« 上一頁繼續 »
either from the candidate or from the National Committee could break their will. The delegations from certain Western states insisted that they would nominate him in spite of any opposition from any quarter. They would not listen even to an absolute refusal on the part of the candidate himself to accept the nomination.
No political leader in a democracy can trifle with a plain popular mandate — no matter how inconvenient its consequences may be. Mr. Roosevelt was sincere in his wish to avoid the nomination. He had every apparent personal interest in desiring to continue his career as Governor in New York. But he was staggered by the insistence of the sentiment among the delegates. For that reason he left the door slightly ajar, and the majority of the Convention pushed him through the opening. He and Mr. Hanna, either alone or together, could have beaten "Boss" Platt; but they could not and did not dare to disobey their common master. Such an unequivocal and enthusiastic expression of a popular preference both deserved and commanded acquiescence, and in acquiescing Mr. Roosevelt had this consolation. If from one point of view his transfer to the Vice-Presidency looked like the incarceration of a very promising political career in a cold storage box, from another point of view such a flattering evidence of the Sovereign's favor looked like the finger of Destiny.
Mr. Hanna, on the other hand, had no such consolation. Again and again he had thought and announced that the Roosevelt candidacy was dead. But on Wednesday morning, after its technical murder at the hands of the New York state delegation the night before, it proved to be more alive than ever. Mr. Hanna was taken by surprise, but he was not discouraged. He had come to the Convention with the intention of securing a Vice-Presidential candidate who in his opinion could be depended upon to continue Mr. McKinley's work, and he would not yield his purpose. He continued for some time further to use his own influence and the credit of the administration in an effort to stem the tide. He was prepared, if necessary, to carry the fight to the floor of the Convention. By so doing he was taking a grave risk, for, even had he succeeded, his success would have awakened deep resentment. Already there was a growing undertone of discontent and criticism, because the general preference for Mr. Roosevelt was meeting with organized opposition — emanating from the representative of the administration at the Convention.
According to the veracious Mr. Platt, it was he who persuaded Mr. Hanna to abandon his opposition. He tells of a conference between the two on Tuesday night, while the caucus of the New York delegation was in session, which ended in Mr. Hanna's conversion and the latter's promise "that night" to issue a statement approving Mr. Roosevelt as nominee. This account runs on about the same level of accuracy with Mr. Platt's other contributions to history. Mr. Hanna's statement was not given out on Tuesday night. On Wednesday he was systematically collecting all his own forces and those of the administration for the purpose of preventing the Governor's nomination. What the result would have been, had he been allowed to continue the fight, is doubtful; but his own friends and those of Mr. McKinley feared the outcome. They were as much afraid of the resentment, which would have been caused by an administration victory, as they were by the loss of prestige, which would have resulted from defeat.
A friend of both the President and Mr. Hanna's, Mr. Charles G. Dawes of Illinois, who understood the risk of further opposition, expostulated with Mr. Hanna. He was told that Mr. Hanna was only carrying out the President's wishes. Thereupon he called up Mr. McKinley on the long distance telephone, explained the situation to the President at length and the risk of committing the administration to any uncompromising opposition to the general sentiment of the Convention. He was instructed by Mr. McKinley to ask Mr. Hanna to discontinue all opposition. As soon as Mr. Hanna was informed of the President's wishes he immediately yielded — not without some chagrin and bitterness of spirit, but with the loyalty which he always exhibited and upon which the President confidently counted.
