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Selected Papers 





From a photograph by Frances W. Binkley 

Selected Papers 





Professor of Philosophy 
University of Illinois 




Librarian of Congress 







Frances, Binks, and Tom 

to whom Bob would have wished 

this volume to be dedicated 


Our younger historians have been coming back from the 
battle fronts of Europe and the Pacific to write and revise the 
history of the war in which they have fought. This volume 
will open to them the experience and work of one who stood 
high in the generation of American historians who fought in 
World War I and wrote and revised its history, along with 
that of the century that preceded and the long armistice that 

It will be welcomed also by his friends and colleagues, by 
admirers among his teachers, by librarians continuing the enter- 
prises he pioneered, by former W.P.A. workers who thanked 
him for turning their marketless skills to the service of scholar- 
ship, and by the students for whom he made the intellectual 
life excitingly relevant to the world in which they had to find 
their way. These and many others who knew him at one point 
or another of his short but many-sided career will be glad to 
have the whole range of his work and thought laid before 

Binkley wrote history in a way that commanded the respect 
of academic historians, because his scholarship met their exact- 
ing standards. At the same time he made it interesting to 
thoughtful laymen by his philosophic grasp and penetration, 
and by his vigorous and provocative style. Beside his work as 
a professional historian, he crowded into the fourth decade of 
his life and of the century a remarkable output in several re- 
lated fields. He addressed himself to the social, economic, and 
political problems of his time. He helped bring library and 


viii Preface 

archival policies abreast of the new techniques for organizing 
and preserving the materials for research. And he enlisted local 
historians and amateur scholars in tasks once considered eccen- 
tric or trivial, but now made fruitful by the new techniques. 

The essays here reprinted have been selected and grouped 
to represent these major phases of Binkley's work. Others of 
equal interest have been omitted as trenching on ground more 
definitively covered in his books. With some reluctance, the 
work of the eight years preceding the last of his "war guilt" 
essays has been excluded, although, among others, his vivid 
story of the underground Libre Belgique (2) ^ was especially 
tempting in view of that paper's revival in World War II. 
Since his book reviews contain some of his best writing, a selec- 
tion of excerpts from them has been appended. 

The editor wishes to thank Floyd W. Miller for placing at 
his disposal the bibliography on which the one here offered is 
based; Summerfield Baldwin III and Palmer Throop for counsel 
in planning the book; Meribeth Cameron, Virginia Corwin, 
Adeline Barry Davee, Eleanor Ferris, J. Holly Hanford, Robert 
J. Harris, Winfred G. Leutner, DeForrest Mellon, Elizabeth 
Richards, G. Carlton Robinson and Eva M. Sanford for helpful 
material and suggestions; Nelson R. Burr, Luther Evans, Harry 
M. Lydenberg and Lyon N. Richardson for revising the intro- 
duction; Ruth B. Fisch for preparing the index; and Annie S. 
Cutter and Keyes D. Metcalf for effective help in completing 
arrangements for publication. 

The introduction has been written with such objectivity as 
could be commanded by one who was Binkley's colleague and 
friend during his ten years on the faculty of Western Reserve 

M. H. F. 
University of Illinois 
May I, 1948 

^ Numbers in parentheses refer to items in the bibliography. 


Foreword by Luther H. Evans xi 


Robert Cedric Binkley, Historian in the Long Armistice 3 

Chronology 45 

Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 


1. The "Guilt" Clause in the Versailles Treaty 49 

2. Ten Years of Peace Conference History 63 

3. New Light on the Paris Peace Conference 96 


4. The Problem of Perishable Paper 169 

5. New Tools for Men of Letters 179 

6. History for a Democracy 198 

7. The Reproduction of Materials for Research 224 

8. The Cultural Program of the W.P.A. 236 

9. World Intellectual Organization 258 

10. Strategic Objectives in Archival Policy 265 


11. Europe Faces the Customs Union 277 

12. The Twentieth Century Looks at Human Nature 286 


X Contents 

13. An Anatomy of Revolution 301 

14. Versailles to Stresa— The Conference Era 314 

15. Myths of the Twentieth Century 326 

16. Patterns for Constitution Making in Central Europe 338 

17. Mill's Liberty Today 354 

18. Peace in Our Time 368 

Appendix: Excerpts from Reviews and Review Articles 385 

Bibliography 397 


Robert C. Binkley combined in himself in a most unusual 
manner many of the culturally creative and enriching traits of 
the American character and achievement. He was an accom- 
plished historian with a deeply probing curiosity and an in- 
sistence on discovering the inner meaning and the general 
tendency of developments. With the tools available for analy- 
sis he speculated creatively and responsibly as to the motives 
of men and societies. His teaching fired his students with a zeal 
to do these things also, and he imparted to them a concern to 
look at history through the most ultimate of the sources left 
behind by past generations for our use. He was impatient of 
easy generalization from secondary sources and inherited preju- 
dices, and enjoyed lampooning in private, and to a moderate 
degree in pubUc, the impostors and the misguided of the his- 
torical profession. 

Binkley's concern for true and full-bodied history led him 
far in the promotion of the use of sources. He took up and 
pushed with great vigor the work of leadership in the Joint 
Committee on Materials for Research. Microfilm, when he be- 
came interested in it, was a means of recording endorsements 
on checks; when he left it, it was one of the accepted tools of 
scholarship. He even pursued relentlessly the solution of the 
problems of microfilm cameras and readers, showing in this an 
inventive and practical mind. Other methods for the reproduc- 
tion of the materials of scholarship were studied by him with 
intense and prolonged concentration, and he became the author 
of a pioneering book on the subject, one which I believe has 
not yet been superseded. 


xii Foreword 

Binkley early realized also that the reproduction of source 
material already known and accessible was only part of the 
problem. He saw that great bodies of the raw material of 
fruitful research in many fields of knowledge were lying about 
unrecognized by scholars who should use them, and uncared 
for by custodians who should cherish them. The fortuitous 
availability in the 1930's of a large pool of clerical labor on 
the relief rolls presented itself to him as a heaven-sent oppor- 
tunity to do something about the inventory of these resources. 
He put his vast energy and imagination into the labor of setting 
up projects, experimenting with techniques and procedures, 
and developing forms of organization and supervision which 
could be utilized in making inventories of local archives and 
other masses of recorded material by the relatively unskilled 
manpower made available by the Work Projects Administra- 
tion. In this he was markedly successful and set the pattern for 
the mass operation of the Historical Records Survey. As the 
National Director of this project from its beginnings in 1935 
to the end of February 1940, six weeks before Binkley's death, 
I can confidently testify that his imagination and his zealous 
pioneering in the preceding two years were the firm foundation 
which made possible such achievements as may be marked 
down by history to its credit. I had the benefit of his counsel 
and encouragement in almost every policy or other basic deci- 
sion which had to be made. I found him wise in the use of 
the resources of support found in the opinion of groups and 
the general community, as well as in the use of employees 
engaged in listing the records of a county judge or editing the 
abstracts of newspaper stories written by untutored clerks. He 
taught me to think of inventories of archives, church records, 
manuscript collections, and so on, plus the depositories con- 
taining them, as a sort of second library system. Association 
with him meant perhaps more to me than it would have meant 
to many others because of our warm personal friendship which 
had begun a decade earlier. 

Foreword xiii 

In the last months of his life, Binkley threw himself with 
enthusiasm into the task of exploring the possibility of gearing 
the efforts of amateurs into the work of historical scholarship. 
He was perhaps more interested in enriching the lives of the 
amateurs themselves— and providing a more encouraging in- 
tellectual climate for the historical study of community prob- 
lems—than in using the work of the amateurs as definitive 
studies. His efforts in this area reflected well his abiding con- 
cern for the development by the citizens of a great democracy 
of an understanding of their own past and an appreciation of 
the sources of their own great cultural strength. 

The enormous range of subjects to which Binkley intensely 
applied his talents included also the problem of union cata- 
logues of library holdings and the exhibition by various cat- 
aloguing, indexing, and abstracting procedures of the fact and 
idea content of printed matter. Much of his work has borne 
fruit and still more is to come as his disciples continue the lines 
of investigation which he laid down. 

The disappearance of relief labor with the coming of the 
war and the appearance of urgencies of war which required 
men to concentrate upon operating the currently available 
mechanisms for current tasks, to the detriment of the kind of 
pioneering work in which Binkley was the great leader, coin- 
cided roughly with his death. It is hoped that the almost-stalled 
engine of exploration in the whole wide area of his library, 
bibliographical, and archival interests can be accelerated again 
with competent engineers, so that many of his unfinished tasks 
can be brought to a successful conclusion. The archives of his 
creative mind repose on the balcony of my office, and may be 
used with profit by those who crave the exciting adventure of 
adding to mankind's tools for knowing and using more effec- 
tively the intellectual and cultural heritage of the race. 

Luther H. Evans 
Library of Congress 

April 2, 1948 


Robert Cedric Binkley 
Historian in the Long Armistice 

I. Formative Years 

The career of Robert Binkley took its bent from member- 
ship in a large but closely knit family with a vigorous life of 
its own, and from early participation in world-shaping events 
at the international level, followed immediately by experience 
in collecting, organizing, preserving, and making accessible to 
scholars the documentary material upon which the record and 
interpretation of those events were to be based. 

The family into which he was born gave him a vivid and 
homely sense for the possibilities of life in small units, with local 
roots, and a bias toward federalism as the principle of organiza- 
tion of larger units. His part in World War I and in collecting 
and organizing the Hoover War Library sealed his commit- 
ment to history as a vocation and made him acutely aware of 
the rapidity with which the sources for contemporary history 
are lost by destruction, dispersal, and decay, and of the urgent 
need for new techniques and a conscious and coordinated strat- 
egy on the part of librarians, archivists, and scholars. 

He was the second of eleven children. Their father, a poet 
and essayist, taught English literature until he retired to a Cali- 
fornia ranch.^ Of Robert's five younger brothers, two became 

^Christian Kreider Binkley came of a Mennonite family of small 
means. Born at Millersville, Pennsylvania, August 6, 1870, and early left an 
orphan, he was brought up by relatives in Lancaster, and graduated from 
Millersville State Normal School in 1892. He was married in 1894 to 
Mary Engle Barr. In the summer of 1898, when Robert was half a year 
old, the family moved to California, and Mr. Binkley received his A.B. 


4 Introduction 

engineers, one a geologist, one a chemist, and one a contractor. 
His five sisters married men of like occupations, or ranchmen. 
Love of nature and a kind of informality and directness in 
social arrangements, a delight in making things for themselves, 
a preference for the rough-hewn and substantial as against the 
refined and delicate, and a tacit agreement never to make a fuss 
about anything, were family traits accounting for much in 
Robert Binkley that does not commonly go with scholarship. 

The education of so many children on a modest income 
called for stringent economies and cooperative planning. The 
family developed and retained an extraordinary solidarity as 
an economic unit in which the resources of all its members were 
at the disposal of each. By common consent, intellectual pur- 
suits had first claim, and whatever served only to keep up ap- 
pearances was sacrificed. There was little room or time for 
solitude or for personal intimacy. Each member lived in the 
open community of the family and brought his friends into it. 

Robert attended the public schools of Santa Clara County, 
California. In June, 19 17, after two years at Stanford Univer- 
sity, he enlisted in the United States Army Ambulance Service 

degree in English from Stanford University in the following year. He 
taught English literature at Cogswell Polytechnic College in San 
Francisco, and in later years at high schools in San Jose, Palo Alto, and 
Vallejo. In 1902 he published Sonnets and Songs for a House of Days 
(San Francisco, A. M. Robertson), and in 1903 an essay called Nature- 
Lure (New York, John B. Alden), besides some articles and book re- 
views later on. For a time he was secretary to Joaquin Miller and ac- 
companied him on his travels, including a bicycle and walking tour of 
Scotland. Devotion to Emerson led him to Lao-tzu and the Chinese 
classics, and he set himself to learn Chinese. At various times he used the 
library facilities of the University of California, the Library of Congress, 
and Harvard University. Gradually he built up a good working collec- 
tion of his own for Chinese studies. He made translations of the Tao Te 
Ching and Lieh-tzu and of a great many Chinese poems. While teaching 
English at Vallejo, he had bought a ranch in the mountains of Lake 
County as a rallying place and refuge for his large family. Later he 
established a summer camp for boys on the ranch, and finally a year- 
round school. At the time of his death in 1938 he had ready a volume of 
verse called "Works and Days of a Homesteader." 

Introduction 5 

and served in France from January, 191 8, to the end of the war. 
His corps was a group of kindred Stanford spirits, idealists con- 
scious of being a part of great events and enjoying the comrade- 
ship that comes with seeing action together. He was wounded 
in action and cited for distinguished and exceptional gallantry 
at Fleville. He spent the spring of 19 19 studying art at the 
University of Lyons and forming impressions of French middle- 
class life by living with a rentier family. 

In June, 19 19, Professor and Mrs. E. D. Adams of Stanford 
arrived in Paris to begin a collection of research materials on 
the war and the peace conference, for which a fund of $50,000 
had been placed at their disposal by Herbert Hoover. In July 
Binkley was discharged from the army to join Professors Adams 
and Lutz as assistant and interpreter. He served in this capacity 
until December of that year. 

Their first task was to secure from the delegations to the 
peace conference their memoranda, propaganda material, and 
such records as they were willing to surrender. At Binkley's 
suggestion they began collecting the wartime publications, par- 
ticularly pamphlets and posters, of patriotic, religious, aca- 
demic, and trade associations and societies. He himself did most 
of the work on the French societies; Mrs. Adams and he divided 
the English societies between them. More than a thousand 
societies were eventually represented. He also helped secure 
from the British Foreign Office a large part of the library and 
the enemy-propaganda collection of th^ Ministry of Informa- 
tion (179).^ 

These and similar collections from other countries, along with 
files of army and civilian newspapers and the records of the 
food administration and relief commissions, formed the nu- 
cleus of the War Library endowed by Hoover in 1924 and 
now housed in a separate building on the Stanford campus as 
the Hoover Library on War, Revolution, and Peace. 

2 Numbers in parentheses refer to items in the bibliography. 

6 Introduction 

Returning to Stanford in 1920, Binkley registered in the 
department of history and assisted in organizing the materials 
in the Hoover collection. In 1920, 192 1, and 1922 he contributed 
to the Stanford Cardinal a series of four articles dealing in turn 
with the Hoover collection (i), the Libre Belgique (2), the 
assassination at Sarajevo (3), and the vicissitudes of Hungarian 
politics since the war (11). All four were based on materials 
in the Hoover collection; they reflected Binkley's recent expe- 
riences, foreshadowed the direction of his future interests, and 
gave promise of the skill of his mature writing. For a time he 
and the novelist-to-be, Archie Binns, edited the Cardinal to- 

After receiving his bachelor's degree with distinction in 1922, 
Binkley went on to postgraduate study. From 1923 to 1927 he 
was Reference Librarian of the Hoover War Library and had 
the task of classifying the confidential materials in the vault of 
the library. He began at that time to interest himself in micro- 
film copy and other techniques for meeting the problems of 
space and of paper deterioration involved in preserving and 
making accessible this vast collection of research materials. 

At Stanford, as at home, Binkley lived a community life. He 
was one of a group of close friends who shared each other's 
rooms and belongings, lent each other money, hatched ingen- 
ious practical jokes together, and encouraged each other's 
idiosyncrasies. The Stanford group merged easily with his 
family, since so many of them came to his home and since 
so many of his family— four brothers and a sister besides his 
father— went to Stanford. Two Stanford women joined the 
family by marriage. The ambulance corps in France had been 
Stanford men, and so was the group that gathered and organized 
the Hoover Library. The continuity was unbroken. 

n. War Guilt and Revision 
Binkley's postgraduate studies were directed by Ralph H. 
Lutz, who had been trained by the German historian Hermann 

Introduction 7 

Oncken. Lutz gave him a rigid historical discipHne which bal- 
anced without diminishing his susceptibility to ideas. To under- 
stand the war in which he had taken part, the peace conference, 
and the treaty of Versailles, Binkley went back to the Congress 
of Vienna and the events that led up to it. His master's thesis in 
1924 was on "The Re-establishment of the Independence of 
the Hanseatic Cities, 1813-1815" (23). While working on it, 
he assisted Malbone Graham on Nenjo Governments of Central 
Europe (24), published in 1924. In the same year he married 
Frances Harriet Williams. 

His doctor's thesis in 1927 was entitled The Reaction of 
European Opinion to the Statesmanship of Woodrow Wilson 
(33). The disparity between the promise of the Wilson pro- 
gram and the fulfillment of the peace of Versailles presented a 
problem, particularly in view of Wilson's own confidence in 
the efficacy of public opinion in aiding him to realize his pro- 
gram, and in view of the fact that there had appeared to be 
widespread agreement on Wilson's principles in the period 
from the armistice to the peace. It was thought by some that if 
Wilson had appealed more openly to the people for support, 
they would have rallied to him. Confining himself to Europe, 
Binkley examined contemporary sources to discover what 
limits public opinion actually had set to the freedom of decision 
of the peace conference, and whether there was any evidence 
of an unexploited reservoir of public opinion favorable to 
Wilson. He concluded that there was not, and that the con- 
sensus on the Wilson program in the autumn of 19 18 had 
been illusory. 

In the light of later disclosures and of changes in his own 
views, this doctoral dissertation soon seemed immature to him, 
and he published only one chapter, "The Concept of Public 
Opinion in the Social Sciences" (35). Meanwhile he had been 
a frequent contributor to Stanford, Palo Alto, Oakland, and 
San Francisco papers, chiefly on events of the day. His first 
contribution to a journal of national scope was a short article 

8 Introduction 

in Current History for January, 1926, in which he published 
in Enghsh translation a document which he had found in the 
Hoover War Library: the journal of the meeting of the Russian 
Council of Ministers on July 24, 19 14, containing "the only 
diplomatic plan which we know to have been sanctioned by 
the full authority of the Russian government." It was pre- 
sumptive evidence, he argued, "that the original intent of the 
Russian Government (perhaps, by implication, of the French 
Government also) was honorable and pacific." This article, 
"New light on Russia's war guilt" (28), created something of a 
stir in the New York Times, the Nation, and elsewhere. 

Binkley had now hit his stride. In rapid succession came the 
articles on the guilt clause in the Versailles treaty which estab- 
lished his reputation as a brilliant young scholar. The first 
three of these, written with the collaboration of August C. 
Mahr of the German department at Stanford, were published 
in 1926 in the Frankfurter Zeitung (29), the San Francisco 
Chronicle (31), and Current History (32). These were fol- 
lowed by other articles by Binkley alone in the Historical 
Outlook (34), the New Republic (40), and Current History 
(44). It was characteristic of his bent of mind that from the 
meaning of the terms of Article 2 3 1 Binkley went on to explore 
the philosophic problems involved in the current notions of 
national responsibility and of truth by convention. These prob- 
lems continued to occupy him to the end of his life. 

The thesis of these essays was twofold, (a) Article 231 was 
to be construed in a legal, not in a moral or political sense; it 
was an assumption of liability to pay damages, not an admis- 
sion of war guilt. Though the speeches of Allied statesmen 
were emphatic in asserting that Germany had criminally pre- 
meditated the war, these accusations were not incorporated 
in the treaty, (b) The prevailing German opinion to the con- 
trary arose from inaccuracies in the German translation of 
Article 231, which had no legal validity. A revision of this 
translation, eliminating those moral and political overtones 

Introduction 9 

which went beyond the strict sense of the official French- 
English text, was therefore in order. 

The difference between the juridical and the moral con- 
struction of Article 231 was by no means a merely academic 
question at the time these essays were written. The moral and 
political interpretation gave "just grounds for a great Ger- 
man national movement for the repudiation of an extorted con- 
fession of guilt." On the other hand, a declaration on the part 
of the Entente governments that the article had only a juristic 
meaning would "serve a good purpose in quieting title to repa- 
rations." ^ 

But Article 2 3 1 was not thus to be exorcised. The German 
government's version was, after all, faithful to the intent if 
not to the language of the official text. The failure of all at- 
tempts to deflate it to reasonable proportions was symptomatic 
of a change in our intellectual climate and culture, which Bink- 
ley was to explore in later articles (96, 138).* 

^Pp. 50, 62, of the present volume. 

*On October i, 1938, in a letter to a younger historian of the peace 
conference after reading his manuscript (197), Binldey stated his mature 
view as follows: 

"When you come to the final conclusion of the whole book, you have 
an opportunity to make a statement which I should like to see put be- 
fore the world at this time, if it happens that you agree with it. It is this: 
That in Article 231, within the limits you assign it as a statement of his- 
toric fact which derives its sanction not from evidence and research but 
from contractual agreement, there is established in twentieth-century 
culture a conception of the nature of truth that involves a complete 
departure from an intellectual tradition of three centuries. 

"One would have to go back to the church councils to find its 
equivalent. It is the first of a series of efforts to establish more or less 
formally, and with more or less effective policing, the legal control of 
historical truth. In terms of the intellectual tradition of science, it is 
absurd— fantastic— to hold that an historical fact can be verified by pro- 
curing a signature to a negotiated instrument or by compelling a formal 
admission by public authority. And since the 1920's have we not seen 
the area of human life within which truth seeks this means of establish- 
ing itself constantly widening as the zone of free inquiry has been 

"Even the meeting of French and German historians to negotiate and 

10 Introduction 

In the extensive literature of the late 1920's on revision of 
the history of World War I, Binkley's article on that theme 
(34) stands out as centering on problems of archival policy. 
The argument may be restated as follows: 

While a war is in progress, the participants are preoccupied 
with the consequences they imagine will befall them if they 
lose but will be averted if they win. In the period immediately 
after the war, they are preoccupied with the distribution of 
spoils and penalties. When the air has cleared, it turns out that 
the penalties which can successfully be exacted are inconse- 
quential in comparison with those effects of the war which 
befall victors and vanquished alike. 

History writing responds to the practical interests of these 
successive periods. A war in progress is dramatized as a mo- 
mentous conflict for which all previous history was a rehearsal, 
and the opposed forces are endowed with opposite moral and 
spiritual qualities, with a view to evoking maximum effort to- 
ward victory. In the postwar settlement, the need on the one 
side of justifying the penalties, and on the other of weakening 

reach by mutual consensus a compromise concerning the existence or 
nonexistence of certain alleged facts of the prewar period is a fantastic 
perversion of scientific method. If, indeed, that meeting were thought to 
be merely a convenient assembly in which, as at a meeting of the Ameri- 
can Historical Association, scholars who have differed in their in- 
terpretation of documents would clarify the extent of their differences, 
it would have been well within the old tradition; but I am confident 
that this meeting did not have that character. The French and German 
historians met as negotiators to compromise in the establishment of a 

"There have been critics of historical method who have not hesitated 
to tell us that history generally is only a lie agreed upon; but even among 
them there was a feeling that agreement came not by exercising a 
faculty of compromise, but rather by pursuing a technique of investiga- 
tion that is imposed on the human mind by the nature of the universe. 

"Article 231 has turned out to be more than a treaty article. Like 
the text of the Holy Alliance, it is a monument in the history of culture, 
whose significance is derived not from any of the particular obligations 
to which it gave rise, but rather from the deep implications underlying 
its very existence." 

Introduction 1 1 

the will to exact them, induces the historian to sit in judgment 
and apportion the guilt. But as those consequences of the war 
which tell on both sides alike come gradually to the fore, the 
war is envisaged as an episode in a process of general institu- 
tional change, the larger outlines of which would have been 
much the same had the fortunes of war been reversed. 

An archival policy that is to meet the needs of future his- 
torians must anticipate these shifts of interest, and especially 
the last, since it approaches most nearly the outlook of that 
succession of historians in the more distant future who will 
reexamine the war for the origins of things as they are at the 
times when their histories are written. 

III. Professional Career, 192 7-1 940 
Binkley began his teaching career as instructor in history at 
Washington Square College of New York University. As his 
wife and he drove east, they talked about teaching methods. 
Mrs. Binkley had been stimulated by a course in historical 
method in her last term in college, and she remarked how much 
more her history major would have meant if she had had the 
course in method and theory first instead of last. The con- 
versation ran on to the desirability of imbuing the under- 
graduate early with the spirit of historical inquiry. Besides 
those history majors who might reasonably be encouraged to 
go on to graduate training for history as a profession, many 
more might be encouraged to look forward to amateur his- 
torical scholarship as an avocation. 

In many fields, and particularly in local history, there was a 
great deal of preliminary work that could be done by amateur 
scholars— work which could not economically be done by pro- 
fessional historians, but whose results would be invaluable to 
them. The transcontinental highway passed through commu- 
nity after community whose local history was as yet unex- 
plored. Such local studies were indispensable to "the new 
history," with its emphasis on aspects of culture untouched by 

12 Introduction 

the older history; yet the economy of scholarship could not 
sustain them. 

Moreover, besides the potential value in terms of future 
research, the atmosphere of the classroom would be trans- 
formed if a considerable nucleus in each history class had even 
a transient aspiration to such leisure-time activity. There would 
be a shift from passive assimilation to active and critical par- 
ticipation, which would spread by a kind of contagion to those 
students who scarcely aspired even to amateur scholarship. Such 
an atmosphere would make for the best teaching of which the 
instructor was capable. 

After such reflections, it was natural that one who had him- 
self spent so much time with the sources of history in the 
formative years of the Hoover War Library should proceed at 
once to experiment with research methods in undergraduate 
teaching and should cast about for suitable materials. Binkley 
found them in the English local history division of the New 
York Public Library, and sent his large freshman class to comb 
them for all they could find on the year of the Armada. The 
librarian, Harry M. Lydenberg, recalls the sequel thus (199): 

The new instructor fired his students with such zeal for con- 
temporary reports on the Spanish armada that our file of Public 
Record Office publications for the 1588 period was rapidly torn to 
shreds and tatters. Nothing pleases a librarian more than to see his 
books used. Few things distress him more than to see books read to 
pieces when replacement is difiicult if not impossible. I asked the 
new instructor to drop in and talk the problem over. His first 
words when we met showed intensity, zeal, appreciation of the 
other man's point of view, willingness to adjust himself to -condi- 
tions, and at the same time confidence in his cause and insistence 
on its Tightness. That first impression grew more attractive the 
longer I came to see and talk with the man. 

Lydenberg and his associate Keyes Metcalf felt obliged to 
impose restrictions on the use of their Elizabethan documentary 
collections by undergraduates. Binkley was thus confronted 
afresh with the librarian's problem of reconciling maximum use 

Introduction 1 3 

of research materials in the present with their preservation for 
future generations. At the same time he won the friendship 
of two of the country's leading librarians, with whom he was 
to be frequently associated in the years ahead. 

Binkley secured striking photographs and other data on 
the decay of newspapers, magazines, and books in the New 
York Public Library, and on the measures being taken to 
arrest the deterioration. On the basis of these data and those 
he had accumulated from his years in the Hoover War Library, 
he published in the Scientific American for January 1929 an 
article, "Do the Records of Science Face Ruin?" (39), which 
was condensed in the Reader's Digest (41) and established its 
author as a forceful leader in the movement to rescue from 
decay the perishable records of the nineteenth and twentieth 
centuries and to promote the use of more permanent materials 
for the records of the future. 

In the summer of 1928 the Binkley s took their first, and 
indeed their only extended, vacation. They bought a canoe, 
put it into the Hudson at Kingston, and paddled upstream, 
camping on the small islands at night. They tried a stretch 
of the Erie Canal, but found it tedious, returned to the Hudson 
and continued up the river as far as Glens Falls. They camped 
on an island for several weeks, getting their food from a farm- 
house across the river, swimming and fishing in water with a 
molasses hue and scent from paper mills upstream, and making 
excursions afoot. They were six weeks on the river and canal, 
made the acquaintance of barge and lock men, and registered 
their canoe, the Minetta, at the Albany Yacht Club when they 
stopped overnight to see a movie. 

While still at Stanford the Binkleys had begun "an essay on 
domestic theory," perhaps under the shadow of the death of 
their first child, Barbara Jean, at the age of eight months in 
1926. The drafting was largely done while Binkley was writing 
his doctor's thesis. It afforded a kind of diversion and a vehicle 
for making fun of the solemn disciplines the graduate school 

14 Introduction 

required him to study. At the same time it served a deeper 
need, for it was characteristic of the Binkleys that their par- 
ticipation in any enterprise seemed to them blind and incon- 
siderate until they had thought out a philosophy of it that was 
not obviously inferior to some other already in the field. 

The academically respectable treatises on marriage were for 
the most part written from the sociological point of view and 
concerned themselves with the social functions of the family. 
Under modem conditions those functions were being evaded 
or usurped, and the learned literature dwelt increasingly on 
what was wrong with marriage. The social functions of the 
family were largely foreign to the intentions of the contracting 
parties, and the assumptions of the social sciences regarding 
human nature, responsibility, and value were opposities of the 
assumptions tacitly made by those who married. 

What the Binkleys proposed was to view the family not 
from the standpoint of society or of social science, but from 
their own as husband and wife. For them there was still much 
that was right with marriage as a refuge for personality and a 
school of character; much indeed that was now more than ever 
needed in a world in which all the varied human relationships 
except marriage were losing functions they had once ful- 
filled in the personal life of the individual. To make clear 
what it was, they developed a conception of the "domestic 
man" which they put alongside those familiar abstractions, 
the biological, the economic, the political, the sociological 

The domestic man, they said, demands, in addition to secu- 
rity and sexual satisfaction, a kind of personal and nontrans- 
ferable relation characterized by "paramount loyalty" toward 
another person. Marriage continues to be valued chiefly be- 
cause it provides the most favorable conditions for the expres- 
sion of this preponderant interest or paramount loyalty. An 
individual marriage may be said to have failed, not when it is 

childless or when one or both of the parties have been sex- 

Introduction 1 5 

ually unfaithful, but only when one of them is no longer 
more loyal to the other than to anyone else. 

The theory drafted at Stanford was further elaborated dur- 
ing their two years in New York. When Hamilton and 
McGowan published What is Wrong with Marriage, the 
Binkleys were moved to entitle their book What is Right 
with Marriage (38). It was well received. After nineteen 
years it continues to be read and to serve for others the need 
it served for its authors. If it has not yet attained the dignity 
of a classic, it seems the most likely book in its field to do so; 
for, as one of the reviewers said,^ 

elaborate and cumbersome as the machinery of this theory seems 
even when lightened by the humor and intelligence of its pro- 
pounders, it is only on . . . some such assumption as the one 
which it makes that the belief in the permanence of the institution 
of marriage can be based. Economic security, sexual satisfaction, 
and even parenthood are nowadays to be had by both men and 
women outside of marriage. . . . Only the hoTno domesticus (if 
he exists) needs matrimony. 

The two years the Binkleys spent in New York at this time 
(1927-1929) witnessed the heyday of prohibition, home brew, 
moonshine, bootleggers, hip flasks, and speak-easies. Nullifica- 
tion of the prohibition amendment and the Volstead Act was 
both an organized industry and a favorite indoor sport on a 
scale to which they had not been accustomed in wine-drinking 
California. Binkley explored "the ethics of nullification" in 
an article in the New Republic for May i, 1929 (45). 

Is nullification of a law, he asked, to be regarded, like repeal, 
as a socially useful part of the total legal process or as mere 
lawbreaking? He reviewed the history of nullification in Eng- 
land and America as a natural expression of local government 
in Anglo-Saxon countries. Local discretion in enforcing laws, 
he concluded, is more clearly a part of our system of self- 

^ Joseph Wood Krutch in the Nation 129:386-387, Oct. 9, 1929. 

1 6 Introduction 

government than the doctrines of sovereignty and of the sepa- 
ration of powers, in whose names it is condemned. 

This article is noteworthy as an early and forceful expression 
of one of Binkley's characteristic biases, that toward a maxi- 
mum of local autonomy. So able was its legal analysis that it 
was reprinted in the same month by the Massachusetts Law 
Quarterly (46). In the following year it was incorporated in 
a book. Responsible Drinking (50), which proposed to sub- 
stitute for prohibition a system of registration for dealers and 
drinkers, along with other measures to make the liquor indus- 
try responsible under the civil damage laws for all the injury 
it does. The book, like the article, was well received by 
lawyers but failed to reach as wide a public as its author had 
hoped for it. 

When Sidney B. Fay was called from Smith College to 
Harvard University, he singled Binkley out as the most promis- 
ing man in the field of modern European history, chiefly on 
the strength of his articles on the war guilt controversy, and 
recommended his appointment to the vacancy at Smith. The 
Binkleys visited Northampton in the spring of 1929, and he 
was appointed associate professor. He was flattered by the 
invitation to succeed so distinguished a scholar; and though 
he and his wife were reluctant to leave New York, they were 
expecting a child in the summer and thought Northampton a 
better place for a growing family. 

They spent the summer in Italy, where Binkley represented 
the Hoover War Library at the First World Congress of 
Libraries and Bibliography at Rome in June and delivered an 
address on "The Problem of Perishable Paper" (65). They took 
courses for foreigners in Italian language and literature, his- 
tory and archaeology; they went on excursions; they took 
moonlight walks along the Appian Way; they made the ac- 
quaintance of Italian wines and dishes. At the end of the sum- 
mer their first son, Robert Williams Binkley, was born in 

Introduction 17 

Binkley worked in the Library of the Chamber of Deputies 
preparing a bibliography of Italian statesmen, particularly of 
the Risorgimento. He had frequent conversations with A. M. 
Ghisalberti, who gave the history lectures they were attending 
and who was becoming the outstanding authority on the 
Risorgimento. These conversations were continued by cor- 
respondence after the Binkleys returned to this country. 

Among the early fruits of this Italian summer were Binkley's 
articles, "Free Speech in Fascist Italy" ($$) and "Franco- 
Italian Discord" (60). The full harvest was in the chapter on 
Italy in his book on European history from 1852 to 187 1 (107) 
in the Harper series, The Rise of Modern Europe. That chap- 
ter was written con amore, and his efforts to reduce it to the 
scale and style of the remainder of the book were not altogether 

The year the Binkleys spent at Smith College is remembered 
there for the unexpected ease with which he filled the vacancy 
left by the much-admired Sidney Fay. His wide interests, his 
enthusiasm, his social gifts, his eagerness to learn from members 
of other departments besides his own, made up for what he 
lacked in achievement and maturity. The students took to him 
quickly. Standing at the top of the steps leading up to Seelye 
Hall with his hands behind his back and an infectious grin on 
his face, Binkley liked to watch them throng in and out between 
classes. His wife and he were not intimidated by the greater 
reticence and conservatism of their new environment. Their 
apartment over the plumber's shop not far from the campus 
(an apartment which one of his colleagues recalls as "like a 
well-appointed bam" in its simplicity and bareness) became a 
center of hearty and open-handed entertaining. 

In the spring of 1929 Binkley had been invited by the newly 
founded Journal of Modern History to review Winston 
Churchill's The Aftermath and the third and fourth volumes 
of The Intimate Papers of Colonel House. In accepting the 
invitation, he suggested that he be allowed to include in his 

1 8 Introduction 

review certain other books on the Paris Peace Conference. The 
editor readily agreed, and the result was "Ten Years of Peace 
Conference History" (49), published in the December, 1929, 
issue of the Journal, 

Several months later the editor said in a private letter to a 
member of the faculty of Western Reserve University that 
this article had aroused more comment and evoked more praise 
than any other contribution to the Journal and that at the 
December meeting of the American Historical Association in 
Durham Binkley had been a marked man. William Langer of 
Harvard engaged him to write the volume for the Harper series 
already referred to (107). Carlton Hayes of Columbia wanted 
him to write a life of Napoleon III for the series of biographies 
he was editing for W. W. Norton. The editors of the Berk- 
shire Studies in European History asked him to write the 
volume on the Russian Revolution. He was engaged to sum- 
marize recent revelations on the peace conference for the 
Political Science Quarterly (71), and to write an article on 
Franco-Italian rivalry in the Mediterranean for Current His- 
tory (60). And he was called back to Stanford University to 
teach undergraduate and graduate courses in the summer quar- 
ter of 1930. 

In 1929 Henry E. Bourne, professor of history in Western 
Reserve University and head of the department in Mather Col- 
lege, took permanent leave to become consultant in history at 
the Library of Congress and editor of the American Historical 
Review. A thorough canvass of men available to succeed him 
was made. In November Seymour and Notestein of Yale 
called the attention of the committee to Binkley. Some mem- 
bers of the faculty were from the first uneasy about the wide 
range of his interests and the number and variety of his publi- 
cations, or what one of them called his "unfortunate tendency 
to tackle any subject or problem regardless of his knowledge 
or understanding." But this misgiving was overruled by his 
high reputation as an inspiring teacher, and by the respect of 

Introduction 19 

specialists for his more strictly professional articles. He visited 
Cleveland in March, 1930, and in April was appointed acting 
professor of history and acting head of the department in 
Mather College, an appointment which was made permanent 
two years later. 

A glance at the bibliography through the year 1929 will 
evoke in any sober and right-minded person in academic life a 
lively sympathy with the faculty in their initial hesitation. The 
committee persuaded them, however, that the larger salary of 
Binkley's new position would "ease the pressure for pot- 
boilers." One can imagine their dismay when, to his previous 
offenses against professional decorum, he added, about the time 
of entering upon his new duties in the fall of 1930, the book 
entitled Responsible Drinking (50) which had grown out of 
his article, "The Ethics of Nullification," and which proposed 
to treat the liquor problem like the automobile problem. 

Among the attractions of his new position in Mather College 
of Western Reserve University was a tradition of small classes 
and liberal use of source material. To supplement such obvious 
source books as Robinson's Readings and Commager's Docu- 
ments, members of the department had developed a large col- 
lection of mimeographed source materials for use in their vari- 
ous courses. But both source books and mimeographed mate- 
rials had the disadvantages as well as the advantages of having 
been selected, lifted out of their contexts, edited, annotated, 
and of being assigned as containing materials from which the 
students were to elicit answers to questions formulated by their 

While continuing the use of such time-tested materials dur- 
ing part of the course, Binkley sought to achieve for the fresh- 
man student a nearer approach to the experience of the research 
scholar. This involved confronting the student with an approxi- 
mately complete collection of the available source materials for 
a limited area and period, in the form in which the research 
scholar himself would consult them. Elizabethan England was 

20 Introduction 

chosen for this purpose, as being the earliest period in which 
the language difficulty would not be insuperable. 

With the help of funds supplied by a generous donor, the 
college library acquired the volumes for that period of the Acts 
of the Privy Council, the Calendars of State Papers, and a score 
of other archival collections, and rounded out its holdings of 
contemporary historical narratives, annals, and journals. As 
Binkley remarked: "The collection is the basic corpus of mate- 
rial acquired by most libraries primarily for graduate research, 
but purchased in this case especially for freshmen." 

These and the necessary research tools were assembled in a 
section of the reserve room, and later in a separate room of the 
library. Elizabeth's reign was divided among the various fresh- 
man history sections, a block of consecutive months to each 
section, a single month to each student. The resulting papers 
dealt with a month in general, with a particular phase of the 
life of the time, or with a special event. Work on the project 
began when the classes reached the Elizabethan period, about 
the beginning of the second semester, and for six weeks or two 
months about half the preparation time was devoted to this 

Most of the students enjoyed this handling of sources, and 
some excellent papers resulted from it. The forty essays se- 
lected by the history department, as typical of the best that 
were written from the initiation of the project in 193 1 to 1937, 
stand on the library shelves in two bound volumes. They were 
analyzed in the card catalogue, and the students took special 
pride in being listed as authors. As one of them said, "It is fun 
for us, after taking in so much material predigested in lectures 
and textbooks, to turn the tables by going to the sources our- 
selves and digesting the material for the professor." 

Perhaps the chief phase of the research scholar's work not 
represented in this project was the search for uncollected or 
unpublished documents. For this purpose, in the senior year 
the students found open to them courses in local history or 
business and family history, in which they learned to collect 

Introduction 2 1 

and interpret historically the untouched records that are to be 
found in almost unlimited quantity in any locality. The ra- 
tionale of these courses, and of the investigations they were 
designed to promote, will be found in Binkley's address, "His- 
tory for a Democracy" (135), which is here reprinted. 

During the first five years of his professorship at Western 
Reserve University, Binkley's leisure was largely devoted to 
writing his Realism and Nationalism (107), covering the years 
1 852-1 87 1 for the Harper series. The Rise of Modern Europe. 
He was in complete sympathy with the aim of the series to 
emphasize social, economic, religious, scientific, and artistic de- 
velopments, and to treat Europe as a whole, avoiding schemati- 
zation by countries. In his prologue he spoke of the distinctive 
features of his treatment of the period as "the result of a sys- 
tematic effort ... to find the basis of a European history that 
will not be a sum obtained by adding up the histories of the 
various states, together with a history of diplomacy." 

Two devices have suggested themselves as means of bringing 
more clearly to the fore those elements of European history that 
are common to the whole continent and culture. One of them is 
to begin the story with an account of the non-political side of 
Europe's development, with the analysis of culture as it was mani- 
fested in science, letters, art, religion and business life, where the 
national units do not press themselves so insistently upon the his- 
torian. Then, in the analysis of political history, recourse is made to 
a concept which has not received the benefit of theoretical expo- 
sition in the hands of political theorists, but which seems none the 
less useful to the historian. This is the concept of "federative 
policy," applied herein to problems of federalism within a state, 
confederation among states, and quasi-confederal relations of states 
generally. Federative polity^ as the term is used in this narrative, is 
the polity that emphasizes the political relations of adjustment 
among equals rather than the political relationships of inferiority 
and superiority, and of methods of law rather than methods of 

The conclusion toward which the whole book moved was that 
"the outstanding fact of European history from 1852 to 1871 
was the turning away from federative polity." 

22 Introduction 

It was one of Binkley's favorite paradoxes that every history, 
however remote the period with which it ostensibly deals, has 
its real terminus and controlling frame of reference in the time 
of its composition. Realism and Nationalism was published late 
in 1935, but it had been conceived, outlined, and drafted in 
considerable part before the triumph of the Nazi party. A sec- 
ond edition was called for in 1939, shortly after the launching 
of World War II. When Binkley submitted his revisions to 
Harper & Brothers in January, 1940, he wrote: 

As I look over the text from the standpoint of a new printing it 
becomes evident to me that the changes necessary to bring the 
book up to date and make it into the kind of book that might have 
been written this year would be pretty substantial, because the 
Hitler policy in Central Europe has changed the terminus ad quern. 

Since extensive revision was out of the question, he confined 
himself to repairing a weakness in his account of the turning 
point of the Crimean War (178). 

When Binkley was under consideration for the professor- 
ship at Western Reserve University, he had written in reply to 
inquiries: "The research fields I plan to make my own are the 
nineteenth century in a broad way, and the period of world 
reorganization before and after the Armistice of 191 8 as a 
subject of more detailed study." The former field was roughly 
that of the standard undergraduate course in European history 
since 18 15, for which he was to be responsible; the latter was 
that of the graduate course he most frequently gave. He was 
dissatisfied from the beginning with the available textbooks for 
the undergraduate course, and none that appeared later seemed 
appreciably better. 

As early as 1934 he began to meditate a textbook history that 
would do for the past century and a quarter what his Realism 
and Nationalism was doing for its short period. There would 
be the same emphasis on aspects of culture other than the 
political and military, but the correlation between parallel 
changes in the various phases of culture would be more sys- 

Introduction 23 

tematically worked out. There would be less treatment of 
events and conditions as important in themselves or as leading 
to or causing others, and more as "typical illustrations of some- 
thing to be compared or contrasted with other events or con- 
ditions." On the political side, national-state government and 
legislation would be played down, and local government, ad- 
ministration at all levels, and international politics would be 
played up, so that the various aspects and levels of political 
activity would appear as a continuous series. The entire book 
would be deliberately oriented toward the explanation of mat- 
ters of urgent pubUc concern in the 1930's. World War I 
would be treated not as a breach between a prewar and a post- 
war world, but as an era of accentuated social change in which 
everything prepared for in prewar Europe was hurried toward 
its manifestations in the present. 

He corresponded with Harper & Brothers about the proposed 
textbook over a period of two years. In the spring of 1936 he 
became editor of the Ronald series in European history (149), 
and it was thought for a time that this commitment might 
preclude his writing the textbook for Harper & Brothers; but 
an understanding was reached with both publishers, and a con- 
tract for the textbook was signed with Harper & Brothers in 
July, 1936, calling for two volumes: one of text, the other of 

Binkley used his advanced courses, including one in economic 
history, as proving grounds for ideas to be embodied in the 
general course and in the textbook. He tried them out on his 
friends as well, at luncheon, in his home, in discussion groups, 
and by letter.® By the time he came to compose the book in 

^ Here are passages from letters to two of his friends. 

"This year [1934] I teach a course in economic history— a great morass 
indeed. One of the ideas I have been playing with is this: that it is just 
as easy to explain capitalism as a device for quick liquidation of losses as 
to explain it as an apparatus motivated by the expectation of profit. Cor- 
responding to the great liquidating events of capitalist economy are the 
periodic general confiscations that have taken place in agrarian society. 

24 Introduction 

1939, it no longer bore the slightest resemblance to the stand- 
ard history textbook of its period or of any other. It was frankly 
a study of the recent past, employing such techniques of analy- 
sis as seemed likely to be of the greatest value in facing the 
future, whether for purposes of adaptation or for purposes of 
control. All pretense of a single continuous narrative was 

At the time of his death in April, 1940, four chapters and 
part of the fifth had been drafted; three more were planned but 
were represented only by notes. These are the chapter head- 

I. Periods and Distances 

II. Families: Households, Dynasties, Races 

III. Land and Livelihood: Villages 

IV. Cities 
V. States 

VI. The World Net of Power 
VII. The World of Debts and Markets 
VIII. The World of Opinion 

Charles Martel— the confiscation of the lands of the Templars— the taking 
over of church land, or of the right to church appointment, in the six- 
teenth century— perhaps, in a very different way, the enclosure move- 
ment—are successive enterprises of liquidation in which a fixed property 
system is broken down. 

"This line of thought, carried down to the present, would suggest for 
one thing that losses are the final and absolute certainty in all investment; 
that an investment will be lost is as certain as death. The entrepreneur 
plays against this statistical certainty his own chance, thus illustrating 
the general rule that the essence of individualism lies in the resistance 
which unique entities or events offer to statistical regularities; and there, 
at one leap, we are come from economics to metaphysics. I do not know 
whether this idea is worth playing with, but it has amused me for the 
last week or two. 

"The course on federalism [1938] keeps my mind occupied; it seems to 
be emerging into a metaphysical course. I have just finished giving the 
history of three villages from medieval times to the present, taking it 
in all seriousness— good owners and bad owners, just like good kings and 
bad kings— and asking why since villages last longer than states they are 
not more important than states, and since we could get along better 
without states than without the activities of these villages . . . etc. . . , 
you see the road leads to Bakunin and Kropotkin." 

Introduction 25 

Addressing himself to the generation that was born and grew to 
college age during the long armistice of 191 8-1939, Binkley 
invites the individual student to exercise his historical imagina- 
tion by working out from himself in terms of the various units 
of geographic and social distance— family, neighborhood, vil- 
lage, township, city, county, district, state, nation, world order 
—and backward and forward from himself in periods deter- 
mined by the human life cycle. The primary unit is the gen- 
eration of approximately twenty years. The larger units are life 
spans and 500-year ages, the latter divided into early, high, and 
late periods. 

In the subsequent chapters the analysis is applied to typical 
examples, and we are asked to experience modern European 
history from the centers— in the second chapter, of the Wedg- 
wood, "Juke" and Coburg families; in the third, of the villages 
of Crawley, Oberschefflenz and Kock; in the fourth, of the city 
of Strasbourg; in the fifth, of the power area of Bohemia. After 
these exercises in perspective, we are prepared to give concrete 
meaning to the generalizations ventured in the more compre- 
hensive and synoptic chapters on the world territorial-political 
network, the world of debts and markets, and the world of 
opinion. Passages in the earlier chapters have already shown 
how family, village, city, and state are implicated in these 
world networks; how the city, for example, belongs as a fort 
to the world of power, as a temple to the world of opinion, as 
a trading place to the world of debts and markets. 

All along, the student has been urged to translate what he 
reads into terms of his family, his village or neighborhood, his 
city and state. The typical character of Strasbourg as a city, in 
spite of its falling alternately into French and German power 
systems in the modern age, is shown by comparison with 
Cleveland, Ohio. We follow the gross physical changes at the 
site of Strasbourg through two thousand years as in a slow- 
motion picture taken from the air, then descend for angle-shots 
and close-ups of more recent changes within the city, conclud- 

26 Introduction 

ing with its evacuation in 1939. I remember Binkley posing to 
friends about a luncheon table the question he puts at the be- 
ginning and end of this chapter: 

What is a city? Here is Strasbourg without people, save as its 
two symbolic figures— the mayor and the bishop— remain on the 
ground as a gesture against civic extinction. Houses without people, 
streets without traffic, a temple without worshipers— are they a 
city? Does the city of Strasbourg exist in October, 1939? Consider 
two possible contingencies— that the stones should be leveled by 
artillery, but the people ultimately return. Or that the stones 
should be left standing, and the people never return, but a wholly 
new population settle in the buildings. In either case, I believe we 
should say that the life of the city had been merely suspended.^ 

If he had lived to finish the book and publish it, it might well 
have been his most fruitful contribution to historical litera- 
ture. It might have imposed a new pattern on the teaching of 
modem European history, and infused new life into the teaching 
of history generally, in our universities and colleges, and perhaps 
in our high schools as well, for its pedagogical spirit and design 
would have made it readily adaptable to any level of instruction. 
In time it might also have given direction and stimulus to re- 
search; for new patterns, new leading ideas not only vitalize 
teaching, they also evoke fresh research, even in fields that had 
previously seemed overworked or exhausted.* 

We have accounted now for all but one of the books which 

^ The prevailing temper and philosophy of the book are well expressed 
in some jottings in the notebook in which Binkley recorded ideas for it as 
they came to him: 

The rhythm of the book 

1. Nominalist always, to protect against ideologies. 

2. Extreme federalism to rescue sphere for individual initiative. 

3. Purpose attached to individual to foil determinists. 

4. Pattern to induce broad view of scene. 

^The unfinished typescript is the property of Harper & Brothers. It 
is to be hoped that some young historian of nineteenth- and twentieth- 
century Europe may yet undertake to revise and complete it for 

Introduction I'j 

Binkley published or drafted, and for several of his articles; but 
we have passed over other articles of equal or greater interest, 
including the entire series he wrote for his favorite medium, the 
Virginia Quarterly Review. Those which are here reprinted 
will speak for themselves; for the rest, the reader is referred to 
the bibliography (70, 96, loi, 114, 123, 138, 155). A word 
should be said, however, regarding his book reviews. As the 
excerpts in the appendix show, his reviews have a vigor and 
incisiveness all too rare in professional journals. They are not 
chary of praise, and often discern merits to which the authors 
had laid no claim. But they deal hard-hitting blows, and now 
and then a rapier thrust. The best of them are contributions in 
their own right to the literature of the subjects With which 
they deal. Binkley read widely and rapidly; he came to grips 
with whatever he read, and he liked to put the result into 
writing. When he heard of a book he wanted to read with 
special care, he sometimes asked for the privilege of reviewing 
it, for he knew and coveted the heightening of critical sense 
that comes with responsible reading. 

The opening sentences of one of his reviews hit off very well 
his approach to most of the books he read: "In every history 
textbook there is a philosophy of history, conscious or un- 
conscious, expressed or implied. What is the underlying phi- 
losophy of this book?" When he had defined the philosophy 
he found, he would try the effect of a shift of perspective, a 
change of postulates, on the probative value of the evidence 
the author had marshaled, and on the admissibility of evidence 
he had ruled out or overlooked. He had a sportsman's knack 
for flushing the game the author had sent to cover. With a bent 
toward paradox and a suspicion that most settled issues were 
settled wrongly or not quite rightly, if he could not reopen 
them directly by a show of fresh evidence he would do it 
indirectly by opening other issues behind them. 

If he was reluctant to permit an author to close an issue, he 
was equally far from intending that his review should do so. 

28 Introduction 

He wrote not as a judge summing up the evidence or rendering 
a verdict with its supporting opinion, but as an unpaid advocate 
seeking a hearing for evidence not yet adduced or principles of 
interpretation not yet appUed. If these considerations had the 
luck to turn the balance, that would afford him an innocent 
pleasure; if not, he would cheerfully acquiesce, for the time 
being, in a verdict which, if rendered before his argument was 
in, would have offended his sporting instinct. 

Though Binkley was among those who think it essential for 
the historian to be thoroughly grounded in at least one of the 
social sciences and familiar with the methods and concepts of 
them all, he valued them only as tools and was not taken 
captive by the orthodoxies of the moment. One winter, when 
the historians and the sociologists were both meeting in Wash- 
ington, Binkley deserted the historians to attend part of one 
of the sociological sessions, slipping in by a side door after the 
meeting had begun. During the discussion of one of the papers 
he made some critical comments leading to an attack on the 
validity of the method the author had employed. At a certain 
point in the interchange that followed he mischievously asked, 
"Are we getting anywhere, or is this just tea-table talk?" 
Finally someone who had paid the price of admission rose to 
say, "I don't think this man is a sociologist," but by that time 
Binkley had disappeared by the side door through which he 
had come, and was on his way back to the historians. There 
was an element of banter even in his most serious excursions 
into economics, political science, and sociology. But younger 
men in these fields were not offended by his irreverence, and 
felt that he let fresh air into some of the stuffier corners. 

The testimony of his students begins almost uniformly: "He 
was the most stimulating teacher I ever had." The following 
may serve as examples of the more specific things they go on 
to say: "He had a directness of approach to every problem; he 
did not have to go through the usual academic warming-up 
exercises." "At the end of a period, he would formulate with 

Introduction 29 

dramatic vividness some question for us to take away, as if he 
were less concerned about our reviewing the things he had 
said than about our going on for ourselves from the point at 
which he had left off." "He made us believe that what we found 
ourselves wanting to do was worth doing and that we could 
do it; but then he made us see possibilities in it that hadn't 
occurred to us, so that what we did in the end, if not always 
recognizable as the thing we had set out to do, seemed always 
to have grown out of it." 

He was able on a moment's notice to drop the matter in hand 
and shift his whole attention and energy to a fresh problem 
and, when that was disposed of, to return to the previous task 
as if there had been no interruption. Thus it was possible for 
him to do nearly all his work at his office, and yet give himself 
completely to the students who called upon him at all hours of 
the day. The door was always open; there were no stated con- 
ference hours and no appointment was needed. His hearty 
laugh and quick friendliness made them immediately welcome. 
Many a student came in expecting a five-minute impersonal 
interview on a schedule card and found herself talking for an 
hour about her hopes and plans for the future. When she left, 
he would turn to his typewriter and finish the sentence. Again, 
the dean or a colleague would drop in with a problem and find 
him directing the work of a secretary and an assistant. It would 
seem that he could scarcely be giving the matter half his 
thought, but presently he would dictate a letter or memo- 
randum stating the problem and its solution. 

Western Reserve University, caught in a tide of expansion, 
was harder hit by the depression than most institutions of higher 
learning. There was a steady decline in its teaching power 
during the decade Binkley spent on its staff. Many who knew 
that he might easily have found a place elsewhere wondered 
why he remained. When he took leave for a year at Harvard 
(1932-1933) and again when he left for a year at Columbia 
(193 7- 1938), they said he would not come back; but he did. 

30 Introduction 

It was no small part of the answer that he was in love with 
Cleveland. His faith in the university's future was grounded in 
his faith in the city's. 

He had many friends outside academic life and was deeply 
interested in a wide range of neighborhood, civic, and regional 
enterprises. He said that Cleveland was big enough to command 
the resources for large experiments and not too big or too con- 
servative to try them. He made constant use of the Cleveland 
Public Library's rich collections, and by his counsel helped 
the history division hold and improve its position as one of the 
best in the country. "He perhaps did more than anybody else 
to arouse the city to interest in preserving the perishing records 
of its early economic, business and cultural life" (189). 

At the same time he sank his roots in the neighborhood in 
which he had bought his home. He liked Dorothy Thompson's 
reply to the friend who asked what school to send her children 
to: "The nearest." He found other services by the same rule. 
He had ready access to the staffs of the Cleveland Clinic and 
University Hospitals, but preferred the neighborhood doctor. 

IV. Joint Committee and W.P.A. 
In February, 1930, while he was still at Smith College, 
Binkley was elected a member of the newly formed Joint Com- 
mittee on Materials for Research of the Social Science Research 
Council and the American Council of Learned Societies.^ In 
September of that year he became secretary of the committee, 
and from 1932 until his death he was its chairman. At its first 
meetings in 1930 the committee set on foot three surveys: 
first, of the activities of American agencies in relation to mate- 
rials for research in the social sciences and humanities; second, 
of the categories of research material which ought to be col- 

^ The story of Binkley's work for the Joint Committee has been genially 
told by one of its elder statesmen, Harry M. Lydenberg (199). "In some 
ways I think the man was completely described and summed up when one 
of his fellow workers said as we heard a door open and a brisk step 
charge down the hall, 'Here comes Binkley, all five of him.' " 

Introduction 3 1 

lected and preserved; and third, of the methods for reproducing 
research materials. The last was entrusted to Binkley and oc- 
cupied much of his time during his first year at Western 
Reserve University. 

In 193 1 he published for the committee a manual, Methods 
of Reproducing Research Materials (64), which he rewrote and 
expanded for a second edition in 1936 ( 1 19). In its revised form, 
the Manual contains descriptions, samples, cost analyses, and 
evaluations of hectograph, mimeograph, photo-offset, lithoprint, 
blueprint. Photostat, photoengraving, microfilm, and other re- 
production techniques for materials with and without illustra- 
tions; of various types of photographic equipment; of binding, 
vertical filing, and film storage; of readers, projectors, and other 
devices for reading reduced-scale reproductions; and of sound- 
recording and -reproducing devices. 

All this is set in the framework of a philosophic and strategic 
reconnaissance of current changes and future possibilities in 
the division of research labor, in library and archival poHcy, in 
conceptions as to what constitutes research and what constitutes 
publication. We are shown how "collecting and publishing are 
functionally merged" by the new techniques, which bid fair to 
emancipate scholars and librarians from their "veneration of 
book print." Other formulations of this reconnaissance, de- 
tached from the technical details of the Manual, will be found 
in the papers printed in Part II of the present volume. 

Perhaps, however, the chief concern of the last decade of 
Binkley's life was neither his writing nor his teaching, nor even 
the work of the Joint Committee, but a problem and an op- 
portunity arising from the Great Depression. 

Not only was there general unemployment on an unprec- 
edented scale, but the proportion of white-collar workers in 
the total army of the unemployed was so much higher than in 
previous depressions as to give a new turn to the recurring 
crisis of capitalist society. Projects were devised readily enough 
for the employment of writers, artists, musicians, actors, 

32 Introduction 

and others in whom that society had made a substantial invest- 
ment by training them in some of the higher arts. 

The best way to preserve the investment was to have the actors 
act, the musicians play, the artists paint, and the writers write; this 
part of the program was simple. But it could cover only a trifling 
fraction of the white collar program. The great bulk of the relief 
load in the white collar field consists of young people with some 
high school training; old people who have been thrown out after a 
lifetime in store or office, and, in general, of clerks (i6o). 

Binkley sought "the most important common denominator of 
clerical skill" and found it in "the ability to work with records: 
to make records and to interpret them, to put information on 
them and to get information from them." He saw at once the 
potential value of the army of unemployed clerks in preparing 
for the use of scholars materials hitherto seldom touched be- 
cause the volume to be unearthed and sifted was out of all 
proportion to what it would yield for the purposes of any single 
specialist. He proposed a coordinated set of projects for the 
inventorying, indexing, and digesting of local public archives 
and selected newspaper files, including the foreign-language 

It was largely due to his initiative and perseverance that 
Cleveland became a national center for this phase of the relief 
program, at first under the Federal Emergency Relief Ad- 
ministration and later under the Works Progress Administra- 
tion, and that the Annals of Cleveland set the standard for 
similar enterprises in other centers. When Luther H. Evans 
received authority in 1935 to set up the Historical Records 
Survey under the Works Progress Administration, he sought 
Binkley's aid and counsel, and it was freely given. During the 
four following years, without salary and without oflice, Binkley 
attended numerous conferences with Evans and his chief assist- 
ants, helped write manuals of procedure, gave advice on matters 
of policy and organization, assisted in the selection of personnel, 
and interpreted the work that was being done to the public it 

Introduction 33 

was intended to serve. His greatest contribution was the devis- 
ing of techniques by which W.P.A. labor could be effectively 
used on the tasks that needed doing. 

It was a problem in human engineering which few would have 
had the temerity to attempt to solve. Binkley took advantage of the 
mixed character of the labor supply to divide each task into dif- 
ferent levels of skill, with a view to assigning the varying abilities 
of the available labor to their proper place so that the work might 
be directed through different levels of intelligence until the final 
product was complete and ready for publication. 

By purposely allowing for a certain amount of repetition in 
processing, as the work ascended the scale, he was finally enabled, 
when the system was fully set up and operating, to produce ac- 
curacy which was comparable to the research of the best scholars 
and in numerous instances to surpass their efforts. When a scholar 
took a note on a document he customarily checked his findings 
against the original once or twice. In the Historical Records Survey 
the checking was done a number of times and by different groups 
so that the final result was likely to be more accurate and com- 
prehensive than the efforts of the individual. 

Not only was it necessary to carefully analyze technical pro- 
cedure, but it was found desirable, in order to obtain uniformity of 
standards, to compile manuals of instruction for the several proj- 
ects. These manuals, several of which were masterpieces of simple 
and explicit direction, enabled field workers, editors, and others, 
after a period training, to do scholarly work of excellent quality 

Not the least value of these projects was the satisfaction it 
gave the workers to feel that they were contributing to the 
cultural resources of their country. When there was an exhibit 
of the white-collar projects of the Cleveland area shortly after 
his death, these workers paid grateful tribute to "Dr. Binkley" 
or "Bink" for enabhng them to make this contribution and 
for saving them from being passive recipients of a dole. 

In addition to various archival and newspaper projects, a 
regional union catalogue listing over two million volumes in 
libraries in Ohio and Michigan was compiled by W.P.A. labor 
without library training. The work was done and the catalogue 

34 Introduction 

is housed, kept up-to-date, and serviced in the library of West- 
ern Reserve University. Binkley collaborated with Herbert 
S. Hirshberg, then University Librarian, in planning and super- 
vising the procedures. Similar union catalogues have been estab- 
lished in other centers to supplement the national union cata- 
logue which is gradually being built up at the Library of 

Among projects of national interest are the inventory of 
American imprints, the bibliography of American literature, 
and the bibliography of American history, in various stages of 

Related to these W.P.A. projects, there were others which 
Binkley helped to promote through the medium of the Joint 
Committee. He had urged for years the rescue, by purchase or 
microfilming, of unique and important materials in the war 
danger zones of Asia and Europe. His active interest contributed 
to the salvaging of a Hong Kong collection of records in- 
valuable for the history of Western business enterprise in China 
since 1782. A great deal of material in British libraries, selected 
by the American Council of Learned Societies in cooperation 
with the Library of Congress, has been reproduced on micro- 
film and deposited in the Library of Congress, from which 
copies may be obtained by other libraries on order. Some 
progress has been made on similar projects in India. 

There was, in fact, a larger strategy in which Binkley's 
work for the Joint Committee and for W.P.A. was brought to 
a common focus. On the one hand, the materials made available 
by W.P.A. were widening the range of possibilities for amateur 
as well as professional scholarship, especially in the field of local 
history. On the other hand, inexpensive methods of reproduc- 
tion and distribution were bringing publication within the reach 
of amateur scholars with limited private means or none. These 
methods were also opening the way to the large-scale use of 
amateur scholarship in the work of translation, especially from 
languages not ordinarily included in the professional scholar's 

Introduction 35 

equipment. As a result of Binkley's initiative, W.P.A. workers, 
in a project sponsored by the Cleveland Public Library, trans- 
lated documents and treatises from the languages of central 
and eastern Europe, and Mather College of Western Reserve 
University became for a time a center of supervised volunteer 
translation of Latin American literature. 

As early as 1934, Binkley had drawn up a memorandum for 
a project to explore the possibility of extending the range of 
amateur scholarship, increasing the number of people engaged 
in it, putting them into communication with each other, and 
making available to them the guidance of professional scholars 
in their respective fields. His Yale Review article in the follow- 
ing year, "New Tools for Men of Letters" (109), developed 
some of the ideas in this memorandum and laid them before a 
wider public. The project was reformulated in several later 
memorandums. Meanwhile the W.P.A. white-collar projects 
were demonstrating the ability of the comparatively untrained 
worker under expert guidance to carry on research at the 
lower levels. Finally, after his proposals had been discussed and 
analyzed by many scholars, the Carnegie Corporation made a 
grant to Western Reserve University in 1940 to establish "The 
Committee on Private Research." President W. G. Leutner, 
who had accompanied and supported him in laying the case 
before the corporation, took the check to show him on his 
deathbed in Lakeside Hospital. Binkley died on April 1 1 before 
the details of the program could be worked out; but the com- 
mittee was reorganized, was active for two years, and published 
a useful report (200). 

V. Tastes and Traits 
Binkley's mind seldom came to rest in art or enjoyment. The 
arts he practiced were forms of exercise or production: folk 
dancing, community singing, swimming, canoeing, gardening, 
wine making, and cooking. What a friend and admirer said of 
the first of these was more or less true of the others: "He loved 

3<5 Introduction 

to do the intricate steps of the English village dances, and 
bounded around with a vigor that exceeded the requirements 
of the English pattern." Even for a game of chess, he would 
sprawl on the floor in front of his fireplace, and he liked two 
or three fast games better than one slow one. 

He was fond of marching songs, chanteys, drinking songs, 
barbershop ballads, and spirituals; but the art song was a bit 
beyond his range. He liked the earthy, the ribald, and the 
macabre; one of his favorites was "On Ilkley Moor Baht 'At." 
He had been brought up on poetry; he enjoyed reading it, re- 
membered and recited it with gusto. He liked especially the 
strong-rhythmed poetry of action— ballad and epic, dirge and 
ode— and had a flair for nonsense verse and limericks. 

He had some feeling, acquired in France just after World 
War I, for the costume, color, pomp, and strut of opera. He 
seldom went to the theater on his own initiative, and when 
he was somehow induced to go he would grow restless toward 
the middle of the second act and want to leave. In the movies 
he took only a sociologist's and a parent's interest.^** 

^^ Some notes on Binkley as a father: 

When his second son was bom in 1932, he went about for i. day or so 
asking his friends if they liked their given names. The only one who 
replied in the affirmative was Thomas G. Bergin, then associate professor 
of Romance languages in Western Reserve University. Thomas was one 
of the names the Binkleys had been considering, and Bergin's satisfaction 
with it sealed their choice. From his hospital bed in the last weeks of 
his life, Binkley carried on a correspondence with Tommy about his 
new rifle, how to care for it, and under what circumstances it might be 
used. Some months later Tommy remarked: "He was a great man. Not 
many fathers would let a boy of my age have a rifle." 

A casual visitor in their home remarked with mild surprise, "You 
seem to have such a friendly relation with the boys." He talked with 
them easily and naturally about the things he was interested in, with no 
patronizing assumption that anything was beyond their years. He 
brought them into conversations, however intellectual, with guests in 
the home. When he inherited his father's Chinese library and began 
studying the characters, he had the boys join in the fun. He took them 
swimming and canoeing. So far as he could, instead of scolding or 
punishing them for their misdoings, he helped them find a better way 

Introduction 37 

He had, however, a lively interest in painting and made it a 
point to visit the galleries wherever he traveled. He used ex- 
amples from the various schools and movements in his teaching 
and in developing the main theme of his Realism and National- 
ism. Yet even here his interest was historical rather than 
aesthetic— an interest in identifying the school and manner, 
and in determining its relation to the culture of the period. In 
the same way, he read novels only as expressions or reconstruc- 
tions of a locale and period he was investigating at the time. 

Apart from the techniques of visual reproduction, he was 
not expert in the practice or criticism of any of the arts, but 
he knew all the gambits of the philosophy of art; and those 
to whom the arts themselves were as necessary as their daily 
bread found no one more stimulating and helpful in exploring 
their meanings and their social and historical backgrounds. 

Though his life with a French family just after the war had 
been an education in the niceties of cookery and service, his 
palate was unexacting. He was content with plain fare; indeed, 
apart from convivial occasions he seemed scarcely to notice 
what he ate or drank." But he liked company at his rough- 
to what they wanted. When they dug up the flowers and sold them to 
buy ice cream cones, he got them a freezer with which to make their 
own. He had a knack for dramatizing the simplest adventures, such as 
building a garden pool, dissecting a fish's eye, or preparing and cooking 
an opossum they had accidentally run down on the road. He engaged in 
friendly rivalries with his sons, so contrived as to put them on an equality 
with him. When he was assisting in the unsuccessful campaign to reelect 
Senator Bulkley, his elder son Binks was typing pleas for votes for the 
school levy and passing them out in the neighborhood. After the election 
Binks taunted his father: "I won my election, but you didn't win yours." 

Shortly before his death, he expressed a wish that the boys should be 
taken to some small western town to grow up. They are now living in 
Boulder, Colorado, where Mrs. Binkley is Assistant Professor of Library 
Science and head of the social science division of the University of 
Colorado Libraries. 

^^When absorbed in his work, he often forgot his meals entirely, in- 
cluding those for which he had engagements. If he remembered later or 
was reminded, he made contrite apologies, yet assumed that his dis- 
appointed hosts would think as little of it as he would have done in their 

38 Introduction 

hewn table; he tossed a good green salad, tried his hand now 
and then at French onion soup, and maintained a liberal supply 
of homemade vin ordinaire. In partnership with several friends, 
he had a crusher and press, with fifty-gallon barrels for vats, 
and smaller barrels and five-gallon jugs for storage. The eve- 
nings they spent in crushing, pressing, racking, sampling, bottle 
washing, bottling, corking, and sealing were hilarious. He led 
the singing to the rhythm of which the work was done. They 
liked to say that the crusher and the fifty-gallon barrels were 
temporary expedients until some one of the company should 
construct an open vat in which to tread out the grapes. 

It was in the nature of things that a man who brought for- 
ward so many new ideas should be widely regarded as im- 
practical, that his efforts to give his ideas practical effect should 
encounter widespread opposition, and that opposition to the 
measures he took should often engender distrust, dislike, and 
hostility to the man himself. Bibliophiles were inclined to 
deprecate what seemed to them an indiscriminate taste for 
microfilm and an indecent haste to disengage the content from 
the form of original publication. Scholars who craved the 
prestige value of full-dress publication were unwilling to sub- 
mit their writings to the indignity of the near-print methods 
of reproduction. Highly trained specialists, accustomed to 
singlehanded research and undivided professional responsibility, 
were not easily persuaded that any good thing could come out 
of the mass-production techniques of the W.P.A. projects or 
the undisciplined enthusiasm of amateurs. 

place. Other trivia: He was an absent-minded and hair-raising driver, 
and gave even less attention to his car's appearance than to his own. He 
pretended to think it poor economy to wear an academic gown only on 
state occasions, and used his as a smock in his office; but he could never 
tell what to do with the long tapes. Once, as he was mounting the plat- 
form to deliver a Senior Day address, he dropped the tapes into the 
sleeves to get them out of the way. By the middle of the address, they 
were dangling from the sleeves with every gesture, and he seemed 
puzzled, though not offended, by the smiles and suppressed giggles with 
which his most serious passages were received. 

Introduction 39 

Conservative college and university colleagues were suspi- 
cious of his pedagogical innovations and proposals; if he were 
sincere in his appreciation of time-tested educational values, 
they seemed to say, he should have been a stauncher defender 
of traditional subjects and methods against the inroads of voca- 
tionalism. The unadventurous thought him too ready to sacri- 
fice the advantages of position for the foolhardy sport of carry- 
ing the battle into the enemy's camp. Even those who con- 
sidered themselves Hberal and progressive would sometimes 
say that he was difficult to work with, that he kept changing 
the plan of campaign without notice and apparently without 
being aware that he was doing so. 

As often as not, the real difficulty was merely that he drew 
consequences his colleagues failed to draw from the premises 
they had agreed upon. The impression was not, however, 
groundless. There was for him no question which might not 
be reopened at any time, and there were no constants with a 
clear title to be carried over from problem to problem. It was 
for thought to determine, in connection with each problem 
as it arose, what had best be taken as constants for the pur- 
pose of solving that problem. With a mind untouched by the 
academic idolatry which pays to ideas and propositions the 
reverence that is due only to persons, he brought to every 
problem an extraordinary fertility of suggestion. But those 
who felt the need of fixed principles (in others if not in them- 
selves) found it easy to think that he avoided having any in 
order to give himself the fun of improvising them to suit the 

After his death, it seemed likely that any committee of his 
peers on the Mather College faculty would draw up a per- 
functory memoir at best; they would come to bury Binkley, 
not to praise him. By a notable departure from precedent, the 
committee was appointed entirely from the junior ranks. Its 
members freely confessed their elders' sins in the concluding 
paragraph of their sketch of his career. 

4© Introduction 

It was with very little encouragement from us that he dreamed 
his dreams of amateur scholarship, W.P.A. organization of re- 
search materials, and a renaissance of local history in the republic 
of letters. We curled a deprecating smile before the vision of 
every Mather graduate her own historian. If we find it possible 
now to take a more generous view of his enterprises, that is in part 
because the prospect of others still to come has been removed. He 
had ideas, and nothing is quite safe with a man of ideas about, 
especially if he will go on having them and neither we nor he can 
guess what the next will be. Let us confess it humbly, he was a 
gadfly to our sluggish academic society, and we are as little disposed 
as ancient Athens to pray that God in his care of us should send us 
such another. 

Even among his admirers, a few of the more sensitive felt 
that though he was a perfect comrade in arms he left some- 
thing to be desired as a friend. He had so many ideas, and 
was so busy thinking them through and enlisting help to put 
them into operation, that he tended to look on other people 
as prospective collaborators, or, if not that, to stir them up to 
develop and apply ideas of their own. Those who sought from 
friendship only the sharing of experience, the slow perfecting 
of communication, personal affection, and loyalty, soon divined 
that he sought both less and more than that. He was no con- 
noisseur of the play of feeling, of the subtler nuances of the 
emotional life; in other minds, as in his own, he fished for ideas 
only. Historian though he was, his backward looks were all 
for the sake of forward looks; he had no wish to live in the 
past, no flair for reminiscence, no relish for personal anecdote 
and idiosyncrasy, no desire for exchange of confidences or for 
personal revelation. He had an essentially public mind, un- 
equipped for intimacy. 

This, however, is a minority report. The great majority of 
those who knew him well, far from acknowledging a defect 
at this point, would testify to the warm, hearty, and invigorat- 
ing character of his companionship. As one of them puts it: 
"When I would fall into sentimental reminiscence he would 
always pick me up, mentally, and set me down with my think- 
ing turned toward the future." 



He seemed to think of his friends— and his family too, for 
that matter— not as individuals each to be known for his own 
sake, but as members of an indefinite company of men of good 
will— the gang, he called it. The original nucleus of the gang— 
for him— was the family into which he was born. It had ex- 
panded to include first the ambulance corps, then the Hoover 
War Library group and his fellow graduate students at Stan- 
ford, and the family he in turn established. Those who later 
became his friends thereby joined the gang; indeed, he had a 
way of assuming that they had all met and known each other 
before and needed no introductions. The groups he worked 
with on particular projects were but so many committees, as 
it were, of the gang. The loyalties that moved him most were 
not to individuals as such but to these groups and to the gang 
that embraced them all. Yet his generosity was boundless. Old 
friends spent weeks or months in his home while writing a 
book or looking for a job. He always lent money to any friend 
who asked it, and often sent or offered it unasked to one he 
thought might need it to carry out some cherished plan. 

In its informal hospitality the Binkley household was unique. 
They had bought a plain and inexpensive house in a beach allot- 
ment which had a community playground on the shore of Lake 
Erie. The house became a plaything for the family, and was 
in a constant state of amateur alteration. In the summer months 
it was a caravansary for students, friends, and acquaintances 
from near and far. The Binkleys never knew what hot and 
thirsty souls would turn up there, to make use of the improvised 
shower and dressing room in the basement, to draw freely on 
the wine-cellar stores, to picnic on the beach. If invited guests 
were already there, the uninvited joined the company without 
embarrassment. There was no visible effort in this entertaining, 
though the actual burden of it must have been great enough. 
The gang came and went, expanded or dissolved at will. They 
swam, they stretched out in the sun, they talked, they sang. 
Nowhere else did they find so much good talk, on high and 
homely themes alike, in so casual and unconfined an atmosphere. 

42 Introduction 

They went away refreshed, and not infrequently they carried 
with them a basket of food and flowers from the Binkley 

The influence of his family and early group life was thus 
reflected not only in his emphasis on the family in his teaching, 
in his books on marriage and liquor control, in his unfinished 
book on nineteenth-century history, and in his strategy for local 
history and amateur scholarship, but also in his social personal- 
ity. There was one aspect of the family character, however, 
which Binkley, though respecting it, did not share; and that 
was a tendency to find security in withdrawal, in the building 
of defenses, in keeping open an avenue of retreat. Or perhaps 
it would be more exact to say that there was a residue of this 
also in him, but that it was usually overshadowed by the 
acquired habit of assessing carefully the moving forces of the 
moment and seeking to direct them toward ends he thought 
socially desirable. By his actions he seemed to say: there is no 
force in the world, however weak or spasmodic or barbarous 
or hostile, which cannot be made to serve the purposes of 
civilized man, if only he has the wit and will to find a way. 
Yet one of the most eloquent college addresses I ever heard 
him give was on the Stoic text: Some things are in our power, 
others not. That was in the worst year of the depression; and 
at about the same time, when academic tenure seemed pre- 
carious, there was something more than playfulness in the 
zest with which he, and some of his more congenial colleagues, 
talked of retiring to a subsistence farm together. They planned 
to take their families and private libraries and engage in co- 
operative research, study, and writing (as well as farming) 
until the storm had blown past. This was over the cups, how- 
ever; and even then, as we have seen, he was engaged in a 
campaign to make the depression serve the advancement of 
learning on a larger scale and in a more positive fashion. 

Shortly before the Ohio writer Jake FalstafF died, Binkley 
met him two or three times and liked him very much. One 

Introduction 43 

evening, in a rather large group in which the conversation 
had been fairly sparkling, one of those present asked a question 
so far out of key with the rest of the talk as to make the asker 
seem naive, even stupid. Falstaff answered not with mere 
patience or courtesy but with interest and sympathy, in such 
a way that the awkward question was turned into a positive 
contribution. That kindness touched and pleased Binkley 
deeply, and he spoke of it several times. He had a feeling for 
greatness of spirit, loved it when he found it, reached after and 
attained it in himself. 


1897 Born at Mannheim, Pennsylvania, December 10. 
191 5 Graduated from San Jose High School. Entered Stanford 

191 7 Enlisted in U. S. Army Ambulance Service in June. 

191 8 Cited for distinguished service, Fleville, France, October 16. 

1919 Studied art at University of Lyons. Discharged from 

Army in July to help gather materials for Hoover War 

1920 Returned to Stanford University. Helped organize mate- 

rials for Hoover War Library. 
1922 A.B., Stanford University. 
1923-27 Reference Librarian, Hoover War Library. 
1924 A.M., Stanford University (23). Married Frances Harriet 

Williams (A.B., Stanford, 1923), September 13. 
1927 Ph.D., Stanford University (33). 
1927-29 Instructor in history, Washington Square College, New 

York University. 

1929 Represented Hoover War Library at First World Con- 

gress of Libraries and Bibliography at Rome in June (65). 
1929-30 Associate professor of history. Smith College. 

1930 Acting associate professor of history, Stanford University, 

summer quarter. 
1930-32 Acting professor of history, Western Reserve University. 
1930-32 Secretary, Joint Committee on Materials for Research (68, 

193 1 Member, Beer Prize Committee, American Historical Asso- 

1932-40 Professor of history. Western Reserve University, and 

head of the department in Flora Stone Mather College. 
1932-40 Chairman, Joint Committee on Materials for Research 

(102, 126, 139, 156). 
1932-33 Visiting lecturer in history, Harvard University. 
1933-40 Member, Editorial Board, Records and Documents of the 

Paris Peace Conference. 


46 Chronology 

1934-36 Member, Editorial Board, Journal of Modern History, 
1936-40 Editor, Ronald series in European history (149). 
i937~38 Visiting professor of history, Columbia University (153). 
i937~39 Vice-president, American Documentation Institute. 
1938-39 Chairman, Committee on Photographic Reproduction of 
Library Materials, American Library Association. 
Member, National Advisory Committee, Historical Rec- 
ords Survey. 
Member, Advisory Committee, Franklin D. Roosevelt 

Member, American National Committee on Intellectual 

Cooperation of the League of Nations (163). 
Member, Advisory Board, Cleveland Chapter, American 

Civil Liberties Union. 
Chairman, Committee on Equipment and Mechanical 
Techniques, American Society of Archivists. 
1940 Died of cancer of the lungs at Lakeside Hospital, Cleve- 
land, Ohio, April 11, aged 42 years and four months. 

Part I 

The '^Guilf Clause in the Versailles Treaty * 

Article 231: The Allied and Associated Governments affirm 
and Germany accepts the responsibility of Germany and her 
Allies for causing all the loss and damage to which the Allied 
and Associated Governments and their nationals have been 
subjected in consequence of the ivar imposed upon them by 
the aggression of Germany and her Allies. 

It has long been recognized that Article 2 3 1 of the Versailles 
Treaty is ambiguous. It can be read either as a contractual as- 
sumption of liability for war damage or as a moral pronounce- 
ment relating to the genesis of the war. The ambiguity resides 
in two phrases— the first holding Germany and her Allies 
responsible for war damage, the second designating the war as 
one imposed upon the Allies by the aggression of the Central 
Powers. Each of the key words bears a double meaning, jurid- 
ical and ethical. Responsibility can mean either legal liability 
(German, Haftbarkeit) or moral guilt (German, Schuld). 
The aggression alleged to have imposed the war upon the Allies 
may be taken to be the merely formal aggression constituted 
by prior declaration of war and invasion, or it may be a 
morally reprehensible policy and intention from which, accord- 
ing to the now discredited dogma of exclusive German war 
guilt, the World War arose. 

The difference between these two interpretations is of critical 
importance today. If the words are given a moral and political 

* Reprinted by permission from Current History j May, 1929. 


5© Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

interpretation, they are indefensible in the light of contempo- 
rary historical knowledge; they falsely impugn German honor, 
and therefore give just grounds for a great German national 
movement for the repudiation of an extorted confession of 
guilt. But if the words have a formal and juristic reading, they 
relate solely to reparations liabilities. They do not impugn 
German honor; they are not contradicted by historical re- 

Newly revealed documents on the Peace Conference, pri- 
vately printed by David Hunter Miller, throw hght upon the 
interpretation of the article,^ for it is a rule of international law 
that in construing a doubtful text, recourse is to be had to the 
history of the negotiations. 

The negotiations of the reparations section of the Treaty of 
Versailles passed through four stages— the pre-Armistice nego- 
tiations of November, 191 8; the debates in the Commission on 
Reparations in February, 1919; the discussion which engaged 
the Supreme Council in March and April; the correspondence 
with the German delegation in May and June. The decisive 
texts were formulated in the first and third periods of the 
negotiations; at these times the negotiators were thinking in 
terms of financial and juristic "responsibility" and formal "ag- 
gression." The negotiation of the second and fourth periods, 
while primarily devoted to the problem of financial and legal 
liability, introduced a confusing discussion of moral and political 

The Pre-Armistice Negotiations 
On November i, 19 18, the Supreme War Council in Paris 
drew up its demand that Germany, having requested an 
armistice, agree to make compensation for all damage done 
to the civilian population of the Allies "du fait de Vinvasion par 
I'AUemagne des pays allies, soit sur terre, soit sur mer, soit en 

1 David Hunter Miller, My Diary at the Conference of Paris, with 
Documents^ 20 vols, and maps (privately printed, New York, 1928). 

The ''Guilf' Clause 51 

consequence d'operations aeriennes." ^ This formula was ren- 
dered into English in the Lansing note of November 5, thus 
becoming the contractual basis of a reparations claim: "Com- 
pensation will be made by Germany for all damage done to the 
civilian population of the Allies and their property by the 
aggression of Germany by land, sea and from the air." 

The sense of this language is clearly legalistic, not ethical. It 
has to do with an undertaking to make payments, not a con- 
fession of guilt. The word "aggression" refers to the bald, 
formal fact of invasion, without prejudice to any one or other 
version of prewar history. The phrase "damage by aggression" 
was construed by the American peace delegation to mean 
"physical damage to property resulting from the military opera- 
tions of the enemy." ^ Other possible meanings of the term 
"aggression" were discussed. But it did not enter the American 
view that the word could be construed in a moral and political 
sense as a reference to German policies. 

