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ticket on what seemed to him absolutely sufficient grounds. When he told one audience that he was not a politician, because he did not know how to tell them what was not so, he was speaking the truth. His hearers went away with the impression that he was speaking the truth; and this fact, taken together with his big, imposing, yet engaging personality, accounts for his success.
That the tour was a success from every point of view, all accounts are agreed. The results vindicated his judgment. The campaign in the Northwest obtained as a consequence a greatly increased momentum, which did much to excite contagious confidence and enthusiasm among the Republicans in the neighboring states. By his personal appearance on the stump he had really helped the ticket, and he had placed his own personality in a much more favorable light among an important section of the American people. Indeed, this trip, more than any other single cause, helped to make Mr. Hanna personally popular throughout the West, just as his first stumping tour in Ohio had made him personally popular in his own state. As soon as he became known, the virulence and malignity with which he had been abused reacted in his favor. When he appeared on the platform, the crowd, instead of seeing a monster, found him to be just the kind of a man whom Americans best understand and most heartily like. He was not separated from them by differences of standards and tastes or by any intellectual or professional sophistication. The roughness of much of his public speaking, and its lack of form, which makes it comparatively poor reading, was an essential part of its actual success. He stamped himself on his speeches just as he had stamped himself on his business. His audiences had to pass judgment on the man more than on the message, and the man could not but look good to them.
When he returned to Chicago the campaign was virtually over. Only a little over a week remained, and during that time there was nothing to be done but to gather the fruits of four months of preparation. During the final weeks the different lines of work came to a head precisely as planned. There were no misgivings at Republican headquarters, and the rank and file of the party were made to feel equally confident. The enthusiasm was not as great as it had been during the final week of the previous campaign, but it did not need to be as great. They had been able to conduct an aggressive campaign from a defensive position, not only because their defences were strong, and their resources in men and money were large, but because the attack upon them never developed much impetus. The American people were expansionist in their general attitude, and they were willing to incur the risks and pay the expenses of a policy of national expansion. They were also satisfied with the prospects of continued prosperity, which the reelection of Mr. McKinley guaranteed; and they were willing to believe that prosperity with the trusts was better than famine without them. So the Republicans won their most overwhelming victory since 1872. McKinley and Roosevelt obtained a plurality of 832,000 over Bryan and a clear majority of 443,000 in a total popular vote of almost 14,000,000. In the North Bryan carried only the mining states of Colorado, Idaho, Montana and Nevada. In South Dakota Richard F. Pettigrew lost his seat in the Senate and was replaced by a Republican. Bryan was beaten in his own state. The Populist agitation, which had so long dominated the agricultural states west of the Mississippi River, was done to death. The Democrats were so weakened and discredited that they ceased for the time being to constitute even an effective opposition. The Republicans had received a clear mandate to govern the country in the interest of business expansion.
The triumphant reelection of President McKinley consolidated the work with which the political leadership of Mark Hanna was peculiarly, if not exclusively, associated. For the first time since Mr. Cleveland made a serious attack upon the protective tariff in 1887, the business of the country was in all its branches guaranteed at least for a time against the disconcerting effects of inimical political agitation. The election of 1896 had not completely restored confidence, because his previous misfortunes had unstrung the nerves of the average business man, and because, after the Spanish War was over and business began to revive, there loomed up in the near future another disconcerting election. Not until that contest was favorably decided could confidence be entirely restored. So much hinged upon the result that as the first of November approached, business men became more rather than less hesitant and apprehensive. Their relief was correspondingly great when the Republican victory proved to be comprehensive and decisive. All hesitation at once vanished, and there began a period of unprecedented business expansion.
Mark Hanna had labored to bring about this result; and his own personal prestige was substantially enhanced by its appearance. After the election he began to exercise an amount and a kind of political power which has no parallel in American history. The group of causes which, after his appointment to the Senate, had limited his activity and made his influence at Washington somewhat subterranean, had lost their force. The Spanish War was over. The attention of the country was to be fastened for some time on his own favorite subject of political economics. He had passed through his apprenticeship as Senator. He had won the confidence of almost all his colleagues in the Senate and the warm affection of many of them. He was thoroughly established as one of the steering committee of the Upper House. His successful stumping tour during the campaign had increased the area of his personal popularity with the American people. At the same time none of the former ingredients of his effective power had suffered any diminution. In spite of his disagreements with Mr. McKinley before and during the campaign, their relations were never more close and confidential than they were during the early months of 1901. And, of course, the reelection of Mr. McKinley decidedly increased his influence both with the leading business men of the country and with the local leaders of the Republican party.
Mr. Hanna exercised his power so discreetly that it rarely became a matter of public comment or protest; but occasionally some evidence or expression of it slipped out. One such incident occurred during the short session preceding Mr. McKinley's second inauguration. Certain Democratic Senators were pressing the passage of a bill providing for the immediate construction of a canal from the Atlantic to the Pacific by the Nicaraguan route, but they could accomplish nothing, because the Republican leaders were not ready to act on the matter, until pending negotiations with Great Britain for the abrogation of the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty were concluded. In the midst of the discussion, Senator Clay cf Georgia made the following appeal to Mr. Hanna, which reads curiously in the light of the latter's subsequent activity in relation to an interoceanic canal.
"I appeal," said Senator Clay, "to the National Chairman of the party in power to come to the support of the bill providing for the construction of this waterway. Does the distinguished Senator from Ohio recognize that this great waterway is of more importance to the people of the United States and to American commerce than his ship-subsidy scheme? I appeal to the Senator from Ohio because I know the influence which he exerts among his party associates. I realize that a word from him would mean success to this great enterprise. We all know that he largely shapes and molds the policy of his party. We know the influence he has exerted in keeping before the Senate this ship-subsidy scheme, which has consumed so much of the time of the Senate."
It is scarcely necessary to add that this somewhat naive supplication failed to move the hard heart of Mr. Hanna; but the Senator from Georgia was a true prophet in asserting that a word—albeit a long word—from Mr. Hanna would eventually have much to do with the success of an interoceanic canal.
If Mr. Hanna made no response to the appeal of the Senator from Georgia, it was not because he repudiated some measure of responsibility for the passage of a legislative program. His position, indeed, demanded that he should do what he could to carry out the promises of his party in the matter of legislation, and the position of the party itself made the redemption of such promises more than ever important. Never since the reconstructed Southern States renewed their representation in Congress had the Republican control over all the departments of government been so complete and so secure. Never, apparently, had the party been so thoroughly united on all questions of public policy. Never had it possessed such general confidence in the ability and good faith of its leadership. If partisan responsibility amounted to anything at all, an energetic effort must be made to pass the legislation to which the party was pledged. Mr. Hanna's complex position as the Congressional representative of the President, as Chairman of the National Committee and as one of the most prominent Senators made it inevitable that he should play a leading part in redeeming such pledges.
The only kind of legislation in which Mr. Hanna could take any lively personal interest would necessarily have for its object the promotion of business activity. That was the cause with which his personal political career was identified, and on behalf of which the Republicans had assumed and retained power. For the most part all that business needed in order to become more prosperous was to be let alone. Existing legislation both national and state was encouraging it in almost every possible way. But there was one branch of American industry and commerce, which was far from prosperous, and which assuredly needed some additional protection on the part of such a solicitous government. The American merchant marine engaged in foreign trade was notoriously decrepit. Over nine-tenths of the imports and exports of the country were carried in vessels which were not built in American shipyards, which did not