It was on Wednesday evening that Mr. Hanna learned of the President's wishes, and about the same time he was informed that the unwilling candidate had also signified his consent. Late that night, after many consultations with leaders from all over the country, Mr. Hanna gave out the following statement:
"The administration has had no candidate for Vice-President. It has not been for or against any candidate. It has desired that the Convention should make the candidate and that has been my position throughout. It has been a free field for all. Under these circumstances several eminent Republicans have been proposed, all of them distinguished men with many friends. I may now say on behalf of all of these candidates, and I except no one, I have within the last twelve hours been asked to give my advice. After consulting with as many delegates as possible in the time at my disposal I have concluded to accept the responsibility involved in this request. In the present situation, with the strong and earnest sentiment of the delegates from all parts of the country for Governor Roosevelt, and since President McKinley is to be nominated without a dissenting voice, it is my judgment that Governor Roosevelt should be nominated with the same unanimity." This proclamation, which was very ingenious, but not wholly candid, did of course settle the matter. Mr. Hanna's "advice" was accepted. No other name was presented to the Convention for Vice-Presidential candidate; but curiously enough it was not presented by the candidate's own state. The effective demand for Mr. Roosevelt's nomination had come from the West, and to Iowa, as the only Western state which had favored a serious local candidate, was accorded the honor of placing Mr. Roosevelt's name before the Convention. Colonel Lafayette Young made the speech accompanying the nomination, and Mr. Roosevelt received 925 votes out of 926 — one delegate from New York, presumably the candidate himself, having failed to vote.
The dislike which President McKinley and Mr. Hanna felt towards Mr. Roosevelt as Vice-Presidential nominee was natural, but the immediate effect of the nomination was as fortunate for them as its ultimate effects were for Mr. Roosevelt. The Republican ticket was decidedly strengthened by the presence on it of one who at that time was, more than any other single man, the hero of the Cuban war. The facts that both the President and Mr. Hanna had been opposed to the war, that they had been reluctant to accept its consequences, and that in their political system the most important object of political policy was the encouragement of business, — all these facts made them underestimate the effect of the war on public opinion. It was the popularity of the war in the West which had saved them in the Congressional election of the fall of 1898; and it was the same element in public opinion which at the Philadelphia Convention had demanded the nomination of the Colonel of Rough Riders. Thus Mr. Roosevelt added a kind of strength to the ticket which it could not have obtained from the success of any alternative candidate.
That the promised revival of business had taken place during Mr. McKinley's administration constituted unquestionably the President's best claim for reelection. If the country had not become relatively prosperous, the Republicans would surely have been defeated. But just in proportion as prosperity returned, it lost some of its value as a political issue. A hungry man can think of nothing but food, but when the hunger is satisfied he needs other interests. The war had aroused national feeling and had made the people more alive to their joint national interest. It had given to the American people a new sense of the meaning of American nationality and of the scope of American national purposes. All these vague emotions and ideas demanded some medium of expression. If the Republican ticket had not provided them with a candidate who appealed, as Mr. Roosevelt did, to their patriotic imagination and aspirations, it would have failed wholly to satisfy a widespread and vital element in public opinion. Against their own will Mr. McKinley and Mr. Hanna had called to their support the one man who could most effectively supplement their own strength with the American people — the one man who could make the ticket represent the nationalism of the future as well as that of the past and of the present.
THE CAMPAIGN OF 1900
In spite of the threatened conflict over the nomination for Vice-President, the Convention of 1900 was, from the point of view of party harmony and efficiency, one of the most successful ever held by the Republicans. It named a ticket which was as capable of vigorous aggression as it was impregnable on the defence. The whole party was confident of success and eager to contribute to it. Never had the Republicans been more efficiently organized and more competently led. The leaders had the confidence of the army. The army was not divided against itself. They felt that they represented the better part of the nation and that in their persons the nation was marching on to new industrial conquests and towards new political horizons.
Mr. McKinley was apparently as much pleased with the final result and the means whereby it had been reached as was the average Republican. As soon as the Convention was over, he wrote from Washington to Mr. Hanna, who had gone to Cleveland, the following letter: —
"I am greatly pleased with the work of the Convention. You have added another claim to leadership and public confidence. All comers from the Convention commend you and all accord you the courage and sagacity of true leadership.
"I am delighted that you have accepted the Chairmanship of the National Committee. It is a great task and will be to you a great sacrifice. Before you arrange for the Director of the Speaking Bureau, I will be glad to talk with you.
"Hoping you will get some much needed rest and find your family well, believe me,
"Your true friend,