This formula of the Lansing note was the contractual basis 
of the Allied claim to reparations. It excluded claims for war 
costs or indemnities. In later discussions the French and British 
delegations tried to escape from this limitation, while the Ameri- 
can delegation worked to hold the terms of the treaty to con- 
formity with the Lansing note. When in the records of the 
negotiations there appear drafts of reparations clauses con- 
taining the phrase "aggression ... by land, sea and from the 
air," the expression signalizes that an effort is being made to 
keep the language of the treaty as close as possible to the lan- 
guage of the Lansing note. On the basis of evidence now at 
hand this seems to be the pedigree of the word "aggression" in 
Article 231. 

^Mei-meix, pseud. (Gabriel Terrail), Les negociations secretes et les 
quatre armistices avec pieces justificative s (Paris, 1919), and Charles 
Seymour, The Intimate Papers of Colonel House (Boston, 1928), vol. IV, 
give the best accounts of these negotiations. 

^ Memorandum of John Foster Dulles, Feb. 7, 1919, in Miller, Diary ^ 
V, 204. 

52 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

The Debates in the Peace Conference Commission 

Despite the fact that Lloyd George had signed away the right 
to demand war costs from Germany, he promised the British 
people in the general election of December, 191 8, that he would 
make the Germans pay the entire costs of the war. The French 
people were equally expectant that "Germany will pay all." 
Thus it came about that the second stage in the drafting of 
reparations terms consisted of an attempt by the French and 
British delegations to establish that Germany could be held 
for war costs because she had started the war. 

When the Peace Conference Commission on Reparations 
met in February, 19 19, it found a French memorandum on 
principles of reparations arguing for "integral reparations," 
that is, war costs, on the ground that the ordinary law of 
torts makes a wrongdoer liable for all the consequences of his 
wrongful act.* John Foster Dulles of the American delegation 
countered with a memorandum asserting that "reparation would 
not be due for all damage caused by the war unless the war 
in its totality were an illegal act." ^ But the law of 19 14 per- 
mitted war-making. 

The British delegation opposed the American view in a 
memorandum of February 10: "The war itself was an act of 
aggression and wrong; it was, therefore, a wrong for which 
reparation is due." * The Italian memorandum of February 1 5 
made the same claim: "An enemy who is responsible for an 
unjust act of aggression owes to [the victims] . . . full repara- 
tions for the costs of their defense." ^ 

A full dress debate, extending from February 10 to February 

* French memorandum of Feb. i, 19 19, from Minutes of Reparations 
Commission quoted in Miller, Diary ^ XIX, 267. Also in Annex to Klotz: 
De la guerre a la paix. (Paris, 1924.) 

5 Dulles memorandum of Feb. 4, in Miller, Diary, V, 147-148. (It is not 
certain that this memorandum was presented or used; in any case, it ex- 
presses the American view.) 

^^ British and Italian memorandums, from the Minutes of the Com- 
mission on Reparations, as cited in Miller, Diary, XIX, 268. 

The ''Guilf Clause 53 

19, then took place in the Commission on Reparations. The Brit- 
ish led the argument for war costs; Dulles replied that the Allies 
were bound by the terms of the Lansing note; all the powers 
save Belgium lined up with the British delegation.® The 
debate ended in a complete deadlock on February 19, when it 
was voted to refer back to the Supreme Council the question, 
formulated by the French, "The right to reparations of the 
Allied and Associated Powers is entire (integral)." The Supreme 
Council refused to act on this formula when it came before 
them on March i, partly because President Wilson was then 
absent, and partly because interest was shifting from the ab- 
stract right to recover reparations to the more practical prob- 
lem of the total sum that could be recovered. At Lansing's sug- 
gestion the commission was instructed to draft alternative 
reports, covering either the inclusion or rejection of the war 
costs claim.^ 

While the decision upon the principle of reparations hung 
fire, Dulles came forward on February 2 2 with a draft proposal 
which vaguely anticipated the language of Article 231: 

"I. The German Government undertakes to make full and com- 
plete reparations, as hereinafter provided, for damage as herein- 
after defined, done by the aggression of Germany and/or its allies 
to the territories and populations of the nations with which the 
German Government has been at war." ^^ 

On February 26 this draft took shape as follows: 

"I. The German Government recognizes its complete legal and 
moral responsibility for all damage and loss, of the character set 
forth in the schedule annexed hereto." ^^ 

® Bernard Baruch, The Making of the Economic and Reparations Sec- 
tion of the Treaty (New York, 1920), prints a good account of the de- 
bate, with stenographic minutes of some of the speeches. An excellent 
abstract of the arguments on both sides is printed in Miller, Diary. 

^Minutes of the Council of Ten (B. C, 42), March i, 1919, printed in 
full in MUler, Diary. 

i« Miller, D/jry, VI, 21. 

11 Miller, Diary, VI, 54. 

54 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

The explicit linking of the words "legal and moral" in this 
draft illustrates the degree to which juristic and ethical argu- 
ments had been intertwined and entangled in the discussion on 
principles of reparation. No one had disputed the thesis of 
German war guilt; the dogma of a war-guilty nation was itself 
subjected neither to criticism nor discussion. In the drafting of 
all parts of the treaty this dogma was called upon to justify 
cruel and unworkable demands— the reparations demands among 
others. The record of the debates in the commission, in so far 
as they are accessible, gives no evidence that the delegates of 
any power strove at this time to make use of the reparations 
section of the treaty to wring from Germany a confession of 
war guilt. The dialectic use made of the war-guilt legend in the 
reparations debate was not unlike the use made of it in the 
debate on Rhineland occupation or German disarmament. The 
dogma of German moral and political war responsibility was 
brought forward to serve as a supplementary basis of repara- 
tions liability, different from the contractual basis of liability 
established in the Lansing note. 

Plans to Include a Special Guilt-Acknowledgment 

Article in the Treaty 
The project to require of Germany a definite acknowledg- 
ment of her war guilt was brought forward in the Peace Con- 
ference as a matter entirely distinct from the reparations 
problem. Already, on November 21, 191 8, the French Govern- 
ment, in an official plan for the agenda of the Peace Conference, 
had included: 

"VII. Stipulations of a moral order. (Recognition by Germany 
of the responsibility and premeditation of her directors, which 
wUl place in the front rank ideas of justice and responsibility, and 
will legitimate the measures of penalization and precaution taken 
against her. . . .)"" 

12 Miller, Diary , II, 16. 

The ''Guilf Clause 55 

Again, in connection with the drafting of the Covenant, the 
French delegation tried to insert in the preamble a condemna- 
tion of "those who had visited upon the world the war just 
ended." " One of the first acts of the Peace Conference was to 
set up a Commission on the Responsibility of the Authors of the 
War and provisions for their punishment. This commission re- 
ported on March 29 in language which constitutes an extreme 
statement of the war-guilt myth: "The war was premeditated 
by the Central Powers, together with their Allies, Turkey and 
Bulgaria, and was the result of acts deliberately committed in 
order to make it unavoidable." ^* 

The idea that the treaty should stand as a whole upon the 
theory of German war guilt is expressed in Lloyd George's 
famous memorandum of March 25, setting forth his enlightened 
views on the terms of peace: "The settlement . . . must do 
justice to the Allies, by taking into account Germany's re- 
sponsibility for the origin of the war." ^® 

The preamble to the Treaty of Versailles is expressive of this 
same theory, for it designates the war by listing chronologically 
the Austro-Hungarian and German war declarations and re- 
ferring to the invasion of Belgium. The final indictment of 
Germany by the Allies, summed up in Clemenceau's harsh 
covering letter of June 6, 19 19, related not to the particular 

^^ Miller, The Drafting of the Covenant, 2 vols. (New York, 1928) I, 
229-230; II, 299, 476. (Records of the ninth meeting of Commission on 
League of Nations, Feb. 13, 191 9.) 

^*This part of the report of the Commission on Responsibilities is 
accessible in many editions, notably in English in the German White 
Book on the Responsibilities of the Authors of the War, published by the 
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. 

^^"Some considerations for the Peace Conference before they finally 
draft their terms," Memorandum circulated by the Prime Minister on 
March 2^, 1919. Great Britain, Command Papers, 1922, Vol. 23, Cmd. 1614, 
p. 5. Ray Stannard Baker, Woodroiv Wilson and the World Settlement, 
3 vols. (Garden City, N. Y., 1923), II, 495, wrongly attributes this 
memorandum to General Bliss; in this error he has been followed by 
von Wegerer in Widerlegung des Versailler Kriegschuldspruches (Ber- 
lin, 1928). 

$6 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

provisions of the reparations section of the treaty but in general 
to the treaty as a whole. 

There is no disputing the fact that those who drew up the 
Treaty of Versailles entertained the conviction that Germany 
was war-guilty and made use of this conviction in justifying the 
reparations clauses of the treaty among others. But did they 
choose to write an expression of this belief into the text of 
Article 231? For an answer to this question we must turn to 
that period of the negotiations in which the text was formulated. 

The Drafting of Article 231 
As February turned to March and March to April, it became 
increasingly clear that the size of the sum to be demanded of 
Germany was a fact of greater moment than the theoretical 
nature of the German liability. This orientation of interest was 
already evident in Balfour's remarks in the Council of Ten 
on March i, and when, on March 10, reparations were dis- 
cussed in a special conference by Clemenceau, House and 
Lloyd George, the problem of the total amount was uppermost. 
The three decided to set up a small secret committee, consisting 
of Davis, Montagu and Loucheur, "to discuss the question of 
reparations. Both Clemenceau and Lloyd George stated that 
they hoped a large sum would be settled upon, because of the 
political situation in the Chamber of Deputies and Parliament. 
They were perfectly willing to have the sum called *repara- 
tions.' " ^^ The minutes of this conference indicate an almost 
cynical indifference to the question of principle that had 
aroused the commission in the preceding month, and a per- 
fectly frank recognition that it would be distressing to disillu- 
sion the French and British people as to the real amount of the 
prospective reparations revenue. 

The moral question slips into the background as the next 
draft of Article 231 appears. On March 19 the British and 

^® Miller, Diary, VI, 316. The report of this committee, dated March 20, 
1919, is printed in Baker, Woodrow Wilson, III, 376-379. 

The ''Guilf Clause 57 

Americans agreed on the tentative text: "The loss and damage 
to which the AUied and Associated Governments and their 
nationals have been subjected as a direct and necessary conse- 
quence of the war begun by Germany and her Allies is upward 
of 40,000,000,000 sterling [$200,000,000,000]." This text was 
modified next day by substituting for "the war begun by Ger- 
many" the phrase, "the war imposed upon them by the enemy 
States." On March 24 the text was retained, except that the 
40,000,000,000 pounds was commuted to 800,000,000,000 
marks.^^ The intention of the drafting committee in construct- 
ing this formula was expressed by Lamont, the American mem- 
ber, in his covering letter: "The thought was that for political 
reasons it might be wise to have the Germans admit the enor- 
mous financial loss to which the world had been subjected by 
the war which they had begun." ^® 

Thus the wish of Lloyd George and Clemenceau "that the 
sum might be large" is being complied with, although the 
secret Committee of Three, appointed on March 10, had re- 
ported that the maximum sum collectable from Germany was 
$30,000,000,000— one-seventh of the amount named in the ar- 
ticle. The discrepancy was taken care of by the ensuing article 
of the draft, prefiguring Article 232 of the treaty, by recogniz- 
ing that "the financial and economic resources of the enemy 
States are not unlimited, and that it will therefore be impractical 
for the enemy States to make complete reparation for the loss 
and damage above stated, resulting from the aggression of such 
enemy States." 

The language of March 24 is very near to the final language 
of the treaty. And its intention is legal, formal, financial, not 
moral. The word "aggression" is used as in the Lansing note, to 
mean invasion; the phrase relating to the outbreak of the war 
was originally "war begun by Germany." The sense of the 
language in this respect is like the language of the preamble to 

^^ Baker, Woodrow Wilson, III, 387. 
18 Miller, Diary, VII, 147. 

58 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

the treaty. It does not impugn German honor; it leaves open 
the question of premeditation and political policies generally. 

In the subsequent negotiations, of which we can construct 
a fairly complete record by putting together the evidence 
offered by Baker, Keynes, House, Baruch, Lamont, Klotz, 
Tardieu and Miller,^^ it appears that the most important issues 
were three: (i) The French and British wished to have war 
pensions included as reparations; (2) Wilson wished to avoid 
naming a fantastic sum as the total of the German debt; (3) the 
French wished to exact assurance that Germany would pay 
"at whatever cost to herself." 

The concession relating to war pensions, although the most 
important at the time, does not bear directly upon the present 
question. Wilson yielded to the persuasive appeal of the Smuts 
memorandum of March 3 1 . 

Wilson's arguments in the Council of Four on March 30 
had a more direct influence upon the drafting of Article 231. 
The draft of March 24 came before the Council, slightly modi- 
fied by reducing the sum mentioned from 40,000,000,000 to 
30,000,000,000 pounds. But "President Wilson said he did not 
like the mention of the particular sum stated in the memo- 
randum." He asked, moreover, that the text be brought nearer 
to the language of the Lansing note.^ Acting under this in- 
struction, the American experts, on March 31, drafted a text 
which substituted for the specific sum a general acknowledg- 
ment of "responsibility," and elaborated the statement relating 
to the beginning of the war by adding the word "aggression" 
—a word which, in the circumstances, must have come from the 
Lansing note. 

^® In addition to the works already cited (Miller, Klotz, Baruch, House, 
and Baker), Andre Tardieu, La Paix (Paris, 1920), and the article by 
Lamont in E. M. House and Charles Seymour, What Really Happened 
at Paris (New York, 1921), as well as John Maynard Keynes, The Eco- 
nomic Consequences of the Peace (New York and London, 1920), throw 
light on this period of the negotiations. 

20 Minutes of the Council of Four (IC 169 C), as abstracted in Miller, 
Diary, XIX, 288-289. 

The ''Guilt" Clause 59 

At the meeting of financial experts on March 3 1 the French 
withdrew to prepare a proposed amendment, and the British 
and Americans continued in session.^ On April i the British 
and Americans came to agreement on the text: "The Allied and 
Associated Governments afiirm the responsibility of the enemy- 
States for all the loss and damage to which the A. and A. 
Governments and their nationals have been subjected as a direct 
and necessary consequence of the war imposed upon them 
by the aggression of the enemy States. ..." Here the two am- 
biguous words, "responsibility" and "aggression," appear in a 
context not much different from that which they were finally 

Fortunately, we have a memorandum expressing the intent 
of the experts on April i, when they drew up the text: "It 
has been agreed between them that Mr. Lloyd George's plan 
shall be in substance adopted, that is to say: i. That Germany 
shall be compelled to admit her financial liability for all damage 
done to the civilian population of the Allied and Associated 
Powers and their property by the aggression of the enemy 
States by land, by sea and from the air, and, also, for damage 
resulting from their acts in violation of formal engagements and 
of the law of nations. . . ." ^ The draft is thus intended as a 
statement of legal liability, not moral guilt. 

Meanwhile Klotz is out preparing the French amendments. 
Will he seek to introduce the guilt element into the text? 
Far from it. The French delegation is not trying to substitute a 
moral declaration on prewar history for a legal recognition 
of liability. On the contrary, it is trying to make the recognition 
of liability more decisive. The Klotz draft, as it is put into 
shape on April 5, after coming before the Council of Four, 
runs as follows: "The Allied and Associated Powers require 
and the enemy States accept that the enemy States, at whatever 

2^ "Memorandum of progress with the Reparations setdement," in 
Baker, Woodroiv Wilson, III, 397. 
*2 Baker, Woodrow Wilson, III, 397. 

6o Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

cost to themselves, make compensation for all damage done 
to the civilian population . . . and to their property by the 
aggression of the enemy States by land, by sea and from the 
air." '« 

The men who are now whipping the language into shape are 
not thinking of anything but the amount and degree of financial 
liability which Germany can be made to assume. The emotional 
pronouncements on war guilt which had characterized the 
debates of February are no longer in evidence. The only con- 
tribution of the Klotz draft to the permanent language of 
Article 2 3 1 is the phrase, "and the enemy States accept." The 
Klotz draft of April 5 was referred to a drafting committee con- 
sisting of Lamont, Keynes and Loucheur, and reported back 
to the Council of Four on April 7. The drafting committee had 
simply gone back to the language of the text of April i. The 
phrase from the Klotz draft, "and the enemy States accept," 
was restored in the meeting of the Council of Four on April 7. 
It then remained only to substitute "Germany and her Allies" 
for "the enemy States," and Article 231 emerged in its final 

At this time the attention of the Council of Four was much 
more seriously taken up with the language of Article 232. The 
text of Article 232 was debated and changed on April 7, while 
Article 2 3 1 rode along on the basis of the agreements reached 
April i.^^ We have, therefore, the documentary proof of the 
intention of those who drafted Article 231, namely, the memo- 
randum made at the time of drafting and quoted above. This 
memorandum established that the negotiators who drew up 
Article 231 intended the words "responsibility" and "aggres- 
sion" in the juristic, not the moral-political sense. 

With the submission of the treaty to the German delegation 
there began a debate which has continued to the present day, 

23 Miller, Diary, VII, 488-490. 
2* Miller, Diary, XIX, 288-289. 
26 Miller, Diary, XIX, 291 ff. 

The ''Guilf' Clause 6i 

linking war guilt and reparations liability. The German delega- 
tion interpreted Article 231 in a moral sense. Their translation 
leaned to the moral reading of the article.^ They assumed that 
it was based upon the report of the Commission on the Re- 
sponsibilities of the Authors of the War, and called for the 
report of that commission, which Clemenceau refused them. In 
point of fact the report of the commission was not embodied 
in Article 231, for the article had taken shape by March 24, 
whereas the report of the commission was not made until 
March 29. In his correspondence with the German delegation 
Clemenceau explained that the word "aggression" in Article 
2 3 1 went back to the use of the same word in the Lansing note.^^ 
His explanation happened to be true, although his argument on 
it was shifty. When the representatives of the Allied Govern- 
ments set forth in their final ultimatum their most emphatic 
statement of the war-guilt thesis, they were discussing not 
Article 231 or the reparations section alone but the whole 
treaty, in all its parts. 

The idea that Article 231 is a guilt article has grown lustily 
since 19 19. Entente statesmen have found it convenient to refer 
to a German acknowledgment of war guilt, and German patriots 
have welcomed a definite text, to the revision of which they 
can direct their efforts. On the other hand, in cases involving 
legal interpretation, the juristic reading of Article 231 has 

^ Robert C. Binkley and August C. Mahr, "Eine Studie zur Kriegs- 
schuldjragey'' in Frankfurter Zeitung, Feb. 28, 1926; "A new interpretation 
of the Responsibility Clause of the Versailles Treaty," by the same au- 
thors, in Current History , June, 1926. 

2^^ Brockdorff-Rantzau's note of May 13 protested against basing repa- 
rations claims on the ground that Germany was author (Urheber) of 
the war; May 20 Clemenceau replied by arguing that the word "aggres- 
sion" in the Lansing note closed the debate as to the basis of Germany's 
liability. May 24 Brockdorff-Rantzau replied that Germany, in accepting 
the Lansing note "did not admit Germany's alleged responsibility for the 
origin of the war or for the merely incidental fact that the formal declara- 
tion of war had emanated from Germany." These texts in many printed 
sources, especially Herbert Kraus and Gustav Roediger, Urkunden zum 
Friedensvertrage von Versailles vom 28 Juni 1919 (Berlin, 1920), I. 

6i Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

prevailed. For instance, in the case of Rousseau vs. Germany, 
argued before the Mixed Arbitral Tribunal of Paris in 192 1, 
it was decided that the German Government had to pay for 
the equipment of a certain truffle factory on grounds derived 
from a legal reading of Article 231.^® 

It is time that the ambiguity of this article should be resolved. 
This could easily be accomplished by a declaration on the 
part of the Entente Governments, stating that in their view the 
language of the article has only a juristic, not a moral-political 
meaning. Such a declaration would put an end to the present 
uncertainty which permits the article to mean one thing in the 
chamber of the Mixed Arbitral Tribunal and another thing 
in the French Chamber of Deputies. The declaration would 
also serve a good purpose in quieting title to reparations. This 
latter is at present an important consideration. If our govern- 
ment is anxious that in any project for commercializing the 
reparations payments, there be no confusion of reparations 
liability with the question of inter-allied debts, our investors 
will be equally desirous that there be no confusion of repara- 
tions and the war-guilt question. Americans will not wish to 
have their titles to an investment compromised by the agitation 
of the Kriegsschuldfrage; neither will they wish to have their 
attitude upon the question of the origins of the war become 
a matter engaging their economic interests. 

^ Rectieil des decisions des Tribunaux Arbitraux Mixtes, 192 1, p. 379. 


Ten Years of Peace Conference History * 

After witnessing a decade of intensive revising of the history 
of the origins of the Great War, we have now to look forward 
to a period no less chaotic in the study of the origin of the peace 
settlements. The world has come to expect of historians that 
they will make use of their discipline and their feehng for 
perspective in the interpretation of events that are still filled 
with vital meanings. The new cult of indiscretion in the pub- 
lishing of memoirs has accelerated enormously the speed with 
which secrets of state are revealed to the public. The fact that 
the journalist is only too willing to exploit these revelations 
calls for an effort on the part of the historian to understand and 
to control them. 

Peace Conference studies stand today about where the in- 
vestigation of the origins of the war stood in 1919-20. The 
historical problems of the Peace Conference are formulated, 
like the unrevised problem of the origins of the war, around 
personalities on the one hand and high-sounding generalities 
on the other. Just as it once seemed self-evident that every 
question of importance relating to responsibility for the war 
came to a focus in the personal equation of William II, so it 
has been made to appear that the role of Woodrow Wilson 
or of Georges Clemenceau at Paris includes the whole story 
of the peace settlement. And just as there were writers who 

* Reprinted from Journal of Modern History, December, 1929, by 
permission of The University of Chicago Press. 


64 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

treated the international situation of 19 14 as if it had been the 
stage of a conflict between such entities as "civiHzation" and 
"barbarism," so there have been historians of the Peace Con- 
ference who have painted the world-scene of 19 19 as if it had 
been a clearly drawn struggle between such things as Crime 
and Justice, or New and Old. 

The experience of the historical profession in the study of the 
problem of responsibility for the war should serve at once as 
a guide and a warning to those who are to develop the investiga- 
tion of the peace settlements. The study of the war-guilt ques- 
tion was admirable in the persistence with which all possible 
sources of information were explored, and deplorable in the 
naivete with which the issues of the discussion were formulated. 
A review of the literature upon the Peace Conference indicates 
that it is tending to develop in a comparable way. 

It will be recalled that the earliest official and semiofficial 
publications— notably Temperley's six-volume History of the 
Peace Conference ^ and the comprehensive publications of the 
German, Austrian, and Hungarian peace delegations ^— could 
pretend to no greater adequacy than had characterized the old 
red, white, green, and yellow "books" of the 19 14 crisis. The 
defeated powers published exhaustively, having indeed little 
to relate and nothing to conceal; Temperley's collection of 

^H. W. V. Temperley, ed., A History of the Peace Conference of 
Faris, published under the auspices of the Institute of International Affairs, 
6 vols. (London, 1920-24). 

^The German documents have been published in several editions, 
notably the official "white books" entitled Materialien betreffend die 
Friedensverhandlungen (Charlottenburg, 1919-20). A convenient two- 
volume edition is in the series: Kommentar zmn Friedensvertrage, edited 
by Professor Dr. Walter Schuecking, entitled Urkunden zum Friedens- 
vertrage von Versailles vom 28 Juni ipi^, edited by Herbert Kraus and 
Gustav Roediger, Parts I-II (BerHn, 1920-21). The Austrian documents 
are in Bericht iiber die Tdtigkeit der Deutschosterreichischen Friedens- 
delegation in St. Germain en Laye, 2 vols. (Vienna, 1919). The Hungarian 
documents are in The Hungarian Peace Negotiations: An Account of 
the Work of the Hungarian Peace Delegation at Neuilly s/S from Janu- 
ary to March, 1920, 3 vols, and maps (Budapest, 1922). 

Ten Years of Peace Conference History 65 

monographs was voluminous, colorless, and discreet, like any- 
official compilation. Out of the six volumes only a few hundred 
pages were devoted to an account of the actual progress of 
negotiations in Paris, the rest being concerned with certain 
aspects of the history of the war, with the discussion of the 
historical background of various problems presented to the 
Peace Conference for solution, and with the story of the carry- 
ing out of the provisions of the treaties. Temperley's work came 
very near to being the official British history of the Conference. 
A compilation edited by Colonel House and Professor Charles 
Seymour,^ as well as a volume by Bernard Baruch * and one by 
Professors Haskins and Lord,^ had the tone of official Ameri- 
can history. And Andre Tardieu, a man much experienced in 
writing official histories, published a volume calculated to de- 
fend French policy against critics abroad, who thought it too 
severe toward Germany, and critics at home, who thought it 
too mild.® 

But it was not from these writings that the public drew its 
opinions. The fires of national and factional sentiment required 
more combustible material. Responsibility for the peace settle- 
ment was a domestic political issue in each nation. The internal 
quarrels and conflicts of policy which had developed in each 
delegation were exposed. The journalists displayed the greatest 
zeal in discovering colossal plots and treasons; they used the 
pattern of their war-time propaganda narratives in constructing 
their histories of the Peace Conference. Their syntheses, which 
are today the principal extant theories of the Conference, were 
used in politics with deadly effect. 

3 E. M. House and Charles Seymour, What Really Happened at Paris 
(New York, 1921). 

* Bernard Baruch, The Making of the Reparations and Economic 
Sections of the Treaty (New York, 1920). 

® Charles Homer Haskins and Robert Howard Lord, Some Problems 
of the Peace Conference (Cambridge, Mass., 1920). 

* Andre Tardieu, La Paix (Paris, 1921); English translation, The Truth 
about the Treaty (Indianapolis, 1921). 

66 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

The French journalists of the bloc national portrayed Clem- 
enceau as a feeble old man who had allowed himself to be 
deluded into accepting illusory guaranties of national safety, 
regardless of the warnings of Foch and the sober counsels of 
Poincare. The story cost Clemenceau the presidency of the 
Republic. The German nationalists expounded the theory that 
the revolutionary government had betrayed the nation by trust- 
ing naively in the hypocritical Wilson and his Fourteen Points. 
The story cost Erzberger his life. Italian writers depicted 
Orlando and Nitti as vain and impractical renunciatori yielding 
the vital interests of their nation to the demands of selfish and 
ungrateful allies. The story fed the political current which has 
since swept away democracy in Italy. In England John May- 
nard Keynes "^ led the chorus of Liberal criticism of the peace 
settlement in a brilliant polemic which incidentally gave 
the world a picture it has never forgotten of the sittings of the 
Council of Four. And nowhere was the effort to discredit the 
work of the national delegation to the Peace Conference more 
determined, more intransigeant, or more successful than in the 
United States, which alone among the participating nations 
disowned Wilson's work by refusing to ratify the Covenant. 
The hearings of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations 
were patently conducted for the purpose of embarrassing the 
President rather than for the purpose of enlightening the 
Senate.® Not only in America but in other countries as well, 
Wilson was the hardest hit of all the leaders. He was held re- 
sponsible for all disappointments. He was denounced as a man 
of absurd vanities, ignorant of European affairs, yet refusing to 
take advice, unskilled in the ways of diplomats, yet insisting on 
personal participation in the Conference, too stubborn, too 

^John Maynard Keynes, The Economic Consequences of the Peace 
(New York and London, 1920). 

® Treaty of Peace with Germany: Hearings before the CoTmmttee on 
Foreign Relations, Sixty-eighth Congress, First Session, Senate Document 
106 (Washington, 1919). 

Ten Years of Peace Conference History 67 

pliant, too hypocritical, too naively sincere. His fall left Ameri- 
can foreign policy utterly confused, and American liberalism 
paralyzed for almost a decade. 

These controversies quickly broke the seals of secrecy in 
every country. To defend the German Republic against the 
charge that it had too quickly disarmed in the expectation of a 
Wilson peace, the German chancellery published the minutes 
of the fateful ministerial councils of October, 191 8, and the 
correspondence between the military and civil leaders, estab- 
lishing in this publication that the responsibility for requesting 
an armistice lay with the military men.® Erzberger had already, 
in 191 9, laid before the Reichstag a fragmentary report of the 
proceedings of the Armistice Commission relating to the suc- 
cessive renewals of the Armistice.^** 

To defend Clemenceau against his enemies of the Mac na- 
tional Gabriel Terrail, writing under the pseudonym "Mer- 
meix," published ministerial correspondence and excerpts from 
the minutes of the meetings of the Supreme War Council, the 
Council of Ten, and the Council of Four, and the Drafting 
Committee of the Peace Conference." Tardieu also published 
a few of the papers which had been used by the French delega- 
tion, and so did Lucien Klotz, the now discredited finance 
minister, of whom Clemenceau is said to have remarked, "He 
is the only Jew I ever knew who understands absolutely noth- 
ing of finance." " The French ministry of foreign affairs pub- 
lished two Peace Conference memoranda of Marshal Foch 
relating to the problem of security and arguing in favor of the 

® Vorgeschichte des Waffenstilhtandes (Berlin, 1919); English transla- 
tion by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Preliminary 
History of the Armistice (New York, 1923). 

^^^ Waffenstillstandskommission, Drucksache (Berlin, 1919). 

^^Mermeix, pseud. (Gabriel Terrail), Les negociations secretes et les 
quatre armistices avec pieces justificatives (Paris, 1921); Le combat des 
trois (Paris, 1921). 

^ Louis Lucien Klotz, De la guerre a la paix, notes et souvenirs (Paris, 

68 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

military frontier of the Rhine." The interview upon the subject 
given in later years by Marshal Foch to Raymond Recouly, 
published in the New York Times and now available as a chap- 
ter in a book of interviews, does not add materially to what 
was already known of the tension within the French delegation 
on the problem of security." 

In Italy the publication of diplomatic documents began in 
1920 with a memorial volume to Count Vincenzo Macchi di 
Cellere, Italian ambassador at Washington during the war and 
the period of the Peace Conference, who had died suddenly in 
September, 1919, while Nitti was trying to make him the scape- 
goat for the failure of Italy's policy in the Adriatic. The volume 
of Memorials and Testimonials, published by his widow to 
defend his name, includes his diary during the period of the 
negotiations of the Adriatic question at the Peace Conference." 
Francesco Nitti, whose name had come in 1922 to be the symbol 
in Italy for a policy of renunciation abroad and weakness at 
home, published in that year his first apologia, and followed it 
in later years with several others.^^ Nitti made it a point to leave 
his works undocumented. Although he was premier when the 
treaty was signed, his knowledge of the making of the Treaty 
of Versailles was only second-hand, for he had been out of the 
Italian ministry during the negotiations. To denounce Nitti is 
now a commonplace of political writing in Italy, but only one 
work has brought to this campaign any valuable documentary 

^^ Ministere des Affaires fetrangeres, Documents diplomatique^: Docu- 
ments relatifs a la securite (Paris, 1922). 

'^^Neiv York Times, May 12, 1929; Raymond Recouly, Le Marechal 
Foch (Paris, 1929). 

^^ Justus, V. Macchi di Cellere aWambasciata di Washington, memorie 
e testimonianze (Florence, 1920). 

^^ Francesco Nitti, Europa senza pace (Florence, 1922). (There are 
twenty-two translations. The English translations are entided Peaceless 
Europe [London, 1922] and The Wreck of Europe [Indianapolis, 1922].) 
The second of the series is La decadenza delV Europa: Le vie della rico- 
struzione (Florence, 1923), English translation. The Decadence of Europe 
(London, 1923). The later volumes of this prolific writer have to do 
with the enforcement rather than the making of the peace. 

Ten Years of Peace Conference History 69 

material. This is a volume the sources for which were supplied 
by Vittorio Falorsi, who had been secretary to Count Macchi 
di Cellere in Washington, and who sought to defend both the 
memory of his chief and the policies of Sonnino by printing 
from documents in his possession.^'^ The two themes that run 
through Falorsi's interpretation are, first, that the renunciatori 
(Nitti, Orlando, the Corriera delta Sera, Salvemini) weakened 
Italy's hand at the Peace Conference, and, second, that the 
interest of the United States in the Adriatic settlement was 
economic not idealistic. Falorsi makes use of excerpts from the 
embassy's correspondence and the diary of the ambassador. 

In 1922 Lloyd George, partly as a gesture of defense against 
such critics as Keynes, published the "Fontainebleau Memo- 
randum" which he had given to the Peace Conference on 
March 25, 191 9, a document in which it appears that British 
foreign policy breathes the very spirit of Liberalism.^® Im- 
portant among British writings on the Peace Conference is the 
last part of Wickham Steed's Through Thirty Years,^^ written 
from notes of interviews and from personal records made at 
the time, and composed without any polemic purpose toward 
either wing of the British delegation. Steed was the editor of 
the Paris edition of the Daily Mail during the Conference; his 
specialty was Central Europe, and his sympathy on broad mat- 
ters of policy was with Wilson. 

These random revelations and apologies, French, German, 
Italian, and British, were still too meager to furnish a basis for 
the criticism of the official history of the Peace Conference. 
Such a basis finally came to be supplied by the publication of 
American documents, printed in connection with the polemics 
which raged around the head of Woodrow Wilson. 

^''A. A. Bernardy and V. Falorsi, La questione adriatica vista d'oltre 
Atlantico (ipij-i^ig), ricordi e documenti (Bologna, 1923). 

^^Some Considerations for the Peace Conference before they finally 
draft their terms (Cmd. 1614, London, 1922). 

^^ Henry Wickham Steed, Through Thirty Years, 1892-1922: A Per- 
sonal N arrative (London, 1924). 

yo Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

The champion who stepped forward to defend Wilson 
against his detractors was Ray Stannard Baker, who began by 
answering calumny with calumny and myth with myth. Then 
the time came when Baker was given access to the complete 
archives of American policy at the Peace Conference. He used 
this secret material more lavishly than any of his predecessors, 
and came thereby to create that theory of the Peace Conference 
which was at once the most dramatic, the most circumstantial, 
and the most heavily documented. 

Baker is a man of warm human qualities; his contact with 
Wilson during the Conference was close; his loyalty to his 
chief was perfect and enduring. No one saw better than he how 
false were the judgments and stories which were crippling 
Wilson's work. In America the Senate Committee on Foreign 
Relations held hearings which were patently conducted for the 
purpose of discrediting the work of the American delegation. 
Public opinion was wavering; Wilson collapsed. A few weeks 
after Wilson's breakdown, in November, 19 19, Baker published 
a small booklet as a campaign document to vindicate the Presi- 
dent.^*^ What Wilson Did at Paris was written from personal 
recollections, apparently upon a very slight documentary foun- 
dation, by the man who had been Wilson's press representative 
at Paris. It dramatized the story of the peace negotiations 
around Wilson's personality. It did the thing that Baker had 
longed to do in the critical months when he had helplessly 
watched public opinion recede from the Wilsonian cause, 
knowing that information in his possession might stem the tide 
if only he were permitted to release it. 

The Peace Conference, as dramatized by Baker, was a conflict 
between the New, whereof the patent symbol was the Covenant 
of the League of Nations, and the Old, which was ever iden- 
tified by its attachment to such ikons as "territorial guaranties," 
"economic concessions," or "strategic frontiers." The tactics 

20 Ray Stannard Baker, What Wilson Did at Paris (Garden City, N. Y., 

Ten Years of Peace Conference History 71 

of the New were tactics of investigation by experts, the tactics 
of the Old were tactics of barter and bluff. The New was dis- 
posed to favor the widest possible publicity; the Old thrived 
upon secrecy and concealment. And Wilson had gone to Paris 
as champion of the New, to encounter the enemy in his 
strongest citadel. 

The first encounters had been triumphs for Wilson. He 
secured the acceptance of the principle that the Covenant must 
be an integral part of the treaty, and pressed forward the draft- 
ing of the Covenant with incredible speed. When attempts 
were made to divide the spoils of war, Wilson staved off the 
claims of the greedy ones. 

Then the hostile forces gathered strength. There was a 
"slump in idealism." The enemy worked with diabolical pre- 
cision for his evil ends. Wilson wished to introduce an atmos- 
phere of security and confidence into the discussion of terri- 
torial and reparations questions by imposing upon Germany a 
definitive disarmament in a preliminary treaty of peace. He 
secured the acceptance of this principle by the Supreme Council 
on February 12, just before he sailed for America. As soon as 
Wilson's back was turned, the representatives of the Old began 
to undo his work. Balfour and Clemenceau decided to expand 
the plan for a preliminary peace to include not only the military 
and naval terms which Wilson had wished to see included, but 
also the principal territorial and reparations clauses— every- 
thing, in fact, except the League of Nations. It was a formidable 
plot to "sidetrack the League," but Wilson, returning to Paris 
in March, broke up the evil game with one bold gesture. He 
announced to the press that the decision to include the Covenant 
of the League of Nations in the treaty had not been altered. 
And so the plotters were foiled. 

This "February Plot" is the central episode of Baker's 19 19 
pamphlet. It corresponds in Peace Conference history to the 
myth of the Potsdam Council in the history of July, 19 14. And 
yet the scene of this episode was laid in exactly that part of the 

72 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

Peace Conference story about which Baker had least immediate 
information. He had been in America with Wilson during the 
period in which the February Plot was alleged to have been 
concocted and the decisions to which he attributes such diaboli- 
cal motives were made. 

The story then tells how, after foiling the February Plot, 
Wilson struck another great blow by threatening to return to 
America early in April, but how the enemies in Washington so 
weakened him in Paris by demanding amendments to the 
Covenant that he had to make compromises as to the substance 
of the settlement in order to save the League. The conclusion 
to be drawn from this pamphlet was that Wilson was strong 
enough to defeat his opponents in Paris till the American Senate 
stabbed him in the back. Responsibility for injustices in the 
treaty lay with the Republicans. 

A year after the publication of Baker's first booklet, Wilson 
committed his whole personal file of Peace Conference records 
to Baker's care. In the course of the year 192 1, while Baker 
was studying these records, the controversy over Wilson's role 
at Paris was sharpened by the appearance of two volumes of 
reminiscences of Robert Lansing, who had never understood 
his chief, nor sympathized with his policies, nor forgiven him 
for incidents of personal friction.^^ Lansing tried to prove 
that if his advice had been followed Wilson would have kept 
out of trouble. Did some people object to the precedence Wil- 
son gave to the drafting of the Covenant in the negotiations at 
Paris? Lansing would have included in the treaty only a resolu- 
tion on the League of Nations, and left the drafting of the 
Covenant for a later day. Was the Senate frightened by the 
seriousness of the commitment implied in Article X? Lansing 
would not have included in the Covenant any such positive 
guaranty. The defense of Wilson came thus to involve an 

21 Robert Lansing, The Peace Negotiations: A Personal Narrative 
(Boston, 1921); The Big Four and Others at the Peace Conference 
(Boston, 1921). 

Ten Years of Peace Conference History 73 

attack not only upon the Republican party but also upon the 
Democratic secretary of state, and finally even upon Wilson's 
closest collaborator, Colonel House. This new stage of the 
controversy was reached with the publication of Baker's second 

In the spring of 1922 Baker began to print in the New York 
Times the chapters of the new book he was compiling from 
Wilson's papers. The completed volumes appeared a year later 
as Woodronv Wilson and the World Settlement.^ The new 
work made a tremendous impression on the world. It was trans- 
lated and carefully studied in Europe. Edward Benes said of 
it that to read it was like reading a Greek drama. It was copi- 
ously documented with materials from the minutes of the 
Council of Ten and the Council of Four. The work was trusted 
because it was known to be based upon an ample documentary 
foundation. There was, indeed, much new material in Baker's 
volumes— material drawn from the Wilson papers. But there 
was no new synthesis. There was an attempt to fix responsi- 
bilities for failure more precisely by developing the theory that 
Colonel House was too much given to compromise, that he 
had not fought hard enough for Wilson's principles. There 
were new and excellent chapters upon particular problems of 
the peace. But there was no new approach to the story of the 
Conference as a whole. It was still the gigantic battle of the 
New and the Old. The three-volume work was essentially an 
expanded and documented edition of the little booklet of 19 19. 
The story of the February Plot was retained unchanged. 
Chapter xvii of Woodronu Wilson and the World Settlement 
follows almost word for word the text of chapter v of What 
Wilson Did at Paris. But the old chapter v had been written 
without documents and covered a period during which Baker 
had been absent from Paris. The documents were now used 
to give authenticity to a conclusion which had been reached 

22 Ray Stannard Baker, Woodrow Wilson and the World Settlement, 
3 vols. (Garden City, N. Y., 1923). 

74 Selected Papers of Robert C, Binkley 

without them. It was Baker's misfortune that this weakest chap- 
ter of his work, because of its very dramatic excellence, at- 
tracted a disproportionate amount of attention in a history 
which read like a Greek drama because it had been written 
like one. 

Because of the bristling adequacy of his documentary cita- 
tions and the lucidity of his exposition, Baker dominated the 
history of the Peace Conference for four years. But his was the 
kind of book that calls for a reply. The resentments harbored 
against Wilson in ex-enemy and ex-allied countries could hardly 
be dispelled by a drama in which Europe was given the villain's 
role to play. Even in the American camp Baker had stirred 
up new resentments by his criticisms of Colonel House. These 
necessary counterblasts have now appeared, one from Ger- 
many ,^^ one from England,^* and one from Colonel House.^*^ 
These three works seem to gather into themselves all of a ten 
years' harvest of recrimination over responsibilities for the 
peace settlement. They furnish a starting point from which 
an irenic revision of the history of this period can proceed. 
They are themselves rich in important new material, and they 
happen to appear at a time when other sources of information 
are being opened with unprecedented abundance. 

Nowak's Versailles was first published in Germany in 1927. 
As the title implies, it is not merely an account of the Peace 
Conference in Paris but also of the peace negotiations of 
Versailles. It is the first comprehensive story of the peace set- 
tlement which has given a due measure of attention to the 
affairs of the German delegation. To this part of the story 
Nowak brings a wealth of new and suggestive information 
gleaned from conversations with its principal members. He 

^Karl Friedrich Nowak, Versailles (New York, 1929). 

2* Winston S. Churchill, The Aftermath (London and New York, 


^ Charles Seymour, The Intimate Papers of Colonel House (Boston, 
1928), vol. Ill, "Into the World War"; vol. IV, "The Ending of the 

Ten Years of Peace Conference History 75 

describes the cross-currents of opposition within the German 
government which weakened the hand of the German delega- 
tion, even as party poHtics in America weakened Wilson's 
hand. Erzberger was the advocate of a policy of humility; he 
did not wish to raise the question of war-guilt or deny Ger- 
many's responsibility for the war lest the only result should 
be to exasperate the AlHes; he proposed that Germany should 
freely offer to give up her colonies provided their value was 
counted in as payment on reparations. He had calculated the 
reparations liability at seven and one-half to nine billions, and 
the value of the colonies at nine billions. " 'We must give in 
completely,' he told the cabinet; 'if we give in completely, they 
will forgive us'" (p. 120). Brockdorff-Rantzau, on the other 
hand, proposed to stand proudly upon Germany's rights under 
the pre-Armistice agreement, and to insist that the Wilsonian 
basis of peace be realized to the letter. He wished, moreover, to 
raise the war-guilt question in the course of the peace negotia- 
tions, in order that his country might repudiate the charge of 
sole war responsibility. He regarded Erzberger as a "white- 
feather" politician, while Erzberger regarded him as an enfant 

The principal contribution Nowak makes to our knowledge 
of the facts is in his history of the German delegation. For the 
rest he has drawn largely upon Baker for details, and upon 
his imagination for the explanations of motives. The details 
are not controlled by any close attention to chronology; he 
uses dates sparingly and often incorrectly, as when he places 
the Stockholm Conference or Balfour's mission to America 
in 19 1 8 instead of 191 7. But his explanations of motives 
are always copious. If Baker's work has the literary quality 
of a Greek drama, Nowak's has the tone of a "modern 

In drawing upon Baker for the story of the Paris side of the 
Conference, Nowak chooses what is already most dramatic in 
Baker and embroiders upon it. For instance, he increases the 

76 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

element of premeditation in the February Plot by asserting that 
Balfour on February 12 agreed to the plan for a preliminary 
military treaty with the mental reservation that everything 
could be changed as soon as Wilson left Paris (p. 73). He adds 
the circumstance that Lloyd George, in London, was instructed 
by his cabinet to carry out the obligations of the secret treaties, 
and hoped that "there was still time for the matter to be put 
through before the President's return" (pp. 91-92). It is then 
made to appear that Balfour's proposal of February 22 that 
the preliminary military treaty should cover also frontiers of 
Germany, reparations, war responsibility, and economic settle- 
ment was connected in some way with this wish to realize the 
secret treaties in Wilson's absence (p. 93). Actually, it happens 
that none of the points which Balfour proposed to include 
in the preliminaries of peace were covered by secret treaties to 
which Britain was a party. The consequence of this method 
of writing is, of course, an increase in the element of fantasy in 
Peace Conference history. 

The book is none the less important because it is a new 
synthesis. It is written so vivaciously and presents the acts of 
the German delegation so sympathetically that the version may 
well become standard in Germany. It is a new scenario, in which 
some of the elements of Baker's plot are taken over in altered 
form. The hero of the tragedy is Brockdorff-Rantzau, not 
Wilson. The malignant atmosphere which poisons the hero's 
efforts is war-guilt, not the slump in idealism. Baker had de- 
scribed Erockdorff-Rantzau's conduct of the peace negotiations 
as tactless and incompetent: the Germans "never fully lived 
up to the opportunity accorded them by laying bare the real 
defects of the Allies' work of peace." ^^ Nowak now returns 
the charge of incompetence upon Wilson and House. "Pro- 
fessor Wilson" was "a child in all European problems," ^ who 
"advanced into territory as strange to him as the mountains of 

2« Baker, Woodrow Wilson and the World Settlement^ II, 505. 
^ Nowak, Versailles, p. 153. 

Ten Years of Peace Conference History 77 

the moon." ^^ As for Colonel House, he "was a man who 
seldom grasped or appreciated what was said to him on political 
topics ... his second-rate intelligence would never have 
passed muster in any position in even a minor State in Eu- 
rope." ^ But the main issue of the conflict is still, in Nowak's 
account as in Baker's, the "realization" of certain "principles." 
And the pattern of the melodrama remains. 

This withering estimate of Colonel House's character is 
simply an exaggerated deduction from the hints given in 
Baker's work. As if in rebuttal there appeared in 1928 the final 
two volumes of The Intimate Papers of Colonel House cover- 
ing the years 191 7- 19 19. Professor Seymour has not sought 
to write a history of the peace settlement; his purpose has been 
frankly biographical; his selection of papers is intended pri- 
marily to show the relation of Colonel House to the events 
rather than the relation of the events to each other. Although 
the editor has consulted Peace Conference records such as 
were used by Baker, he has printed only from personal letters 
and diaries. These personal papers constitute a more complete 
and authentic record of Wilson's war-time policies than any 
other account published to date. They are an indispensable 
documentation on the question of whether American diplo- 
macy prepared adequately during the war for the peace, and 
whether the American delegation was competent in negotiating 
it. Some of the important points newly estabhshed or verified 
may here be brought in review. 

A complete and circumstantial story of Balfour's mission to 
the United States in 191 7 proves that immediately after Amer- 
ica's entry into the war Balfour explained to House and to 
Wilson the terms of the principal secret treaties. Wilson's state- 
ment to the Senate Committee that he had not learned of the 
secret treaties prior to the Peace Conference is thus known 
to be inaccurate. Whether Wilson's denial of knowledge came 

^^Nowak, Versailles, p. 157. 
^^Nowak, Versailles, p. 156. 

78 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

from an intent to deceive or a confused memory is a question 
which his biographer must answer. 

The influence of America upon interallied policy did not 
begin with any attempt to modify war aims, but looked rather 
to the development of more effective agencies of belligerent 
cooperation. In the autumn of 191 7, after the episode of the 
Pope's peace note, the serious preparation of detailed American 
war aims began with the setting up of the Inquiry, under the 
direction of Colonel House. In the winter of 191 7, while the 
Inquiry was at work in America analyzing European problems. 
House went to Europe to sit in the highest councils of the 
Allies. Just as his influence in the spring had been thrown in the 
direction of the coordination of economic and financial 
agencies, so now he favored the highest degree of military 
cooperation. At this time, moreover. House raised the question 
of war aims. The fortunes of the Allies were then at low ebb; 
Italy had suffered at Caparetto, and Russia, under Soviet leader- 
ship, was withdrawing from the war. The slogan, "Peace 
without annexations or indemnities," was capturing the labor 
and socialist elements in Europe. A public declaration of definite 
and liberal war aims, so drawn as to attract wavering loyalties, 
seemed under the circumstances to be needed as a war measure, 
but House did not succeed in inducing the Allies to issue such 
a declaration. 

It was because House had failed to secure from the Allies an 
agreed restatement of their war aims that Wilson issued a state- 
ment independently. For, under the pressure of the Russian 
move for peace, a statement was necessary. Because this state- 
ment was made by Wilson in January, 191 8, as the speech of 
the Fourteen Points, and not by the Allies in December as a 
joint declaration, it became the tactical objective of American 
diplomacy to bring the Allies to adhere to Wilson's program. 

This tactical objective was achieved, by a narrow margin, in 
the course of the pre- Armistice negotiations. For when House 
went to Europe in the autumn of 19 18 he was in a stronger posi- 

Ten Years of Peace Conference History 79 

tion than he had occupied a year before. American armed co- 
operation had been realized upon a colossal scale, and the Ger- 
mans had already accepted the Fourteen Points as a basis of the 
Armistice and peace. By threatening that Wilson's moral in- 
fluence might be turned against them if they held back, and 
by hinting that there might even be a separate peace with Ger- 
many, House brought the Entente statesmen to adopt the Wil- 
son basis of peace, with two reservations, relating to reparations 
and the freedom of the seas. The papers of Colonel House 
offer conclusive evidence upon two previously controversial 
points: that America did not force the Armistice in despite 
of European military judgment, and that House did force the 
Entente governments to agree to the Wilsonian basis of peace. 

The House Papers raise as many questions as they settle. 
They prove that American diplomacy was triumphant in 
November, 191 8, but raise the question as to how the fruits 
of this diplomatic victory were lost. They set forth a full nar- 
rative of the diplomatic movements from the Armistice to 
Wilson's arrival in Paris— the first satisfactory account we have 
had of this period. They make it appear that House was several 
times overruled by Wilson in this period of critical decisions. 
House would have followed up the Armistice with an im- 
mediate preliminary peace, but Wilson thought it would be 
necessary to wait until the situation in Central Europe had 
cleared. House did not welcome Wilson's decision to attend 
the Peace Conference or to sit as a delegate, and at first Clemen- 
ceau was also embarrassed at this prospect. It was Wilson's 
decision that fixed upon Paris rather than Geneva as the seat 
of the Conference. 

In the story of the Peace Conference itself the editor of the 
House Papers takes issue with the custodian of the Wilson 
papers on the broad question of whether or not it was necessary 
for the American delegation to make compromises. Baker as- 
serts that House wished "to make peace quickly by giving the 
greedy ones all they want." Seymour writes that the impos- 

8o Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

sibility of imposing an American peace was revealed after 
Wilson had left Paris in February. 

It was only during the process of intensive study in February and 
March that the force of European convictions became plain. Then 
suddenly, and before the President's return, in every technical com- 
mission and in the Supreme Council, it was clear that no settlement 
at all could be reached unless everyone made concessions.^** 

Baker's theory is that House weakened Wilson unnecessarily; 
Seymour's theory is that Wilson ruined the peace with fruitless 
intransigeance. This is an issue clearly joined, and well worthy 
of further study. It can be tested by examining the proceedings 
of commissions and the records of the political currents of the 
time. It is to be hoped that the attention of historians will fol- 
low such an issue as this, and not pursue further the fate of 
the melodramatic February Plot. 

For the sources now accessible put the story of the February 
Plot on the level of the Potsdam Council myth not only as 
regards melodramatic structure but also as regards its fictitious- 
ness. Baker's thesis has been thrice tested by critics no less 
well equipped than he with secret documentary material, and 
each time it has been disproved. When Baker's articles first 
appeared in the New York Times in 1922 Lord Balfour asked 
an official of the British foreign office to check the story in the 
British archives. The resulting memorandum concludes with 
the judgment that there "is no trace of that 'intrigue' which 
Mr. Baker declares one can affirm with certainty to have 
existed." ^^ Mr. David Hunter Miller reached the same con- 
clusion in reviewing the evidence in his possession.^^ Professor 
Seymour goes even farther, accusing Baker of deliberately 
mutilating an essential document. "In order to maintain a sem- 

^* Seymour, Intimate Papers of Colonel House, IV, 379. (Hereafter 
cited as House Papers.) 

^^ Seymour, House Papers, IV, 374. 

^2 David Hunter Miller, The Drafting of the Covenant, 2 vols. (New 
York, 1928), I, 98. 

Ten Years of Peace Conference History 8i 

blance of probability in his charges against the British, Mr. 
Baker has been forced to omit essential passages from the 
record." ^^ Winston Churchill, writing with all this new evi- 
dence before his eyes, picks up the attack upon Baker and 
carries it on with gusto: "So the man to whom President Wilson 
entrusted all his most secret papers with leave to publish as he 
pleased . . . first garbles the record by omitting the vital sen- 
tence and then perverts it. . . ." ^* In his reply to Churchill, 
published in the New York Times of March lo, 1929, Baker 
admits with charming directness that at the time he wrote his 
book he may have been too close to the events to avoid intense 
feeling. "If I was, and if I did any injustice to the hard-beset 
men who played a part in the negotiations, I hope in the 
biography of Woodrow Wilson ... to write with greater 

There is danger that the completeness with which criticism 
has undermined the February Plot may result in an undervalu- 
ing of Baker's whole work. The issue at present is not whether 
the plot against Wilson was as Baker described it, but whether 
Baker used his materials honestly in trying to prove the exist- 
ence of the plot. A question involving the scholarly integrity of 
the custodian of the Wilson papers is worth a thorough prob- 
ing. And on this question the reviewer sides with Baker. 

The case against Baker's honesty narrows down to the use 
of a single citation. Baker is trying to prove that the decision 
to make a preliminary military peace, which Wilson favored on 
February 12, was nullified by a resolution which Balfour intro- 
duced on February 22 requiring that territorial and economic 
clauses were also to be prepared for insertion in the peace pre- 

In order to test the fairness of Baker's quotation it is neces- 
sary to set in its context the passage of Wilson's speech which 
he is accused of mutilating. In the morning session of Febru- 

^ Seymour, House PaperSy IV, 376. 
^* Churchill, Aftermath, p. 190. 

82 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

ary 12, Clemenceau had argued against the proposed prelimi- 
nary military treaty and in favor of including a reparation 
clause in the new armistice terms on the ground that French 
public opinion required definite settlements on the question of 
compensations. "The Supreme War Council would meet again 
in a fortnight or three weeks. By that time no one must be able 
to say, 'the Associated Governments will not make up their 
minds to give us that satisfaction to which we are entitled.' " In 
the afternoon session Clemenceau had used a somewhat contra- 
dictory argument against the preliminary military peace: 
". . . he would not like to discuss a matter of such importance 
in the absence of President Wilson." In replying to this last 
of Clemenceau's arguments, Wilson said in effect that he would 
give carte blanche to his delegates to negotiate the preliminary 
military peace, and added that the discussion of boundaries and 
reparations would also go on in his absence. Let Baker's excerpt 
from Wilson's speech be compared with the authentic text: 

Wilson had thus won his con- He had complete confidence 

tentions. There was to be a pre- in the views of his military ad- 

liminary treaty containing the visers. If the military experts 

military, naval, and air terms, were to certify a certain figure 

This was to be worked out by as furnishing a margin of safety, 

a committee of experts while he he would not differ from them, 

was away in America. He said: The only other question was to 

"He had complete confidence decide whether this was the 

in the views of his military ad- right time to act. On this point 

visers. ... he was prepared to say yes. In 

"He did not wish his absence another month's time, the atti- 

to stop so important, essential tude of Germany might be more 

and urgent a work as the prepa- uncompromising. If his plan 

ration of a preliminary peace were agreed on in principle, he 

[as to military y naval and air would be prepared to go away 

terms]. He hoped to return by and leave it to his colleagues to 

^ Baker, Woodroiv Wilson, I, 290. (Italics mine.) 
^Miller, Drafting of the Covenant, II, 176. (Italics mine.) 

Ten Years of Peace Conference History 83 


the 13th or 15th of March, al- decide whether the programme 
lowing himself only a week in drafted by the technical advisers 
America. . . . was the right one. He did not 

"He had asked Colonel House wish his absence to stop so im- 
to take his place while he was portant, essential and urgent a 
away." work as the preparation of a pre- 

liminary peace. He hoped to re- 
turn by the 13th or 15th of 
March, allowing himself only a 
week in America. But he did not 
wish that during his unavoidable 
absence, such questions as the 
territorial question and questions 
of compensation should be held 
up. He had asked Colonel House 
to take his place while he was 

Baker's condensation may be unskillful but is not dishonest. 
When Wilson said "preliminary peace" he meant "preliminary 
peace as to military, naval and air terms." Baker's bracketed 
phrase clarifies this meaning. And the omitted passage relating 
to "territorial questions and questions of compensation" was 
not an admission that the preliminary peace might contain other 
than military terms. On this particular point Seymour's judg- 
ment that Baker's addition and omissions "completely alter the 
sense of the original statement" is much too strong. And 
Churchill's charge that Baker has garbled and perverted the 
record is quite unreasonable. 

It would hardly be worth while to devote so labored a dis- 
cussion to the rise and fall of the story of the February Plot 
were it not that the episode marks a crisis in the study of Peace 
Conference history, and brings us to a parting of the ways. Are 
we to devote our energy to establishing or disproving this or 
that particular anecdote? Are we to follow clues to obscure 
secrets of motives before we have understood the circumstances 

84 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

of the acts which the motives are supposed to explain? Though 
Baker's good faith is not compromised, his dramatization is 
deflated; are we to set up new dramatizations in its place? The 
two opposed ways of writing about the Conference are ex- 
emplified in Miller's Drafting of the Covenant and Churchill's 

Miller in his Drafting of the Covenant furnishes an example 
of the kind of study that will clarify real problems. He does not 
dramatize his story, nor oversimplify it. He has, indeed, a few 
scores to pay off. He lashes out at Lansing much as Seymour 
attacks Baker, and with about the same degree of unfairness in 
accusing Lansing of misusing documents. But he does not allow 
his quarrel to distract him from his main purpose. He goes step 
by step through the events of which he writes, explaining the 
reasons for each change in the successive drafts of the Covenant, 
and the circumstances attending each decision. The second 
volume consists entirely of documents, including the "Minutes 
of the League of Nations Commission." There is probably no 
one in the world who knows more of the detailed history of the 
drafting of the Covenant than Miller himself, and historians are 
fortunate that he has simply told what he knows without trying 
to press his facts into a philosophy of history. The League of 
Nations is for him a problem of finding a consensus of opinion 
and formulating it in writing. It is not a symbol of the New 
against the Old. 

Whenever there must be a meeting of minds in the preparation 
of any agreement, there is one apparently universal rule which al- 
ways has its influence; that rule is this: any definite detailed draft 
prepared in advance by one of the parties will to some extent appear 
in the final text, not only in principle but even in language. No 
matter how many difl^erences of opinion may develop, no matter 
how much the various papers may be recast or amended, something 
of the beginning is left at the end. In the drafting of the Covenant 
of the League of Nations may be found very striking instances of 
this most interesting result of written words.^^ 

^^ Miller, Drafting of the Covenant y I, 3. 

Ten Years of Peace Conference History 85 

This passage suggests to the historian that the spade work 
of the history of the Peace Conference is only beginning to be 
done. For we have before us the problem not only of the 
drafting of the Covenant but also of the making of every part 
of the settlement. How did this particular proposal, by modi- 
fication and amendment and substitution, become combined 
with other proposals, and finally reach its place as a definitive 
decision or an item of the public law of the world? There are 
other projects and proposals that start on their way and are lost 
or killed or forgotten; let us also trace their obscure course. 
This is a task infinitely more difficult than filming the battle 
of the New against the Old or unraveling plots and con- 
spiracies. But until this task is done, our most impressive in- 
terpretations of the Conference will be structures built on 

But it is difficult to resist the temptation to dramatize, to pick 
out the villains and the heroes, to elucidate motives without 
understanding circumstances, and to color the narrative with 
ethical judgments. The last man in the world to resist such a 
temptation would be that gifted jongleur, Winston Spencer 

Having the newly published House Papers and Miller's vol- 
umes before him, Winston Churchill concluded his series of 
memoirs on the world-crisis with a volume devoted to the war's 
aftermath, written in his usual brilliant style, and combining 
personal apology and fantasy with informative disclosure. 
There were three matters whereof Churchill's experience was 
immediate and of which his knowledge is comprehensive: the 
Russian entanglement, the Irish settlement, and the tragedy of 
Greek intervention in Asia Minor which led indirectly to the 
fall of the Lloyd George coalition. He paradoxically but almost 
convincingly explains his proposals for intervention in Russia 
in 1 9 19 as a policy calculated to hasten the end of British com- 
mitments in that country and to facilitate demobilization. His 
interest in the Russian affair derived from his position as 

86 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

minister of war. In telling the story of the Irish settlement, in 
which his role as a British delegate to the conference with the 
Irish leaders was of the first importance, he has no apologies to 
make, and consequently is in a position to give full rein to his 
narrative powers. In these chapters is included some of Church- 
ill's correspondence with Michael Collins and Sir James Craig, 
as well as several cabinet papers. The story of the Eastern 
catastrophe is an attack upon Lord Curzon, whom Churchill 
blames for failing to act decisively in the Near East. The ac- 
count of the Armistice and Peace Conference is the part of 
the book which has excited greatest attention, but is actually the 
weakest and least important. For Churchill's knowledge of the 
Conference was not immediate; in preparing these chapters he 
has depended much upon Baker and House. And that which 
he presents is rather an expression of an attitude than a dis- 
closure of information. 

His attitude is that of an apologist for British policy, which 
he defends from the khaki election to the signing of the peace. 
Against Ray Stannard Baker he uses his unparalleled power of 
invective, and yet he imitates Baker's worst fault— the use of 
speculative surmises as to motives when he does not fully under- 
stand circumstances. 

The French plan did not at all commend itself to Mr. Wilson. It 
thrust on one side all the pictures of the peace conference which 
his imagination had painted. He did not wish to come to speedy 
terms with his European allies; he saw himself for a prolonged 
period at the summit of the world, chastening the Allies, chastising 
the Germans, and generally giving laws to mankind [p. 112]. 

With Colonel House Churchill finds that he has much in com- 
mon. Like House he believes that a peace should have been 
made quickly, in November, although his reasons for this 
opinion are diflFerent. House was impressed with the fact that 
American influence in the councils of the Allies stood higher 
in November than at any later time; Churchill has in mind the 
rapid loss of influence by statesmen over their own peoples. 

Ten Years of Peace Conference History 87 

All these writers seem to be conscious of some change in the 
atmosphere: Baker calls it the "slump in idealism"; House thinks 
of it as a waning of American prestige, and Churchill as the 
"broken spell of power." 

The one constructive contribution to Peace Conference his- 
tory made by Churchill is his division of the period into "three 
well-marked phases": 

First, the Wilson period, or the period of Commissions and of the 
Council of Ten, culminating in the drafting of the Covenant of the 
League of Nations. This lasted for a month, from the first meeting 
of the Council of Ten on January 14th [sic'] down to the first return 
of President Wilson to America on February 16. Secondly, the 
Balfour period, when President Wilson had returned to Washing- 
ton and Lloyd George to London, and when M. Clemenceau was 
prostrated by the bullet of an assassin. In this period Mr. Balfour, 
in full accord with Mr. Lloyd George, induced the Commissions to 
abridge and terminate their ever-spreading labours by March 8 and 
concentrated all attention upon the actual work of making peace. 
Thirdly, the Triumvirate period, when the main issues were fought 
out by Lloyd George, Clemenceau and Wilson in the Council of 
Four and finally alone together. This Triumvirate, after tense daily 
discussions lasting for more than two months, framed the pre- 
liminaries of peace ... [p. 140]. 

Churchill's analysis is valuable because it calls attention to the 
fundamental importance of questions of procedure at the Con- 
ference. Was the treaty to be drawn by commissions of experts 
who would find facts or by the great political magnates who 
would by mutual concession reach agreement on their divergent 
interests? Baker would have had the commissions of experts 
write the treaty; House would have had them prepare questions 
for decision by the chief delegates; Churchill would have had 
them wait until the chief delegates had made their decisions, 
and then give these decisions detailed application. A case in 
point is the King-Crane Commission on the Near East, to which 
the British and French refused to appoint representatives. 
Churchill argues that such a commission at such a time was sure 
to do more harm than good because it would stir up unrest in 

88 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

the region it was studying; from his point of view a commis- 
sion of inquiry is a simple household remedy used in postponing 
decision upon some embarrassing problem of domestic politics, 
and is not suited to a situation which demands prompt action. 

The procedure of the Conference, like the text of the treaty, 
can be subjected to scholarly study. Churchill's hypothesis 
that the commissions did not aid materially in drawing up the 
final instrument can be checked without resort to ethical specu- 
lation or ad hoc philosophies of history. It would have been 
quite misleading to begin a scholarly study of the Peace Con- 
ference by trying to test the hypotheses of Baker's book, but 
with Miller and Seymour and Churchill before us, we have 
something to work upon. 

And, fortunately, at this very time there are being opened 
up new sources of information which will make it possible to 
pursue the study of the Peace Conference in sound fashion. 
Among these new sources, first place must be given to the 
Diary privately printed by David Hunter Miller in a limited 
edition of forty copies, and distributed by the Carnegie Endow- 
ment for International Peace to a number of libraries in Europe 
and America.^® 

The small diary in which Mr. Miller recorded, at the rate of 
several hundred words a day, his activities and experiences as 
legal adviser to the American Commission to Negotiate Peace 
is here supplemented by twenty great volumes of documents, 
comprising whatever important Peace Conference material hap- 
pened to remain in Mr. Miller's files after his work in the Con- 
ference was completed. Included among these printed docu- 
ments are the minutes of all but the first seven sessions of the 
Council of Ten, and complete minutes of five of the Peace Con- 
ference commissions (namely, those on the League of Nations, 
International Regime of Ports, Waterways and Railways, New 

^* David Hunter Miller, My Diary at the Conference of Fans, with 
Documents, 20 vols, and maps (privately printed, 1928). [See note 3, 
p. 97.] 

Ten Years of Peace Conference History 89 

States, Belgium and Denmark, Ukrainian-Polish Armistice). 
More than a thousand miscellaneous letters, memorandums, 
and reports of committees or commissions serve to give an in- 
sight into the character of the day-to-day work of the Ameri- 
can delegates, and to throw new light upon the making of a 
number of the important decisions of the Conference. Of espe- 
cial interest and value is a volume of Annotations upon the 
Treaty of Versailles, made in the autumn of 1919 from the 
official records of the Conference by some of the American 
experts. The Annotations give an account of the drafting of 
the treaty, article by article, showing by means of excerpts from 
the pertinent minutes of councils and commissions the origin 
and history of every item. Churchill's guess as to the unim- 
portance of the work of the commissions is not sustained by this 
document, which traces most of the treaty articles back to a 
report from some commission. 

The documents have been ably edited, and conveniently in- 
dexed. Mr. Miller printed everything in his file which issued 
from the Peace Conference, or which constituted a step in the 
decision of a claim. The propaganda material distributed by the 
delegations of the smaller powers was not reprinted except 
in a few cases. A fairly complete collection of the latter type of 
material is to be found, however, in the Hoover War Library. 
The matters with which Miller was most intimately concerned 
were, first, the League of Nations, then the subject of inter- 
national communications and transit, the economic settlement, 
and the minorities treaties. Upon all these matters his files are 
copious. The collection of documents on the League of Nations 
is much more extensive than the selection which he printed in 
the second volume of The Drafting of the Covenant. 

The Miller Diary is to the history of the Peace Conference 
what the so-called "Kautsky Documents" were to the history of 
the outbreak of the war; a collection of documents is given to 
us just as they happened to come into the hands of one of the 
parties to the business. It is raw material which lends itself to 

90 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

any use, and constitutes therefore not only a great opportunity 
but also a great temptation. 

For if anyone seeks to make use of this material to prove 
or disprove some Sherlock Holmes theory of the Conference, 
to eulogize or vilify some statesman, or to construct some new 
fantasy of Peace Conference history, he will find in the Diary 
and the documents ample material for his purpose. If he is look- 
ing for clues to obscure plots and counterplots, there are such 
Items as this: 

March ii. . . . Wiseman [a member of the British Delegation] 
spoke about the Americans who had recently come to Paris and 
were saying that the Republican Party was the real friend of 
Europe and that the British and French ought to get together with 
their leaders and compel the President to do what the British and 
French wanted. ^^ 

If he is seeking to sustain the view that the American delegates 
stood for the new way of doing international business, there is 
this outburst of Colonel House to Lord Robert Cecil. Cecil 
was trading British support of the Monroe Doctrine amend- 
ment to the Covenant for an assurance that the United States 
would not outbuild the British navy. He thought that the letter 
he had received was not strong enough. House then flew at him 
with this rebuke: 

April lo. . . . Colonel House told Cecil that the two questions of 
the insertion of the Monroe Doctrine clause and the naval program 
had nothing to do with each other and that he (Colonel House) 
\*^ould take the position that he had taken in everything over here; 
that the United States was not going to bargain but was going to 
take the position it believed to be right; these were the instruc- 
tions he had given whenever the question of bargaining had been 
brought up; that he did not want the letter on the Naval program 
back because it represented the policy of the United States; that 
the American amendment on the Monroe Doctrine would be pre- 
sented at to-night's session, and the British could oppose it if they 
saw fit.*° 

®^ Miller, My Diary at the Conference of Farts, I, 163. 
*^ Miller, Diary ^ I, 235. 

Ten Years of Peace Conference History 91 

Or again, if the reader is seeking for evidence wherewith to 
rebut the charge that Colonel House was a mild man, forever 
compromising, here is an entry of April 1 1 : 

Colonel House said that ... his plan was to ride over them re- 
gardless of what they did . . . and during the meeting when I said 
to Colonel House "I think they will withdraw their objections" 
he said that they could go to hell seven thousand feet deep, and 
he was going to put it thru the way it was.*^ 

And if one were trying to establish some thesis about Amer- 
ican imperialism in the Conference, what more useful docu- 
ment could one ask than this, sent by the state department to 
the American Commission to Negotiate Peace, May 21, 19 19: 

American oil interests are seriously considering examination of 
Mesopotamia and Palestine with a view of acquiring oil territory. 
Will such activities meet approval American Government and will 
conditions of treaty be such as to permit American companies to 
enter that territory under terms of equality as compared with for- 
eign companies in their relations to their respective governments. 
. . . People having this matter under consideration are not con- 
nected in any way with the Standard Oil Group.*^ 

It is to be hoped, however, that Miller's material will be used 
in another way: that students will seek to unravel in detail the 
various problems of the settlement, that they will trace the 
course of some negotiation doggedly from beginning to end, as 
Miller himself did in his Drafting of the Covenant. For such 
tasks as this the Miller Diary will be of inestimable value- 
but it will still be insufficient. It multiplies many-fold our stock 
of published source material on the Peace Conference, and 
yet it supplies only a tithe of what must be brought to light 
before our documentation on the war's aftermath approaches 
the completeness of our documentation on its origin. That the 
Miller Diary fills twenty volumes, where the "Kautsky Docu- 

*^ Miller, Diary, I, 242. 
*2 MQler, Diirry, IX, 459. 

92 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

ments" (in the English edition) filled one, is less than an index 
of the greater complexity of the historical problems of the 
Peace Conference period. To bring together an adequate politi- 
cal record of the two hundred and twenty-nine days from 
the Armistice to the signing of the peace will be more than 
twenty times as difficult as to collect the records of the fourteen 
days preceding the outbreak of the war. 

Fortunately, we have before us the prospect of further addi- 
tions to our documentation. The appearance of the Miller Diary 
coincides with the release by the Hoover War Library of some 
information previously kept secret, and the announcement that 
the Yale University Library is soon to render its unpublished 
sources accessible to scholars. The Hoover War Library began 
to build up its Peace Conference archives even while the Con- 
ference was in session.*^ Professor E. D. Adams secured from 
each delegation in Paris a file of the propaganda material it was 
distributing to the public, together with a set of the memo- 
randums it had presented to the Peace Conference. This valu- 
able collection of authentic delegation propaganda, a catalogue 
of which is available,** has been supplemented by records of the 
proceedings of some of the organs of the Peace Conference. 
In the latter class may be mentioned the minutes and records of 
the Supreme Economic Council, the minutes of the Peace Con- 
ference Commission on the Reparation of War Damage, and 
the documents of the Inter-allied Rhineland Commission. Each 
year will see the release of additional materials in the Hoover 
War Library as the periods of restriction fixed by donors expire. 
Then in 1930 or 193 1, when the new library building at Yale 
is completed, the important collection of unpublished materials 
which has been gathered around the nucleus of the House 

^ Ephraim Douglass Adams, The Hoover War Collections at Stanford 
University: A Report and an Analysis (Stanford University, Calif., 1921). 

^Hoover War Library Publication, "Bibliographical Series," No. i, 
A Catalogue of Paris Peace Conference Delegation Propaganda in the 
Hoover War Library (Stanford University, Calif., 1926). 

Ten Years of Peace Conference History 93 

Papers will be opened for use, although still subject to restric- 
tion. Professor Seymour writes of this collection: 

Colonel House as well as the others who have given us documents 
has placed restrictions on the use of such of these papers as have 
an intimate personal character, and the publication of which might 
touch the feelings of persons still living. In the case of Colonel 
House, this is a twenty-five year limit. As regards the use of the 
mass of the material after 193 1, discretionary authority is left to the 

Here and there in other places there will be found stray Peace 
Conference documents. The New York Public Library pos- 
sesses photostat copies of the minutes of the Commission on 
Greek Territorial Claims and the Commission on Yugoslav 
and Rumanian Territorial Claims. The Report and Minutes of 
the CoTmnission on International Labour Legislation was pub- 
lished in extenso in English by the Italian government.*^ The 
complete minutes of the Commission on the League of Nations 
are to be found not only in the Miller Diary but also in the 
second volume of The Drafting of the Covenant. 

The present situation as regards the accessibility of Peace 
Conference documents can then be summed up somewhat as 
follows: Of the two principal councils, the Council of Ten 
and the Council of Four, we have a nearly complete record 
of the former and a fragmentary record of the latter, the 
fragments being scattered through Baker's Woodrow Wilson 
and the World Settlement, Terrail's Le Combat des Trois, and 
the Miller Diary. Of the delegations to the Conference, number- 
ing in the neighborhood of fifty, we have materials from nearly 
all. Of the commissions and committees of the Conference, of 
which there were more than fifty, we have the records of 
about a dozen, without taking into account the collection of 
material at Yale. 

*^ Ufficio di Segretaria per I'ltalia della Organizzazione Permanente del 
Lavoro nella Societa delle Nazione. Lavori e Studi preparatori, "Serie B," 
N. 6 bis, Report and Minutes of the Commission on International Labour 
Legislation^ Peace Conference, Paris, igig (Rome, 1921). 

94 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

The total amount of material is impressive, but there are gaps, 
even where the documentation could be expected to be most 
complete. For instance, the Miller Diary includes a dozen 
documents in amendment and criticism of a certain French 
plan, January 8, 19 19, for the procedure of the Conference. 
Miller devoted much time to the study of this project. But the 
original document is missing from his papers, and is nowhere 
accessible save for a fragment printed by Tardieu. Again, it 
would be expected that Colonel House's papers would include 
all the most important material relating to the preparatory 
negotiations of November, 191 8, for House was then Wilson's 
representative in Europe, and it was at that time, he believed, 
that he could have brought about a preliminary peace had 
he been authorized to do so. But it seems that one of the 
most essential documents of this period is lacking from the 
House collection, and has come to light in the Miller Diary. 
This is the French "Project for Peace," given to Colonel House 
on November 15. Professor Seymour naturally thought that 
the project of November 15 was the same as the project trans- 
mitted to Lansing on November 29, but actually the two drafts 
differ in a way that is vital in connection with Colonel House's 
theory that a preliminary peace on American principles could 
have been negotiated in November.** 

For the document which Professor Seymour thought was 
given to House on November 15 accepts the Fourteen Points 
as the basis of peace, whereas the document actually given to 
House on that date proposes another basis: 

Finally the Congress should adopt a basis of discussion. . . . One 
single basis seems to exist at the present time; it is the solidary 
declaration of the Allies lipon their war aims, formulated January 
loth 191 7 in answer to the question of President Wilson, but it 
is rather a programme than a basis of negotiations. 

*^ Seymour, House Papers, IV, 234; Baker, Woodrow Wilson, IH, 
56-^3; Miller, Diary, vol. II, Document 4. 

Ten Years of Peace Conference History 95 

Errors of this kind are of course unavoidable where archives 
are incomplete. Even the archives of the State Department, the 
writer has reason to believe, lack complete documentation on 
the Peace Conference. The only remedy for this situation is to 
begin early enough such an assiduous search for information as 
has been carried on by the historians of the Kriegsschuldfrage, 
If the historians of the Peace Conference profit by the mis- 
takes as well as by the achievements of those who have given 
their efforts to the study of the outbreak of the war, the ques- 
tion of responsibilities will be kept in the background until the 
more prosaic study of procedure and drafting has been ac- 
complished, and the environment of the Conference will be 
thought of in terms of social psychology, not in terms of 
ethics. Instead of depicting heroes and villains, they will trace 
projects and amendments; instead of speaking of idealism and 
justice, they will speak of public opinion. In this way the 
problem of the Peace Conference can be kept within the 
reach of sound historical method. 


Nev) Light on the Fans Peace Conference * 


The statecraft of the authors of the Paris peace settlement 
is in these days subjected to a double scrutiny. Newly accessible 
documents are fixing individual and national responsibilities in 
the making of the treaties, while events are relentlessly exposing 
the transience or confirming the permanence of the various 
parts of the treaties themselves. The situation places upon his- 
torical scholarship a double resoonsibility: to make a timely 
contribution to an understanding of the texts which are today 
the fundamental public law of the world, and yet to avoid the 
danger of becoming engulfed in the polemics of treaty revision. 

At the root of the question of the stability of the Paris settle- 
ment lies the historical problem of the original consensus out 
of which it arose. What parts of these treaties which are today 
the juridical basis of international relations represent a fair and 
free consensus of the parties which signed them? How were 
the innumerable variant interests brought to agreement upon a 
common text? What elements of consent, of compromise or 
coercion entered into the making of each detail of the settle- 
ment? By what difficult and treacherous courses did the 

* Reprinted by permission from the Political Science Quarterly y 
Academy of Political Science, New York City, Volume 46, No. 3, 
PP- 335-361, and No. 4, pp. 509-547. 


New Light on the Paris Peace Conference 97 

negotiators move from agreement on general principles to the 
acceptance of concrete propositions? 

Historical scholarship is far-from being ready to answer these 
questions. The writing of the history of the Peace Conference 
is just entering the monographic stage. Only two Sections of the 
Treaty of Versailles— those relating to Slesvig^ and to the 
Covenant ^— have been favored with adequate monographic 
studies of their origin and drafting. Professor Shotwell has 
under way a similar study of the drafting of the Labor Section 
of the Treaty. Another line of investigation, also undeveloped, 
is suggested by the work of Professor Bemadotte Schmitt on 
the origins of the war. Here a great literature of research and 
controversy had narrowed down the historiographical problem 
of war origins to a few vital issues, upon which Professor 
Schmitt was able to take oral testimony from some of the 
surviving principals of the crisis of 19 14. If full use is to be 
made of the possibility of taking testimony from living wit- 
nesses of the Paris Peace Conference, there must first be a 
combing out of the problem of the Peace Conference as a 
whole, and a formulating of its most important historiographical 
issues. It is here that the generosity of Mr. David Hunter 
Miller,^ the enterprise of M. de Lapradelle of the Sorbonne,* 

^ Andre Tardieu and F. de Jessen, Le Slesvig et la paix (Paris 1928). 
A Danish edition published by Slesvigsk Forlag (Copenhagen and Flens- 
borg) prints in full some Danish texts of which the French edition prints 
summaries only. 

^ David Hunter Miller, The Drafting of the Covenant, z vols. (New 
York, 1928). 

® David Hunter Miller, My Diary at the Conference of Paris, with 
Documents, 20 vols, and maps (privately printed, 1928). For a review 
of the extent of present documentation on the Peace Conference see 
Robert C. Binkley, "Ten Years of Peace Conference History" in Journal 
of Modem History, I (December, 1929) 607-629. The Miller Diary was 
printed in an edition of forty copies, and is accessible in the following 
American institutions: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, De- 
partment of State, Library of Congress, University of California, Uni- 
versity of Chicago, Columbia University, Harvard University, University 
of Michigan, New York Public Library, University of North Carolina, 

98 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

and the careful stewardship of the Hoover War Library and 
the Yale University Library have their greatest immediate value. 
They do not provide at present a documentation adequate for 
the thorough monographic treatment of the different problems 
of the Peace Conference, but they do invite the drawing up of 
tentative conclusions which should lead to the production 
of more documents and to the taking of more testimony. 

If the making of the peace settlement be studied without 
commitment to any doctrinal system and envisaged without 
special interest in any cause, the historical problem takes form 
as a problem of procedure. In what sequence were the ques- 
tions to be settled, among what parties, and upon what prin- 
ciples? These are the procedural questions of agenda, member- 
ship and principles of settlement, and the whole history of 
the Conference is included in them. 

The example of the Armistice negotiations suggested that 
the approach to permanent peace should be accomplished in 
four steps. The Armistice conventions had ended the fighting 
and established general principles; a series of preliminary treaties 
could then settle concrete essentials, a general peace treaty 
could make the definitive settlement of details, and then an 
even more general agreement, including neutrals with the ex- 
belligerents, could specify the plan of a League of Nations to 
"organize the peace." This was the agenda which seemed 
natural in November, but it turned out that there were to be 
no preliminary peace treaties, no general treaty and no separate 
conference to organize the peace. Instead of this sequence there 

Princeton University, Stanford University (Hoover War Library), Yale 
University. Three additional sets are available as loan copies in the 
Libraries of the University of California, University of Chicago and 
Columbia University, to be loaned to other universities. 

^Documentation Internationale, Paix de Versailles, 12 vols., of which 
five have been published, including the stenographic minutes of the 
Commission on International Ports, Waterways and Railways, and the 
minutes of the Commission on the Responsibilities of the Authors of the 
War and Sanctions. [The remaining seven volumes have since been 

New Light on the Paris Peace Conference 99 

were five treaties, each definitive, and each including the 
Covenant of the League. 

Among what parties were the negotiations to take place? 
At what stage were the smaller allies to enter effectively into 
the discussion of the settlement, and what was to be the form 
of the discussion with the enemy? The difference between a 
negotiated peace and a dictated peace was a procedural differ- 
ence, defined by the amount of elasticity still remaining in the 
Conference decision at the time the enemy delegates entered 
the discussion. 

Upon what principles was the settlement to be made? The 
pre-Armistice correspondence had created a contractual basis 
of peace in the body of Wilsonian texts which required to be 
elucidated and applied. The fact of the victory had brought 
into existence other contractual or quasi-contractual principles: 
the commitments of the Allies to each other through their 
secret treaties, and the commitments of the Allied statesmen 
to their peoples through their declarations of war aims. There 
was the possibility that an appeal might be made to the bare 
right of conquest. There was also the possibility that the peace 
terms might be drawn up and justified on the principle that 
the enemy was responsible for the war and must therefore 
suffer the consequences. These various principles of peace 
have been the subject of much polemic writing. It is fortunately 
unnecessary to discuss their relative ethical standing, for the 
essential significance of the Fourteen Points as a basis of peace 
was not their ethical quality but their contractual character. 
Because these principles had been agreed upon by victor and 
vanquished, every ostensible departure from them created an 
element of instability in the final peace. Therefore the historian 
is well advised to scrutinize the peace negotiations at every 
point to see how far they were controlled by conscious 
adherence to Wilsonian principles, and to discover at what 
points these principles were challenged, ignored or abandoned. 

It has been a weakness in interpreting the history of the 

loo Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

Peace Conference to assume that the opposition of one nation 
to another in the field of principles was clearly defined. The 
more the negotiations are studied in detail, the more it appears 
that each of the Great Powers came to Paris with a program 
of contradictions. American policy was at once most insistent 
upon international organization and most jealous of infringe- 
ments on sovereignty; French policy was torn by two contrary 
loyalties, on the one hand to the principle of the right of self- 
determination, and on the other hand to a Rhineland security 
plan in conflict with that right; the British were interested in 
creating maximum stability in Europe, but were also com- 
mitted to a reparations policy which could only mean the 
negation of stability; the Italians were involved both in a 
pro-Slav Mazzinist policy of national self-determination and 
an anti-Slav Treaty of London policy which violated the 
principle of nationality; the Japanese opposed in the Com- 
mission on International Labor legislation that principle of 
equality of treatment which they sponsored so dramatically 
in the Commission on the League of Nations. 

