« 上一頁繼續 »
revenue. It wus passed, but never received the Presidents' signature. It became a law not only without the President's endorsement, but with his expressed disapprobation. The Democrats had now applied to the situation one of their most heroic remedies, had placed the country on a new economic plain. They had even incorporated in the Tariff the Populist doctrine of an income tax. This the Supreme Court decided to be unconstitutional.
All the while the Treasury condition was growing worse. The Gold reserve could not be preserved, and the deficit was growing daily. In order to meet expenses and preserve the National credit, a resort was had to borrowing. ■$50,000,000 bonds were sold in order to replenish the Treasury. This did not last long, and another, and still a third issue, became necessary, making a total of $262,000,000, in a little over a year. This use of bonds in order to keep the Treasury in funds was highly exasperating to free silver coinage sentiment in the Democratic party, while the country at large felt great disappointment over the fact that the Wilson tariff was falling so far below the expectations and promises of its projectors in providing revenue sufficient for the needs of Government in time of peace. Added to this, Mr. Cleveland had been unfortunate in his foreign policy, and had antagonized the patriotic spirit of the people. It was hardly surprising therefore, that the political reaction which began in 1893 should assume fuller proportions in 1894. The large Democratic majority in the House was overturned by an equally large Republican majority in the fifty-fourth Congress. It was therefore to a hostile body that President Cleveland made his plea for financial relief, in his message to the fifty-fourth Congress. The House came to his rescue with a provisional tariff bill designed to increase the Custom's revenue sufficiently to meet the needs of the Treasury. But this could not be passed in the Senate, owing to the attitude of parties there, the free silver coinage sentiment holding a balance of power, and. being determined to fix a recognition of its principles on all the legislation it could.
Campaign Of 1896.
The shapings of the campaign of 1896, proved to be most interesting. The free silvercoinage sentiment which, as we have seen, the Populists formulated in their platform of 1892, but which had been a prolific source of agitation long before, had well-nigh taken possession of the Democratic party in the Western and Southern States, and had come to the front in the Republican party of the mining States sufficiently to threaten their allegiance. So conspicuous and pervading had the sentiment become that the name " Populist " was almost lost in that of Free Silverite " as a party cognomen.
While the free silver coinage sentiment was thus affect ing both the Republican and Democratic parties in kind, it was not doing so in degree, for its invasion of the Democratic ranks was where they had been strongest, while it penetrated but little into the strong Republican States. The Democrats stood in awe of it, for the reason that they had coquetted with and encouraged it in 1892, and for the additional reason that the administration had directly and bitterly antagonized it by seeking to make all that constituted its opposite a part of administrative policy. The Republicans had less fear of it, for the reason that however rabid the sentiment might become in the States that were most affected by it, the more important principle of protection would be there to modify or thwart it.
The first party to open the campaign was the Prohibition party which met at Pittsburg, May 27, and nominated Joshua Levering, of Maryland, for president on a single plank platform setting forth the principles of the party. This Convention witnessed a bolt led by the free silver coinage men, on account of their failure to secure the insertion of a free silver plank in the platform. The bolters set up a new party and a separate ticket.
The second National Convention was that of the Republican party, which met at St. Louis, June 16,1896, and nominated William McKinley for president. The platform declared for an ample protective tariff and for the maintainance of the existing gold standard of money. The failure of the radical free silver coinage men to secure a plank in the platform pledging the party to free silver coinage at the ratio of sixteen to one, led to a bolt which portended the loss of several of the States interested in silver mining.
The preliminary battle for ascendency in the Democratic Convention called to meet in Chicago on July 6, 1896, was the fiercest in the annals of the party. The free silver coinage men were actively, boldly and bitterly aggressive from the very inception of the campaign, a:id were constantly encouraged by the local elections in the states.
As time wore on their confidence was increased, and that of the gold, or the sound money, wing fell. Even the heroic effort of President Cleveland, by open letter, tc stay the free silver coinage tide passed without effect, and it was conceded, some time before the meeting of the Convention, that the mastery of the free silver coinage wing of the party would be complete. The first test vote showed 556 for free silver to 349 against.
PRINCIPLES OF FREE-TRADE.
Free-trade exists only in theory. There is no actual free-trade in all the world.
Those who ground their arguments Op the abstract doctrine of free-trade are free-traders.
Those who admit the necessity or propriety of a tariff for revenue only are free-traders. All the political economist^1 of the free-trade school—Adam Smith, Mill, Ricardo, Say, List, Laveleye, Wells, Wayland—say that a government has a right to levy a tax for its support, and that the tariff is the least onerous and easiest collected tax.
A tariff for revenue with incidental protection begins to draw the line between the free-trader and the protectionist.
A "Tariff Reformer " is either an outright free-trader, or a believer in a revenue tariff with incidental protection. He may be none the less a protectionist.
Politics confuse these terms. American politics are especially loose respecting them. We change both theories and terms with the rapidity of a new and enterprising country.
In England "free-trade" and " free-trader " carry no reproach. The meaning of the terms is understood, as well as the doctrine.
In political economy there is no doubt about terms. The free-trader and protectionist are what they profess to be.
The early economic writers were mostly free-traders. Protection, which all nations practiced, did not seem to admit of theories or encourage a literature.
It is well to understand that the astounding revelations in connection with the development of the United States have
shaken all the old theories respecting free-trade and protec tion, and made a new political economy possible, if not necessary.
A primary law of political economy is that an increase of the productiveness of the country implies an increase of its capital. No law can create capital.
A second law is that productiveness depends on the number of laborers. Legislation cannot create men.
A third law is that productiveness depends on the stimulus to labor. Protection changes only the mode of labor. ,If it attracts manufacturers, it repels agriculturalists, and, vice versa. What it pays as a stimulus to one industry it subtracts from another. Hence there is no gain to labor is a whole.
Protection increases the price of an article. As price increases, demand diminishes. The less an article is wanted, the less it will be produced. The demand for labor diminishes. The price of labor diminishes. The stimulus to labor is decreased.
The watchword of free-traders, or freedom of exchange, is Laissez fairc; laissez passer: "leave it alone." This is nature. Allow every one to buy and sell where he can do so most advantageously, whether in or out of his own country.
Revenue from customs on foreign goods may be permitted by the doctrine of laissez /aire, but it is a tax, and a bad one.
To establish duties under the pretext of protecting national industries is an iniquitous measure fatal to the general interests.
By forcing a consumer to buy at a higher price than he would have otherwise, or elsewhere, to pay, is to perpetrate the injustice of taxing one class for the benefit of another.