Slike strani

pressly extended to the islands, but exception is made of the right to bear arms and that to trial by jury. This provision is mere surplusage if the bill of rights extends to the new possessions of its own force, as many hold to be the case. The Filipinos are not made citizens of the United States; they are declared to be citizens of the Philippine Islands.

The principles of this important act were thoroughly discussed in the long debate in the senate

which preceded the vote upon it. Throughout this spirited and earnest debate the fact was emphasized that the Philippine question was still open, and that Congress was not committed to permanent retention of the islands. Supporters of the administration like Senators Spooner and Clapp, declared that they were opposed to the idea of permanent dominion over the Filipinos and contemplated the establishment of an independent Philippine republic. The policy so successfully pursued in Cuba, they had no doubt, would be applied eventually in the Philippines, but for the immediate present, they asserted, there was no alternative to American control. Even a promise of ultimate independence would lead to confusion, disorder, and dangerous agitation, and therefore it was expedient to withhold all expressions of expectation and intention. The Democrats and several Republicans, including Senator Hoar, demanded a pledge of non-annexation similar to that made in the case of Cuba, but the majority, relying on the testimony of Governor Taft and the civil commission, declined to make it. Here are the significant words with which Senator Spooner, the acknowledged spokesman of the administration, closed his speech in favor of the bill and the policy reflected by it:


"I hope that the senator from Massachusetts will be

able to write, 'We went to war with Cuba. We drove

Spain from the island. We acquired Porto Rico and gave it the institutions of liberty and the blessings

of prosperity. We took (reluctantly, because by the fortune of war we were there) title to the Philippine Archipelago. We subdued resistance to our authority. We planted schools all through the islands. We established a school of government in which that people were taught the lessons of liberty restrained by law. We

emancipated the peasants from feudalism. We protected that people from a scourge which for three hundred years had oppressed them. We made them fit for selfgovernment. And when the time came we consulted their wish as to whether we could give them indepen dence and sail away or leave our flag with them—a flag not vulgarized; a flag ennobled by our victories in peace as well as in war.'


What will they say? I believe they will say: Leave the flag there. Leave it there until the republic, the only republic in Asia, shall be stronger - able to go by itself.' I believe that it will work out in that way, and we wish to be helped to work it out, without regard to party."


President Roosevelt himself has recognized in a public speech that the Philippine problem was not settled by the treaty with Spain or by any subsequent action, and that it will be necessary to decide some day between annexation and independence. Undoubtedly the sentiment for Philippine independence at the proper time is growing among leading Republicans. President Schurman, head of the first Philippine commission, continues to advocate Philippine independence with great earnestness. The discussion has entered upon a new phase, rancor and passion yielding to moderation and sobriety.

The Isthmian Canal Bill.

At last a step-a long step- has been taken by congress toward realizing "the dream of centuries," the construction of a ship canal connecting the two oceans. The "battle of routes," discussed heretofore, is not ended, but the final decision is remitted to the president, and the circumstances of the case were such that congress was bound to vest considerable discretion and authority in the chief executive.

Early in the session of the Fifty-seventh Congress the house passed the so-called Hepburn bill, providing for the construction of

a canal along the Nicaragua-Costa Rica tion of the Panama Canal Company's proproute. The Walker commission, however, erty and concessions, if satisfactory title had made a supplemental report unanimously thereto can be obtained, and for the conrecommending the Panama route and the struction of the ship canal under the direction acquisition, for $40,000,000, of the property of an expert commission at a total cost of and franchises of the Panama Canal Com- $175,000,000. If valid title cannot be pany, the reorganized French corporation. obtained within a reasonable time (no more That route was declared to possess many definite limit is set), the canal is to be condecided advantages, and it would certainly structed by the Nicaragua route at a cost not have been recommended in the earlier report exceeding $180,000,000. An appropriation as the most feasible and desirable had the of $10,000,000 is authorized toward conoriginal price for the company's assets been struction, by either route. Popular bonds, deemed reasonable by the commission. The bearing two per cent interest, are to be action of the house in ignoring the expert issued from time to time to defray the cost opinion of the canal commission was strongly of the enterprise up to the total of $130,disapproved by the press and public opinion. 000,000, the remainder to be paid out of the treasury surplus not otherwise appropriated.

In the senate the Hepburn bill had many fervent advocates, but there was also a powerful Panama faction, led by Senator Marcus A. Hanna. A deadlock would undoubtedly have resulted had not Senator Spooner of Wisconsin presented an adroit compromise measure. The subject was ably, honestly, and warmly debated, and at length the Spooner bill was substituted for the house measure by a majority of eight votes. The conference committee accepted the substitute, and the house subsequently ratified this conclusion.