The period in which the procedure of the Conference was 
in its most fluid state was of course the preparatory period, 
prior to the formal meetings of the delegates. Almost a 
third of the interval between the signing of the Armistice 
and the signing of the Peace of Versailles was occupied in 
these preparations. And yet the histories of the peace settle- 
ment have neglected it because of the lack of definite informa- 
tion. Till 1928 there were only two published documents to 
mark the evolution of plans for the Peace Conference during 
these ten weeks." Then came the House Papers which served 
admirably to expand the history of the first three weeks follow- 
ing the Armistice, but failed in the time of the London Confer- 

'^ "French Plan of Procedure" in Baker, Woodroiv Wilson and the 
World Settlement, 3 vols. (Garden City, N. Y., 1923), III, 56-63. Tardieu 
published a part of his "Plan des premieres conversations" in La Paix 
(Paris, 1921), pp. 98-100, English edition, The Truth about the Treaty 
(Indianapolis, 1921), pp. 88-91. 

New Light on the Paris Peace Conference loi 

ence (December 2-3, 191 8) when the Colonel lost touch with 
events because of his illness.® The Miller Diary now con- 
tributes a score of new texts on the evolution of Peace Confer- 
ence plans. Most of these texts are illustrative of a French 
initiative, and present a French point of view. If other Powers 
were equally fertile in their preparatory labors, the documents 
at present available do not disclose their activities. 

With every reservation as to the inadequacy of present docu- 
mentation, the preparation of the Peace Conference can be 
described in three stages, each marked by the character of 
the issue under discussion. In November a series of French 
drafts were circulated which sought to supplant or supplement 
the Wilsonian principles of peace with other principles, and 
to bring all French war aims under a formula which the 
Conference could be persuaded to accept. It was at this time 
that the principle of war responsibility entered the dossier of 
the Peace Conference. In December, after the meeting of the 
London Conference, attention shifted to the question of the 
membership in the Peace Conference, and a drift toward the 
exclusion of the vanquished from effective participation in the 
settlement made itself felt. After Wilson's arrival in the middle 
of December the chief issue was the question of agenda, 
that is to say, the place that the organizing of the League of 
Nations would have in the sequence of subjects to be considered 
by the Conference. 

The November Plan and the Question of the Principles 
OF the Peace 
The documentary record of the development of the plans 
for the Peace Conference begins with a French draft of 
November 15, 19 18, and ends with the Rules adopted by the 
first Plenary Session of the Conference, January 18, 19 19. 
The Rules were simply an amended fragment of the November 

® Charles Seymour, The Intimate Papers of Colonel House, vol. IV. 
(Hereafter cited as House Papers.) 

I02 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

draft. Three variants of this draft are accessible, the original 
of November 15, a first revision of November 2 1, and a version 
sent to Washington November 29/ These drafts necessarily- 
presented a point of view upon agenda and membership as 
well as upon the principles of the peace, but their most distinc- 
tive contribution to the preparation of the Conference was 
their formulation of principles. 

As to the agenda, the November drafts presented the view 
that was held everywhere at the time. There would be a pre- 
liminary peace dictated by the Powers which had just dictated 
the Armistice. Clemenceau told House that this would take 
about three weeks' time. After making this preliminary treaty, 
the Powers would organize a Peace Congress to include all 
the lesser allies and the enemy states. The Peace Congress would 
first "settle the war" and then, expanded by the inclusion of 
neutrals, ''organize the peace." Clemenceau thought the sessions 
of the Congress would last four months.® Germans and Allies 
were both thinking in terms of this procedure for quick pre- 
liminary peace. Colonel House thought that it could have been 
drafted at that time without difficulty.® The German Govern- 

^ Draft of November 15 in Miller, Diary, vol. II, Document No. 5; re- 
vision of November 21, Miller, Diary, Document No. 4; revision of 
November 29, in Baker, Woodrow Wilson, III, 56-63. 

® Summarized from the November draft. Miller, Diary, vol. II, Docu- 
ment No. 5. "Provision will have to be made for a first unofficial examina- 
tion by the Great Powers (Gt. Britain, France, Italy, the United States) 
of the great questions to be discussed, examination which will lead to the 
preparation between them of the Preliminaries of Peace and the working 
mechanism of the Congress of Peace." p. 21. ". . . The Prime Ministers 
and the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Four Great Powers [shall] 
meet previously at Versailles to settle between them the affairs which 
the Congress shall have to deal with (that is to say, the Preliminaries of 
Peace) and the order in which they shall be discussed, as well as the 
conditions of the sittings of the Congress and its operation." p. 23. Clemen- 
ceau's estimates of the time required were made in a conversation with 
House, November 14, House Papers, IV, 213. 

^A memorandum printed in House Papers, IV, 202-203, describes the 
putative peace terms under this procedure: "As to the armies and navies 
of the Central Powers, the term? of the Armistice left little to add to the 

New Light on the Paris Peace Conference 103 

ment asked five times during the first month of the Armistice 
that negotiations for the preliminaries be started. Said Erzberger 
to Foch on December 13, "The only purpose of the armistice is 
to make a preliminary peace possible." ^^ Thereupon Marshal 
Foch inserted a clause in the renewal convention extending 
the period of the Armistice "to the conclusion of a preliminary 
peace, provided the AlHed Governments approve." ^^ For the 
Marshal himself, as he has since testified, also favored the speedy 
conclusion of preHminaries. He thought prompt action neces- 
sary for the realization of French war aims on the Rhine. He 
complained that 

Those whose duty it was to draw up the Peace set to work with 
all imaginable slowness . . . the delay was to cost France dear. 
The questions of most import to us, reparations and security, be- 
came increasingly difficult to settle favorably .^^ 

It is curious that each party should look back upon a reputed 
halcyon period in which the other would have made all the 
concessions, and that each should regard the failure to negotiate 
a quick peace as the loss of a golden opportunity. But the theory 
of an interallied honeymoon in November is not sustained by 
the records of the peace projects of that date. The French 
preparatory documents indicate a fundamental opposition to 
American policies on the one hand, and Italian on the other. 
The French case was developed in these November drafts 
chiefly in the discussion of principles. 

preliminary peace. A fixed sum should have been named for reparations, 
a just sum and one possible to pay. The boundaries might have been 
drawn with a broad sweep, with provision for later adjustments. A general 
but specific commitment regarding an association of nations for the 
maintenance of peace should then have been made; and then adjourn- 

^^ Deutsche Waffenstillstandskommission. Drucksache, 1-12, p. no. 

^^ Deutsche Waffenstillstandskommission. Drucksache, 1-12, p« 113. 
(This approval was not given; the clause remained a dead letter till 

^2 Raymond Recouly, Foch. My Conversations with the Marshal (New 
York, 1929), p. 161. 

I04 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

The November draft was put together in six sections. The 
first two, "Precedents" and "Observations," were merely his- 
torical. The third, "Draft Rules," was the section which was 
later adopted, in a modified form, as the "Rules" of the Con- 
ference. The fourth section, on representation, made it clear 
that the enemy powers would come to the general Peace Con- 
gress. The fifth section, on "Directing Principles," attacked 
the Italian claims at the Conference by proposing the denuncia- 
tion of secret treaties," and recommending that "the right of 
peoples to decide their own destinies by free and secret vote" 
be adopted as a basis for territorial settlements. The sixth sec- 
tion, on "Bases of Negotiations," attacked the sufficiency of 
Wilsonian principles as a guide to the peacemakers, and sug- 
gested alternative principles and an alternative order of business. 
The language in this regard was explicit: 

Nor can the fourteen propositions of President Wilson be taken 
as a point of departure, for they are principles of public law by 
which the negotiations may be guided, but which have not the 
concrete character which is essential to attain the settlement of 
concrete provisions. . . . 

The only basis actually existing is the solidary declaration of the 
Allies upon their war aims, formulated January lo, 191 y^ in reply 
to the request of President Wilson, but it is rather a program than 
a basis of negotiations." 

These "directing principles" and "bases of settlement" were 
not rigorously adhered to throughout the whole draft. Despite 
the objection to Wilson's principles, the items of business on 
the proposed agenda were tagged with numbers taken from the 

^^ The formula demands "the release from the treaties" by States which 
"from the fact of their admission to the Congress will renounce their 
use." As to Italy, "should she not adhere thereto, it is difficult to see how 
she could be admitted to the discussion; Italy . . . would be allowed to 
discuss the claims of others only if she should permit the discussion of 
her own claims." Miller, Diary, vol. II, Documents Nos. 4, 5, pp. 14, 22-23. 

"Miller, Diary ^ vol. II, Documents Nos. 4, 13, 14, pp. 14, 81, 84; also 


New Light on the Paris Peace Conference 105 

Fourteen Points; despite the attack upon the Treaty of Lon- 
don and the setting up of the principle of nationahties in 
its stead, there was a reservation that the rights of peoples to 
decide their own destinies might be modified in favor of 
"a certain homogeneousness of the states/' and the three prov- 
inces of the London Treaty bargain, Tyrol, Istria and Dalmatia, 
were named as illustrations. The documents do not suggest an 
intent to thwart Italy and America at all costs. The French 
arriere pensee seems rather to have been the wish to shift the 
Peace Congress to principles which could be used to cover a 
strong Rhineland policy. France could afford to abandon secret 
treaties, for the only secret treaty that supported her claims 
on the Rhine was a dead letter as long as the Soviets ruled 
Russia; she was committed to opposition to Wilson's Fourteen 
Points because they halted her at the frontier of 1870. 

Colonel House cabled a summary of this draft to Washington, 
and by a curious oversight omitted the essential paragraph 
which attacked the foundation of the American case.^*^ It is 
doubtful whether he scrutinized documents or followed events 
with sufficient thoroughness to give him an understanding of 
the width of the gulf which separated French from American 
war aims at that time. 

For the war aims of France were reaffirmed in November 
by bodies representing the overwhelming preponderance o^ 
French political power. The position of the military men and 
the extreme Right was stated by Foch in his memorandum of 
November 27, which demanded the incorporation of the Rhine- 
land populations in the French military system.^® The position 
of the Left, and hence of the whole Chamber, was defined on 
November 24 in a meeting of the Executive Committee of the 
Radical Party. The party adopted as its peace program "the 

15 Ibid. 

'^^ Ministere des Affaires tltrangeres. Documents diplomatiques relatifs 
a la securite. Jacques Bardoux wrote this note under Foch's dictation at 
Senlis; see Bardoux, La Bataille diplomatique pour la paix frangaise^ p. 55. 

io6 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

complete repayment of all the costs of the war," the annexation 
of the Saar, and the permanent policing of the Rhineland by an 
international force.^^ With the Radical Party occupying this 
ground, no possible majority of the Chamber could have been 
rallied to anything less, a fact attested in the vote of the 
Commission on Foreign Affairs on December 2}^ The views 
of the Foreign Office were expressed in a mysterious memo- 
randum of which Paul Cambon claimed authorship, and which 
seems to have circulated in London in late November and early 
December.^^ This Projet de preliminaires de Paix added war 
costs to reparations, asked for strategic as well as economic an- 
nexations in the Saar region, and demanded "military neutraliza- 
tion, without political intervention" in the Rhineland. The war 
aims defined in these documents were those which the French 
Foreign Office formulated in the winter of 1916,^^ confirmed 
in the agreement with Russia in the spring of 19 17, and de- 
fended against liberal revision in the dark winter of 1917.^ 
They were the aims for which Clemenceau was to struggle in 

^"^ Bulletin du Parti Republicain Radical et Radical Socialiste, Dec. 14, 

^^Text of the vote in Louis Barthou, Le Traite de paix (Paris, 1919), 
p. 142. It calls for "total repayments of the costs of the war and integral 
reparation of the damages caused to persons as well as to things," "the 
return to France of her frontiers of 18 14, including the entire basin of the 
Saar" and "a combination of military, political and economic guaranties 
on the territories of the Left Bank of the Rhine, such as to protect France 
definitely from invasion." 

^^A typewritten copy in the Hoover War Library is dated "Novem- 
ber." Another copy, printed in Miller, Diary, vol. II, Document No. 48, 
was given out by Paul Cambon at the London Embassy on December 7. 
Although Cambon declared that it represented only his personal views, it 
was certainly approved by the Foreign Office. 

^ Mermeix, pseud. (Gabriel Terrail), Le Combat des trots (Paris, 1921), 
p. 191, for an account of the formulation of French policy under pressure 
from Sir Edward Grey. The mission to Russia and the exchange of notes 
on the Rhine frontier resulted from a wish to pledge at least one of the 
Allies to the French aims before explaining them in London. 

^ House Papers, III, 280-281. Permission to publish minutes of the 
Inter-Allied Conference on restatement of war aims has been refused 
by the French and British governments. 

New Light on the Paris Peace Conference 107 

the March and April crises of the Peace Conference. How then 
could Colonel House have imagined that the French would 
abandon in the hour of victory what he had not persuaded them 
to relinquish in the time of defeat? 

These were the war aims for which the original November 
draft made room when it proposed to set up the Allied Declara- 
tion of 191 7 as a substitute for the Fourteen Points as a basis 
of negotiations. 

In the six days following the first issue of its November draft, 
the French Foreign Office invented ten modifications which 
it incorporated in a second draft on November 21. In this 
draft a cautious "perhaps" was inserted to qualify the suggestion 
that Tyrol and Dalmatia might be exempted from the purview 
of the principle of nationalities, and Istria was left out of the 
list entirely. The "rights of minorities" were mentioned. An 
extra "directing principle" was suggested: the intangibility of 
the prewar territories of the victors. On questions of represen- 
tation there was a softening of opposition to the representation 
of the British Dominions, and the list of enemy states to be 
included was qualified by the strange warning that 

It would not be permissible for the 25 States of the German 
Empire to avail themselves of the rupture of the federal bond to 
pretend to register each one vote in the deliberations and votes.^ 

The novel suggestion was made that Russian interests at the 
Congress be defended by an Inter-Allied Committee with 
Russian advisers. The distinction between the "settlement of 
the war" and the "organization of the peace" was accentuated 
by the provision that decisions in regard to the latter must be 
unanimous. Then came the master stroke: two new items were 
slipped into the agenda list: 

VI. Penalties to be visited upon the acts of violence and crime 
committed during the war, contrary to public law. 

VII. Stipulations of a moral nature (acknowledgment by Ger- 

^ Miller, Diary, vol. II, Document No. 4. 

io8 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

many of the responsibility and premeditation of her rulers, which 
would place in the forefront the ideas of justice and of responsi- 
bility and would legitimize the means of punishment and precaution 
against her —2. solemn repudiation of the violation of the laws of 
nations and of the crimes against humanity).^® 

The theory that German war guilt was to be accepted as a 
ruling principle in determining and justifying the peace settle- 
ment first entered the dossier of preparatory Peace Conference 
documents on November 2 1, in this seventh item of the agenda. 
The records of the Conference, so far as they are accessible, in- 
dicate that this principle was silently admitted to parity with 
Wilsonian principles in the preparation of the treaty. The 
French did not succeed in denouncing the Secret Treaties nor 
in shelving the Fourteen Points in favor of the Allied Declara- 
tion of 19 1 7, but they did succeed in setting up a penal along 
with a contractual basis of peace. The harsh language of the 
Peace Conference ultimatum to the Germans in June testifies 
to the success with which "ideas of justice and responsibility" 
were "placed in the forefront." 

Ten years of wear and tear have proved that those elements 
of the settlement which were derived from this principle are 
the rotten wood of Europe*s political structure. 

On November 19 David Hunter Miller joined Colonel House 
as legal adviser. He saw at once the significance of the para- 
graph which attempted to shift the basis of peace from the 
Fourteen Points to the Allied Declaration of 19 17, and met it 
with crushing firmness in a memorandum which was probably 
handed to the French: 

The statements of the French Note that the fourteen points of the 
President cannot be taken as a basis of negotiations and that the 

^ (Italics mine.) Miller, Diary , vol. II, Documents Nos. 4, 13, 14. The 
cablegram to Washington in describing the innovations of this draft 
omitted reference to item VI, while citing the full text of item VII. 
The next revisions, handed to Lansing on November 29, included both 
items. The omission caused a delay of five days in notifying Washington 
that the punishment of the war guilty was on the French program. 

New Light on the Paris Peace Conference 109 

only bases are contained in the declaration of the Allied Powers of 
the tenth of January 191 7, can in no event be supported. It is 
hardly necessary to point out that the declaration of January loth 
191 7, which is mentioned in the French Note, has never been agreed 
to by the United States, [whereas the Fourteen Points have been 
agreed to by all powers, the U. S., the Allies, and Enemy.] ^* 

The Second Revision of the November Draft 
On November 29 a second revision of the November draft 
was handed to Lansing. In the new text the reservation against 
Wilson's principles was watered down, and no attempt was 
made to supplant them with the Allied Declaration of January, 

Neither the four armistices . . . nor the answer of January 10, 
191 7, nor the President's fourteen propositions, can furnish a con- 
crete basis for the labors of the Congress. That basis can only be a 
methodical statement of the questions to be taken up.^^ 

The "methodical statement" of a proposed agenda, which 
it was proposed to substitute for all other peace programs, was 
taken with slight modifications from the earlier November 
draft. It was neither more concrete in substance nor more 
methodical in arrangement than the Wilsonian series of points. 
It was a rough mixture of the Fourteen Points and the 19 17 
French war aims. Logical arrangement was sacrificed in order 
to effect this combination, as the following section illustrates: 

2. Territorial questions: restitution of territories. Neutraliza- 
tion for protection purposes. 

a. Alsace-Lorraine. (8th Wilson proposition) 

b. Belgium. (7th Wilson proposition) 

c. Italy. (9th Wilson proposition) 

d. Boundary lines. (France, Belgium, Serbia, Roumania, 

e. International regime of means of transportation, rivers, 
railways, canals, harbors.^ 

2* Miller, Diary, vol. II, Document No. 7, p. 35, Miller's memorandum 
of November 22. 

^^ Baker, Woodroiv Wilson, III, 56-63. 
^^ Baker, Woodroiv Wilson, p. 60. 

no Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

"Neutralization for protection purposes" was not a Wilsonian 
point; it came straight from the secret French war aims of 19 17. 
The international regime of transportation was not in the pre- 
Armistice contract with Germany, nor was it even a territorial 
question. The illogical repetition of the question of Belgian 
frontiers after the Belgian question has been settled according 
to the "7th Wilson proposition," and the separation of the 
question of Alsace-Lorraine from the question of the boundaries 
of France when Alsace must inevitably be one of the bound- 
aries, were evidently intended, not to make the agenda of the 
Conference more methodical, but to make it less Wilsonian. 

Nine of the Fourteen Points were referred to explicitly in 
this "methodical statement" (ist, 2d, 3d, 4th, 5th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 
1 2th). Three more were included implicitly. Of the items which 
lay outside the Wilsonian principles but were none the less 
introduced in this agenda, the following are the most important: 
neutralization (of Rhineland), "military guaranties on land and 
sea," control of raw materials, punishment of the war guilty, 
and recognition of German war responsibility. On the question 
of reparations this draft was still pretty close to the terms of 
the Lansing Note. Although the fatal word "idemnity" was 
used, the element of war costs seemed to be excluded by the 
statement that 

Outside of the torpedoing from which the British fleet mainly 
suffered, Belgium and France alone are entitled to indemnities on 
account of the systematic devastation suffered by them.^ 

The last section of the "methodical statement" designated 
the commissions and committees which were to distribute 
among themselves the work of the Congress. There would be 
commissions on Polish, Russian, Baltic, Central European, 
Eastern and Far Eastern affairs, and committees on Jewish 
affairs, international rivers and railways, international labor, 
patents and trade marks, punishment for war crimes and "public 

2^ Baker, Woodrow Wilson^ p. 62. 

Neiv Light on the Paris Peace Conference in 

law (free determination of the people combined with the rights 
of ethnic and religious minorities)." This list of commissions 
did not agree with the list of agenda subjects. Poland and 
labor were not mentioned in the agenda, although commissions 
were to be set up to study them. Subjects combined in the 
agenda were given to different commissions, and subjects sepa- 
rated in the agenda were assigned to the same commission. The 
more carefully the draft is scrutinized, the more unworkable 
it seems. 

The anti-Italian tone of the original November draft was 
accentuated in this second revision. Again it was proposed 
that the secret treaties be abrogated. Colonies, it was stated, 
"essentially concern England and France" alone. The settle- 
ment of the Italian frontiers was turned over without reserva- 
tion to Wilson's ninth point and the "right of self-determi- 
nation of peoples." Italy's interest in reparations was passed 
over with the remark that only British, French and Belgian 
claims were to be noted, and that "states which have secured 
considerable territorial enlargement would have but a slight 
claim to indemnities." The proposed order of negotiating 
the treaties was a blow at Italian diplomacy. Italy wished to 
have the Austrian and German negotiations proceed simul- 
taneously. But the French proposed in this draft that next 
after the German treaty, the Bulgarian question should be 
settled "to avoid the dangerous Bulgarian intrigues at home 
and abroad," and that the Austrian and Turkish treaties (which 
interested Italy) should be left to the last. There is evidence 
that the French sent a version of their November draft, con- 
taining these anti-Italian points, to the Italian Government. 
This rumored note on a "method of procedure" was reported 
to General Bliss through underground channels on December 
12, in the following terms: 

The principle of reparation and indemnity shall apply to France 
and Belgium alone. At the Peace Conference Germany shall be 
first dealt with. After the German question has been disposed of, 

112 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

the problem of the new states to be formed out of Austria Hungary- 
shall be considered. The London Agreement will be denounced by 
the French Government. 

It is believed that the British Government is already in agreement 
with the French Government with regard to the above points. 
There is also reason to think that France and Great Britain have 
reached an agreement regarding the partition of Africa and with 
reference to all Asiatic questions. 

The Italians, I am told, feel that Italy is being excluded from the 
fulfilment of any colonial aspirations and from the reception of 
indemnity. The attitude of the Italian Government toward the 
French proposition is said to be uncompromisingly negative.^® 

Whether or not this report was accurate in its details, it con- 
firms the evidence of other documents in this important respect: 
the November notes on procedure must be interpreted as 
serious efforts made by the French Foreign OfRce to secure the 
consent of other Powers to the peace program of France. 

The London Conference and the Question of Membership 
We lack the documents which would make possible a study 
of the state of British and Italian war aims at this time. The 
New York Public Library possesses a photostat copy of an 
important British paper on Peace Conference policy, but 
donor's restrictions forbid its use at present. The Italian Cabinet 
was evidently divided, until the resignation of Bissolati on 
December 28, on the question of renouncing the Treaty of 
London, as the French proposed. The most significant indica- 
tion of the post-Armistice development of the policies of the 
Allies, and especially of Britain, is the achievement of the Lon- 
don Conference. 

About November 1 5 Lloyd George had written Clemenceau, 
"I would suggest to you that we draw up some preparatory 
memoranda either in London or Paris." ^ By November 25 
this suggestion had ripened into an invitation to London to 

2^ Miller, Diary, vol. II, Documents nos. 60-61, pp. 260-261. 
^^ House PaperSy IV, 206. 

New Light on the Paris Peace Conference 113 

attend a Conference which was to be preliminary to the pre- 
liminary Conference, preparatory to the preparatory work.'^ 
On December 2 and 3 this Conference met. It made only 
two decisions touching the content of the future treaty: ist, 
that war costs must be added to the German reparations bill, 
and 2d, that the Kaiser must be tried for his crimes. Events 
were to show the childish futility of both these solemn resolu- 
tions, which were, moreover, completely outside the scope of 
the pre- Armistice agreement and the Fourteen Points.^^ 

The London Conference marked the beginning of a new 
epoch in the preparation of the peace settlement, not because of 
the resolutions on indemnities and punishments, but in conse- 
quence of a resolution permitting the lesser powers to partici- 
pate in the preparation of the preliminary peace. The Novem- 
ber draft in all its forms had specified that the Great Powers 
alone would dictate the preliminary peace. Two forces under- 
mined this proposal: the pressure of the smaller powers, and the 
legalistic criticisms of the Americans. David Hunter Miller's 
mem.orandum on the November draft stated: 

It is an essential part of the American program that there shall 
be open discussion at the Peace Congress between the represent- 
atives of the Central Powers and those opposed to them, of the 
conditions of peace, and it is an essential prerequisite of that open 
discussion that a complete agreement as to peace terms should be 
reached among the powers opposed to the Central Powers.^^ 

The doors of the preliminary peace conference were thus to 
be opened to all the victor states. From the legal standpoint 
it was a generous proposal. It seemed to recommend a curb- 
ing of the dictatorship of the Great Powers. But from the 
practical political standpoint it meant the exclusion of the 
defeated powers from effective participation in the settlement. 
According to Miller, the Four Powers would still hold their 

^^ House Papers, IV, 241. 

^^ House Papers, IV, 247-248. 

*2 Miller, Diary, vol. II, Document No. 7, p. 32— Finished November 22. 

114 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

"informal Conference," as indeed they did in January, but 
instead of emerging from that consultation with a preliminary 
peace treaty and an invitation to the Germans, they would 
emerge with nothing more than a preliminary peace confer- 
ence and an invitation to the lesser allies. While the American 
representatives were sensitive to the legal aspects of the case, 
the British Government responded to practical political con- 
siderations when, on November 30, it notified the Polish Na- 
tional Committee that "Poland should be represented at the 
Conference of the Allied Powers during discussions relating 
to Poland. ^^ The principle which Miller had expounded, and 
which had been more concretely illustrated in the British note 
to the Poles, was formally adopted at the London Conference 
in the following text: 

. . . Before the preliminaries of peace shall be signed an Inter- 
allied Conference shall be held in Paris or Versailles, the date 
thereof to be set after the arrival of the President. France, Great 
Britain, Italy, Japan and the United States should each be repre- 
sented by five delegates. British Colonial representatives to attend 
as additional members when questions directly affecting them are 
considered. Smaller Allied Powers not to be represented except 
when questions concerning them are discussed. Nations attaining 
their independence since the war to be heard by the Interallied 

The decision to include the lesser allies in the Inter-Allied 
Conference naturally caused attention to shift from the content 
of the forthcoming peace to the make-up of the forthcoming 
conference. The Foreign Offices followed up the decision of 
the London Conference with an attempt to formulate principles 
of representation. On December 1 1 the British asked the French 
for their views, and on December 1 3 Pichon replied with a very 
simple scheme. The Great Allies could send five delegates, the 

^^ Filasiewicz, La Question polonaise pendant la guerre mondiale (Paris, 
1920), p. 584. (Italics mine.) 
^ House Papers^ IV, 247-248. 

New Light on the Paris Peace Conference 115 

lesser allies three, new states two, the states in formation one, 
and neutrals one. "Regarding the admission of delegates from 
the enemy countries . . . this question is not presented." ^^ 

These categories of states were copied from the November 
draft, with one modification.^® They seemed to be clear and 
simple, but were actually very difficult to apply under the 
political conditions of December, 19 18. To the confusion 
resulting from the disintegration of states there were added 
anomalies resulting from the Armistice. With the antipathies 
created by the war against Germany there were combined 
hatreds aroused by the crusade against Bolshevism. In Eastern 
Europe there was fighting everywhere, but juridically no war; 
along the Rhine and Danube there was a juridical state of war, 
but actually no fighting. The Austrians and Hungarians claimed 
that their revolutions had rendered them neutrals and taken 
them out of the war without a treaty of peace; the Poles and 
Czechs held that their revolutions had made them belligerents 
without a declaration of war. The Serbian government denied 
its own existence and claimed recognition as the government of 
Yugoslavia, an ally. The Italian government denied the existence 
of Yugoslavia, and regarded the Yugoslavs as an enemy people. 
Clemenceau said he did not know whether Luxemburg was a 
neutral or enemy state, while Miller listed her among the 
Allies.^^ Foch was at a loss to decide whether the Ukraine was 
an enemy or an ally, although she was juridically neutral, and 
actually an enemy at Lemberg, an ally at Odessa.^ 

^^ Miller, Diary ^ vol. II, Document 69, p. 296. 

^^The November draft distinguished between actual and theoretical 
belligerents in order to cut down the representation of Latin American 
States. Miller protested against the distinction in his memorandum of 
November 22 (Diary , vol. II, Document No. 7); Pichon omitted it in his 
note of December, but Tardieu restored the distinction in his draft of 
January 8. 

^^ Minutes of Council of Ten, March 5 (B. C. 44) , in Miller, Diary, 
XV, 149; vol. Ill, Document No. 79, p. 315. 

^® Minutes of Council of Ten, March 19 (B. C. 53), in Miller, Diary, 
XV, 418. 

ii6 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

In the final decision thirty-two states or dominions were 
voted in as members of the Inter-Allied Conference. Of these, 
only fourteen were of unquestioned status as Allies.^^ The 
eligibility of eighteen of them had been challenged in one way 
or another during the preparatory negotiations/^ and eleven 
states which in the end were left out of the Conference had 
been nominated at one time or another for admission/^ The 
cases of doubtful status in Allied circles outnumbered the 
cases of certain status by more than two to one. 

The settlement of these knotty problems of Conference 
membership prejudged many points in the treaty itself. The 
decision of the colonial question was anticipated when the 
British Dominions*^ and the Hedjaz*^ were admitted to the 
Conference membership, and Japan included with the Great 

^^ These were United States, Great Britain, France, Italy, Japan, 
Belgium, Brazil, Greece, China, Portugal, Liberia, Poland, Czechoslovakia. 

^The status of the following states was challenged: Serbia (should be 
merged in Yugoslavia, Miller, Diary, vol. II, Document No. 79) ; Hedjaz 
(opposed by France, Leon Krajewski: "La creation du Royaume du 
Hedjaz" in Revue Politique et Farlementaire, 127, 1926, pp. 441-459); 
Siam (omitted by French in November draft); Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, 
Uruguay (states which had broken relations with Germany, but were 
regarded as neutrals in November draft); Cuba, Panama, Guatemala, 
Nicaragua, Haiti, Honduras (November draft suggests that the United 
States represent these "to avoid crowding"); Canada, Australia, New 
Zealand, South Africa, India (admission opposed in November draft 
"for why should not a similar claim be presented by each of the dif- 
ferent States composing the Federation of the United States"). 

*^ The following were proposed for admission, but not admitted: Costa 
Rica (a belligerent, included in Tardieu draft, left out because the 
United States had not recognized its Government: Miller, Diary, vol. Ill, 
Document No. 159); Montenegro (November draft); Santo Dom.ingo, 
Salvador, Yugoslavia, Egypt, Luxemburg, Persia, Finland {ibid., vol. II, 
Document No. 79, Miller's comment on Pichon note of December 13th); 
Albania {ibid., vol. Ill, Document No. 106); Russia {ibid., vol. II, Docu- 
ment No. 4, first revision of November draft). 

*^ Conceded January 13, Minutes of Council of Ten in Hoover War 

*^ Allowed January 17, when Balfour observed, semi-ironically, that 
the name had been omitted by oversight. 

Neiv Light on the Fans Peace Conference 117 

Powers/* The Eastern question, from Constantinople to Fin- 
land, revolved around the representation of Russia,'*^ as the 
Adriatic question turned on the recognition of Yugoslavia and 
Montenegro.*^ The whole tone of the final treaty was neces- 
sarily dependent upon the degree of collaboration with the 
enemy powers which the Conference organization would per- 

The Agenda: League and Treaty 
When Wilson arrived in the middle of December the dis- 
cussion of principles of settlement had subsided and the ques- 
tion of membership in the Conference was uppermost. He 
at once raised a new issue: the agenda. The November draft 

^ Japan was not represented at the first meeting of the Supreme Coun- 
cil, January 1 2 ; when her delegates appeared on January 1 3 they brought 
the number of members up to ten. 

*^ Two rival plans for dealing with Russia defined themselves early in 
December. The British wanted a round table conference in Paris— a 
scheme not unlike the plan of the November draft for representation by 
an Inter-Allied Committee with Russian counsellors. (A. L. P. Dennis, 
The Foreign Policies of Soviet Russia, pp. 69-70, dates the British sug- 
gestion and its rejection in early December.) On December 13 Clemen- 
ceau telegraphed that the "Inter-allied plan of action" was to "interdict 
to the Bolsheviks access to the Ukraine regions, the Caucasus and 
Western Siberia." (Pichon's statement in Chamber of Deputies, Dec. 29, 
191 8, in C. K. Cumming and Walter W. Pettit, Russian American Rela- 
tions, p. 273.) On December 21 Clemenceau confirmed his definition of 
the cordon sanitaire. This issue was decided January 21 in favor of 
conference with the Russians. (Minutes of the CouncU of Ten in U. S. 
Senate Document 106, 191 9. Treaty of Peace ivith Germany. Hearings, 
pp. 1 240-1 244.) 

^ On December 7 Orlando "with tears in his eyes" pledged Clemenceau 
to refuse recognition to Yugoslavia. (Henry Wickham Steed, Through 
Thirty Years, 1892-1922: A Personal Narrative, II, 262-263.) Yugoslavia, 
therefore, was not put among the Allies in the Tardieu Draft which was 
the basis of discussion by the Council of Ten. The Montenegrin question 
was still open when the first plenary session met; on January 21 the 
Council of Ten authorized the King of Montenegro to telegraph his 
people that they would be given an opportunity to choose their form 
of Government. (Minutes of Council of Ten in Hoover War Library.) 

ii8 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

in all its forms had taken for granted the division of the agenda 
into two principal parts: first, the settlement of the war and 
second, the organization of the peace. Manley O. Hudson, who 
was on Miller's staff, pressed the criticism that 

... a separate and consecutive consideration of what the French 
have called (a) The Settlement of the War, and (b) The Elabora- 
tion of the League of Nations would unduly segregate the tasks 
of the Congress.*^ 

But Miller did not incorporate this criticism in his final memo- 
randum of November 22. It does not appear that House ob- 
jected to the plan of postponing the consideration of the League 
till after the peace settlement had been made, although he 
discussed with Wickham Steed a scheme for giving the League 
early consideration.*® It was not apparent, for the moment, 
that an attempt to telescope the League of Nations with the 
preliminary peace would be likely to eliminate the preliminary 
peace entirely. 

When Wilson appeared on the scene he told House, in their 
first interview, that he intended "making the League of Na- 
tions the center of the whole program and letting everything 
revolve around that." *^ The logic of the position was that if 
the League should be evolved first, not only would its accept- 
ance be assured, but it would strike the keynote of the whole 
conference and affect the decision of all other points in the 
treaty. Its protection could be offered as a substitute for 
strategic frontiers. 

Clemenceau and Lodge were both opposed to this inversion 
of the agenda as it had been envisaged in November. On 
December 21st Senator Lodge insisted in a speech to the Senate 
that the League must come after the treaty, and that the first 

*^ Miller, Diary, vol. II, Document No. 6, p. 26. Hudson's preliminary 
memorandum on the French plan, November 21. 

*^ Henry Wickham Steed, Through Thirty Years, II, 264. 

^^ House Papers y IV, 251-252. The conversation took place December 

Nenjo Light on the Paris Peace Conference 119 

thing must be "physical guaranties" to "hem in Germany,'* 
and climaxed his argument with a denunciation of any "at- 
tempt to attach the provisions of an effective League of Na- 
tions to the Treaty of Peace." Clemenceau explained his thought 
to the Chamber on December 29, asserting that he adhered 
to the "old system" by which countries "saw that they had 
good frontiers." Henry White replied to Lodge immediately 
in a private letter: "Unless whatever League of Nations is to 
be formed should be one of the first subjects considered at the 
Peace Conference, it will never be founded at all." ^^ Wilson 
answered Clemenceau publicly within twenty-four hours in his 
Manchester speech, in which he gave warning that the price 
of American cooperation in peace was a general League of Na- 
tions. On January 8 Andre Tardieu, in the final draft of the 
French proposal for procedure, placed the territorial settlement 
with Germany first on the agenda, and stole Wilson's argu- 
ment by claiming that "this is the essential problem dominating 
all others, and its solution will react upon the entire rulings of 
the treaty." ®^ Thus the great question of principle emerged 
again in January in the guise of a problem of agenda. 

The Tardieu draft of January 8, entitled Plan des Premiers 
Conversations, was the last of the long line of French prepara- 
tory documents, and the first paper to be set before the Peace 
Conference. That part of it which related to the rules of the 
Conference was copied from the November draft, and those 
provisions which had to do with representation followed the 
principles laid down on December 13 in Pichon's note. The 
agenda list was the vehicle of its special political purpose. Its 

^^ Allan Nevins, Henry White. Thirty Years of American Diplomacy, 
(New York and London, 1930), p. 362. 

^^ Andre Tardieu, La Paix (Paris, 1921) . This document is not accessible 
in complete form, but must be reconstructed from the fragment pub- 
lished by Tardieu and the criticisms upon the whole draft in Miller, 
Diary, vol. Ill, Document No. 159 et seq., as well as from the minutes of 
the first meetings of the Council of Ten which are in the Hoover War 

I20 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

author had evidently studied the November drafts and the 
criticisms that had been made of them, and had taken into 
account the demand made by Wilson for early consideration of 
the League of Nations, and had then come forward with 
proposals to meet the American and Italian positions halfway. 
The Tardieu draft dropped the proposal to abrogate the 
Treaty of London, but retained the principle of the "right of 
nations to self-determination." It dropped the suggestion that 
the Austrian treaty should wait till after peace was made with 
Bulgaria, but did not concede that it could be drafted simul- 
taneously with the German. It gave up the attempt to prove 
that the Fourteen Points were unsuited to serve as a basis of the 
settlement, but still introduced certain non-Wilsonian prin- 
ciples on a parity with the Fourteen Points. To the "Statutes 
of the League of Nations" it allowed a certain precedence, but 
only as a "directing principle," along with nine other directing 
principles, some of which were non-Wilsonian. Following the 
adoption of these principles, there would ensue the detailed 
territorial and economic settlement, beginning with the frontiers 
of Germany. Finally, the war being ended and the "principal 
foundations" of the League of Nations having been laid, 

it wiU remain to 

a. Provide for the League's maintenance. 

b. Codify such measures resulting from the guiding principles 
stated in the first paragraph, which may not have been covered 
in the treaty clauses. 

Under the Tardieu plan, the drafting of the Covenant would 
still have been postponed to the last. The concessions to Wil- 
son's demands were more apparent than real. 

The key to the Tardieu draft is the list of guiding principles. 
The list starts out boldly with the first four of the Fourteen 
Points in their Wilsonian order: 

1. Open diplomacy. 

2. Freedom of the seas. 

New Light on the Paris Peace Conference 121 

3. International economic relations. 

4. Guaranties against the return of militarism and limitation 
of armament. 

Tardieu's fourth principle included more than Wilson's fourth 
point. Wilson had spoken of "guarantees given and taken that 
national armaments will be reduced to the lowest point con- 
sistent with domestic safety." Tardieu stretched this till it called 
up the picture of an interallied army on the Rhine. The next 
five principles were taken intact from various parts of the 
earlier French drafts. 

5. Responsibility of the authors of the war. 

6. Restitutions and reparations. 

7. Solemn repudiation of all violations of international law 
and the principles of humanity. 

8. Right of peoples to self-determination, combined with the 
right of minorities. 

9. International arbitral organization. 

Then follows the fourteenth Wilson point: 

10. Statutes of a League of Nations. 

And then a final word from the Quai d'Orsay: 

11. Guaranties and sanctions.**^ 

Of the eleven guiding principles, only five came from the 
Fourteen Points. 

Tardieu complains in his book that the Council failed to 
adopt his agenda because of the "instinctive repugnance of the 
Anglo-Saxons for the systematized constructions of the Latin 
mind." ^ Actually his plan was neither comprehensive nor 
clear. He omitted colonial and labor questions entirely, did 
not mention Belgium, put Yugoslavia under rubric 2-b and 
left Serbia to be considered under rubric 4, listed military 

^^This eleventh directing principle is omitted in the English edition 
of Tardieu (p. 88) but published in the French edition (p. 98). 
^Tardieu, The Truth about the Treaty (English edition), p. 91. 

122 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

clauses in several places by implication, but nowhere directly, 
and deliberately obscured the question then at issue of the 
relation of the League to the Treaty. Half of his space was 
devoted to the listing of categories of principles, although, 
according to the American view, the principles were already 
defined and only their application was at stake. Under "terri- 
torial problems" he included as a fourth item this conglomera- 
tion of subjects, which he ingeniously concluded with an 

d. The right to guaranties against an offensive return of mili- 
tarism, adjustment of frontiers, military neutralization of 
certain zones, internationalization of certain means of com- 
munication, liberty of the seas, etc. . . . 

Tardieu's draft agenda was "systematic" only as an attempt 
to bring the French claims under principles which the Confer- 
ence would accept. 

On January 1 2 the Tardieu draft was presented to the meet- 
ing of the delegates of the Great Powers which later became 
the Council of Ten. From that day to January 18, when the 
Conference was organized, the part of the draft which related 
to agenda came twice under discussion. 

On January 13 Pichon "explained that the messages and 
notes of President Wilson had been taken as the basis for the 
order of debates in Section II " ^ (evidently the section on 
principles in the Tardieu draft). But President Wilson brushed 
aside the appeal and introduced his own agenda list: ( i ) League 
of Nations, (2) reparations, (3) new states, (4) territorial 
boundaries, (5) colonial possessions. 

After having offered this formal substitute for the order of 
business of the Tardieu draft, Wilson added that he hoped that 
those present would not agree upon any fixed order of dis- 
cussion. For instance, he believed it more important at the 
moment that those present should consider the whole question 

^ Minutes of the Council of Ten, January 1 3 (B. C. i ) , in the Hoover 
War Library, and Tardieu, The Truth about the Treaty. 

New Light on the Paris Peace Conference 123 

of the treatment of Russia rather than the pubhcity of treaties. 
It was a point well scored against Tardieu's agenda, which had 
placed "open diplomacy" first, in superficial deference to the 
order of the Fourteen Points, and left the Russians to the very 

On January 17 the question of agenda came up again, this 
time in connection with the program for the first Plenary 
Session. Pichon started off with Wilson's list of topics, and 
then read the last part of the Tardieu draft. The discussion 
showed that the Council was no longer interested in the agenda 
solely as a matter governing the principles and content of the 
peace treaty; it was concerned also with satisfying public 
opinion and keeping control of the Conference organization.^^ 
Lloyd George then happily hit upon three innocuous topics 
which would please the public without causing contention 
among the Allies:— the punishment of the war guilty, the 
responsibility of the authors of the war, and international 
labor legislation. As the discussion ended, "M. Clemenceau 
explained that he would invite all the delegations to submit 
views on all the questions mentioned in section III of the 
French plan of procedure, and they would then be passed on 
by the Secretariat for the information of the Great Powers." ^^ 
Thus, contrary to Tardieu's assertion,^^ his agenda was adopted, 
but under conditions of Conference organization that deprived 
it of importance. 

°^ Minutes of the Council of Ten, January 17 (B. C. 4). When Pichon 
read Wilson's list of five topics, proposed them "as the basis for the pro- 
gram of the work of the Conference," and declared he would "ask each 
delegation to submit their recommendations" regarding these subjects, 
Wilson objected that he had intended his list for the Council rather than 
the whole Conference. "Mr. Balfour thought that if this list were sub- 
mitted to the full conference, many a burning question would immedi- 
ately arise." Then, after a discussion of the use of committees in the 
Conference, Lloyd George made his suggestions and Pichon read from the 
Tardieu draft. 

^® Minutes of the Council of Ten, January 17 (B. C. 4). 

^^ Tardieu, The Truth about the Treaty. 

124 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

In the first Plenary Session of the Conference on January 
1 8 the delegates were asked to prepare memorandums on war 
responsibility, and were informed that the question of the 
League of Nations was to be first on the agenda of the next 
meeting. Thus it appeared that the French had made good their 
innovation of November 21, and Wilson had secured the 
adoption of the principle he confided to House on December 
14. In the meantime what had become of that fundamental 
order of business upon which there was such pleasant una- 
nimity in November— the idea of the preliminary peace? The 
first article of the Rules adopted by the Conference indicated 
that the unanimity still prevailed: 

The Conference, summoned with a view to lay down the con- 
ditions of Peace, in the first place by peace preliminaries, and later 
by a definitive treaty of peace, shall include the representatives of 
the Allied and Associated Powers.^® 

But when the League of Nations question was presented, as 
had been promised, to the second Plenary Session on January 
25 the Conference voted that "The League should be created 
as an integral part of the General Treaty of Peace." ^^ No one 
noticed that whereas the Rules of the Conference stated that 
there would be two treaties, the vote on the League of 
Nations implied that there would be only one. 

What progress had been made toward a peace treaty in the 
ten weeks elapsed since the Armistice? The broad lines of the 
territorial settlement of Central Europe had been laid down, 
not by any decision taken in Paris, but by the action of peoples 
and armies over which Paris could exercise only the most re- 
mote and tenuous control. The German Government had clari- 
fied its foreign policy: it would stand squarely on the con- 
tractual basis of the Fourteen Points. The French attempt 
overtly to sidetrack this basis of peace had been given up. 

^^ Miller, Diary, vol. Ill, Document No. 199, p. 410. 
^^ Miller, Drafting of the Covenant^ I, 230. 

New Light on the Paris Peace Conference 125 

But two movements hostile to the carrying out of the con- 
tractual terms had defined themselves: the French suggestion 
that war responsibility be examined as a principle of the peace 
settlement had been adopted by the Conference, and the 
British general election, by its character and result, had com- 
mitted the British delegation to two policies which could not 
be reconciled with the contractual basis of peace— the punish- 
ment of the war guilty and the levying of a war indemnity on 
Germany. Wilson had made himself the sponsor of a special 
order of business which was only indirectly related to the 
contractual basis of peace, and upon this issue— the combina- 
tion of League and Treaty— the American opposition to Wilson 
had defined its stand. Upon this point the decisions of the Peace 
Conference included contrary theses in a self-contradictory 
formula of agreement. At this moment the problems of prin- 
ciples, membership and order of business ceased to be the 
vehicle of peace conference politics, and attention turned to 
the setting up of the conference organization. 


Council and Conference 
In November, 19 18, peace negotiations were devoted to 
clarifying the principles of the settlement, and in December to 
determining conference membership and order of business. 
In the middle of January the problem of organization tended 
to absorb those issues which had previously appeared in isola- 
tion as questions of principle, membership and agenda. The 
representation of the lesser allies had been admitted in Decem- 
ber, but it remained to determine how far the Conference 
organization would permit them to exercise effective influence 
on the settlement. Agenda topics had previously presented 
themselves in the abstract as items on a list but now they came 
up concretely as proposals to create and instruct commissions 
and committees. The old issue of precedence between the 

126 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

"settlement of the war" and the "organization of the regime 
of peace" took on a new form when, in the flux of relation- 
ships, two opposed jurisdictions came to define themselves, a 
Council which regarded itself as Supreme and a Conference 
which referred to itself as Plenary. In the contest for power, 
which received no formal adjudication, and in the distribution 
of functions, which appears to have occurred without plan, it 
came about that the Council made good its supremacy in the 
settlement of the war, while the Conference exercised its 
plenary authority in the organization of the peace. 

In the fall of 191 7 the Supreme War Council had been 
created by France, Britain, Italy and the United States, as 
their paramount political organ. When it assumed the con- 
duct of the Armistice negotiations, representatives of Belgium, 
Greece, Serbia, and possibly Japan were invited to attend its 
sessions. The heir of this Council was the Council of Ten, 
with its descendants, the Council of Five and the Council of 
Four. The French plans of November had assumed that this 
body would make the preliminary peace as it had made the 
Armistice, coopting into its sessions the delegates of the smaller 
allies when questions especially concerning them were under 
consideration. David Hunter Miller had criticized this plan in a 
mild way, proposing that 

instead of a preliminary discussion among only four Great Powers 
with other powers admitted when and as the case might require, 
there would be a discussion of each particular question among all 
the powers directly interested, which would always include the 
Great Powers.^^ 

This issue was left in abeyance while it was decided that the 
small powers would attend the Conference, and while the num- 
ber of delegates to be allotted them was canvassed. In January 
the two opposed conceptions of the role of the small powers, 

^ Miller's draft cablegram of November 25, in Diary, vol. II, Document 
No. 10, p. 53. 

New Light on the Paris Peace Conference 127 

and hence of the very nature of the Conference organization, 
came into conflict. 

Wilson had undoubtedly pictured himself as able to "lead 
the weaker powers" against the French and British.^^ This no 
doubt led him to look with suspicion upon that clause of the 
Tardieu draft of January 8 which provided that whereas the 
representatives of the Great Powers should "take part in 
all sittings and Commissions," those of the other powers 
should "take part in the sittings at which questions concerning 
them are discussed." ^^ The discussion of this clause raised the 
question whether the authority of the Peace Conference was 
to be vested in a continuation of the Supreme War Council 
which would give informal hearings to the representatives of 
lesser states, or in a new organization, in which the great states 
would set themselves up as an informal steering committee. 
The meaning of the sharp passage of arms between Wilson and 
Clemenceau on January 12 is obscured by an imperfection 
in the minutes, but the general course of the argument can still 
be followed. 

The Supreme War Council had just finished discussing the 
Armistice renewal terms, dismissed the military experts, and 
picked up the Tardieu draft. Wilson asked Pichon "whether 
this subject was not for the more general conference." Pichon 
replied correctly that it was first necessary to set up the more 
general conference. In that moment the actual organizing of 
the conference began. There took place an inconclusive dis- 
cussion of the representation of Montenegro and Russia. Then 
the trouble started. 

^^ Wilson to House, about November 15, House Papers, IV, 213; also 
his plan of April 6 to threaten the Council of Four that if they did not 
keep to the Fourteen Points he would appeal to Plenary Sessions. Ibid., 
pp. 401-402. 

^^ Miller, Diary, vol. Ill, Document No. 170, p. 274. (It is not certain 
that this is the exact language of the Tardieu draft; the minutes of the 
Council do not indicate any amendment, although they record a warm 
discussion, as is noted below.) 

128 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

M. Pichon stated that they would then have to consider the 
representation of the Great Powers. It was understood that the 
enemy powers should not be represented until the Allied Powers 
had reached an [end of page 14 of mimeographed set of minutes in 
the Hoover War Library. Page 1$ then begins with a parenthesis, 
as follows'] (A remark by the President). Mr. Lloyd George stated 
that at the Supreme War Council the smaller nations were only 
consulted when their intentions were involved. The President said 
he did not like the appearance of [not?] consulting nations that we 
are protecting unless they were interested. Mr. Lansing remarked 
that if they followed that procedure they would be imitating the 
Council of Vienna. The President was in favor of holding informal 
conversations among the Great Powers, but believed that they 
must have an organization of all the nations, otherwise they would 
run the risk of having a small number of nations regulate the affairs 
of the world, and the other nations might not be satisfied. 

Mr. Balfour proposed that they have private talks to reach formal 
conclusions, and then put these conclusions before the smaller na- 
tions for their examination and admit them to the conference to 
hear their observations. 

M. Clemenceau then spoke at some length. . . .^ 

In the course of his long speech Clemenceau protested that 
Honduras and Cuba could not be allowed the right to give an 
opinion on all questions of the world settlement, and that "the 
five great powers should reach their decision upon important 
questions before entering the halls of the Congress to negotiate 
peace." He demanded that "meetings be held in which the 
representatives of the five countries mentioned shall participate, 
to reach decisions upon the important questions, and that the 
study of secondary questions be turned over to the commissions 
and the committees before the reunion of the Conference." 

Since there are defects and uncertainties both in the avail- 
able text of the Tardieu draft and in the minutes of the debate, 
the issue between the two champions is not as clearly defined 
as it should be. It seems certain, however, that Baker is wrong 

*^ Minutes of the Council of Ten, January 12, 1919 (B. C. A-i), in the 
Hoover War Library. Clemenceau's speech is printed in Baker, Woodrow 
Wilson, I, 179-180. 

Neiv Light on the Paris Peace Conference 129 

when he asserts that Clemenceau was unwilling "even to con- 
sider consultation with the smaller nations." ^ The only prac- 
tical problem at stake was the formal relation of Council to 
Conference and the representation of the lesser powers on the 

The questions debated with such heat on January 12 were 
left undecided by the statesmen, but events made the decision. 
The body which Wilson called "informal," which Balfour 
legitimized as "private" and which Clemenceau wished to 
make sovereign, met thereafter regularly. By coopting two 
Japanese delegates it became, in the language of the newspaper 
men, the Council of Ten. 

When the Plenary Conference met on January 18 it ap- 
pointed the five great Powers as its Bureau. The Americans 
thenceforth designated the Council of Ten as the "Bureau of 
the Conference," heading their copies of the minutes with the 
letters "B. C." as if the Council were the creation of the Con- 
ference with its authority derived at second hand. But the 
Conference Secretariat took a different view. In the official 
schedule of membership and organization ^^ it asserted that the 
Bureau of the Conference was one thing and the "Supreme 
Council of the Allies" another. The British did not seem to 
commit themselves, but listed all meetings of all Councils and 
Conferences under the letters "I. C." (Inter- Allied Confer- 

The distinction between the authority of the Conference and 
that of the Council was also important in connection with the 
work of the five commissions, on League of Nations, War Re- 
sponsibility, Reparations, Labor Legislation and International 
Transit, set up by the Plenary Conference on January 25. 
Although the resolutions creating these commissions had been 

^'^ Baker, Woodroiv Wilson, I, 179. 

^^ Conference des prelimin^ires de la paix. Composition et fonctionne- 
ment. In Hoover War Library; reprinted in Miller, Diary, I, 378-499, and 
in Documentation Internationale. Paix de Versailles, I, 199-3 11. The min- 
utes of the Council of Ten will hereinafter be cited as "B. C." 

130 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

adopted in the Council of Ten on January 21 and 23, and 
the action of the Conference did not come till January 25, 
these commissions were regarded by the Secretariat as crea- 
tions of the latter date. The American members of these com- 
missions several times made use of the fact that the parent body 
was the Conference rather than the Council. On February 13 
Wilson told the Council that he wished to present the report 
of the League of Nations Commission to a plenary session of the 
Conference without even showing it to the smaller group of 
the Great Powers. When Clemenceau objected, Wilson re- 

That the League of Nations Commission was not a Commission 
of the Conference of the Great Powers but of the Plenary Con- 
ference. Consequently the first report ought, as a matter of fact, 
to go to the Plenary Conference.^ 

Lansing used a similar argument in the Commission on 
Responsibilities in order to block a resolution calling upon the 
Supreme War Council to insert in the terms of renewal of the 
Armistice a clause calling for the arrest of suspects and the 
seizure of documents. Lansing declared that "the present Com- 
mission was not appointed by the Supreme War Council but 
by the Peace Conference; it is therefore before the Peace Con- 
ference that the resolution must be presented." ^^ The Commis- 
sions on League of Nations and International Labor Legislation 
made their reports punctiliously to the Plenary Conference, 
taking care that the most trivial amendments were duly laid 
before the parent body and adopted. Each of these commissions 
appeared twice before the plenum. The Commission on Re- 
sponsibilities saw its report adopted in the sixth plenary session 
on May 6.^® 

®*B. C. 31, February 13, 1919, in Miller, Diary, XIV, 418. 

^Documentation internationale . Paix de Versailles, III, 28. (Minutes 
of the 2d session of the Commission, February 7.) 

^ Minutes of the 6th Plenary Session, May 6, 19 19, in Miller, Diary, XX, 

Nenjo Light on the Paris Peace Conference 131 

Two of the Conference commissions failed to report back to 
the parent body. The Commission on Ports, Waterways and 
Railways began like the commissions on Labor and League of 
Nations to prepare general international conventions for adop- 
tion at plenary sessions, but this activity was suspended early 
in March to make way for the hurried drafting of treaty clauses 
with Germany .^^ The Commission on Reparations, assigned to 
report on a subject which was strictly a question of war settle- 
ment rather than permanent international organization, proved 
unable to carry out its task. Thus these commissions, insofar as 
they came to concern themselves with the treatment of the 
vanquished by the victors, lost their close connection with the 
jurisdiction of Plenary Conference and tended to assimilate 
their role to that of the committees appointed by the Council. 

The Conference, for its part, had very little to do with the 
treaty terms. It heard a brief oral resume of them at its plenary 
session of May 6, the day before the text was handed to the 
Germans. The agenda carefully described this presentation, not 
as a report to the Conference, but as a "declaration relative to 
the terms of peace." ^° When Tardieu had finished the declara- 
tion, Clemenceau as Chairman made the situation brutally clear 
by saying: 

Gentlemen, this is merely a simple communication to begin 
with. Nevertheless, it is my duty to ask whether there are explana- 

The same procedure was attempted in the case of the Austrian 
Treaty on May 29,^^ but the small powers revolted and in- 

®® Minutes of this commission in Miller, Diary, vols. XI and XII; a dif- 
ferent text, covering nearly half the sessions, in Documentation Interna- 
tionale. Paix de Versailles, vol. VI. 

^^ Minutes of the 6th Plenary Session, May 6, 1919, in Miller, Diary, 
XX, 149-181. 

^^ Minutes of the 7th Plenary Session, May 29, Miller, Diary, XX, 
188-189; the minutes of the 8th session, May 31, are accessible in the 
Hoover War Library. 

132 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

sisted on a fuller hearing on May 3 1 . Thus only two sections of 
the Treaty, the Covenant and the Labor Section, were ever 
adopted by the Paris Peace Conference. The other sections, in- 
cluding the territorial clauses, were presented to the enemy, not 
only without receiving the formal approbation of the Confer- 
ence, but even without giving any of the lesser allies (except 
Belgium) more than a day's notice of the frontiers that were 
being submitted to the enemy on their behalf/^ 

Thus the original French plan for peace terms dictated by 
the Great Powers and a new international order established by 
a general conference was substantially realized except for the 
circumstance that the two conferences were simultaneous rather 
than consecutive. 

The Great and Small Powers 
The Plenary Conference was not only the agency used to 
legislate upon the future international order, but also the forum 
in which the smaller states sought to turn to account their 
theoretical equality with the Great Powers. There were twenty- 
two of these "Powers with Special Interests." Together they 
held thirty-six seats to the Great Powers' twenty-four. The 
personnel of their staffs totaled about five hundred, only one 
hundred less than the number accredited to the Conference 
organization by the Great Powers." In the week of idleness 
between January 18 when the Conference was organized and 
January 25 when the second plenary meeting was held, these 
delegates became restive. When they got their opportunity in 

^2 Note Pichon's statement in Council of Five, F. M., 24, June 12, 1919, 
Miller, Diary, XVl, 386. 

^'^ The size of the various delegations including experts, etc.: 

British Empire . . 184 Serbia 104 China 62 

France 136 Belgium 71 Czechoslovakia ... 46 

Italy 1 20 Japan 64 Rumania 37 

United States 108 Poland 64 Greece 32 

These states sent 90% of the Conference personnel. 

New Light on the Paris Peace Conference 133 

the second meeting, eleven of the plenipotentiaries made 
speeches of protest. Said the Brazilian representative: 

It is with some surprise that I constantly hear it said: "This has 
been decided, that has been decided." Who has taken this decision? 
We are a sovereign assembly, a sovereign court. It seems to me 
that the proper body to take a decision is the Conference itself.*^* 

Clemenceau replied with complete frankness: 

... I will remind you that it was we who decided that there 
should be a Conference at Paris, and that the representatives of the 
countries interested should be summoned to attend it ... if we 
had not kept before us the great question of the League of Nations 
we might perhaps have been selfish enough to consult only each 

Although in certain parts of his speech Clemenceau seemed to 
admit the theory that the authority of the Great Powers over 
the Conference proceedings was in their capacity as an officially 
designated Bureau, he clearly indicated that he regarded the 
participation of the small powers as a concession to the need of 
founding a new international order. 

This principle was consistently applied in the appointment 
of commissions. The small states were not admitted to com- 
missions concerned with territorial or military problems. They 
were appointed to the Eve commissions created on January 25, 
for these were Conference commissions from which it would 
have been impossible to exclude them. They demanded and 
received increased representation beyond the five places which 
the Great Powers offered them in three of these commissions 
(League of Nations, Transit, Reparations ).^° But thenceforth 
they were given seats in only four of the many organs which 
the Council brought into being. Each of these later commis- 
sions which had small-state members was concerned in one 
way or another with the general problem of a permanent inter- 

^* Protocol of the second plenary session of the Conference in Miller, 
Diary, vol. IV, Document No. 230, pp. 68, 77. 

■^^ Minutes of the meeting of the Powers with Special Interests, January 
27, Miller, Diary, vol. IV, Document No. 231, pp. 142-153. 

134 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

national regime: economic, financial, aeronautic or Moroccan. 
No Belgian sat on the Belgian Commission, no Pole on any of 
the three Polish Commissions, and when it was necessary to 
draft conventions to apply to the New States, no representative 
of any of the New States had a place on the commission. With 
respect to their particular interests the Conference membership 
of the lesser powers gave them no privileged standing, for the 
Syrians and Armenians who were not Conference members 
were allowed to appear before the Council to present their 
special claims. Thus it came about that the "Powers with Special 
Interests" had nothing but general interests confided to them. 

Japan, though ranked as a "Power with General Interests," 
and given a right to sit on all commissions, tended to restrict 
her role to the defense of her special interests alone. She had 
representatives on only three of the six territorial commissions, 
and on only three of the five commissions concerned with Ar- 
mistice renewal. The Morocco Committee had a Belgian and 
Portuguese member, but no Japanese. There was no Japanese 
member of the Supreme Economic Council. When the Council 
of Four became the paramount authority over the drafting of 
peace terms, Japan's place as a Principal Allied Power remained 
only nominal. Any one of the smaller European powers prob- 
ably had more influence than Japan over the general character 
of the settlement. 

The small powers varied greatly among themselves in in- 
fluence upon the negotiations. Eleven of them took all the 
places on the commissions, leaving eleven with nothing to do 
but make speeches in the plenary sessions.*^® The neglected 
states, most of them the small Latin- American countries, tried 

^® The importance of the smaller powers, as indexed by the number of 
commissions on which each was represented, was: 

Belgium 9 Greece 6 Brazil 2 

Serbia 7 Portugal 6 Cuba 2 

Poland 7 Czechoslovakia 4 Uruguay 2 

Rumania 7 China 3 

(Only nine commissions had small-state members.) 

New Light on the Paris Peace Conference 135 

unsuccessfully to revolt against their more favored colleagues 
in early March. The occasion was the invitation to appoint 
five delegates of the "Powers with Special Interests" to the 
Economic and Financial Commissions. The meeting voted to 
demand that the number be increased to ten upon each com- 
mission, and refused to select five members.*^^ Jules Cambon, 
who was presiding, persuaded them to be more conciliatory; 
they accordingly offered two lists of ten each, arranged in al- 
phabetical order, and including Hejaz, Peru, Ecuador and 
Bolivia. The Council of Ten sent back the lists and asked the 
small powers to name their five representatives, and add 
four supplementary names to be used as a panel. But the South 
American States formed a combination and packed the five 
places in the Financial Commission with four of their own 
number. The Council of Ten simply upset the result of the 
election and named the small European states and Brazil to 
the places. Thus the third-rate states failed to advance them- 
selves to equality with second-rate countries. The maneuver 
resulted in a further loss of influence, for in fixing the member- 
ship of the Aeronautic Commission— the last Commission which 
was to include small-state delegates— the Council quietly desig- 
nated the states which were to be represented, not permitting 
any election "lest the incident relating to the election of the 
delegates to the Financial and Economic Commissions be re- 
peated." '^ 

The Commissions and Committees 
The commissions of the Peace Conference, whether they 
emanated from the Conference or the Council, whether they 

"B, C. 42, March i, 1919, in Miller, Diary ^ XIV, 132; B. C. 44, March 
5, pp. 150-151; B. C. 47, March 8, pp. 254-258; B. C. 48, March 10, p. 287. 
(Chile is a misprint for China.) Minutes of Conference of Powers with 
Special Interests, Miller, Diary y XX, 209-244. 

^^B. C. 31, March 15, in Miller, Diary y XV, 366. This commission 
further reduced the influence of the small states by leaving them off its 

136 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

concerned themselves with the settlements of the war, the set- 
ting up of the new international order, or both, and whether 
they were staffed by the Great Powers alone or by great 
and small powers together, were the principal agencies by 
which the central authority took action on its long agenda list. 
The Franco-German frontier, the Italian frontier and the ques- 
tion of guaranties were the only important subjects in the 
treaty which were deliberately withheld from consideration by 
commissions. The treaty, in the large, was written in texts pro- 
posed by the commissions and committees. Therefore the prob- 
lem of the relation of the commissions to the central authority 
and to each other was no less significant than the problem of 
the relation of Council to Conference and great to small 

How many commissions, committees and subcommittees 
were set up in the course of the negotiations? Tardieu thought 
that there were about fifty-eight, a number which has since 
been much quoted, and which may perhaps be based upon 
the list printed in April by the Secretariat, which does in fact 
list fifty-eight bodies (including certain subcommittees not 
actually appointed ).^^ Temperley, in a list which takes into 
account developments of later months, brings the number up 
to sixty-six, but a casual examination shows that there are 
many omissions from this longer list. Three committees of 
which we possess complete minutes in the Miller Diary are 
ignored in the Temperley list: namely the Subcommittee on 
Kiel which held four meetings from March 1 1 to April 24,®^ and 
the Commission on a Polish-Ukrainian Armistice together with 
its subcommission, which between them held eleven meetings 
from April 26 to May 15.^^ These happen to be instances in 
which the complete minutes have come to hand. The cases in 

^^ Miller, Diary, I, 447-499; Tardieu, La Paix, p. 102 (English edition, 
p. 93); Temperley, ed., A History of the Peace Conference of Paris 
(London, 1920-24), 497-504. 

«o Miller, Diary, XII, 412-436. 

81 Miller, D/ary,X, 318-488. 

New Light on the Paris Peace Conference 137 

which our knowledge of the existence of committees other 
than those named in Temperley's or the Secretariat's Hst is 
based upon more fragmentary material are numerous indeed. 
The commissions and subcommissions frequently appointed 
small drafting committees which took the heaviest load of 
work, but left no formal record of their deliberations. For in- 
stance, the first part of the report of the Commission on Re- 
sponsibilities was drafted in that way. This document is the 
only part of the work of this commission which has had a last- 
ing influence in European politics. As the statement of the 
Allied thesis upon German war guilt it has become a political 
symbol of first importance, and has continued to attract a litera- 
ture of criticism after the other parts of the work of the com- 
mission, relating to the trial of the Kaiser and the punishment of 
war atrocities, have been forgotten. The minutes of the Com- 
mission on Responsibilities show that this vital chapter was 
not debated in any formal session, but was written by a drafting 
committee of which even the membership is uncertain. Lieu- 
tenant Colonel Biggar of the Canadian Army, Premier Massey 
of New Zealand, Captain Masson of the French Army, and 
M. Politis, the Greek statesman, were probably the authors of 
this document, but there is no record of its drafting.^^ No sharp 
line of demarcation distinguished the procedure of such small 
special subcommittees or drafting committees from mere in- 
formal meetings, nor the informal meetings from dinner or tele- 
phone conversations. Sometimes a subcommission was appointed 
by the authority of the Council, without the intermediate action 
of the Commission. This was the case in the appointment of a 
Kiel Canal subcommission of the Commission on Ports, Water- 
ways and Railways. The same action was taken when prepara- 
tions were being made to negotiate with the Germans, and the 
Peace Conference Secretariat appointed subcommissions by 

^2 Minutes of the February 24 and March 5 meetings of the first sub- 
committee of the Commission on Responsibilities, in Documentation Inter- 
nationale. Paix de Versailles^ III, 254-259. 

138 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

telephone/^ this method being used in this case to keep the 
small powers off the subcommissions. The documents now 
accessible do not make it possible to draw up an exhaustive list 
of the organs of the Peace Conference, but they are sufficient 
to throw light upon the way the system worked. 

The Commissions and the Conference Agenda 
The Foreign Offices had understood from the first that much 
of the labor of the Peace Conference would have to be dele- 
gated to commissions. The first November draft had recog- 
nized this principle, the third November draft had set up a 
list of proposed commissions and committees, and this list, or 
a modification of it, probably formed a part of the Tardieu 
draft of January 8.®* The need for commissions in Conference 
organization was never at issue, but there was a question how 
they would be used. Was their work to precede or follow the 
work of the Council? Were they to prepare questions for deci- 
sion or carry out in detail decisions already made? How much 
of the work of the Conference was to be farmed out to them? 
These were vital questions because they affected the efficiency 
of the whole peace-making system. 

Those who have written upon the Conference do not agree as 
to which of the ways of using commissions would have con- 
tributed most to efficiency. Wickham Steed and Colonel House 
thought that circumstances demanded the immediate appoint- 
ment of committees to study and report upon all subjects^ 
before they had been considered by any supreme authority.®'' 

^ Minutes of the 30th meeting, June 7, of Commission on Ports, 
Waterways and Railways, in Documentation Internationale . Paix de 
Versailles, VI, 442-452. The sharp protest of the small-state members 
against this procedure, and the explanation of what had been done, are 
omitted in the official version of the minutes as printed in Miller, Diary y 
vol. XII. 

®* Miller, Diary, vol. Ill, Document No. 159, p. 245. 

®° Steed has described the plan worked out with House while Wilson 
was on the water (early December): "it was, broadly speaking, that 
oratory should be barred from the outset by a self-denying ordinance; 

New Light on the Paris Peace Conference 139 

Winston Churchill on the contrary writes scornfully of com- 
missions of inquiry as "the usual household remedy" in domestic 
politics.®^ From his standpoint "all depended upon a serious 
discussion from the outset between Gt. Britain, France, Italy, 
Japan and the United States, at which the main principles could 
be settled" and not upon the speed and thoroughness with 
which the problems were farmed out to commissions for 
analysis and report.*^ Ray Stannard Baker regarded the problem 
of the use of commissions as a moral issue, the issue between 
the New and the Old. 

The old way was for a group of diplomats, each representing 
a set of selfish interests, to hold secret meetings, and by jockeying, 
trading, forming private rings and combinations with one another, 
come at last to a settlement . . . the new way so boldly launched 
at Paris . . . was first to start with certain general principles of 
justice, and then have those principles applied ... by dispassionate 
scientists— geographers, ethnologists, economists,— who had made 
studies of the problems involved.®^ 

Baker's distinction is not fully applicable to the concrete situa- 
tions that arose during the Conference; his interest is in the 
ethical plane of the negotiation, but there is no evidence that 
this was higher in the commissions than in the Council. In 
fact, the most downright, obstinate, and narrow declarations of 
national policy are more likely to be found in the minutes of 
the commissions than in the records of the meetings of the 

that assent to the establishment of a League of Nations should be the first 
point on the agenda of the Conference . . . the plan provided also for 
the immediate appointment of expert committees upon the principal ques- 
tions of the Peace Settlement, these committees being instructed to report 
by definite dates to the heads of the Allied and Associated Governments, 
and to cast the gist of their reports into the form of articles of a Peace 
Treaty." Steed, Through Thirty Years, II, 264. 

^Winston S. Churchill, The Aftermath (London and New York, 
1929), p. 384. 

®^ Churchill, Aftermath , p. 114. 

®® Baker, Woodrow Wilson^ I, 112. 

140 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

The first definite proposal for making use of commissions 
came before the Council of Ten on January 17. President 
Wilson made the suggestion, which was exactly in line with 
the plan that House and Steed had discussed in December, 

that the presiding officer of the Conference should appoint com- 
mittees on different subjects, and then have the delegations submit 
their reports on the different subjects to these committees.^® 

Had Wilson's suggestion been adopted, the whole agenda 
would have been farmed out among commissions on the same 
day upon which the Plenary Conference was organized. This 
was the plan for using uninstructed committees of inquiry, in 
all its simplicity. 
But Lloyd George objected. He feared that 

If the committees were set up a machinery might be created which 
it would be impossible to control. He thought it necessary to 
confine the action to reports on matters which concerned the 
delegates individually. These reports would go to the Secretariat, 
and be submitted to the Great Powers for their information. 

This suggestion to delay the farming-out of the territorial 
questions until the Council of Ten was in possession of written 
statements of claims seems to have been inspired more by a 
fear of the exigent small states than by a lack of confidence in 
the experts, but it implied that the procedure would be to set 
up committees only after the Council itself had studied ques- 
tions, and given instructions. The routing of a territorial ques- 
tion would run from the delegation to the Secretariat, from the 
Secretariat to the Council, from the Council to a Committee. 
Clemenceau loyally explained this decision to the plenary 
session on the following day. He asked the representatives of 
the powers which had special interests 

to deliver to the Secretariat General memoranda on questions of 
every kind— territorial, financial or economic— which particularly 
interest them. This method is somewhat new, but it has not seemed 
right to impose upon the Conference a particular order of work. 

®^B. C. 4, January 17, 1919, in the Hoover War Library. 

Nenjo Light on the Paris Peace Conference 141 

To gain time, Powers are invited first to make known their claims. 
All the people represented at the Conference can put forward, not 
only demands which concern themselves, but also demands of a 
more general character. The delegations are begged to present these 
memoranda as soon as possible. 

On these memoranda a comprehensive work will be compiled 
for submission to the Conference ... at the head of the order 
of the day for the next session stands the League of Nations.^^ 

The three meetings of the Council of Ten which immediately 
followed the first Plenary Conference were taken up with the 
Russian and Polish problems. The Conference had been or- 
ganized without Russia, but a Russian policy was necessary. 
The decision to call a Russian conference at Prinkipo was taken 
on January 2 1 . Then Paderewski's request for military assistance 
took up half of the following day. Wilson fended off the sug- 
gestion that Poland's frontiers should be hurriedly agreed upon 
in connection with the problem of military aid. And then, on 
the afternoon of January 21, the Council came back to the 
main task of making the Treaty. In accordance with Wilson's 
proposed agenda, already announced to the plenary session, 
the first item of treaty-making was the League of Nations. 

The Chairman thought it very desirable that the different delega- 
tions be put to work as soon as possible. He understood that Presi- 
dent Wilson would submit the question of a League of Nations 
at the next meeting. If so, he suggested that it would be well to 
proceed to consider the question of reparation of damages. 

Mr. Lloyd George stated that he agreed to this, and suggested 
that the question of the League of Nations be taken up at the 
next meeting, and that those present lay down the general principles 
and then appoint an international committee to work on the con- 
stitution of the League.^^ 

On the following day, January 22, the resolution was 
adopted which disposed of the question of the League of 

^Preliminary Peace Conference, Protocol No. i, January 18, 1919, in 
Miller, Diary, vol. Ill, Document No. 199, pp. 407-408. 

^^B. C. 6, January 21, 1919, in Hoover War Library. The second para- 
graph quoted above is also printed in Baker, Woodrow Wilson, I, 237. 

142 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

Nations not only by creating a commission but also by settling 
in advance the question whether the League should be "created 
as an integral part of the general treaty of peace," whether it 
should be open to all, what its object should be, and what 
should be the outUnes of its organization.^^ When Baron 
Makino sought to withhold Japan's consent to such a detailed 
commitment, Wilson pinned him down to the pre-Armistice 

President Wilson pointed out that Mr. Lloyd George's proposal 
included nothing that was not contemplated when the Peace Con- 
ference was called, and that the principles of the League of Nations 
had been accepted at the time of the Armistice. He therefore asked 
whether Baron Makino wished it to be understood that the Japanese 
government reserved its decision with regard to bases which other 
powers had already accepted? ^^ 

The Commission on the League of Nations was the most ade- 
quately instructed of the great commissions. The Commis- 
sions on Labor Questions and on Ports, Waterways, and Rail- 
ways received no instructions at all, but were never dead- 
locked for the lack of them. The setting up of the Commission 
on Responsibility of the Authors of the War gave rise to no 
debate, but was accomplished in a resolution sufficiently definite 
to guide the commission debates and to constitute a step in 
recognizing the non-contractual and punitive principle in the 
peace settlement. The Economic and Financial Drafting Com- 
mittees, which were set up on January 23 and 27 in order to 
"classify and frame in suitable language all questions coming 
under these categories" ^ were examples of the type of com- 
mission which House had described in December— they were 
expected to prepare subjects for another authority to decide 
rather than carry out decisions already made. 

^2 Miller, Drafting of the Covenant, I, 76. According to Miller, the 
word "created" was altered to "treated" by a misprint in the minutes. 

^B. C. 7, January 22, 1919, in the Hoover War Library. 

®*Clemenceau, B. C. 10, January 24, 1919, in Miller, Diary, XIV, 21. On 
March i these committees were reconstituted as full commissions with 
authority to work out solutions of the problems they had listed. 

New Light on the Fans Peace Conference 143 

The Council of Ten covered most of its agenda list except 
territorial questions in the commissions set up during the last 
days of January. There were two subjects, however, which 
did not yield successfully to commission treatment. These 
were reparations and disarmament. A Reparations Commission 
was set up without adequate instructions and came to grief 
in consequence; the project for the creation of a Disarmament 
Commission was rejected on the ground that it would be 
necessary first to prepare adequate instructions. It is note- 
worthy that these two subjects, which have had such a poison- 
ous history in post- Versailles Europe, showed themselves in- 
tractable in the earliest stage of the Conference. Both procedural 
methods were applied— the system of giving the commission 
a free hand, and the procedure of waiting until the Council 
could prepare adequate instructions, and both methods failed. 

It is worth following in more detail the history of these 
attempts to arrange the discussion of two of the items on the 
agenda list. On January 21, as has been noted, Lloyd George 
referred to the question of "reparation of damages," on the 
following day he made a proposal to appoint a "commission 
to consider the question of reparation and indemnity. Presi- 
dent Wilson suggested that it might be well to omit the word 
^indemnity.' " ^^ In this mild way, Wilson indicated his opposi- 
tion to the inclusion of war costs in the reparations bill. But 
he did not pin Lloyd George to the terms of the Lansing Note 
as he had pinned Makino to the principles of the League of Na- 
tions. The Lansing Note of November 5 limited the Allies' 
claims to the reparation of damages suffered by the civilian 
population. The commission was put to work without instruc- 
tions on the critical point whether the Allies would hold to their 
pre-Armistice contract or go beyond it by demanding war 
costs. After a month of futile wrangling the commission re- 
ported its deadlock back to the Council of Ten, and asked 
for a decision. By this time (March ist), Wilson was absent, 

®^B. C. 7, January 22, 1919, in the Hoover War Library. 

144 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

and the Council refused to accept responsibility for making 
the decision. When Wilson returned, the serious study of the 
problem was taken out of the hands of the commission by ex- 
perts who reported directly to the Heads of States, and who 
regarded the commission organization as an obstacle which 
should "make its report and get out of the way." ^ 

The suggestion to set up a Commission on Disarmament was 
made by Balfour on January 21, at the same session which 
saw the first steps toward instructing the League of Nations 
Commission, and the mention of the need for a Commission on 
Reparations. The three topics came up simultaneously, but 
each received a different kind of treatment. Wilson at this 
time agreed that the question of disarmament was closely re- 
lated to the question of strategic frontiers, but he thought it 
would be better for "those present to compare their views be- 
fore referring it to a committee." ®^ 

Although there was no such comparison of views as Wilson 
had proposed, Lloyd George brought in a draft resolution to 
set up a Disarmament Commission on January 23. This was 
the meeting at which the resolutions setting up Commissions 
on Labor, Reparations, Responsibilities and Transit were 
adopted, but the parallel resolution on Disarmament was not 
accepted. The instructions as Lloyd George had drafted them 
called upon the commission 

1. To advise on an immediate and drastic reduction of the 
armed forces of the enemy. 

2. To prepare a plan in connection with the League of Nations 
for permanent reduction in the burden of military, naval and aerial 
forces and armament.^^ 

Lloyd George was interested in facilitating rapid demobilization 
of British troops by reducing the German army "to the mini- 
mum necessary for the maintenance of internal safety." (This 

^ Norman Davis to President Wilson, March 25, 1919, in Baker, Wood- 
row Wilson^ III, 384. 

^^B. C. 6, January 21, 191 9, in the Hoover War Library. 
^B. C. 8, January 23, 1919, in Miller, Diary y XIV, 3. 

New Light on the Paris Peace Conference 145 

was in fact the very formula of Wilson's fourth point.) But 
here the consequence of excluding the Germans from the 
PreUminary Peace Conference appeared, for, as Wilson re- 
marked, it would be necessary to consult the Germans, so as 
to give the Germans a chance to state the numbers they actu- 
ally needed, and the means of consulting them would be the 
Armistice Commission. Orlando followed out the logic of this 
position by suggesting that 

... we could obtain prompt demobilization of the German armies 
more effectively by dealing with it as a condition of the renewal 
of the armistice through the agency of Marshal Foch and the Allied 
Military Advisers than by treating it as a question for the Peace 

Out of the discussion there emerged, therefore, not a com- 
mission of the Peace Conference to draft articles of a treaty 
but a committee of military advisers to concoct conditions for 
the renewal of the Armistice. In February, when it came time 
to consider the actual presentation of these terms to Germany, 
this decision was reversed, and the subject was moved back 
from the category of Armistice to the category of Peace by 
the impracticable suggestion that the military clauses should 
be the basis of the Preliminary Peace with Germany .^^*^ 

By January 24 most of the proposed agenda which had been 
listed with such "system" in the November draft and the 
Tardieu draft had received some kind of attention in the Coun- 
cil of Ten. Aside from territorial questions only the following 
subjects had been entirely neglected: 

"Stipulations of private law; settlement of credits; liquidation of 

sequestrations" (November draft) 
"Reestablishment of the conventional regime upset by the war" 

(November draft) 

»»Mmer, Diary, XIV, 5. 

^^'^See minutes of Supreme War Council, February 12, 19 19, in Miller, 
Drafting of the Covenant, II, 165 et seq. This is the starting point of the 
episode which Baker dramatized as a plot to leave the Covenant out of the 

146 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

"The freedom of the seas" (November draft and Tardieu draft) 
"Publicity of Treaties" (November draft and Tardieu draft) 
"International Organization for Arbitration" (November draft and 

Tardieu draft) 
"Guarantees and Sanctions" (November draft and Tardieu draft) 

The apparent neglect of certain of these items must have been 
noticed by Clemenceau, for he introduced a resolution on 
January 27 calling for the appointment of a commission to 
consider three of them among a very curious list of subjects. 

Reestablishment of the conventional regime of treaties. 

Settlement of private claims. 

Enemy ships seized at the beginning of the war in allied ports 

(Hague Convention of 1907). 
Goods on enemy ships that have taken shelter and remained in 

neutral ports. 
Restoration of illegal prizes. 
Goods which have been stopped without being captured. (O. C. 

March 11, 1915.)'^' 

The agenda of Clemenceau's proposed commission was 
something of a catchall for neglected subjects, but it was 
also a disguised way of bringing up the question of the Free- 
dom of the Seas. The Council voted against setting up Cle- 
menceau's commission, after a brief but pungent debate: 

Mr. Lloyd George was of the opinion that a very big issue was 
raised by this proposal, but he did not think that all these questions 
could be settled in the Peace Treaty with the enemy. The whole 
subject appeared to him to be more suitable for the League of 
Nations. These matters, moreover, could be discussed in a more 
favorable atmosphere in the League of Nations than in a debate 
with Germany. It would be far more difficult for himself to make 
concessions in dealing with the enemy than in dealing with the 
League of Nations. 

Evidently the canny Welshman understood that this was to 
become the Commission on the Freedom of the Seas. Sonnino 
then proposed a compromise: "four fifths of these subjects 
would be better dealt with by the League of Nations," but 

^•^^B. C. II, January 27, 1919, in the Hoover War Library. 

New Light on the Paris Peace Conference 147 

some of them, such as the disposal of enemy ships, "were 
strictly for inclusion in the Peace Treaty." Clemenceau agreed 
with Sonnino, Wilson gave his approval, and it was voted 
that the special cases concerning shipping should be referred 
to the Commission on Reparations, and questions of general 
principles reserved for the League of Nations. 

Critics and apologists of the Paris Peace Conference have 
continued to point to this January period as an era of mistakes. 
"The great fault of the political leaders," writes Professor 
Seymour, "was their failure to draft a plan of procedure . . . 
the heads of Government did not approve, or at least did not 
set in motion, any systematic approach to the problems of the 
Conference." ^^^ Tardieu ascribed this indifference to the "in- 
stinctive repugnance of the Anglo-Saxons to the systematized 
constructions of the Latin mind." Wickham Steed thought it 
was a consequence of the illness of Colonel House during 
the critical period in January, by which the Conference was 
deprived of "his guiding influence" when it was most sorely 
needed. "Before he could resume his activities things had 
gone too far to mend." These criticisms call for certain modify- 
ing comments. About half the Treaty was written by com- 
missions appointed between January 21 and January 27. Be- 
fore the end of January all the significant items in the agenda 
lists had been laid before the Council and farmed out to com- 
missions for study except four: 

Territorial questions 
Freedom of the Seas 
General disarmament 

Freedom of the Seas and general disarmament had been con- 
sidered in the Council and postponed; territorial questions had 
been consigned to a procedure which left it to the claimant 

^^^ House Papers, IV, 271-273; the citations from Tardieu and Steed 
are given in these pages. 

148 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

powers to deposit their demands with the Secretariat. The 
critics underestimate the grasp of the peace problem as a whole 
which the Conference showed in its first days. 

Territorial Questions 

The Conference made two mistakes in procedure in con- 
nection with territorial questions. The first was in trusting 
the small powers to deposit their claims with the Secretariat, 
the second was in yielding to the desire of the small powers 
to be heard by the Council. 

