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LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
Mr. Hanna in 1903 Frontispiece
The House in New Lisbon in which Mr. Hanna was born. It has
been changed by the addition of one story .... 8
The New Lisbon Homestead 18
Mark and Howard Melville Hanna as Children .... 22
Mark Hanna as a Boy 24
The Prospect Street Homestead in Cleveland 36
Mark Hanna as a Lad of Eighteen 38
Mark Hanna in 1864 48
Mark Hanna about 1871 56
Mark Hanna about 1877 112
Mr. Hanna in the Early Nineties 150
Mr. Hanna in 1901 344
Facsimile of the Letter written by Mr. Hanna during his Final
Illness to President Roosevelt 452
Before beginning the story of Mark Hanna's life and work I want to claim the unprejudiced attention, even of those readers who may be predisposed against him. His personality and his career are entitled to the fair and serious consideration of his opponents in politics and economics. They have a value apart from and beyond the controversies in which they were entangled during his own life, and in which, from the point of view of many Americans, they are still entangled. I do not underemphasize the difficulties of giving a fair account of Mr. Hanna's life or of passing a disinterested judgment on a man whose public action involved so much bitter contention and who so recently died. Grave as those difficulties may be, this book is an attempt to overcome them. It must stand or fall on the attempt.
Lake all strong and capable men who fight hard for their own political purposes and opinions, Mr. Hanna made many friends and many enemies. He was loved and trusted by his friends as have been very few American political leaders. He was abused and distrusted by his enemies with no less ardor. At the outset of his public career the varying estimates of him as a man were determined chiefly by the judgments passed upon his political purposes and methods. For years he could not obtain an unprejudiced hearing, unless it were from his political allies. He was denounced as the living embodiment of a greedy, brutalized and remorseless plutocracy; and this denunciation infected the opinion of many members of his own party who had no knowledge of the man. Gradually, however, the public estimate of him improved. As his personality became better known, and as his political opinions became more fully expressed, the popular caricature of Mark Hanna began to fade from the public mind. The fair-dealing characteristic of his own attitude towards other] men aroused a corresponding attitude towards him on the part of a large part of the public. The man himself began to obtain tributes of personal appreciation even from his enemies.
Since his death the favorable impression made by his personality has been partly forgotten — except, of course, by his friends and associates. But the enmities created during his career have been kept alive by the course of political controversy. Many reformers identify Mr. Hanna with everything which they most dislike in the old political and economic order; and reformers, of course, have a license to consider the men and things which they dislike as morally reprobate. The early caricature of Mark Hanna is reappearing. He is not figured in the newspapers as a dollar-mark: but he is described in the pages of books and magazine articles as the anti-Christ of the new political religion. He is ceasing to be remembered as a man, and is becoming a legendary Apotheosis of Property in its antagonism to Humanity.
I shall try in the following pages to bring the real Mark Hanna back to life. He cannot be converted into a symbol without essential distortion. Men of a drier and more rigid disposition, who have been molded by some special intellectual or practical discipline, may become sufficiently disembodied to qualify as a symbol; but Mark Hanna's clothes covered an unusually large supply of human nature, which was never forced into any special mold by an artificial discipline. He was formed under the same influences as hundreds of other men in the Middle West who combined a business with a political career. He was the same kind of a man as the rest of them; but he was more of a man. He lived the kind of life that they lived more energetically, more sincerely and more successfully. If he achieved anything more than they achieved, or represented anything more than they represented, the difference was simply a matter of personal prerogative.
The man did not impose himself on his surroundings or misrepresent them. His opinions were the reflection of his experience. His system was the outcome of his life. The system was, to be sure, largely preoccupied with the purpose of protecting property and promoting its increase — as have been all political systems since the dawn of civilization. But he did not conceive property apart from humanity. He conceived it in a certain traditional relation to humanity, and he regarded the rights of property, not as separate from human rights, but simply as one class of human rights — which they are. He deserves, consequently, to be considered primarily as a man, whose manhood conquered appreciation when it had a chance, and which Bhould continue after death to conquer appreciation from other men whose critical judgment is not perverted by their ideas. His system deserves to be considered, not as incarnate plutocracy, but as the product of these conditions from which Mark Hanna himself derived it, — that is, from the actual, political and economic tradition and practice of the American Middle West. I trust that the reader of the following pages will approach them at least provisionally with these ideas in mind.