of further tribute. 
The growing unrest under oppression has driven these two old 
parties to the enactment of a variety of regulative measures, none 
of which has limited in any appreciable degree the power of the 
plutocracy, and some of which have been perverted into means for 
increasing that power. Anti-trust laws, railroad restrictions and 
regulations, with the prosecutions, indictments and investigations 
based upon such legislation, have proved to be utterly futile and 
ridiculous. Nor has this plutocracy been seriously restrained or 
even threatened by any Republican or Democratic executive. It has 
continued to grow in power and insolence alike under the adminis- 
trations of Cleveland, McKinley, Roosevelt and Taft. 

In addition to this legislative juggling and this executive con- 
nivance, the courts of America have sanctioned and strengthened the 
hold of this plutocracy as the Dred Scott and other decisions 
strengthened the slave power before the Civil War. 

We declare, therefore, that the longer sufferance of these condi- 
tions is impossible, and we purpose to end them all. We declare 
them to be the product of the present system in which industry is 
carried on for private greed, instead of for the welfare of society. 
We declare, furthermore, that for these evils there will be and can 
be no remedy and no substantial relief except through Socialism, 
under which industry will be carried on for the common good and 
every worker receive the full social value of the wealth he creates. 

Society is divided into warring groups and classes, based upon 
material interests. Fundamentally, this struggle is a conflict be- 
tween the two main classes, one of which, the capitalist class, owns 
the means of production, and the other, the working class, must use 
these means of production on terms dictated by the owners. 

The capitalist class, though few in numbers, absolutely controls 
the Government legislative, executive and judicial. This class owns 


the machinery of gathering and disseminating news through its or- 
ganized press. It subsidizes seats of learning the colleges and 
schools and even religious and moral agencies. It has also the 
added prestige which established customs give to any order of so- 
ciety, right or wrong. 

The working class, which includes all those who are forced to 
work for a living, whether by hand or by brain, in shop, mine or on 
the soil, vastly outnumbers the capitalist class. Lacking effective 
organization and class solidarity, this class is unable to enforce its 
will. Given such class solidarity and effective organization, the 
workers will have the power to make all laws and control all indus- 
try in their own interest. 

All political parties are the expression of economic class interests. 
All other parties than the Socialist Party represents one or another 
group of the ruling capitalist class. Their political conflicts reflect 
merely superficial rivalries between competing capitalist groups. 
However they result, these conflicts have no issue of real value to 
the workers. Whether the Democrats or Republicans win politically, 
it is the capitalist class that is victorious economically. 

The Socialist Party is the political expression of the economic 
interests of the workers. Its defeats have been their defeats, and 
its victories their victories. It is a party founded on the science and 
laws of social development. It proposes that, since all social ne- 
cessities to-day are socially produced, the means of their production 
shall be socially owned and democratically controlled. 

In the face of the economic and political aggressions of the capi- 
talist class the only reliance left the. workers is that of their eco- 
nomic organizations and their political power. By the intelligent and 
class-conscious use of these they may resist successfully the capitalist 
class, break the fetters of wage slavery, and fit themselves for the 
future society, which is to displace the capitalist system. The So- 
cialist Party appreciates the full significance of class organization and 
urges the wage earners, the working farmers and all other useful 
workers everywhere to organize for economic and political action,, 
and we pledge ourselves to support the toilers of the fields as well' 
as those in the shops, factories and mines of the nation in their 
struggle for economic justice. 

In the defeat or victory of the working class party in this new 
struggle for freedom lies the defeat or triumph of the common people 
of all economic groups, as well as the failure or the triumph of 
popular government. Thus the Socialist Party is the party of the 
present day revolution, which marks the transition from economic 
individualism to Socialism, from wage slavery to free co-operation, 
from capitalist oligarchy to industrial democracy. 

As measures calculated to strengthen the working class in its 


fight for the realization of its ultimate ainr, the Co-operative Com- 
monwealth, and to increase the power of resistance against capitalist 
oppression, we advocate and pledge ourselves and our elected of- 
ficers to the following program: 


1. The collective ownership and democratic management of rail- 
roads, wire and wireless telegraphs and telephones, express services, 
steamboat lines and all other social means of transportation and 
communication and of all large scale industries. 

2. The immediate acquirement by the municipalities, the States 
or the federal government of all grain elevators, stock yards, storage 
warehouses and other distributing agencies, in order to reduce the 
present extortionate cost of living. 