It has been noted that on January 18 a regular procedure 
had been ordained for the presentation of memorandums on all 
subjects through the Secretariat; on January 23 this procedure 
was reaffirmed as a special method for treating territorial ques- 
tions. The Council of Ten had just finished setting up its Rve 
principal commissions, when Clemenceau turned to the next 
items on the program. 

M. Clemenceau said that a number of territorial and colonial 
questions remained to be discussed. Of these the territorial were 
the most delicate problems. 

Doubtless each power would feel inclined to put off their discus- 
sion, but it must be undertaken. Before discussion these questions 
required classification. He would therefore beg the Governments 
to think of this, and at a later meeting to bring with them a 

M. Sonnino asked whether the most practical means would not 
be to fix a time by which each Delegation should present their 
wishes. The meeting would then have a notion of the ground to 
be covered. This applied to the Great Powers and to the smaller 
countries alike. A complete picture of the whole problem would 
then be available.^^^ 

At this point Lloyd George proposed that first consideration 
be given to oriental and colonial questions; he met Wilson's 

i<^B. C. 8, January 23, in Miller, Diary, XIV, 10-12. Cf. Baker, Wood- 
row Wilson^ I, 253, where some of this material is quoted. The minutes 
do not confirm Baker's assertion that Wilson secured a postponement of 
the consideration of colonial questions. 

Nenjo Light on the Paris Peace Conference 149 

objections by explaining that "he only suggested dealing with 
the East and with the Colonies in order to save time while the 
various delegations were preparing their case." 

M. Clemenceau suggested that a date be fixed by which all 
Delegations should be requested to state their cases in writing. 
(It was then decided that the Secretary General should ask all 
Delegations representing Powers with Territorial Claims to send to 
the Secretariat their written statements within ten days.) [The ten 
days would expire on February ist.] 

In the whole month of January the principal preoccupations 
of the Council, apart from the organizing of the Conference 
and commissions, were four questions: the renewal of the 
Armistice with Germany, the establishment of a Russian policy, 
the provisional protection of undefined Polish frontiers against 
Germans, Russians, and Czechs, and finally the disposition of 
the German colonies. Two of these questions— the Polish and 
the colonial— were essentially territorial questions, but they 
were not treated as such. The Polish frontiers were not defined, 
the colonies were not assigned, even as mandates. The object 
of the Council was to keep peace in Poland and to decide upon 
a general regime for colonies. In both of these matters it was 
Wilson's policy that prevailed. Foch wanted the Polish frontier 
fixed so that the Germans could be ordered to respect it.^^* 
Dmowski presented Poland's territorial claims in full on Jan- 
uary 29, but the Council postponed action.^^^ The policy of 
the Council in territorial matters was evinced in the "solemn 
warning" issued to the belligerents on January 24 that the use 
of armed force in securing possession of territories to which 
they laid claim would prejudice their claims and "put a cloud 
upon every evidence of title . . . and indicate their distrust 
of the Conference itself." ^^^ The Council did not at this time 
envisage its territorial problems in terms of particular boundary 

^^*B. C. 7, January 22, 1919, in Hoover War Library. 
^°®B. C. 15, January 29, 1919, in Miller, Diary, XIV, 62-70. 


B. C. 9, January 24, 1919, Miller, Diary , XIV, 17. 

150 Selected Papers of Robert C. Bifikley 

lines, but rather as a general necessity for maintaining the au- 
thority of the Conference, holding down the lid on explosions 
of violence, and postponing the consideration of questions 
which would threaten the harmony then prevailing. 

The Polish question, like the armaments question, was pre- 
sented to the Council as a problem to be settled definitely for 
the Treaty, but was acted upon only in its transitory aspect, 
as a matter of Armistice administration. The colonial question 
was treated differently from the Polish to the extent that in this 
case the principles of a new international order— the text of an 
article in the Covenant— were agreed upon, but the cases were 
treated alike in that the only immediate action taken lay in the 
field of Armistice administration. An interallied commission was 
sent to Warsaw to try to keep the peace, and a military com- 
mittee was instructed to report upon a method for sharing the 
costs of occupying the colonial areas, especially Asiatic Tur- 
key. There was no action upon Polish frontiers and none upon 
the distribution of colonies, although the claims were pre- 
sented in each case. The Council would not even draw pro- 
visional frontiers, or assign provisional mandates. When the 
Belgians came in at the close of the long colonial debate to ask 
for a piece of East Africa, Lloyd George closed oif the discus- 
sion by saying: 

Belgium asked for something that they had not yet started to 
discuss, namely, who should be the mandatory. They were making 
out a case that they should be a mandatory in respect to those 
territories, a question which had not yet been reached.^^^ 

Thus it came about that January ended with no steps taken 
toward allotting territories or assigning boundaries. 

In the two meetings of the Council on January 29 the 
Poles had presented their full territorial claims, and the Czechs 
had presented their claims to Teschen. The result of the debate 

^^^ B. C. 18, January 30, 1919, in Miller, Diary y XIV, 120. The discussion 
of the colonial question began January 24 and ended January 30. 

NenjD Light on the Paris Peace Conference 151 

was the decision to send a mission to keep peace in Teschen 
between the two new States. The next meeting of the kind 
was staged on January 31, to give the Rumanians and Serbs 
an opportunity to argue about their claims to the Banat— 
an argument which was bitter but wholly indecisive. These 
meetings were not intended to contribute toward making peace 
with the enemy, but only to help in keeping peace among the 
Allies. In that respect they were an application of the policy 
enunciated in the "warning to belligerents" of January 24. 

The long hearing given to the Poles and Czechs had shown 
how wasteful of time it was to present to the Council matters 
which were not prepared for decision. When Clemenceau 
wanted to pass on from the Polish-Czech dispute to the Serbo- 
Rumanian quarrel Lloyd George objected. 

. . . some sort of an Agenda should be formulated. . . . He in- 
quired whether the Conference now intended to discuss European 
territorial questions. He thought the discussion of Poland and 
Czecho-Slovakia the other day had been a mistake; a report should 
have been submitted before the matter had been broached in the 

There ensued an argument as to whether or not time had been 
wasted, and Clemenceau went on to rationalize the conduct of 
the Council: 

President Wilson had proposed that they should begin to deal 
with territorial questions. They began with the Pacific, then passed 
to Africa. Now they had come to Europe, beginning with Poland, 
because there was a pressing necessity and fighting was taking 
place there. If it were not decided to hear the Rumanian case the 
following day, well, let it be so; but they must have courage to 
begin with those questions one day or other. 

Lloyd George protested that he had no objection to hearing 
the Rumanian case, provided it was a "serious discussion" of 
the territorial question. At this point Wilson reverted to the 

^°^B. C. 18, January 30, in Miller, Diary, XIV, 121 et seq. The further 
quotations are from same source. 

152 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

plan which he had first proposed on January 17, and which 
Lloyd George had then killed lest it should create commissions 
which the Council could not control. 

His suggestion was that the British students of the subject, and 
the Americans, French, Italians and Japanese if they had a body of 
students conversant with those things, should take up any one of 
those questions and find out how near they were in agreement upon 
it, and then submit to the conference for discussion their conclusions 
as to what, for example, the territory of Rumania should be. They 
then should submit their conclusions to the Rumanians for their 
opinion. By this means they would eliminate from the discussion 
everything in which they were not in agreement. 

The proposal as Wilson now formulated it was less respectful 
of the amour propre of the smaller powers than any of the 
earlier proposals. The experts were not to begin with a study 
of claims made by the interested power, but were to work out 
tentative conclusions independently. This method seemed all 
the more necessary because the delegations had not filed their 
claims with the Secretariat. But it was not a procedure which 
the small powers could be expected to accept without a 
murmur. Balfour was thinking of this aspect of the matter 
when he objected: 

He was not sure that it would not be wise to allow those people 
to have their day to explain their case. He thought they would be 
much happier, though he admitted it took up a great deal of time. 
He thought it would make a great difference to them if they came 
there and said that they would put their whole case before the 

Balfour's point of view prevailed. Efficiency was sacrificed 
to courtesy. The principle was adopted that the starting point 
of a discussion of boundaries would be an oral statement by a 
claimant. This was a departure from the earlier procedure, 
which had required the presentation of claims to the Secre- 
tariat. The old procedure was formally abandoned on Feb- 
ruary I, when "Orlando invited attention to the fact that the 

New Light on the Paris Peace Conference 153 

period granted for the submission of documents relating to 
territorial claims would expire on that date, and ... no 
documents had been received by the Secretariat General except 
a part of the Greek case and a report by the Czecho-Slovak 
delegation." ^^^ It remained then to try the new procedure, 
and to work out a way in which the plenipotentiaries would 
use their experts and the Council its committees. This problem 
came up on the same day, immediately after the Rumanians had 
stated their case. 

As the Rumanian delegates left the Council chamber, Lloyd 
George proposed the creation of a commission of experts to 
"clear the ground." If the experts disagreed 

The representatives of the Great Powers would be compelled 
to argue out the case there in that Council Chamber. But there were 
many questions regarding which the Great Powers were perfectly 
impartial. . . . He fully admitted that this procedure could not 
be introduced as a permanent arrangement, or be accepted as a 
precedent for universal application; but in the particular case of 
the Rumanian claims he hoped the experts would be allowed to 
examine the ground in the first instance, and the representatives of 
the Powers would eventually decide the question. 

This was exactly the treatment which Wilson had proposed 
giving to the questions prior to their presentation to the 
Council. The commission would not apply instructions to 
facts but merely organize material regarding which the Council 
had made no decision and hence issued no instruction. As if to 
emphasize that this was the character of the work to be allotted 
to the commissions, Wilson added that "only those aspects of 
the question which did not touch the purely political side of the 
problem should be examined by the experts." He wished to 
reserve the protection of minorities to the Council of Ten. 
Orlando opposed the use of commissions. "He failed to see how 
such procedure would expedite matters." Baker has quoted his 

^^^B. C. 20, February i, 1919, in Miller, Diary, XIV, 161 et seq. Further 
quotations from same source. 

154 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

speech in full as an illustration of the difficulties with which 
Wilson had to contend when he tried "to use the weapons of 
the new diplomacy against the old." ^^^ But as Baker's own text 
admits, it was not Wilson but Orlando who was left isolated, 
fighting a lone hand, in the matter of the appointment of the 

Despite Lloyd George's assurance that the procedure 
adopted for the study of the Rumanian claims would not be a 
precedent, it became the standard procedure. The formula of 
instruction (except in the case of the Belgian committee) was 
very broad: "to reduce the question for decision within the 
narrowest possible limits, and to make recommendations for a 
just settlement." 

Throughout the month of February the Council was setting 
up territorial commissions and farming out territorial ques- 
tions. Six commissions were set up, and eight territorial 
questions distributed among them."^ All the territorial prob- 
lems were thus distributed except those directly affecting the 
Great Powers. On February i8 when the Yugoslav claims 
had been heard Sonnino and Clemenceau agreed that neither 
Italian nor French territorial claims could be submitted to 
a committee."^ 

These territorial committees (except the committee on 
Belgium) received no special instructions. A debate on ques- 
tions of principle took place in the Council just before the 
appointment of the Rumanian Committee, but did not result 
in an instruction. The question was raised whether the secret 
treaty of 1916 was still valid even though Rumania had broken 

110 Baker, Woodrow Wilson, I, 185-186. 

^^^ February i, Rumanian Commission; February 4, Greek Commission; 
February 5, Czechoslovak Commission; February 12, Belgian Commission; 
February 18, Jugoslav frontiers assigned to Rumanian Commission; Feb- 
ruary 21, Danish frontier assigned to Belgian Commission; February 24, 
Albanian frontier assigned to Greek Commission; February 26, Commis- 
sion on Pohsh frontiers; February 27, Central Territorial Commission. 

"^B. C. 35, February 18, 1919, in Miller, Diary, XIV, 501. 

New Light on the Paris Peace Conference 155 

it in making peace with Germany. Orlando took the pro- 
Rumanian view, while Clemenceau declared that the Council 
had already ruled against the validity of the secret treaty 
when it agreed to admit that country to the Peace Confer- 
ence/^^ The Council came to no agreement, and left it to the 
committee to recur to the same debate. At the first meeting 
of the committee (on February 8) the Italian delegates tried 
to introduce the treaty "as a basis for the labors of the com- 
mittee," the British and American members objected, and the 
question was left "in suspense." ^^* 

The question of principle which arose in Belgium's case was 
taken more seriously because it involved a neutral power. 
Belgium wanted Dutch territory in Limburg and Flemish 
Zeeland, but had difficulty in bringing such a territorial claim 
under the jurisdiction of an Inter- Allied Conference. The 
Belgian program called for compensations to Holland at the 
expense of Germany. Wilson and Balfour both saw the diffi- 
culty when Hymans was presenting the Belgian claims, and 
they took care to avoid entanglement by limiting the mandate 
of the committee to the investigation of the transfer of 
Malmedy and Moresnet to Belgium and "the possible recti- 
fication of the German-Dutch frontier on the lower Ems as 
compensation to Holland for meeting Belgian claims." ^^^ 

The committee found these instructions unworkable and 
asked to have them changed. The French expert observed at 
the first meeting: "it does not seem possible to study the com- 

^^^B. C. 20, February i, in Miller, Diary, XIV, 178-179. The minutes 
of the meeting to which Clemenceau alluded are in the Hoover War 
Library, B. C. A-i, January 12: "Mr. Balfour did not mind Rumania's be- 
ing treated as an ally for purposes of representation but he did not want 
to put Rumania in the same position in which she would have been if 
she had fought successfully to the end. 'I think Rumania ought to get a 
part of Russia.' " 

^^* Minutes of the Committee on Rumanian territorial claims, photostat 
copy in New York Public Library, ist meeting, February 8. 

^^^ B. C. 28, February 11, in Miller, Diary, XIV, 322-324; text of instruc- 
tion, B. C. 29, February 12, p. 381. 

156 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

pensation to be offered to Holland without considering at least 
in a general way the concessions which would be demanded 
on the Scheldt and in Limburg";"^ but the Council on Feb- 
ruary 26 persisted in its refusal to authorize the committee 
to discuss the territorial claims of Belgium against the Nether- 
lands.^" The committee confined itself to its instructions to 
the extent of making no comments on Limburg and Zeeland, 
but nevertheless it exceeded its mandate in another direction. 
It had been instructed to report on the cession of German 
territory "on the lower Ems" but it actually reported in 
favor of the cession of territory in the Rhine Valley, much 
richer, much more populous, and over a hundred miles from 
the lower Ems.^^® 

The instruction given on February 12 to the Belgian Com- 
mission is interesting from another point of view. It was the 
first decision of the Council which had a formal bearing upon 
the question of the German frontier. In that it approved in 
principle the cession of German territory to Belgium and the 
Netherlands it went clearly beyond the contractual basis of 
peace with Germany. The Fourteen Points provided for 
Belgian restoration but not for Belgian aggrandizement. Wilson 
and Lansing did not advert to this aspect of Belgium's claim 
in the Council, and Haskins made only the mild gesture of 

Whether it is possible or just to demand of Germany concessions 
on her Dutch frontier? In this connection there is a question which 
ought to be considered before proceeding further. In approaching 
this question of compensation, the Commission should be guided 
by the general principles of the Fourteen Points of President 

^^® Minutes of the Belgian Committee, February 25, in Miller, Diary, 
X, 8. 

"7 B. C. 40, February 26, Miller, Diary, XV, 81. 

^^® Report of the Belgian Committee, Miller, Diary, X, 1 27. 

^^^ Minutes of the Belgian Committee, February 25, Miller, Diary, X, 

New Light on the Paris Peace Conference 157 

From the legal as well as the ethnic standpoint the satisfaction 
of Belgian claims on Germany's west frontier demanded de- 
partures from the Fourteen Points at least as great as would 
have been required to carry out all the demands of France in 
the Saar. The Belgian Committee, with the American expert 
concurring, reported in favor of asking Germany to surrender 
the industrial region of the lower Rhine. If the same com- 
mittee of experts had been given a free hand to decide the Saar 
question, it probably would have given the valley outright to 

This history of the Belgian Committee, like that of the 
Polish Committee, proves that the "experts" were more hostile 
to Germany or more easily persuaded by interested parties 
than the statesmen who sat in the Supreme Council. This is 
exactly the reverse of the picture presented by Baker. The 
Council disagreed with both these committees, in each case 
modifying in the interest of Germany the unanimous reports 
of their subordinates. Ten years of experience in the working 
of the Treaty has taught us that the Council was right in these 
cases and the territorial committees were wrong, and that the 
Treaty would have been better if the Council had gone further 
than it did in upsetting the decisions of the experts. 

Nowhere did the Council squander more time to less ad- 
vantage than in the hearings given to the small powers. The 
debate on colonial claims which, as Baker has rightly observed, 
might well have been postponed till the more pressing Euro- 
pean problems were solved, fills ninety-six pages of the 
minutes, while the territorial hearings to which the Council 
committed itself fill one hundred and seventy-four. The debate 
on colonies resulted in an important decision of principle, but 
the territorial hearings were staged merely to soothe the feel- 
ings of the claimant delegates, and except in the Belgian case, 

^^^'The American territorial experts had recommended this solution- 
see their report of January 21, in Miller, Diary, vol. IV, Document No. 
246, p. 212; compare with the more reserved attitude in February, ibid., 
vol. VI, Document No. 441, pp. 43-52. 

158 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

led to no decisions whatsoever. After Wilson left Paris the 
proposal which he had originally made for preliminary ex- 
amination by committees was revived by Sir Robert Borden. 
On February 18, after a session had been wasted in hearing 
the Yugoslavs, Sir Robert said: 

It had occurred to him that possibly time might be saved if the 
Council made up its mind what questions could suitably be sent 
to the committees in anticipation of hearing statements. A list of 
such questions might be established beforehand, and thereby in each 
instance a meeting of the Council might be saved. 

Mr. Lansing observed that this had been discussed before the 
departure of President Wilson. It had been thought that many 
delegations anxious to make statements would be dissatisfied if re- 
ferred direct to committees.^^^ 

The Council took no action upon the hearings given to the 
Syrians, Libanese, Armenians and Zionists, being as unwilling 
to assign to a committee the question of the carving up of the 
Ottoman Empire as to delegate its authority over the Rhine 
and Italian frontiers. This was in line with the policy used 
from the start in setting up the territorial committees, that 
they were to keep their hands off the big political questions. 
When the territorial committee system was crowned on Feb- 
ruary 27 by the appointment of a Central Territorial Commis- 
sion to correlate the work of the various committees and to 
"make recommendations as to any part of the frontiers of the 
enemy states which are not included in the scope of any com- 
missions," a special exception was made of "such frontier ques- 
tions as any of the Powers concerned may reserve for discussion 
in the first instance at the Quai d'Orsay." ^^^ 

121 B. C. 35, February 18, in Miller, Diary, XIV, 503. 

^22 B. C. 41, February 27, Miller, Diary, XV, 102. The French did not 
actually keep the Rhine and Saar questions out of the hands of com- 
mittees. On March 10 at an informal meeting of House, Clemenceau and 
Lloyd George a committee was appointed to study the Rhineland prob- 
lem—an uninstructed committee to study and report differences; on 
April I a Committee on the Saar was appointed to carry out definite 

Neuo Light on the Fans Peace Conference 159 

The question naturally arises, why was not this system of 
territorial committees, as completed on February 27, set up 
at the time the other elements of the commission system were 
established? The answer is not to be found, as Baker implies, 
in the Council's suspicion of the experts, for the February 
system of territorial committees still left the big political ques- 
tions in the hands of the Council. Neither is the delay ex- 
plained as Tardieu declares by Anglo-Saxon antipathy toward 
systematic procedures, for all the sections of the agenda except 
the territorial were systematically farmed out, and it was the 
Anglo-Saxon Wilson who twice proposed the preliminary 
farming out of the territorial questions. The reason for the 
delay was twofold, first: preoccupation with problems of fu- 
ture international organization, and second: the fear of trouble 
with the smaller powers. On January 17 there seemed to be 
danger that the delegates of the lesser states would be too 
influential, and on January 30 that they might become too 
resentful to permit the smooth working of the peace-making 
machinery. The two territorial procedures, making use of the 
Secretariat in January, and of the Council in February, were 
designed first to muzzle and then to placate the lesser Allied 
States. The real work of drawing the frontiers began in the 

The Preliminary Peace 
Although Article I of the Rules of the Conference stated that 
it was the first object of that body to make a preliminary peace, 
the principal decisions made in the first month of its sessions, 
while Wilson was present, had to do either with the Armistice 
or with the Covenant. The day-to-day administration of 
European affairs in enemy and allied countries, and the work- 
ing out of plans for a new international order, so far occupied 
the attention of the negotiators that the idea of a preliminary 
peace had to be born again, and to assume its first clear and 
practical form as an extension in their minds of the idea of the 

i6o Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

Armistice. The Armistice problem had made such encroach- 
ments upon the time of the Council that the transition seemed 
to be a natural one. The increase, at the expense of the Peace 
Treaty, of Armistice and related business can be calculated 
from the space given to each in the minutes of the Council. 
In the seventeen sessions from January 12 to 27, while the 
Conference and the great commissions were being set up, the 
Armistice took up only fifteen per cent of the time; in the 
twenty-one sessions from that day to February 14th, when 
Wilson left Paris, it took thirty-six per cent, and if the time 
consumed in the hearings given to the smaller powers be re- 
garded as a concession to the need of maintaining order from 
day to day (which it was) and not as a contribution toward 
agreement on territorial questions (which it was not), the pro- 
portion of time given to the study of the emergencies of the 
hour, as against the permanencies of the treaty, rises to seventy- 
two per cent.^^ 

This increased proportion of time devoted to Armistice 
affairs was the revenge which Europe exacted of the Confer- 
ence for the delay in making peace. The French November 
plan had segregated four stages in the settlement: the Armi- 
stice was to run till the Preliminary Peace was made: the Pre- 
liminary Peace was to lead the way to a General Peace or 

^^ The following computations are based upon number of topics dis- 
cussed and number of words in the official minutes. They can have only 
approximate accuracy: 

The Distribution of Working Time in the Council of Ten 

17 Sessions 21 Sessions 
Jan. 12-27 Jan. 28-Feb. 13 

Setting up the Conference. (Representation; 
Press; Language, procedure, etc.) 60% 

Farming out work to committees 13% 5% 

The debate on the colonies (acceptance of 
mandatory principle) 12% 23% 

Hearings to small powers on territorial ques- 
tions 36% 

Armistice administration 15% 36% 

Neio Light on the Fans Peace Conference i6i 

settlement of the war, which in turn was to make possible 
the Organization of the Peace or the League of Nations. The 
London Conference telescoped the membership, and Wilson 
telescoped the agenda, of these various peace conferences. But 
the problem which a preliminary peace was intended to solve 
remained, and pressed upon the Conference so persistently 
that the subject matter of a preliminary peace was constantly 
detaching itself from the procedure for formulating a general 
peace, and entering the agenda of the Armistice negotiations. 
The problem of German disarmament was transferred in this 
way on January 23, because the Armistice Commission was 
the only allied organ in contact with the enemy .^^* The re- 
sulting confusion between Armistice and Peace was evidenced 
on February i, when the Admirals were asked to report on 
"Naval clauses to be introduced into the Peace Treaty," 
whereas the military men had been instructed to prepare 
clauses for the Armistice."^ Still other subjects appeared on 
the borderland of Armistice and Peace. The opening of 
hostilities between Germans and Poles made the Polish frontier 
appear to be an Armistice question; the advance of winter 
and the march of hunger through Central Europe called 
for elaborate Armistice negotiations over the import of food 
and raw materials into Germany. German disarmament was 
found to call for the establishment of some control over her 
metallurgical industries. The Armistice Commission was be- 
coming the agent in such highly complex negotiations covering 
so many fields that it was logical to consider giving to it a less 
exclusively military character. Accordingly Wilson and Lloyd 
George proposed on February 7 that further negotiations 
with the Germans should be entrusted to a civilian commis- 
sion.^^^ On February 10 Klotz proposed certain financial clauses 
for the Armistice renewal which Wilson thought should be 

12* B. C. 8, January 23, Miller, Diary, XIV, 5. 
"5B. C. 20, February i, Miller, Diary, XIV, 182. 


B. C. 25, February 25, Miller, Diary, XIV, 242. 

1 62 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

left to the Economic Commission of the Peace Conference 
and the final Treaty/^ The Commission on the Responsibilities 
of the Authors of the War discussed on February 3, and voted 
on February 7, a demand that the enemy should be required 
to surrender documents and suspected individuals as a con- 
dition of Armistice renewal.^^^ Balfour mentioned this demand 
to the Council of Ten on February 7, but did not press it/^ 
On February 12 Clemenceau presented a memorandum asking 
that "in the next agreement concerning the renewal of the 
Armistice" the Germans should be required to hand over 
5,200 horses, 204,000 cattle, and comparable quantities of her 
livestock and seed. This was a matter properly falling within 
the domain of the reparations settlement. Thus there was a 
tendency in the first part of February to pour the pressing 
problems into the Armistice negotiations, because the Armistice 
Commission alone was in contact with the enemy, and the 
Peace Conference was not. If the Peace Conference was using 
its time to keep order among the Allies, must the Armistice 
Commission thus undertake to impose the elements of a peace 
settlement upon the enemy? 

In the morning session of February 1 2 Balfour analyzed with 
his usual clarity the tendency to confuse Peace terms and 
Armistice terms, and proposed 

that only inevitable small changes, or no changes whatever, should 
be made in the Armistice until the Allies were prepared to say to 
Germany: "these are the final naval and military terms of peace, 
which you must accept in order to enable Europe to demobilize 
and so to resume its life on a peace footing and reestablish its in- 

President Wilson said that Mr. Balfour's proposal seemed to 
suggest to him a satisfactory solution. . . }^^ 

^^^B. C. 27, February 10, Miller, Diary, XIV, 302. 
^^^ Minutes of the Commission in Documentation international. Paix de 
Versailles, III, 25. 

^29 B. C. 27, February 10, in Miller, Diary, XIV, 310. 
130 B. C. 29, February 12, Miller, Diary, XIV, 335-336. 

Neiv Light on the Paris Peace Conference 163 

It was just three weeks since the vote of the Council of Ten 
had shifted this subject of German disarmament from the 
agenda of the Peace Conference to the Armistice, and now it 
was shifted back again. The Council voted to force Germany to 
accept "detailed and final military, naval and air terms," and 
after the "signature of these preliminaries of peace" to permit 
food and raw material to go through to her. 

With this proposal, which Baker erroneously ascribed to 
Wilson, the Conference turned full circle and came back to the 
idea of a preliminary peace."^ It must be noted, however, that 
the February plan for a preliminary peace bore no procedural 
relation to the November plan, which had by this time been 
forgotten. The November plan had been inspired by a feeling 
that the political terms must be dictated to the enemy; the Feb- 
ruary plan owed its origin to the thought that the military 
terms be discussed with him. The November plan had pro- 
vided for the admission of the Germans to the Peace Confer- 
ence after the signing of the preliminaries; the February plan 
envisaged no such consequences, but provided rather that the 
result of the signing of a preliminary peace would be an easing 
of the blockade. 

The flow of subject matter from the Peace Treaty to the 
Armistice renewal terms had caused the latter to be re- 
christened a preliminary military treaty. The same process con- 
tinued after Wilson left. On February 22 the settlement of 
frontiers, reparations, economic clauses and war responsibility 
was given precedence along with the military terms. This was 
exactly the content of the preliminary peace as planned in No- 
vember. But then the American delegates, by using the phrase 
inter alia^ left the way open for the inclusion of the Covenant 
in the preliminary treaty,"^ and when Wilson returned to Paris 

^^^ Baker, Woodrow Wilson, I, 290. 

^^^B. C. 37, February 22, in Miller, Diary, XV, 19; House Papers, IV, 
340. Colonel House noted in his diary his intention to block any future 
attempt to exclude the League of Nations from a preliminary peace. 

164 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

he clinched the point on March 1 5 by reminding the public and 
the Conference that the decision to include the League as an 
"integral part of the general treaty of peace" had not been 
abandoned. Thus once again, in February and March as in De- 
cember and January, the preliminary peace was telescoped with 
the general peace by expanding its agenda. 

When this second cycle was completed with Wilson's an- 
nouncement of March 15, the situation differed from that of 
January in the all-important respect that the Covenant was 
already drafted, and the statesmen were finally immersed in the 
occupation of assigning territories and specific advantages to 
the Allied countries at the expense of the enemy. It now ap- 
peared that the supremacy of the Plenary Conference, the par- 
ticipation of the small powers in the settlement and the pre- 
occupation with the general international aspect of problems 
constituted an inseparable triad. When the agenda shifted from 
the "organization of the Peace" to the "settlement of the war," 
the Plenary Conference was finally and conclusively super- 
seded by the Council. 

The work of the Plenary Conference, the great task of de- 
fining the outlines of a new international order, had been car- 
ried as far as it was destined to be carried by the end of Febru- 
ary. The draft of the Covenant had been presented to the 
Plenary Conference, and the Labor Section of the treaty had 
passed its second reading. The Transit Commission was still 
working on general conventions of freedom of transit. The 
ground that had not been won for international institutions by 
the 28th of February was not destined to be won at all. Thence- 
forth there was recession, not only in general spirit but in nu- 
merous points of detail. 

At this moment the drafting of the specific peace settle- 
ment with the enemy was just getting under way. The cre- 
ative effort of the Plenary Conference was ending, and the 
arduous task of the Supreme Council was beginning. It was the 

New Light on the Paris Peace Conference 165 

natural consequence of this change that the Supreme Council 
should undergo further development to equip it for its greater 
responsibilities. Between March 7 and March 24 an informal 
meeting of Clemenceau, Lloyd George and House developed 
into the Council of Four, a new form of the Supreme Council, 
which made no pretense of recognizing the formal legal con- 
sequences of the membership of the lesser states in the Con- 
ference. When membership, organization and agenda were dif- 
ferent, is it strange that the spirit of the Conference should be 
different too? Observers detected a "slump in idealism," a "re- 
vival of imperialism," an increase in the tension of rivalries all 
along the line. 

A historical judgment on the organization of the Peace Con- 
ference depends largely upon an evaluation of this changed at- 
mosphere. Did it arise because the most contentious questions 
were then brought forward or because they had not been 
brought forward earlier? Was it a merit of the Conference to 
postpone contention and preserve a semblance of harmony until 
the principles of the new international order were established, 
or was it a fault in the Conference to permit widespread unrest 
and uncertainty to strain the patience of the people to the 
point where their clamor made wise solutions difficult? If, for 
instance, Fiume had been discussed in February, and the League 
postponed to April, would Italian opinion have been more 
conciliatory on Fiume or less cooperative in the question of 
the League? Would it have been possible for the Conference at 
any time and by means of any possible organization to have 
established stability without destroying hope and illusion? At 
this point the historical problem of Peace Conference organiza- 
tion merges with the broader problem of public opinion upon 
the terms of peace. 

Part II 


The Problem of Perishable Paper * 

The invention of writing provided mankind at one stroke 
with two new instruments: a means of communication and a 
new device for remembering. This double function of writing 
is reflected in the double purpose which libraries are expected 
to fulfill. Our civilization expects our libraries to be at once 
institutions for the diffusion of contemporary ideas, and depos- 
itories of the records of the race. 

The policies of libraries, both in acquisition and in adminis- 
tration, inevitably compromise between these two purposes. 
The current files of periodicals or even of newspapers are kept 
up and made available to those who would use them. The new 
books are acquired as they are announced in the publishers' 
trade lists. This service of libraries to contemporary culture is 
indispensable. Our whole organization of intellectual life takes 
it for granted. The librarian is justly proud of his competence 
in maintaining this service. But his real heart is elsewhere. That 
part of his work which he cherishes most deeply is his duty 
as the custodian of ancient records for the man of today, and 
the transmitting of contemporary records to the generations 
of the future. This high responsibility infuses with its dignity 
the most humble tasks of librarianship. 

Now it has come about, almost in our own time, that the 
two duties of librarians diverge from each other, so that they 

* Read at First World Congress of Libraries and Bibliography, Rome, 
June, 1929. 


170 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

can no longer be combined in a simple and automatic policy. It 
used to be possible to receive the important records of the mo- 
ment, use them so far as contemporary need required and then 
preserve these same documents as a legacy to the future. This 
was the practice of the archivist priests of Egypt and Meso- 
potamia, of the librarians of the Roman world, of China, and 
of Europe down almost to the present time. The practice did 
not arise, necessarily, in any consciousness of a duty to history. 
It was rather an automatic result of the fact that the writing 
materials, were they clay, wood, papyrus, parchment, or paper, 
were durable. They outlasted the libraries in which they were 
stored, the cities which had built the libraries, even the civiliza- 
tions which had created the cities. 

The nineteenth century made us more conscious of our duty 
to history. It instructed us in what we call the scientific atti- 
tude toward history; it taught us the value of preserving rec- 
ords for "the historian of the future." It gave us to understand 
that an accurate knowledge of all aspects of our past was es- 
sential to clear thinking upon the present. And having thus 
taught us the value and sanctity of all records, it began to print 
its records upon highly perishable paper! 

The change from hand-made paper of the early nineteenth 
century to the machine-made product of the latter half, and 
from paper of which the predominant ingredient was cotton 
or linen to one which was predominantly grass or wood, was 
a change as significant in the history of civilization as the 
change from papyrus to parchment in the ninth century, and 
from parchment to paper in the fifteenth. The importance of 
the change from the old paper to the new is first of all that 
the new paper is very cheap, and second that it is very 

The cheapness and abundance of the new paper have con- 
tributed heavily to the development of the culture of the last 
fifty years. Democracy on the one hand and specialization of 
intellectual interests on the other have taken this medium of 

The Problem of Perishable Paper 171 

communication for granted. The revolution in the publishing 
trades which gave us our enormous newspaper and periodical 
press coincided with the spread of popular education which 
created an increased mass of readers. The participation of peo- 
ples in government and the increased administrative responsi- 
bilities assumed and reported upon by governments have 
helped to give rise to a demand for paper that the old materials 
and methods could not possibly have supplied. 

Meanwhile, on the level of purely intellectual life, the sci- 
ences have been dividing and subdividing, replacing the en- 
cyclopedic natural philosophies (of which Spencer's was per- 
haps the last) with highly specialized disciplines, each of which 
makes use of its professional journals to coordinate the work 
done in its own field. There were not many specialized scien- 
tific periodicals in the days of the old paper, but in the days of 
the new paper they have come to be numbered by thousands. 
Contemporary civilization is implemented on the intellectual 
side with wood pulp paper, as surely as it is implemented on the 
mechanical side with metal. 

This wood-pulp paper serves well enough for carrying on 
the practical affairs of the day, but if we depend upon these 
publications to serve also as permanent records we will be dis- 
appointed. This most decisive epoch in the development of our 
civilization has been recorded upon paper that will not last. Our 
own generation of librarians is the first to feel the poignancy of 
this fact. Each generation of librarians since the fifteenth cen- 
tury has accumulated the records of its own time, added them 
to the heritage it received and passed them on to the new gen- 
eration. Now comes the break in this great tradition. We are 
unable to do what they have done, for the records of our time 
are written in dust. 

The change from the old paper to the new came about mid- 
century. In the fifties and sixties esparto grass was used; in the 
seventies and eighties wood pulp became common. The conse- 
quence of the change in the diminished quality of library books 

172 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

was noticed almost at once. In 1887 A. Martens of the Prussian 
Materialpruejungsamt tested the paper upon which one hun- 
dred periodicals of permanent value were published, and found 
that only six of them were printed on paper which was likely 
to last for many years. This warning had little effect upon pub- 
lication practices. About ten years later, 1 898, the conference of 
Italian librarians voted to ask the government to control the 
standard of paper for government publications and for a given 
number of books, reviews, and newspapers for government 
hbraries. In the same year the Royal Society of Arts in London 
appointed a committee to inquire into paper deterioration. And 
at the International Library Congress at Paris in 1900 it was 
recommended in an excellent paper by Pierre Dauze that gov- 
ernments and libraries should refuse to purchase books printed 
on impermanent paper. 

In 1907 the Prussian Materialpruejungsamt undertook a sec- 
ond investigation. Twenty years had passed since the first 
warning was issued by A. Martens. A survey by W. Herzberg 
for the Pruefungsamt demonstrated that the use of the very 
poorest paper in important periodicals had diminished, but 
nevertheless it remained true that the great bulk of the books 
which should be permanent were printed upon impermanent 
paper. Herzberg recommended that resort should be had to 
legislation requiring that all copies of printed matter deposited 
in, or purchased by public libraries, should be printed on dur- 
able papers. If necessary, special library copies would have to 
be printed. In 191 2 the American Library Association ap- 
pointed a committee to study the problem of newspaper de- 
terioration. The committee made efforts to induce newspaper 
publishers to print special library editions on rag paper. Then 
came the years of the war, which not only withdrew attention 
from the problems of perishable paper, but even brought about 
the introduction of papers far worse than those which had 
previously been used. It is only in the last few years that the 
scholars of the world have taken up again the serious consid- 

The Problem of Perishable Paper 173 

eration of this problem to which Martens called their attention 
more than forty years ago. The International Institute of Intel- 
lectual Cooperation has appointed a subcommittee to study the 
matter, and the opinion of this distinguished body seems to 
turn in favor of the policy of special library editions on perma- 
nent paper. 

In laying the question before this section of the Library 
Congress I am, of course, preaching to the converted. It is 
in the acquisition policy of libraries that the problem of the 
impermanent paper stock is most immediately felt. In choosing 
from among the almost unlimited output of the publishing 
trade those items which we will undertake to add to the 
permanent resources of scholarship, we must take into account 
not only the intellectual value of the printed word, but the 
physical quality of the material substance upon which it hap- 
pens to be printed. Therefore this perishable paper has a 
doubly harmful effect: it gradually destroys that which has 
been carefully accumulated, and it warps the policy of the 
library in making its accumulation. If I may cite a single in- 
stance of this, let me refer to the problem of preserving news- 
paper files. 

Certainly the newspaper of our day is a social agency of 
the first importance. It is not merely a record of our life; it is 
a part of our life. And it is a part of our life which is only too 
inadequately understood. Every question relating to the prob- 
lems of the public mind becomes for research purposes funda- 
mentally a problem of the newspaper. We are in a world in 
which men must learn to think together, and we do not yet 
understand fully the mechanics of the process whereby they 
are brought to think together. There is no one who is not 
impressed by the power of the press as exhibited in the course 
of the war. And perhaps I may add that there is no one who 
adequately understands that power. For the press itself, in its 
modem dimensions, is new— as new, in fact, as the perishable 
paper of which it makes such copious use. 

174 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

But if we should seek to apply the tools of scholarship to the 
analysis of this great social fact of our day, we would find 
ourselves thwarted at once by the fact that libraries cannot 
afford to keep newspaper files which will not last, and that 
the newspaper files which have been stored by libraries are 
crumbling away. There are newspapers of the Russian revolu- 
tion of 191 7 which are today completely gone. They have 
never been read by the scholar's eye, and they never will be 
read. It is already too late for them. Those who know how 
great was the value of the study of press and pamphlet mate- 
rial in the understanding of the French Revolution will regard 
this as a tragedy of the first importance. 

There is the problem. It will be expected that we draft 
a program to meet it. It is a world problem, to which this 
Congress can appropriately apply its accumulation of ex- 
perience and counsel. 

If I may venture to suggest some of the things that seem 
to me to be the outlines of a plan of solution, I will say that 
our task divides itself into two parts. We will wish 

First: to bring it about that, in future, publications intended 
for permanent record use shall be printed upon paper that 
will permit them to fulfill their purpose. 

Second: that the fifty years' legacy of decaying paper that 
lies on our hands shall be rescued if rescue is possible, or other- 
wise, that the records committed to that paper shall be copied. 

In practice these two problems begin with a single problem 
of chemical research. We do not know the chemistry of the 
decomposition of cellulose. We do not know how to manu- 
facture a paper that will be at once cheap and durable. 

To illustrate: When the Royal Society of Arts reported 
upon perishable paper in 1898, it recommended a specification 
which, it was then thought, would insure permanence. It 
was thought that the raw material which entered into the 
papermaking was the all-important factor in its longevity, 
and that the higher the percentage of rag and the lower the 

The Problem of Perishable Paper 175 

percentage of wood pulp, the greater was the life expectancy 
of the product. A book entitled "Cellulose" relating to this 
matter was then printed, which stated in the preface that 
it was printed on paper conforming to the specification of 
the Royal Society of Arts. Curiously, however, the paper in 
this book showed early signs of rapid deterioration, probably 
because it was not free from acid and bleach residue. 

The United States Bureau of Standards undertook in 1928 
a research to determine the permanence qualities of papers. 
The program adopted was ( i ) tests of the current commercial 
rag and wood fiber products including the fibrous raw mate- 
rials, ( 2 ) tests of similar papers made in the bureau paper mill 
and therefore having a definitely known history, ( 3 ) inspection 
and testing of papers of known age, (4) study of means of 
overcoming influences found to be harmful to the life of 
papers, (5) research to find the nature of the reaction of 
paper celluloses to deteriorating influences. This work is still 
in progress, and when completed should result in reliable 
specifications for durable paper, taking as a standard the fine 
old papers of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. 

We do not know, of course, what these specifications will be, 
nor do we know how great will be the cost of durable paper 
over perishable paper, but it is to be expected, certainly, that 
the durable papers will be more costly, and therefore it will 
not be easy to bring about a change in the practices of pub- 
lishers, so that editions will be available on the permanent stock. 

However, it is absolutely necessary that such a change in 
the practice of publishers be introduced, and the librarians are 
precisely the ones who have laid upon them, by virtue of the 
traditions of their calling, the duty of bringing about this 
change. It will not be an easy change to introduce, and it will 
involve, at least, these two lines of activity: 

First: To act upon the governments in order to bring it 
about that government publications are printed, at least in 
limited numbers, upon durable stock. This project is now 

176 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

being considered by the Committee on Printing of the Ameri- 
can Government at Washington. Recently the legislature of the 
State of Indiana adopted an amendment to its Printing Bill 
to authorize the printing of a special edition of some of its 
important state documents upon durable paper. I have no 
information upon the progress of this movement, and would be 
very glad if anyone who is more familiar with the European 
situation would report upon it. 

Second: To act upon the publishing trade in general in a 
way that will help to make it profitable for publishers to issue 
special editions upon durable stock, or to publish entire edi- 
tions of works of permanent worth upon durable stock. At 
the present time the trade in books printed upon durable paper 
has the character of a luxury trade, carried on for those who 
specialize upon the possession of fine books rather than their 
use. We must try to bring about a more rational relationship 
between the permanent value of a book and the durability of 
its paper stock. And to effect this end, we have three possible 
ways of working: ( i ) By propaganda among book purchasers 
which will create a demand for a durability guarantee as part 
of the commercial value of the book, without at the same time 
placing the books that are printed on good paper in the class 
of luxuries. (2) We can as librarians, who ourselves control 
no inconsiderable part of the funds which go to the support of 
the publishing trade, go out of our way to purchase volumes 
which are printed upon good paper, so that the publishers can 
count upon an enhanced library sale as an inducement to the 
use of good paper, whether the paper is used for an entire 
edition, or for a part of it only. Several newspapers in America, 
and at least one magazine publish special rag paper editions 
for libraries. (3) Finally there is the device, available as a last 
resort, of making use of copyright registration laws to secure 
the use of good paper. There are very grave objections to such 
an interference with rights to intellectual property; such 
legislation must not be drawn without taking all interests into 

The Problem of Perishable Paper 177 

account; but among the interests must be included the right 
of the future generations to receive from us an adequate record 
of our history as we have received the records of the past. 

Whatever success may attend our efforts to improve the 
publishing customs of the world, there remain the stacks of 
perishing books and journals in libraries everywhere, and we 
have the problem of trying to save some at least of this mate- 

This will require an enormous effort of research and or- 
ganization. It is first necessary to discover the best way of 
saving this material. Then it will be necessary to organize 
the work of salvaging. Two fundamentally different devices 
suggest themselves as means of rescuing decaying documents: 
to try to preserve the paper stock itself, or to make copies of 
that which is printed upon it. For the first we turn to chem- 
istry, for the second to photography and optics. And it is 
requisite of either method that its cost must be brought down 
to such a point that its use on a colossal scale will be possible. 

As devices for prolonging the life of existing paper stocks, 
those which at present find use are of two kinds. On the one 
hand, attempts are made to add to the paper by spraying or 
dipping in some substance such as a cellulose acetate, which 
will permeate the paper, giving it a new body. On the other 
hand the method is used of pasting sheets of Japanese tissue on 
both sides of the paper, thus giving it a new surface. The 
former is the cheaper, the latter probably the more effective, 
but the absolute preservative effect of both methods is still 

The photographic reproduction of printed matter has long 
been a library tool of great convenience, but the usual method, 
by taking a full-size photostatic copy, is too expensive for 
large-scale operations. The cost can be cut down enormously 
by reducing the reproduction to microscopic proportions and 
reading it by projection or by some other optical device. This 
method is being used at present by the Library of Congress in 

178 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

copying European archives. The image of the printed matter 
is reduced ten or twenty diameters in the photographing, 
which means that the area of photographic surface used is 
anywhere from one one-hundredth to one four-hundredth of 
the surface of the page which is being copied. 

In reading reduced-scale photographic copies, the two in- 
struments being developed are projectors and improved read- 
ing glasses. Some time ago a binocular reading glass was 
patented by Admiral Fiske, a retired officer of the American 
Navy. This glass could be used in reading copies of printed 
matter after a reduction of six diameters. 

When we know finally the best possible ways of preserving 
perishing materials, a vast task of organization will lie before 
us. It will then be necessary to prevent the wasting of effort by 
unnecessary duplication of the work of preservation. A wise 
coordination of the salvaging efforts of the libraries of the 
world, counseled by the scientists as to the technique of preser- 
vation, and by the representatives of all scholarly and intel- 
lectual interests as to the selection of what is worth preserving, 
may then recover for civilization what a generation of thought- 
less publishing practices have threatened to lose. 

Nenjo Tools for Men of Letters ^ 

There is taking place in the techniques of record and com- 
munication a series of changes more revolutionary in their 
possible impact upon culture than the invention of printing. 
With some of these techniques, notably those that depend upon 
electricity and include the telegraph, telephone, radio, tele- 
type, and television, the world is already familiar, though what 
their total result will be we do not yet know. Others coming 
up in the graphic arts, based on the typewriter and photog- 
raphy and including "near-print," micro-photography, and 
photo-offset, are less widely understood. 

These two series of innovations operate, or promise to 
operate, in contrary directions in their effects upon culture. 
The electrical devices, together with the moving picture 
and the modern developments in commercial publishing, tend 
to concentrate the control of culture and to professionalize 
cultural activities. Telegraph and teletype serve in this way 
for news, radio for music, and the "talkies" for dramatic enter- 
tainment. Meanwhile, printing has keyed literature to mass 
production, technologically by means of fast presses and 
machine papermaking, commercially by means of a union with 
advertising, both in the promotion of book sales and the sale 
of magazine space. The new graphic arts devices are, I believe, 
capable of working the other way— as implements for a more 

* Reprinted from The Yale Review, Spring 1935, by permission of the 
Editors. Copyright Yale University Press. 


i8o Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

decentralized and less professionalized culture, a culture of local 
literature and amateur scholarship. 

This possibility is especially important today, when electric 
power promises to develop the village at the expense of the 
metropolis, and when shorter working hours offer a prospect 
of leisure to a population of which an increasing proportion 
is being exposed to college education. 

The activities reorganized in the fifteenth century by the 
invention of printing, and now offered another reorganization 
by innovations in the graphic arts, affected bookmakers, au- 
thors, and readers. The technical processes of photo-offset and 
photogelatin printing disclose new prospects in bookmaking. 
Near-print frees the author from some present restraints upon 
him. And micro-copying opens a new world to readers. 

When the printers drove out the copyists in the fifteenth 
century, there was some loss as well as gain. Typography has 
never captured the sheer beauty of some of the medieval manu- 
scripts, although the early printers often produced admirable 
effects by drawing for their type forms directly upon the rich 
tradition of the calligraphers' craft. Today in certain ways 
artistic typography is again trying to draw closer to the art of 
calligraphy. In some of the finest type fonts, there are cast 
several slightly different forms of a single letter, used at ran- 
dom, so that the too faultless regularity of print may be in some 
measure offset. The modern typographic expert also tries to 
choose a type face that will seem to harmonize with the subject 
or style of a book. Yet it is evident that calligraphy can convey 
the author's individuality in a manner beyond the reach of 
typography. Now the way has been cleared for the return 
of the manuscript book. 

This has been done by the photo-offset process, which trans- 
fers a text with black and white illustrations photographically 
to a sheet of zinc or aluminum in such a fashion that the metal 
sheet becomes a printing surface, laying down an image on a 
rubber roller, which transfers it to paper. This process has 

NeuD Tools for Men of Letters i8i 

received its widest application in advertising work, because 
it is adapted to the handling of combinations of pictorial and 
textual material without added expense. It costs no more to 
photograph a drawing than to photograph the same area of 
print. The process is also used extensively in reprinting old 
books, but it can equally well multiply copies of a manuscript, 
old or new. Photo-offset renders sharp black and white; the re- 
lated photogelatin or collotype process, which renders grada- 
tions of tones from light to dark, is also used in reproducing old 
manuscripts. In Germany a newly founded "guild" has made a 
number of beautiful manuscript books and multiplied them by 
the photo-offset method. Since the necessary press and equip- 
ment are now available as a kind of office machine, and the 
handcraft of book binding is widely practiced, the whole se- 
quence of processes involved in manufacturing manuscript 
books might be organized without using the equipment or 
sharing the overhead costs of the present publishing industry. 

The reader as well as the bookmaker found his world 
changed by the invention of printing. Books became more 
accessible. The first effect, in China in the Sung era as in the 
West in the fifteenth century, was to spread more widely the 
source books by which all intellectual activities were fed— 
the Chinese classics in the one case, and the basic Christian and 
Greco-Roman works in the other. So it became possible for the 
moderately wealthy man to possess what previously only 
princes or great religious establishments could afford— a fairly 
complete collection of the materials he desired. 

This happy position was destroyed in the nineteenth century 
by the flood of books and journals that accompanied specializa- 
tion in all fields of learning. By their cost readers and scholars 
were for the most part forced to give up the attempt to make 
complete collections and turn, as in the days before printing, to 
the libraries of institutions. When this happened, the institu- 
tional library developed an administrative system of great 
efficiency, and by its detailed catalogue made its possessions 

1 82 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

available to scholars and other readers within each. Research 
libraries in the country are spending about six millions of 
dollars a year for new acquisitions. The reader who now has all 
this material at his disposal is still profiting immensely from 
the increased accessibility given to reading matter by the in- 
vention of printing. 

Meanwhile the relation of the scholar-reader to the books 
on the library shelves has been changing. The body of docu- 
mentation that was once the common ground of all learning 
and culture has lost its cohesion. And it has become a rela- 
tively unimportant element in the total bulk of publication. To- 
day the Western scholar's problem is not to get hold of the 
books that everyone else has read or is reading but rather to 
procure materials that hardly anyone else would think of look- 
ing at. This is, of course, the natural consequence of the 
highly specialized organization of our intellectual activity. As a 
result, so far as Western culture is concerned, the qualities of 
the printing process that began in the fifteenth century to make 
things accessible have now begun in our different circum- 
stances to make them inaccessible. When many if not all 
scholars wanted the same things, the printing press served 
them. In the twentieth century, when the number of those 
who want the same things has fallen in some cases below the 
practical publishing point (American Indian language special- 
ists are an illustration), the printing press leaves them in the 
lurch. Printing technique, scholarly activities, and library funds 
have increased the amount of available material at a tre- 
mendous rate, but widening interests and the three centuries' 
accumulation of out-of-print titles have increased the number 
of desired but inaccessible books at an even greater rate. 
Scholarship is now ready to utilize a method of book produc- 
tion that would return to the cost system of the old copyist, 
by which a unique copy could be made to order and a very 
few reproductions supplied without special expense. 

Precisely this prospect is now presented by micro-copying. 


New Tools for Men of Letters 183 

The process promises to reproduce reading matter not only 
at a cost level well below that prevailing in the book trade 
but also under a cost system that will operate like that of the 
medieval copyists. This system is being tried out in recording 
the hearings of the National Recovery and the Agricultural 
Adjustment Administrations. The reports of these hearings 
constitute a very comprehensive body of useful information on 
contemporary business interests and practices. The non-con- 
fidential parts of the record run to 286,000 pages. It would cost 
more than half a million dollars to publish them in a printed 
edition. Since printing was found too expensive, the A.A.A. 
and the N.R.A. turned to hectograph and mimeograph, the 
so-called "near-print" processes. Purple-ink hectographed 
copies of the hearings were offered to libraries at two cents a 
page. At this rate the cost to a library of the full file of the 
hearings would have been more than $5,000. No library pur- 
chased a set at that price, though Trade Associations and 
Code authorities with money and special interests to serve 
provided themselves with copies of parts that particularly con- 
cerned them, paying in the case of the N.R.A. records a 
higher rate— ten cents a page. Nowhere save in the government 
offices in Washington could a complete file be seen. 

Then micro-copying was tried. This is a process by which 
a page of print or typescript is photographically reduced 
twenty-three diameters in size, being copies on a strip of 
film Yz inch wide and one or two hundred feet long. The 
micro-copies are rendered legible by projection. A machine 
throws an enlarged image downward on a table, where the 
reader finds it just as legible as the original page. The cost 
of materials and operation is so low that the half million pages 
can be distributed for about $421.00 instead of $5,000 a set— 
and this rate will apply even if only ten libraries should pur- 
chase copies. The cost of making a unique micro-copy of a 
document is roughly twenty cents per hundred pages, and 
the cost of making additional copies drops to about twelve 

184 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

cents per hundred pages. These costs are well below normal 
production costs of printed volumes, in ordinary editions of 
over two thousand. Micro-copying thus offers the reader a 
book production system more elastic than anything he has had 
since the fifteenth century; it will respond to the demand for a 
unique copy, regardless of other market prospects. So the 
scholar in a small town can have resources of great metro- 
politan libraries at his disposal. 

The organization of service that will bring about this re- 
sult is already taking form. Any scholar who wants to procure 
the text of a few hundred pages of some rare book or in- 
accessible periodical from Yale University Library, New York 
Public Library, or the Library of Congress can send for it by 
mail and get a micro-copy for $1.50 per hundred pages. By 
using a more efficient copying camera invented by Dr. R. H. 
Draeger, U.S. Navy, the Department of Agriculture Library 
is able to offer micro-copies at 10 cents for any one article of 
10 pages or less, and 5 cents for each additional 10 pages. The 
Library of Congress is now about to install the Draeger 
machine. There is some prospect of even more efficient devices 
for copying. Some scholars will do their own copying with 
portable equipment. Micro-copying is a technique that will 
serve in the twentieth century to do what printing and pub- 
lishing cannot always accomplish: give the reader exactly what 
he wants, and bring it to him wherever he wants to use it. 

The effect of the printing press upon writers was not so 
quickly felt as its effects upon readers. The first printed books 
were mainly not "new books" by new authors; they were 
editions of the Bible and the classics, educational and religious 
texts. Writers were able to increase their influence greatly by 
using the press, as Luther and Erasmus discovered, but a good 
copyright law and administration were necessary before they 
could make a good living from writing. In the eighteenth cen- 
tury, however, the writers were able to shift their sources of 
income from patrons to publishers. Writing became a profes- 

Ne%v Tools for Men of Letters 185 

sion, and then writers found themselves subjected to the 
mechanics and accountancy of the printing press, which re- 
strained their freedom perhaps even more than their previous 
masters, the patrons, had done. For authors discovered that it 
was useless to take pains to write anything that would not 
interest and attract the number of readers or buyers that the 
printer required in order to absorb and distribute his costs of 
composition and make-up. This minimum, in commercial pub- 
lishing today, at average selling prices of $1.20 per hundred 
pages, is some two thousand copies. In this country when edi- 
tions of less than that are printed, there is generally some 
form of subsidy, either from the publisher, using for them 
profits from other books, or from the author, or from some 
endowment, or from the purchaser in the form of an ab- 
normally high price. The publishing industry, technologically 
and in its business organization, is keyed to the prospects of 
profits from sales in the hundreds of thousands. 

The effects of this system have long been operative in litera- 
ture. The decline of letter writing (despite improved postal 
service) was doubtless connected with the tendency to regard 
"literature" as essentially printed matter addressed to a numer- 
ous anonymous and passive public. The effort made today by 
the Committee of International Intellectual Cooperation to re- 
vive letter writing by promoting exchanges of letters among 
literary notables is stultified by the avowed purpose of pubHca- 
tion, which means, in effect, that the letter writers are not so 
much communicating with each other as collaborating in the 
production of another book. Poetry writing as a leisured accom- 
plishment was an ornament to the social intercourse of the 
classical world and Renaissance Italy; it survived into the 
baroque era, and, in alliance with calligraphy (not printing), it 
continues to be a social grace in China and Japan; but Western 
civilization now expects even poetry to fit the Procrustean bed 
of the publishing industry. 

The art of conversation, with its counterpart the dialogue 

1 86 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

as a literary form for presenting ideas, has also declined since 
the days of Galileo, while the art of advertising has advanced. 
Advertising is easily recognized as the literary form that most 
completely responds to the technique of the printing press, 
because it demands, above all else, a numerous and receptive 
"public" of readers. A great number of improvements in the 
graphic arts have been adaptations to the needs of advertisers. 
Yet, in its development of "direct mail" methods and circular 
letters, advertising seems to be more emancipated than literature 
from the printing press. One of the most curious recent de- 
velopments in the graphic arts is the effort of the advertisers 
to make printed matter look like typescript, while the authors 
of books that are not in sufficient demand to warrant publica- 
tion are seeking a typescript that will look like print. 

The effect of printing upon literary form has been indirect. 
Upon literary or scholarly activities it has been direct and de- 
cisive. An author can lay his book before reviewers and critics 
only by persuading some editor that it is marketable; a scholar 
can make only such contributions to knowledge as can be 
passed through the publishing process to enter the body of sci- 
entific truth. What, then, of the literary creations that do not 
promise to command a wide audience, or the specialized con- 
tributions to knowledge that can be utilized by only a few 
experts? Both these classes of intellectual products suffer one 
of two fates. Either they remain uncommunicated, and are as 
if they had never been, or they are carried to their "public" by 
means of a subsidy. It is true that a host of small magazines sup- 
ported by special professional groups, and a number of direct 
or indirect subsidies to scholarly books amounting to over a 
million dollars a year help to relax, but cannot eliminate, the 
tension between the demands of culture and the exigencies of 
the publishing industry. If local literature lags behind local 
activities in music and the arts, and amateur scholarship con- 
tinues to suffer from the paralysis that overtook it in the 
last century, these conditions can be traced in no small measure 

New Tools for Men of Letters 187 

to the functioning of our system of book and magazine pub- 
lishing, with its resistance to issuing anything that will not 
attract a large number of buyers. 

When printing leaves the writer of a work of limited cir- 
culation in the lurch, the typewriter comes to his rescue. The 
typewriter first made its way as a letter- writing machine, espe- 
cially for business letters. If letter writing as a literary art 
had survived into the typewriter era, it might have blossomed 
to the touch of the new technique. The business culture of 
the nineteenth century took another road. Even the business 
letter in the year 1800 was more "literary," less "business-like," 
than in the year 1900. The typewriter saw business writing 
stripped of everything but the bare bones of communication. 
More recently, in connection with direct mail advertising, it 
implemented a return to the letter form. Meanwhile, the 
scholars and novelists learned to use the typewriter, but only as 
a step in the preparation of a manuscript for publication. The 
time arrived when editors refused to read anything but "type- 
script." Unconsciously, writers came to associate the type- 
script form with the failure of a manuscript to please an 
editor, the printed form with success. 

The typewriter soon exhibited an ability to multiply copies 
by means of carbon paper, of which scholars and business men 
were quick to take advantage. This limited multiplying power 
was further extended by two devices: the mimeograph, which 
squeezes ink through a wax stencil that has been prepared on 
a typewriter, and the hectograph, which lays typescript letters 
formed of thick purple dye on a gelatin bed, from which 
copies can be made as long as the deposit of dye lasts— usually 
until about a hundred copies are taken off. The cost of the 
mimeograph process can be expected to fall sharply as soon 
as the patents on the wax stencil run out. Lately the hectograph 
process has been improved by a device which eliminates the 
need for a gelatin bed. The operating cost of the hectographing 
process is so low that it does not greatly exceed the cost of 

1 88 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

making carbon copies, except as the paper costs mount with 
increasing size of edition. 

Mimeographing and hectographing, together with photo- 
offset from typescript copy, are the processes which we have 
come to call "near-print." They have been widely applied to 
the internal documents of business, government, and education. 
Manuals and price lists in business, instruction material for 
classes in high school and college, and any number of letters 
of information, reports, and memoranda for groups of con- 
sultants in government and business are being multiplied by 
the near-print processes. At present thirty-five per cent of 
the documents issued by the federal government to the public 
are in near-print form. Some small literary magazines are using 
the process. Publishers have noticed a curious consequence of 
this use of near-print for the internal documents of business. 
If a book is written on some specialized business subject, it can 
sometimes be sold for twenty dollars a copy in mimeographed 
form, though it would be unsalable at three dollars a copy in 
print. The reason, of course, is that the near-print methods 
are now associated with internal, "confidential" uses, just as 
printing is associated with a public use. 

Owing doubtless to the system of endowment of institu- 
tions and institutional presses under which they work, scholars 
have been slow to explore the use of these near-print methods 
and products, even though they might well consider that 
much of their specialized research publishing corresponds in 
character to the "internal documents" of business rather than 
to the stock-in-trade of the commercial publishing industry. 
The system by which professional research workers draw their 
livelihood from institutions of learning has had a curious reper- 
cussion upon their system of communication, resulting in a kind 
of fetishism in the attitude of the professional scholar towards 
the printed page. Since contributions to knowledge become 
effective as contributions only when they are communicated, 
the amount of research labor is measured by employers at the 

iV^i:; Tools for Men of Letters 189 

communicating point. A research scholar must "publish" or be 
regarded by his university as a drone. Just as tradition pro- 
tected the use of parchment long after paper had become ac- 
cessible, so it has protected the status of the printed book or 
article as the only vehicle for scholarly communication even 
when processes other than printing would be more appropriate. 
But the pressure of financial necessity is gradually forcing the 
scholars to accept near-print as the only means of taking 
up the slack between the requirements of their intellectual or- 
ganization and those of the book trade. A more general use 
by them of near-print should relieve not only their financial 
situation but also that of the institutional presses, upon whose 
endowments too great a strain is now being placed. 

These three processes, photo-oflFset, micro-copying, and 
near-print, each important when considered by itself, offer an 
imposing prospect when they are considered together. The 
production of beautiful books, as physical objects, may be 
turned over more and more to calligraphers, the manuscripts 
to be multiplied by ofiF-set. The duty of making reading matter 
accessible to the scholar may be assumed increasingly by the 
micro-copying process, and near-print may become the normal 
channel by which the creative worker, whether in literature or 
in scholarship, can be guaranteed communication with a limited 
group that shares his interests, leaving publication in printed 
form as the channel of communication with a larger public. 

It is evident that these three processes taken together oflFer 
also to the small town a better chance to escape the cultural 
monopoly of the metropolis, to the amateur in scholarship a 
more favorable opportunity to cooperate with the professional 
scholar, than either could expect under the regime of the print- 
ing press and publishing industry. It is not necessary to argue 
the case for protecting a local culture against metropolitan 
encroachment, or for vitalizing the cultural environment of the 
small town. Sinclair Lewis has shown how bare is the ground, 
how difficult to build upon. And yet young people in towns of 

190 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

five thousand do learn to play the piano. There is some music, 
some art, some amateur theatrical enterprise, and a public 
library. When the C.W.A. Public Works of Art project 
was set up throughout the country, the result was a surprising 
revelation of the vigor of local art movements everywhere. 
There are great potential forces in our local culture. But a 
rounding out of the small community as an active cell in a 
living culture requires, in addition to art and music, a theatre 
and a library, something of creative literature and something 
of productive scholarship. These are precisely the activities 
which can be implemented by the recent innovations in the 
graphic arts. 

Creative literature and research scholarship can be expected 
to make somewhat different contributions to local culture. The 
reorganization of literary activities that might accompany the 
full use of near-print devices would involve, first of all, the 
extinction of the idea that a "writer" is a strange creature apart 
from the world, or that it is only with a view to becoming 
one of these creatures that an otherwise normal human being 
would write stories after leaving college. One reason why the 
public associates amateur literature with immature literature 
is that so many of the non-professional literary publications are 
high-school and college magazines, financed by means of brow- 
beating local merchants into buying advertising space. If the 
principle should come to be accepted that literature of small 
circulation ought not to be printed, but ought rather to be 
distributed in near-print form, students who have developed a 
flair for writing will be more likely to develop it further after 
graduation. They will not feel that the only alternative before 
them is to become full-time professional writers or to put away 
their writing as a man puts away childish things. 

In research scholarship, a different situation now exists. The 
distribution of labor among professional scholars has not been 
arranged in a way that will easily make room for the contribu- 
tions of amateur scholars. Our intellectual world witnessed in 

New Tools for Men of Letters 191 

the last century the passing of the amateur scholar. He had 
been on the scene since the time of the invention of printing, 
when the church was losing its monopoly of learning. He was 
usually, though not always, a man of leisure. He collected 
a library in which he worked diligently. He published a volume 
on the antiquities of Cornwall or the customs of the Parthians. 
He engaged in bitter pamphlet wars with his adversaries. At 
his worst, he was Mr. Casaubon of Middlemarch; at his best, 
he was Benjamin Franklin. His research was his hobby. 

The century of progress thrust this figure into the back- 
ground and vested in the universities the monopoly that 
had once lain in the church. Classical scholarship was carried 
forward by the professors in tremendous strides, but the lay- 
man no longer wrote about the classics and ceased even to 
quote Latin authors. Natural science moved from triumph to 
triumph, but the public became a passive spectator, taking on 
faith conclusions the exact meaning of which it could not fol- 
low, just as in literature people might read the popular poets 
but never try their hand at a sonnet. Research ceased to be an 
honored sport and became an exclusive profession. 

Why did the amateur scholar drop out? It was not because 
of the development of specialization in scholarship, for the 
more intensive division of labor should have made it easier 
rather than harder for the leisure-time amateur and the full- 
time professional worker to aid each other. The reason for his 
decHne was partly material, partly psychological. From the 
material standpoint, the professionals soon monopolized all the 
available means of communication. The mushroom growth of 
specialized learned journals in the later nineteenth century was 
barely able to keep up with the professional scholars, and in 
the twentieth century it fell behind their needs. The scholarly 
publishing industry in the United States does annually a six-mil- 
lion-dollar business. Naturally, the professionals get the first 
chance at this fund, and it does not suffice even for them. The 
non-professional scholar who cannot afford to pay for printing 

192 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

his own works can enter the charmed circle only by participat- 
ing in the use of this publication fund. To participate in its use, 
he must do about the same things the professionals are doing, 
and in about the same way. This is the material obstacle to the 
development of amateur scholarship. Near-print devices offer 
a way around it. 

The psychological obstacle to the development of amateur 
scholarship is found partly in the encroachment upon quiet 
leisure of many modem activities and partly in the attitude 
of the professionals towards their craft. They have taken little 
trouble to divide the labor in their fields in such a way as to 
assign tasks to the amateurs and train them for their work. 
They teach creative scholarship only to aspirants for the 
academic career. They do not, as a rule, train "laymen" for 
part-time, avocational, amateur research. They have come 
habitually to envisage the army of research as a body organized 
like a Central American Army, with almost all its members 
above the rank of colonel, and they make no arrangements for 
recruiting, training, and utilizing a rank and file. 

The professional scholars cannot indefinitely continue in- 
difference to the prospects of amateur scholarship, for they 
are facing a crisis themselves. The strain that is appearing in 
their system of recruiting and maintaining financially a profes- 
sional personnel will force them to consider the redistribution 
of scholarly labor and the reorganization of scholarly com- 

For two generations in America, the recruits brought into 
the academic profession have been trained in the graduate 
school to work in the environment of a great university centre. 
In the smaller colleges such recruits work at a disadvantage, 
and outside the college and university environment they are 
generally too heavily handicapped to work at all. Little serious 
effort has been made to inspire productive scholarship on the 
part of the high-school teachers. 

The new hordes of college students throughout the country 

New Tools for Men of Letters 193 

in the decade following the World War created a demand 
for more college instructors. In response to this demand, the 
graduate schools expanded like a machine-tool industry, turn- 
ing out every year more Ph.D.'s. When the curve of college 
attendance began to level off in the depression, it was dis- 
covered that the production of apprentice scholars, keyed 
to an expanding market, went far beyond replacement needs. 
A turnover of about twenty per cent a year in the university 
teaching faculties would be necessary to give the new Ph.D.'s 
the kind of places they were prepared to fill. These young 
people trained for research could remain in the academic 
world only by going into the smaller colleges and academies, 
whose meager libraries give them little chance of continuing 
to do the kind of work they had been fitted to do. It seems in- 
evitable that they will be lost to research scholarship unless 
the labor of this kind is redivided so that some of it can be 
performed away from the university setting, by people who 
are not university teachers. 

If that could be done, this supply of trained scholars need 
not be wasted; they could be fed into the secondary-school 
system, and then enabled and encouraged to continue, in the 
secondary-school environment, their scholarly interests. Of 
course, the heavier teaching schedules of these schools leave 
less time for reading and study than the university teacher has 
at his disposal. And yet the long vacations are common to 
both careers. Moreover, the internal conditions of secondary 
education are such that the development of research in local 
history, social and economic life, and even local botany and 
geology, is among the great needs of the present. If such local 
research could be reported into the present stream of culture 
and scientific information, the results would enrich scholarship. 
And the teaching career in the secondary schools would 
thereby be made more attractive than it now is to persons of 
vigorous mind and more productive for the community. 

To speak of an unemployment crisis among scholars is not 

194 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

to speak merely of a probability that certain individuals, trained 
to do research, may be without jobs. The Ph.D.'s must take 
their chances with the rest so far as keeping away from the 
bread line is concerned. But the problem of the unemployed 
scholar, from the standpoint of the national culture, has an- 
other grave side. There is also the sad prospect that individuals 
trained to do research, and willing and able to do it, may be 
placed in situations in which their capacities are wasted. This 
kind of crisis now exists. Along with it there exists an un- 
explored opportunity in popular education; and at the same 
time the innovations in the graphic arts already mentioned are 
offering a way out. For micro-copying can bring the resources 
of the Library of Congress to the small-town high-school 
teacher, just as the radio brings the symphony orchestra. Near- 
print offers the scholar-teacher a means of communication not 
only with his pupils and their parents but also with his col- 
leagues through the country; and the kind of interest and 
ability that it might help to develop in him would serve to 
stimulate the whole community. 

What are the fields of scholarship that lie most open to 
the schoolteacher trained for research in his own community, 
or to the amateur? Where is this intellectual vineyard in 
which the harvest is so great, and the laborers so few? To 
give it a comprehensive name, including many different things, 
it could be called the field of local studies. The development 
and significance of local historical societies have been well 
described in an article on this subject by Dr. Julian P. Boyd. 
The object of such studies is to turn the methods of specialized 
research upon the immediate environment— its linguistic char- 
acteristics, for example, with the word usages, slang and 
colloquial; the annals or the soil or the flora and fauna of a 
neighborhood. All such local studies, whether in natural sci- 
ence or history or social organization or cultural background, 
require long, close, and patient observation. Many of them, 
like the observation of variable stars, of meteors, and of insect 

Nev) Tools for Men of Letters 195 

life cycles, are scientific tasks that call for an unlimited number 
of helpers cooperating by exchange and contribution of de- 
tailed facts. 

Throughout all local studies there runs a double thread. 
First, there should result from this activity a vitalizing of 
education and an increase of critical self-consciousness in the 
community, which should bring about a wholesome attach- 
ment to it, a sense of participation in it, offsetting the over- 
shadowing attraction of the big city. Second, there should 
result from these studies a record of some kind, duly entered 
in the records of learning, duly made available to all who 
may wish to use it, and safely preserved for the future. 

That opportunities for studies of this kind have been neg- 
lected in America even in the larger units is evidenced by the 
condition of our local archives, described in a recent article 
by Dr. A. R. Newsome. In many states, they have been 
barbarously neglected. Only one state, Connecticut, has reached 
in its administration of local archives a standard of which the 
country can be proud. In most states, the country records have 
never been inventoried, and the preservation of the archives of 
towns or semi-public bodies has been left to the play of acci- 
dent. Towards this end, valuable work was done last winter 
by persons on the unemployment relief rolls. This winter the 
historical division of the National Park Service has been mak- 
ing an effort to bring about inventories of public records 
throughout the country as a relief project under the F.E.R.A. 
Pennsylvania has been exceptionally successful in organizing 
work of this kind, and the survey of historical materials in Vir- 
ginia has been ably conducted. Similar undertakings designed 
to develop the care of local records and to stimulate public 
interest in them are being launched elsewhere. 

The development of valuable local studies will call for new 
methods of work and their application to old fields. Such a 
field, for example, is family history. Here an enormous amount 
of time has been spent by genealogists, and a good deal of it 

196 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

wasted through too narrow a conception of its possibilities 
and through lack of trained skill in organizing the materials 
unearthed. Left to itself, the pursuit of family history will 
follow the bare tracks of genealogy; guided by an enlightened 
scholarship, it may lead to discoveries of value to government 
and social science. 

It is not easy to foresee how far projects of local studies must 
depend for successful execution upon scholars with that degree 
of ability and training which has previously led to university 
positions, and how far they can be worked out in leisure time 
by intelligent and college-bred men and women, who, because 
they make no money from their intellectual pursuits, may be 
deemed amateurs. There is always much shaking of heads in 
the universities over any suggestion of "serious" work from 
the amateur. Yet even if he cannot be counted on to produce 
a great deal of good work, the amateur can be taught at the 
very least to refrain from doing harm to local studies. He can 
learn not to disperse a collection of Mazzini letters into a 
dozen autograph collections, not to burn up old family papers 
without considering their possible value as historical docu- 
ments, and not to hold himself indifferent to the preservation 
of other records— those of his business or of a public body- 
over which he may exercise control. He can certainly learn 
that when he finds an Indian relic, it is a good idea to take 
note of the place in which he found it, and keep that notation 
with it. Beyond this, he can doubtless learn how to arrange 
and calendar his own family papers, or old business records 
and report his holdings to an appropriate group or society. 
The care of the records of contemporary civilization is a 
task so vast that neither the personnel nor the funds of our 
institutions of research can shoulder the burden. Many records 
will be preserved by amateurs or they will not be preserved 
at all. 

From the moment when the social sciences undertake to 
help pilot a democracy, it becomes increasingly important that 

NeiD Tools for Men of Letters 197 

the people shall have towards science and scholarship and the 
intellectual ideal not a doctrinaire respect but a participant's 
interest. From Germany today comes the lesson of what things 
may be possible when cultural centralization is too great and 
its apparatus is ruthlessly used. When the program for America 
is laid down and the high strategy of American policies de- 
fined, let there be included among our objectives not only a 
bathroom in every home and a car in every garage but a 
scholar in every schoolhouse and a man of letters in every 
town. Towards this end technology offers new devices and 
points the way. 


History for a Democracy * 

I shall open my remarks by paraphrasing a well-known say- 
ing: "I care not who makes the laws for a country if I can 
write its history." For history nourishes the spirit of any in- 
stitution. Without a conception of relationship with its past, 
any group will lack a living sense of its unity and value. A feel- 
ing that our present activity has some meaning in the scheme 
of time gives a sense of continuity to our participation or 
membership in any society. To lead a people into the future, 
teach them about their past, and they will know— or think they 
know— whither you are leading them and whither they are 

This can be illustrated in the life of Christendom during 
those ages in which its thought was dominated by the church. 
The Christian religion was emphatically a religion which 
placed man in a historic setting that reached back to Adam and 
forward to the millennium. It gave to every moment of the 
Christian life a meaning within the terms of this stupendous 
sequence. The history that the church taught was a history of 
mankind, and the future that it set before man was a future 
for the whole race. 

The next great institution to be nourished by history was 
the nation. Every nationality in Europe was brought to a 
consciousness of its own inner unity by learning of its past. 
When Palacky undertook to revive the national spirit of the 

• Reprinted by permission from Minnesota History, March 1937. 


History for a Democracy 199 

Bohemians, he began by writing the history of Bohemia. The 
national histories differed from that which the church had 
taught in that each of them applied to a particular people and 
gave to that people a sense of its own separateness from all 
other peoples. The history that accompanied the culture of 
Christendom was a history of mankind; the history that ac- 
companied the rise of nations was, in fact, a number of separate 
histories, one for each nation. 

More recently there has arisen another international history 
to nourish the spirit of another culture. This is Communist 
history, which recasts the story of mankind in terms of the 
conflict of classes. A friend of mine in Russia heard this anec- 
dote of a university entrance examination. A girl taking the 
examination was asked in what respect the reign of terror in 
the French Revolution differed from the reign of terror in the 
Russian Revolution. She replied that she could see no difference. 
She was then told she could not enter the university. She man- 
aged to get another chance at the examination, and again she 
was asked what the difference was between the French and 
Russian reigns of terror. This time she replied that the French 
reign of terror was enacted on behalf of the bourgeoisie; the 
Russian, on behalf of the proletariat. She passed the examina- 
tion. The Communist political system includes as an essential 
part an orthodox interpretation of history. 

Now the world is confronted with a further development 
of the national type of history in the form of the new fascist 
and nazi mythologies. The officially approved versions of 
history within these national cults reach back to the most re- 
mote periods of time and down to the most recent past with 
a rigidly orthodox interpretation of every part of the sequence. 
In the fascist conception of history there is complete con- 
tinuity between the Roman Empire and modem Italy; the 
Mediterranean is still mare nostrum. There is a special fascist 
interpretation of the World War— it was won for all the Allies 
by Italy in Venetia. So also the authentic nazi history includes 

200 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

an interpretation of the role of the Germanic element in 
European culture, of the causes of the World War and of 
Germany's defeat, and of the burning of the Reichstag build- 
ing. The historian is not permitted to doubt, to question, or to 
criticize any of these official interpretations. The fascist cul- 
tures, however rugged they may be in some aspects, are 
delicate in respect to their historical digestions. Only the most 
carefully prepared history, put together according to prescrip- 
tion, will nourish them. 

Having noted that there are different histories for different 
political and social situations, we may now ask, "What is the 
history for us.^" What should be the history for a federal 
democracy such as ours; what is the history that nourishes 
the spirit of our own institutions? Can we also set up our his- 
tory on the basis of myths appropriate to ourselves? I think 
there has been a tendency to make heroes out of democrats 
and democrats out of heroes, and to select for special emphasis 
and praise in history those states that were democracies— to 
seek to find in history democracy as a common denominator 
of value. 

More specifically, it was Plutarch with his stories of Greek 
democracies who furnished historical material for the great 
democrats of the French Revolution. Throughout the nine- 
teenth century a Whig interpretation of English history in- 
spired the popular movement in Europe, and such historians as 
Freeman and Stubbs tried to carry the conception of freedom, 
equality, and popular rule into the remote background of early 
German tribal life. 

Now it is the weakness of this kind of history— whether 
it be written for the church, the nation, the communist so- 
ciety, the fascist state, or even the federal democracy itself— 
that it stands at the mercy of objective criticism. The faithful 
following of the technique of historical investigation may at 
any time overturn elements of the story that stand as essentials 
in the use that is being made of it. Objective investigation may 

History for a Democracy 201 

prove that the world was not created in 4004 B.C.; that the most 
important developments on the European scene were not the 
special experience of any one nation, but were shared in com- 
mon by many peoples; and that the continuity alleged to be 
found in the life of a nation from the remote past to the present 
day is illusory or incidental. The communist interpretation of 
social evolution and political events may not be sustainable 
in the light of an objective criticism of the evidence, and the 
fascist or nazi interpretations may also go to pieces under 
criticism. Nor is the historical interpretation which has nour- 
ished the spirit of democracy immune. The bold conceptions 
of Freeman and Stubbs on early German democracy have al- 
ready been relegated to the junk heap of discarded historical 

If we undertake deliberately to nourish our own institu- 
tions on a history of this kind, made to order for this purpose, 
we may find ourselves confronted with the tragic dilemma that 
the mission of our history cannot be served without abandon- 
ing the scientific historical method itself. And this would be 
particularly fatal to democracy, because democracy more than 
any other kind of government needs to sustain free investiga- 
tion and criticism of everything. A myth that will not stand 
criticism must ultimately be protected by force. And an in- 
terpretation of history that one is not permitted to doubt and 
criticize becomes ipso facto an interpretation that one cannot 
sustain and prove. A history that will nourish the spirit of 
democracy must be one that leaves its investigators free to fol- 
low wherever the evidence leads them, whatever may be their 
conclusions regarding men, events, and institutions. Even if it 
should be discovered that the heroes of democracy were vil- 
lains, and that the institutions of democracy did not function 
as the well-wishers of democracy would have preferred— even 
then, the historian must be free to reach and publish his con- 
clusions. I think that if we are willing to analyze somewhat 
comprehensively the essential values of our democracy, we can 

202 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

mark out a field of history that will sustain those values, even 
while it conserves the essentials of historical method. 

I shall take three elements of our own national culture and 
treat them as essentials which it should be the purpose of his- 
tory to nourish and sustain. First, I shall place the element of 
respect for the value of the individual personality and the pro- 
tection for him of a maximum zone of freedom. This con- 
ception is opposed to dictatorships of all kinds. Carried to an 
extreme this may become a kind of anarchy; kept within limits, 
it preserves in a society a richness and a variety that no other 
system can develop. This valuing of individual freedom must 
be tempered and balanced by recognition of social needs. 

The second element of our system is its federative structure. 
Not the individual person alone but groups of all kinds, or- 
ganized in all ways, are recognized by our society and given 
their zone of creative activity. This conception is directly 
opposed to the ideal of the totalitarian state. Here also it is 
necessary to think in terms of a balance to be maintained be- 
tween the larger societies and the smaller; between the nation, 
the state, and the locality. But I think it is inevitable that the 
protection of the individual in his own freedom is inseparable 
from this federative organization of society, for in a great cen- 
tralized state, democracy may become indistinguishable from 

This brings me to the third of our fundamental conceptions 
—the ideal of government by the people. I think that this im- 
plies not only a federative organization which leaves local 
affairs to localities, even as it places national affairs in the hands 
of the whole nation; it means also that the people in ruling 
themselves must act with a keen respect for facts, for knowl- 
edge, for enlightenment. They must be willing to get together 
on the common platform of discovered truth, wherever that 
platform may be. 

Let us then raise the question of what kind of history will 
preserve these three values of democracy as I have defined 


History for a Democracy 203 

them, and my answer falls into three parts. The kind of 
history that will preserve our respect for individual freedom is 
a history of ourselves, a history of individuals— it is family his- 
tory. The kind of history that will preserve the federative 
structure of our society is the history of our homes, of our 
communities— it is local history. The kind of history that will 
preserve the basis of government by ourselves is history written 
by ourselves. It is history in the study and writing of which 
we all participate. Those who write the laws should also write 
the history. Participation in government on the basis of respect 
for truth and understanding of the methods by which it is 
investigated implies participation in scholarship. Family history 
to nourish individualism; local history to nourish federalism; 
and participation of all the people in the investigation of 
their past to nourish the sense of their participation in determin- 
ing their future— this is the triple program I wish to present. 

First let me speak of the history of the self. Each of us 
comes into existence as a unique organism; none of us is exactly 
like any other. And unless we appreciate the value of that 
uniqueness which is in each of us, we have not caught the mean- 
ing of individual freedom. It is precisely because none of us are 
exactly alike that each of us must be permitted to develop him- 
self in his own way. Just as the history of a nation stimulates 
the sense of nationality, so the history of a person should 
stimulate the sense of personality. 

At the most specific level this kind of history is the diary. 
With what pleasure and profit any of us will read a diary of 
one of our grandparents! Are we leaving similar documents for 
our grandchildren? It is an interesting fact that the Puritans, 
with their keen sense of personal responsibility toward God, 
were great keepers of diaries. 

As a projection or expansion of this history of the self, 
the next step is the history of the family. A program of history 
writing which would fulfill completely the task that is here 

204 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

implied is something that staggers the imagination. It is no less 
than the demand that every family in the country possess its 
own history. This kind of history is not to be conceived as 
mere genealogy. We have seen much of that kind of research 
which labors only to discover among our ancestors persons of 
distinction, or which tries only to trace back lists of names. 
I am not thinking of mere lists of names and dates, but of a 
history that will give each individual a knowledge of the 
whole complex of biological, cultural, and economic events 
that have made him what he is, and set him in his relation to 
the universe. For there is, in truth, a history of the world that 
stems out from each of us, and for no two of us is this history 
of the world precisely the same. 