First of all it will be necessary to negotiate a satisfactory canal convention with the government of Colombia. A provisional protocol has already been signed by the two governments, but the terms granted by Colombia are not entirely satisfactory. When concluded, the treaty will have to be submitted to the senate for ratification. Some believe that ultimately the Nicaragua route will have to be adopted, but, while this is possible, it is not at all probable. Competent lawyers hold that the Panama Canal

The Spooner bill provides for the acquisi- Company is able to convey a good and valid

title to its property, and it is not likely that Colombia will throw away a great opportunity by advancing unreasonable demands or declining to meet the wishes of the United States in the matter of terms.


At all events, even those who long maintained that it was "Nicaragua or no canal at all" now admit that the Spooner act insures the construction of a canal under the control of the United States.

Equal Suffrage in Australia.

Not all the states in the Commonwealth of Australia have "equal suffrage" - that is, adult suffrage irrespective of sex. Yet an act has just been passed by the federal parliament conferring full suffrage on And the dirt will soon fly to one side or the other. There was practically no opposition -Minneapolis Journal. to this important and radical measure, which



embodies the most substantial victory ever pathizer with their cause. The question of gained by the advocates of the political enfranchisement of women.

equal suffrage has again been argued before the committees of our congress, but no report has been made on the subject.

The federal system of government has its anomalies, and one of these will be exemplified in those Australian states which still prevent women from voting for state officers and the state legislators, as well as in municipal elections. These disfranchised women will henceforth be able to vote for all federal officers, and it is rather paradoxical to assume that citizens qualified to vote in federal elections are incompetent to participate actively in state and local political affairs. It is not doubted that the action of the federal parliament will lead to an early revision of the suffrage laws of the component states, and that before long woman will be man's equal, politically, throughout Australia. It is to be noted, however, that the right to vote is distinct from that of holding office. The federal equal-suffrage law does not provide for the election of women to any position of power or trust under the commonwealth government. Complete enfranchisement, it is hardly necessary to say, implies the

removal of all such disabilities.

New Ambassador from

Great Britain to the
United States.

American suffragists are naturally pleased with the remarkable achievement of their Australian sisters, and in a resolution adopted by a branch of the National Woman Suffrage Association the following remark is ventured: "We believe the women of America are not inferior to those of Australia in intelligence and patriotism, and we call upon American men to emulate the legislators of Australia in justice and chivalry." It is interesting to know that ex-Secretary John D. Long and Senator Hoar are convinced adherents of equal suffrage, and that President Roosevelt is also claimed by the suffragists as a sym


The Virginia Constitution versus Democracy. Much unfavorable comment, not to say harsh and bitter criticism, has been provoked in the northern press by the action of the Virginia Constitutional Convention in deciding to "proclaim" the new constitution, instead of submitting it to the people for ratification or rejection. There are few precedents in the United States for " claiming" a body of organic law, and the action is deemed peculiarly strange and reactionary in these days of increasing recourse to the referendum. Apart from general considerations, it appears that the legislature, in calling the constitutional convention, expressly provided for the submission of the results of its labors to popular vote. The convention was controlled by the Democrats, and their platform also contained a distinct pledge of submission. In view of these facts, the decision of the convention against that course certainly required explanation and defense.

The Richmond Times, which had vigorously advocated submission, attempts an explanation, as follows:

"Had it been decided to submit the question to a full vote of the people there might have been a long and bitter contest, and there might have been other things too disagreeable to mention, of which we should

all have been ashamed after the election was over. The Democrats would not have permitted the constitution to be defeated. It is best to do it this way. The whole movement is revolutionary and the simplest and quickest way of disposing of the subject is the best."'

This is taken to mean that the white voters, determined to secure the adoption of the constitution, would have resorted to intimidation, ballot-box stuffing, illegal counting, and so on, to prevent the colored citizens from defeating it. That there would have been a strong effort to defeat the new constitution is certain. While it is in many respects an admirable, progressive, sound instrument, it includes suffrage provisions designed to disfranchise illiterate negroes.

These provisions are declared to be discrimi- papers have called attention to the profound native (especially the understanding-the-con- indifference of the people and of the Repubstitution test) and repugnant to the spirit of lican statesmen to the "revolutionary" the Fifteenth Amendment. or "counter-revolutionary movement in the South. The contrast between the popular attitude of the North today and that of, say, the early nineties, when the final unsuccessful attempt was made in the senate to pass a federal elections bill, is certainly significant and striking.