3. The extension of the public domain to include mines, quarries, 
oil wells, forests and water power. 

4. The further conservation and development of natural resources 
for the use and benefit of all the people : 

(a) By scientific forestation and timber protection. 
(&) By the reclamation of arid and swamp tracts. 

(c) By the storage of flood waters and the utilization of water 

(d) By the stoppage of the present extravagant waste of the 
soil and of the products of mines and oil wells. 

(?) By the development of highway and waterway systems. 

5. The collective ownership of land wherever practicable, and, in 
cases where such ownership is impracticable, the appropriation by 
taxation of the annual rental value of all land held for speculation. 

6. The collective ownership and democratic management of the 
banking and currency system. 


The immediate government relief of the unemployed by the ex- 
tension of all useful public works. All persons employed on such 
works to be engaged directly by the government under a workday 
of not more than eight hours and not less than the prevailing union 
wages. The government also to establish employment bureaus; to 
lend money to States and municipalities without interest for the 
purpose of carrying on public works, and to take such other meas- 
ures within its power as will lessen the widespread misery of the 
workers caused by the misrule of the capitalist class. 


The conservation of human resources, particularly of the lives and 
well-being of the workers and their families: 


T. By shortening the workday in keeping with the increased pro- 
ductiveness of machinery. 

2. By securing to every worker a rest period of not less than a 
day and a half in each week. 

3. By securing a more effective inspection of workshops, facto- 
ries and mines. 

4. By forbidding the employment of children under 16 years of 

5. By the co-operative organization of industries in federal peni- 
tentiaries and workshops for the benefit of convicts and their de- 

6. By forbidding the interstate transportation of the products of 
child-labor, of convict labor and of all uninspected factories and 

7. By abolishing the profit system 1 in government work, and sub- 
stituting either the direct hire of labor or the awarding of contracts 
to co-operative groups of workers. 

8. By establishing minimum wage scales. 

9. By abolishing official charity and substituting a non-contribu- 
tory system of old age pensions, a general system of insurance by 
the State of all its members against unemployment and invalidism 
and a system of compulsory insurance by employers of their work- 
ers, without cost to the latter, against industrial disease, accidents 
and death. 


The absolute freedom of press, speech and assemblage. 

The adoption of a gradual income tax, the increase of the rates of 
the present corporation tax and the extension of inheritance taxes, 
graduated in proportion to the value of the estate and to nearness 
of kin the proceeds of these taxes to be employed in the socializa- 
tion of industry. 

The abolition of the monopoly ownership of patents and the sub- 
stitution of collective ownership, with direct rewards to inventors 
by premiums or royalties. 

Unrestricted and equal suffrage for men and women. 

The adoption of the initiative, referendum and recall and of pro- 
portional representation, nationally as well as locally. 

The abolition of the Senate and the veto power of the President. 

The election of the President and the Vice President by direct 
vote of the people. 

The abolition of the power usurped by the Supreme Court of the 
United States to pass upon the constitutionality of the legislation 
enacted by Congress. National laws to be repealed only by act of 
Congress or by the voters in a majority of the States. 


The granting of the right of suffrage in the District of Colum- 
bia with representation in Congress and a democratic form of mu- 
nicipal government for purely local affairs. 

The extension of democratic government to all United States ter- 

The enactment of further measures for general education and par- 
ticularly for vocational education in useful pursuits. The Bureau 
of Education to be made a department. 

The enactment of further measures for the conservation of health. 
The creation of an independent Bureau of Health with such re- 
strictions as will secure full liberty for all schools of practice. 

The separation of the present Bureau of Labor from the Depart- 
ment of Commerce and Labor and its elevation to the rank of a de- 

Abolition of the federal district courts and the United States Cir- 
cuit Courts of Appeals. State courts to have jurisdiction in all 
cases arising between citizens of the several States and foreign cor- 
porations. The election of all judges for short terms. 

The immediate curbing of the power of the courts to issue injunc- 

The free administration of justice. 

The calling of a convention for the revision of the Constitution 
of the United States. 

Such measures of relief as we may be able to force from capitalism 
are but a preparation of the workers to seize the whole powers of 
government in order that they may thereby lay hold of the whole) 
system of socialized industry and thus come to their rightful inherit- 




This book is due on the last date stamped below, or 

on the date to which renewed. 
Renewed books are subject to immediate recall. 


**eCT3 L D 
S in, 

J UL 3 1963 



JAN 1 ? o' R4 ' 9 AM 



WAV 1 L *Cn P 

rlAT 1 ft DO 5 

LD 21A-40m-4,'63 

General Library 

University of California 


YB 07812