Through what family ties is each of us brought into rela- 
tion with the great past of our whole race? In the family 
history of my seven-year-old son there is, to begin with, the 
last phase of the westward movement: pioneering in Idaho, 
Washington, and Oregon; migration into California. Back of 
that is a Pennsylvania ironmaster of the pre-Camegie days; 
slaveowners in Virginia and Georgia; and a Pennsylvania Dutch 
peasantry with its hard religion and tight-fisted prosperity. 
The Civil War, in my son's family history, stands as a family 
affair in that a southern girl had married a Yankee. The world 
of European imperialism enters his picture through relatives 
who were missionaries. Religious conflict in the Rhineland and 
in Ulster is a part of the more remote background. My son has 
practically no distinguished ancestors, so far as I know, but 
his family in the last two centuries has touched scores of major 
moving forces in the modern world, and they have in a sense 
become a part of him. This is true of everyone living today. 

If nations can build up a national consciousness by selecting 
from the stream of history those events in which the continuity 
of a national life is manifested and the place of a nation in its 
relation to the world is illustrated, does not the same rule apply 
to the individual? ^ 

History for a Democracy 205 

It may be objected that such personal and family histories, 
making of each of us a separate focal point of world history, 
would constitute in each case an arbitrary melange. But this is 
no more true of individual than of national histories. They too 
are highly arbitrary. In times past, histories of nations were 
written as the histories of wars and kings; the histories of kings 
were indeed family histories, and wars were state enterprises, 
easily identified with the states that made them. But social, 
economic, and intellectual histories must be forced and mangled 
in order to compress them into national compartments. Paris 
has more in common with Berlin than with any village in 
Provence or Normandy. Technology, transportation, and sci- 
ence, and even the major movements of social policy, develop 
in areas that overlap frontiers of national states. National his- 
tory as it is written today is just as arbitrary in its selection 
of facts as the personal and family history I have outlined. 
Moreover, a family history possesses a continuity so basic, so 
biological, that it might properly be taken for granted as the 
surest and most secure pattern in which to state the relations of 
the past to the present. Historians may dispute endlessly about 
the periodization of history; they may ask, "When did the 
Middle Ages end?" "When did the nineteenth century begin?" 
But the units of family history present no such difficulty. 
They begin each with a birth and end with a death, and taken 
together they strike a rhythm of periodization that is the same 
throughout history— the rhythm of the generations of man. 

I believe, moreover, that the development of family history 
has certain practical aspects which cannot be ignored. It is in 
a sense the spiritual correlate of the institute of the family and 
the material system of private property. Private property at the 
material level gives to the individual a sense of significance and 
a range of action; and, through the institution of inheritance 
within a family, a contact with the past and with the future. 
In our day this material institution has perhaps lacked in spir- 
itual nourishment. In an age of science we have no household 

2o6 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

gods, and a Christian culture cannot sustain an ancestral cult. 
Perhaps family history will nourish for us the values and the 
traditions that the household gods or the ancestral cult nour- 
ished in other cultures. 

Now I come to the second branch of history which I con- 
ceive to be a cultural necessity in a federal democracy, and 
this is the history of the community. Just as the history 
of the self has as its primitive document the diary, so the 
history of the home has as its principal document the abstract 
of title of the house we happen to live in. And just as the history 
of the self expands to become the history of the family, so the 
history of the home expands to become the history of the 

What is the locality? It can mean various areas enclosed 
within widening circles outward from our homes. Perhaps it is 
the area within the normal range of the family car; perhaps 
it is the area from which children go to the same schools, or 
from which housewives trade at the same stores; perhaps it is 
the area in which people read the same newspapers, or the 
area affected by the opening and closing of the same industrial 
plants; perhaps it is the area governed by the same local gov- 
ernment. A locality is in fact each or any one of these areas, 
each in its relation to the others and to areas yet more ex- 

Each of these areas has qualities of individuality. Like a per- 
son, it is in some respects unique. And yet it also resembles other 
localities and is in some respects typical. The city of St. Paul 
is the elder sister of Vladivostok and the younger sister of 
Melbourne, Australia. Like its sister cities throughout the 
world, it has felt the impact of the great social and economic 
forces of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. But it has felt 
them also in a way peculiar to itself. A fifth of the people who 
make up the population of St. Paul have come from abroad. 
From the same villages out of which they migrated, other in- 

History for a Democracy 207 

dividuals migrated to Stockholm, to Oslo, and to Salt Lake City. 
If you would know the life of this community in its relation to 
the widening circle with which it is in contact, you would find 
that it touches ultimately the most remote margins of the 
world. But from no other point will the world have exactly 
the same aspect as it has from the city of St. Paul. Just as there 
is a world history that stems out from the family background 
of every individual, so there is a world history that stems out 
from the special situation of every community. 

We are well aware that just as genealogy has in some cases 
offered a superficial travesty of family history, so a type of 
promotional literature in our communities has in a superficial 
way called attention to the special excellencies and peculiarities 
of our various localities, and an antiquarian interest has resulted 
in the accumulation of diverse and unrelated items of informa- 
tion. This is not the kind of local history of which I speak. 

Before our task as historians in a democracy is completed, 
we should have not only histories of every community, but 
histories of everything from the standpoint of every com- 
munity. I think it would almost be safe to say that in no two 
schools, were they only one mile apart, should the social 
studies be taught from the same book. This, of course, is a 
counsel of perfection, but it serves to emphasize an unquestion- 
able fact which should enter into our thinking constantly, and 
that is that the important things that the study of history should 
present to the mind can in a great number of cases be illustrated 
either directly or by contrast from material close at hand. 
I doubt whether anyone is fully competent to teach social 
studies even in an elementary school until he has learned the 
possibilities of finding illustrative material within the area 
known to the students that he teaches. In the century of the 
life of this community is there any significant world movement 
that does not in some way find illustration? Here was a point 
on the great frontier of European culture that extended in an 
enormous sweep from the Ural Mountains and the Caucasus, 

2o8 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

along the South African rivers, along the coasts of Australia, 
and into the inland areas of Latin America. Here, as on the 
plains of Central Asia, plowmen fought with nomads for 
the plains. Here was felt the change from fur trading to 
grain farming, the coming of the factory age. Here came 
the shift from river to railroad transportation, and thence 
to automobiles and trucks. Here came the cultural development 
of popular education, the contact of religion and science. Go 
down the table of contents of any good book on western civi- 
lization and, item by item, it will be discovered that if the thing 
was important in one way or another, it happened in St. Paul. 

Now it is not easy to discover exactly how it happened in 
St. Paul. If I were asked, for instance, to make a study of 
the influence of French culture, or Chinese art, or Darwinism 
upon the world generally, I would find the task very much 
simpler than if I were asked to identify these influences in this 
city. And the history I would write would be easier to write 
precisely l^ecause it would be farther from the ground and 
more remote from reaUty. 

Consider for a moment some of the great synthetic con- 
ceptions with which historians have sought to unify their 
vision of many events over a long period of time. Consider 
such an idea as economic determinism, or the frontier thesis in 
American history, or even the elaborate creations of Oswald 
Spengler in his interpretation of western civilization. These 
things also, to the extent that they are true, should be capable 
of demonstration from materials in this historical society about 
events that have taken place within one mile of this platform. 

I have suggested that family history is related as a spiritual 
adjunct to a material aspect of our culture. Let me say the same 
thing of local history. In everything that relates to the plan- 
ning of a community and to regional development, to the 
work of such bodies as state planning commissions, this local- 
ized information is of the highest practical importance. And 
a true conception not only of the character of a locality, but 

History for a Democracy 209 

also of its relation to the state and the nation, is the essential 
spiritual food of an enlightened federalism. It is only in the 
presence of a historical vision in which the local community 
and all the more comprehensive communities are seen, each 
with its appropriate values, that we can order the relations of 
these bodies to each other in a stable and wholesome way. 

Let me go beyond this: from the problem of federalism in 
America to the problem of world relations and world peace. 
For twenty years there have been ringing in the ears of his- 
torians the words of that great president of the American 
Historical Association, Henry Morse Stephens, uttered during 
the World War: "Woe unto you teachers of history and 
writers of history if you cannot see written in blood the re- 
sult of your writing and teaching." The Carnegie Endowment 
for International Peace has studied and compared the school 
books in which the children of the various nations of the 
world are respectively introduced to the history of the great 
world society in which we live. They have found, as Stephens 
found, that these histories as they are taught build a wall 
stronger than steel at the national frontier. The development 
of the nation state in modern times and the destruction of the 
international community were accompanied by a concentration 
of all the attention of each people upon the unity and dis- 
tinctness of their own state to the exclusion of any other. 

The kind of history of which I speak does not concentrate 
all attention on the national border. Rather it exhibits to the 
mind of a student a series of borders with the lines drawn 
within the national frontier as well as beyond it. If I am able 
to see that my own community can have its own values, its 
own traditions, preserved intact from the past and projected 
into the future, and at the same time participate securely in 
the life of a larger community, such as the state or nation, then 
I shall also be able to envisage the life of my nation as a thing 
having secure values, both past and future, but yet cradled 
within the larger compass of the world. World history alone 

2IO Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

will not make of us world citizens. We must see the whole 
relationship— local, state, regional, national, and international- 
all the way from the top to the bottom. Each community has 
its own membership certificate in the Great Society. And un- 
til history can teach us this, the symbols of world peace will 
be empty symbols. 

Let me call attention to the special quality of the argument 
I am advancing for family and local history. It has long been 
recognized that a better national history can be written when 
biography and local history have been more fully explored. 
That is important, but I would hold that even if a chapter of 
local history should prove to be a stone unused by the builder 
of national history, it is worth the effort for the sake of its 
intrinsic value in the community to which it relates. Family 
and local history need not sustain any particular family or 
local myth. They can be investigated ruthlessly and relent- 
lessly without any effort to reach a preconceived conclusion, 
and still, by their very nature, they will enrich and nourish a 
democratic culture. Their values are primary values. They can 
stand on their own feet. 

I hope that I have established the importance both spiritual 
and material of the development of family and local history as 
essential historical contributions to a federative democracy. 
Now I turn to the third item of the program— to the participa- 
tion of people generally in the labor of conducting historical 
investigation and writing history. This participation is indeed 
an essential element of the program I have just outlined. For 
clearly there are not enough professional historical scholars 
in the country to begin to touch the immeasurable task of 
putting together the histories that lie back of each of us and 
of every locality, to write histories of millions of families, 
and thousands of communities. We do not have at the moment 
the personnel; we do not have the apparatus. But I think we 
can see whence both the personnel and the apparatus will 

History for a Democracy 211 

come. It took us several generations to build up the corpus of 
published material, to make the critical studies, to collect the 
bibliographies, to organize the knowledge from which our 
present historical writing is documented. Our Ph.D.'s move 
sure-footed through this material. If I want to work on the 
Clayton-Bulwer treaty, I know where to look for the mate- 
rial, and I can begin where the last scholar left off. But if I 
want to write the history of my family, or of the school district 
in which my son is going to school, I find nothing prepared 
for me. It will take us several generations to adapt and com- 
plete the documentary equipment for the writing of family 
and local history. It took us several generations also to train 
the army of scholars in the tradition of the craft. It may well 
take us several generations to train every man to be his own 

Our library shelves are already loaded with the printed 
product of historical research according to existing standards. 
The new history may perhaps develop an entirely new library 
technique. We have crowded the publishing industry to the 
limit of its financial endurance in multiplying and distributing 
works of historical scholars in their present vein. We may have 
to depart entirely from the printing technique in reproducing 
the written word and distributing it to readers. Profound edu- 
cational and technological changes lie ahead of us in the de- 
velopment of this program. Let me describe these prospects. 

Let me speak first of the body of research material and 
then of the research personnel. What is the documentation 
that must be accumulated and rendered accessible if the kind 
of history I have been discussing is to be written? There 
are three classes of documents in which the bulk of the record 
is to be found. These are the pubhc archives, the newspapers, 
and the manuscript materials, such as family papers and business 
records that survive. Yet it is in them that all of us and all our 
ancestors have left the legible traces of our lives. A person who 
would undertake to utilize these materials under present condi- 

212 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley ^ 

tions would be in the position of someone undertaking to write 
national history in the absence of bibliographies, guides, learned 
journals, and sets of published documents. The Historical 
Records Survey, organized as a unit of the WPA, has been 
working for a year, with workers in every state in the Union, 
to make an inventory of this material. 

To put this material in order is a task so vast that it staggers 
the imagination. The inventory of county archives alone will 
be a monster set of volumes of three hundred thousand pages. 
The inventory of town, city, and village records will be 
equally extensive. The inventory of church records may be 
even larger. The workers who are making this inventory are 
giving us for the first time an accurate statement of what 
records are available throughout the country, where they are 
to be found, and what general type of information is contained 
within each of them. It is in these records— the records of wills 
probated, of court proceedings, of land transactions, of busi- 
ness licenses— that the common man leaves his traces. In such 
noble volumes as the Documentary History of the Constitu- 
tion, only the few and the great have left mementoes of their 
lives; but in these millions and millions of obscure documents, 
standing on the shelves of thousands of public buildings 
throughout the country, all our names are written down. The 
inventory is only the beginning. When the inventory is com-' 
pleted, there must follow progressive analyses of these records, 
so that it will become progressively a more simple task to glean 
from them the specific information that may be desired. 

For the last few years the American Library Association 
has undertaken for the first time to bring together a list of 
the newspaper files that are accessible in public libraries and 
university libraries throughout the country. Its work is now 
being supplemented by that of the Historical Records Survey, 
which is uncovering additional files in more obscure deposi- 
tories. Relief workers in a number of cities are compiling lists 
of available newspaper files. Chicago's is completed. Within a 


History for a Democracy 213 

short time we shall be able to know what newspaper files have 
been preserved, where they are to be found, what areas and 
what periods they cover. And again that is only a beginning, 
for a human life is not long enough to plow through newspaper 
files to glean information on topics so specific as those in- 
volved in the writing of all family history and much local his- 
tory. When we know where the newspaper files are, we will 
require indexes, calendars, and digests to make reference to 
them, or to the information contained in them, as simple and 
convenient as reference to a topic in the Encyclopcedia Britan- 
nica. In dozens of centers throughout the country, in half a 
dozen in Minnesota alone, and again in connection with the 
work relief program, different kinds of controls to this news- 
paper information are being elaborated. Here it is an index to 
proper names, there it is a subject index, or again it is a digest 
of local news. When we have found the right ways of prepar- 
ing subject guides to newspaper information and to the in- 
formation contained in local archives, there will be laid out for 
us a task that will require an army of workers over a genera- 
tion of time before it is completed. But when it is completed 
we will have at our finger tips access to the documentation 
upon which an infinite number of local and family histories 
may be written. 

As this material comes under control, we shall also look 
forward to increasing the control we shall have over manu- 
script records of various kinds— family papers and business 
records. The technique of rendering such material easily acces- 
sible and easily used is intricate. The Minnesota Historical 
Society is a leading pioneer in standardizing and developing 
this technique. We should not rest until we have contrived so 
adequate a means of making inventories, calendars, indexes, 
and lists of manuscript holdings that we can expect the pos- 
sessors of manuscripts to render their own reports upon their 
own holdings in such a way as to make them the common prop- 
erty of the world of scholarship. When these things are ac- 

2 14 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

complished— and it will take a generation to do them— then 
we shall have in hand for the writing of family and local history 
equipment comparable to that which scholars possess today for 
the writing of national history. 

The task seems vast— but this is a vast country. And the 
accident of the WPA white-collar relief program has already 
gone far enough to show that it can be done. The material 
foundations for a historical renaissance are being laid. 

When the materials of our vast historical workshop are 
assembled in the way I have outlined— archives, newspapers, 
and manuscripts— we must take thought of the installation of 
the working equipment, the conveyor belt, that will carry the 
product while it is being worked upon. The system that has 
been operated hitherto in scholarship for this purpose has 
been the system of publication. 

In the writing of history from the sixteenth century to the 
present, as in all scholarly activity, scholars have keyed their 
activity, to a degree that they hardly realize, to the rhythm 
and technique of the printing press. Printing and publication 
stand in our culture as the means by which hitherto scholars 
communicated their findings to one another and to the public. 
These are the devices by which scholars have supplied them- 
selves in great measure with the documentary material from 
which they have drawn their conclusions. So deeply has this 
technique worked its way into our intellectual life that we 
hardly think of scholarship apart from publication. It often 
has seemed to us that the product of the creative mind, what- 
ever its pure intellectual value may be, must remain socially 
valueless and ineffective until it is published, either as a book 
or as an article in a journal. 

This system has had great efficiency in permitting scholars 
to distribute the labor of scholarship, so that a task, when 
once well done, need not be done over again. It has been 
indispensable in so far as scholars have had thoughts which 

History for a Democracy 215 

it was appropriate they should communicate to a wide pub- 
lic. But there are some situations to which it is not adapted, 
and those are especially the situations in which it is desirable 
to distribute the product of intellectual labor to a few people 
only, rather than to a great number. For the printing press 
loses its economies and ceases to be an appropriate technique 
for the multiplying and distributing of writings unless one or 
two thousand copies at the least are to be manufactured and 

In a program in which we would look forward to the 
compiling and writing of a history of every family and of 
every locality with an interpretation in each case that is special 
for the particular family or locality treated, we cannot en- 
visage a large-scale multiplying of any of these works in the 
way in which we have been accustomed to envisage the pub- 
lication of historical writings. A few copies only of a family 
history, perhaps one copy for each near relative and a few left 
over to be preserved in certain depositories, are all that would 
be required. The smaller the locality to be favored with a 
special historical interpretation of its own life, the smaller the 
number of copies that ought to be produced. 

Technology now offers the prospect that substitutes for 
printing may be at hand which will permit the production of 
books in editions small enough for the very specialized de- 
mand with which we are here concerned. There are many 
of these new techniques— mimeograph, hectograph, photo- 
offset, processes known by a number of trade names such 
as multilith— which are appropriate to the production of books 
in editions very much smaller than can be economically manu- 
factured by the printing process. But I shall speak of one of 
these techniques only, and that is one that has long been 
familiar to us in another setting— the simple technique of blue- 
printing, which is used in reproducing the working drawings 
of architects and mechanical engineers. 

Ordinarily if you go into the market to purchase a scholarly 

2i6 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

book, you will pay for it at the rate of one and two-tenths cents 
a page, or three dollars for a hundred thousand words. Ordi- 
narily this hundred thousand words will be spread on two 
hundred and fifty or more pages, six by nine inches in dimen- 
sion, each of which therefore covers a surface of fifty-four 
square inches. The entire book is laid out on approximately a 
hundred square feet of paper surface. Now you can go into 
any blueprinting office with a hundred square feet of the right 
kind of typescript, properly mounted in large sheets, and 
have a blueprint copy made for three dollars. More than this, 
by using the right kind of typewriter in the right way, you can 
put a typescript text on paper with such economy of paper 
surface that it will not take any more than a hundred square 
feet for a hundred thousand words. This means that a blue- 
print reproduction of a typescript text could actually be made 
to order for anyone who wanted it, and distributed to him at 
approximately the cost that he is accustomed to paying for a 
book. It might be that this text would come to him in a sheet 
like a newspaper page, but it would be legible and it would 
introduce an entirely new situation into our system of dis- 
tributing the product of intellectual work. 

Let us suppose that each of you is an author and that 
each of you, using your leisure time over a period of years, 
has compiled the history of your own family. You might 
then wish to consider whether your work should be published. 
If you took it to Macmillan, that publisher would tell you, 
quite properly, that there was no prospect that a large enough 
number of people would wish to buy it to make it commercially 
feasible to set up your manuscript on the linotype machines 
and print off the normal publishing edition of two thousand 
copies. The same might very well be true if you should write 
the history of your street or of your town, and then you 
would be in possession of your manuscript and you would 
realize that just because there was no prospect of two thousand 
potential purchasers, there was no way of laying it before the 

History for a Democracy 217 

more limited number of people who would really be inter- 
ested in having it. Some people, under these conditions, have 
been able to finance private printing, but that cannot be a 
general solution. The blueprint method of reproduction would 
make it possible for you to prepare in the ordinary way, but 
with certain precautions as to format, a typescript copy; and 
then, whether the number of persons who wanted copies should 
prove to be great or small, the copies could be made to order 
for them at a cost per thousand words no greater than they 
are accustomed to paying. 

This blueprint method of distributing writing would re- 
semble, from the standpoint of financing, the old manuscript 
method. The medieval monasteries copied books for them- 
selves and for one another. If someone wanted a copy of a 
particular volume, he arranged to have it made. There was no 
real difference between published and unpublished material, 
between books in print and books out of print. If Macmillan 
were able to offer the same kind of service that the medieval 
monasteries offered, the editors would never question whether 
there was a probable demand for ten or a hundred or two 
thousands copies of the manuscript the author carried to the 
editorial office. It is only because the printing technique de- 
mands a very expensive first cost which must be absorbed 
by running a large number of copies that our publishers are 
unable to handle works of small probable circulation. Tech- 
niques that will permit us to manufacture a book to order, 
as was done in the old manuscript days, at a cost to the 
purchaser no greater than that which he is accustomed to pay- 
ing for printed books, will completely change the whole situa- 
tion in regard to the distribution of writings of all kinds, and 
particularly writings in the field of family and local history. 
Again it would be possible to say, as it was in the Middle Ages, 
that a book once written and deposited in the right place is in 
effect published, in that anybody who wants a copy of it can 
get it. 

2i8 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

Now there are other new techniques which introduce other 
elements into the picture. There is, for example, micro-copy- 
ing, a process by which documents are photographed in minia- 
ture on tiny strips of film, and then read by projecting them 
somewhat as one projects a lantern slide, except that the image 
is made to fall before the reader as if it were the page of a 
book. The special quality of this technique is that it permits 
large bodies of material to be copied very cheaply, and mailed 
at low transportation costs. For example, if a worker in St. Paul 
should discover by consulting the inventory of public archives 
that there are several thousand pages in Washington or in 
Boston of archival material that he needed to study, this tech- 
nique would permit him to procure micro-copies of these pages 
for his own use for a few dollars. The apparatus that makes 
these results possible is only now being perfected; its utiliza- 
tion is only beginning; but the potential effect of it can clearly 
be foreseen. For it makes the entire documentary resources of 
the country available in a way that would not otherwise be 
possible, without travel and without great expense, to workers 
anywhere in the country who may wish to use any part of 

Aside from these uses of the blueprinting and photography 
methods, there are many processes, intermediate between these 
and publication by printing, adaptable to any situation that 
may arise in the gathering of material for research or in the 
distribution of its product. Just as the complete control of our 
archives,— local and national,— our newspapers, and our manu- 
scripts promises to supply us with the materials for the new 
history writing, so these technical processes promise to make 
these materials accessible to us and to enable us to distribute 
the results of our work as widely as their character makes 

We have set up the high objective of historical enterprise 
in a democracy, outlined the labor that is necessary in pre- 

History for a Democracy 219 

paring the raw materials, and sketched the description of the 
technical equipment that will be the substitute for publication 
as we have hitherto known it. Now what of the workers who 
are to delve into this material? When we have produced the 
material conditions which will make it possible for every man 
to be his own historian, how are we to create the intellectual 
conditions? This problem carries us into a review of certain of 
the objectives of our educational system and of certain poten- 
tial lines for its development. 

Our people are justly proud of the tremendous investment 
that they have made and are making in education. The invest- 
ment is not alone in our vast plant, in the great staff of teachers 
and administrators, but also in the years of time which our 
youth spends in going to school— years which the youth in 
other countries may be spending on the farm, in the workshop, 
in the army, or in the bread line. Somewhere in that great 
system there are to be found the human resources, the per- 
sonnel, that could carry out a program of the democratization 
of historical scholarship, and indeed of all scholarship. 

In dealing with the personnel problem in scholarship, our 
learned world has looked for its recruits to the graduate 
schools. We have felt the need of more and better Ph.D.'s, 
who will find their careers in our universities or in research 
institutions. Our personnel program has been one of giving 
supertraining to potential superscholars. This personnel is only 
a fraction of what is potentially available to do work of 
scholarship. The potential resources which we have hitherto 
neglected, but which we might just as well develop, will be 
found in two large groups, which I shall define as professional 
and amateur. 

This distinction between professional and amateur has only 
a financial significance. By a professional scholar I mean some- 
one who is paid for doing a job that includes some scholarly 
activity; by amateur, I mean someone who engages in scholarly 
activity for the fun of it or for the glory of it. I do not mean 

220 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

to imply that there is necessarily any higher quality in the 
one than in the other, nor that the best minds of the country 
are necessarily those which inevitably will be drawn to the 
professional rather than to the amateur interest. 

It seems evident that there are two great bases upon which 
research scholarship can be extended. If the teaching staff of 
the high schools could become in the next generation, as the 
teaching staff of the colleges has become in our own time, a 
group that would regard productive scholarship as a part of 
its profession, the ranks of professional scholarship would be 
opened and the number of professional scholars multiplied 
manyfold. If enough of the technique of productive scholarly 
research could be taught as a part of the ordinary liberal arts 
curriculum leading to the B.A. degree, the time would come 
when the upper group of our college graduates would have 
among it great numbers of individuals who, in their leisure 
time, would proceed with competence and enthusiasm in the 
hobby of research. This would enlarge the army of amateurs. 

Certainly we cannot make great and distinguished con- 
tributors to science out of everyone. We must perhaps consider 
some new subdivision of the labor of scholarship, devise some 
simplified research techniques, and lay out the fields along 
the frontier of knowledge in a new way, before we can utilize 
fully the labors of such an army of investigators as that which 
I foresee. But the frontier is unlimited; there is room for every- 
one to stake his claim, and time for him to cultivate his garden. 
I believe this program would fit naturally as the next step in 
the development of teacher training, and in the development of 
the liberal arts curriculum of the ordinary American college, 
and even in the advancing program of our graduate schools. 

In the training of high-school teachers, our educators have 
been aware of a growing tension in the last decades between 
emphasis on methods of teaching on the one hand and on con- 
tent of subject matter on the other. This tension has in some 
cases reached almost the dimensions of a schism in our culture. 

History for a Democracy 221 

The leaders who have emphasized method in the past genera- 
tion had a great task to accomplish and in the main they have 
accomplished it. They led the country from the setting of the 
little red school house and the teaching technique of the birch 
rod to the setting of the union high school and the teaching 
technique of the project method and the Binet-Simon test. 

But that job is done, and leaders in the field have come 
to realize that the next step will involve increasing in some 
way the teacher's knowledge of the full significance of what 
she is teaching along with her knowledge of how to teach 
it. This should draw the teachers' colleges nearer to the liberal 
arts colleges. 

The synthesis of liberal arts training with teacher training, 
in a combination that will deepen the values of both, stands 
today as a major unsolved educational program. One way of 
solving it would be to develop the ability of high-school 
teachers to make scholarly investigations of their own localities 
from the historical, economic, social, or cultural standpoints. 
Such studies would at once provide them with significant 
teaching materials and yield their data as new findings in the 
inductive structure of the social sciences and history. The very 
same development that would enrich and dignify the intel- 
lectual standing of the high-school teaching profession would 
at the same time serve the bachelor of arts by offering him a 
creative channel into which to direct his intellectual enthu- 
siasm. The beginnings of this are already at hand, and not in the 
field of history alone. In my own university, for instance, the 
department of political science has consistently stood for the 
training of its undergraduate students in the understanding of 
poHtics by beginning with the city of Cleveland and ending 
with Plato and Aristotle. Bachelors of arts with that training 
can become contributors to scholarship in local government; 
they need not aspire to be commentators on the Greek classics. 
Yet I have the feeling that the students who have received that 
training come to realize that Aristotle knew a great deal about 

2 22 Selected Papers of Robert C. Bmkley 

Cleveland, Ohio. We do not narrow our intellectual program 
when we keep one end of it rooted in the ground at home. 

I do not underestimate the difficulty of the task of intel- 
lectual engineering that lies before us; but neither, I believe, 
do I underestimate the magnitude of possible results. By some 
critics it has been regarded as a tragedy that the mass develop- 
ment of higher education, while making us a nation of college 
graduates, did not succeed in making us a nation of scholars. 
We can go very much farther toward becoming a nation of 
scholars if we will mark out for ourselves this whole array of 
new and interesting research problems in family and local his- 
tory; define the technique by which the work can be done with 
the new material that is being made available; organize the 
system by which the results may be distributed by means of 
these substitutes for printing; and train for the future a genera- 
tion of professional and amateur scholars who will take pride 
in their membership in the great republic of scholarship, even 
as they derive value from the work they are doing. There are 
in the country today just enough effective scholars in our high 
schools, just enough amateurs who are using for scholarship 
their leisure time from business or family occupations, to prove 
that the thing can be done. 

Let me now emphasize again the importance in a democracy 
of a widespread understanding of the scientific method and the 
value of research. There is no other common ground upon 
which all citizens of a democracy can meet than that afforded 
by a common respect for truth and confidence in the pro- 
cedures of investigation by which the truth is discovered. 
Science, even social science, has built up a great prestige 
value in the public mind. But beware! If the public is merely 
looking on from the outside at the quaint and interesting 
labors of our research men, then, even though it may defer to 
the conclusions reached by research, its deference will be 
unsubstantial. It will set up the professor against the business 
man, believing in the business man one day and in the professor 

History for a Democracy 223 

the next. Such things as academic freedom will be for the public 
catch words, the real meaning and significance of which it does 
not understand. To protect democracy, we must protect the 
spirit of free inquiry for truth; and to protect the spirit of 
free inquiry for truth, we must broaden the number of people 
who participate in the inquest. 

The situation suggests a parallel from the early days of the 
automobile. When automobiles were owned by the few, the 
public attitude toward them was a mixture. In some ways there 
was great respect for the automobilist, but on the other hand 
there was any amount of hampering legislation, and the 
goggled automobilist drove in the dust on a road with a speed 
limit of eight miles an hour. But when the bulk of the people 
became automobilists, then public roads were built, the speed 
laws changed, and in general the automobile came to fit itself 
into our culture as a thing commonly understood by all. So 
also with the method of the scholar. If it be confined in its 
practice to the few, it may indeed be respected; but the respect 
given it will not be rooted to withstand the shock of interest, 
prejudice, and passion. For Plato the great republic was one 
in which philosophers were kings; if our people are to be our 
kings, let them also be philosophers. 

Let me recapitulate: The formula of history for a democracy 
is exactly what is implied if we accept the dictum that the 
writing of history and the making of laws are things that go 
together. It must be a history of the people as a democracy 
wants them to be— each with his own individuality held sacred, 
each with his freedom self-restrained by his own understanding 
of the values of all the concentric communities in which he 
is a citizen. Let us therefore have history of the people, by 
the people, and for the people. This is a long-range program in 
cultural strategy. 


The Reproductiofi of Materials for Research * 

I should like to begin my observations with a perfectly self- 
evident truth: that the library as we know it is a custodian and 
administrator of printed books. The implications of this fact 
should be analyzed, for we may face the time where some of 
the essential elements of this situation may be changed. 

By way of contrast let us compare libraries with archives. 
If we look upon every volume of archives in the country as a 
separate title, every series as a separate series, we are forced 
to the conclusion that there are more titles in our public 
archives, local, state, and national, than there are titles in our 
libraries. But each archive volume is unique. It is not duplicated 
in any other archive. If library holdings should be so distributed 
that each title were held in one library and nowhere else, the 
libraries would in that respect resemble archives. In respect 
of certain rare books, of many local newspaper files, and of all 
manuscript collections our libraries approach this situation. But 
ordinarily we expect the holdings of one library to duplicate 
those of another. This is largely owing to the primacy of print- 
ing as a technique. 

Before the days of printing libraries collected books. They 
sought to duplicate on their own shelves the holdings of other 
libraries. In general, they built up their collections by making 
manuscript copies of the books they desired. In other words, 

* Reprinted from Library Trends, 1937, by permission of The Uni- 
versity of Chicago Press. 


The Reproduction of Materials for Research 11$ 

the two functions that we now distinguish as "publishing" and 
"collecting" were merged. This practice was changed, of 
course, by the introduction of printing. 

If we should now develop the use of a technique of text 
reproduction that avoids the cost accountancy of printing, and 
goes back to the cost accountancy of manuscript writing, we 
might expect libraries to develop more of the characteristics of 
archives, and we might also expect the functions of collecting 
and publishing to merge. Such a technique now stands defi- 
nitely on our horizon. For micro-copying costs behave more 
like manuscript costs than like printing costs. 

Another of the results of our concentration on the book as 
a vehicle for the recording of thought has been the standardiza- 
tion of a certain normal ratio between the bulk of a catalogue 
and the bulk of the material catalogued. Ordinarily, three or 
four 3X5 cards will control three or four hundred pages of 
reading matter. Of course there are manuscript collections 
which are so catalogued that the ratio is almost a card to a 
page. And then there are serial files in which many thousands 
of pages are controlled by a single card. But as a general 
average, we can say that three or four cards will take care of 
a book. 

Let us now consider how this ratio might be changed by 
certain uses of micro-copying. It might be moved in either di- 
rection. Librarians have iDeen studying a plan to micro-copy 
all the books listed in Pollard's Short-title catalogue of books 
printed before 1 640, and arrange the film in the order in which 
the titles appear in the bibliography. If this plan is put into 
operation, it would be superfluous to clog the card catalogue 
with a card for every title. It would be far more convenient for 
everyone concerned simply to use Pollard as the control for 
the film— perhaps to regard the film copies of the books them- 
selves as a kind of addendum to the bibliography. Thus it is 
conceivable that a few cards in the card catalogue would con- 
trol what is, in effect, an active library. 

226 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

But the ratio might also be changed in the other direction. 
The BibliofihTi Service of the Library of the Department of 
Agriculture is now making micro-copies of any article in a 
scientific periodical at a charge of one cent a page. At present 
the person who orders an article copied receives the negative, 
and the whole transaction is wiped out. But suppose the Biblio- 
film Service should undertake to preserve the negatives of the 
articles it has copied and to send positive copies only to the 
purchasers? Or suppose libraries should order film copies of 
separate articles and undertake to preserve and administer 
them? The result would be that the article in a periodical would 
tend to take the place of the periodical itself as a cataloguing 
unit. For instance, a library might seek to build up a compre- 
hensive collection on child health. It would subscribe, of course, 
to the journals that bear directly on this subject. But it would 
also try to acquire in micro-copy form all articles that appear 
in any journal, in any language, upon this subject. The logic 
of the case would call for the separate cataloguing of each 
of these articles. The case just described is one in which, be- 
cause of large-scale micro-copying, a bibliography may take 
the place of a card catalogue. Let us now look at the contrary 
possibility, that the card catalogue may take the place of a 
bibliography. We know that this is already true in some meas- 
ure, because the subject-heading system is contrived to bring 
about precisely this result. If the section of a card catalogue 
relating to a given subject is not adequate as a bibliography, it 
can be for one of two reasons. First, the entries in the card 
catalogues are limited to the actual holdings of a library, and 
no special collection is ever complete. Second, the section of 
the card catalogue is a unique holding. It is not easily duplicated. 
Now micro-copying changes both of these conditions. It 
permits a library to make its holdings on a subject logically 
complete, regardless of the accident of the market, for what- 
ever cannot be bought in original form can be procured on 
film. And second, the section of the card catalogue relating 

The Reproductio?! of Materials for Research 227 

to the subject can itself be duplicated on film, with copies made 
to order at about $0.50 per thousand titles. 

Can we not imagine how profoundly this fact may alter 
the routine of the accessions department and the practice of 
the cataloguing department? For the accessions department 
will always have two strings to its bow. It can either purchase 
or micro-copy. And the catalogue department may develop its 
subject headings to give special unity and coherence to the 
special collections which the library is striving to make com- 

And here we can see appearing in library science with far 
greater precision than it has ever possessed before the "special 
collection," built to logical completeness, analyzed in the card 
catalogue, and standing on its own feet as a new library unit. 
Indeed, we can imagine situations in which there would be 
a demand for micro-copies, not of the catalogues alone, but 
of the special collection in its entirety. At this point it becomes 
evident that the library is indeed approaching the situation of 
the archives and that the functions of collecting and publish- 
ing are in fact fading into one another. For libraries can select, 
each for itself, a field of special collecting, great or small. One 
field in particular is indicated for every library— the field of the 
life and history of its own community. Though many of the 
items of such a collection will be books that are widely held 
throughout the country, the collection itself will be unique, 
like an archive, and subject to complete reproduction upon 
demand, like a copy of the Confessions of St. Augustine in the 
twelfth century. 

My discussion has pointed so far to a new unit, which is 
other than the book, namely, the special collection. It may be 
made up of units smaller than the book— manuscripts, ephemera, 
and articles from periodicals. It has pointed also to certain 
borderline functions for libraries, one of which lies intermediate 
between collecting and publishing; the other, intermediate be- 
tween cataloguing and bibhography. And so far we have con- 

2 28 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

sidered only the impact of one technique upon library science— 
the technique of micro-copying. 

There is another series of techniques for the reproduction 
of texts which is equally weighted with a great potential in- 
fluence on library practice. This is the group of techniques 
which the libraries are beginning to call "near-print"— hecto- 
graph, mimeograph, multigraph, and photo-offset from type- 
script. The essential quality of these processes is that they will 
produce small editions at low costs per copy and per word. 

To give accurate expression to this feature of the near-print 
processes, let us define a new concept, in terms of which the 
edition size at which a process will function can be measured. 
We will call this the "efficiency point of the process." In 
multiplying text by near-print, as in printing, there is a "first 
cost" and a "running cost." The first cost sets up the printing 
surface, and is always a function of the area of pages or the 
number of words or both. The running cost is the cost of mak- 
ing copies, and increases with the size of the edition. The first 
cost is the same regardless of the size of edition. 

In any process there will always be a point in edition size at 
which running cost equals first cost. Until the edition reaches 
this point, the first cost is the major fraction of the cost of 
each copy. After the edition passes this point, first cost is a 
minor fraction. 

The efficiency point for the hectograph is eighty copies. In 
an edition of less than eighty we are paying mostly for typing 
and hectograph carbon; in an edition of more than eighty we 
are paying principally for liquid (in the liquid process), paper, 
and machine labor. The efficiency point of the mimeograph 
in a 300- word-page format is 440 copies. In an edition smaller 
than 440 we are paying principally for stencils and typing. In 
a larger edition we are paying principally for ink and paper 
and labor of running the machine. The essential difference 
between near-print and printing, from the cost standpoint, is 
not a cheaper cost per word at the efficiency point, but a lower 

The Reproduction of Materials for Research 229 

efficiency point. Printing does not reach its efficiency point 
until the edition cHmbs to 2,000 copies, but when it does reach 
that point it is cheaper per word than mimeographing at 440 

The low efficiency points of the near-print processes mark 
them as the substitutes for printing in a tremendous number 
of situations— in all situations, in fact, where the number of 
copies desired is less than five hundred, and in many where the 
number is less than two thousand. Business and government 
have seized upon these techniques for most of their documents 
of internal circulation. Libraries have been forced to take ac- 
count of an increasing quantity of near-print material emanat- 
ing from these agencies. A substantial proportion of the items 
that enter our vertical-file systems are of this type. But we 
have hardly begun to use near-print in the internal documenta- 
tion of scholarship, or to apply it in the field of letters or refer- 
ence work. 

The failure to use near-print in scholarship and letters is 
remarkable because there are three distinct situations in which 
the logical edition size falls far below the efficiency point of 
printing. These three situations are those of the great research 
libraries, of the local library systems, and of specialized research 

The number of great research libraries in the country is 
somewhere between fifty and a hundred; it depends on where 
one draws the line. There are many types of material for re- 
search which belong in a great research library and nowhere 
else. To place them elsewhere would be to sterilize them be- 
cause the supporting material necessary to implement their 
use would be lacking. 

Experience in publication under subsidy by the learned so- 
cieties indicates that there are many fields of scholarship in 
which specialization has advanced so far that two hundred 
copies of a monograph or document will reach everyone who 
can use it, either through a library or otherwise. 

230 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

And in the great unworked field of local studies, it is clear 
that the libraries and individuals of a locality could be served 
by a documentation, whether of the research, reference, or 
literary type, that could not have a national interest and 
should not demand a national circulation. A book written for 
the use of the citizens or the libraries of a city, a region, or a 
state, might have as its logical edition size anything from fifty 
to five hundred copies. The more localized the interest, the 
smaller will be the appropriate edition. The smaller the edition 
that we learn to distribute, the more highly can we expect to 
develop localized reading matter. 

Let me offer three illustrations of the appropriate use of 
near-print techniques in the distribution of texts. The first 
is the story of a doctoral dissertation, a three-hundred-word 
book of the usual type, submitted by Stanton Ling Davis to 
the Graduate School of Western Reserve University. Under 
the regular rules of the Graduate School, Dr. Davis was re- 
quired to deposit a typescript and carbon copy of his disserta- 
tion. The rules were waived in his case to permit him to use 
the hectograph. By substituting hectograph carbon for ordinary 
carbons in his typing he prepared a printing surface for the 
liquid-process hectograph machine. He then ran off fifty copies 
of his dissertation. The cost to him, over and above the cost 
of the ordinary typing he would have had to do anyway, was 
less than fifty dollars. He sent twenty copies to the principal 
libraries of the country, gave some away, sent some out for 
review, and, when the reviews were published, sold enough 
to pay his expenses. When the first fifty copies were gone, 
he took the same hectograph master-sheets and ran off an addi- 
tional thirty copies. The hectograph volumes are not per- 
manent. They will last about as long as newsprint paper. But 
by the time they fade out the results of his research will have 
been absorbed into the literature of the subject. When this 
process is used it is wise to make a permanent black carbon 
copy at the same typing with the hectograph carbon. Thus 

The Reproduction of Materials for Research 231 

there will be one permanent copy, and enough hectograph 
copies to serve scholarship efficiently. 

Another case is that of a man who wrote a history of Ameri- 
can entomology. A commercial publisher would not take it. 
He mimeographed it and sold enough copies to pay his costs. 

The third case involves other features than those of the 
near-print reproduction process, though near-print reproduc- 
tion is an essential part of the scheme. There is a W.P.A. 
project now under way in Cleveland, employing 425 people to 
digest and index 1 20 years of Cleveland newspaper files. We ex- 
pect to publish this by multigraph. It will be a set of 200 vol- 
umes. There is a curious fact about the multigraph technique 
which adapts it to W.P.A. work. The labor cost is high in 
proportion to the materials and equipment cost. We expect to 
manufacture 250 sets, or 50,000 books in all. The cost of 
writing and editing are less than a half cent a word, and of 
multiplying only a little more than a dollar a page. 

These examples of the use of micro-copying and near-print 
suggest the possibility that the library may be the institution 
destined to take over the function of reproducing materials in 
that zone, from one to a few hundred copies, which commercial 
publishing and printing can never occupy. Almost any day we 
may find a new near-print process available which will permit 
us to multiply materials even more cheaply than is now possible 
in the zone from ten to one hundred copies. The development 
may come through the appearance of a cheaper sensitized paper 
or a simplifying of the photo-offset or multilith process. Sup- 
pose, for instance, we were able to take a photostat copy of a 
book or document, treat the photostat pages, clamp them on a 
drum, and run off as many copies as we desire for the price of 
paper and ink! When that time comes, librarians will find 
themselves making and exchanging reprints at cost levels not 
dreamed of heretofore, stocking their libraries with copies of 
their rarest possessions, and making the "rare book" or the 
"book-out-of-print" an almost extinct species when the de- 

232 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

mand runs up to twenty-five copies. We can expect to see 
the libraries expanding their functions by manufacturing books 
as well as servicing them. 

I have suggested that micro-copying and near-print proc- 
esses, when their implications are fully worked out, will expand 
the function and services of libraries. Now let me allude to a 
field of expansion which is in some measure independent of 
the impact of these processes, and yet fully within the scope 
of the library of the future. I have suggested that the primacy 
of book publishing need no longer set the pace for all library 
activities, that the library may come to merge the functions 
of collecting and multiplying, and that the units of collecting, 
cataloguing, and servicing may be different in the future from 
what they have been in the past. Now let me place the library 
of the future more completely in its setting by stating in the 
most general terms the problem of documentation in modem 

Our civilization is built of steel and paper: steel in technology 
where man controls things, paper in activities where man acts 
upon man. The paper is all potential record. Every day it flows 
in by the trainload, is covered with symbols of thought, and 
moves on to the pulp mill or the incinerator. From this tre- 
mendous stream a small trickle is diverted for preservation. 
Book and periodical publication has been one of the channels 
of diversion. But there are others. And to prove it, look at 
the vast tonnage of archives of business and of government- 
local, state, and national. 

Four thousand men and women are at work today making 
an inventory of our local archives. Already they have filled 
four million inventory sheets, and the work is only half-done. 
Within the next year, if W.P.A. continues, every library will 
possess a near-print inventory of the public archives of its 
locality. From the public archives they are pushing on to an 
inventory of church records and, in some cases, manuscript 
collections. They are finding in our local archives, in many 

The Reproduction of Materials for Research 233 

cases, a kind of disorder that is almost unbelievable, and in- 
stance after instance of tragic destruction. The willful destruc- 
tion of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century customs records 
of an American port is a case in point. Such things have hap- 
pened and will continue to happen until intelligence is applied 
to the selection of that part of our record which is to be pre- 
served. The public archives can be brought under control. We 
will in time cease to leave it to the janitor or to some official 
with no more knowledge than the janitor to decide on preserva- 
tion and destruction of records. But what of the archives of 

Business is no less important than government, and its records 
no less significant. Business is just beginning to be archive- 
conscious. It may ultimately protect its records as the old 
European aristocracy has protected its documents in its muni- 
ments rooms. But for the present the leadership in the preserva- 
tion of business records must come from the libraries. They 
alone are in a position now to think in terms of the higher 
strategy of culture. If the libraries can become, in a sense, the 
normal custodians of the old business records of their com- 
munities, they will take on some of the aspects and some of 
the functions of an archive. And this will be wholly consistent 
with the other developments in library functions. The collec- 
tion of business records will be a normal type of special collec- 
tion, a unit that is not the traditional printed book. It will re- 
quire a new technique of accessioning and cataloguing for its 
control and possibly, in some cases, will warrant reproduction 
of some of its items. 

So we are back again at the concept of the library as a place 
for collecting, preserving, controlling, and, in some cases, 
multiplying holdings not duplicated elsewhere. This concep- 
tion stands in marked contrast to that implied in such a work 
as Shaw's list of 10,000 titles for a college library. Of course 
this does not mean that libraries will cease to maintain these 
collections in which their holdings dupHcate in a standard way 

2 34 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

the holdings of other libraries. But every library, from the 
greatest to the smallest, can also develop holdings that are 
unique, either because they consist of unique items, or because 
the items are collected and organized with unique thorough- 

As this aspect of library function develops, all libraries will 
become functionally branches of each other. The task of caring 
for the records of culture will be farmed out among them all. 
And this step should logically be accompanied by the develop- 
ment of interlibrary cataloguing or listing systems, which may 
call for new routines of accessioning and cataloguing. Perhaps 
libraries will distinguish in their catalogue control technique 
between those parts of their holdings that constitute their 
registered portion of the great interlibrary resources of the 
country and those which are standard and everywhere avail- 

Micro-copying and near-print will force us to think through 
anew the whole procedure of library work, from selection of 
acquisitions to lending. The mass of material that is "accessible" 
is increased in astronomic proportions. This will mean that our 
traditional catalogues will no longer control the material that 
is accessible. They will control only a part of it. The greater 
the amount of material to be controlled, the greater is the need 
for inventions of all kinds. The Historical Records Survey will 
ultimately provide us with a master inventory of millions of 
items. The libraries can go on from there. But the "identifica- 
tion inventory" is only the beginning. Beyond that we can use 
an unlimited amount of index, calendar, and guide material. 
The scope of this problem leads me to refer again to the Cleve- 
land newspaper digest. There are 60,000,000 column inches 
in one file of a Cleveland newspaper since 18 19. The total num- 
ber of column inches to be digested is close to 200,000,000. 
That vast record is to be reduced to 100,000,000 words. It 
would take a man a lifetime to scan these newspaper files. 
When the digesting is done, the newspaper record of events 

The Reproductiofi of Materials for Research 235 

and opinion will be available in easy alphabetical reference 

The great generation of librarians now passing away saw 
the problem of internal library administration solved. We will 
have to think of library systems rather than separate libraries. 
That generation dealt chiefly with two classes of material pass- 
ing through our hands. They knew only one way of acquiring 
a book— to purchase it, and only one way to service it— to lend 
it. We may now use copying in both cases. Our problems will 
be far more intricate than theirs, and also, I believe, far more 



The Cultural Program of the W.P.A. * 

The National Council for the Social Studies has recently- 
appointed a committee to cooperate with representatives of the 
American Council of Learned Societies and the Social Science 
Research Council in an effort to get maximum results for 
American scholarship and education from the use of relief labor 
under the Works Progress Administration. One of the first tasks 
of these joint committees is to summarize and interpret our 
experience in the use of white-collar labor as an agency of re- 

There is sufficient probabiHty of a continuation of work relief 
as a more or less intermittent part of our social economy to 
make it a part of the public duty of scholars and teachers to 
help in thinking out a foundation program of maximum utility. 
Such a program ought to be not merely defensible as a means 
of keeping people employed, but positively desirable for its 
intrinsic value to American culture. The amount of money 
devoted to the cultural part of the relief program is so sub- 
stantial that it should, if properly used, date an epoch in 
American development. 

Pick and shovel work relief is as old as the pyramids. What 
is new in the W.P.A. is the white-collar program. This is a 
specifically American experiment. The fundamental need for 
a white-collar work relief program arises from a new vocational 

* Reprinted by permission from the Harvard Educational Revieiv, 
March 1939. 


The Cultural Program of the W.F.A. 237 

distribution of our people. Marx in the nineteenth century- 
thought that the proletariat would be the expanding class of 
modern economy. He was wrong. This class has shrunk rela- 
tive to total population in all industrialized countries. The 
class that has grown, numerically, at the expense of all others 
is the class of white-collar workers. 

Who are the white-collar workers? They are the people who 
work with paper rather than with machinery, who deal with 
the public rather than with raw materials. They are the clerks. 
The word clerk must be understood in its historic sense. The 
clerks or clerics or clergy of Medieval Europe were the men 
and women who worked not with tools, but with records and 
with people. So also the clerks of today. Modern industry 
recruits them in vast numbers to work with records and 
people. Instead of copying manuscripts in monasteries, they 
copy invoices in offices; instead of hearing confessions they 
contact the public and sell refrigerators. They are nonethe- 
less the lineal descendants of those clerks whom Alcuin trained 
for Charlemagne in the schools of Aix. Private industry uses 
them for its purposes when it needs them, and shunts them 
to the streets when the need passes. There is no social advan- 
tage to be gained in trying to recondition many of these people 
for another kind of labor. The real problem is to define ways 
in which society can use their services when they have no 
private employment. If society is to feed them, how shall they 
pay for their supper? What can they do? 

They can work with people and with records. The ones who 
have been working with people have been those employed in 
recreation and adult education and on various service projects. 
About seven hundred million dollars have been invested in this 
kind of work since the work relief program began. The others 
work with records. About nine hundred and fifty million 
dollars have been invested in their kind of work. 

Work with records is the heart of the white-collar program 
because the most important common denominator of clerical 

238 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

skill is not the ability to teach and lead, but the ability to work 
with records: to make records and to interpret them, to put 
information on them and to get information from them. This 
means such things as copying and consolidating figures, adding 
and subtracting, filing and indexing, and in general making it 
possible to answer questions. The virtue of clerical work is 
accuracy, not genius. Its rhythm is routine. It is not intrinsically 
"interesting" work, and those who perform it are not even 
expected to know all the steps below them out of which their 
task arises, or the steps above them by which their work is 
utilized. The ones who know the whole machine are the 
executives; the clerks are the cogs in the machine. 

The white-collar class came to its present magnitude because 
those who were making decisions in private industry found 
that they needed organized control of records; they could not 
carry everything in their heads. American business manage- 
ment has become outstanding in the world for its ability to 
keep essential information— cost data, sales data, accounts and 
so forth— constantly on tap. The age of charts came to America 
through American business management. But our local govern- 
ments have remained far behind business in their record sys- 
tems. The citizens of our communities carry on and vote on 
policies with far less information on local public business than 
would be deemed necessary by the policy-makers in a well^ 
organized private business. This comparison suggests the basic 
principle of a white-collar work relief program: the clerks who 
are working for society must make information that is of pub- 
lic value publicly accessible, just as the clerks who work for 
private industry make information that is of private value 
privately accessible. 

There are, however, four limitations that impose themselves 
on any clerical work relief program: (i) The work should 
not be of the normal type, for in that case a relief worker 
might merely replace a regular worker, with no net change 
in the employment situation. The program should make a 

The Cultural Program of the W.P.A. 239 

real and visible difference in American society. (2) The task 
should not be an essentially continuous operation, but must 
allow of expansion and contraction. It must be capable of 
employing large quantities of labor at one time, and permit 
of tapering off to complete cessation, without loss of value 
through discontinuity. (3) It must be work that persons 
actually on rehef are capable of doing. (4) It must be work 
that can be done where the needy clerical people actually 
live. Hence the amount of work laid out in each community 
must bear some relation to the number and type of white- 
collar workers actually on relief in that place. This means a 
high concentration in the great cities. 

For purposes of analysis, the whole array of tasks confront- 
ing clerks who are to work for society can be divided into 
two main classes: local jobs and national jobs. Local jobs are 
tasks that should be done in each community, and primarily 
for that community. Such tasks, once defined, become a founda- 
tion program for white-collar labor everywhere. National jobs 
are tasks that may be done in any appropriate place, but need 
be done only once, the one job serving the nation as a whole. 

This distinction does not prejudge any question of ad- 
ministrative organization. In fact, the basic local job— the in- 
ventory of local public archives— is organized nationally, and 
properly so for technical reasons. Many tasks of national 
value have been done in one or another of our cities as a part 
of a local program. Thus, for instance, the population census 
of 1 890 was indexed for national purposes, especially for check- 
ing eligibility for old-age pensions, in the city of St. Louis. 
The national population census schedules of other years were 
indexed in New York City. 

It is a paradox that in the United States, where local self- 
government is very highly developed, local statistics are most 
poorly kept. The Annuaire statistique des villes is a publication 

240 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

in which are brought together the statistical facts about urban 
communities of the whole world. The cities are listed alpha- 
betically—Boston and Buenos Aires, Calcutta and Cleveland, 
and opposite them in columns, page after page, are figures that 
give the measure of urban life. And in column after column— 
on marriages and divorces, for instance— there are blank spaces 
that follow the names of American cities, whereas the names 
of other cities of the world are filled in. When the National 
Resources Board surveyed our knowledge about ourselves it 
found that our municipal statistics today are worse kept and 
less published than they were in 1880. 

The low level of urban government in the United States is 
perhaps both a cause and an effect of this lack of interest in 
comprehensive localized information. But there are other rea- 
sons. If a citizen of Cleveland, Ohio, picks up one or another 
of the widely used statistical handbooks, such as the World 
Almanac, he can find how many goats there are in Egypt, but 
not how many automobiles there are in Cleveland. It is much 
easier, in the reference room of the Cleveland Public Library, 
to discover who was Emperor of China in 1840 than to find 
out who was mayor of Cleveland in 1 840. Figures and estimates 
on levels of business activity, on employment, on distribution 
of income, on price levels, are far more easily accessible for 
the nation than for the city. Indeed, for the most part they 
have not been compiled in localized form. This situation re- 
sults naturally from the fact that scholars and publishers can 
reach a much wider public if they select for study and presenta- 
tion information that will interest everybody in the country 
equally, rather than information that will appeal principally to 
the people of only one locality. 

This situation is found not only in statistical literature, but 
in literature of the social sciences generally. Local history, local 
geography, local economic studies do not come to a focus. 
Local history has been developed, in the main, with an anti- 
quarian spirit and technique from which other fields of history 

The Cultural Fro gram of the W.P.A. 241 

departed generations ago. Much of what passes for local eco- 
nomic research is literature of the promotional type, lying 
nearer to the literature of advertising than of social science. 
The sociologists have been, of all the social scientists, the ones 
most clearly aware of the existence and importance of the local 
community, but even with them a work of such significance 
as the Lynds' Middleto^um is conceived of as a study applicable 
to all communities of which Muncie, Indiana, stands as a 
sample. Yet it is self-evident that the citizens of Des Moines, 
Iowa, will not vote a bond issue on the strength of arguments 
advanced from a study of Muncie. 

We do not know how far a democracy will prove able to 
make the decisions that the twentieth century demands in 
politics. We do not know to what extent the factual informa- 
tion upon which decisions must be made can be made available 
to the citizens who do the voting. But it is evident that each 
citizen has a larger proportionate share in decisions of local 
policy than in decisions of national policy, and that in matters 
of local concern he is in a better position than in matters of 
national concern to weigh the conclusions based on his own 
observation. The foundation of the democratic hope in Jeffer- 
son's time was the experience that people could run their local 
affairs with wisdom; the complexity of the problems requiring 
solution has increased far beyond anything imaginable at that 
time, but meanwhile the social sciences developed their tools 
for rendering these more complex problems manageable. These 
tools, however, have been much more turned to account in 
the field of national policy than in the field of local policy. If 
we had information organized in a fashion that would corre- 
spond to the interests and needs of our citizens, the shelves of 
every public library would be as well stocked with books 
about its own community as with books about the United 

These reflections would have no practical value were it not 
for an accident that has brought it about that in this one coun- 

242 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

try, where there is so much to do to bring scientific understand- 
ing of self to our communities, there has appeared the problem 
and the opportunity of using an army of clerks to catch up 
with the back work and prepare the supply of information 
from which a community can answer its questions. We have 
been one of the backward peoples of the world in the organiza- 
tion of localized information. New York is not only behind 
London, Paris, and Berlin— it is behind Prague and Budapest. 
We can become one of the leading peoples in this field if we 
will but take the thought necessary to define the tasks for the 
clerks for whom a relief program is necessary in our society. 

For any community, the answers to big and important ques- 
tions are made up of countless answers to little questions. The 
solvency of the community is a big question and every little 
fact on payment and delinquency of taxes is a part of the 
answer. The vocational prospects of each child constitute a 
question of paramount importance to the community as a 
whole. Every fact about the economic life of the community 
in which he is to live, and about the relation of education 
to vocational opportunity, is a part of the answer. The attitude 
that the citizen will take toward his community is perhaps 
the biggest question of all, and it is doubtful if this attitude 
can meet the requirements of public interest unless the citizen 
sees his community as more than an aggregation of streets and 
houses, unless he sees it as a living thing with a many-sided 
past and heavy commitments to the future. 

The answers to the little questions, out of which are com- 
pounded the answers to the big ones, are found, in the main, 
in records. The knowledge of whence we have come, from 
which alone we can guess whither we are going, is knowledge 
that must be gathered with great toil from records. What are 
the records that contain the information about a community 
to which its citizens should have access? The great bulk of 
them consists of the public archives and the newspaper files 
of that community. The printed book material is, in the main, 

The Cultural Program of the W.P.A. 243 

scattered and incidental, as every reference librarian in every 
public library knows. The state of these basic local records 
has been deplorable. Local public archives have been piled like 
rats' nests in basements and attics, and lucky to be saved from 
the incinerator at that! All newspaper files of papers printed 
since the i88o's are doomed, for they are printed on wood- 
pulp paper that is disintegrating so rapidly that someone who 
consults a newspaper of the Spanish War era today may be the 
last man able to consult it; the paper falls apart when the page 
is turned. 

The first and basic task of clerks who are to work for society 
is to rescue physically the records in which alone the account 
of the life of the community is contained. This can be done. 
The Historical Records Survey, with a national organization 
in every state, has been making of local records the most com- 
prehensive inventory in the history of archival science, and 
as the records are inventoried they are arranged. The inventory 
is, moreover, a check list against capricious destruction, and 
the work itself is making local custodians of records more 
archive-conscious. The newspapers can be saved. They need 
only be micro-photographed on film. The process has been 
worked out, and the film is known to be permanent. While they 
are being filmed for preservation, they can also be indexed by 
clerical labor, so that the information in them can be readily 
accessible to the public. This work is now under way in a 
number of cities. 

Not only past records, but current ones, may need atten- 
tion. We know that the relief workers cannot assume a normal 
current routine function of record keeping in the office of a 
county auditor or police department; but wherever the public 
officers who are in charge of current records wish to improve 
their system of current record keeping, but are inhibited by 
the difficulty of installing a new system, the W.P.A. clerks can 
reorganize their records to fit an improved routine. When work 
of this kind is done, it can be so planned that the records be- 

244 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

come not only more adapted to efficient current administration, 
but also more useful for research purposes. 

Finally, the relief workers can make up for the failure of the 
publishing industry to care for local needs. This failure results 
from the technique and accountancy of the publishing industry, 
which has operated for generations against the development 
of readily accessible information for local purposes, because 
publishing requires a wide market— a minimum sale of two thou- 
sand copies— and therefore prefers to issue books of national 
interest. Near-print techniques of book production in editions 
of one or two hundred can be used by relief labor to make 
available to the citizens of the community, on the shelves of 
their public libraries and in their schools, the kind of informa- 
tion that the national publishing industry serves to the nation 
as a whole. And relief workers can do everything from compil- 
ing the information to binding the books. 

The three institutions to which the work of the relief clerks 
must be keyed are the public administrative and policy-making 
records and information for government and voters, more ade- 
quate local reference material for libraries, and more satisfac- 
tory local teaching material for schools. 


Most public libraries try more or less systematically to 
maintain a file of local information that becomes available to 
their readers in the library's holdings of books, journals, and 
ephemeral publications and reports of all kinds. But no public 
library is able, as a part of its normal routine, to comb 
thoroughly all its materials to bring to light all the information 
in print that they contain on local matters. The periodical in- 
dexes such as the Readers^ Guide cover only a fraction of the 
intake of American periodicals in a public library of a great 
city, and bring out only a fraction of the local reference in- 
formation in these periodical files. A check of some magazines 
indicates that there is six times as much material on Cleveland, 


The Cultural Program of the W.P.A. 245 

Ohio, in a magazine covered by the Readers^ Guide as can be 
found by looking up the topic "Cleveland" in the Guide. The 
relief workers should give the local library a guide to printed 
information about the community, available in the community, 
that is complete. The task would be a large one, but it would 
have the effect of increasing tremendously the usefulness of 
resources which have already been paid for. The hundreds of 
millions of library dollars expended over the past fifty years 
will go further in service today if there is adequate bibliograph- 
ical control of the contents of the materials that have been 
acquired and stored. 

The cities of America, in general, have not merely one public 
library, but a number of special and institutional libraries. It 
may happen that a book that is needed may be somewhere in 
the city, but the man who wants it cannot find it without a 
costly and difficult inquiry. Libraries can mobilize their hold- 
ings by establishing union catalogues locally. This has been 
done with relief labor in a number of centers, notably in Cleve- 
land and Philadelphia. It is possible that union cataloguing op- 
erations would be carried on most effectively within the frame- 
work of a national union catalogue, printed in book form, with 
adequate listing of holdings for each locality. 

A third matter of interest to a locality is a list of the books 
and other items printed locally, especially in the earlier period 
of its history. Under the leadership of Douglas McMurtrie a 
comprehensive combing of American libraries for a complete 
list of early American imprints, to be arranged by locality and 
date, is under way as a W.P.A. project that is technically co- 
ordinated with the Historical Records Survey. 

The foundation program for libraries, viewed as a local pro- 
gram, includes union cataloguing, guides to printed items of 
local reference, and check lists of items printed in the locality, 
wherever they may be held at present. It may be wise in all 
three elements of this foundation program to organize the work 
nationally, but the results of the work will nonetheless come 

246 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

to a focus locally, and will meet on the shelves or in the files 
of the library the products of strictly local work, such as news- 
paper indexes or compilations of statistical information. 

Let us look at the shelves of a public library, in that section 
of the reference room devoted to local matters, as they stand 
today, and as they will look when the W.P.A. program has 
got well under way. At present there are four or five local 
histories, one of them written by an early nineteenth-century 
antiquarian, another by a real historical scholar of the last 
generation, the rest subscription books praising the families that 
bought space in the publication. Then there is an array of 
incidental pamphlet and report material, the files of two local 
magazines, and of the Journal of the Pioneers' Society, which 
had an active life fifty years ago, and has since died down. 

In the future there will be first the fundamental guides to 
records— the inventory of public archives, the bibliographies of 
printed items of local reference, and the list of items printed 
in the locality. Then will come the many volumes of a news- 
paper index. Following this index, which controls information 
in the newspaper file, will be a set of abstracts of court cases, 
abstracted for facts rather than points of law, which constitute 
almost a second running account of the life and social history 
of the community. Then (since the city includes a number 
of immigrant groups which have maintained their own foreign- 
language press), there will be a set of volumes of translations 
or abstracts from the foreign-language press in which the 
opinions there expressed, and the activities of the foreign-lan- 
guage group there recorded, will become part of the body of 
accessible information. Next will come the statistical series. It 
begins with a bibliography of statistical information available 
in print, and then tabulates with encyclopedic thoroughness the 
statistical record of the city as completely as Finland's or Buda- 
pest's statistics are presented in the statistical publications of 
those governments. There will also be the biographical series— 
the body of information collected under the names of people 


The Cultural Fro gram of the W.P.A, 247 

who have lived in the city. The population census schedules 
from 1790 to 1870 will have been brought from Washington 
in film form, copied off, rearranged alphabetically, and bound 
in book form, and will stand on the shelves for easy reference. 
Beside them, also in the form of bound typescript books, will 
be found an alphabetical list of interments. If the guide to 
public records shows that vital statistics are adequately kept in 
one of the public offices, the library need not dupHcate the 
public records locally available, but somewhere at least the 
gaps in the record should be filled as far as possible. Then will 
come a more selective series— a list of all public office holders 
from the earliest times with that minimum of information about 
each which comes to light when newspaper index, indexed 
public records, alphabetized census schedules, etc., are sys- 
tematically checked. Following this will be a list of all veterans, 
with information drawn from these fundamental sources, and 
also from pension records filmed in Washington and used by 
local workers. Then teachers, clergymen, physicians, journal- 
ists, printers, lawyers— with no selective search for great and 
distinguished names but rather a comprehensive combing of 
the field. Of course, these biographical indexes do not pry into 
the privacy of living men, or seek to flatter pride by circulating 
questionnaires of the Who's Who type. The work is solid, 
controlled, routine, and historical. Then will come informa- 
tion on the history of business. The newspaper advertise- 
ments will tell something; and there is additional material in 
the public records. Moreover, the records of schools as well 
as the factors locally conditioning educational progress will 
be found. 

Such are the contributions which the relief workers can 
make to library resources. The catalogue is not exhaustive, but 
illustrates the principle that the locality, by the careful and 
disciplined use of relief labor, can provide itself with resources 
of checked and accessible information about itself comparable 
to that which scholarly enterprise, public appropriations, and 

248 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

the work of the publishing industry have provided for th< 
nation as a whole in the course of generations of work. 

Beyond this, the relief workers can discover in library recon 
some things that communities ought to know. For instance^' 
what is the effect of the teaching program in the schools upon 
adult reading habits? In a city of several hundred thousand 
population there will be a large number of people who happen 
to have gone through the schools of the city and become its 
permanent residents. The schools may have their school records, 
and the library records tell the story of their reading habits. 
Is it true, in general, that those who took the courses in litera- 
ture in high school are readers of literature? Or will the library 
records show only a chance distribution between reading inter- 
est and educational experience? 


This suggestion leads to an analysis of what can be done in 
the schools. In improving the work of the schools, as in en- 
riching the libraries, relief workers can provide from records 
two things: materials to be used in teaching, and information to 
be used in policy-making. 

First, as to teaching materials. When the writer of this memo- 
randum went to school in California, the school books, written 
and printed in the East, took for granted the climate and flora 
of the East. I read stories about foxes, not coyotes, and the 
wild flowers that appeared in my reading were not those that 
I saw in the fields. I suppose it did no harm, but as a teacher 
I now realize how much better it would have been if the 
world presented in those books had more nearly resembled the 
world I saw about me. The idea of tying the teaching of the 
social studies to the scene of the local community has become 
one of the objectives of the teaching profession. But for this 
purpose the foundation of teaching materials is lacking. Con- 
sider, for instance, how much could be taught to a grade-school 
child if the schoolroom possessed not only the relief map of the 

The Cultural Program of the W.P.A. 249 

United States but a miniature model of the school district area 
itself as it was when the white man came, as it was in the 1850's, 
or at such successive periods as would indicate the main changes 
in culture! To prepare such materials for visual education 
would not be mechanically difficult. Relief labor could do it. 
But underlying the work there would have to be a control 
of information from the records of the county engineer with 
respect to roads and streets, from the file of building permits 
or from other sources with respect to construction, and from 
land title records and other sources with respect to the use of 
land. The foundation program in public records and news- 
papers makes possible the foundation program in the prepara- 
tion of teaching material. 

It is in the upper grades of instruction, however, that the 
availability of adequate teaching material would be most defi- 
nitely felt, and this not only in the possible provision of read- 
ing material for pupils, but perhaps even more in the supplying 
of classroom illustration material to the teacher. In every Ameri- 
can city there was a particular time when the railroad came to 
town. The textbooks, published for national circulation, tell 
of the Baltimore and Ohio. The teacher should be able, quickly 
and easily, to find the information that would point up the 
lesson with facts of local pertinence. The textbooks tell of a 
log cabin, hard-cider campaign of 1 840. The teacher should not 
meet the class without knowing how their own town voted 
in that election. The provision of this teaching material merges, 
as a practical matter, with the provision of library reference 
material outlined above. 

Beyond the high-school level, in the colleges and universities, 
there is place for a new dispensation. In general, for the last 
few generations scholarship has become professionalized and 
keyed to the resources of great libraries. The amateur scholar 
has not kept the place in the world of culture which our 
great investment in higher education, and our resources of 
wealth and leisure time, would indicate as appropriate. Here, 

250 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

right at our feet, in every community, are mountains of the 
raw materials of research, never touched, or edited, or used for 
scholarly purposes. Our Bachelors of Arts are not now expected 
to be graduated as professional scholars, but if we provide for 
our adult population great resources of controlled materials for 
research, we can expect greater participation of the public in 
the creative work of our culture. And one of these fields will be 
that of local studies. 

Second, as to policy-forming in our schools. Here a curious 
situation has arisen. The graduate students in schools of educa- 
tion are turning out tons of dissertations, and still our ignorance 
of the productivity of our school investment is appalling. In 
general, we do not know what is being offered in the cur- 
riculum of our high schools. Latin fell out of the curriculum, 
and was practically gone before we knew it. Mathematics may 
be going the same way. Given the curriculum of our schools, 
as it would be revealed in a study of course offerings, we do 
not know what courses of study the students are actually fol- 
lowing, what selections they make, in what combinations, and 
with what success as revealed in the school's own methods of 
measurement. Beyond that we do not know what goes on in 
the classrooms. We do not know how individual choice of 
courses and individual school experience are related to later 
vocational career or cultural achievement. Does vocational 
training in the high school result in a probability that the pupil 
will actually work in the vocation for which he and the com- 
munity have made the investment of time and money? We 
do not know, and many people think that the answer is nega- 
tive. Do the courses in current events have the effect that the 
pupils exposed to them are more alive than other pupils to 
current problems after they leave school? We do not know. 
How accurate are school judgments on the character of chil- 
dren? Do the records of juvenile and later delinquency in- 
dicate that the teachers who made out report cards with 
appraisals of moral or social qualities were good judges? 

The Cultural Program of the W,P.A, 251 

Not all of these matters could be investigated from records, 
but some of them could be investigated. If the present output 
of research work in the field of education has failed to exhaust 
matters of such basic importance, the reason lies not in any 
lack of importance in the problem, but in the fact that the 
investigation of such things is a factory job, not a craftsman's 
job. It requires large-scale and coordinated clerical work with 


The public records are a part of the process of government. 
Where there is no will to efficiency, a change in the record 
system may have little effect; but where there is a will to 
efficiency, the whole process of administration will respond to 
an improvement of administrative records. But there are two 
principles that could well be worked out. The first has to do 
with bringing all records of widely kept classes— such as tax 
records— up at least to the minimum level required by law, and 
perhaps above that level. The second is so to manage the im- 
provement of records that the various record series, though 
administered independently by different offices, nevertheless 
key in with each other. 

For instance, in New York City there are 8 1 5,000 parcels of 
land. If the records of the tax department, the land title and 
mortgage records, the building construction and inspection 
records, and records of occupancy are all trued up for current 
administration and reference by being keyed or indexed under 
the heads of these same 815,000 land units, the information in 
each of these different series will be readily available to help in 
interpreting the information in the other. When the records of 
one department of public administration are improved, some 
thought should be given to the importance of making the in- 
formation they yield more easily comparable with the informa- 
tion yielded by the records of other departments. 

As housing comes more and more to be seen as an area in 

252 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

which the public interest is involved, the inadequacy of our 
knowledge of the basic factors affecting a housing problem 
comes more clearly to light. For housing as a social problem 
touches all aspects of urban life— taxation, public services, edu- 
cation, income distribution, transportation, health, and business 
and financial structure. How rapidly do style changes in hous- 
ing become effective? The brownstone front and the brick 
apartment, the urban imitation of a farm house with its front 
porch, and the Tudor residence of the suburbs with its garage, 
are points in a sequence in which no locality has exactly the 
same history, and of which we know very little because our 
historians of architecture have been more interested in historic 
houses than ordinary houses, in public buildings than in ordi- 
nary residential construction. Yet the facts on style obsolescence 
will give us vital information on the rate at which new materials 
and styles will become accepted, and current ones outmoded. 
Just as in biographical information we can afford to pay more 
attention to the ordinary man, so in housing information we can 
afford to learn much more about the ordinary house. 

With the study of the house comes the study of land. The 
equity of a tax system on land and housing turns in part on the 
rapidity with which real estate changes hands, reflecting in 
purchase price the tax situation. In the general formation of 
capital, and in the credit structure of a community, the real- 
estate mortgage situation is a factor of prime importance. Yet 
on these matters our records are pitifully defective. The Secre- 
tary of the State of Ohio publishes reports on recordings of 
mortgages and deeds, but the reports for certain years on 
Cuyahoga County do not check with account of instruments 
made in the County Recorder's Office. Why? Because the re- 
port was made out and sent to the Secretary of State by some 
underling in the department who did not take the trouble to 
count. When questions involving the ability of local commu- 
nities to sustain a certain share of the relief load were up for 
decision, and as questions involving differentials under the 

The Cultural Fro gram of the W,P.A. 253 

Wages and Hours Act come up, the records are found to fail 
us because they are inadequately kept and inadequately sum- 

An example of the type of work that can be done to learn 
more about city land is furnished by the real property inven- 
tories, made by W.P.A. labor in a number of cities. These in- 
ventories, like the Domesday Book of William the Conqueror, 
summarized the situation on land occupancy and rental. But 
they fell short, technically, of the work of the great English 
king because he recorded not only the current data, but also 
the situation as it was in the time of Edward the Confessor. We 
could make our real property inventories as complete as the 
Domesday Book; the work could be done by clerks from rec- 
ords, with some help from the decennial population census 
records. Bear in mind that there are more people in the Boston 
metropolitan area, or in Brooklyn and Queens, than there were 
in all England in the time of William the Conqueror. 

The local program ought to control and preserve public rec- 
ords and newspapers, mobilize local library resources, serve the 
schools. In each community as much or as little can be done as 
the relief labor situation and the interest of the community 
require. This part of the program serves national needs in so far 
as the situation in any one community is typical, or comparable 
with the situation of another. 

The national jobs are the jobs that need to be done only once 
for the whole country. Some of them are big, some little. An 
understanding of the national organization of our world of re- 
search and information is necessary to a planning of this part 
of the program. The institutions involved are the Federal Gov- 
ernment with its various departments, the library system of the 
country as a whole, and the whole system of organized re- 

Some assistance may be given to national government agen- 

254 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

cies— witness the indexing of the census schedules. Some na- 
tional government agencies may choose to organize large-scale 
research projects, such as the survey of health. These are things 
that the relief program can take in its stride. 

The library system of the country ought to have a union 
catalogue in book form, like the Gesamtkatalog of the German 
libraries, so that no one who wants to consult a certain book 
that happens to be in any American library need go without it 
for lack of knowledge of its location. The potential usefulness 
of such a catalogue has been greatly increased in recent years 
by the development of the technique and practice of micro- 
copying as a feature of library service. Except for limitations 
in the case of recent books still under copyright, any book in 
the country will soon be available anywhere in the country in 
microfilm form, the film being made to order on demand. It is 
particularly important that this mobilization of American li- 
brary resources should take place soon, because European li- 
braries are standing at a turning point in service policy. There 
is a chance that they may adopt the practice of placing heavy 
burdens upon microfilm service. Our national answer can only 
be to show them the wealth of our own resources, so that mu- 
tual exchange by micro-copy will seem equitable and profitable 
to them. 

When we have a comprehensive list of titles in American li- 
braries, the time will come for various comprehensive bibliog- 
raphies, for the bibliography is useful in proportion as the 
works referred to in it are available. The comprehensive bib- 
liography on aviation compiled in New York City is an exam- 
ple of what can be done. Even more important as a model is the 
bibliography and guide to geological literature on Foraminifera. 
In all bibliographic and control work organized on factory pro- 
duction basis by the W.P.A., the technical problem is always to 
find objective units of classification. The binomial system of the 
biological sciences oflFers such a system of units. 

Beyond this lies the possibility that the purchasing power of 

The Cultural Fro gram of the W.P.A. 255 

American libraries may be used more effectively in the acquisi- 
tion of foreign material. As Europe falls, state by state, under 
the control of regimes that deny free inquiry to scholars, Amer- 
ica becomes more and more the last place in which free schol- 
arship can live. Hence the importance of avoiding wasteful 
duplication in increasing our library resources of foreign books 
and periodicals. x\fter the union catalogue will come the union 
want list— the list of books that ought to be in the country— to 
be used by libraries in executing their purchasing policies. 

Moreover, the usefulness of foreign works in this country 
can be greatly increased if they are translated. This is espe- 
cially true of books in the Central and Eastern European lan- 
guages. We have thousands of potential translators on our relief 
rolls. A single typescript copy of a translation, serviced by 
interlibrary loans, would be sufficient, and is it not appropriate 
that those who come from abroad should help to make the 
product of their native culture more useful to America? 

While the library system of the country can be looked upon 
as a unit, and the big job defined, the whole field of cultural 
research presents so varied a character that only a few general 
principles can be applied to it. It is, in the main, a university 
world, and while it is not wholly enclosed in the universities, 
at least it is principally organized there. Its conventional tech- 
niques are not those which involve the mass use of clerical 
labor. But on the relief rolls there are always a number of 
people with genuine technical research training, able to work 
according to the ordinary methods of scholarship. The policy 
of allowing a university to assume responsibility for the value 
of research projects undertaken by its own faculty members 
with the aid of W.P.A. personnel of this exceptional quality is 
a sound policy, and should relieve the central administration of 
much costly and burdensome detail. 

Beyond this, it is necessary to establish contact between the 
W.P.A. and the national scholarly bodies, to the end that within 
each field there may be adequate study of the best uses of 

256 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

W.P.A. labor. Committees appointed for this purpose by the 
National Council for the Social Studies, the Social Science Re- 
search Council, and the American Council of Learned Societies, 
will work with such bodies as the Committee on Historical 
Source Materials of the American Historical Association, and 
the Joint Committee on Materials for Research, to clear the 
channels of consultation and action. 


A few general principles should be stated. The edges of each 
project should be clean cut; the material to be covered should 
be definite; the factory system rather than the craft system 
must prevail generally. That which W.P.A. workers can guar- 
antee is, in the main, that they have accurately performed cer- 
tain definite operations upon certain specific materials. They 
cannot, in the main, guarantee that they have done the kind of 
selecting and subjective evaluating that is intrinsic to the crafts- 
manship of the scholar. Since a task undertaken should be done 
thoroughly, it should usually be carried back as far as the rec- 
ords go. A study of taxation from records of the past ten years 
will be most woefully out of date ten years from now. But a 
study of taxation that runs as far back as the record system 
permits will always stand as a foundation for later work. 

The administrative unit for work is the project. The unit 
which scholars are able to help in defining will, in many cases, 
be a larger unit than a project. The unit that the public will 
understand ought to be something that is cumulative through 
many projects. The program will succeed best if the technical 
men, the scholars and administration, understand it, and the 
public understands it, but it is not necessary that all should em- 
phasize exactly the same thing in the program. 

Yet the program can mean much more than is shown by its 
concrete documentary product in improved files and in books 
on the library shelves if it is so conducted that the public gen- 
erally comes more and more to share in it. The beginning was 

The Cultural Program of the W,F,A. 257 

made when the Historical Records Survey succeeded in mak- 
ing custodians of public records more conscious of the value 
of archives. Another great forward step will be made when 
schools concern themselves with the materials and aid in focus- 
ing them on educational practices and policies. Ultimately, 
then, the American people will be more conscious of the pos- 
sibilities of the democratization and enrichment of our culture. 


World Intellectual Organization * 

There is an issue that confronts all teachers, all serious men 
of letters, all scientists, who take seriously their share as human 
beings, infinitesimal though it be, in determining the fate and 
future of the world. The issue has confronted the American 
National Committee on Intellectual Cooperation and the Social 
Science Research Council for years. As the Phi Beta Kappa 
Society launches its drive for the defense of the humanities and 
of academic freedom, it comes forward again. The issue has to 
do with the relation of the world's intellectual organization to 
its organization of wealth and power. 

Shall those who are within the world's intellectual organi- 
zation seek to use it to influence power policies— as in passing 
resolutions at meetings of learned societies against acts of 
foreign states— and risk thereby the weakening of the inter- 
national fabric of intellectual organization? Shall the students 
of economic phenomena become sponsors of a practical pro- 
gram for which they would have such responsibility that their 
science itself may be turned out of office? Recently a renowned 
physicist made public his decision to bar from his laboratory 
all visitors from the totalitarian states and to refrain from dis- 
cussing his experiments with citizens of those states. 

To make this issue clear, let us assume that there is in the 
world a body of specific institutions within which intellectual 

• Reprinted from the Educational Record, April 1939, by permission 
of The American Council on Education. 


World Intellectual Organization 259 

cooperation takes place. These institutions include everything 
from education and research to entertainment and publishing. 
They constitute, in a sense, a world of their own. It is with 
these institutions that the League of Nations* Institute of Inter- 
national Intellectual Cooperation, the Social Science Research 
Council, and the Phi Beta Kappa Society are concerned. As a 
world of intellectual institutions, they are at once distinguished 
from and related to two other worlds— the worlds of power, 
and of debts and markets. 

The world of power— the political world— has been studied 
as a whole. Its processes have been examined; its history and 
its physiology are analyzed in whole libraries of books, descrip- 
tive and analytical. The same can be said of the economic world. 
However, most of our descriptive and analytical study of the 
intellectual world has been devoted to the product rather than 
the process. Our scholarly literature, critical and historical, is 
in the main a travel literature. We have indeed collected much 
information about the functioning of different parts of intel- 
lectual organization. In the field of education, for instance, and 
perhaps in the functioning of the press, a great amount of in- 
formation has been collected. But we do not have, even in out- 
line, a conspectus of the organization as a whole. 

We have at hand the cumulated results of the thinking of 
many generations in analyzing the economic and political 
worlds. We know something of the quantities that are in- 
volved; we can estimate resources and armaments; we have 
statistics on credits and business activity. We do not all agree 
in the analysis of the dynamics of these worlds, but at least 
we are accustomed to looking at them as wholes. But we have 
no corresponding vision of the world of intellectual cooper- 

Yet intellectual organization is the house in which we live. 
We have lived in it so long that we think we can take it for 
granted. We have looked from its windows and described the 
other houses; we know that some alterations have recently been 


Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

made. But we lack even a floor plan of the building as a whole. 

We are aware of great and recent changes in this world of 
intellectual cooperation: radio, movies, literacy, censorship, 
propaganda, the multiplying of culture languages and of cul- 
ture centers, business formations, as in radio and movies; power 
formations, as in the totalitarian states, have brought new 
situations into existence. Our primary practical concern is with 
the functioning of this world of intellectual organization, with 
its growth or decay, its survival, and with the use we make of 
our place in it. It is a world divided not territorially, like the 
states, but into disciplines and arts, most of which are essentially 

Let us take note of two characteristics of the intellectual 
world which exhibit its peculiarly international character. 
First, there is still in existence a world-wide acceptance of the 
results of experiment in the natural sciences. A scientific ex- 
periment, properly recorded in our highly institutionalized 
system of learned journals, has not only world currency but 
world authority. Its credit is better than bank credit; its au- 
thority is more definitive and universal than the authority of 
any judgment of a court of law. The assumption of good faith 
that obtains in the field of scientific work is the kind of as- 
sumption that exists only among insiders in a going concern. 
The power world has restricted the jurisdiction of the high 
courts of science, it is true. Nothing on race and anthropology 
can pass in Germany without the nihil obstat or the prae- 
rmmire. But in general the authority of the jurisdictions of 
science is a world authority. 