In saying that the movement is "revolutionary," the Richmond Times implies that the South is resolved to undo the work of the reconstruction period in so far as it conferred political rights upon the freedmen which they were not fitted to exercise intelligently and independently. Since the Fifteenth Amendment will never be repealed by congress, the South, no longer restrained by the fear of "force bills" and federal intervention, intends to nullify the enfranchisement of unintelligent and illiterate negroes. Hence the "grandfather clauses" and the various other devices which have in recent years been adopted by Southern conventions and legislatures for the avowed purpose of reducing the colored vote and insuring white supremacy.

While, as already remarked, the Virginia convention has been severely criticized for its high-handed action, several northern

[ocr errors]


Purer and Greater Democracy.

Among the remarkable features of our day is the rapid growth of political movements which aim at greater democracy in government and legislation. There is widespread distrust in representative assemblies-caucuses, conventions, and legislatures. The voters are seeking to secure direct control of nominations, elections, and law-making. These tendencies are not confined to the newer states; they are manifesting themselves in old, settled, and conservative commonwealths as well. Rhode Island is discuss

ing the submission of a referendum amendment to the constitution, while the people of Oregon, at the late state election, adopted, practically without opposition, an amendment providing for a radical and sweeping application of the initiative and referendum. Two Republican legislatures had passed on the amendment, and but one vote had been cast against it the second time.


In a preamble to the amendment it is stated that while the form of government remains intact, "the people reserve to themselves power to propose laws and amendments to the constitution, and to enact or reject the same at the polls, independent of the legislative assembly, and also reserve power at their own option to approve or reject at the polls any act of the legislative assembly." This is declared by the enemies of the referendum to constitute an assault on representative government, and the

statement is quite correct, except for the sting in the word " assault." The people have the right to increase or diminish the power of their official agents, and all that the referendum means is that the people desire to take more active and direct interest

in their own affairs. Is this reprehensible? Not if "eternal vigilance is the price of liberty" and fidelity and economy.

The provisions of the Oregon amendment are as follows: Whenever eight per cent of the legal voters shall petition for specific legislation, the same shall M. COMBES. be submitted to New Premier of France. popular vote, and shall become law if approved by a majority of those voting thereon. Any enactment of the legislature may be submitted to popular vote by the assembly acting voluntarily, and must be so submitted when requested by five per cent of the voters. The veto power of the governor shall not extend to laws voted on and approved by the people.

It may be doubted whether any Populistic legislature ever passed a more "advanced" referendum measure. It is a significant sign of the times.

Equally symptomatic is the movement toward what we have described heretofore as" democracy in nominations." The functions of nominating conventions are being restricted steadily and gradually. Massachusetts has a primary election law of considerable scope, but Mississippi enjoys the distinction of being the most democratic state in the Union in respect to popular control of nominations. The political nominating convention has been entirely abolished by law. An act passed last spring provides for the nomination of all state, county, and local officers at the primary elections. Had not Mississippi practically disfranchised the colored citizens, she would now have genuine

majority rule. As it is, assuming the faithful discharge of their political duties by the white voters, she will have the rule of the majority of her white population. Bossism and machine domination have not been made impossible, but it has been made possible for the voters to get rid of these evils.


It should be added that certain American writers are advocating a further step toward democracy in nominations- namely, nomination by petition. This is the plan in Australia and in several European countries. The right of minorities and small groups to place candidates in nomination is obviously incompatible with machine rule, but it logically leads to the French system of second elections or re-balloting. Free nomination means a multiplicity of candidates, and the election of any one by a mere plurality is repugnant to the principle of majority rule.

Prohibition versus Interstate Commerce.

Under the supreme court construction of the interstate commerce provision of the constitution, it is extremely difficult for a state to enforce or maintain an effective prohibition act. We have had occasion to refer to the difficulties created by the famous "original package"

original package" decision, which so materially limited the right of the states to control or forbid the manufacture and sale of liquor. A case recently passed on by the Supreme Court of Iowa illustrates anew the complexity of the relations between the states and the national government.

The authority of a state, under its police power, to pass and enforce a rigid anti-liquor law is beyond dispute. The question arises as to whether a provision in such a law prohibiting outside dealers, or agents of nonresident dealers, from selling liquor to citizens in the prohibition state (and shipping liquor so sold in original packages) is in conflict with the constitutional clause vesting in congress the power to regulate interstate commerce.

Such a provision is found in the Iowa prohibition law, and the state supreme court has declared it to be invalid under the federal decisions in previous cases involving analo

« PrejšnjaNaprej »