In the field of intellectual property there is a peculiar rela- 
tion of public property to international organization. For the 
public domain in intellectual property is international domain. 
In publicly owned tangibles— bridges and roads, buildings and 
battleships— public domain concentrates in the object the quali- 
ties of sovereignty and of property. But intellectual property 
that is public domain becomes something from which no one 

World Intellectual Organization 261 

is excluded. Only the open sea shares with intellectual property 
the character of international domain. International action (as 
in international copyright) may have the effect of diminishing 
international domain. Only in the presence of a clear picture of 
the functioning of this world of intellectual cooperation can 
its citizens make sound policy. We should have a picture of the 
present situation, a definition of the directions in which we 
would wish to see the situation change, and then a selection of 
the acts best calculated to accomplish the change. 

Let us first consider how far this world of intellectual or- 
ganization permits of measurement. It may be that the objects 
we seek to attain are not measurable, but they are at least 
related to measurable features of the intellectual world. 

We must assume that there is in some way a possible distinc- 
tion between American intellectual organization on the one 
hand, and international intellectual organization on the other. 
The simplest distinction, which may be taken as a first ap- 
proximation, is the distinction between events occurring here 
and abroad. A more refined analysis may then show that some 
events occurring here belong rather to international than to 
national intellectual organization, and that some events occur- 
ring abroad belong to our own intellectual organization. 

In what units can intellectual organization be measured? The 
simplest are men, money, product, and time. In the publishing 
industry we should inquire, for instance, how many people are 
employed in each of the kinds of writing, how much money 
is involved in publishing and how it is distributed, how many 
items are published, by how many people they are bought, by 
how many people they are read, and how much time is in- 
volved in the reading. We should inquire how the writers are 
motivated to write, and the readers to read. So far as possible 
we should break down these quantities into appropriate clas- 

The same units of measurement can be applied to the edu- 
cational system, to the research system, to entertainment, to 

262 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

music, radio, moving pictures, lectures, perhaps even to travel 
and to mail communication, if that be adjudged a part of in- 
tellectual organization. Perhaps even commercial advertising 
should be accorded some gross measurement, and certainly the 
work of propaganda agencies should be given at least a quanti- 
tative estimate. 

In so far as dollar estimates of quantity can be made, and the 
particular channels of the flow of money described, the rela- 
tion with the economic world is clarified. In so far as the posi- 
tive action of government (as in education) and its negative 
action (as in censorship) are defined, the relation of the intel- 
lectual world with the world of power is also defined. 

With these gross measurements in hand, and they might be 
tabulated in huge cross-section charts, it will be possible to 
begin the analysis of international intellectual organization in 
so far as the intellectual organization of this country shares in it. 

It is at this point that we could bring together the answers 
to such questions as these: What proportion of newspaper 
space is given over to foreign news; what proportion of teach- 
ing time is given over to the teaching of foreign matters, in- 
cluding such things as foreign literatures and international 
relations; what proportion of research energy is committed to 
these fields; in what degree are our library resources com- 
mitted to foreign as against domestic materials? What pro- 
portion of our consumption of intellectual goods comes from 
abroad, what proportion goes abroad, etc.? These are broad 
categories, but in the course of measurement they would be 

If it is possible, even as a crude estimate, to measure world 
intellectual activity, and set against its quantities the quantities 
for America, and the amount of overlap, the quantitative 
framework for the making of policy will be established. 

A very important issue will have to be faced at this time: 
Is it the object to use the existing intellectual organization of 
the world to accomplish certain effects in the world of power, 

World Intellectual Organization 263 

or to protect the organization and develop it as a value in 
itself? These two objectives may prove inconsistent with each 
other. Efforts to use intellectual organization as a means of 
influencing power policies may recoil against the organization 
itself, either directly, as when an effort to bring pressure to 
bear in Germany results in the withdrawal of Germans from 
international association, or indirectly, as in the case of an in- 
vitation to governments to restrain international name-calling 
by police power (moral disarmament), which may prove a 
boomerang against full freedom of the press. (Note the re- 
straints on Dutch and Swiss press in respect to Hitler.) If we 
are to function as an unofficial propaganda agency for America, 
our actions may be received in some quarters with the same 
attitude that greets communist and fascist propaganda here. 
Any of these policies are open to us, but we must think them 
through clearly. 

I can only compare our situation to that of the Church 
when it faced the difficult problems of adjustment with the 
world of secular power. Intellectual organization has quietly 
accomplished in the course of the past century for the world 
as a whole an intellectual unification such as Christianity once 
accomplished for Western Europe. Communism and fascism 
may reject part, but they do not reject all, of the bases of world 

With our objective defined, and our measurements estab- 
lished, it will be possible to find the critical points for action. 
We may discover, for instance, that the study of international 
relations in our schools is moving forward without the need 
of extra pressure, but that the study of modern languages is 
declining and needs help. If our figures show this situation, we 
should concentrate on the point where help is needed. And so 
on throughout the whole field. 

In the presence of the magnitudes that our survey would dis- 
close, the resources of our committee must appear very small 
indeed. We will not spend over many years what it costs to 

264 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

produce one movie. If we undertake to propagate a particular 
idea by direct action, we must do it with resources that would 
not suffice to put on the market a new brand of tomato sauce, 
let alone a brajid of cigarettes. But this consideration should 
not discourage us; rather it should impress us all the more with 
the unique importance of the situation we occupy, as the only 
body in America with terms of reference that fit it for general 
staff work in the world of intellectual organization. Of all the 
countries from which delegates go to Paris, is there any which 
is really so well situated to assume freedom from political con- 
straint and financial limitations in intellectual activities? 

At the same time, a consideration of the meagerness of our 
resources should counsel us against drop-in-the-bucket activi- 
ties, and against action and effort in matters where we do not 
see clearly the exact character of the interest we are serving. 
None of us really knows whether one or another of many pos- 
sible new systems of international intellectual property will 
serve or obstruct the functioning of the system of world intel- 
lectual cooperation. Neither are we sure what operations in 
promoting abroad the idee americaine will fulfill our desires, 
and what ones will kick back, like dollar diplomacy. 


Strategic Objectives in Archival Policy * 

Those unacquainted with the problems of archival science 
often think of archivists as people of extraordinarily narrow 
interests, whose eyes are trained on the most remote past. The 
insiders realize that the archivist is a man of the future, and not 
of the past; he is professionally preoccupied with a more dis- 
tant future than that of any profession save that of astronomy; 
and he cannot lay down sound policies in the preservation and 
destruction of documents without taking into account inter- 
ests broad enough to make up the composite fields of the fac- 
ulty of a liberal arts college. 

I think we understand this among ourselves, but the people 
at large do not as yet share our vision of the role of archival 
policy in American culture. We have among ourselves our lit- 
tle technical problems, such as the question of the distinguish- 
ing between archives and manuscripts: we cannot expect the 
public to be very much interested in technical minutiae; but 
we can expect the public to become conscious of an archival 
problem generally, to assist in laying down a broad archival 
policy, and to share our vision of the place that the preservation 
of records has in the whole culture of our country. 

In our conception of the place of archives in American cul- 
ture, we might well keep before our eyes the role of the public 
library system. There have been public libraries for many cen- 

• Reprinted by permission from the American Archivist, July 1939. 


266 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

turies. The American public library system made a phenomenal 
growth a generation ago with the impetus of the Carnegie for- 
tune behind it. The archival system of this country is now 
entering a similar period with the launching of the National 
Archives, the work of the Historical Records Survey, and the 
organization of the Society of American Archivists fostering 
it. The public libraries had as their primary problem the pro- 
curement of books, with cataloguing and organization second- 
ary; the archival materials are already on the ground, and the 
essential problem is organization and preparation for use. The 
libraries could count on the public school system to provide a 
literate population which could take advantage of their re- 
sources; in the development of the use of our public archives, 
we will find that people will need not only to have the mate- 
rials preserved and organized for them, but must also be taught 
to use them. True, libraries often offer reading counselling 
services; fully developed archives may have to go much further 
than the library in teaching people to use them. 

Of course it would be possible to dodge all these problems if 
we should adopt as a foundation of archival policy the idea that 
only the professional scholar would be welcomed, or possibly 
that only the professional scholar would be served. But to take 
such a view would be to miss our great opportunity. I hold 
that even the most amateur genealogist ought to be welcomed 
in our archives, and the people should be allowed to browse 
through old legal records. The public should learn to expect 
in the archives of its own community the same kind of refer- 
ence service that its public library gives. A check of the ques- 
tions asked at the reference desk of the Cleveland Public Li- 
brary indicates that a substantial proportion of them is the type 
of question that can be and should be answered from archival 
records. If we develop such a policy in the utilization of our 
public archives, we will not only find the voters willing to 
provide the buildings and to employ the technicians needed to 
give these services, but we will also find our people increas- 

Strategic Objectives in Archival Policy 267 

ingly interested in private as well as public archives. I am told 
that the late Harvey Firestone was planning to establish just 
such an institution for the history of his firm and of the rubber 
industry as McCormick has set up in Chicago and placed in 
the competent charge of Herbert A. Kellar. The more archive- 
conscious our people become, the more such establishments 
there will be. 

A public interested in public archives will extend its interest 
to private archives. Have not many of us been consulted at one 
time or another on the disposition of the papers of some person 
deceased? We could imagine it might become a matter of rou- 
tine, that just as one consults the funeral director on the dispo- 
sition of a body, so one would consult an archivist on the dis- 
position of the papers. This kind of consultation is now given 
in innumerable cases by secretaries of historical societies and by 

Parallel to the development of a consciousness of the impor- 
tance of family papers, we should hope for an increased con- 
sciousness of the importance of business archives. Here also 
technical advice will be needed and should be available. No one 
should apply in vain to the archivists of this country if he wants 
to know what to preserve, what to destroy, how to deposit, 
and how to organize the documentation of family or business 

When I link the profession of archivist with that of the li- 
brarian, of the business counsellor, and of the funeral director, 
I see the outlines of a profession which must build up not only 
a high level of technical competence and a high standard of 
service, but a clear-cut ethic which can deal suitably with 
problems that arise in the protection of the privacy or secrecy 
of what ought to be private and secret, and the servicing of in- 
formation that ought to be publicly available. There are many 
fine points of practice to be defined. In some cases the archivist 
with his feeling for values to be realized in the very remote 
future may advise the sealing of the documents for very long 

268 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

periods; in other cases he may advise their destruction. His re- 
sponsibility toward American culture on the one hand, toward 
the families or organizations whose records are involved on 
the other, should in time come to be defined in a kind of a 
code, so that a duly certified archivist can claim the confidence 
of a client just as members of the medical or legal professions 
claim the confidence of their patients and clients, and just as 
journalists protect confidences as a part of the code of their 

For instance, there is the case of a scholar working in the 
field of literary history. Among the private papers of an Ameri- 
can author, he discovered coded letters. He cracked the code 
and found that these letters contained a record of a personal 
scandal which incidentally completely explained the origin of 
one of the most important literary works of this author. The 
scholar had been allowed to consult these papers through the 
courtesy of the author's family. When he made this discovery 
he was, of course, under an ethical obligation to suppress the 
truth that he had discovered so far as present publication was 
concerned; was he also under an obligation to inform the fam- 
ily of the compromising character of the documents he had 
discovered, knowing that these documents would then be de- 
stroyed by the family and a certain significant fact lost forever 
to American cultural history; or should he have returned the 
documents without explaining his discovery to the family, con- 
fident that the papers would then be preserved because of the 
ignorance of their contents; or should he have explained the 
documents to the family and endeavored to persuade them to 
preserve them under long-term seal? 

In developing archival policy in the field of business records, 
the archivist meets a professional enemy in the office manager. 
With office management he must reach a working agreement. 
According to a president of the Office Managers Association, 
one of the first things that an expert does when he comes into 
an old-fashioned office and begins to modernize it is to segre- 

Strategic Objectives in Archival Policy 269 

gate and destroy records not currently in use. In one case a 
roomful of files was found in a business firm. "What are these 
dead files doing here? Why don't you throw them out?" asked 
the expert. "Our legal department advises us that we must keep 
them," was the reply. "Well, get another opinion from your 
legal department and throw them out," said the office manager. 

It may be that microphotography will facilitate the archi- 
vist's work in that it will make possible the preservation of 
more records in less space, but certainly that will not be the 
whole answer. The archivist must interpret to a business client 
the value of business history in the formation of business policy, 
and compromise with the needs of office management by care- 
ful distinction between the destroyable and the preservable 

The archivist ought to be qualified and ought to be trusted 
to handle matters of this kind, and to function as a public re- 
lations counsel for the relations of the people of today with the 
historians of future centuries. 

The archival interest as the public comes to understand it 
must be broad enough to include family and business papers no 
less than public archives, but leadership lies in the public ar- 
chives field. At this particular moment we have come to a 
turning point in policy. Hitherto we have been principally 
worried becaues we knew so little about the state of our public 
records; now they are all being inventoried. The inventories, 
made with unprecedented thoroughness and accuracy by the 
thousands of workers in the Historical Records Survey, are 
describing a body of documentation equal in amount to the 
contents of our public libraries, and just as widely distributed 
through the country. With our knowledge of what we have, 
we can begin to study the question of how it is to be used. It 
would be a mistake to think that the use of our archives is 
merely to provide documentation which scholars can work into 
books. We must think of it also as a place in which teachers in 
our schools will read for interesting information to be used in 

270 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

their classes; we must think of it as a reference room in which 
whole classes of questions— such as the date of this, the cost of 
that— will normally come for answer. The Social Security Act 
has given rise to many very practical reference questions in 
connection with the claims of people who do not possess birth 

The public archives of a community can become a kind of 
local encyclopedia, and the public can be taught to use it. The 
people generally will then come to be shocked by the destruc- 
tion of records that ought to be preserved just as they are 
shocked by cruelty to animals and as they are coming to be 
shocked by cruelty to automobiles. Have we not seen a genera- 
tion growing up so sensitive to machinery that bearings burned 
out for lack of oil, or gears stripped through senseless handling, 
offend their sensibilities even though the car is not their own, 
just as their sensibilities were once offended by the teamster 
flogging his horse? Certainly there are many of us who already 
feel deeply concerning the destruction of unique and irre- 
placeable records, but that feeling is not yet sufficiently wide- 
spread to guarantee the adequate support of public archival 
activities, let alone the adequate preservation of business and 
family records. 

We must hasten that time, and to hasten it we must expand 
the public use of archives; and to expand the public use of 
archives we must do more than make inventories. We must 
classify, develop, and define archives for purposes of general 
use. What is the next step? I have already suggested it in set- 
ting the parallel between the archival system and the library 
system. The Ubraries are already collaborating with the schools; 
let them now enter into a three-cornered combination with 
the local public archives. Let us take the inventory of the pub- 
lic archives of some community which already enjoys good li- 
brary facilities; get a group of librarians who know the kind 
of question that the public brings to the library to help us in 

Strategic Objectives in Archival Policy 271 

defining and analyzing the kind of questions that the public 
might bring to the archives if the archives are ready to answer 
them. We will find that certain of our archival series are not 
adequately indexed for reference purposes; we may be able to 
get them indexed. We find that others to which the pubHc 
might wish to refer are housed in inaccessible cellars and attics; 
we may get them properly housed. When we have found by 
conferring with librarians what kinds of questions people 
would be interested in answering from archives, let us secure 
the cooperation of the libraries and the schools in informing 
the public of what they can find in their local public records. 

We might perhaps assume that our scholars who are engaged 
in research in the social studies and other fields are already fa- 
miliar with the wealth of archival material in this country, but 
I doubt that this is true at present, for the archival establish- 
ment, national and local, is a little too new to have had its effect 
on professional research. It is possible that the study of our 
archival resources in each of our research fields would lead to a 
diversion of much research energy from working with books 
to working with unpublished public records. At least this 
inquiry should be made and we should recognize the fact that 
American scholars generally have been far more extensively 
trained in the use of libraries than in the use of archives. It is 
quite possible that a whole new set of problems will come to 
the fore as research problems when the availability of archival 
resources is better understood. We might think that this matter 
could be left to the sociologists, the economists, or the histo- 
rians, and that theirs might be the initiative; but I think it 
would be wise to take the lead and to present the problem of 
the use of archives to the scholars of this country in the form 
of the very practical question: Which of these classes of 
archival materials, which of these specific series which our in- 
ventories exhibit, ought to be preserved for you and your pur- 
poses; and which would you be willing to see destroyed? It 

272 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

may be that only the experts in the different fields of research 
can answer these questions; on the other hand, only the archi- 
vists can ask them. 

I noted a case in Cleveland in which a graduate student was 
about to undertake a Httle research work on a problem of reUef 
policy. The task was organized just as the inventory of county 
records was completed. Of the fifteen hundred series of county 
records exhibited in the inventory, fifty series that he had not 
previously known about or planned to consult were found to 
have a bearing on his problem. 

I believe that a study of our problem from this standpoint 
may show that the traditions of the archival craft were defined 
in connection with the control of bodies of record so much 
slighter than those that now confront us that a new approach 
to the science may be necessary. The bulk of the records of 
the Hundred Years' War between France and England was 
probably equalled every day in the conduct of the World 

The new archival rules ought quite properly to evolve after 
clearing the questions of value, destruction, preservation, and 
control, with all interests. These interests include the public, 
whose needs can best be interpreted by the public library; the 
research scholars, who can interpret their own needs; and of 
course, the administrative users of the records, with whom 
there is already adequate consultation. 

Just as the public archives are the immediate center of atten- 
tion, so of the public archives those that are found throughout 
the country are the most important, for it is only through them 
that the whole public can be reached and taught. 

This means that above all else, the strategic objective of ar- 
chival policy at this time must be to work with the relief labor 
program to develop and improve local archives. The Historical 
Records Survey has amazed the scholars of America by the 
competence and thoroughness of its work. The kind of thing it 
is doing can be carried further. 

Strategic Objectives in Archival Policy 273 

I do not regard the use of relief labor as an emergency, as an 
occasion of the moment, but as a probable permanent feature 
of American cultural economy, intermittent, of course, but re- 
current in times of depression. And the natural and normal oc- 
cupation of the white-collar worker on work relief is with the 
archives, with the public records. 

For who is the white-collar worker? He is essentially the 
clerk. I mean by this the clerk in the historic sense, the descend- 
ant of those clerics whom Alcuin trained for Charlemagne in 
the free schools of Aix. He is the worker who works not with 
tools but with people and records. The old economy of medie- 
val Europe used him for this purpose, and modern business 
economy uses him in the same way. Instead of copying manu- 
scripts he copies invoices; instead of preaching sermons and 
hearing confession he sells refrigerators. But he is and will con- 
tinue to be an essential part of our population, and there is no 
advantage in trying to retrain him for nonclerical labor during 
a depression, for when employment rises, clerks are needed by 
private industry just as much as hand laborers are needed. 

The archivists are in a position now to plan for the recurrent 
use of quantities of labor that will help to make the archives 
useful to a wide public. This is one of the most important duties 
that faces archival science at the moment. It is a problem never 
posed before. 

Just as librarians promote the use of books, and as teachers 
defend before the public the value of education, so archivists 
have as a part of their duty to give stimulus and guidance to the 
use of archives, and to their use not by the few but by the 

The objective of archival policy in a democratic country 
cannot be the mere saving of paper; it must be nothing less 
than the enriching of the complete historical consciousness of 
the people as a whole. If we, as archivists, accept this as our 
problem and our duty, our profession will grow to be com- 
parable in cultural signficance with librarianship, teaching, and 

274 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

the professional research of scholarship. That time is a long way 
in the future, but, as I have suggested, the archivist is and 
ought to be concerned with the most distant futures, and less 
than any other professional man in the country can he afford 
to be hesitant in defining long-term objectives. 

Part III 


Europe Faces the Customs Union * 

The Austro-German customs union project has two mean- 
ings which tend to become confused with each other. On the 
one hand it is an episode in the long-drawn-out duel between 
France and Germany; on the other hand it offers a pattern to 
which Europe may or may not wish to conform in developing 
its economic system. 

Both French and German nationalists are chiefly interested 
in the political aspect of the proposal. The French see in it the 
threat of the Anschluss, the incorporation of Austria with 
Germany, or of its extension into the whole Danube territory 
to reconstruct a Mittel-europa. The German nationalists see it 
as a gesture of independence toward the victor states, which 
may lead to revision of the treaties. 

Europe has before it three other proposals of economic re- 
organization: the Economic Committee of the League is trying 
to secure a stabilization of tariffs, the Financial Committee is 
working on the problem of agricultural credits for eastern 
Europe, and the proposal for an economic Pan-Europe is being 
worked up on the principle that each state will regulate im- 
ports or exports under some kind of a quota system. Along 
with the proposals relating to tariffs, credits, and quotas, it is 
now necessary to take into account the idea of the customs 

* Reprinted by permission from The Virginia Quarterly Review^ 
July 1931. 


278 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

union. The economic significance of the Austro-German 
scheme must be measured by its relation to the other proposals 
which it offers to supplement or replace. What is there latent 
in the idea of a customs union, and how does it fit into the 
pattern of Europe's unfolding institutional development? 


In appraising the customs union of today the mind reaches 
back naturally to examine the customs union of a hundred years 
ago, created between 1829 and 1834 by Prussian statesmanship. 
It was the harbinger of a free-trade movement which captured 
England in the forties and France in the sixties, and of which 
the greatest triumph was the Cobden treaty between England 
and France in i860. It was in this period that the unconditional 
most-favored-nation clause became a customary addition to 
commercial treaties. It was in this period that the Declaration 
of Paris marked the high point of renunciation of belligerent 
rights against commerce in time of war. Free trade in Victorian 
politics became more than a commercial policy; it became an 
ethical system. As an ethical system it opposed itself to the 
idea of nationalist politics and war. 

The historians have never been quite clear in their interpre- 
tation of the free-trade movement of the mid-nineteenth cen- 
tury. On the one hand they have recognized its international 
impHcations, and on the other hand they have taught that it 
was an agency of national unification. They have taught that 
Prussian leadership in the Zollverein prepared the way for 
Prussian leadership in the reconstruction of Germany, forget- 
ting that in the critical war of 1866 Prussia's Zollverein col- 
leagues fought against her. They have taught that the railway 
age imposed upon the petty states of Germany and Italy a need 
for union, when the railway was, in fact, an indifferent instru- 
ment which could serve just as well to unite an Italian province 
to Austria as to join it to Piedmont. By looking at the tariff 
policies and doctrines of the mid-century through the glasses 

Europe Faces the Customs Union 279 

of the nationalist historians, we have become accustomed to 
think of customs union as the corollary or precursor of politi- 
cal union, when, in fact, it could more accurately be inter- 
preted as the expression of the opposite principle. 

The customs unions did not create unified national states; 
Germany and Italy were created by war, not by trade. The 
customs union, by satisfying the requirements of trade without 
going the length of political union, made political union less 
needful than it would otherwise have been. The antagonism 
between the principles of nationalism and war on the one hand, 
and free trade on the other, was confirmed when the new na- 
tionalist states adopted protective tariff policies within a few 
years of their establishment. 

The period of the protective tariffs began in the seventies 
and has continued down to the present time. In the first two 
decades of protectionism, tariff schedules were generally 
adopted in direct response to the pressure of agricultural or 
industrial interests, without much regard to the tariffs of other 
countries. Then came the era of bargaining tariffs. Schedules 
were boosted beyond the point which national interest de- 
manded in order to have a trading margin to be used in secur- 
ing concessions. The tariff treaties that became standard after 
this period were like inverted Cobden treaties; they were inter- 
national agreements to maintain protective rates rather than to 
get away from protection. Two kinds of bargaining policies 
were followed. Some powers adopted double schedules, a 
maximum rate for imports from states which would make no 
concessions, and a minimum rate for imports from states which 
would contract favorable commercial treaties. France uses this 
method. It leaves in the hands of the government complete 
control over all rates at all times. The alternative method is to 
establish a conventional tariff schedule, which binds a govern- 
ment not to change a particular rate during the life of an agree- 
ment. European tariff systems were constructed on this basis 
prior to the war. 

28o Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

Wilson struck at this system in the third of his Fourteen 
Points, in which he made it an American war aim to demand 
"the removal, so far as possible, of all economic barriers and the 
estabhshment of an equality of trade conditions among all the 
nations consenting to the peace and associating themselves for 
its maintenance." The idea in Wilson's mind was not alone his 
democratic predilection for free trade but also his opposition to 
the schemes for a postwar boycott of Germany, which had 
been developing in Allied circles. 

This point was elaborated in the memorandum which Lipp- 
mann and Cobb prepared for Colonel House at the time of the 
Armistice negotiations: 

The proposal applies only to those nations which accept the 
responsibilities of membership in the League of Nations. It means 
the destruction of all special commercial agreements, each nation 
putting the trade of every other nation in the League on the same 
basis, the most favored nation clause applying automatically to all 
members of the League of Nations. 

Thus a nation . . . could not discriminate as between its partners 
in the League. 

The only concrete result which emerged in the Peace Trea- 
ties from this point was the unilateral obligation imposed on the 
defeated powers to give most-favored-nation treatment to vic- 
tors. In 1920 an Economic and Financial Commission of the 
League of Nations was created as the heir of the Supreme Eco- 
nomic Council which had administered such things as blockade 
and famine relief during the transition from war to peace. In 
1927 the Economic Committee took up the thread of the free 
trade movement in the World Economic Conference of that 

In the meantime the tariff practices of the European states 
had gone from bad to worse. Europe with its twenty-four 
states and its fifty thousand miles of customs frontiers was re- 
peatedly advised to look across the Atlantic to admire the great 
republic whose vast area of unrestricted trade gave it a guaran- 

Europe Faces the Customs Union 281 

tee of perpetual prosperity. But the states of Europe obdurately 
continued their tariff policies, using the bargaining methods 
inherited from prewar days, but proceeding under far greater 
difficulties because of the narrowness of their economic bases 
and the general uncertainty which overhung them. All the new 
states had to pass through their currency inflation troubles, and 
only in 1927 were they sufficiently stabilized economically to 
begin to plan in more than hand-to-mouth terms. Under the 
leadership of the Economic Committee of the League they rec- 
ognized that their prosperity required that they should imitate 
the United States by having a broad and unrestricted market. 
While they found it impracticable to consider reducing their 
tariffs, they at least entertained the suggestion that they should 
stop raising them. This proposal resulted in the Tariff Truce 
Conference of 1929, which began its sessions at the very time 
when the American Congress was beginning its wholesale up- 
ward revision of the American schedules, and ended in Novem- 
ber, 1930, when it had been demonstrated to an incredulous 
world that the American economic colossus had feet of clay, 
and that even its continental trading area could not save it 
from industrial depression and misery. 

In the meantime, it had appeared that none of the European 
countries were willing to freeze their schedules at the level 
then existing. Some of their rates were bargaining rates not 
intended to be permanent, others were experimental and in- 
tended to be transitory. As a substitute measure it was then 
suggested that the powers should refrain for a time from de- 
nouncing existing treaties. Only those tariffs already fixed by 
treaty would be frozen in place. This could be the starting 
point of stabilization, and the first step toward a truce and a 
general policy of reduction. An agreement in this sense was 
drafted in November, 1930, to go into effect in April, 193 1, but 
failed of sufficient ratification. Upon the announcement of this 
failure, the German- Austrian customs union project was noti- 
fied to the world. 

282 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 


Under the terms of this proposed treaty Germany and Aus- 
tria undertake to adopt a common tariff and to abolish the 
customs line on their common frontier, and to share the rev- 
enue produced by the tariff levied on all goods entering the 
union from outside. It is exactly the same arrangement as that 
established in the 1830's, and in exactly the same way it is far 
from implying the assimilation of Austria by Germany. If it 
does result in annexation to Germany, this result will follow, 
not from the customs union itself, but from the nationalist 
sentiment which favors equally both customs union and An- 
schluss. To the extent that it tends toward political assimilation, 
the idea of customs union loses its significance as a general 
remedy for European ills. It leaves European economy exactly 
as it finds it except for the few million people of Austria who 
are directly affected. 

The economic program for Europe which is inherent in the 
customs union idea is contained in that article of the project 
which invites the adherence of other states to the convention 
which Germany and Austria have signed. This article points 
toward the formation of a Danubian customs union. The 
Austro-German area is principally industrial, the lower Dan- 
ubian countries chiefly agrarian. The farmers of Rumania, 
Bulgaria, Hungary, and Yugoslavia are in need of privileged 
markets where they will not have to compete against Russian, 
American, and Argentine wheat growers. They have more to 
gain than Austria herself from a customs union with Germany, 
for Austria is uniting with a competitor, while all the lower 
Danube countries would be uniting with a customer. While 
economic interest would draw them toward such a union, po- 
litical interest would restrain them, for they have organized 
their international relations on the basis of French hegemony. 
And the creation of such a Mittel-europa would not only deal 
a death blow to French leadership, but would also put an end 

Europe Faces the Customs Union 283 

to any more general plans for European economic cooperation. 
France, for instance, could never enter it, not only for reasons 
of national sentiment, but also because such action would de- 
stroy the marvelous equilibrium of her economic system. 


The chief alternative to the idea of customs union is the 
principle of controlled importation and exportation. Tariffs are 
only one of the ways in which countries can control the flow 
of goods. A method of limiting and controlling export and 
import of goods was worked out before the war in thirty or 
forty industries which organized international cartels. These 
cartels worked without government cooperation, or even 
against government opposition. Their object was to stabilize 
industry by restricting competition and preventing overpro- 
duction. They would farm out export markets among a num- 
ber of producing nations, and sometimes centralize all orders 
in a central sales agency. 

The stress of war administration forced the governments into 
a similar effort to control production and to distribute quotas 
of goods among the different nations which required them. The 
Allies built up huge purchasing agencies which handled the in- 
terests of the consuming countries as the prewar cartels had 
handled the interests of the producing firms. In postwar days 
the principle of the cartel and of government control of export 
was made the subject of several experiments, notably the Coffee 
Valorization Plan in Brazil and the Stephenson Plan for con- 
trolling the rubber market. Both these schemes were piratical 
in nature, because they aimed at stabilization of profiteering 
prices. Another application of the principle occurred in the 
French and Luxemburg steel industry. The Treaty of Versailles 
provided that a certain quota of steel from these regions should 
be allowed free exportation into Germany for five years, to 
give the industry a chance to accommodate itself to the separa- 
tion from the German customs system. At the expiration of 

284 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

these five years the steel men of the three countries worked out 
among themselves a rationing agreement which virtually con- 
tinued the right of the French and Luxemburg steel to enjoy a 
share of the German market. This private arrangement was 
then confirmed in a Franco-German commercial treaty. The 
most recent and the most extensive arrangement of this nature 
is the Chadbourne sugar control plan, under which seven sugar- 
exporting countries will aid in stabilizing market conditions by 
controlling the volume of exports on a quota basis. The United 
States and Canada have both been pressed by their farming 
population into efforts to stabilize agricultural prices by under- 
taking the role of an exalted middleman, with the result that 
the decision to give or withhold wheat from the world market 
has become a matter of government policy. So far as present 
dispatches indicate, Briand's economic program for Pan-Europe 
will be in line with this economic trend. The industrial coun- 
tries of Europe will offer to the agricultural countries a privi- 
leged market for a certain quota of food, in exchange for which 
the agricultural countries will receive a proportionate quota of 
manufactured goods. The quotas will be set at such a level that 
the new industries in eastern Europe will be able to survive 
the competition of the west, and the western farmer to hold his 
own against the eastern peasantry. This will involve a continu- 
ous intervention by the state in all economic affairs. It is a step 
that goes further from the doctrine of liberalism and laissez 
faire than the protective tariff at its worst. Therefore the issue 
of Mittel-europa versus Pan-Europe is not merely the issue of 
French versus German leadership, but also the issue of old- 
fashioned liberalism in economics as against modern state 

From this standpoint the most significant quality of the 
Mittel-europa customs union as a pattern for general European 
adoption is the element of political abdication which it con- 

Europe Faces the Customs Union 285 

tains. To create a great area of free trade over the territories of 
a number of independent states would be to leave the govern- 
ments helpless in the presence of the great international cor- 
porations. A European customs union at its best would still 
differ from the American union in that there would be no gen- 
eral government to control the great corporations operating in 
the, area. The great modern super-corporation did not exist in 
the days when free trade was the pinnacle of enlightened state- 
craft. The free-trade age did not have the problem of "ration- 
alization" and control which the modern corporation and cartel 
seek to solve. In the fifties and sixties the limited liability com- 
pany as a form of ownership had just begun to enter the indus- 
trial field; its potentialities were unknown. The sufficient ob- 
ject of all industrial enterprise was then production rather than 
discipline, progress rather than stabilization. The principle of 
the customs union is in contradiction with the modem trend 
because it is a step toward greater anarchy in production. It is 
based upon an analogy doubly false— an analogy with the pro- 
ductive conditions of Europe in the middle of the nineteenth 
century and with the political conditions of the United States 
today. Since the depression came to America, it ceased to be 
possible to regard the principle of the customs union as a 
panacea for Europe's economic ills. The need is rather for more 
enlightened cooperation of government and business in the 
field of planning. This is the road along which Briand seeks 
to go, while the Germans and Austrians are moving in the 
opposite direction. 


The Twentieth Century Looks at 
Human Nature ^ 

To the ancient riddle, "What is man?" each age returns its 
own reply. Could we but determine, in all its rich implica- 
tions, the answer that this age will give to the eternal riddle, 
we would have in our hands a thread to guide us through the 
labyrinth of contemporary culture. Perhaps we may find that 
no small part of the apparent incoherence of things is the 
result of our effort to believe and apply certain great secular 
dogmas— those of democracy, capitalism, or socialism, for in- 
stance—when we no longer accept the views of human nature 
that go with them. 

What is the western world's conception of human nature? 
Dig down deep enough and at bottom it is Christian. There 
will not be found in it, for instance, the Hindu species of soul 
which flits from life to life toward an extinction of personality. 
The Christian individual human life is a unique thing with 
eternal values attaching to it. Upon this deep Christian founda- 
tion two swirling torrents of thought, of the age of Rousseau 
and of the age of Darwin, have laid down their successive 
strata. The human nature of the age of Rousseau operated 
under laws of absolute morality and reason between the poles 
of good and evil, truth and falsehood. The human nature of 

•Reprinted by permission from The Virginia Quarterly Review^ 
July 1934. 


The Twentieth Century Looks at Human Nature 287 

the age of Darwin was only a special kind of cause in a uni- 
verse of change and movement whereof each moment was 
linked to the next in an iron chain of cause and effect, so 
that man operated between the poles of success and failure as 
an economic automaton in the world of production or as a 
mammal in the world of nature. Down in those cultural strata, 
in the writings of the eighteenth-century philosophes or the 
nineteenth-century economists, these views of human nature 
are to be found worked into designs of marvelous beauty and 
intricacy. In the age of Rousseau there was the dogma of 
democracy and the cult of humanity, in the age of Darwin the 
dogma of socialism and the cult of nationalism. These were 
indeed great creations. To know them is to admire them. But 
are they living beings in the contemporary world, or only 
fossil forms? 

If, after making due allowance for the fact that cultural 
eras are not sharply cut off from each other, and that they 
are always much greater and more complex than any name we 
can give them, it is permissible to speak of an Age of Rousseau 
in the eighteenth century and an Age of Darwin in the nine- 
teenth, then with somewhat less assurance we can perceive 
in the twentieth century an Age of Freud. It could not be 
claimed that Freud's personal contribution to learning is so 
great that it towers over all else, but it is certain that he has been 
both typical and influential, like Rousseau. He typifies the wide- 
spread effort to look more deeply into the inner processes of 
human behavior. This effort is a cultural fact as far-reaching 
and conclusive for this generation as the political philosophy 
that preceded the French Revolution or the Victorian constel- 
lation of economic and scientific ideas were for their respective 
times. The vogue of Freud and of the intelligence test has been 
an illustrative episode in a great adventure in the understanding 
of human nature. The other episodes are taking place on a wide 
front that stretches from the economics of advertising to the 
politics of the Nazis, from the new prose to the New Deal. 

288 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

The effective thought of the day is now wilUng to proceed 
on the hypothesis that reason is not the master of human con- 
duct but a petty valet coming afterward to tidy up, explain, 
and justify. Our generation is willing to admit that the distinc- 
tion between "good" and "bad" in people may be a super- 
ficial distinction, if in the depths of the psyche these qualities 
are ambivalent: the vice crusader and the libertine are draw- 
ing their energies from the same deep spring. Whereas the 
economists taught that man is a being who buys in the cheapest 
market and sells in the dearest, we have come to realize that 
in the presence of choices that most profoundly determine 
his fate— the choice, for instance, between war and peace- 
he will sell in the cheapest market, and buy in the dearest. We 
insist that all the biographies be rewritten in new terms, and 
all the old human situations be described anew, not because 
of a mere passing fad for psychological novelties, but because 
the older expositions are no longer convincing. 

How does a particular conception of human nature, be it the 
eighteenth-century moral-rational, the nineteenth-century me- 
chanical-causal, or the twentieth-century psychological, per- 
meate the intellectual and practical problems of its time? The 
process can be illustrated from eighteenth-century experience. 
There was then no universal agreement that mankind was 
good, or that reason was the key to truth. These were the 
questions upon which disputants took sides. The agreement 
was only the implied and unexpressed consensus that the im- 
portant thing about humanity was its goodness or badness, its 
ability or inability to know truth through reason. The debate 
over these issues formed the intellectual lines behind which 
the great vested interests of the day entrenched themselves 
for the battle of the French Revolution. The Church held that 
man was naturally bad, and in need of the sacraments for his 
salvation. The theologians argued that reason could not know 

The Twentieth Century Looks at Human Nature 289 

the truth without the aid of revelation. The philosophes re- 
plied that man was naturally virtuous unless corrupted by so- 
ciety, that his mind was open to the persuasions of reason, 
and that reason would light him all the way to eternal truth. 

The prevailing conceptions of human nature determined 
many of the speculative preoccupations of the most exalted 
intellects. The theologians, believing in God and sin and dis- 
trusting unaided reason, faced certain characteristic meta- 
physical entanglements: how could a good and omnipotent 
God permit the existence of evil in the world? This was the 
Problem of Evil. It was sometimes solved by the assertion that 
the world was as good as possible, "the best of all possible 
worlds." Another question: how could mere man force the 
hand of God and by his own efforts compel God to accord 
him salvation? This was called the Problem of Free Will and 
Grace. The philosophers had other difficulties, chief among 
which was the one they called the Problem of Knowledge. 
How could man know the truth through the agency of reason 
if the objects of knowledge lay in the realm of things while 
reason itself dealt only in ideas? These problems fed the 
minds of thinkers from John Locke to Immanuel Kant, and 
from the Jansenists of Port Royal to Voltaire. 

In practical application the philosophers' view of human 
nature became the dogma of democracy. Man's competence to 
govern himself was a corollary of his natural virtue and en- 
dowment of reason. The law of nature therefore indicated 
the people as their own natural sovereign; any other au- 
thority over them was either unnecessary or evil. Since the 
people were both good and wise, to thwart them would be 
wickedness and folly. Rousseau's "citizen" was a romantic 
idealization of man, whose actions accorded always with rea- 
son, whose desires were directed constantly toward the general 
good. For such citizens the device of an election was a means 
of discovering the general good, of pooling the total intelligence 
of the community; it was not intended to be a war of hostile 

290 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

interests waged with paper weapons. The leaders of that day- 
dared to write freedom of speech and press boldly in the pro- 
gram of democracy because they were confident that truth 
would conquer error in a free contest before the tribunal of 
reason. Even those who opposed the democratic dogma merely 
reversed the postulates, arguing that virtue and reason were 
a monopoly of the few rather than the heritage of all. 

The prestige of reason contributed to the practice of formu- 
lating all political attitudes in terms of jurisprudence. Political 
controversialists concerned themselves more with the principles 
of government than with its mechanics, more with legislation 
than with administration. When Napoleon set up his operations 
in terms of administrative mechanics, the transition to nine- 
teenth-century practical politics began. Soon afterwards the 
Continent learned with some surprise the mechanical secret of 
British "liberty," namely, the neat device by which a ministry 
would automatically go out of office when it ceased to com- 
mand a majority of votes in Parliament. The objective of the 
revolutions of 1830 was not so much democracy or popular 
sovereignty as the introduction on the Continent of the Eng- 
lish cabinet system. Jeremy Bentham began to write constitu- 
tions for young Latin-American states, convinced that if the 
political machine were correctly set up it would run perfectly. 
Then came the Second Empire in France, making a mockery 
of the democratic dogma by setting up a popular dictatorship, 
a tyranny with the consent of the people. Those who still 
clung to the eighteenth-century conceptions were compelled 
to explain away the Second Empire by closing their eyes to the 
fact that Napoleon III was endorsed by the overwhelming 
majority of his nation. In the same way the twentieth-century 
dictatorships are sometimes explained away by people who 
try to believe that the great masses of Germans do not "really" 
approve of Hitler, and that the overwhelming majority of 
Italians do not "wilHngly" follow Mussolini. 

The Twentieth Century Looks at Human Nature 291 


In the nineteenth century, even while democratic institu- 
tions were making great conquests, the intellectual atmosphere 
became inhospitable to those assumptions regarding human na- 
ture in which the dogma of democracy had been bom. The 
reaction against the eighteenth century took place on a wide 
front. Experimental science captured the prestige that had 
once belonged to philosophy, mechanical invention changed 
man's material environment, and the idea of evolution came 
to govern thinking as the conception of reason had once domi- 
nated it. The great social dogmas established in this age were 
those of capitalism, socialism, and nationalism. These dogmas 
still carry with them the odor of the nineteenth century wher- 
ever they go. 

Science, invention, evolution appeared at the threshold of 
the century as isolated elements of culture, but by the middle 
of the century they had been synthesized. Hegel, the great 
philosopher of the eighteen-twenties, developed a universal 
metaphysic of evolution, but he was not a scientist. The first 
inventions that had such a profound effect upon economic life 
were the products not of the scientific laboratory but of the 
artisan's workshop. And science itself, in the year 1800, was 
not drawn together in a great system, but consisted rather of a 
number of almost unrelated studies of natural phenomena. 

But in the middle of the century the physical sciences drew 
together their fifty years' cumulation of experimental data in 
a great mechanical synthesis, and Darwin came forward with a 
scientific rather than metaphysical application of the principle 
of evolution, offering a mechanical explanation of the develop- 
ment and course of life itself. At the same time the scientists 
began to be useful; in chemistry and electricity they con- 
tributed to the world of mechanical invention. The prestige of 
facts increased at the expense of ideas and principles; the pat- 
terns of mechanics overshadowed those of pure logic. Social 

292 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

thinkers shared the prevaihng prejudice in favor of tangible 
reahties. John Stuart Mill wrote an inductive logic; Karl Marx 
presented a materialistic interpretation of history. The beauti- 
ful mechanics of the free market and the gold standard charmed 
every observer of economic life. Society seemed to be a 
machine equipped with automatic controls. The high objectives 
of eighteenth-century philosophy were dismissed by Herbert 
Spencer, philosopher of evolution, into the limbo of the un- 
knowable. The "natural law" of the nineteenth century (un- 
like its predecessor of the eighteenth century) became some- 
thing purely mechanical, quite unrelated to human jurispru- 

What kind of humanity inhabited this mechanical cosmos? 
Instead of the citizen of Rousseau's politics there appeared the 
"individual" of economic doctrine; in the place of the sov- 
ereign people of the French Revolution, the proletarian masses 
of Marx. It was a new human race, occupying a new universe. 

Virtue in nineteenth-century man appeared as an incidental 
or accidental quality. Success and survival were the essentials. 
The economic individual was primarily productive or un- 
productive, and only incidentally good or bad. Self-interest 
rather than virtue furnished the motive force of the economic 
machine. This was a view accepted alike by capitalists and 
socialist theorists. Capitalist economics looked upon the in- 
dividual entrepreneur, socialist economics upon the embattled 
class, as the decisive agency in economic action. Both doctrines 
agreed in their vision of an underlying compulsion, either by 
the pressure of the immutable laws of competition upon the 
individual businessman, or by the opposition of irreconcilable 
classes in unavoidable conflict. The Darwinian theory of 
struggle for existence confirmed what the pre-Darwinian 
economists had already outlined. 

When the pattern of Darwinism was applied to the situation 
of international relations an even more complete repudiation 
of moral principle took place. Survival of the fittest was a doc- 

The Twentieth Century Looks at Human Nature 293 

trine of anarchy which made stable international life impossible. 
Neither Thrasymachus nor Machiavelli had possessed such 
potent doctrinal weapons for the defense of political im- 
morality. And morality itself was worn down by the sociolo- 
gists and anthropologists until it appeared as a mere cultural 
accident, valid for its time and place but for no more. Not 
hypocrisy, but a stupendous power of intellectual digestion, 
made it possible for the age to accept all this and still believe 
in God. 

Symptomatic of the nineteenth-century view of human 
nature was the metaphysical problem of Free Will and Me- 
chanical Determinism, which began to compel attention when 
the problem of Free Will and Grace had dropped out of sight. 
This metaphysical dilemma has left deep traces in contempo- 
rary socialist dogma. In the dialectics of Marxism it has always 
been difficult to hold the balance between the two sides of a 
theory that proclaims at once the inevitable coming of the revo- 
lution and the duty of leadership and agitation. It was precisely 
upon this issue that Lenin took his stand in the decisive pro- 
grammatic document "What Is to be Done?" which marked 
the beginning of his leadership. It is in terms of this dilemma 
that Trotsky has just analyzed the November Revolution. 
Economic issues in the capitalist thought-world clothe them- 
selves in similar guise, for they take form as assertions and 
denials of the possibility of effective intervention to control the 
economic machine. 

The nineteenth century did not succeed in reconciling the 
experience of individual freedom with the dogmas of mecha- 
nistic science. How could man exercise freedom in a universe 
knit through and through by complete relationships of cause 
and effect? Was the criminal to be blamed for his crime if the 
crime is the product of heredity and environment? How could 
leadership intervene to deflect, retard, or accelerate a process 
moving inevitably by its own momentum? 

As the tantalizing dilemma of Free Will and Natural Causa- 

294 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

tion, in all its personal and social implications, worked its way 
through popular thought until it found a place even in the 
armory of the village atheist, it became apparent that the cen- 
tury that had tried to make its whole political and economic 
system a tabernacle of freedom had ended by doubting whether 
freedom was possible at all. 


The twentieth century turned to psychology from the 
pressure of necessity. The Order of Nature so copiously illus- 
trated and exhibited in nineteenth-century thought was no 
longer offering adequately comprehensive and significant cer- 
tainties. Cumulative specialization among the scientists broke 
into fragments that marvelous mid- Victorian synthesis, and 
ended the real popularization of authentic science. Not since 
the days of Herbert Spencer, Clerk-Maxwell, Lord Kelvin, and 
the ninth edition of the Encyclopaedia Britanmca has it seemed 
feasible for scientists to take the cultivated layman fully into 
their confidence. Fewer and fewer have become the proclaimed 
truths of science that can be made evident to the ordinary intel- 
ligent man by demonstrations that touch his sense of fact. 
And among the scientists themselves the sector of the horizon 
of knowledge that lies within the field of vision of any one 
of them becomes pitifully smaller with the passing of each 
decade. As the science of the nineteenth century took on 
more and more the aspect of a fragmentary and inconclusive 
faith, the time came to seek elsewhere for unity and synthesis. 
Perhaps it could be found in the depths and mystery of human 

The psychologists participated in this change of front, al- 
though they had not brought it about. In general they kept 
step with their time. In the eighteenth century they had been 
philosophical; in the nineteenth century they tried to be 
scientific. They began the century with phrenology and asso- 
ciation of ideas, and ended it with laboratory measurement 

The Twentieth Century Looks at Human Nature 295 

of sensations. The urge to go more deeply into the study of 
personality was felt in literature before it touched the pro- 
fessors of psychology. And when Freud and James stepped 
with Henri Bergson across the threshold of the nineteen- 
hundreds they were accompanied by two strange guests from 
other centuries, St. Thomas Aquinas and Immanuel Kant. 
These champions of thought undertook, each in his own way, 
to restore a man-centered, rather than to enlarge a thing-cen- 
tered, universe. The revolt against materialistic science was 
under way. It was under these circumstances that the vogue 
of the new psychology began. 

Before long it became apparent that the world of the nine- 
teenth century was dead. Its monstrous tangibilities had been 
dissolved. A new physics and a modern art redefined space to 
suit a new fancy. The additive simplicities of inductive logic 
were superseded by the logic of probability. The crudities of 
historical materialism yielded to more mystical creations such 
as those of Spengler. In the economic world the corporations 
replaced the individual as owner; functions replaced com- 
modities as the principal objects of value; paper securities suc- 
ceeded tangible property as the most common form of wealth; 
bank credit assumed the duties once performed by hard coin 
and visible paper currency; and of the arts of the market place 
those which, like market analysis and advertising, lay in the field 
of applied psychology became preeminent. In politics the propa- 
ganda of the World War era revealed the range and importance 
of political techniques that were not nineteenth-century blood 
and iron, nor yet eighteenth-century jurisprudence. To these 
techniques postwar nationalism and communism have given 
further development, sound film and radio further equipment. 
In the new politics myths supersede facts; they become a neces- 
sity. Symbol and ritual, black shirt and red flag, song and 
color— these and not the ballot are the vehicles of political 
activity. The historians are scurrying to study public opinion 
in past politics, the social scientists are undertaking research 

296 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

in pressure groups and propaganda, and it becomes increasingly 
evident that contemporary culture demands of the educated 
man some familiarity with the postulates of psychology. 

How can such a thing as the nazi movement be understood 
without psychiatric knowledge? To appraise the movement by 
judging that Hitler or his followers are good or bad people, 
or even by estimating how far they succeed or fail in obtaining 
a German national interest, is to misstate the whole problem. 
To subject their race doctrine to objective analysis for truth 
or falsity is like calling in an interior decorator to decide 
whether red, white, and blue are the colors that go together 
in the national flag. The evidence on the Reichstag fire may 
be ambiguous, but what of it? The nazi account of the fire has 
been elevated to a state myth and is no longer subject to the 
canons of historical evidence as a mere historical event. The 
nazi movement must be understood in terms of psychology or 
not at all. 

Not only in understanding the great social movements of 
the day do we resort to these forms of thought. We require 
them and make use of them in understanding our fellow men. 
We can no longer make much use of the assumption that 
these creatures are created equal in the eighteenth-century 
sense, endowed with a common heritage of reason, and en- 
gaged equally in the pursuit of happiness. This was good 
enough as a canon of jurisprudence, but it is useless as a prin- 
ciple of vocational guidance. Differences rather than equalities 
in endowment and sensitivity, in aptitude and character, now 
seem to be a better starting point for social policies. The fiction 
of equality is useless when the concrete problem is that of 
adjustment of individuals to society. Moreover, we are dis- 
satisfied with the nineteenth-century generalization that man 
sinks all his qualities in a dominating urge to acquire and sur- 
vive. Time was when we expected nothing else of our neigh- 
bors and demanded nothing more of ourselves. According to 
our fortunes in this common activity we became rich or poor, 

The Twentieth Century Looks at Human Nature 297 

bourgeois or proletarian. But when the authors of Middletown 
made a first-hand analysis of the stratification of the people, 
they drew the line not between rich and poor but between the 
business class and the working class, even though some of 
the working class were better off than some of the business 
class. The difference they found was one of outlook— in other 
words, it was psychological. And there are many more of 
these significant classifications with which we become familiar. 
We classify ourselves as introverts or extroverts. We belong 
to the "sensual," "heroic," or "contemplative" types. In the 
learned tomes of Kretschmer, Spranger, Adler, and Jung, in 
the practice of personnel departments and vocational guidance 
bureaus, in the revised attitudes toward marriage situations 
that are taught in the colleges, it is evident that the twentieth 
century hypothesizes in human nature complexities that the 
nineteenth century ignored. 

In the nineteen-twenties psychology aroused great public 
interest as a new popular science. Freud and Watson reigned 
over a million tea tables. The liberation of women from the 
restraints of certain conventions took place in an atmosphere 
that reeked with the language of psychology, as the atmosphere 
of the French Revolution reeked with the language of Reason 
and Natural Laws. This interest has in some measure abated, 
but the steady encroachment of the psychological techniques 
in practical life goes on. The magazines carry few articles 
on Freud— but look at their advertising columns. Compare the 
soap advertisement of the eighteen-eighties— a child and a 
Newfoundland dog on a rocky shore with a bar of soap and a 
life buoy— with the provocative theme of the contemporary 
appeal. There is now less popular writing on psychology than 
there was in the twenties but there is more fundamental re- 
search. The women's clubs turn from Freud to politics, but 
the institutes of human relations, of child guidance, of euthenics 
go right on. 

298 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

As the psychological conception of human nature develops 
before our eyes we can see rising over the horizon the great 
issues that will define themselves in its terms. These oncoming 
problems arise in the marriage and family system, in the con- 
trol of culture by society, and in the relation of different cul- 
tures to each other. 

The family, as the sociologists have been preaching, is now 
shorn of so many of its older functions— religious, economic, 
protective, educational— that its chief remaining service is to 
the human need for affection and personal response. This is 
a psychological need. The spread of contraception has increased 
the incidence of the psychological element in marriage at the 
expense of the biological. The modern state cannot avoid the 
issues raised by the social control of culture. The fascists, com- 
munists, and nazis undertake to monopolize the entire life and 
soul of the people. Capitalist society seeks to bring its produc- 
tion and distribution fully into mesh and then has before 
it the problem of leisure. When there is bread enough to feed 
all of man that Darwin could explain, the time comes to nourish 
the much more complex man that psychology depicts. The 
state that abandons liberal principles of government sets up a 
ministry of propaganda. The state that tries to retain liberal 
institutions in the presence of modern propaganda techniques 
faces the difficult problem of preventing the irresponsible 
manipulation of public opinion without sacrificing freedom of 
thought. These are some of the internal aspects of the problem 
of culture control. Externally there are the questions involved 
in the contact and interpenetration of the great old civiHzations, 
Indian and Chinese, with the Western, and in the relations of 
communist, nationalist, and liberal societies among themselves. 

The contact of Western with Eastern cultures has hitherto 
been confined to superficial borrowings. Now it is going 
deeper. Nineteenth-century Europe with its naive sense of 

The Twentieth Century Looks at Human Nature 299 

superiority was no nearer than Marco Polo to an understand- 
ing of China and India. Missionary and trader went out; 
traveler's tale and objet d^art came back. This was the level of 
cultural contact so far as the West was concerned. The impact 
upon the East was greater. India received a ruling class; China 
obtained in the course of foreign trade opium, Asiatic cholera, 
manufactured goods, and finally railways and factories. The 
disturbance created by this contact is now propagating itself 
as a great cultural crisis throughout the East. The twentieth 
century must decide whether a syncretism of these cultures 
with Occidental civilization is to take place, and if so, upon 
what terms. 

It is not impossible that the tables may be turned upon the 
West. The technological preeminence of the Western nations 
may be lost in the next half century, as that of the British 
Isles was lost in the last, through the mere dispersion of 
machinery throughout the world. The differences of culture 
will then stand out nakedly at the level of social psychology; 
they will be differences in what men are, not in what they 
have. If it should happen that passive resistance should succeed 
as a tactic in India, and Bismarckian methods fail in Manchuria, 
the postulates of Occidental politics will stand discredited by 
Asiatic experience. If there should then come about a crumbling 
of Western self-confidence, a loss of morale in the presence of 
a culture exhibiting superiorities at the psychological level, the 
time will have arrived to balance the books of civilization by 
subjecting the West in its turn to revolutionary internal pres- 
sures arising out of contacts with the East. That will be a 
crisis to challenge our understanding of human personality! 
If the century should keep free from tensions arising out 
of the contact of East and West, it will still be confronted 
with the more recent nationalist and communist-capitalist 
schisms in the West itself. The divisions cut through Western 
culture by the nationalisms that culminated in the nineteenth 
century were trivial compared with those of today. Those 

300 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

differences were largely matters of language, literature and 
history; these are of world-outlook. A communist can easily 
surmount the language barrier separating him from a fellow 
communist, but his mind cannot meet in any language the mind 
of the fascist or liberal. The theme of the last free editorial of 
the doomed Frankfurter Zeitungj organ of German liberalism, 
before it was crushed by the nazis, was not the brown-shirt 
atrocities or the rape of the constitution, but the greater 
tragedy: "It has come at last to this, that Germans no longer 
understand one another." 

The twentieth century faces the possibility that this may 
become true of the world in general. The improvement in 
means of communication (and hence of propaganda) may re- 
sult, not in closing the cultural chasms between groups of men, 
but in digging them deeper, till the age meets the ironic fate 
that its ability to communicate has resulted in an inability to 
understand. This is on the plane of social psychology. In in- 
dividual psychology there may be equivalent ironies in store 
for us. The knowledge of human nature that psychology 
brings into the relationship of marriage and family life may 
introduce there more difficulties than it disposes of. But it is 
now too late to draw back; we are rehearsing once more the 
fable of the Garden of Eden, and have bitten into the apple 
from the fatal tree. 


An Anatomy of Revolution 

When friends and enemies of the Roosevelt administration 
united in calling it revolutionary, the word revolution entered 
the vocabulary of American politics in a new way, for which 
no adequate preparation has yet been made. However hard 
the political campaign speeches may strain at parallels, they 
cannot successfully portray contemporary America as a mirror 
of Soviet Russia or Fascist Italy. The epithet "Tory" fails to 
establish a resemblance of present events to those of 1776. If the 
New Deal is a revolution, it belongs to a species hitherto un- 
noted by the American political observer, who might profitably 
extend his catalogue of types to include some specimens of the 
less familiar varieties. 

The idea of revolution comes to us as a political conception 
from the Greek experience in city government, where it was 
associated with the turning of the wheel of fortune, which 
brought one party up and sent another down. The nineteenth 
century, with the example of the French Revolution so mani- 
festly before it, used the word to describe great institutional 
changes. Moreover, in connection with a Darwinian thought- 
pattern we have come to use the word to designate a certain 
tempo of change: revolution is rapid, evolution is slow. 

* Reprinted by permission from The Virginia Quarterly Review, 
October 1934. 


302 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

We expect to find all three of these elements in a revolution: 
displacement of power, important institutional changes, and a 
tempo of crisis. How far does the Roosevelt administration 
show these characteristics? How great is the real displacement 
of power in America, and how profound the institutional 
change? Has the change been as sudden as it seems, or have we 
merely come to see that gradual and continuous developments 
are now approaching a configuration that we had not previ- 
ously happened to notice? 

We are still willing to call a change a revolution though it 
lack some of these elements, and the Roosevelt revolution may 
be of such a class. The industrial revolution, for instance, in- 
volved a displacement of power, but took place gradually; the 
average Latin- American revolution is a sudden and violent dis- 
placement, but is not accompanied by important institutional 
changes. That it is also possible to have a revolution without 
any displacement of power is illustrated in the history of the 
Prankish kingdom of the eighth century. 

The school books used to tell the story of the long-haired 
Merovingian kings of the Franks who in some way became 
"weak," and ceased to rule actively. They were the "do-noth- 
ing" kings. The mayors of the palace, on the contrary, exhibited 
strong masculine characteristics, and revelled in activity. So it 
came about that Pepin the Short, mayor of the palace and 
father of Charlemagne, with the approval of the Pope, dis- 
placed the Merovingian line and set himself up as king of the 
Franks. It used to be implied that there was nothing in this in- 
teresting episode that could not have been prevented by feed- 
ing the Merovingian kings more spinach and cod liver oil. 

There is another way of understanding the story. The Prank- 
ish kingdom of that day was a backwoods area in which the 
principal form of property was land; there were few cities and 
very little money economy. In this area a Germanic tribal king 
had fallen heir to the relics of a Roman administrative appa- 
ratus which he did not understand, and made an alliance with 

A71 Anatomy of Revolution 303 

the Church, which served him as a broker in his relations with 
God, demons, and people. 

Whether because of the absence of an adequate political 
training, or because the decHne of the cities rendered govern- 
ment of the Roman type impossible, it came about that the 
Prankish kings could no longer protect life and property in 
their realm. Then there developed, partly out of the old Prank- 
ish institution of mainbour, or sworn companionship, and partly 
out of the relics of Roman landholding institutions, a system 
that came to constitute a secondary government parallel to the 
Prankish state. This extensive mainbour system bore a certain 
resemblance to the structures of modern racketeering or ma- 
chine politics. The little man who needed protection would get 
it by becoming the pledged follower of a magnate who would 
accept him. He might surrender his land to the leader, receiving 
it back on dependent terms corresponding to his pledged al- 
legiance. The protector could procure from the king a royal 
letter of immunity exempting him from royal jurisdiction. 

The system lent itself like the corporate organization of mod- 
em business to the creation of widely ramified mergers. The 
family that succeeded in becoming the head of the most exten- 
sive combination of all— a kind of consohdated land trust in- 
corporating all the chief magnates of the kingdom with their 
followings— was the family of Pepin of Heristal, whose family 
fortune had been built up by marriage and by graft in the serv- 
ice of the king. His place was analogous to that which might 
have come to the House of Morgan if the elder Morgan had 
been able to carry out the plans of trust formation attributed 
to him, while adding the resources of a political boss and gang- 
ster chief to his repertory. 

Prom such a strong position, the mayor of the palace was 
naturally tempted to strike for the crown. One of them tried it, 
but failed because the superstitious reverence of the Pranks for 
the Merovingian line made it seem to them impossible that a 
member of another family could occupy the throne. Seven hun- 

304 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

dred years before this time the keen Roman observer, Tacitus, 
had noted that the Germanic tribal kings were always chosen 
from the blood royal. A king of the authentic blood seemed 
a necessity, if for no other reason than for the sake of the cal- 
endar, in order that the year might be dated correctly from his 
reign. This reverence for past traditions was good enough in 
ordinary times, but in 732 came a crisis in the kingdom— the 
Moorish invasion. 

In the presence of this crisis the Prankish king was unable to 
raise an army, but Charles Martel, mayor of the palace, called 
upon all his sworn followers, then seized the church lands and 
gave them out to bring still more followers to his standard. 
With this army he beat off the Moors in the Battle of Tours. 
Thereafter it was evident that the sworn following of the mayor 
of the palace was a more effective organization than the tradi- 
tional government of the king. But it was still necessary to 
overcome the resistance of tradition to a formal change. This 
was accomplished by using the authority of the Church against 
the vestiges of tribal legitimacy. The Pope authorized Pepin 
the Short, son of Charles Martel, to assume the tribal crown. 

There was no shifting of power. The same men, the same 
families, continued to do the same things in the same way, but 
the two kinds of government were combined as one. Charle- 
magne ruled not only as King of the Franks but also as the head 
of a great body of sworn followers who had taken his pledge. 

Modern man also lives under two regimes, to one of which he 
renders patriotism and loyalty, while to the other he looks for 
his livelihood. It has often been suggested that the business or- 
ganization of modern society is becoming more important than 
its political organization, and that the leaders of business arej 
more powerful than political leaders. Such suggestions encoun- 
ter resistance in the tradition of popular sovereignty, which, 
rejects big business dictatorship in government as an evil. Per-^ 
haps this traditional attitude, like the feeling of the Franks for 
their royal family, might have weakened in time of crisis, and 

An Anatomy of Revolution 305 

the public might even have allowed itself to be sacrificed to 
business leadership as the Frankish churches and monasteries 
were sacrificed when Charles Martel seized their lands. But the 
American magnates did not go out to meet the crisis, or win 
their Battle of Tours. 

American business, therefore, is not in a position to have 
the merging of business and government legitimated under 
its own control. It is still possible that the future may bring 
a development resembhng that of the Frankish kingdom, if 
the N.R.A., as a legalized continuation of the trust movement, 
should leave the same people doing the same thing that they 
did before, in the same way, excepting that they will be 
metamorphosed into code authorities with legal powers, just 
as the mayors of the palace were changed into kings. 


Another kind of revolution was engineered by the young 
Emperor Meiji of Japan in the year 1867. This revolution took 
place in the presence of a crisis arising out of contact with for- 
eign powers. It put an end simultaneously to the three peculi- 
arities of the Japanese political system: dual government, 
feudahsm, and isolation. 

Dual government was the name given to that system by 
which the emperor, descendant of the prehistoric tribal leader 
of the race, continued to be titular ruler while the shogun 
governed the country. The powers of the shogun dated from 
the medieval era, when his office of military commander 
eclipsed in practical importance the office of the emperor. It 
was as if the Frankish mayors of the palace had continued as 
governors acting in the name of the Merovingian kings. When 
Perry visited Japan he thought the shogun was the emperor. 
He heard that somewhere in the back country there was some 
kind of a pope who was highly venerated and who lived in 
august poverty, but the man with whom he made his treaty 
was the shogun. 

3o6 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

The shogun's government was feudal; he had his sworn 
followers, the daimyo or heads of the great families, who 
were committed to hereditary loyalty to his rule. They held 
the strategic points throughout the Empire. There were also 
some great clans who were, traditionally and by hereditary 
transmission, legally hostile to the shogun. From them he 
exacted a strict obedience. He made them come up once a year 
to his capital in Yedo (now Tokyo), and leave hostages with 
him when they went back to their estates. 

The third peculiarity of the Japanese system, the policy 
of isolation, dated from the seventeenth century. Western mis- 
sionaries entering Japan at that time had exercised bad judg- 
ment by getting on the wrong side in one of the civil wars. As 
a result all foreigners were excluded, and Japanese were for- 
bidden to travel abroad. Only one tiny door was left open 
at Nagasaki, where Dutch traders were permitted to bring 
in one ship a year. That was the Japanese regime that lasted 
from the seventeenth to the nineteenth century: shogunate, 
feudal system, and isolation. 

In the first half of the nineteenth century there developed in 
Japan internal pressure against this system. A cultural renais- 
sance was taking place, a revolt against Chinese culture and a 
new interest in the antiquities of Japan. There was a revival of 
the native Shinto cult as against the imported Buddhist re- 
ligion. The historians, responding to this interest, propagated 
the knowledge that the legitimate ruler of Japan was not the 
great shogun at Yedo but the emperor in his obscurity at 
Kyoto. This historical school received support from the 
younger branches of the shogun's own family, just as the 
French revolutionary philosophy had an adherent in the Duke 
of Orleans, of the younger branch of the royal family of 

There was another cultural movement that seemed to 
threaten the established order. It was a philosophical school 
that followed the teachings of the Chinese philosopher, Wang 

An Anatomy of Revolution 307 

Yang Ming-a pragmatist. Whereas the official doctrine of the 
Japanese state insisted upon the implicit obedience of the re- 
tainer to his lord, the pragmatists taught that action should be 
governed by circumstances. The gesture that illustrated the 
meaning of the teaching of the new school was the act of an 
official who opened the granaries without proper authority on 
the ground that the people were hungry. The doctrine seemed 
as dangerous to a feudal Japan as communism seems to modem 
Japan. These ferments were at work, wholly unconnected with 
outside influences. 

When Commodore Perry arrived, he completed the destruc- 
tion of the equilibrium of the regime, for his treaty, signed 
by the shogun, ended the three-centuries policy of isolation. 
This gave the hereditary hostile clans an issue to be used against 
the shogunate. They contended that the treaty was invalid be- 
cause a decision of such importance would require the ratifica- 
tion of the emperor. The doctrine of the historical school pro- 
vided ammunition for these imperial legitimists. Their samurai, 
rallying to the slogan "Honor the emperor, expel the bar- 
barian," attacked foreigners in the streets. 

European states in the nineteenth century did not tolerate 
such treatment of their nationals; the British government sent 
a fleet to punish the clan of Satsuma whose samurai had at- 
tacked an Englishman, Richardson, on the highway. Thus 
internal dissension threatened to cause foreign conquest. 

The emperor saved the situation by ratifying the treaties that 
the shogun had signed, and then a new shogun, coming into 
office in 1866, resigned his powers into the emperor's hands. 
That was a year of marvels; for when the shogun resigned his 
powers he was followed by all the great daimyo, who sur- 
rendered their powers as well. In a great burst of generosity and 
patriotism the whole people rallied around the imperial throne. 

The young emperor, ably advised by a brain trust of 
samurai, reorganized Japan as a modern state with a centraHzed 
administration. Many of those who had surrendered feudal 

3o8 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

powers received back new authority as officials of the imperial 
bureaucracy. Those of the samurai who had been administrators 
in feudal Japan became the prefects and subprefects of the new 
regime; the others were "liquidated" as a class. 

It seemed in the spring of 1933 that the shogunate of 
American business was almost ready to end dual government, 
and the daimyo of finance and industry were prepared to 
surrender their powers into the hands of an emperor— espe- 
cially if they were pretty sure to receive them back and be- 
come prefects of their economic provinces. But that period 
of generous gestures seems to be ending, so that another possi- 
bility opens. It may come about that business and government 
may come into chronic opposition to each other, like Empire 
and Papacy, State and Church, in medieval Europe. 


The conflict of Empire and Papacy grew out of that eleventh- 
century revolution known as the struggle over investiture. 
The situation of that time was one that might have been 
described as "too much Church in feudalism" by one party, 
and by the other as "too much feudalism in the Church." In 
fact, Church and feudal society were interlocked hke business 
and government today. 

The bishops in some places, especially in the German king- 
dom, had worked with the kings, and the kings had helped to 
build up the bishops as a counterweight to the great dukes 
and margraves. The oath of fealty and the ceremony of in- 
vestiture were the cement of the whole system— like credit 
and contract in our modem society. 

Church office under these circumstances, so closely tied up 
with feudal government, tended to become a kind of prop- 
erty, just as the management and directorship of a modern 
corporation tend to become a kind of property. The Church 
had its recognized functions in the society of the time, as 
business has its recognized functions today. It appeared that 

An Anatomy of Revolution 309 

this feudalizing of the Church interfered with the function 
of the Church as the religious organ of society. The Arch- 
bishop of Narbonne, for instance, simply bought his office and 
then exploited it for all he could make, selling bishoprics 
right and left and even seizing the church plate. He cleaned 
out his Archdiocese as a crooked management cleans out a 
corporation. Then he was ready to buy another church office 
and start again. 

Such scandals as this constituted the grievance that led to 
a reform movement. The reform program was drawn from the 
traditions of the Church, nourished in the monasteries, and 
propagated with evangelical zeal throughout Christendom at 
the time of the crisis. The propagandists of reform, knowing 
the psychological value of simplicity in a program, had three 
main points and stuck to them: there must be no more buying 
and selling of church office, no more marriage of the clergy 
(so that office would not be inherited), and no more investi- 
ture in church office by other than churchmen. These articles 
of the reform program led to elaborations of the doctrine of 
papal supremacy over Christendom. This was the doctrinal fer- 
ment in the midst of which Pope Gregory VII railroaded the 
reform program through a Church Council. 

The reform decrees were a challenge to vested interests 
everywhere. They meant that the Church would pull itself 
out from its feudal connections, taking its property with it. 
It was as if the American Congress should pass a law providing 
that the managers of business corporations should no longer 
be designated by the stockholders through a board of direc- 
tors, but should be appointed by the government, or as if the 
magnates of business should be given the right to appoint 
all public officeholders. 

Henry IV, German King and Emperor-elect, whose prede- 
cessors had made such heavy grants of property in building 
up the German bishoprics, resisted the step that seemed to be 
depriving him of his control over his own possessions. To break 

3IO Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

his resistance the Pope made use of a weapon more powerful 
in the eleventh century than the control of credit or currency 
is in the twentieth— he absolved all German subjects from 
their oath of fealty, thus dissolving the cement of German 
political society. 

The conflict that followed was never brought to a clear- 
cut decision. It lasted until both these great all-embracing 
authorities in Europe, Papacy and Empire, had dragged each 
other down, depriving Europe of that unitary political struc- 
ture which the League of Nations has not been able to restore, 
and leaving Christendom a prey to the tragic consequence of 
unrestrained nationalism. 

If business and government should come to be set against 
each other in chronic conflict, each using its ultimate weapons, 
such as sabotage and expropriation, which of the two institu- 
tions would prevail, or would they destroy each other? 


The French and Russian revolutions of 1789 and 19 17 ex- 
hibit the standard revolutionary characteristics of class dis- 
placement, rapid tempo, and comprehensive institutional 
change. They illustrate also the physiology of the revolutionary 
process. As a starting point in the process there were certain 
concrete grievances of French and Russian peasant and middle 
class, comparable to the grievances of unemployment and low 
farm income in America. 

The grievances were discussed in an atmosphere full of 
conflicting doctrines. The teaching of the historical and prag- 
matic schools in Japan, the writings on papal and imperial 
power at the time of the investiture dispute, the philosophy 
of popular sovereignty and laissez faire on the eve of the 
French Revolution, the various hybrids of socialism and 
democracy prior to the Russian revolution, and the babel 
of technocrats and economic planners in early 1933, stand as 
comparable symptoms of impending change. 

An Anatomy of Revolution 311 

Then comes the crisis. It may be a danger from outside the 
society or a growing strain within it. French public credit 
collapsed in 1788; the food shortage hit Petrograd in February, 
19 1 7; and the bank crisis ushered in the New Deal. 

Along with the crisis, it is to be expected that the most 
generous gestures will be made on all sides, in an atmosphere 
of highest optimism. The good will that marked the first 
few months of Roosevelt's administration was more than 
the normal honeymoon period of an incoming president; it 
was more like the spirit in which the representatives of the 
French nobility renounced the feudal rights of their class on 
the night of August 4th, 1789; it was more nearly comparable 
to the fervor with which the Japanese feudality surrendered 
their powers to the emperor, or the joyous cooperation of 
classes in Petrograd in the hopeful spring of 19 17. This spirit 
seems to be a psychological opiate that anesthetizes a social 
parturition. When the effects have passed away, it will be seen 
that some new doctrines or catchwords from among those that 
were in the air before the crisis have assumed the character of 
obvious truths, while some of the older truths appear hope- 
lessly discredited and out of date. A grievance, a ferment of 
doctrines, a crisis, and a moment of generous cooperation— 
and after that— what next? 

In observing the course of a revolution the next thing to 
watch for is the vesting of new interests. In France the peasants 
get their land, the speculators and other middle-class owners 
buy into the sequestered estates of nobility and church. It will 
not be easy to displace them. In Russia the peasant seizes the 
adjacent lands of the proprietor; the proprietor can never come 
back. The subordinate group leaders of the modern fascist type 
of party install themselves in their bailiwicks as little dictators, 
maintaining their dictatorships by fostering the cult of the 
dictator. It will not be easy to squeeze them from their places. 
What new interests are becoming vested under the New Deal.^ 

Throughout the country union labor is demanding seniority 

312 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

rights, which have the effect of transforming a job into a kind 
of personal property, like the French peasant's farm. On one 
railroad an employee even now is granted the right to trade 
jobs with an employee of the same class in another city, pro- 
vided each takes the other's seniority rating. Since there is 
nothing to prevent money payments in connection with such 
an exchange, seniority becomes a kind of property, convertible 
like other property into money. 

Business under the N.R.A. is acquiring a valuable right 
to exclude or limit competition. Let there be no doubt of the 
property value of this right. It was sought by many kinds of 
business before the N.R.A. at the risk of costly violations of 
law— either of anti-trust laws, in the case of big business, or 
of the common criminal law, in the case of racketeered small 
business. Another illustration of the property character of 
these rights to limit competition comes from the history of the 
decline of the guilds. In some countries, such as Prussia, the 
possessors of guild rights were compensated with a money pay- 
ment when their businesses were opened to free competition. 
Such is the quality of the vested interest that the business man 
may secure under the New Deal. 

The third and most conspicuous type of vested interest 
is that of the unemployed relief client in a system of relief 
or made work. When the Civil Works Administration was 
rapidly demobilized in the spring it was evident that a property 
conception of the right of an unemployed man to a C.W.A. 
job was rapidly forming. If the right to a job, as a vested interest 
of the working class, is guaranteed by the government, much 
of the ensuing course of development of the New Deal is 
thereby determined. 

The extent of these new vested interests, of employees, 
employers, and unemployed, is the measure of the revolu- 
tionary quality of the New Deal. If the class that has the 
most valuable of these new rights turns out to be the same 
class that had the best position under the old deal, it will mean 

An Anatomy of Revolution 313 

that the Roosevelt revolution, like the Carolingian revolution 
of the eighth century, is not displacing one class with another, 
but only changing the forms by which power is exercised. 

If no new vested interests appear, then it is certain that there 
is no comprehensive and permanent institutional change. The 
great upheaval of the spirit that accompanied America's entry 
into the World War could collapse like a bubble and leave 
nothing behind it, because there were no vested interests tied 
up with it. No one was committed by a situation into which 
he had been placed by Wilsonian idealism to fight tooth and 
nail for the Wilsonian program. The prohibition system was 
transitory for the same reason. It created no vested interest of 
any social importance or decisive political power. The forces 
maintaining prohibition at the end were of the same kind as 
those which had brought in the system in the beginning, 
namely, a group of people who entertained prohibitionist senti- 
ments. The bootleggers and snoopers were the only groups 
whose living depended on the continuance of prohibition, and 
it proved easy to push them aside. 

The New Deal cannot live permanently on favorable senti- 
ments and opinions. Unless it creates powerful vested interests 
committed to its maintenance, or legitimates the powers of 
some existing interests, it will be in 1937 what the Wilsonian 
crusade was in 1920; it will prove that it was not a revolution 
at all. 


Versailles to Stresa—The Conference Era * 

In the nineteen-twenties, it was generally accepted that 
the objectives of world politics were comprehended within the 
term "reconstruction"; the nineteen-thirties are accepting the 
status and psyche of a prewar rather than a postwar period. In 
the nineteen-twenties, it was taken for granted that the normal 
agency of reconstruction was the international conference; the 
nineteen-thirties turn their attention from the conference tech- 
nique to alliances. The change is sufficiently clear to suggest 
that the period from the establishment of the League of Na- 
tions through the Washington Disarmament Conference, 
Locarno, and the Kellogg Pact, to the Japanese and German 
withdrawal from the League, is a distinct historical epoch. Al- 
ready it seems to belong to a very remote past; already it in- 
vites that kind of calm dissection and analysis that can be given 
to a thing that is dead. 

In analyzing the character of this decade of conferences, 
the temptation is very great to use the idea system that de- 
veloped during the World War as a part of war propaganda. 
Within the terms of that system of ideas, the "Conference 
Era" was a period during which Europe labored to make 
good the promises of allied war propaganda, and to realize a 
certain ideal of world order. It would appear that progress in 

* Reprinted by permission from The Virginia Quarterly RevieWf 
July 1935. 


Versailles to Stresa—The Conference Era 315 

this direction was halting and uncertain; there were missteps 
and backslidings, but on the whole the record showed construc- 
tive achievement. In 1933 it might have been said, with some 
reason, that though Woodrow Wilson was dead, his soul had 
gone marching on. 

Yet it was evident, even during the Conference Era, that 
the Wilsonian conception of the nature of international politics 
was inadequate, and perhaps misleading. What made it excellent 
as war propaganda made it irrelevant as a basis of peace-time 
politics, because it emphasized moral rather than structural 
elements in interstate relations. The critics of Wilson who 
called him an impractical idealist shared this error with him, 
for they merely reversed his postulates. Wilson thought that 
states, especially democratic states, could be expected to dis- 
play morality in their behavior, and that therefore world peace 
could be realized; his critics asserted that states would not act 
according to the dictates of morality, and therefore world 
peace was an impractical dream. From these premises, the 
Conference Era seems to have been a period of relatively 
high political morality, followed by a collapse. For a while the 
Good People were in control, and then the Bad People began 
to get the upper hand. This analysis will be very useful in 
another war to end war, but it does not help to make inter- 
national politics intelligible. 

This kind of thinking is the same as that which is encountered 
in histories when the historian personifies states as the actors 
in the historical drama. We read in history that Russia "feared," 
Germany "hoped," Japan "felt," the United States "under- 
stood," France "suspected." The cartoonists give their help 
in popularizing these fictions. International law developed in 
the modern world as the law of personal obligations of 
monarchs to each other, and has now become a body of rules 
applying to the conduct of peoples personified as states. The 
so-called "war-guilt question" was intelligible so long as it was 
stated as the question whether or not a certain individual, the 

3i6 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

Emperor William II, conceived and executed a plan to have a 
world war, but when it became an analysis of the operation 
of the whole interstate system of Europe during fourteen days 
of the year 19 14, it became a tissue of inconclusive fictions. 
It ought to be possible to examine and appraise the Confer- 
ence Era without resorting to these concepts of political moral- 
ity based on the personification of the modern state. 


What is the essential characteristic of the political process? 
Whether it be examined from the standpoint of world politics 
or of the internal politics of a state, two alternative aspects 
present themselves. On the one hand, political relationships 
appear to be relationships of power or authority; on the other 
hand, they have to do with the conciliation of variant group 

For reasons that can be explained historically, modern 
thought has been greatly preoccupied with the relationship 
of authority or power. It has accepted the centralized state, 
with a "sovereign" at the top, and subjects underneath, as 
the norm. With perfect logic, it has concluded that an excep- 
tional, inexplicable, or confusing situation arises when a num- 
ber of supreme powers are to be "forced" to agree on some- 
thing. The only institution that can assure their agreement is 
an authority superior to them. This superior authority may 
be God, the Pope, the Moral Law, or the League of Nations. 
If God or the Moral Law or the League of Nations exhibits 
weakness in asserting its own supremacy, the unchecked su- 
premacy of each of the various states gives the world over to 

This is a logical, self-consistent way of looking at world 
politics, if politics is regarded as a phenomenon of power. 
Yet it leads to two paradoxes: the one in connection with the 
policies of a sovereign state, the other in connection with 
the behavior of a world organized to preserve peace. 

Versailles to Stresa—The Conference Era 317 

The sovereign state is presumed to pursue its own interests. 
This is its natural duty to itself. It will pursue these interests 
regardless of others; it will not sacrifice itself for interests 
not its own. As soon as a state embarks upon such a policy as 
this, it discovers the paradox that it cannot pursue its interests 
safely without getting some assurance that it will not be 
isolated and overwhelmed by a superior combination. To get 
this protection for itself, it must seek allies; to get allies it must 
offer to protect other interests than its own. Germany, in 
1 9 14, illustrated fully the tragedy of this predicament. It was 
Bismarckian Realpolitik that made the Austrian alliance neces- 
sary as a means of holding what Germany had won in 1871; 
it was the Austrian alliance that dragged Germany into the 
war that cost her more than she had won in 1871. The state 
policy of serving exclusively one's own state interest contra- 
dicts itself. This is the first paradox. 

If international society steps into the picture as an authority 
that is to preserve order and prevent war, it is led straight to 
the task of "enforcing" peace. The means of enforcing peace 
may be other than war, but war lies in the background as the 
final means of enforcing peace when all other means fail. 
Thus international society, if it is conceived as an agency of 
power and authority, is effective to the degree that it is or- 
ganized to fight for peace. French policy during the drafting of 
the Covenant, and in the ten years of the Conference Era, in- 
sisted upon this conclusion, which was after all quite logical 
as a deduction from the premises as to the nature of the 
political process. In practice, it meant that organized inter- 
national society would take on the character of an alliance 
group against a violator of peace. Organization to fight for 
peace is as much a paradox as a state-interest in the interests 
of another state. In practice, the alliance based on state-interest 
and the alliance deduced from the need of enforcing peace 
showed more similarities than differences. 

To hope that common deference to morality on the part of 

3i8 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

all states would escape the consequences of these paradoxes was 
natural to men of exalted mind. But it was out of line, not 
only with the actual situation in ethics, but also with the actual 
mechanics of modern government. Imperialism puts the ques- 
tion: Are all cultures equally to be cherished in the world, or 
does one "higher" culture rightly subdue a "lower" and 
barbarous culture? The Pan-Serb movement asked: Is not 
the right of a nationality to national statehood superior to the 
right of an ancient empire to continued existence? Other 
questions arise: Does a crowded people, straining against the 
limits of subsistence, have any rights in a sparsely settled 
territory to which another people has staked out an incom- 
pletely exploited claim? Does a state controlling some essential 
natural resource have a duty to make it available to people 
living in another state? These are still open questions in the 
field of ethics. 

Moreover, modem government is a "soulless corporation," 
not subject directly to the controls of personal morality and 
individual conscience, as were the monarchs of the absolutist 
state. In 19 14 no foreign minister had any right to retain his 
seals of office if he really believed in peace at any price. It 
is not inconceivable that the contemporary dictatorships may 
increase the hold of morality upon government. For the 
mechanism by which a public forms its attitudes on public 
policy is so keyed that one people can develop the highest 
moral enthusiasm for one set of symbols, while another people 
reaches an equal degree of moral enthusiasm for the opposed 

These are the conclusions that seem to flow naturally from 
the postulate that political relationships are essentially relation- 
ships of power. But the alternative postulate may equally well 
serve as the basis for an analysis of world politics. If political 
experience is fundamentally an experience of compromising 
interests rather than asserting authority, then the so-called 
sovereign state is an abnormal, exceptional, or inexplicable 

Versailles to Stresa—The Conference Era 319 

entity to the degree that it approaches the ideal of deciding 
everything without compromising on anything. The norms 
of political life then appear to be federative situations; an inter- 
national order of some kind or other is one of the fundamental 
political facts, the pretensions of a sovereign state are an 

This does not mean that the structure of international 
society is always the same; it means only that there is always 
something structural about international society, that the 
world, the alliance group, the state, the province, the city, 
the political party are all specimens of species of the genus 
"political group," each a field in which subsidiary group inter- 
ests are in balance or in conflict, each engaged in the enterprise 
of adjusting its own group interest to that of other groups. The 
"world" differs from these subordinate groups only in the 
absence of any need to make adjustments with other "worlds." 
It does not differ from them in its lack of absolute and supreme 
power over everything that takes place within it. Nowhere in 
any group are such powers to be found. There are limits 
beyond which the most totalitarian dictatorship cannot go in 
asserting its authority, even within its own frontier. There has 
never been international anarchy; there will never be an 
omnipotent world authority. These are the natural and logical 
deductions that follow in any analysis of politics that empha- 
sizes relations of adjustment rather than relations of superiority 
and inferiority of power. 


The history of international relations in the past century sug- 
gests the conclusion that there are four types of commitment 
in which states have formulated adjustments of their interests. 
These are the guarantee type, the conference type, the divi- 
sion-of-spoil type, and the promise of action in a hypothetical 
war. The Quadruple Alliance that followed the Napoleonic 
wars was a guarantee treaty with a provision for conferences 

320 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

to meet new situations. The treaty proved strong enough to 
maintain the territorial settlement of 1815 intact for more 
than forty years, except for changes made by conference. 
After the breakdown of the 18 15 settlement in the i86o's, a 
new type of treaty became standardized in the Bismarck alliance 
system; it was duplicated in the Franco-Russian alliance of 
1894. The basic commitment of all the treaties of this system 
was a promise to do some definite thing in the event of certain 
hypothetical wars. The wars were sometimes described by 
naming the possible enemy powers, sometimes without men- 
tioning names. The pledge of action might require either aid 
or neutrality. 

Another treaty system that developed in the decade pre- 
ceding the World War, and which received the name of 
"entente," was made up neither of guarantees nor of pledges 
of action in future wars. The formula was set by the Anglo- 
French agreement of 1904, in which England received a free 
hand in Egypt, France a free hand in Morocco. It was a type 
of treaty commitment in which two or more powers would 
pledge their friendship by dividing between them what be- 
longed to neither. This pattern was followed in the Anglo- 
Russian agreement of 1907 and the Russo-Japanese agreements 
of the years following the Russo-Japanese wars. England and 
Germany were about to conclude one at the expense of 
Portugal in 19 14. Lichnowsky and Grey, on the eve of the 
World War, initialed a compact under which Germany would 
have been permitted to take African territory from Portugal. 

In the framing of the Covenant, three ideas met. The Eng- 
lish plans for a League of Nations started with the precedent of 
the Quadruple Alliance, and worked toward a guaranteed 
conference procedure for settling international disputes, but 
not a guarantee of the treaty settlements. The American plan, 
on the contrary, was built around a proposed guarantee of the 
treaty settlement— Article X, which Wilson called the heart of 
the Covenant. The French ideas were in line with the precedent 

Versailles to Stresa—The Conference Era 321 

of commitments for action in hypothetical wars. The Covenant, 
as finally adopted, included only one clear-cut obligation im- 
posed on League members in the event of war— a neutrality 
obligation. Members of the League bound themselves not to 
go to war with a state that would fulfill its duties by submitting 
its disputes to the procedure of adjustment outlined in the 
Covenant, and accept the results. 

French policy, and the policy of European states of the 
victor group throughout the Conference Era, was directed 
toward the extension of the fabric of commitments regarding 
action in future wars. This was the so-called "search for 
security." It was the theme of the Draft Treaty of Mutual 
Assistance; it was the achievement of Locarno. Even the 
Kellogg Pact originated in a French move to bring the United 
States to agree on neutrality in the event that France should 
be engaged in a war. 

These commitments for action in future wars were deemed 
necessary by European states as a pre-condition to the limita- 
tion of armaments. The delay in securing an adequate network 
of these treaties lasted so long that limitation of armaments itself 
became impossible. What made it seem necessary to weave this 
treaty network was the progress of military science, especially 
the highly developed importance of the time factor in mobiliza- 
tion. The same technological development made these agree- 
ments difficult to negotiate because they made it hard to dis- 
tinguish between a defensive and an aggressive war. 

The distinction between a defensive and an aggressive war 
had been consistently an important element in the description 
of the hypothetical wars to which alliance treaties apply. The 
reason for this is not derived from any abstract value set 
upon peace or non-aggression as such. It is rather the result 
of the fact that any power which undertakes to aid another's 
aggression is giving up more of its own security in return for 
less reward than would be involved in a promise to aid 
another power in a hypothetical defensive war. Bismarck saw 

322 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

this as clearly as Briand and Benes, and wrote it just as clearly 
into his alliance documents. 

When two powers try to agree on their future conduct in 
the event that one of them is attacked, a means of defining 
acts of aggression becomes an essential part of the treaty en- 
gagement, for otherwise the treaty lacks certainty in applica- 

The Foreign Office staffs of the European states were not 
fully instructed in the whole significance of modern mobiliza- 
tion techniques until after the crisis of 1914. Every Foreign 
Office was caught unprepared. The diplomats of the Confer- 
ence Era had learned fully the truth that mobilization may 
constitute an aggressive act even before a single soldier crosses 
a frontier. They were willing to accept the conclusion that 
sending soldiers across the frontier in response to mobilization 
might be, in fact, an act of defense. The distinction between 
aggression and defense that turns upon the presence of soldiers 
on foreign soil did not satisfy them. 

This left them with an alternative approach to the definition 
of aggression. The distinction between aggression and defense 
might be made procedural, not territorial. A state that refused 
to follow a certain procedure in a dispute with another state 
would then designate itself as an aggressor. Thus there could 
be some certainty in interpreting alliances drawn to apply to 
defensive wars against aggressor states. This consideration led 
straight to the political articles of the Covenant that define 
procedures for adjusting disputes. 

As the treaty network grew in complexity, and the freedom 
of action of every state became increasingly limited thereby, 
there arose increasingly doubts as to whether the treaties would 
be honored on the occasions for which they had been drawn. 
A cartoonist pointed the moral with the picture of a group of 
diplomats around a table. One of them was saying: "We 
want you to guarantee the guaranty that you will guarantee 
the guaranty." Publicists declared that the currency of inter- 

Versailles to Stresa—The Conference Era 323 

national obligation had been depreciated by over-issue. The 
same kind of doubt was present in the minds of those who 
worked in the prewar treaty system. The doctrine rebus sic 
stantibus, under which changed circumstances render treaties 
inapplicable, operates constantly to undermine the certainty 
of any treaty system. Bismarck's treaty system suffered from 
this corrosion. It was not peculiar to the treaties of the Con- 
ference Era, except as their greater number and complexity 
increased the number of points at which treaties were exposed 
to it. 


The present-day pacts of mutual assistance and non-aggres- 
sion are both forms of that type of treaty commitment that 
provides for action in the event of a hypothetical war: one 
provides for aid, the other for neutrality. They incorporate a 
specific procedure for distinguishing between aggressive and 
defensive war. If the European treaty system be examined from 
this standpoint, it seems that present-day Europe is extending 
the treaty network and carrying it further than it was carried 
in the Conference Era. The Conference Era wrote more of 
these treaties than were written in the age of Bismarckian alli- 
ances; the foreign ministers of today are writing even more 
of them. 

The drafting and signing of these treaties is hurried by the 
development in military science that makes the use of air 
forces in attacks upon the civilian population and industrial 
plant of an enemy a part of the normal war plan of a modern 
state. Railway and mobilization techniques of the prewar era, 
as they were understood and interpreted in the Conference 
Era, made use of the day as the time-limit for planned action 
on the outbreak of a war: military science now uses the hour 
as the time-unit. 

What part in this evolution of the treaty network is played 
by the collapse of arms-limitation prospects and the rearming 

324 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

of Germany? The principal result so far established seems to 
be that Russia and Great Britain are drawn more fully into it. 
The type of engagement undertaken by the contracting powers 
has not changed, except in relation to Austria, where the 
guaranty type of engagement appears. It has been rumored 
that the friendship of Poland with Germany was an arrange- 
ment of the entente type, providing for a sharing of prospective 
conquests, but this rumor has not been verified. Preparation 
for the Italian conquest of Abyssinia, and for the Japanese con- 
quest of Manchuria, does not seem to have conformed to the 
entente pattern. These imperialist efforts have not been used 
to cement friendships by division of spoil. 

But the structure of international relations, as it reveals itself 
in devices for adjusting interests on the European continent, 
does not exhibit the discontinuity that seems to be present if 
the observer looks for evidence that during the Conference 
Era, states were disposed to subject themselves to international 
authority, and that in the new era they have lost this disposi- 
tion. The understanding of present-day diplomacy is not aided 
by the assumption that there has been a change in the level 
of morality among states. 

The Wilsonian element of the Covenant, the guarantee com- 
mitment of Article X, had a strange history. More than any 
other article it led to the refusal of the United States to enter 
the League. Then, having accomplished this negative service, 
it gradually faded out of its central position in the Covenant. 
Finally a committee of the League interpreted it in a way that 
deprived it of specific force. It was interpreted as a mere gen- 
eral objective, the actual attainment of which was provided 
for in Articles XI to XVI, which set forth procedures of 

While the Wilsonian guarantee element in the treaty system 
was disappearing, the spread of treaties of mutual assistance 
and non-aggression (defensive alliance and neutrality) tended 
to realize the objectives that had once been Clemenceau's 

Versailles to Stresa—The Conference Era 325 

without losing touch with the British objective of standard 
diplomatic procedure in time of crisis. There is no significant 
difference from the standpoint of political morality between 
these types of commitments. Neither is it evident that the 
Wilsonian type has more pacific implications than the Clemen- 
ceau type. They are alternative ways in which states can com- 
promise their interests. The treaty system that evolved during 
the Conference Era happened to be more in line with the state 
of military science than a Wilsonian guarantee treaty system 
would have been. For that reason the rearmament of Germany 
has speeded and extended the development, the outlines of 
which were already defined in the Conference Era. 


Myths of the Twentieth Century * 


The story of the Tower of Babel has for the twentieth 
century a profound and desolating relevance. It is told in the 
Book of Genesis that there was a time when "all the world 
was of one language and one speech." The fortunate denizens 
of Shinar thereupon said, "Come, let us build us a city and a 
tower that will reach to heaven." Then an act of inscrutable 
malevolence intervened "to confound their language so that 
they could not understand one another's speech . . . and they 
left off building the city.^^ 

The world of the nineteenth century also had its common 
language, with science for its grammar and progress for its 
syntax. And the men of the nineteenth century were no less 
bold than those of the plain of Shinar in their scheme for the 
building of a great city. The time has now come when they 
no longer understand one another; the plans for the great 
world-community are abandoned, the citizens of the world 
are dispersed. 

The confusion of tongues came so quickly upon the twen- 
tieth century that the consequences were upon us almost be- 
fore the fact itself was known. As Germany entered the Third 
Reich, Germans ceased to understand each other. The ordinary 
medium of speech and writing ceased to function as a means 

• Reprinted by permission from The Virginia Quarterly Review, 
Summer 1937. 


Myths of the Twentieth Century 327 

of communication. Then the censorship clamped down, and 
it became impossible even to seek for understanding. Yet 
the Nazi dictatorship was only one of a series of acts that 
sent the world reeling into its cultural crisis. 

Those who prepared the way for this debacle were su- 
premely innocent in their intentions. They were men like 
Bergson, James, Vaihinger, Pareto, Sorel, Spengler, and even 
Sir James Frazer with his Golden Bough. Some were merely 
seeking a new highway to truth— by intuition rather than by 
reason; some asked only for a new test of truth— the test of 
practicality; some were bravely seeking to give a more pro- 
found interpretation to other cultures by accepting for pur- 
poses of the discourse the beliefs that prevailed in those cul- 
tures. They ended by betraying truth itself. For truth became 
a variable, determined by a personal equation, a problem, or a 
culture. As the prestige of truth fell, the prestige of myth rose. 
The word "myth" to the nineteenth century meant a naive 
and fanciful tale; to the twentieth century it came to mean a 
primordial substance from which the stuff of all ideas may be 
drawn. Men began to talk of the myth of science, the Christian 
myth, the myth of the nation, the myth of socialism, the myth 
of the general strike. 

These developments in the field of metaphysics are not, as 
they might seem, removed from importance in everyday life. 
Upon them have fed the Luthers, the Calvins, the Rousseaus 
of the contemporary world. The Russian university student 
today takes a required course in "dialectical materialism," just 
as the American high school student takes his required course 
in civics. The Fascists and the Nazis have official philosophers, 
Gentile and Rosenberg, whose metaphysical conceptions are 
incorporated in the imposed culture of the state. The great 
leaders who set the world on its new course at the close of the 
World War were, most of them, philosophers. Lenin had 
hammered out his thought on "empirio-criticism," Balfour on 
the foundations of belief. Smuts wrote on metaphysics, 

328 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

Masaryk taught it, and Clemenceau left as his legacy a rear- 
guard defense of positivism. Woodrow Wilson, whatever his 
reputation for interest in pure theory, was less preoccupied 
than his distinguished confreres with the specifically meta- 
physical problems that the nineteenth century left to the 
twentieth, yet he was in a measure a philosopher too. Only 
Venizelos and Lloyd George, among the most influential men 
of the year 1919, were not in some sense active practitioners 
in the field of philosophy. 

The World War not only brought to the top statesmen who 
were philosophers; it also brought the professional philosophers 
down from their intellectual pedestals. In every country these 
men used their high talents to give to the "issues" of the war 
a cosmic significance. They proved that the iniquities of the 
adversary had been present all along as implications of a na- 
tional philosophy and culture, and that the triumph of their 
own party was necessary in the ethical scheme of the universe. 
Immediately upon the outbreak of hostilities, Bergson dis- 
covered that the war was a conflict between "life" and 
"matter," with the Entente Powers ranged on the side of life 
and the Central Powers defending matter. Scheler proclaimed 
that English philosophy and character were alike manifesta- 
tions of cant; Santayana wrote of "egotism in German phi- 
losophy"; and the gentle Josiah Royce, himself deeply in debt 
to Hegel, reached the conclusion that "Germany is the willful 
and deliberate enemy of the human race; it is open to any man 
to be a pro-German who shares this enmity." The philosophers 
were making a Great Schism out of a mere political conflict. 
Then, as if to make a permanent record of the prostitution 
of the philosophic art, the victorious governments issued to 
each soldier in their armies a bronze medal with the inscrip- 
tion, "Great War for Civilization." 

Philosophy never recovered from its war experience. The 
international journal literature was reestablished, the professors 
resumed their exchanges, the old problems were still mooted 

Myths of the Twentieth Century 329 

in the old way in classroom and seminar, and among the 
scholars themselves it appeared that the old international so- 
ciety of the intellect would take a new lease on life. But a 
new relationship with the public had been created. The 
masses had been induced to taste of the fruit of the tree. War- 
time vulgarizations were followed by postwar vulgarizations, 
and ideologies took the place of ideas. The confusion of 
tongues did not begin at the bottom, among the unlettered, 
the ignorant, and the naive. It began at the top, among the 
cultured and sophisticated. It spread downward among popu- 
lations who were taught to accept philosophies as they were 
taught to buy war bonds. And there it did not end when 
the war was over. 

The postwar world fell heir to a highly developed apparatus 
for the propagation of ideologies among the masses. Universal 
literacy had combined with the linotype, the rotary press, 
and wood-pulp paper to create modern journalism. The use 
of color in the graphic arts culminated in a poster art that 
could in the space of a few months set up an iconography as 
elaborate as that which the medieval church created through 
generations. Advertising, as an adjunct to competitive business, 
had played with these media; war propaganda made them its 
own. Then, in the postwar era, radio was added to the equip- 
ment. Public education, organized sports, and entertainment 
were brought into line. The apparatus for the control of opin- 
ion can now be tuned like a great organ and made to play what- 
ever music is written in the score. And the modern political 
police, superior to the police of Joseph Fouche as a Ford fac- 
tory exceeds in efficiency the establishment of James Watt, can 
prevent all dissonances and discords. 

If this vast apparatus for the propagation of thought had been 
available at a time when a common ground for thinking was still 
universally accepted, the world-city of which the nineteenth 
century dreamed might have risen to its music, like Camelot 
to the music of the fairy harps. 

330 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 


It is not certain that a twentieth-century mind can really 
know more than one of the great myths that are in conflict 
with each other, for a myth is something that is believed, not 
something that is merely understood. A language can be 
learned; when a German learns the French language he can un- 
derstand a Frenchman in so far as language is concerned. But 
the process by which a Nazi becomes acquainted with the full 
meaning of liberalism, or a liberal with the full significance of 
Fascism, is the process not of learning, but of corwersion. The 
Christian tradition has prepared the Western world for this 
peculiar relation of mythology to mind. For Western civiliza- 
tion has tended to define its religion in terms of its myths. In 
most cultures the religious person is one who is in the possession 
of powers that he has acquired by religious practices; in modern 
Christianity he is one who believes a particular cosmology and 
mythology. "Religion" in contemporary Europe and America 
comes to be defined as a state of mind alternative to skepticism 
regarding Christian myths. 

There are four great myths in the contemporary Western 
world, all of them grown from one root. These four are: the 
original Christian myth, from which the others are descended; 
its secularized version of the world order or great society; 
the materialistic version with its eschatology of the proletarian 
paradise; and the antithetic or reactionary myth of the nation, 
with its mystery of blood and soil. 

The Christian myth presents a narrative of a past, a predic- 
tion of a future, and an appraisal of man's place and problem 
in the world. This structure is common to all the competing 
mythologies. The discoveries of science could be harmonized 
with the Christian myth so long as they merely illustrated 
the qualities of a universe which was fundamentally God-made 
and God-directed. The ultimate unit of value in the Christian 
myth was the human soul; it was for its salvation that the 

Myths of the Twentieth Century 331 

great drama of the universe was enacted. The myth carried 
with it a profound ethical content in which peace was valued 
above strife, and love above hatred. The great Schoolmen of 
the Middle Ages were able to take all the elements of this myth 
and all their far-reaching implications and weld them together 
in a coherent system. 

The myth of the world order or the great society was 
almost identical in pattern with the Christian myth, except 
that it left out God. It saw the vision of "the fields of peace." 
Woodrow Wilson was profoundly right when he linked up 
the ideal of political democracy with the ideal of the orderly 
world, for political democracy merely secularized the tradition 
of the Church. That every soul was equally valuable was taken 
intact from the ethos of Christianity and became the democratic 
ideal that every citizen has equal rights. For a few weeks at 
the close of the World War the body of ideas organized in this 
myth and known as "Wilsonian idealism" was accepted on a 
world scale and with an enthusiasm that made it the credo of 
the greatest politico-religious revival of modern times. 

But even in 19 18, during the brief apotheosis of Woodrow 
Wilson, the competing myth of the proletarian paradise re- 
vealed its strength and comprehensiveness. Like the myth of 
democracy and the world order, it was universal in its applica- 
tion. It was a system for all mankind. It had its narrative of the 
past, its prediction of an inevitable future. It drew its special 
character from its preoccupation with the problem of property, 
and because the problem of property was so deeply imbedded 
in it, it was highly materialistic in its metaphysics, highly real- 
istic in its style. Where the Christian myth gave attention 
to the distribution of salvation, and the myth of the world 
order and democracy to the distribution of rights, the myth 
of the proletarian paradise dealt with the distribution of com- 

Modern nationalism, the fourth great myth, differs from the 
three others in that it is not, and does not pretend to be. 

332 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

universal. It is a system of thought posited upon the differences 
between men rather than their resemblances. In the nineteenth 
century, nationalism was not indeed inconsistent with democ- 
racy and the world order, but was an appropriate deduction 
therefrom. The differences among men which it emphasized 
were primarily linguistic, and since it appeared that peoples 
speaking the same language would usually have a preference 
for living under the same government, it could deduce a 
political geography from the principles of democracy. But 
the nationalist mythology that arose after the World War and 
defined itself first in Italy and then in Germany became an en- 
tirely independent body of thought, antithetic to the myth of 
democracy and the world order, in which the primary elements 
were not grace and salvation, nor political rights and peace, 
nor yet labor and commodity, but blood and soil. 

Francis Delaisi has observed that the myth of the national 
state is essentially an agrarian myth. The state is likened to a 
farm with fixed boundary lines. As such, it may take and lose 
land. The strength of this way of thinking can be noted in the 
Irredentist propaganda coming out of Hungary. There it is 
asserted that Hungary lost two-thirds of her forests, one-half 
of her mines, one-third of her railroads, etc. Were it not for 
the underlying agrarian metaphor present in the minds of all 
those who interpret such statements as these, they would seem 
unimportant or confusing. The same forests are still growing 
on the same slopes, the same people are cultivating the same 
fields, yet because the people have shifted their allegiance to a 
new state, and another public law prevails in the area, Hungary 
has "lost" territory. Clearly the only interpretation that can be 
given to the word "Hungary" in such a sentence is that 
Hungary is, like a farm, an acreage of soil. The material unit 
of the nationalist myth is real estate rather than commodity. 
The human element is equally distinct. Man, in the Nazi myth, 
is identified neither by his soul (as in the Christian myth), 
nor by his political will (as in the democratic myth), nor by 

Myths of the Twentieth Century 333 

his capacity for productive labor (as in the proletarian myth), 
but by his racial character, that is to say, his biogenetic relation 
to ancestors and descendents. The relation of race to soil is 
ecological from the standpoint of science; from the standpoint 
of institutions it is one of inheritance. 

All three of the secular myths— democratic, proletarian, and 
nationalist— which now have the Western world as their field 
of conflict, appear self-evident when viewed from within them- 
selves and by their own believers. All three of them are riven 
by deep self-contradictions when viewed from the outside by 
their critics. The internal contradictions inhering in the myth 
of democracy and the world order are two: first, in rela- 
tion to peace; second, in relation to democracy. The object 
of world order is peace, but if peace is sought without taking 
action against peace breakers it will be broken; if action is 
taken against peace breakers, the action can be none other 
than war. "Wars to end wars" can become as normal and 
recurrent as war for any other purpose. The contradiction in 
the democratic element of the myth lies in the nature of the 
process by which a consensus is sought and obtained, for con- 
sensus or agreement is the product of persuasion. The success- 
ful persuader is none other than a ruler, and the processes of 
persuasion are so varied that democracies may be indistinguish- 
able from dictatorships. 

The contradiction in the proletarian myth has to do with 
the conception of property. Property was defined originally 
as a relationship between an individual and a thing. The exten- 
sion of ownership from the one to the many in a given item 
of property changes the meaning of property. When an entire 
class (whether it be of laborers or not) owns collectively all 
the means of production, ownership loses its character. A long 
step in this direction is already taken in the development of the 
modern corporation with its large body of stockholder owners. 
The communist economy moves in exactly the same direction 
and somewhat further. In both cases the powers of manage- 

334 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

ment come to transcend in importance the rights of ownership, 
so that property as traditionally conceived disappears in that 
measure that its general distribution is effected. But manage- 
ment, which replaces it, can be as arbitrary in respect of social 
justice as ownership. It is the management of Soviet economy 
that shoots down the leaders of the Trotsky faction. 

The antinomies of the nationalist myth of blood and soil 
are found, like those of the myth of democracy and world 
order, both in the field of world affairs and in internal matters. 
First, in respect of the relation of the nation to the world, the 
myth lays down only one rule of action— the rule of self-inter- 
est. But in a world made up of many nations, one which pursues 
its own interests exclusively will be isolated and weak unless it 
has allies. In order to secure its interests it must find allies, and 
in order to find allies it must sacrifice itself for interests not its 
own. Second, in respect of its internal arrangements, the myth 
requires that each nation have its own comprehensive culture, 
its own art, letters, science, and conscience. These are con- 
ceived as the products of blood and are found localized on the 
national soil. This is a more extended application of the six- 
teenth-century principle cuius regio eius religio which made 
the demarcation between Protestantism and Catholicism. It is 
the necessary foundation of the cultural policy of the totali- 
tarian state. 

The guarantee of authenticity in such a culture cannot be 
intellectual. The symphony composed by a German must be 
adjudged superior to a symphony composed by a Jew, not by 
any intellectual critique but because the one composer is Ger- 
man, the other Jewish. It is necessary that such a culture should 
depart from the whole tradition of Europe and "think with the 
blood" instead of the mind. But this involves a repudiation 
not only of European culture generally, but of some of the 
contributions to it made by the sacred race itself. How can 
Kant live where Einstein is rejected? 

No one of these great myths can find common ground with 

Myths of the Twentieth Century 335 

any of the others at the present time. Men who are now 
fifty years old learned the lingua franca of nineteenth-century 
thought, and to them the present situation in world culture 
is nothing but chaos. The younger men, the myth makers, and 
those who have been schooled in one or another of these 
myths, are still inspired by that special evangelical fanaticism 
that a new cult or a cult in conflict with others can generate. 
The time will come for a reaction against the contemporary 
myth makers. A generation will doubtless arise to whom all 
the idols will have feet of clay. It will be so profoundly skep- 
tical of everything that it will be ready for cultural suicide. 
Even if it should learn again to speak a common tongue, it will 
speak a language of negation. It will build no city. 


Beyond the age of skepticism which lies in the nearer future 
there is the possibility of a stupendous syncretism which will 
draw together common elements not only from the West but 
from the two great cultures of the East, which are also passing 
through their period of crisis. All these mythologies have 
very deep roots. The three secular myths of the West have 
their respective antecedents in the later Roman Empire. Democ- 
racy is rationalist like Stoicism; Marxian materialism is Epi- 
curean. It was not for nothing that Karl Marx wrote his 
doctoral dissertation on the philosophy of Epicurus. And the 
nationalist cult is deeply mystic, like the Eastern religions of 
the later Roman Empire. 

It is ironical, indeed, that this mystical element in the Nazi 
philosophy should show a resemblance to the specifically 
Semitic element in the religions of the early Christian era. But 
one who reads Alfred Rosenberg's statement of the Nazi creed 
is constantly reminded of the tradition of mysticism in Western 
religion. Rosenberg has more in common with Bernard of 
Clairvaux than with Immanuel Kant. Professor Orton has sug- 
gested in an explanation of this turn in German culture that 

336 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

National Socialism is a revival of the romantic South Germans 
against the intellectual hardness of the Prussian north. Geo- 
graphically, Munich is not so far from Clairvaux, and a long 
way from Konigsberg. And the Monastery of St. Adolf is the 
Brown House in Munich. Rosenberg is true to a tradition 
that is not only South German, but also Christian, when he 
writes of "the new faith, the myth of the blood, that the 
divine essence of man survives in the blood." When his extreme 
straining of historical evidence in defense of the thesis of the 
primacy of the Nordics has reached the hmits of credibility, 
he resorts to mysticism directly. "Nordic blood is itself a 
mystery that supplants the mystery of the Christian sacrament 
of blood." Against liberal democratic rationalism and dialectical 
materialism Rosenberg asserts that "the life of a people, of a 
race, is not a philosophy that develops logically, nor yet a chain 
of events taking place by natural law, but the building up of 
a mystical synthesis^ 

Rosenberg buttresses his faith against rational criticism by 
using the legacy left by those well-meaning metaphysical 
rebels of the first decade of the twentieth century— James, 
Vaihinger, and the others: "There is no pure science without 
presumption," he says; "ideas, theories, hypotheses, are at the 
bottom. One soul, one race, puts a question that for another is 
a problem or a puzzle that has been solved. Democratic coun- 
cils talk of international science and art, but art is also a creation 
of the blood . . . Science also comes from the blood." 

This suggestion, while presented primarily as a rebuttal 
against Western critics, is not without value in interpreting 
the complex problem of mythologies throughout the world. 
In the cultural crises of the East there is contact no less vital 
than in the West with the most ancient philosophic roots of 
culture. Dr. Sun Yat-sen, in his Three Peoples^ Principles, 
rings the changes on an old Chinese theme: "To know is easy; 
to do is difficult." Gandhi's tactics of non-resistance draw 
meaning from a metaphysical analysis of the distinction be- 

Myths of the Twentieth Century 337 

tween action and non-action that was already old in the 
Bhagavad-Gita. "Knowledge and deed," "action and non- 
action"— these are not the basic dichotomies of Western meta- 
physics. The West begins rather with "matter and spirit," 
with the "city of the world and the city of God," or more 
recently, materialism and idealism. If there is ever to be a 
language really common to the world, perhaps it can be 
invented only after each culture has gone back to its own roots 
and prepared to build up anew from the ground. 

Meanwhile, in everything material the different parts of the 
world come to resemble each other more closely. Manufactur- 
ing, transport, electric power, spread everywhere. That which 
is called Taylorism or scientific management in America is the 
Stakhanov movement in Russia. When things are alike, but 
called by different names, the struggle over names can be no 
less intense than the struggle over things. But when the time 
ultimately comes to find again a common denominator in 
thought as in action, the material conditions will be ready. 

There may have been a certain effrontery in the effort of 
nineteenth-century Europe to build a world city, as if its 
language were a world language and its thought a world 
thought. Was its language rich enough, was its thought deep 
enough, did it have real catholicity, or was it merely pro- 
vinciality overgrown? A new syncretism great enough to draw 
together the mythologies of Europe can also be great enough 
to bring in the mythologies of Asia. Without them there can 
be no world myth, and until that synthesis comes we can only 
wait. When the world again has one language and one speech, 
it can resume the task of building the city. 


The Holy Roman Empire versus the United 

States: Patterns for Constitution-Making in 

Central Europe * 

For sixteen years, from 1790 to 1806, while the United 
States was beginning its one hundred and fifty years under its 
Constitution, the Holy Roman Empire was ending the one 
hundred and fifty years of its political life as organized in the 
Peace of Westphalia. While the United States was living under 
its Constitution, the area that had lived under the shadow of the 
Holy Roman Empire experienced eight different poHtical sys- 
tems, proposed or operative. In this area, as in the area of the 
United States, there was a fundamental problem of maintaining 
a federative society, balancing unity with diversity, and pro- 
tecting security. But this area was unlike the United States 
and more like the world in its variety of languages and historical 
particularisms. In fact, sixteen of the thirty-two political 
languages of the world are spoken in the Central European area. 

These eight Central European systems were: sixteen years 
of the old Empire, eight years of Napoleon, thirty-three years 
of the Metternich system, two years of revolution in 1848-49, 
the reform movement of the early 18 60s, the Bismarck system, 
the Mittel-Europa projects of Friedrich Naumann during the 
World War, and the triumph of Wilsonian principles at the 
Paris Peace Conference. 

• Reprinted from The Constitution Reconsidered^ 1938, by permission 
of the Columbia University Press. 


Patterns for Constitution-Making 339 

Throughout this sequence of eight political structures, the 
elements of two contrasting patterns can be traced: that of the 
native tradition and constitution of the Holy Roman Empire 
on the one hand, and that of the imported pattern of the United 
States of America on the other. In the setting up of the Metter- 
nich system the influence of America was nil; in 1848 it was 
very high; in 1863, because of the Civil War, it was low again; 
and in 191 8 with Wilson it was again high. It was characteristic 
of the pattern of the Holy Roman Empire that it always tended 
to hold Central Europe together; of the American pattern, 
that it tended to break it to pieces. 

What were the essential characteristics of these two great 
political formations? Commentators disagreed over both of 
them. Some held that the Holy Roman Empire was a very much 
limited monarchy; others, that it was a peculiar republic of 
princes. Some held that the United States Constitution was 
the supreme law of the land; others, that it was a compact 
between states. But whichever theory of structure was adopted, 
for the analysis either of the Empire or of the United States, 
the differences between the two systems were comprehensive 
and systematic. 

These differences are summarized in three particulars: the 
Empire was based on hierarchy, the United States on equality; 
the Empire, on an unbroken fabric of law from top to bottom, 
the United States, on concurrent or superimposed systems of 
law; the Empire operated upon states, the United States oper- 
ated upon individuals. These contrasting features of the two 
constitutions are systematically interrelated. 

The American principle of equality, as contrasted with the 
Empire principle of hierarchy, is shown in three distinctive 
ways. First, American citizens were equal. No titles of nobility 
were permitted them; they were directly active as citizens of 
the federal government, and the federal government operated 
directly upon them. The subjects of the Holy Roman Empire, 
on the other hand, were ranked not only in orders of nobility, 

340 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

but were divided into two main classes: the few hundreds who 
were immediately members of the Empire, and the remaining 
millions whose membership in the Empire was only indirect, 
through their own princes or the lords of their lands. Second, 
the American states as such were equal. In the Empire, on the 
contrary, nine of the two hundred immediate princes were 
designated as electors, with special rights and duties. Not only 
did they elect the Emperor, but they constituted a separate 
house in the imperial diet. They were the *'Great Powers" of 
the Empire system. In each of the circles into which the Em- 
pire was divided, certain princes were ranked as leading princes 
with special rights and duties. Some of these exercised a kind 
of regional hegemony. Finally, the constitutional principle of 
America was republican, that of the Empire monarchic. 

These three differences, taken together, led into another 
significant distinction. Every American citizen had a dual 
capacity, as a citizen of his own state on the one hand, of the 
United States on the other. The subject of the Empire, whose 
membership was through his prince, did not have such a dual 
capacity. But every prince of the Empire, as a monarch, was 
a member not only of the Empire, but also of the community 
of European monarchs. By the Treaty of Westphalia he had a 
right to transact in international politics, to make treaties and 
alliances, to declare war and to make peace, provided only 
that he did not direct his diplomacy against the Empire. The 
American states, on the contrary, were excluded from foreign 
policy activity. The politics of the Empire were consequently 
inextricably interwoven with European international politics; 
in America there developed a tradition of isolation— a tradition 
that could not have been sustained if each American state had 
possessed and utilized a right of diplomatic negotiation abroad. 
Moreover, among the princes of the Empire most of the more 
important ones possessed lands outside the Empire. Their dual 
capacity as members of the Empire and as rulers of other lands 
tended further to merge Empire politics with international 

Patterns for Constitution-Making 341 

politics. In the United States, the lands not organized in the 
states were held by the federal government, and their defense 
against foreign encroachment was a federal function. 

This political situation is related to the juristic distinction 
that was the second principal difference between the two pat- 
terns: namely, that the system of law in the Empire was an 
unbroken continuity from international law through public 
constitutional law to private law; while the system of law in 
the United States was divided into separate spheres and levels 
of law. 

The constitution of the Empire was unwritten, and was com- 
pounded of usages, traditions, charters, laws, and international 
treaties. The Constitution of the United States was a written 
document, in a class by itself. It was so far from being fitted 
into the framework of international law that the federal gov- 
ernment, though it screened the states in international relations, 
lacked the power to compel them to make reparation for inter- 
national wrongs. The princely or inheritance settlements in the 
Empire were carried through all the levels of jurisprudence; 
they were private law contracts between great families, enacted 
as law in the diets of their lands and carried up for imperial 
ratification. Some succession provisions were even made the 
subject of international treaties, notably the Pragmatic Sanction 
of 1723. As in all Old Regime systems, private property rights 
and political rights were indistinguishable. America had the 
simple private-law institution of chattel slavery, while the 
varied and complex relations to which we give the name "serf- 
dom" were found in the Empire. Finally, the American system 
set the legal sphere of the states apart from that of the federal 
government in such a way that very little connection between 
them existed until 1868. But the Holy Roman Empire offered 
to every subject of every prince protection of his right to due 
process of law at the hands of his prince. This was the most 
signal evidence of the continuity of the fabric of law in the 
system of the Holy Roman Empire. 

342 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

Although the greater princes of the Empire all obtained be- 
fore the end of the eighteenth century the privilege of non 
appellando, that is, the right to keep their own subjects from 
appealing to imperial courts, there was one class of complaint to 
which the privilege of non appellando never extended, and that 
was "denial of justice." Any German subject who had been 
denied due process of law by his own prince could appeal to 
the Empire. Thus, in 1737, the Elector of Cologne was called 
to order by the Imperial Court when he failed to respect the 
privileges of Miinster in a homicide trial; in 1738 a subject of 
the Elector of Brandenburg successfully appealed to the Im- 
perial Court for an order asking the Elector, who was king in 
Prussia, to give the case a new trial. In the same year the court 
issued a writ against the Duke of Holstein, who was king in 
Denmark, on behalf of a man who was imprisoned without trial. 
In none of these cases would an American federal court have 
heard an appeal against action of a state until after the adoption 
of the Fourteenth Amendment. 

What protection did the American Constitution give the 
private law rights of its citizens against the states? When 
Chisholm sued the state of Georgia and the Supreme Court 
took jurisdiction, the immediate reaction was the Eleventh 
Amendment, closing the federal courts to suits brought against 
a state government. The American Constitution did indeed for- 
bid states the right to pass ex post facto laws, bills of attainder, 
or acts impairing the obligations of contract; but it was not 
until 1868, when the Fourteenth Amendment was adopted, 
that the American citizen had the right to due process of law 
protected against the states by federal law. 

When it came to executing the laws or the decisions of 
courts, with perfect consistency the Empire operated through 
the princes or immediate members; the American government 
operated on the individual citizens. This was the third major 
distinction between the two systems. 

What if a princely government should refuse to execute the 

Patterns for Constitution-Making 343 

law of the Empire? In such a case, another prince would get an 
imperial mandate to invade his domains and compel obedience 
by armed force. With perfect consistency the Empire acted 
not only through but upon its member princes and their states. 

In the American system, on the contrary, there was ab- 
solutely no provision for the use of federal armed force against 
a member state, or for giving to one state a commission to in- 
vade another state in order to punish its government. 

It is often said that the Empire in its last 150 years was in- 
effective, as if all this fabric of law was on paper only. But here 
was a community that maintained the separate existence of two 
or three hundred small principalities settled in the midst of 
greater states, and maintained them intact for 150 years. It 
could not have been force and arbitrary violence that secured 
this amazing result; it must have been law. The very success of 
the system in maintaining collective security for a century and 
a half became later a theme of disparaging criticism. 

The structure of the Empire, its hierarchy of powers, held 
together in a comprehensive fabric of law, and operating upon 
individuals only indirectly, may have possessed values that his- 
torians have forgotten. And among those values was its supreme 
symbol— the emperor. Along the Danube, far beyond the ter- 
ritorial limits of the Empire, the influence of the dignity of the 
imperial office made itself felt through the person of the mon- 
arch who wore the holy crown. In the north there lived the 
legend of the emperor sleeping in his cave in the Kyffhausery 
symbol of ultimate law in a Christian world. What the emperor 
as symbol and legend was to Central Europe, the written con- 
stitution became in the United States. 

The emperor abdicated in 1806, but did the Empire die? To 
answer that question I turn to the analysis of the Metternich 
system. The Metternich system, which stabilized Central 
Europe after the Napoleonic wars, was operated in Germany 
by men whose student training had versed them in the law and 
tradition of the Empire. At the Congress of Vienna it was an 

344 Selected Taper s of Robert C. Binkley 

open question whether or not the Empire itself would be re- 
stored. The system established at Vienna must be seen both in 
its Central European and general European aspect. In both 
it continued some features of the Empire. 

In Central Europe was established the complex of the Ger- 
man Confederation and the Hapsburg monarchy; over Europe 
as a whole, the Concert of the Five Great Powers. The Ger- 
man Confederation was simply a modified adaptation to nine- 
teenth-century conditions of the constitution of the Holy 
Roman Empire. The essential feature of hierarchy was there; 
the princes were the only members of the Confederation; their 
subjects entered it indirectly through the princes. The federal 
diet consisted of the delegates of the princes, not the represent- 
atives of the people. The princes retained their dual capacity as 
members both of the German Confederation and of the family 
of European sovereigns. They exercised their right to foreign 
intercourse under the limitation that they must make no treaties 
directed against the Confederation or any of its members. The 
continuous fabric of law was also retained. The Act of the 
Confederation was a part of the public law of Europe through 
its incorporation in the final act of Vienna. The constitutions 
of a number of German states were in turn guaranteed by the 
Confederation, and the content of all the state constitutions was 
controlled by the Confederation in that they dared not allow 
the powers of state diets to impinge on final sovereignty of the 
princes. This limitation was justified by the final doctrine that 
the princes must be free to fulfill their obligations to the Con- 
federation. Whereas Woodrow Wilson held that faithfulness 
to external obligation could be expected only of popular gov- 
ernments, Metternich assumed that it could be expected only 
of absolute governments. 

The Carlsbad decrees exhibited the continuous fabric of 
legality of the Metternich system. They were drafted by a 
diplomatic conference, adopted by a federal assembly, and 
promulgated in each state as state law. They reached the 

Patterns for Constitution-Making 345 

German subject as Bavarian, Prussian, Hessian law, not as 
federal law. Compare this procedure with that of international 
labor legislation. An international conference drafts a text of a 
labor law; the member states are then obligated to submit this 
draft to their parliaments for a vote. But the American govern- 
ment, unlike the International Labor Organization, lacks not 
only the power to compel a state to pass a labor law, but even 
the power to compel a state legislature to vote yes or no on a 
specific text. The American legal system is one of concurrent 
separate systems of law, whereas the tradition of the Empire 
interwove them. This specific method of enacting uniform 
laws in a confederation I shall refer to henceforth as the Carls- 
bad system. 

It must be added that the German Confederation assumed 
the same responsibility that the Empire had once held, to en- 
force against the princes the right of each of their subjects to 
due process of law. There was no specific provision for such 
a guarantee of due process of law in the text of the Federal 
Act of 18 15, but the federal assembly strained the letter of 
the act to fix this principle as part of the constitution of the 
Confederation. Article XII of the act permitted small states to 
combine to establish a common court of third instance. The 
federal diet deduced from that article the conclusion that every 
German subject had a right to three instances of appeal. The 
members of the diet argued that the Confederation must "com- 
pel a state to do its duty," for "otherwise there would be a 
general state of lawlessness which would be contrary to the 
aim of the Confederation, and defeat the establishment of a 
general legal order which it is the object of the Confederation 
to bring about." 

What if one of the German princes should prove recal- 
citrant? The means of executing the will of the Confederation 
on a prince or his state were those of the Empire— the Con- 
federation would give a mandate to one German state to en- 
force federal decrees upon another state. 

34^ Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

Where were the electors? In many of the drafts for a pro- 
posed German constitution that were introduced in the Con- 
gress of Vienna there was provision for a directory of the 
greater German princes, who would function in the Confed- 
eration as the electors had functioned in the Empire. The re- 
sistance of the small states prevented the adoption of the 
directory plan; but from that time to the final destruction of 
the Confederation it was characteristic of all the reform plans 
that sought to strengthen the Confederation without separating 
the Austrian Germans from the rest of Germany that they in- 
volved the setting up of a directory of the most powerful 

Even in the Metternich era, the principle which the Empire 
had legalized in the position of the electors survived as a prin- 
ciple of European politics. The great powers of Europe be- 
came, in a sense, a collegium, with claims to special political 
rights and responsibilities. They were the heirs of the electors. 
Moreover, the practices of international government in the days 
of the Pentarchy were not far from those of the Confederation; 
the Confederation had its Carlsbad Conference, Europe had its 
Troppau, Laibach, and Verona. The Confederation adopted the 
principle of intervention by mandate in an unruly state; Europe 
put the principle into execution against Italy and Spain. Good 
precedent existed in the role of the leading princes of the 
Circle in the Holy Roman Empire. 

The revolutionists of 1 848 intended to substitute popular for 
monarchic sovereignty; they wanted to destroy the Metternich 
system root and branch. Their attitude toward the later Holy 
Roman Empire was one of grief and shame; toward the United 
States, one of open admiration. They learned their political 
science from Rotteck and Welker's Staatslexicon, whose fifteen 
volumes stood beside the complete edition of Schiller in thou- 
sands of German homes. Rotteck's estimate of the relative im- 
portance of the United States and the idea of the Empire in 
Europe may be measured by the fact that he gave almost as 

Patterns for Constitution-Making 347 

many pages in the Lexicon to Benjamin Franklin as to Joseph II 
and Napoleon put together. 

The men of the Frankfurt Assembly were constantly alluding 
to the American example. They borrowed from the American 
Constitution both in broad matters of principle and in matters 
of drafting and detail. They defended an article by saying that 
it resembled the American model, and attacked it by saying it 
resembled the Confederation or the Empire. America seemed 
to prove that a great federal state could be based on the sov- 
ereignty, and hence the citizenship, of the whole people. 

Two key articles of the Frankfurt Constitution that were 
drawn almost textually from the American model were those 
which provided for the monopoly of foreign relations in the 
hands of the new German union, and for the direct elections 
to the Reichstag. On the other hand, there remained in the 
Frankfurt Constitution equally significant elements that were 
in the pattern of the old Empire. One of these was a compre- 
hensive list of fundamental rights that the new German union 
would guarantee to its citizens against acts of the govern- 
ments of the member states. The members of the Frankfurt 
Assembly thought that they were imitating the American 
Constitution in this feature of their draft, for they did not 
note that the American Bill of Rights, as it existed at that time, 
limited only the powers of the federal government and not of 
the states. So a feature of the pattern of the old Empire came 
into the Frankfurt Assembly of 1848 disguised with the stars 
and stripes. 

In the organization of the army and in leaving the execution 
of federal law to administration by the states, the Frankfurt 
Constitution also followed the old pattern. 

It is significant that those elements of the Constitution of 
1848 which were within the pattern of the Holy Roman Em- 
pire were consistent with the maintenance of Austria in the 
new Germany; but the elements drawn directly from the 
American Constitution forced the exclusion of Austria from 

348 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

the new Germany. The American elements of the Frankfurt 
Constitution led to the conclusion that no state could be 
partly in and partly out of the new Germany, for in such 
a state the "German people" would not be sovereign and the 
ruler would not be subject in his foreign relations to the policy 
of the new Germany. Georg Waitz, in the constitutional com- 
mittee, concluded that the Austro-Germans could not enter 
the new Germany unless they formed a state separate from the 
other Hapsburg lands. Any other solution, said Waitz, "would 
resemble the unhappy features of the Holy Roman Empire." 
But this decision meant that the Frankfurt Assembly could 
neither organize Central Europe nor unite Germany, for 
neither the Austro-Germans nor the Austrian government were 
willing to split the monarchy into German and non-German 

The principle of sovereignty and citizenship that worked in 
America could not apply to Central Europe as a whole because 
the people did not want to be citizens of a Central Europe, but 
rather of a Hungary, an Austria, or a Germany. The states 
that the people wanted could only be made by breaking up 
Central Europe, and the people were not agreed as to how 
they wanted Central Europe broken up. The Magyars and the 
Slavs were at war; the Bohemians were disputing with the 
Germans; the northern Germans could not agree with the 
Austro-Germans; and therefore the men of 1848 could neither 
divide Central Europe nor hold it together, and all their labor 
of constitution-making fell apart in their hands. 

After the Frankfurt Constitution of 1848 had been fumbled 
by Prussia, Schwarzenberg came on the scene with a strong 
Austrian program of reorganization for Central Europe. No 
longer, as in 18 15, was the Holy Roman Empire a matter of 
living memory; its jurisprudence was forgotten and its name 
despised. But the plan that Schwarzenberg backed in 1850, and 
the plan that Francis Joseph submitted to the Congress of 
Princes of 1863, were in the pattern of the old Empire, not of 

Patterns for Constitution-Making 349 

the United States. The members of the reformed German Con- 
federation were to be the princes and their states; the larger 
states were to constitute a directory; though there were to be 
representatives of the people in a central parliament, they were 
to be chosen by the diets of the German and Austrian states, 
not by direct vote; there would be a supreme court which 
would protect subjects against their own states; the federal 
government was not to have a monopoly of foreign relations; 
the princes were to retain their dual capacity as members both 
of a German union and of the European state system. A con- 
stitution along these Hnes could hold Central Europe together, 
whereas the Constitution of 1 848-49 divided it. 

Meanwhile there was a return to the Carlsbad method of uni- 
form legislation, though not in the Carlsbad spirit of conserv- 
atism. A uniform commercial code for all Germany was drafted 
by a commission set up by the Federal Assembly, communi- 
cated by the Assembly to the separate states, and adopted by 
all of them save Luxemburg in 1861. 

The Congress of Princes in 1863 failed. Bismarck opposed 
it on the very ground that the proposed parliament of the re- 
formed Confederation was to consist of delegates of diets, 
rather than representatives directly elected by the people. 

Then came the Bismarck system for Germany, which was 
essentially the territorial program of 1 848, and it brought with 
it the penalty that it divided the German nation instead of 
uniting it. 

But while Bismarck did not organize Central Europe at the 
level of constitutional law, he proceeded in the seventies and 
eighties to build for it a marvelous organization at the level of 
international law. He not only reunited as allies the Germans 
whom he had separated from each other, but he held all the 
surrounding nationalities in his alliance system— Serbia from 
188 1, Italy from 1882, Rumania from 1883. Russia, which gov- 
erned part of the Polish nationality, was held in the orbit of 
Bismarckian diplomacy. The Bismarck system stabilized the 

350 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

relations of the nationalities of Central Europe, though it 
operated only at the level of international law. 

In the World War, while there was a prospect of a German 
victory, Friedrich Naumann popularized a plan for the reor- 
ganization of Mittel-Europa. In a sense his plan was a return 
to the working principles of 1850 and 1863, of Schwarzenberg 
and Francis Joseph. He would establish a constitutional law 
fabric under the international law framework of the Dual 
Alliance. His technique was to be the development of agree- 
ments on specific problems, the setting up of cooperative ad- 
ministrative agencies for railways, customs, banking, and so 
forth, and the preparation and adoption of identical laws by 
the states. His method was the method of Carlsbad, and his 
proposed institutions for common action on banking, trans- 
portation, and so forth had as their remote and forgotten an- 
cestor the Central Investigating Commission at Mainz, estab- 
lished under the Carlsbad decrees to investigate revolutionary 
plots. Despite the German defeat, this method was used after 
the war to prepare for the adoption of a common criminal code 
by Austria and Germany. 

The principles actually realized in Central Europe were not 
those of Naumann, but of Woodrow Wilson. They were a 
return, pure and simple, to the ideals of 1848. They succeeded 
this time in breaking up Central Europe, but not in organizing 
it. The model of the American Constitution was influential in 
the constitution-making of some of the individual states— 
notably Germany and Czechoslovakia; but it was not useful 
in maintaining organization in Central Europe as a whole. 

The principal recognition given to the problem of Central 
Europe as a whole was in the minorities treaties. What were 
those treaties? They remind one of those articles of the Peace 
of Westphalia which guaranteed the religious status quo of 
the subjects of the princes of the Holy Roman Empire. The 
treaties operated against states by giving to injured individuals 
the protection of super-state authority. They were not in the 

Patterns for Constitution-Making 351 

pattern of the pre-Civil War American Constitution, but rather 
in the pattern of the constitution of the old Empire. There was 
no place in Central Europe for the American principle of dual 
citizenship, for the people of Central Europe did not want 
to be citizens of Central Europe; the conditions for the applica- 
tion of the American pattern were lacking. 

The area of Central Europe, the Holy Roman Empire and its 
overlapping monarchies, is the principal seat of the modern Eu- 
ropean nationality problem. To the nineteenth century, Cen- 
tral European nationalism was a domestic problem of three 
great monarchies; today it is a problem for Europe as a whole. 

Reviewing the experience of the monarchies and Europe, we 
can say that Metternich held Central Europe together with a 
political system on the pattern of the Holy Roman Empire; 
that the men of 1 848, using the pattern of the United States in 
their constitution-making, could neither divide it nor organize 
it; that the reform plan of 1863 attempted reorganization at the 
constitutional level and failed; that Bismarck divided Central 
Europe at the constitutional level, but united it at the level 
of international law; and that the Wilsonian principles left it 
with neither kind of organization. 

The contrast between the two types of federal structure has 
world meaning. The Wilsonian system of 1 9 1 8 required for its 
success a sense of world citizenship in the moral and political 
sphere, fortified by individualist interests in world commerce. 
His system was to give to all peoples control of their own 
states, and he expected them to exercise this control in a 
double capacity— as citizens of their own state and as citizens of 
the world— and to hold in their hearts a dual loyalty— to their 
own country on the one hand, and to world order on the 
other. It is only on this hypothesis that it can be deduced that 
democratic governments are specially qualified to maintain 
the regime of peace. 

But the new state and world society is developing in another 
direction. The individual is increasingly removed from world 

352 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

relations by the interposition of his state. Morally and politi- 
cally his ideas come from information filtered through the 
machinery of a propaganda office; his trade relations with 
business men in other states go through a national control. It 
took centuries for the German princes to establish themselves 
as the sole operative link between the Empire and their sub- 
jects; this new process of mediatization, this new Landeshoheit, 
is establishing itself with incredibly greater rapidity. 

Meanwhile the American system has drawn nearer to the 
rival pattern, not only in the development of the application of 
the Fourteenth Amendment as a federal control over the 
states, but also in the method of bringing state laws to conform 
to a model established by Congress. Witness the little N.R.A.'s, 
the little Wagner Acts, and especially the social security laws. 
Likewise, the British Empire, in developing the right of the 
dominions to independent foreign policy and giving to each a 
dual capacity as a member both of the Commonwealth and of 
the international family of nations, approaches the pattern of 
the Holy Roman Empire. 

What of the League of Nations? It was also somewhat in the 
Empire pattern. It operated directly upon states; its enforce- 
ment scheme was a feeble imitation of the ban of the Empire 
or of federal execution in the German Confederation, and had 
nothing in common with the American pattern. But on a crucial 
point the drafters of the Covenant yielded to small-state pres- 
sure and departed from the Empire pattern: this was in the 
make-up of the Council. Cecil proposed that the Council should 
consist of the great powers, purely and simply. It would then 
have been heir to the whole tradition of international poHtical 
organization since Metternich, and through Metternich it would 
have been the true heir to the Empire. But small-state pressure 
in 1 9 19, like the pressure of the small German states in 18 15, 
forced a compromise. The Golden Bull of Woodrow Wilson 
put into the College of Electors powers whose potential role 
in the high politics of Europe did not justify their presence in 

Patterns for Constitution-Making 353 

that body. Instead of building on the tradition of the old 
diplomacy, there was an effort to create a new diplomacy and 
to establish a sacred symbol— sacred like the United States 
Constitution— in the written Covenant. Today we have the 
benefit neither of the old order nor of the new. 

It is not inconceivable that, if an era of law establishes itself 
again in the world, it may exhibit more elements of the Holy 
Roman Empire pattern than of the American pattern: for in- 
stance, no attempt at world citizenship; a hierarchic arrange- 
ment of states under a directory of a few great world powers; 
a fabric of law, in which the distinction between international, 
constitutional and private law has faded, in a society that makes 
no clear distinction between property rights and political func- 
tions. The juridical doctrine to implement such a system is al- 
ready evolving in the works of Hans Kelsen and Alfred 
Verdross. We may discover that we will not have world order 
save by recognizing hierarchies of privilege that are offensive 
to our present sense of justice. Still, if we weary of our present 
symbols, find our going political mythology inadequate, and 
seek another dispensation, let us not forget the old man sleep- 
ing in the cave of the Kyffhauser. 


MilPs Liberty Today "^ 

Eighty years ago the European continent was passing 
through the last moments of conservative reaction that had 
followed the Revolutions of 1848. Serfdom had three more 
years to run in Russia, as slavery had six more years to live 
in the United States. Napoleon III, dictator of France, was 
clearing the ground for the war in Italy that was destined to 
shake the foundations of his dictatorship. The Hapsburg Mon- 
archy was in the last year of its bureaucratic strait jacket under 
the Bach regime. Prussia, still among the autocratic states, stood 
on the eve of the "New Course" that was to lead to an era, 
first of conflict between Parliament and king, and then of 
compromise. More than half of the Balkan area was still under 
Turkish rule; and in most of Italy, harsh police measures filled 
the prisons with men who called themselves "liberals." Acre 
for acre, man for man, the political Europe of 1858 seemed not 
less hostile to the spirit that called itself liberalism than seems 
the Europe of 1938. But there was this diflterence: that the 
liberals of that day were confident that they were pulling 
with the tide. They faced the dawn with hope. They knew 
their day would come. 

It was in that year that John Stuart Mill wrote his essay "On 
Liberty." It is a statement of principles so fundamental and so 
comprehensive that it takes rank with Rousseau's "Social Con- 

* Reprinted, by special permission, from Foreign Affairs, July 1938. 


MiWs Liberty Today 355 

tract," Marx's "Communist Manifesto," and Leo XIII's "Ency- 
clical on the Conditions of Labor" as a basic programmatic 
document of modern times. 

In the decades that have supervened, there has been no end of 
writing and speaking about Hberty. Some of it has been frothy 
and sweet, like a meringue; some has been stimulating, hke a 
cocktail; some has been soothing and pleasant for political chil- 
dren, like an all-day sucker. Mill's essay is of another sort. It is 
the good hard bread of thought, such as the Victorians were 
wont to consume— leavened by the philosophy of the eighteenth 
century, kneaded in the turmoil of the English Reform, and 
baked in the furnace of the Industrial Revolution. It may be 
dry, but it is nourishing. Take it and bite into it: 

. . . the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exer- 
cised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, 
is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or 
moral, is not a sufficient warrant. 

. . . the appropriate region of human liberty . . . comprises, 
first, the inward domain of consciousness . . . absolute freedom of 
opinion and sentiment on all subjects. . . . The liberty of express- 
ing and publishing opinions ... is practically inseparable from it. 
Secondly . . . liberty of tastes and pursuits; of framing the plan 
of our life to suit our own character; of doing as we like, subject to 
such consequences as may follow; without impediment from our 
fellow-creatures, so long as what we do does not harm them. . . . 
Thirdly, from this liberty of each individual, follows the liberty, 
within the same limits, of combination among individuals; freedom 
to unite, for any purpose not involving harm to others: the persons 
combining being supposed to be of full age, and not forced or de- 

A person may cause evil to others not only by his actions but by 
his inaction, and in either case he is justly accountable to them for 
the injury. 

There are also many positive acts for the benefit of others, which 
he may rightfully be compelled to perform; such as to give evi- 
dence in a court of justice; to bear his fair share in the common 
defense, or in any other joint work necessary to the interest of the 
society of which he enjoys the protection. 

. . . opinions lose their immunity when the circumstances in 

35^ Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

which they are expressed are such as to constitute their expression 
a positive instigation to some mischievous act. 

. . . trade is a social act. Whoever undertakes to sell any descrip- 
tion of goods to the public, does what affects the interest of other 
persons, and of society in general . . . the principle of individual 
liberty is not involved in the doctrine of Free Trade. . . . 

If society lets any considerable number of its members grow up 
mere children, incapable of being acted on by rational considera- 
tion of distant motives, society has itself to blame for the conse- 

The State, while it respects the liberty of each in what specially 
regards himself, is bound to maintain a vigilant control over his 
exercise of any power which it allows him to possess over others. 

I regard utility as the ultimate appeal on all ethical questions; but 
it must be utility in the largest sense, grounded on the permanent 
interests of a man as a progressive being. 

The worth of a State, in the long run, is the worth of the in- 
dividuals composing it ... a State which dwarfs its men, in order 
that they may be more docile instruments in its hands even for 
beneficial purposes— will find that with small men no great thing can 
really be accomplished. 

Has anything happened since 1858 to make this closely 
reasoned argument less applicable to human affairs? We have 
become more dependent upon each other as our economy has 
become more highly geared, but Mill acknowledges that to 
compel men to do their share of what is necessary for society- 
is not a violation of their liberty. Economic organization has 
given to some men a stature of power beside which other men, 
be they laborers or stockholders, are as pygmies; but Mill de- 
clares that the state must exercise vigilant control over any 
power it allows one man to hold over another. We have seen 
the "freedom to unite" used to build up parties that have made 
it their first enterprise to destroy the conditions of freedom in 
which they grew; but Mill limits the freedom to unite to pur- 
poses not involving harm to others. Radio and all the arts of 
propaganda have made "the liberty of publishing and express- 
ing an opinion" more potent in inducing action than Mill would 
have thought possible; but Mill was wilUng to permit restraints 

MiWs Liberty Today 357 

on the expression of opinion if the circumstance should be 
such as to lead directly from the expression of opinion to 
wrongful acts. Forms of competition may have become more 
destructive since Mill's day, and the human damage suffered in 
the competitive struggle may have increased; but Mill con- 
cedes that society can make the rules of the competitive game 
in accordance with the general interest. Mill's statement that 
"trade is a social act" is broader than the commerce clause in 
the Constitution in its justification of all needful regulation of 
business. And Mill sees very clearly that liberty defeats itself if 
it is interpreted to exclude compulsory education. If collectiv- 
ists argue their case with a promise of high productivity, Mill 
will meet them by accepting utility "broadly conceived" as the 
supreme ethical criterion. There is much that has happened 
which Mill did not foresee, and not a little of what he discussed 
has become a dead issue (his defense of the Mormons, for in- 
stance). Yet the main structure of his argument still holds 
against all the material and political developments of the last 
two generations. 

In the year that Mill wrote the essay "On Liberty" he ended 
his life career in the India Office. For the next fifteen years, 
until his death in 1873, he saw the doctrines of political liberal- 
ism sweep everything before them. France, Germany, Austria- 
Hungary, Italy, Sweden— all fell fully into line with new or 
renovated parliamentary institutions. Even Russia passed 
through its liberal phase under Alexander II. Everything liberal 
was dubbed desirable, and everything desirable was dubbed 
liberal. But while the world became liberal, what was happen- 
ing to liberty— to liberty as Mill defined it and championed it? 

The liberty that Mill championed was not realized automati- 
cally by the introduction of parliamentary government or 
popular rule. It might indeed be threatened thereby. He sought 
to erect a bulwark of principles not only against the power of 
despots, but against the power of majorities, and not only 
against the tyranny of magistrates, but against "the tyranny of 

358 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

the prevailing opinion and feeling; against the tendency of 
society to impose, by other means than civil penalties, its own 
ideas and practices as rules of conduct upon those who dissent 
from them." In this sphere Mill felt, even as he wrote, that 
the tide was running against him. He saw that "the tendency 
of all the changes taking place in the world is to strengthen so- 
ciety, and diminish the power of the individual," and that "this 
encroachment is not one of the evils which tend spontaneously 
to disappear, but, on the contrary, to grow more and more 
formidable." On the eve of the triumph of liberalism, he al- 
ready feared for liberty. 

The fears he felt were not unlike those that came to the mind 
of Henry Adams as he meditated on the degradation of the 
democratic dogma— the fear that mediocrity would triumph 
over originality, and servility over independence of character. 
"He who lets the world, or his own portion of it, choose his 
plan of life for him, has no need of any other faculty than the 
ape-like one of imitation. ... It really is of importance, not 
only what men do, but also what manner of men they are that 
do it." "Formerly, different ranks, different neighborhoods, 
different trades and professions, lived in what might be called 
different worlds; at present to a great degree the same. Com- 
paratively speaking, they now read the same things, listen to the 
same things, see the same things . . . have their hopes and fears 
directed toward the same objects, have the same rights and 
liberties, and the same means of asserting them." 

The twentieth century continued this process of clamping 
down on individuality, and of imposing conformities on ways 
of living. The catalogue of imposed conformities is extended 
by such things as movies, radio, national advertising, and chain 
stores in democratic countries, by police measures and positive 
propaganda in totaHtarian states. The technological require- 
ments of mass production call not only for regimented workers, 
but also for regimented consumers. 

But the change of material conditions, and even of social 

MilPs Liberty Today 359 

attitudes, has opened some new zones to individuality in life. 
The shortening of working hours has extended the possibilities 
of leisure-time pursuits. The spread of knowledge of contra- 
ception has increased the power of individuals over their life 
plans. The growth of the metropolis has granted the shelter 
of anonymity to millions. And, in America at least, the auto- 
mobile has supplemented the metropolis in curbing the power 
of the neighborhood. The encroachment upon individuality 
does not come today from society so much as from the state. 
The enemy of liberty today, as in the early nineteenth century, 
is the state. 

Free living, as Mill saw it, and as we must see it today, is not 
separable from free thinking. And with this step, the argument 
reaches the very heart of Mill's idea and of the world's present 
uneasiness. What is the place of liberty in the sphere of con- 
sciousness? Here Mill's stand was absolute and intransigent. 
Man must be just as free to hold and defend wrong opinions 
as to hold and defend right ones. "If all mankind minus one 
were of one opinion," he writes, "and only one person were 
of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified 
in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, 
would be justified in silencing mankind." There can be no 
distinction made on the basis of the utility of an opinion, for 
"the usefulness of an opinion is itself matter of opinion: as 
disputable, as open to discussion, and requiring discussion as 
much as the opinion itself." 

In arguing for freedom of opinion from political control, 
he was preaching, as he thought, to the converted. He thought 
the time had gone by when a defense was needed of freedom of 
the press. It was social pressure against heterodox opinion that 
he most feared. He saw the danger of mass rule by public 
opinion, unleavened by new ideas, and feared that the wearing 
down of heterodoxy would make England another China. 
Against this prospect he argued with irrefutable syllogism 
that only by confronting opinions with their contraries could 

360 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

the road to truth be lighted, that truths unquestioned must re- 
main truths unproved. 

Point for point his argument is unassailable: if an opinion 
is right, its suppression deprives people of a chance to exchange 
error for truth; if it is wrong, people lose by its suppression the 
livelier impression of truth produced by its collision with error. 
The ordeal of persecution is no test of truth. "It is a piece of 
idle sentimentality that truth, merely as truth, has any inherent 
power denied to error of prevailing against the dungeon and the 
stake." But the ordeal of reason is always a test of truth. Man 
rectifies his errors by discussion and experience; "as mankind 
improve, the number of doctrines that are no longer disputed 
or doubted will be constantly on the increase." Action, whether 
individual or social, flows from the correct apprehension of 
truth as demonstrated in discussion. It is this principle that 
justifies faith in progress for men sufficiently civilized to use 
discussion as a control of action, that justifies the use of force 
against backward peoples not capable of using the same instru- 
ment, and that forces a society that wishes to move on this path 
to compel the education of its children to the point where they 
can participate in the symposium. 

This demonstration of the value of free discussion is mono- 
lithic. Around it all the rest of the argument is built, and yet 
it is here that twentieth-century thinking has moved farthest 
from John Stuart Mill. In its political practice, a substantial 
part of the world is still with him in defending freedom of 
opinion. In its social manners, it has relaxed controls, and has 
come to regard the word "Victorian" as describing a stuffy 
repression of parlor conversation. The material world has not 
registered a decision against liberty of thought; at least half of 
the pohtical and social world continues, in the main, to respect 
it. But the metaphysical foundations are no longer what they 

For two generations since Mill we have studied, talked and 
discussed together— hundreds of thousands of us in laboratory 

Miirs Liberty Today 361 

and library, hundreds of millions of us in sweatshop and barber 
shop, in hotel lobby and in homes. And do we still think, as Mill 
said eighty years ago, that "the number of doctrines which are 
no longer disputed or doubted will be constantly on the in- 
crease"? If we accept Mill's dictum that "the number and 
gravity of the truths which have reached the point of being 
uncontested" are a measure of the well-being of mankind, must 
we conclude that "well-being" thus measured has increased or 
diminished since his day? 

It was a magnificent feast of reason for which Mill planned 
the menu and laid the table. He had, it is true, some misgivings 
that guests at the universal banquet might lack the fine sense to 
appreciate all that was offered; he did not foresee that they 
would come to the banquet, share in it, and then go hungry 

The drift away from the metaphysical foundation of Mill's 
argument is a drift away from his assumption that truth is 
divisible for purposes of discussion and verification. Now it is 
evident that a Nazi, a Communist, and a Catholic hold each to 
a vast body of interlocking opinions, so integrated that they 
cannot be broken down into separate parts and subjected to 
separate analysis; and at the same time so comprehensive that 
they cannot be carried as a whole to the point of verification 
or disproof by evidence and information that any man, in his 
lifetime, can accumulate. Free discussion, under such condi- 
tions, does not lead to conclusions. 

There is a profound harmony uniting Mill's A System of 
Logic with his essay "On Liberty." Both point the same road 
to the apprehension of truth. It is the road that Francis Bacon 
surveyed in the seventeenth century; it is the road by which 
learning in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries organized its 
stupendous achievements. The road is paved with monographs 
and learned journals. But now we ask, what if every word is 
true separately, what if each item of truth has been polished 
with verifications, what if we know the syntax of Bantu and 

362 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

the effect of ultraviolet rays on the chromosomes of a sea- 
urchin's egg— are these separate truths, the truths that men 
can live by? Taken all together, do they constitute a truth 
that men can understand? The technique of verification which 
Mill deemed universal is applicable to fragments; but the very 
unity of personality for which Mill pleaded is not satisfied with 
fragments of truth. 

Consider, for instance, one method of investigation which 
would seem to be the unassailable stronghold of objectivity, the 
method by which contrary assertions can be led to confront 
each other with perfect intellectual decorum, with error al- 
ways yielding to truth. This is the method of statistical analysis. 
It has grown by leaps and bounds since Mill's day. Our supply 
of statistics is beyond his dreams; our use of them permeates 
government, business, and education, as well as the fields of 
scholarship. Hitler's speeches are full of them; Soviet reports 
bristle with them; they chart themselves in the offices of the 
sales managers; they send shivers down the spines of bankers. 
They may be abused at times, but the liars who figure can ulti- 
mately be confronted with the figures that do not lie. The 
free discussion of the interpretation of statistics should furnish 
an ideal vehicle for the application of reason to human affairs. 

But there is lurking in the development of the statistical con- 
trols of social policy a potential danger to the principle of indi- 
viduality itself. Already in large classes in the schools, in- 
dividual students and individual teachers are fighting a losing 
battle against the normal curve of distribution. Every refine- 
ment of statistical method is an exquisite device for making men 
look Hke atoms. Universal suffrage, unable to take into account 
subtle differences among individuals in the degree of their 
interest in a subject or the extent of their capacity to under- 
stand it, is but a special case of the application of the adding- 
machine technique to the determination of social policy. Pro- 
portional representation is a statistical refinement. Taxation 
policies are already made on calculating machines, and standards 

MiWs Liberty Today 363 

of living are measured by the method of least squares. When 
mankind becomes an equation of N variables and the horizon of 
his life is plotted on a F axis, when individuality is a parameter 
of variation and personality an exponential function, will not 
the disciples of Mill quail before the monstrosities of statistical 
abstraction? Statistics do indeed render truth divisible for pur- 
poses of verification, but the great truths escape while the small 
ones are verified. 

Perhaps there is another method by which free discussion of 
opinion can be relied upon to sift errors from truths in terms 
of the vast units of truth which are necessary for significance. 
Mill thought that the interpretation of experience would be 
such a method. But what does this mean? It means that we 
regard the League of Nations as an experiment, the Soviet 
union as a laboratory enterprise, and problems of policy as 
subject to the method of trial and error. In small matters the 
method is full of merit. On great affairs the laboratory fees are 
paid in blood, and when the reports of the experiment are writ- 
ten they are found to have contributed to the world an em- 
bellishment of mythologies rather than a bundle of verified 

Little as Mill foresaw that western Europe would reach this 
state, yet the framework of his thought was vast enough to take 
it into account: "Liberty, as a principle, has no application to 
any state of things anterior to the time when mankind have 
become capable of being improved by free and equal discus- 
sion." Fundamentally, MiWs faith in progress was so uncon- 
ditional that he did not imagine that a people which had learned 
to improve itself by free and equal discussion could lose the 
art. But the conclusion would have to be drawn from his argu- 
ment that if the time should ever come when the thought struc- 
ture of the world should lose its anchorage in induction, the 
day of improvement by free discussion would have passed, and 
with it the day of liberty. 

It has now come to pass that the whole system of liberty has 

364 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

been reduced to one among a number of competing ideologies; 
it no longer furnishes the universal framework within which 
ideologies compete. Half the world still holds to this ideology, 
preferring it to others; the other half has undertaken to carry 
the police regulation of thought to a point of efficiency un- 
precedented in history. Propaganda and counter-propaganda 
are organized state activities, into which even the democratic 
countries are drawn. Just as the early modern state squeezed 
out the private administration of justice, so the totalitarian 
states squeeze out the private administration of thought. The 
democratic states at least engage in competition with non-state 
agencies in propaganda. Within the states that are still loyal 
to the ideal of liberty, two questions arise: To what extent 
shall the state undertake to propagate opinions? Can the state 
impose some restrictions on the propagation of opinions with- 
out destroying liberty in its entirety? Mill's principles would 
seem to rule that, just as thought is divisible for purposes of 
discussion and verification, so liberty of thought and expression 
is indivisible. One cannot lose any of it without losing it all. 
The sole limitation that Mill was willing to concede was 
restraint upon the expression of thought that would lead di- 
rectly to mischievous acts. He would not allow a man to shout, 
"Hang the baker" during a bread riot, but he would permit 
anyone to shout "Down with capitalism" on Union Square. 

This concession made by Mill may be like the thin end of a 
wedge which, driven by twentieth-century conditions, will 
render liberty divisible. Fraudulent advertising claims would 
seem to be subject to state police measures, since "trade is a 
social act." And perhaps fraudulent political claims might be 
included by stretching the doctrine that "freedom to unite" 
is defensible only on condition that the persons uniting are 
"undeceived." A law requiring the registration of lobbyists 
and public relations counsellors would not seem to be contrary 
to Mill's principle of liberty. 

In the propagation of opinions by the state, the state-con- 

MilPs Liberty Today 365 

trolled schools are first in importance. Mill saw that state educa- 
tion would tend to become state propaganda. He hoped to 
avoid the evils of this by leaving the schools so far as possible 
under private control and by restricting the role of the state to 
that of an examiner. The examination, he thought, would be 
exclusively on questions of fact. Here again his confidence that 
great and significant truths were merely the sum of a great 
number of facts gave him a solution which modern educators 
must regard as all too simple. 

These problems would exist in a regime of liberty even if it 
had no contact with foreign states or with totalitarian regimes. 
But the propaganda activity and the threats of force that arise 
in the totalitarian states render these problems more pressing. 
It happened that while Mill was writing his essay, Orsini at- 
tempted to assassinate Napoleon III, and the British govern- 
ment complied with a French request that the British press 
should be restrained from attacking the heads of foreign states. 
Napoleon demanded, though on a modest scale, what Hitler 
demands today. Mill was shocked by the violation done the 
freedom of the press. He evidently did not regard English press 
campaigns against Napoleon as coming within his definition 
of expressions of opinion leading directly to mischievous acts. 

But the issue involved is not simple, for the regime of liberty 
cannot survive during modern warfare. A regime of liberty 
implies a policy of peace, and peace between nations may in 
fact be threatened by press campaigns that arouse international 
hatred. This situation has led many partisans of collective 
security under the League of Nations to advocate "moral dis- 
armament," a program which means the restraining of inter- 
national hate-mongers by their own governments. The famous 
Carlsbad Decrees of 18 19 that were enforced against the 
freedom of the press in the German states were based on pre- 
cisely this principle. They did not compel the state of Baden, 
for instance, to suppress journalistic attacks upon the govern- 
ment of Baden; they applied only to pamphleteering in one state 

366 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

against another state, or against the German Confederation 
as a whole. Radio, which leaps across political parties, has 
sharpened this dilemma for the adherents of the principles of 
liberty. Italy can blackmail England with a pro-Islamic radio 
campaign, and totahtarian radio propaganda in Latin America 
can drive the American Government to counter measures. 

Finally, the adherents of the system of liberty face the more 
serious dilemma of whether to aid each other in defending their 
system by armed force. John Stuart Mill wrote down the rules 
of a game in which people write letters to The Times. Do cir- 
cumstances now indicate that it is not enough to write letters to 
The Times, that we must rather go overseas and string barbed 
wire in Spain? If paid agents of a totalitarian state are building 
up a party in a free country, must the free country give free- 
dom even to them? 

These problems confronting the adherents of liberty today 
are not insoluble. Already our thinkers are working to shore 
up the crumbling places in the metaphysical foundations of 
liberty by turning their attention from the verification of small 
truths to the analyses of great ones. The Encyclopedia of the 
eighteenth century was a philosophy; the Encyclopedia of the 
nineteenth century was a disorderly museum of facts; the En- 
cyclopedia of the twentieth century is only in the making. It 
need not and cannot contain the answers to all questions, but 
it may turn out to be an intellectual achievement that will in- 
spire confidence that even the most comprehensive and mean- 
ingful opinions are ultimately capable of objective verification 
or disproof. The dilemmas encountered in applying the prin- 
ciples of liberty to human affairs are by no means so serious 
as those encountered in applying the alternative ideologies. 
The totalitarian states have yet to show that they can produce 
great characters. It takes forty years to make a man. The great 
names in these states are the names of men who were made 
by liberty, whether under a regime of liberty or despite a 
regime of repression. 

MiWs Liberty Today }6j 

John Stuart Mill ruled a great empire of thought and ruled it 
well; his satraps were principles and his army was an army of 
facts. The law of that empire was the law of liberty, progress, 
and utility. The empire still stands, though there are barbarians 
swarming on the frontiers, and the satraps have set themselves 
up as semi-independent rulers of petty domains. But the good 
law that he laid down is still good law, and the empire will 
stand wherever men believe with him that "the worth of a 
State, in the long run, is the worth of the individuals compos- 
ing it." 


Peace in Our Time * 

The wars of modern nations are not wagers of battle, but 
crusades. The wars that threaten on the so-called ideological 
front between Communists and Fascists, or dictatorships and 
democracies, will be crusades. The first secular crusade of 
modern times was the War of Propaganda of the French Revo- 
lution. Since then there have been some wars of the other kind 
—wars fought without great fervor for ideals not unduly high. 
But the war danger of today does not arise from a prospect of 
such conflicts. Great population masses cannot be set in motion 
for anything less than an issue between eternal right and satanic 
evil. None but the highest ideals will sustain war morale in the 
modern world. This will be found equally true on both sides 
of the next war's no man's land. 

A peculiar feature of the crusade is that it combines in 
itself extremes of barbarism and culture. As a war for an ideal— 
for Jerusalem the Golden, for Democracy, for the Rights of 
Small Nations— it brings man to a high level of heroic and 
poetic existence. In the attitude which it induces toward the 
enemy it repudiates even the commonest decencies of human- 
ity. And of all possible crusades, no doubt the most fervid 
will be the next war to end war. 

The generation that saw the rise and fall of the League of 

* Reprinted by permission from The Virginia Quarterly Review, 
Autumn 1938. 


Peace in Our Time 369 

Nations has learned to classify attitudes toward world politics 
as idealistic on the one hand, realistic on the other. The ideahsts 
are those to whom that symbol of peace, the Covenant, means 
much; the realists are those to whom it means little. But the 
highly articulated character of the nationalist ideologies that 
have repudiated the League, the romantic tissue of which these 
ideologies are composed, and the colossal sacrifices of material 
interests to which they have led the peoples who have fol- 
lowed them, are enough to indicate that idealism is not 
monopolized by any camp. The idealists are all potential 
crusaders, whether they are ready to crusade for the nation, 
for the proletariat, for freedom, or for peace. In the setting of 
contemporary world politics, "realist" and "ideaUst" have 
become interchangeable terms. 

The Middle Ages had another doctrine by which to classify 
the attitudes and principles of political action: the doctrine 
of the two swords. There was the sword spiritual and the 
sword temporal, the sword of Holy Church and the sword of 
the Holy Roman Empire. According to the great popes from 
Gregory to Boniface, the sword spiritual was above the sword 
temporal; according to the letter of Holy Writ, these two 
swords were enough. 

Can we, taking into account the complex institutional meta- 
morphoses of the past five centuries, identify today these two 
swords? What is the legacy of the medieval Church to modern 
politics, and what the legacy of the Empire? Unless we can 
distinguish today the things that are God's from the things 
that are Caesar's, we cannot render unto each his own. 

Despite all that is happening in China and Spain, and all that 
has happened in Ethiopia and Central Europe, it is evident 
that there is still some universality in human organization. The 
world is not wholly anarchic. Even the networks of alignment 
for future wars that are woven daily and unraveled nightly 

370 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

like Penelope's web, even the neutrality policies fashioned and 
refashioned, are evidence that the medium of world politics is 
a continuum. 

The family of nations is older and far more deeply rooted 
than the League of Nations; the League was never more than 
an organ of the world commonwealth. The period of maximum 
growth of the family of nations preceded the organization of 
the League. Metternich dealt with a political world of two 
hundred million people; the World War closed on a world of 
nearly two billion. This tenfold increase is partly the result of a 
net population increase; it is also a result of the expansion of 
European politics to the dimensions of world politics. Non- 
European political systems have been successively incorporated 
into the European, some by colonization and conquest, some by 
initiation and reception. In 1856 the Ottoman Empire was ad- 
mitted to the circle of the European powers. Japan and China 
adapted their practices of international intercourse to those 
of Western Europe in the last half of the nineteenth century. 
And every political society accepted into the family of nations 
is assumed to have consented without reservation to follow all 
the rules and practices of international law and custom. There 
has been no reciprocity; neither the Caliph nor the Son of 
Heaven contributed in practice or doctrine to the rules of the 
political world order. The order into which the novitiate states 
were initiated was purely and simply that which had grown 
in Western Europe. 

From what roots in Europe did international political order 
grow? Not from feudalism, not from kingship, for these were 
essentially centrifugal institutions in respect of Europe. The 
two historic institutions that expressed the idea of universality 
were the Church and the Empire. Which of these is the parent 
of the family of nations? 

Both Church and Empire were Holy and Roman. Both of 
them, in medieval times, laid claims to universal jurisdictions. 
Both claimed the right to sever a man from his social ties— by 
the ban of the Empire or the penalty of excommunication. And 

Peace in Our Time 371 

both could reward as well as punish— the Empire by granting 
dignities to the living, the Church by canonizing the dead. 
Each had its sword, the sword spiritual and the sword temporal. 
Both used war as an instrument of policy. Yet neither of them 
was, essentially, a war organization. The crusade was incidental 
to the Hfe of the Church; and the Empire, though it gave 
Europe, especially Eastern Europe, a political framework 
within which armed resistance to the infidel and expansion 
among pagans could be organized, was not primarily a war- 
making machine, nor was it, like the Ottoman Empire, an army 
of occupation in permanent possession. Both were for Europe 
primarily symbols of law, not of armed force. 

Today there are three universal jurisdictions: that of law 
in the family of nations, that of credit in the structure of 
capitalist economy, and that of experiment in the method of 
science. The universality of the family of nations is probably 
an expanded and diluted derivative of that which infused the 
Holy Roman Empire; the universaHty of the method of science 
is a secularized and dehumanized survivor of that which lived 
in the faith of the Church. 

Universality does not survive in either of the bodies that 
are commonly regarded today as the institutional continuations 
of medieval Empire and Church. The Third Reich, though it 
covers much of the territory once the home of the Empire, is 
dedicated to a nationalism that is the very antithesis of the 
universalism of the Empire. The Roman CathoHc Church, 
though its teaching is still keyed to a statement of universal 
human values, speaks today for only one-sixth of the people 
of the world, and for less than half of the world's Christian 
population. And national patriotism, enemy of all universal 
jurisdictions, owes far more to the Church than to the Empire. 

The distinction between spiritual and temporal was funda- 
mental in Christian dogmatics. It did not exactly correspond 
to the metaphysical distinction between ideal and material. In a 

372 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

context removed from Christian dogma, it can best be trans- 
lated as the distinction between short-term and long-term ex- 
pectancies. Spiritual values exceeded temporal values because 
they would be realized through an infinity of time; temporal 
ills were endurable when measured against spiritual goods be- 
cause the latter were eternal. The potency of Christian dogma 
as a determinant of rational conduct turned upon its ability 
to sell long-term investments in eternity by inducing men to 
make present sacrifices for the sake of benefits to be enjoyed, 
or pains to be avoided, after death. The spiritual sword sym- 
bolized the force of this feature of Christianity as an instrument 
of social control; the temporal sword symbolized those instru- 
ments of control which operate by granting day-to-day re- 
wards, or by inflicting immediate pains. 

Neither contemporary nationalism nor Communism could 
survive on a merely day-to-day conception of the objectives 
of human existence. Both direct the eyes of their devotees to a 
blessed future, the preparation for which justifies present in- 
conveniences. Both make use of the spiritual sword. 

The medieval popes asserted that the sword spiritual must 
be served by the sword temporal. This claim may have been 
bad jurisprudence, but it was undoubtedly good social psy- 
chology. The monarchs of the rising states rejected the papal 
claim to supremacy over them; rather they seized the sword 
spiritual into their own hands. They claimed divine rights to 
rule; they made themselves heads of state churches, openly in 
Protestant countries, covertly in those which were still in the 
Roman fold; they forced religious conformity upon their 
peoples, and laid down long-term state policies. "Austria ulti- 
mate in the world" was the mystic formula in Vienna. As 
divine-right monarchy died out, democracy claimed rights no 
less divine, and the religion of nationalism took over the forms 
even as it perverted the substance of the Christian cult. Carlton 
Hayes has described in his profound critique of nationalism the 
result of the metamorphosis: 

Peace in Our Time 373 

To the modern national state, as to the medieval church, is at- 
tributable an ideal, a mission. It is the mission of salvation and the 
ideal of immortality. The nation is conceived of as eternal, and 
the deaths of her loyal sons do but add to her undying fame and 
glory. She protects her children and saves them from foreign 
devils; she assures them life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; 
she fosters for them the arts and the sciences; and she gives them 
nourishment. Nor may the role of the modem national state, any 
more than that of the medieval church, be thought of as economic 
or mercenary; it is primarily spiritual, even other-worldly, and its 
driving force is its collective jaith, a faith in its mission and destiny, 
a faith in things unseen, a faith that would move mountains. Na- 
tionalism is sentimental, emotional, and inspirational. 

Must we not conclude that the supremacy of nationalism is 
in effect the supremacy of the sword of the spirit? What an 
ironic realization of the dreams of the great popes! Can we 
not recognize even in the extreme Nazi development of this 
cult— the idea of the mystic synthesis of blood and soil— a for- 
mula, the elements of which are present in the Old Testament? 
It is there that the idea of a race of chosen people bound by 
blood, and of a supremely symbolic territory, the Promised 
Land, is most clearly recognizable in the canon of medieval 

It was not in the form of Christianity, but in the form of 
nationalism, that the religion of the Western peoples became 
world-wide. China and India became nationalist; they did not 
become Christian. And nationalism is of all evangelical cults 
the one least fitted to be a world religion, for it creates over 
the area through which it spreads, not ties that bind, but walls 
that separate. 

Communism, as Henri de Man has shown, is another deriva- 
tive of the Christian heritage, with a mythology and liturgy no 
less imitative of those of the Church. Though it claims, like 
the Roman Church itself, a universal outlook, it speaks for only 
a fraction of the human race. Nationalism and Communism 
renounce their parent, and their parent disavows them; they are 

374 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

none the less true heirs, who have been wasting and spoiling 
the heritage. 


It is the nation, not the family of nations, that is derived from 
the Holy Roman Church. The family of nations, on the other 
hand, is derived more closely from the Holy Roman Empire. 
The road from the Holy Roman Empire to the family of na- 
tions was traveled quietly. That we have often failed to take 
note of it is due to our tendency to accept national statehood 
as the measure of all political values. Since the Empire of the 
eighteenth century was clearly not a state, the German na- 
tionalists of the nineteenth century thought it must be a mon- 
strosity. Napoleon's dissolution of the Empire in 1806 seemed 
to destroy the last vestiges of its life and relegate it to history. 
The fall of Vienna in 1938 seemed to kill even the shadow. But 
meanwhile, through three centuries in which historians saw 
only a process of decline and death, the life-force of the Em- 
pire was passing into another body, which still survives as the 
basic element of universal order in the political world. 

The Holy Roman Empire, from the days of the Great Inter- 
regnum in the thirteenth century, lived in Europe as a system 
of law without a centralized administration. This one feature 
is sufficient to suggest comparison with the modern family of 
nations. In the fourteenth century it took on a second feature, 
duplicated in our contemporary political world, by giving 
special duties and privileges to seven of its more important 
princes as Electors, or as one might say, as "Great Powers" 
within the Empire. The Concert of Europe, which assumed its 
clear-cut status only after the abdication of the Holy Roman 
Emperor in 1806, is the institutional successor to the College 
of Electors. 

At the end of the fifteenth century came the next step in 
the development of the Empire: the proclamation of the "Peace 
of the Land." The statute of the peace of the land outlawed war 

Peace in Our Time 375 

among the princes of the Empire and set up a court for the 
settlement of their disputes. Within the general system there 
was a regional arrangement of circles, each with its leading 
princes designated, as the Electors were designated, for the Em- 
pire as a whole. Throughout the whole fabric there was hier- 
archy, but not of the close-knit bureaucratic or administrative 
kind. It was rather a hierarchy of law. It left room for the 
most vigorous local spirit, and for all manner of leagues and 
organized communities of family interest or confession. Politi- 
cal consciousness spread up from the localism of city or land to 
a kind of universalism in the Imperial Diet and the Emperor. 
There was no end of pettiness in the dealings of the lesser 
princes with each other, and there were wars in the relations 
of the greater princes. But despite the disturbance of the Prot- 
estant Revolution and the Thirty Years' War, the structure 
remained intact until 1806, and survived until 1866 in a modi- 
fied form as the German Confederation. Its system of collective 
security did not prevent war between the greater princes, but it 
protected the separate existences of over two hundred small 
political units, the "immediate" members of the Empire, to the 
last. Its very success in maintaining collective security was 
turned against it by the later publicists of German nationalism, 
who deplored the survival of principalities that could never 
have protected themselves by force of arms. 

The organization of collective security within the Empire 
served as a model upon which projects for collective security 
in Europe were later based. In the eighteenth century, the 
Abbe de St. Pierre's project for rendering peace perpetual in 
Europe was a frank appeal for the adoption of the institution 
of the Empire by Europe as a whole. And St. Pierre's plan was 
substantially realized in the Metternich system that followed 
the defeat of Napoleon. The political complex of the early 
nineteenth century— Holy Alliance and Concert of the Five 
Great Powers— was managed from the ancient seat of the Em- 
pire by men who had been schooled in its jurisprudence, ac- 

37<5 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

cording to principles— including the principle of intervention— 
which were wholly in accord with its precedents. The Concert 
of Europe and the German Confederation divided between 
themselves in 1 8 1 5 the heritage of the Holy Roman Empire. 

The traditional line of development influenced the Paris 
Peace Conference. The underlying draft of the Covenant of 
the League of Nations, the Phillimore Plan, was a document 
based uppn an interpretation of the role of the Concert as it 
had functioned in the days of Metternich and Castlereagh. In 
a feature now seen as crucial, it followed the tradition by re- 
serving all authority in the League to the Great Powers. The 
pressure of the smaller states, and Wilson's confidence in the 
power of humanitarian world opinion, had the effect of shift- 
ing the basis of the Covenant away from this institutional tra- 
dition, to which Chamberlain now seeks to restore it. 

The Peace of Westphalia in 1648, at the end of the Thirty 
Years' War, stands as a landmark in the absorption of the 
Empire into the European states system. At Westphalia all the 
immediate princes of the Empire received the right to make 
treaties and alliances with princes outside the Empire. Their 
status in the Empire was thus converted into status in Europe. 
The role of the Emperor followed that of the princes in that 
his dignity came increasingly to be merely that of one among 
a number of great European monarchs, and when the dignity 
was abolished in 1806 the repercussions were slight because 
the office had long ceased to be associated with power. (The 
monarchs of national states came in the course of time to find 
their offices no less superfluous in the political societies that 
had once been organized around them.) 

The Europeanizing of the Empire was marked, moreover, by 
a growing interpenetration of territories. Dynasties whose 
seats were within the system spread outward; dynasties whose 
seats were outside the Empire came in. The Hapsburgs spread 
down the Danube, the HohenzoUerns along the Baltic; the 
Wettins struggled for the Polish crown; the Brunswicks ob- 

Feace in Our Time 377 

tained the crown of England; the Bavarian Wittelsbachs sought 
a crown in the Belgian Netherlands; and the royal houses of 
Denmark and Sweden gained lands within the Empire. It was 
therefore inevitable that the relations that had once been held 
within the net of the Empire should require a wider net to con- 
tain them. The Treaties of Westphalia were made law of the 
Empire, not by the procedure of legislation in the Reichstag 
but by the procedure of negotiation in the first modern diplo- 
matic Congress. The medieval Empire had been actively Euro- 
pean; the modern, passively. Only in this way could the 
heritage of universality have been preserved. 

While the status of princes and of the Emperor was shifting 
to a European base, the law of the Empire was fertilizing the 
soil out of which international law was developing. The peace 
of the land had not only established courts to judge disputes 
between princes, but had recognized the validity of Roman 
law. In France the reception of Roman law contributed to the 
development of royal power by virtue of its application to the 
relations of a prince to his subjects. In the courts of the Empire 
it had a different currency in providing the basis of the rela- 
tions of princes with each other. The Roman law elements of 
substantive international law, the form of international law as 
a net of personal duties of personal sovereigns to each other, 
and even such procedural features of international practice as 
arbitration, were richly developed in the Empire and came 
diluted into application in the family of nations while the prin- 
cipalities of the Empire were becoming the sovereignties of 

It may be that the resemblance between the Holy Roman 
Empire and the family of nations is a result not so much of 
imitation as of similarity of situation. In both cases a residual 
fabric of legality subsists in the relations of a group of politi- 
cal units of different degrees of power. But even at that, the 

378 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

Empire's history is a treasure-house of experience calling for 
interpretation and application to contemporary problems. 

Let us consider the kind of world organization that is sug- 
gested by the example of the Empire. It is first of all a world 
dominated by a few Great Powers. It is divided into circles of 
influence, with leading powers in each. The hierarchies of law 
and loyalty run all the way from the top to the bottom of the 
political pyramid. The extravagances of national patriotism 
are overcome not by supernational patriotism, but by quiet dis- 
integration into provincial and local loyalties. Wars there may 
be, but on the fringes; wagers of battle, not crusades; fought 
by technicians in warfare, not by peoples; as wars of adjust- 
ment, not of annihilation. There is for every area of power a 
relation intermediate between isolation and solidarity with 
every other area of power, and the object of political technique 
should be to find the appropriate relationship. As such relation- 
ships are stabilized they become part of the living law. State- 
ments of law do not create, but record what is already created. 
(Witness the abortiveness of the effort to outlaw war.) Such a 
system might bring with it collective security, but on a day-to- 
day basis, as practice, not as religion. 

It was in Central Europe, where the Empire left its deepest 
mark on the political world, that the conflict between the 
religion of nationalism and the pure political tradition of the 
Empire was sharpest. The revolutionists of 1848, devotees of 
the religion of nationalism, could neither organize Central 
Europe nor divide it. Their work and their problem have been 
misunderstood. The German National Assembly in Frankfurt 
that resulted from the uprisings of 1 848 began its constitution- 
making, as is well known, by elaborating a comprehensive bill 
of rights. These were rights which the new Germany would 
have guaranteed to every German citizen. German historians 
have scoffed mercilessly at the Frankfurt Assembly for its pre- 
occupation with a bill of rights when it should have been or- 
ganizing the framework of a national administration. And yet 

Peace in Our Time 379 

the Assembly was more practical than was realized. Both the 
Empire that vanished in 1806 and the German Confederation 
that succeeded it in 1 8 1 5 had been guarantors of due process 
of law. The Frankfurt Assembly was adding to living tissue 
when it wrote the bill of rights; but when, in order, as it 
thought, to make a more purely national Germany, it went 
further and ordered the Hapsburg Monarchy to choose be- 
tween dissolution (into a German and non-German state) and 
exclusion from the new Germany, it was destroying living 
tissue. This program meant the exclusion of the Austro- 
Germans from Germany; it would have forced the partition- 
ing of the Germany the Assembly had intended to unite. It 

Then Schwarzenberg, the great Austrian minister, offered 
his alternative plan. He would have reconstituted a College of 
Electors— a Directory of the larger states in Germany— leaving 
the German princes each in full charge of the administration 
of his government. Schwarzenberg would have held all Cen- 
tral Europe together, but in a framework resembHng that of 
the Empire. A similar plan was promoted by the Great- 
Germany party in the i86o's, and adopted by a Congress of 
Princes in 1863. But Bismarck opposed Prussian state patriot- 
ism to the tradition of the Empire, went the full length of a war 
of secession from the German Confederation, and accomplished 
the partitioning of Germany by separating the North Germans 
from the Austrians. Then, having partitioned Germany and 
divided Central Europe at the level of constitutional law, he 
reunited it at the level of international law by means of the 
permanent Dual Alliance between the new German Empire 
and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. 

With the defeat of the Central Powers in the World War, 
the religion of nationaHsm proved strong enough to break 
Central Europe into fragments, and the sentiment of interna- 
tional solidarity was inadequate to offer a corresponding guar- 
antee of order at the level of international law. That region is 

380 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

now one of the most troubled in the world, and no crusade 
will end its trouble. It may in the future find stability in so 
far as it works its way back toward the pattern of the Holy 
Roman Empire and develops from that base. 


What is true of Central Europe in the little may apply also 
to the world at large. 

The doctrine of the two swords, applied to modern inter- 
national problems, distinguishes two techniques for the im- 
provement of the world's political order. The first is the promo- 
tion of a religion of internationalism and international solidarity 
by which the religions of nationalism are to be confounded 
and overcome. As a possible foundation for such a religion we 
have the world community of ideas in the field of science. The 
validity of a laboratory experiment in chemistry is acknowl- 
edged everywhere in the world on equal terms. It remains to 
bring about a situation in which the same accord will be given 
by men's minds throughout the world to a statement that such 
and such an act constitutes unjustified aggression. The re- 
ligion must further so motivate men that this statement, thus 
believed, will arouse a sufficient response to stir them every- 
where to action against the aggressor. From an effective world 
religion to an effective world state would be only a step. 

Auguste Comte proposed in the nineteenth century to es- 
tablish on the basis of positive science a religion of humanity; 
but since the world of positive science was thing-centered, 
not man-centered, the religion of humanity gave rise only to 
pale and subordinate loyalties that shriveled at the first con- 
tact with national patriotism. Yet it was upon that foundation 
that the statesmen of 19 19 undertook to establish what they 
thought would be a new world order. The characteristically 
spiritual quality of this outlook on politics is attested by its 
characteristic promise of permanent blessings to be obtained 

Peace in Our Time 381 

in a future for which no present sacrifice is too great— even the 
sacrifice of a new crusade. 

The second technique takes international law and the family 
of nations as it finds them. It works from day to day with 
engagements of relatively short term. It measures distances and 
limits commitments. Though we may not try to guarantee that 
nobody will ever be at war, we can reasonably anticipate that 
somebody will always be at peace. Even during the World War 
there were in Europe fifty million people whose governments 
were at peace. This figure— fifty million— was the approximate 
total population of Western Europe in the fifteenth century. 
American policy and opinion are learning this second tech- 
nique, in which there is neither a world mission nor splendid 
isolation, but something safer and sounder than either. Our 
almost scholastic evaluation of legality, which causes us to 
refuse recognition to acts of conquest, and our practical re- 
gional hegemony in the New World are expressions of a state- 
craft that would have been at home in the Holy Roman Em- 
pire. It does not promise us eternal peace— that is for the next 
world. But it may bring us peace in our time. 


Excerpts from Reviews and Review Articles 

Hitherto, we have played with various theories to account 
for the discrepancy between that which the war was fought to 
secure and that which it actually brought into being. We have, 
on the one hand, the tardy recognition theory, still sponsored 
by Clemenceau and a few Americans, according to which the 
Entente was all along engaged in a war for human liberty, 
while the United States, at first unaware of the issue, came to 
the aid of the Allies as soon as its real character was made plain 
to her. On the other hand, we have the tit-for-tat theory, of 
which Ambassador Houghton made himself the spokesman. 
According to this theory the United States had a private quar- 
rel with Germany over the submarine question. It was merely 
by way of convenience in fighting this German-American 
war that we cooperated with the Entente. And our statements 
of war aims were nothing more or less than propaganda opera- 
tions designed to weaken enemy morale. 

As against these two theories of American participation in 
the war, it is now established that Wilson knowingly led the 
nation to associate itself with belligerents whose war aims were 
contrary to his own. Those high purposes which he ascribed 
to the Allies were really the purposes which he wished them to 
pursue, not those which he knew them to be pursuing. The 
attempts to substitute American for Entente war aims was a 
Herculean task in which even so strong a will as Wilson's could 
hardly have prevailed. (37) 

No mass of documentary evidence, however mountainous, 
no scholarly labor, however patient, can result in a sound 


386 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

judgment on war responsibility except as a corollary of this or 
that ethical postulate. . . . Impartiality and industry alone will 
not guide a historian to a conclusion on responsibility. . . . 
Having made no ethical assumption, the writer can reach no 
ethical conclusion. (40) 

The patterns used in the discussion of war guilt have derived 
not from the facts revealed in historical research but from 
some pressure of practical interest. Thus the war-plot pattern 
was needed to keep up fighting spirit, the "responsibiUty" pat- 
tern to justify collection of reparations, the "powder-barrel 
analogy" to clarify thought on non-aggression pacts and the 
"inevitable cataclysm" pattern to enlighten far-reaching reform 
projects. (Abstract of 40) 

Any textbook of history, however dull and factual its style 
may be, contains an impUcit philosophy. If history is indeed a 
fable agreed upon, it is chiefly the process of manualization 
which decides between competing fables. A manual such as 
this history of Europe since 1914^ is therefore valuable not 
only as a reference book, but also as an index to the interpreta- 
tion which is given at the textbook level to the fifteen turbu- 
lent years from the outbreak of the World War to the calling 
of the London Naval Conference. 

It may surprise some of the veterans who once thought that 
the fate of the universe hung upon the issue of their battles 
that in a book of six hundred pages only fifty-one can be 
spared to give an account of the campaigns of the World War. 
H. G. Wells gave these campaigns two percent of the total 
space in a history of mankind from paleolithic times to the 
present; what then is the meaning of a style of textbook writ- 
ing which can afford to this topic only eight and a half per- 
cent of a narrative covering fifteen years? 

^F. Lee Benns, Europe Since 1914 (New York, F. S. Crofts & Co., 
1930). This review, written for the Saturday Review of Literature but 
never published, is here printed in full. 

Appendix 387 

Not only in the restriction upon space given to the cam- 
paigns, but also in the style used in describing them, the war 
forfeits its traditional place in the historical narrative. The ad- 
jective "heroic" occurs but once, and the word "bravery" not 
at all. Only five phrases recall the ancient bardic practice of 
glorifying the psychic qualities of the fighter. It appears that 
the Belgians conducted a "stubborn defense" at Namur, the 
British offered "determined resistance" at Ypres, the Germans 
"fought doggedly on" with "determination little less than the 
French" at Verdun, there was "stubborn resistance" by the 
Austrians on the Izonzo, and the American first division 
"proved its mettle" at Cantigny. A battle is allowed to "rage" 
for seven weeks on page 109. Beyond that, the war is con- 
ducted on a cold business basis, and with a tremendous 

Moreover, it appears, as the political and economic history of 
the period unfolds, that the war decided very little, that it ac- 
celerated tendencies already present in world civilization, and 
that its accelerating effect was felt indifferently among victor 
and vanquished powers. The rise of nationalities profited Ire- 
land at England's expense, just as it profited Czechoslovakia 
at Austria's expense. The agrarian and economic revolutions 
ignored the difference between victorious and defeated powers. 
No selfishness at Versailles restrained the general sharing-out 
of misery among all the peoples of Europe. 

The verdict which Benns arrives at, that "the war and its 
aftermath merely hastened the natural course of historical de- 
velopment," bringing to the world at enormous cost what it 
might have had for nothing by a little patience, is what corre- 
sponds in historiography to the Kellogg Pact in diplomacy. It 
denies to war the role of arbiter in civiHzation, and renounces 
war as an instrument of historical causation. (63) 

The origin of the war has been for years a theme of histori- 
cal, poUtical, and juridical writing; in Ludwig's work it enters 

388 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

belles lettres. . . . The author has been more than fertile in the 
use of dramatic apparatus. The oldest and the youngest devices 
meet together in his pages. The scenes shift rapidly from one 
colorful location to another, as in a five-reel movie; the masses 
are paraded at intervals, like the chorus of a Greek drama. . . . 
There is a theory once propounded by Hebbel that in great 
tragedy all the characters are right, and the essence of the tragic 
situation is just that fact— that being right, they are carried 
onward to disaster. Ludwig's drama does not rise to the height 
of tragedy so conceived; there is too much irritation at the 
follies of men, too much indignation at their crimes. Had Lud- 
wig set forth more clearly that the statesmen no less than the 
military men were enslaved by their creations, that the War 
Counts were doing their duty, that the peoples who were to 
suffer were co-makers of the system which demanded suf- 
fering of them, he would have written not only better history, 
but better tragedy. For the events of July, 19 14, were even 
more truly tragic than Ludwig makes them out to be. (52) 

The zeal of the historians who have labored to take the bit- 
terness out of the war guilt question will not be misplaced if it 
is now directed to clearing up the confusion surrounding 
American foreign policy, thus preparing an era of enlightenment 
in which Americans will no longer insist on formulating every 
international question as an issue between isolation more or less 
splendid and alliances more or less entangling. (56) 

[Poincare] has given up his old habit of citing Article 231 
of the Treaty of Versailles as a source of prewar history. (67) 

Those who contended against French policy at the Peace 
Conference were wont to ascribe to it a certain completeness 
and consistency which it did not possess. When the history of 
the discord within the French government came to be known, 
Clemenceau was still portrayed as the man who knew exactly 

Appendix 389 

what he wanted and had his plan worked out. These books in 
which his mind is laid open for inspection suggest that there 
were implicit contradictions and inconsistencies in the very 
thoughts and ideals to which he clung with such Vendean 
stubbornness. He thinks that to detach the Rhineland from 
Germany would have been to violate the idea of "a Europe 
founded on right"; but to occupy the Rhineland, perpetually 
if necessary, under Article 429 of the Treaty, should be 
France's defense against Germany's congenital wickedness. His 
faith in right conflicts with his belief in a cosmic law of strug- 
gle. His ideal of a Europe freely organized by its peoples is 
cancelled by his picture of the Germans as a sub-human species. 
His philosophy and his politics mark him as a man who learned 
nothing since 19 18, and forgot nothing since 1871. It was just 
such a leader that France needed in the dark days of the war 
when he took his premiership. The peace negotiations found 
him with no crafty schemes, but only with his confused ideals 
and a character "obstinate, limited and savage" to defend 
them. (69) 

"Wilson made many mistakes," writes Dumba, "owing to his 
utter ignorance of European conditions." How much of this 
ignorance was itself the result of Dumba's mistakes, owing to 
his utter ignorance of American conditions? (89) 

George D. Herron, an Iowa doctor of divinity and professor 
of "applied Christianity," residing in Geneva during the World 
War, became a leading interpreter to Europe of the policies 
and opinions of the country from which he had been self- 
exiled for fifteen years. This role came to him by accident. 
Carried away by a profound emotional commitment to the 
Allied cause, he persisted in prophesying, during the period of 
American neutrality, that Wilson was planning with "divine 
cunning" to bring America to the side of the Allies. When 
Wilson campaigned for reelection with the slogan "he kept us 

390 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

out of war," Herron wrote an article explaining that this was 
mere subterfuge. When Wilson's note on war aims in Decem- 
ber, 1916, and his "Peace without Victory" speech in January, 
seemed to show "an unemotional and reprehensible impar- 
tiality," as if all belligerents were put on the same moral foot- 
ing, Herron declared that this was only a mask, that the hidden 
meaning of the speech was an ultimatum to Germany to be fol- 
lowed by war. The turn of events gave to these extravagances, 
untrue at the time they were written, the aspect of officially 
inspired pronouncements. (90) 

The American college student with his metered reading 
capacity has imposed upon the writers of his weekly assign- 
ments a rigid form no less compelling than that which the 
Athenian audience imposed upon Aeschylus. Instead of the 
three unities there are the three chapters of thirty pages each. 
The historian and artist who fits his subject matter beautifully 
and completely to this form has performed for his colleagues a 
creative service of great value. (93) 

The rich thought of the early nineteenth-century authorita- 
rian writers is neither explained nor alluded to. De Maistre and 
Bonald are left out; Burke's name does not appear; and Chateau- 
briand is remembered only for his interest in the Greek revolt, 
not for his part in the revival of conservatism and Catholicism. 
Even the giant Hegel receives only the passing mention that he 
influenced Marx and Proudhon. In the opinion of the reviewer, 
early nineteenth-century reactionary thought was original in 
its whole design, while nineteenth-century liberal thought 
merely elaborated patterns established in the eighteenth cen- 
tury. Contemporary politics is borrowing far more from these 
authoritarian writers than from liberal doctrinaires. It is un- 
fortunate, therefore, to find them so much neglected, (no) 

In this book there is nothing bad and nothing new. . . . 
It covers the ground that the planners of the series intended 

Appendix 391 

it should cover. . . . Historical scholarship hardly needs this 
book, but stands in great need of another . . . that could be 
put into the possession of an intelligent novice to furnish him 
with the guidance he would need in writing the history of his 
home town. Such a manual would fill a real need. This volume 
fills none except the need of completing a series. (113) 

The editor of The Living Age has made a scrapbook of 
month-by-month news stories and comments covering the last 
five years. He has made his selections principally from the 
writings of foreign journalists, and has shown a special prefer- 
ence for those which portray a business reality behind a po- 
litical fagade. . . . Mr. Howe's book . . . tells us neither 
whence we have come nor whither we are going. It makes no 
effort to draw together the threads of a story; there is no order 
or system or conclusion. As the meaningless sequence of 
political revolutions, business intrigues, financial and economic 
crises proceeds through the five years, the narrative takes on an 
unhealthy glamour. Where have we read such things before? 
Was it not in the tales of Merovingian times, when those Prank- 
ish princes, with names like Chlodomir and Gundobad, spent 
their time in waylaying and assassinating their brothers of the 
royal blood? And in the faithful chronicler, Quincy Howe, 
diligently transcribing the anecdotes and tales of wonder that 
come to his ear, and slipping into the pages from time to time 
a little of his own mild prejudice, do we not recognize the 
counterpart of Gregory of Tours? (115) 

Here are seven men— one economist, three political scien- 
tists, one journalist who is a distinguished expert on foreign 
affairs, and two historians. Like the fabled blind men who 
made a study of the elephant, they interpret to their readers 
this strange monster, the contemporary world. . . . These 
books are sound books; they are well worth reading, each is 
adequate in its own way. And yet, taken together, they make 

392 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

no symphony, they point to no conclusion; they suggest rather 
the fatal inadequacies of our system of division of labor in 
the intellectual world. (128) 

A question that brings to light the character of a book in 
this field can always be put: "How much of the historical ma- 
terial selected for presentation is broken down into national 
history compartments?" Professor Slosson's book meets this 
test with a score of thirteen chapters out of thirty. More than 
half of its material deals with Europe as a whole; and of the 
chapters devoted to national histories, there are several— like 
that on Italian Fascism— which are really analyses of a problem 
of general import in terms of the experience of one na- 
tion. (130) 

The English political biography is almost part of the British 
constitution, and these two biographies conform to the quasi- 
constitutional practice. They are apologetic in spirit, they touch 
enough on family life to tie the men in with their traditions, 
and they publish some state papers that would not otherwise 
have seen the light of day. . . . With Grey and Balfour, heirs 
and epigones of Gladstone and Disraeli, the last Victorians 
left the stage. And they left the Victorian contradictions- 
political, aesthetic, and intellectual— unresolved. (141) 

I warn you, Thomas Mann! I warn you, Reuben Osborn! 
You have given the devil your little finger and he will take 
your whole arm! You, Thomas Mann, have acted knowingly, 
walking into intellectual inferno like Giordano Bruno, whose 
heroic passion carried him into the flame. You, Reuben Os- 
born, have acted in a blundering fashion, stumbling into 
peril. . . . 

Osborn is interested in selling Freud to Marxists, He cites 
passages indicating that Marx and Engels were really not far 
from Freud. . . . The new formula specifically contributed by 

Appendix 393 

Osborn is that the id and the ego, if left to themselves, with- 
out the restraint of the super-ego, would follow the party line 
into a collectivist society. But there is danger in his system, for 
the id may turn out to be something that is better satisfied by 
an opportunity to beat up a Jew than by a chance to have 
"freedom"; it may prefer war and a low standard of living to 
peace and a high standard of living. Once Osborn cuts loose 
from the firm anchorage of nineteenth-century science, in the 
faith of which Marx lived and wrote, he has nothing but his 
own super-ego to keep him from wearing a swastika and a 
brown shirt. . . . 

After this discussion of the artist's movement from a non- 
Freudian world of scientific objectivity and individualism into a 
Freudian world of myth, Mann predicts that Freud's work will 
be the foundation of a "future dwelling of a wiser and freer 
humanity." But how is this possible if the kind of humanity 
that Freud teaches us we are is not wiser and freer than the 
kind we thought we were? . . . 

When Thomas Mann wrote Joseph and His Brothers he was 
writing of a Jew and of the long influence of race experience 
upon an individual. There is someone in Germany who will 
agree with him and help fill out the scheme; his name is Julius 
Streicher. And Alfred Rosenberg will accept every word of 
Mann's Freudian metaphysic and apply it to the Nordic 
race. . . . 

. . . Go on with your myths, Thomas Mann; proceed with 
your id, Mr. Osborn; you are probably right and the century 
is with you. But, for God's sake, look where you are go- 
ing! (147) 

The age-old problem of nominalism and realism still con- 
fronts us. The historian who undertakes to analyze the se- 
quences of the past in terms of forces and interests and state 
policies, personifying for the purpose Germany and Russia 
and France, can manipulate these abstractions according to 

394 Selected Papers of Robert C. Bifikley 

certain conventional rules, and create a fabric of statements 
that have the aspect of truth wherever the conventional rules 
of interpretation are accepted. But lines of thought and investi- 
gation that proceed from different assumptions will not reach 
the same truth. . . . Viereck now adapts his thought to an- 
other pattern— that of the trial in a court of law. He presents 
the materials of history as evidence presented by a prosecutor 
and public defender in a trial of the Kaiser on a whole miscel- 
lany of charges. The facts take on a new color, because the 
procedure of a trial is one in which the nominalist conception 
of the individual human being comes directly into contact with 
a conception of certain generalized norms of conduct. Inevi- 
tably, the historical scene, when it takes the form of testimony 
in a trial, comes to be peopled with persons rather than abstrac- 
tions; inevitably, the individuals turn out to be very small in 
comparison with the world in which they operate; the conclu- 
sions rise no higher than the evidence, and we are left with an 
understanding of the Kaiser but not of the World War. ( 1 6 1 ) 

"The economic history of the postwar period is to extend to 
a time when the economic consequences of the war shall reach 
an equilibrium." This statement was written in 192 1 by 
Friedrich von Wieser, Austrian economist, in a circular letter 
to collaborators in this great history of the World War. For 
fifteen years thereafter scholars of world reputation and 
ministers of cabinet rank worked under the general guidance 
of Professor Shotwell in this cooperative intellectual enterprise 
comparable in magnitude to the Monumenta Germaniae His- 
torica. Whether the equilibrium that Wieser, like all classical 
economists, believed must come in the long run has arrived, 
we cannot say. But if it has come, then, by an ironic turn, the 
equilibrium is the crystallization of war economy itself. That 
which was launched as a study of the social and economic 
structure of the world in an abnormal phase— the phase of 
war— has become an analysis of the structure of a normal so- 

Appendix 395 

ciety of the nineteen-thirties. Even the two volumes of the 
American series— Clark's masterful analysis of the cost of the 
war in America and Hines's account of the war history of 
American railways— have become strangely contemporary as 
the problem of social income in the large is set before the 
American people and as the American railroads reach their 
financial impasse. . . . 

It is an encyclopedia, but not an encyclopedia of destruction. 
That which comes to mind in going through volume after 
volume is not the destructiveness of war, not the conflict of 
nations with each other, but the conflict within each nation 
between the ideal of a free capitalist economy and the need for 
organized production, transport, and distribution. Wartime 
socialization, it is only too evident, was put into efl^ect by men 
who were not prepared for it and did not believe in it. We 
know now that they paved the way for men who did believe 
in it as an article of faith and for whom it provided the prepara- 
tion. Socially and economically we are in the midst of a second 
world war. The Shotwell series was completed in time to be 
contemporary. (164) 

With this volume of his memoirs, Lloyd George leaves his 
testament to history. There was a time during which it might 
have been possible to say that Lloyd George was more success- 
ful than Wilson. Today even that cannot be said. . . . He was 
merely a medium through which energies were conducted. 
There was nothing lasting— Hterally nothing— for which he 
stood or for which he stands. (166) 

In New York's Makings the story of a family and the story 
of a city are intertwined with rare literary art, and with scholar- 
ship as sound and graceful as a Sheraton chair, by someone 
who is separated by only six lives from the Johannes de Peyster 
who built a house on Manhattan Island three hundred years 
ago. . . . From works such as this, and only from works such 

39<^ Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

as this, can we be recalled to the realization that our state- 
centered political history as learned in the schools is out of 
focus with life and that life values will be reflected only in 
historical writing that portrays the world as we see it in our 
own lives, from the human center of our own families, from 
the geographic center of our own homes. (167) 

There is one great generalization which stands in the evidence 
that M. Weill brings together and which yet remains outside 
the framework of his synthesis. This is the fact that some 
nationality movements are associated with power-programs, 
and some are not. Do the German and French forms of the 
nationahty idea, respectively irrational and rational, corpora- 
tive and individuahst, include, of necessity, a power-program? 
If we should look first at the continent and then at the idea 
... it would appear that the continent consists of a number 
of power-areas, constantly subjected to a process akin to gerry- 
mandering. The idea of nationality does not everywhere, nor 
has it always, involved an effort to modify the structure of the 
power-areas. When such modifications as independence, auton- 
omy, or unification have been demanded, the "idea of national- 
ity" is invariably summoned to furnish ethical justification for 
programs that are essentially power-programs. Naturally, to 
fulfill this function, the idea of nationahty must be as elastic 
as the conscience of a Jesuit or a journalist. (176) 


I. The Published Writings of Robert C. Binkley^ 


1. "Working on the Hoover Historical Collection," Stan- 
ford Cardinal, 29:201-205, April. 

2. "The Story of the Libre Belgique,' Stanford Cardinal, 
30:76-81, December. 


3. "The Assassination at Sarajevo," Stanford Cardinal, 
30:224-229, June. 

4. "The Future of Russia," a letter to the editor, Nenjo Re- 
public, 28:245, October 26. 

5. Editorial: "What Do We Want from the American 
Press?" Stanford Cardinal, 31:41-42, November. 

6. "World News in Brief," Daily Palo Alto, November 2, 
December 8, 9. (Also February 3, 9, 1922.) 

7. Binkley, Robert C, and Kilpatrick, Wylie, "The Stan- 
ford Resolutions to the American Delegates to the Wash- 
ington Disarmament Conference," Daily Palo Alto, 
November 15. 

8. "America and the New Europe," Stanford Cardinal, 
31:66, December. 

^ Several editorials and articles contributed to Stanford University pub- 
lications in 1921-1923 have been omitted as of purely local interest. 



400 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

9. Editorial: "See Europe First," Stanford Cardinal, 31: 139- 
140, March. 

10. Editorial: Binkley, Robert C, and Crobaugh, Mervyn, 
"The Bonus Bill— a Suidy in Disillusionment," Stanford 
Cardinal, 31:140, March. 

11. "The Adventures of Hungary," Stanford Cardinal, 
31:195-199, May. 

12. Editorial: "The Wind of Freedom Blows," Stanford 
Cardinal, 32:13-15, October. 

13. Editorial: "Armistice Day— Four Years After," Stanford 
Cardinal, 32:39-40, November. 

14. Binns, Archie, and Binkley, Robert C, "A Mad Uni- 
versity," a play, Stanford Cardinal, 32:47-48, November. 

15. Editorials: "How Might We Conquer," "Rooting as a 
Spectacle," "And as an Indication of Enthusiasm," "What 
the Students Could Do," "The Fascisti Furnish a Bad 
Example," "Violence and Nationalism," "The Sanctity 
of Treaties," "The British Election," Stanford Cardinal, 
32:69-71, December. 

16. Editorials: Binkley, Robert C, and Crobaugh, Mervyn, 
"The Four Parties in England," "British and American 
Labor," "One Phase of the Problem," Stanford Cardinal, 
32:70-71, December. 


17. "Resurgam," Stanford Cardinal, 32:96, January. 

18. Editorials: "The Pittsburgh Game," "Can the Righteous 
Err?" "We're Growing Better and Better," "The Seizure 
of the Ruhr," "American Policy in Europe," Stanford 
Cardinal, 32:97-98, January. 

19. Editorial: "Comment and Criticism," Stanford Spectator, 
1:18, February. 

20. Editorial: "Andy Gump and the 67th Congress," Stan- 
ford Spectator, 1:53, March. 

Bibliography 401 

21. Editorials: "Patriotism in San Jose," "Upton Sinclair's 
Thesis," "Intellectual Honesty in Journalism," "The 
Old Question of Academic Freedom," Stanford Spec- 
tator, 1:98, April. 

22. Editorial: "Can France and Germany Agree?" Stanford 
Spectator, 1:136, May. 

23. "The Re-establishment of the Independence of the 
Hanseatic Cities, 18 13-18 15" (MS.), M.A. thesis, Stan- 
ford University Library. 

24. Graham, Malbone W., Jr., assisted by Binkley, Robert C, 
New Governments of Central Europe (New York: 
Henry Holt and Company). 

25. "The Trend in Europe," San Francisco Journal, Feb- 
ruary 24, 27; March 3, 13, 20, 28; April 3, 9, 11, 14; 
May 5, II, 14, 29. 

26. Review of Black Magic, by Kenneth W. Roberts, San 
Francisco Journal, June 8. 

27. "The Hoover War Library," Concerning Stanford 1.9, 


28. "New Light on Russia's War Guilt," Current History, 
23:531-5331 January. 

29. Binkley, Robert C, and Mahr, August C, "Eine Studie 
zur Kriegsschuldfrage," Frankfurter Zeitung, February 
28 (70. Jahrgang, Nr. 157), 2:2-4. 

30. "Russia's War Guilt," a letter to the editor, in reply to 
an unsigned editorial by Harry Elmer Barnes criticizing 
No. 28, Nation, 122:233, March 3. 

31. Binkley, Robert C, and Mahr, August C, "Urheber or 
Verursacher, that is the question," San Francisco Chron- 
icle, May 23. 


402 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

32. Binkley, Robert C, and Mahr, August C, "A New In- 
terpretation of the 'Responsibility' Clause in the Versailles 
Treaty," Current History y 24:398-400, June. 


33. "The Reaction of European Opinion to the Statesman- 
ship of Woodrow Wilson" (MS.), Ph.D. thesis, Stanford 
University Library. (Abstract in Abstracts of Disserta- 
tions, Stanford University (192 6-1 927), 2:189-194.) 


34. "Revision of World War History," Historical Outlook, 
19:109-113, March. 

35. "The Concept of Public Opinion in the Social Sciences," 
Social Forces 6: 389-396, March. (A chapter of No. 33.) 

36. "The Hoover War Library," New York Herald Tribune, 
November 1 1 . 

37. Review of The Intimate Papers of Colonel House, edited 
by Charles Seymour, New York; a four-page journal of 
ideas for the general reader, 2.46, November 17. Review 
title: "For What Did We Fight.^" 


38. Binkley, Robert C, and Binkley, Frances Williams, What 
Is Right with Marriage; an Outline of Domestic Theory 
(New York: D. Appleton-Century Company, Inc.). 
(See No. 51.) 

Reviewed in New York Herald Tribune Books, Octo- 
ber 6, p. 2; Nation, 129:386-387, October 9; Saturday 
Review of Literature, 6:}6y, November 9; Survey, 
63:231, November 15. 

39. "Do the Records of Science Face Ruin?" Scientific 
American, 140:28-30, January. (See No. 41.) 

40. "War Responsibility and World Ethics," New Republic, 
57:208-210, January 9. Social Science Abstracts, 1:4118. 

Bibliography 403 

41. "Our Perishable Records," Readefs Digest, 7:591, Feb- 
ruary. (Condensed from No. 39.) 

42. "Renouvin and War Guilt," a letter to the editor in reply- 
to Harry E. Barnes, Neuo Republic, 58:47, February 27. 

43. "Communication," a letter to the editor regarding wood- 
pulp paper preservation. Journal of Modern History, 
1:87, March. 

44. "The 'Guilt' Clause in the Versailles Treaty," Current 
History, 30:294-300, May. Social Science Abstracts, 

45. "The Ethics of Nullification," New Republic, 58:297- 
300, May I. (Incorporated in No. 50. See No. 46.) Social 
Science Abstracts, 1:10635. 

46. "Nullification and the Legal Process," Massachusetts Law 
Quarterly, 14: 1 09-1 15, May. (Reprint of No. 45.) 

47. "Note on Preservation of Research Materials," Social 
Forces, 8:74-76, September. 

48. "A Nation of Realtors," New Republic, 60:196-198, 
October 9. 

49. "Ten Years of Peace Conference History," Journal of 
Modern History, 1:607-629, December. (Cf. Birdsall, 
Paul, "The Second Decade of Peace Conference His- 
tory," ibid., 11:362-378, September 1939.) Social Science 
Abstracts, 2:6142. 


50. Responsible Drinking; a Discreet Inquiry and a Modest 
Proposal (New York: Vanguard Press). (See No. 45.) 

Reviewed in New York Herald Tribune Books, No- 
vember 2, p. 14; Saturday Review of Literature, 7:469, 
December 20; New Republic, 6y. 226-22 j, January 7, 

51. Binkley, Robert C, and Binkley, Frances Williams, "The 
Function of the Family," in Twenty -Four Views of 

404 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

Marriage, edited by Clarence A. Spaulding, pp. 173-192. 
(Taken from No. 38, chap, xiii.) 

52. Review of July 'z^/, by Emil Ludwig, Saturday Review 
of Literature, 6:615, January 4. Review title: "The 
Tragedy Evolves." 

53. Review of The New German Republic; the Reich in 
Transition, by Elmer Luehr, New Republic, 61:257, 
January 22. 

54. "Should We Leave Romance Out of Marriage? A Debate 
between Husband and Wife," I. Binkley, Robert C, 
"Marriage as an Experiment," II. Binkley, Frances Wil- 
liams, "Science and the New Innocents," Forum, 83:72- 
79, February. 

55. "Free Speech in Fascist Italy," New Republic, 61:291- 
293, February 5. 

^6, Review of The Imperial Dollar, by Hiram Motherwell, 
Saturday Review of Literature, 6:801, March 8. Review 
title: "Our Imperial Task." (See No. 62.) 

57. Binkley, Robert C, and Binkley, Frances Williams, 
"Without Benefit of Sociology," Scribner^s Magazine, 
87:374-3791 April. 

58. Review of Germany^ s Domestic and Foreign Policies, 
by O. Hoetzsch, Current History, 32:15, 194, April. 
Review title: "The German Nationalist Attitude." 

59. Review of Foch; My Conversations with the Marshal, 
by Raymond Recouly, New Republic, 61:116-21']^ 
April 9. 

60. "Franco-Italian Discord," Current History, 32:529-533, 
June. Social Science Abstracts, 2: 16668. 

61. Review of The Rise and Fall of Germany^ s Colonial 
Empire, 1884-1^18, by M. E. Townsend, Current His- 
tory, 32:431, 602, June. 

62. Review of Why We Fought, by C. H. Grattan, Saturday 
Review of Literature, 7: 140, September 20. Review title: 
"Isolation and Imperialism." (The review has at its head 

Bibliography 405 

under the title two books. The part concerning Mother- 
well's was published separately in No. ^6.) 

63. Review of Europe Since 1914^ by F. Lee Benns. [Above, 
pp. 386-387.] 


64. Methods of Reproducing Research Materials; a Survey 
Made for the Joint Committee on Materials for Research 
of the Social Science Research Council and the American 
Council of Learned Societies (Ann Arbor, Mich.: Ed- 
wards Brothers). (See No. 119.) 

6^. "The Problem of Perishable Paper," Atti del i ° congresso 
mondiale delle biblioteche e di bibliografia, 4:77-85, 
Roma. (Paper read at First World Congress of Libraries 
and Bibliography, Rome, June, 1929.) 

66. Review of The Coming of the War, 1914, by Berna- 
dotte E. Schmitt, Yale Review, n.s., 20:631-632, March. 
Review title: "Responsibility for the War." 

67. Review of Les responsabilites de la guerre, by R. Gerin 
and R. Poincare, American Historical Review, 36:643- 
644, April. 

68. "Report of the Joint Committee of the Social Science 
Research Council and the American Council of Learned 
Societies on Materials for Research," American Council 
of Learned Societies, Bulletin No. /j, 73-77, May. 

69. Review of Grandeur and Misery of Victory, by G. Cle- 
menceau; and Georges Clemenceau, by J. Martet, Journal 
of Modern History, 3:331-333, June. 

70. "Europe Faces the Customs Union," Virginia Quarterly 
Review, 7:321-329, July. International Digest, 1.10:24- 
26, July. Social Science Abstracts, 4: 6480. 

71. "New Light on the Paris Peace Conference." Part I: 
"From the Armistice to the Organization of the Peace 
Conference," Part IL "The Organization of the Confer- 
ence," Political Science Quarterly, 46:335-361, 509-547, 

4o6 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

September, December. Social Science Abstracts, 


72. Review of Readings in European History Since 1^14, by 
J. F. Scott and A. Baltzly, Mississippi Valley Historical 
Review, 18:298, September. 

73. Review of Lenin, Red Dictator, by G. Vernadsky, 
Mississippi Valley Historical Review, 18:299, September. 

74. "Scapegoat Germany," American Monthly, 24:27-28, 
October. (MS. title: "The Commission on War Responsi- 
bility at the Peace Conference; How the Report Charg- 
ing Germany with War Responsibility Was Drawn Up; 
a Study Based upon Records Here Used for the First 
Time in America.") 

75. Review of Berkshire Studies in European History, edited 
by R. A. Newhall, L. B. Packard, and S. R. Packard, 
American Historical Review, 37:89-90, October. 

76. Review of Documentation international . Paix de Ver- 
sailles, vol. Ill, Responsabilites des auteurs de la guerre 
et sanctions, Journal of Modern History, ^:6y2-6j^, 

77. "The Franco-Italian Naval Discussions," American Year 
Book, I PS I, pp. 64-66. 


78. Review of Documentation internationale. Paix de Ver- 
sailles, vol. VI, Regime des ports, voies d^eau, voies 
ferrees. Journal of Modern History, 4:155-156, March. 

79. Review of The Little Green Shutter, by B. Whitlock, 
Mississippi Valley Historical Review, 18:615-616, March. 

80. Review of A History of Europe from 181^ to 192^, 
by Sir J. A. R. Marriott; and Contemporary Europe and 
Overseas, 1898-1920, by R. B. Mowat, American His- 
torical Review, 37:550-551, April. 

81. Review of One Hundred Red Days; a Personal Chronicle 
of the Bolshevik Revolution, by Edgar Sisson, Mississippi 
Valley Historical Review, 19: 143-144, June. 

Bibliography 407 

82. Review of The Prohibition Experiment in Finland, by 
J. H. Wuorinen, Mississippi Valley Historical Review, 
19:154-155, June. 

83. Review of The First Moroccan Crisis, 1^04-1906, by 
E. N. Anderson, Mississippi Valley Historical Review, 
19:155, June. 

84. Review of U Article 2^1 du traite de Versailles, sa genese 
et sa signification, by C. Bloch; and Germany Not Guilty 
in /^/^, by M. H. Cockran, Journal of Modern History, 
4:319-322, June. 

85. Review of Readings in European International Relations 
Since ijS^, edited by W. H. Cooke and E. P. Stickney, 
American Historical Review, 38:160-161, October. 


86. Binkley, Robert C, and Crobaugh, Mervyn, "The High 
Cost of Economy," New Republic, 73:285-286, January 


87. "Russia; a Reading List," Alumnae Folio of Flora Stone 

Mather College, 9.2:8-10, February. 

88. Review of Historical Scholarship in America: Needs and 
Opportunities; a Report by the Committee of the Ameri- 
can Historical Association on the Planning of Research, 
New England Quarterly, 6:227-229, March. 

89. Review of Memoirs of a Diplomat, by Constantin 
Dumba, Mississippi Valley Historical Review, 20:141, 

90. Review of George D, Herron and the European Settle- 
ment, by M. P. Briggs, Political Science Quarterly, 
48:306-308, June. 

91. Review of The States of Europe, i8ijf-i8ji, by R. B. 
Mowat, American Historical Review, 39:169-170, Oc- 

92. Report of activities, 1931-1932, of the Joint Committee 
of the American Council of Learned Societies and the 
Social Science Research Council on Materials for Re- 

4o8 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

search. American Council of Learned Societies, Bulletin 
No. 20j 63-72, December. 


93. Review of The Age of Metternich, 1814-1848, by 
A. May; A History of Geographical Discovery , 1400- 
i8oOy by J. E. Gillespie; and The British Empire-Com- 
monwealthy by R. G. Trotter, American Historical Re- 
view, 39:563-564, April. 

94. Review of Un debat historique, 1914; le probleme des 
origines de la guerre, by J. Isaac, Journal of Modern His- 
tory, 6:217-218, June. 

95. Review of The World Since 1914, by W. C. Langsam; 
and Beginning the Twentieth Century, by J. W. Swain, 
Mississippi Valley Historical Review, 21:128, June. 

96. "The Twentieth Century Looks at Human Nature," 
Virginia Quarterly Review, 10:336-350, July. 

Reviewed in New York Times, June 24. Editorial en- 
titled: "Political Human Nature." 

97. "Austria Again Made Europe's Football," Cleveland 
News, July 25. 

98. "Parties in Europe; Dollfuss, the Martyr, Still Aid to 
Party," Cleveland News, July 26. 

99. "Germany and Austria," Cleveland News, July 28. 

100. "Is Hitler Guilty?" Cleveland News, July 31. 

10 1. "An Anatomy of Revolution," Virginia Quarterly Re- 
view, 10:502-514, October. 

Reviewed in New York Times, September 21, 22:3. 
Editorial entitled: "Tests of Revolution." 

102. "Report of Activities, 1933, of the Joint Committee on 
Materials for Research," American Council of Learned 
Societies, Bulletin No. 22, 60-68, October. 

103. Review of American Diplomacy During the World War, 
by Charles Seymour, Mississippi Valley Historical Re- 
view, 21:441-442, December. 

Bibliography 409 

104. Review of Vereinigte Staaten von Amerika, Versailler 
Vertrag und Volkerbund; Ein Beitrag zur Europa- 
Politik der U. S. A., by Martin Loffler, Mississippi Valley 
Historical Review, 2 1 : 442-443, December. 

105. Review of A Study of History y by A. J. Toynbee, Missis- 
sippi Valley Historical Review, 21:445-447, December. 

106. "The Place of Reduced Scale Copying in Library 
Policy," In [American Library Association, Committee 
on public documents]. Public Documents, 19^4 (Chi- 
cago: American Library Association, 1935), pp. 219- 

107. Realism and Nationalism, 18^2-18^1 (The Rise of Mod- 
ern Europe, edited by W. L. Langer, vol. 16.) (New 
York: Harper & Brothers). (See No. 178.) 

Reviewed in American Historical Review, 42: 124-126, 
October, 1936; American Review, 6:502-506, February, 
1936; Annals of the American Academy of Political and 
Social Sciences, 186: 199-200, July, 1936; Catholic World, 
144:116-117, October, 1936; Christian Science Monitor, 
February 15, 1936, p. 14; New Republic, 87:358, July 29, 
1936; New York Times Book Review, March i, 1936, 
p. 9; Journal of Modern History, 8:503-505, December, 

108. "Conspectus of the 19th and 20th Centuries in Europe" 
(MS.). Several mimeographed copies in the Library of 
Flora Stone Mather College, Western Reserve University. 

109. "New tools for men of letters," Yale Review, n.s., 24: 5 19- 
537, March. 

Note: This article was privately mimeographed by 
the Joint Committee on Materials for Research at West- 
ern Reserve University under the title "New Tools, New 
Recruits, for the Republic of Letters; a Memorandum," 
34 pp. 

410 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

no. Review of European Civilization and Politics, by 
E. Achorn, Annals of the American Academy of Politi- 
cal and Social Sciences, 178:237-238, March. 

111. Review of Some Memories of the Peace Conference, 
by R. H. Beadon; Les Dessous du traite de Versailles 
(d^apres les documents inedits de la censure frangaise), 
by M. Berger and P. Allard; Peacemaking, 1919, by 
H. Nicolson; and Versailles, Die Geschichte eines miss- 
gluckten Friedens, by W. Ziegler, Journal of Modern 
History, 7:91-93, March. 

112. "Innovations in History," Alumnae Folio of Flora Stone 
Mather College, 11.3:2, April. 

113. Review of Aids to Historical Research, by J. M. Vincent, 
Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social 
Sciences, i']()\i6i, May. 

114. "Versailles to Stresa," Virginia Quarterly Review, 
11:383-393, July. . 

115. Review of World Diary, ip2p-ip^4, by Quincy Howe, 
Yale Review, n.s., 25:208-209, September. Review title: 
"A Five- Year Chronicle." 

116. Binkley, Robert C, and Norton, W. W., "Copyright in 
Photographic Reproductions," Library Journal, 60:763- 
764, October i. (Repeated, with a few prefatory para- 
graphs, in No. 118.) 

117. Review of Freedom versus Organization, 1814-1914, by 
Bertrand Russell, American Historical Review, 41:187- 
188, October. 

118. Binkley, Robert C, and Norton, W. W., "Copyright 
and Photostats," Publishers Weekly, 128: 1 665-1 667, No- 
vember 2. (See No. 116.) (See also "The Gentlemen's 
Agreement and the Problem of Copyright," Journal of 
Documentary Reproduction, 2:2g-^6, March, 1939.) 


119. Binkley, Robert C, with the assistance of Schellenberg, 
T. R.; Hanley, Miles; McCarter, Josephine; Barry, Ade- 

Bibliography 41 1 

line; and many others, Manual on Methods of Reproduc- 
ing Research Materials; a Survey Made for the Joint 
Committee on Materials for Research of the Social 
Science Research Council and the American Council of 
Learned Societies (Ann Arbor, Mich.: Edwards Brothers, 
Inc.). (Revision of No. 64.) 

Reviewed in Publishers Weekly, 131:1119-1120, 
March 6, 1937; Library Journal, 62:288-289, April i, 


120. "Le Developpement de Toutillage pour la microcopie des 
documents," Union Frangaise des Organismes de Docu- 
mentation, La Documentation en France, 5:14-18, March. 

121. Review of The Treaty of St, Germain, edited by N. Al- 
mond and R. H. Lutz; The Saar Struggle, by M. T. 
Florinsky; and The Causes of the German Collapse in 
1918, by R. H. Lutz, Annals of the American Academy 
of Political and Social Sciences, 184:237-238, March. 

122. Review of Sawdust Caesar, by George Seldes, Yale Re- 
view, U.S., 25:633-634, March. Review title: "Personal 
History of Mussolini." 

123. "New Debts for Old," Virginia Quarterly Review, 
12:237-247, April. 

124. "Blame for W. P. A. Projects, a Letter to the Editor," 
Cleveland Plain Dealer, May 3, A2 3:4. 

125. Review of Foreign Interest in the Independence of New 
Spain, by John Rydjord, Annals of the American Acad- 
emy of Political and Social Sciences, 185:268, May. 

126. Report of activities, 1935, of the Joint Committee on 
Materials for Research. American Council of Learned 
Societies, Bulletin No. 2^, 64-69, July. 

127. Review of The Treaty of St. Germain, edited by N. Al- 
mond and R. H. Lutz, American Historical Review, 

41-757-759. July. 

128. Review of Democratic Governments in Europe, by 
R. Buell, E. Chase, and R. Valeur; World Finance, 
1 91 4-1 9 3S, by P. Einzig; American Foreign Policy in the 

412 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

Post-War Years, by F. Simonds; Dictatorship and De- 
mocracy, by Sir J. Marriott; and The Post-War World, 
I pi 8-1 p ^4, by J. H. Jackson, Virginia Quarterly Re- 
view, 12:461-465, July. Review title: "Post- War Eu- 

129. Review of The Heritage of Freedom; the United States 
and Canada in the Community of Nations, by J. T. Shot- 
well, Mississippi Valley Historical Review, 23:298-299, 

130. Review of Europe Since iSjo, by P. W. Slosson, Ameri- 
can Historical Review, 42:164-165, October. 

131. Review of The Post-War World, by J. H. Jackson, 
American Historical Review, 42:165, October. 

132. "New Methods for Scholarly Publishing," Publishers 
Weekly, 130:1678-1680, October 24. 

133. Review of The Care and Cataloging of Manuscripts as 
Practiced by the Minnesota Historical Society, by G. L. 
Nute; and Copying Manuscripts; Rules Worked Out by 
the Minnesota Historical Society, by G. L. Nute, 
Minnesota History, 17:448-450, December. 

134. "The Camera," in Microphotography for Libraries, 
Chicago, American Library Association, pp. 3-9. 


135. "History for a Democracy," Minnesota History, 18:1- 
27, March. (Presented on January 18, 1937, as the annual 
address of the eighty-eighth annual meeting of the 
Minnesota Historical Society. Condensed versions in 
Museum Echoes of the Ohio State Archaeological and 
Historical Society, 10:25-27, July; and Journal of Adult 
Education, 10:377-382, October, 1938.) 

136. Review of The War in Outline, by Liddell Hart, Missis- 
sippi Valley Historical Review, 23:591, March. 

137. "The Microphotographic Camera," an interview with 
Robert C. Binkley, member of the Committee on Photo- 
graphic Reproduction of Library Materials, written by 

Bibliography 413 

the interviewer, M. Llewellyn Raney, chairman of the 
Committee. American Library Association Bulletin, 
31:211-213, April. 

138. "Myths of the Twentieth Century," Virginia Quarterly 
Review, 1 3 : 339-3 50, Summer. 

139. "Report of Activities, June, 1935-June, 1936, of the 
Joint Committee of the American Council of Learned 
Societies and the Social Science Research Council on 
Materials for Research," American Council of Learned 
Societies, Bulletin No. 26, s^~57i June. 

140. Review of "PFe or They^^; Two Worlds in Conflict, by 
H. F. Armstrong, Mississippi Valley Historical Review, 
24:132-133, June. 

141. Review of Grey of Fallodon, by G. M. Trevelyan; and 
Arthur James Balfour, by Blanche E. C. Dugdale, Yale 
Review, n.s., 26:826-829, June. Review title: "The Last 

142. "The Fascist Record in Italy," Events, 2:32-36, July. 

143. Review of Die Peter sburger Mission Bismarcks, i8^p- 
1862; Russland und Europa zu Beginn der Regierung 
Alexander II, by Boris Nolde, translated by Bernhard 
Schulze; and Russland und Frankreich vom Ausgang des 
Krimkrieges bis zum italienischen Krieg, 18^6-18$% 
by Ernst Schiile, American Historical Review, 42:758- 
759, July. 

144. "The Reproduction of Materials for Research," in L/- 
brary Trends; Papers Presented Before the Library In- 
stitute at the University of Chicago, August 3-1 s, ^93^, 
edited with an introduction by Louis R. Wilson (Chi- 
cago: University of Chicago Press), pp. 22^-2^6. 

145. Review of On the Rim of the Abyss, by J. T. Shotwell, 
Mississippi Valley Historical Review, 24:279-280, Sep- 

146. Review of Policies and Opinions at Paris, 1919, by 
G. B. Noble, Journal of Modern History, 9:403-404, 

414 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

147. Review of Freud and Marx, by Reuben Osborn; and 
Freud, Goethe, Wagner, by Thomas Mann, Virginia 
Quarterly Review, 13:612-615, Autumn. Review title: 
"Of Freud and the Future." 

148. "Memorandum on Auxiliary Publication," in Micro- 
photography for Libraries, i^^j (Chicago: American 
Library Association), pp. 67-72. 


149. Editor of Sanford, E. M., The Mediterranean World in 
Ancient Times (New York: Ronald Press), Ronald 
Series in History, edited by R. C. Binkley and R. H. 

150. "The Holy Roman Empire versus the United States; 
Patterns for Constitution-Making in Central Europe," in 
The Constitution Reconsidered, edited by Conyers Read 
(New York: Columbia University Press), pp. 271-284. 

151. "Microcopying and Library Catalogs," American Library 
Association Bulletin, 32:241-243, April. 

152. "Deciding on Belligerency," a letter to the editor. New 
York Times, June 24, 18:7. 

153. Studies in the Restoration Era, 18 15-1820; prepared un- 
der the direction of Robert C. Binkley in a history 
seminar taught at Columbia University in 193 7- 193 8. 
New York, Columbia University. (Hectographed copies 
in Columbia University and Western Reserve University 

154. "Mill's Liberty Today," Foreign Affairs, 16:563-573, 

155. "Peace in Our Time," Virginia Quarterly Review, 
1 4 : 5 5 1 -5 64, Autumn. 

156. "Report of Activities, 1937, of the Joint Committee of 
the Social Science Research Council and the American 
Council of Learned Societies on Materials for Research," 
American Council of Learned Societies, Bulletin No. 27, 
44-48, November. 

Bibliography 415 

157. "Typescript Formats for Blueprint Reproduction," 
Journal of Documentary Reproduction, 1:75-78, Winter. 

158. "The Why of the White Collar Program. Works Prog- 
ress Administration" (Mimeographed MS.) Extracts 
from a paper prepared for joint meeting of the Society 
of American Archivists and the American Historical 
Association, Chicago, December, 1938. (Incorporated 
in No. 160.) 

159. "Techniques and Policies of Documentary Reproduc- 
tion," International Federation for Documentation, 14th 
Conference, Oxford-London, 1938, Transactions /, 
pp. C121-C124. (Also in International Federation for 
Documentation, Quarterly Communications, 6.1:12-15, 

160. "The Cultural Program of the W.P.A.," Harvard Educa- 
tional Review, 9:156-174, March. (See Nos. 158, 171.) 

161. Review of The Kaiser on Trial, by G. S. Viereck, Journal 
of Modern History, 1 1 : 97-98, March. 

162. "Newspaper Indexing for WPA Projects," Journal of 
Documentary Reproduction, 2:46-47, March. 

163. "World Intellectual Organization," Educational Record, 
20:256-262, April. 

164. Review of Social and Economic History of the World 
War, 150 vols., 1921-1937; general editor, J. T. Shotwell, 
American Historical Review, 44:629-632, April. 

165. Review of The Struggle for Imperial Unity, by J. E. 
Tyler, Annals of the American Academy of Political 
and Social Sciences, 203:242-243, May. 

166. Review of Memoirs of the Paris Peace Conference, by 
David Lloyd George, Yale Review, n.s., 28:853-855, 
June. Review title: "Lloyd George's Testament." 

167. Review of New York^s Making, by Mary de Peyster 
Conger, Journal of Adult Education, 11:285, June. Re- 
view title: "A City and a Family." 

41 6 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

1 68. "Strategic Objectives in Archival Policy," American 
Archivist, 2: 162-168, July. (Paper read at luncheon con- 
ference of the Society of American Archivists, Chicago, 
December 29, 1938.) 

169. "Principle Held Self -Evident," a letter to the editor, 
New York Times , July 31, 12:6. 

170. "Photographic Reproduction of Library Materials" [re- 
port of the Committee on photographic reproduction of 
library materials], American Library Association Bul- 
letin 55, 657-658, September. 

171. "A Specifically American Experiment," Journal of Adult 
Education, 11:396-401, October. (Partial reprint of 
No. 160.) 

172. Review of The Diplomacy of the Balkan Wars, ipi2- 
1913^ by E. C. Helmreich, Annals of the American 
Academy of Political and Social Sciences, 206:181, No- 

173. "Assumptions Underlying Political History," University 
Review, 6:83-87, December. 

174. Binkley, Robert C, and Robbins, Rainard B., "The 
Efficiency Point in Quantity Reproduction," Journal of 
Documentary Reproduction, 2:270-274, December. 

175. "Citing Photographic Reproductions," Journal of Docu- 
mentary Reproduction, 2:304-305, December. 

176. Review of UEurope du XIX^ siecle et Videe de na- 
tionality, by G. Weill, Journal of Modern History, 
1 1 : 546-547, December. 

177. Review of Allied Propaganda and the Collapse of the 
German Empire in 1918, by G. G. Bruntz, Mississippi 
Valley Historical Review, 26:464-465, December. 


178. Realism and Nationalism, 18^2-18^1, second edition 
(New York: Harper & Brothers). (See No. 107. p, 175 


Bibliography 417 

11. Some Published Writings About Robert C. Binkley 

179. Adams, E. D., The Hoover War Collection at Stanford 
University; a Report and an Analysis (Stanford Uni- 
versity Press, 192 1 ). See pp. 16-19, 1^- 

180. "Current History Bureau Comes to Mather College; Dr. 
Binkley Interests National Research Body in Methods of 
Preserving and Indexing Records," Cleveland Plain 
Dealer y November 13, 1933, 9:2. 

181. "Robert Cedric Binkley," America's Young Men, 1:50, 

1934; 2:51. 1936-37- 

182. Kirkwood, Marie, "They're Studying *Good Queen 
Bess' in a New Way at W.R.U.," Cleveland Plain Dealer, 
April 22, 1934, Magazine Section 7:1. 

183. " 'Get Rid of Davey' Keeps Phones Hot; Ouster Demand 
Generates Spontaneously Here from Relief Charges," 
Cleveland Plain Dealer, March 17, 1935, Ai: 6. 

184. McCarter, Josephine, "Robert Cedric Binkley," Alumnae 
Folio of Flora Stone Mather College, 12.3:7, February, 
1936. (See also the article on p. 6.) 

185. "Robert Cedric Binkley," Who's Who in America, 
19:310, 1936-37; 20:320, 1938-39; 21:331, 1940-41. Who 
Was Who in America, 1:96, 1942. 

186. Birnbaum, Louis, "Tracing a City's History," Nev) 
York Times, September 6, 1936, IX, 9:3. 

187. "War Peril to Lore Arouses Scholars; Council of Learned 
Societies Moves to Make Archives of America Com- 
plete," NeiD York Times, January 27, 1940, 6:2. 

188. "Embalmed Archives," Newsweek, 15:41, February 12, 

189. "Prof. Binkley, Noted Scholar, Dies at 42," Cleveland 
Press, April 11 , 1 940, 1 7 : 4-5 . 

190. "Dr. Robert Binkley, Historian, Archivist," New York 
Times, April 12, 1940, 23:2. 

41 8 Selected Papers of Robert C. Binkley 

191. "Private Funeral for Prof. Binkley," Cleveland Plain 
Dealer J April 12, 1940, 21:4. 

192. "Loss to Scholarship," editorial, Cleveland Plain Dealer, 
April 12, 1940, 10:2. 

193. Mellon, De Forest, "Tribute to Dr. Binkley," Cleveland 
Plain Dealer, April 21, 1940, A2i:3. 

194. Barry, Adeline V., "Robert Cedric Binkley, 1 898-1940," 
Alumnae Folio of Flora Stone Mather College, 16.4:6, 
May, 1940. 

195. Clement, Mary Louise; Ice, Marjorie; White, Elise; 
Miller, Edith; and Robinson, Lucy, "Tributes to 
Robert C. Binkley," Sun Dial (Flora Stone Mather Col- 
lege), 23.3:6-9, May, 1940. 

196. Baldwin, Summerfield, III, "Book-Learning and Learning 
Books," College and Research Libraries, 1:257-261, June, 

197. Burnett, Philip Mason, Reparation at the Paris Peace Con- 
ference from the Standpoint of the American Delegation, 
2 vols. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1940), 
esp. vol. I, pp. 145-146, 148, 152. 

198. Kellar, Herbert A., "An Appraisal of the Historical 
Records Survey," in Archives and Libraries (American 
Library Association, Committee on archives and 
libraries). (Chicago: American Library Association, 
1940), esp. pp. s^, SI- 

199. Lydenberg, Harry M., "Robert Cedric Binkley, 1897- 
1940," American Council of Learned Societies, Bulletin 
No. 55, 56-59, October, 1941. 

200. Dix, William S., The Amateur Spirit in Scholarship; the 
Report of the Committee on Private Research of West- 
ern Reserve University (Cleveland: Western Reserve 
University Press, 1942), pp. 13-20 and passim. 

201. Kidder, R. W., "The Historical Records Survey; Ac- 
tivities and Publications," Library Quarterly, 13:136- 
149, April, 1943. 

Bibliography 419 

202. Kellar, Herbert A., "The Historian and Life," Missis- 
sippi Valley Historical Review, 34:3-36, June, 1947, 
esp. 14-17. 

203. Tate, Vernon D., "From Binkley to Bush," American 
Archivist, 10:249-257, July, 1947. 


This is an index primarily of personal names, omitting Robert C. 
Binkley, It includes also the more important conferences, commissions , 
committees, societies, and libraries referred to. Countries, states, and cities 
are excluded. The foreword, preface, chronology and bibliography are 
not indexed. 

Adams, Ephraim D., 5, 92 

Adams, Mrs. Ephraim D., 5 

Adams, Henry, 358 

Adler, Alfred, 297 

Aeschylus, 390 

Agricultural Adjustment Adminis- 
tration, 183 

Alcuin, 237, 273 

Alexander II of Russia, 357 

American Council of Learned So- 
cieties, 30, 34, 236, 256 

American Historical Association, 
18, 256 

American Library Association, 172, 

Annals of Cleveland, 32, 231, 234 

Aquinas, Saint Thomas, 295 

Aristotle, 221 

Bach, Baron, 354 

Bacon, Francis, 361 

Baker, Ray Stannard, 55-163 passim 

Bakunin, Mikhail, 24 

Balfour, David Lord, ^6, 71, 75, 76, 
77, 80, 81, 87, 116, 123, 128, 129, 
144, 152, 155, 162, 327, 392 

Bardoux, Jacques, 105 

Barthou, Louis, 106 

Baruch, Bernard, 53, 58, 6^ 

Benedict XV, 78 

Benes, Eduard, 73, 322 

Benns, F. Lee, 386, 387 
Bentham, Jeremy, 290 
Bergin, Thomas G., 36 
Bergson, Henri, 295, 327, 328 
Bernard of Clair vaux, 335 
Bernardy, A. A., 69 
Biggar, Lt. Col., 137 
Binkley, Barbara Jean, 13 
Binkley, Christian Kreider, 3, 4 
Binkley, Frances Harriet Williams, 

7-42 passim 
Binkley, Mary Engle Barr, 3 
Binkley, Robert Williams, 16, 37 
Binkley, Thomas Eden, 36 
Binns, Archie, 6 
Bismarck, Prince Otto von, 317, 

320, 321, 323, 338, 349, 351, 379 
Bissolati-Bergamaschi, Leonida, 112 
Bliss, Gen. Tasker H., 55, in 
Bonald, Vicomte Louis G. A., 390 
Boniface VIII, 369 
Borden, Sir Robert, 158 
Bourne, Henry E., 18 
Boyd, Julian P., 194 
Briand, Aristide, 284, 285, 322 
Brockdorff-Rantzau, Count Ulrich 

von, 61, 75, 76 
Brunswick, House of, 376 
Bulkley, Senator, 37 
Burke, Edmund, 390 
Burnett, Philip M., 9 n. 



Cambon, Jules, 135 

Cambon, Pierre Paul, 106 

Carnegie Endowment for Interna- 
tional Peace, 88, 97, 209 

Castlereagh, Viscount, 376 

Cecil, Robert Lord, 90, 352 

Chamberlain, Arthur Neville, 376 

Charlemagne, 237, 273, 302, 304 

Chateaubriand, Francois Rene, Vis- 
count de, 390 

Chisholm v. Georgia^ 342 

Churchill, Winston S., 17, 74, 81, 
83,84,85,86,87,88,89, 139 

Civil Works Administration, 190, 

Clark, John M., 395 

Clemenceau, Georges, 55-16$ pas- 
sim, 324, 325, 328, 385, 388, 389 

Cleveland Public Library, 30, 35, 
240, 266 

Cobb, Frank Irving, 280 

Coburg family, 25 

Collins, Michael, 86 

Columbia University, 29 

Committee on International Intel- 
lectual Cooperation, 185, 258 

Committee on Private Research, 35 

Comte, Auguste, 380 

Corriera delta Sera, 69 

Craig, Sir James, 86 

Cummings, C. K., 117 

Curzon, Lord George Nathaniel, 86 

Darwin, Charles, 286, 287, 291, 292, 
298, 301 

Dauze, Pierre, 172 

Davis, Norman, 56, 144 

Davis, Stanton Ling, 230 

Delaisi, Francis, 332 

Dennis, A. L. P., 117 

Department of Agriculture Li- 
brary, 184, 226 

Disraeli, Benjamin, 392 

Dmowski, Roman, 149 

Draeger, R. H., 184 

Dulles, John Foster, 51, 52, 53 

Dumba, Constantin, 389 

Edward the Confessor, 253 
Einstein, Albert, 334 
Emerson, R. W., 4 
Engels, Friedrich, 392 
Epicurus, 335 
Erasmus, Desiderius, 184 
Erzberger, Matthias, 66, 67, 75, 103 
Evans, Luther H., 32 

Falorsi, Vittorio, 69 

Falstaff, Jake (Herman Fetzer), 42, 

Fay, Sidney B., 16, 17 
Federal Emergency Relief Admin- 
istration, 32, 195 
Filasiewicz, Stanislas, 114 
Firestone, Harvey, 267 
Fiske, Admiral Bradley Allen, 178 
Flora Stone Mather College of 
Western Reserve University, 
18, 19, 35. 39» 40 
Foch, Marshal Ferdinand, 66, 6j, 

68, 103, 105, 115, 145, 149 
Fouche, Joseph, 329 
Francis Joseph I, Emperor, 348, 350 
Frankfurter Zeitung, 8, 300 
Franklin, Benjamin, 191, 347 
Frazer, Sir James G., 327 
Freeman, Edward A., 200, 201 
Freud, Sigmund, 287, 295, 297, 392, 

Galileo, 186 

Gandhi, 336 

Gentile, Giovanni, 327 

Ghisalberti, A. M., 17 

Gladstone, William E., 392 

Graham, Malbone, 7 

Gregory VII, 309, 310, 369 

Gregory of Tours, 391 

Grey, Sir Edward, 106, 320, 392 

Hamilton, G. V., 15 

Hapsburgs, 344, 354, 376 
Harper & Brothers, 21, 22, 23, 26 
Harvard University, 29 
Haskins, Charles H., 65, 156 



Hayes, Carlton J. H., 18, 372 
Hebbel, Christian Friedrich, 388 
Hegel, G. W. F., 291, 328, 390 
Henry IV of Germany, 309 
Herron, George D., 389, 390 
Herzberg, Wilhelm, 172 
Hines, Walker D., 395 
Hirshberg, Herbert S., 34 
Historical Records Survey, 32, 33, 

212, 234, 243, 245, 257, 266, 269, 

Hitler, Adolf, 22, 263, 290, 296, 336, 

3<52, 365 

HohenzoUems, 376 

Hoover, Herbert, 5 

Hoover War Library, 3, 5, 6, 8, 12, 
13, 16, 41, 89, 92, 98, 106, 116, 
117, 119, 122, 128, 129, 131, 140, 
141, 142, 143, 144, 146, 149, 155 

Houghton, Alanson B., 385 

House, Col. Edward M., 17, $6-16$ 
passim, 280 

Howe, Quincy, 391 

Hudson, Manley O., 118 

Hymans, Paul, 155 

Institute of International Intellec- 
tual Cooperation, 173, 259 
International Labor Organization, 

International Library Congress, 172 

James, William, 295, 327, 336 

Jefferson, Thomas, 241 

Jessen, F. de, 97 

Joint Committee on Materials for 

Research, 30, 31, 34, 256 
Joseph II, Emperor, 347 
"Juke" family, 25 
Jung, Carl, 297 
Justus, pseud., see Macchi di Cel- 

lere, Dolores 

Kant, Immanuel, 289, 295, 334, 335 
Kellar, Herbert A., 267 
Kellogg-Briand Pact, 314, 321, 387 
Kelsen, Hans, 353 

Kelvin, William Thomson, Lord, 

Keynes, John M., 58, 60, 66, 69 
Klotz, Louis Lucien, 52, 58, 59, 60, 

67, 161 
Krajewski, Leon, 116 
Kraus, Herbert, 61, 64 
Kretschmer, Ernst, 297 
Kropotkin, Peter, 24 
Krutch, Joseph W., 15 

Lamont, Thomas W., 57, 58, 60 

Langer, William, 18 

Lansing, Robert, 51, 53, 54, 58, 61, 

72, 84, 94, 108, 109, no, 128, 

130, 143, 156, 158 
Lao-tzu, 4 

Lapradelle, Albert G. de, 97 
League of Nations: Covenant, $$- 

165 passim, 259, 277, 280, 310, 

314, 316, 317, 320, 321, 322, 324, 

352» 353, 363, 3651 369, 370, 376 
Economic and Financial Com- 
mission, 280 
Economic Committee, 277, 280, 

Financial Committee, 277, 280 

Lenin, Nikolai, 293, 327 

Leo XIII, 355 

Leutner, W. G., 35 

Lewis, Sinclair, 189 

Library of Congress, 34, 97, 177, 
184, 194 

Libre Belgique, 6 

Lichnowsky, Karl Max, 320 

Lippmann, Walter, 280 

Lloyd George, David, 52-165 pas- 
sim, 328, 395 

Locke, John, 289 

Lodge, Henry Cabot, 118, 119 

London Conference and Treaty, 
loi, 105, 112, 113, 114, 120, 161 

Lord, Robert H., 6$ 

Loucheur, Louis, $6, 60 

Ludwig, Emil, 387, 388 

Luther, Martin, 184, 327 

Lutz, Ralph H., 5, 6, 7 



Lydenberg, Harry M., 12, 30 
Lynd, Robert S. and Helen M., 

Macchi di Cellere, Dolores (Cobo), 

Countess, 68 
Macchi di Cellere, Vincenzo, 

Count, 68, 69 
Machiavelli, Nicolo, 293 
Mahr, August C, 8, 61 
Maistre, Joseph de, 390 
Makino, Baron, 142, 143 
Man, Henri de, 373 
Mann, Thomas, 392, 393 
Marco Polo, 299 
Martel, Charles, 24, 304, 305 
Martens, A., 172, 173 
Marx, Karl, 237, 292, 293, 335, 355, 

390, 392, 393 
Masaryk, Thomas G., 328 
Massey, William F., 137 
Masson, Capt., 137 
Maxwell, James Clerk, 294 
Mazzini, Giuseppe, 196 
McCormick Historical Association, 

McGowan, Kenneth, 15 
McMurtrie, Douglas, 245 
Meiji, Emperor of Japan, 305 
Mermeix, pseud., see Terrail 
Metcalf, Keyes D., 12 
Mettemich-Winneburg, C. W. L., 

338* 339» 343. 344. 34^, 351, 352, 

37o> 375, 376 
Mill, John Stuart, 292, 354-367 
Miller, David Hunter, 50-163 pas- 
Miller, Joaquin, 4 
Minnesota Historical Society, 213 
Montagu, Edwin Samuel, $6 
Morgan, J. Pierpont, 303 
Mussolini, Benito, 290 

Napoleon I (Bonaparte), 290, 319, 

338, 343, 347, 374, 375 
Napoleon III, 18, 290, 354, 365 
National Archives, 266 

National Council for the Social 

Studies, 236, 256 
National Park Service, 195 
National Recovery Administration, 

183, 305, 312 
National Resources Board, 240 
Naumann, Friedrich, 338, 350 
Nevins, Allan, 119 
Newsome, A. R., 195 
New York City Public Library, 1 2, 

13, 93, 97, 112, 155, 184 
New York University, Washington 

Square College, 11 
Nicholas I, King of Montenegro, 

Nitti, Francesco, 66, 68, 69 
Norton, W. W., 18 
Notestein, Wallace, 18 
Nowak, Karl Friedrich, 74, 75, 76, 


Office Managers Association, 268 

Oncken, Hermann, 7 

Orlando, Vittorio Emanuele, 66, 69, 

117, 145, 152, 153, 154, 155 
Orsini, Felice, 365 
Orton, William Aylott, 335 
Osbom, Reuben, 392, 393 

Paderewski, Ignace Jan, 141 
Palacky, Frantisek, 198 
Pareto, Vilfredo, 327 
Paris Peace Conference, 18, 49-165 
passinty 338, 376 

Aeronautic Commission, 135 

Armistice Commission, 67, 145, 
161, 162 

"Bureau," 129, 133 

Central Territorial Commission, 

Commission on International La- 
bor Legislation, 93, 100, 129, 
130, 131, 132, 142, 144 

Commission on League of Na- 
tions, 93, 100, 129, 130, 131, 133, 
142, 144 

Commission on Ports, Waterways 



and Railways (Transit) , 88, 98, 

129, 131, 133, 137, 142, 144, 164 

Commission on Reparations, 50, 

52,53,65,92, 129, 131, 133, 143, 

Commission on Responsibilities of 
Authors of the War, 55, 61, 98, 
129, 130, 137, 142, 144, 162 

Council of Five, 126, 127, 132 

Council of Four, 58, 59, 60, 66, 
67* 73> 87, 94, 102, 126, 127, 134, 

Council of Ten (Council, Su- 
preme Council), 67-165 pas- 

Drafting Committee, 67 

Economic Commission, 135, 142, 

Financial Commission, 135, 142 

Inter- Allied Conference, 129 

Supreme Economic Council, 92, 
134, 280 

Supreme War Council, 50, 53, 67, 
71, 82, 126, 127, 128, 130 
Pepin II of Heristal, 303 
Pepin III, the Short, 302, 304 
Perry, Commodore Matthew C, 

305, 307 
Pettit, Walter W., 117 
Peyster, Johannes de, 395 
Phi Beta Kappa Society, 258, 259 
Pichon, Stephen Jean Marie, 114, 

115, 116, 117, 119, 122, 123, 127, 

128, 132 
Plato, 221, 223 
Plutarch, 200 

Poincare, Raymond, 66, 388 
Politis, Nicolas Socrate, 137 
Pope, see Benedict, Boniface, 

Gregory, Leo, Zacharias 
Potsdam Council, 71, 80 
Proudhon, Pierre Joseph, 390 

Quadruple Alliance, 319, 320 

Recouly, Raymond, 68, 103 
Roediger, Gustav, 61, 64 

Roman Catholic Church, 303, 304, 
308, 309, 369, 370, 371, 373, 374 
Ronald Press, 23 
Roosevelt, Franklin D., 301, 302, 

311. 313 
Rosenberg, Alfred, 327, 335, 336, 

Rotteck, K. W. R. von, 346, 347 
Rousseau, Jean Jacques, 286, 287, 

289, 292, 327, 354 
Rousseau v. Germany ^ 62 
Royal Society of Arts, London, 

172, 174, 175 
Royce, Josiah, 328 

Salvemini, Gaetano, 69 
Santayana, George, 328 
Scheler, Max, 328 
Schiller, J. C. F., 346 
Schmitt, Bernadotte, 97 
Schuecking, Walter, 64 
Schwarzenberg, Prince Felix von, 

348, 350, 379 
Seymour, Charles, 18, 51, 58, 6$, 74, 

77, 79, 80, 81, 83, 84, 88, 93, 94, 

loi, 147 
Shotwell, James T., 97, 394, 395 
Slosson, P. W., 392 
Smith College, 16, 17, 30 
Smuts, Gen. Jan Christian, 58, 327 
Social Science Research Council, 

30, 236, 256, 258, 259 
Society of American Archivists, 

Sonnino, Sidney Baron, 69, 146, 147, 

148, 154 
Sorel, Georges, 327 
Spencer, Herbert, 171, 292, 294 
Spengler, Oswald, 208, 295, 327 
Spranger, Eduard, 297 
Stakhanov, Aleksei, 337 
Stanford Cardinaly 6 
Stanford University, 4, 5, 6, 8, 13, 

15, 18, 41 
Steed, Henry Wickham, 69, 117, 

118, 138, 139, 140, 147 
Stephens, Henry Morse, 209 



St. Pierre, Abbe de, 375 
Streicher, Julius, 393 
Stubbs, William, 200, 201 
Sun Yat-sen, 336 

Tacitus, Cornelius, 304 

Tardieu, Andre, 58, 65, 67, 94, 97, 
100, 115, 116, 117, 119, 120, 121, 
122, 123, 127, 128, 131, 136, 138, 
145, 146, 147, 159 

Taylor, Frederick Winslow, 337 

Temperley, H. W. V., 64, 6^, 136, 

Terrail, Gabriel, 51, 67, 93, 106 
Thompson, Dorothy, 30 
Thrasymachus, 293 
Trotsky, Leon, 293, 334 

Vaihinger, Hans, 327, 336 

Venizelos, Eleutherios, 328 

Verdross, Alfred, 353 

Versailles, Treaty of, 7, 8, 49-62, 
89, 97, 100, 121, 132, 283, 387, 
388; see also Paris Peace Con- 

Vienna, Congress of, 7, 128, 343 

Viereck, G. S., 394 

Virginia Quarterly Review, 27 

Voltaire, F. M. A. de, 289 

Waitz, Georg, 348 
Wang Yang Ming, 307 
Washington Disarmament Confer- 
ence, 314 
Watson, John B., 297 

Watt, James, 329 
Wedgwood family, 25 
Wegerer, Alfred von, s^ 
Weill, G., 396 
Wells, H. G, 386 
Welcker, Karl T., 346 
Western Reserve University, 18, 
19, 21, 22, 29, 31, 34, 35, 39, 230 
Westphalia, Peace of, 338, 340, 350, 

376, 377 

Wettins, 376 

White, Henry, 119 

Wieser, Friedrich von, 394 

William II of Germany, 63, 113, 
i37» 316, 394 

William the Conqueror, 253 

Wilson, Woodrow, 7, 53-164 pas- 
sim, 280, 313, 315, 320, 324, 325, 
328, 331, 338, 339, 344, 350, 351, 
352, 376, 385, 389, 390, 395 

Wiseman, Sir William George 
Eden, 90 

Wittelsbachs, 377 

Works Progress Administration, 32, 
33» 34» 35» 38, 40» 212, 214, 231, 
232, 236, 243, 245, 246, 253, 254, 
255. 256 

World Congress of Libraries and 
Bibliography, 16, 169 

World Economic Conference, 280 

Yale University Library, 92, 93, 98, 

Zacharias, 304