Beveridge, “March of the Flag,” Speech Text

ALBERT J. BEVERIDGE, “MARCH OF THE FLAG” (16 September 1898)

[1] Fellow-citizens–It is a noble land that God has given us; a land that can feed and clothe the world; a land whose coast lines would inclose half the countries of Europe; a land set like a sentinel between the two imperial oceans of the globe; a greater England with a nobler destiny. It is a mighty people that He has planted on this soil; a people sprung from the most masterful blood of history; a people perpetually revitalized by the virile workingfolk of all the earth; a people imperial by virtue of their power, by right of their institutions, by authority of their heaven-directed purposes, the propagandists and not the misers of liberty. It is a glorious history our God has bestowed upon His chosen people; a history whose keynote was struck by Liberty Bell; a history heroic with faith in our mission and our future; a history of statesmen, who flung the boundaries of the Republic out into unexplored lands and savage wildernesses; a history of soldiers, who carried the flag across blazing deserts and through the ranks of hostile mountains, even to the gates of sunset; a history of a multiplying people, who overrun a continent in half a century; a history divinely logical, in the process of whose tremendous reasoning we find ourselves to-day.

[2] Therefore, in this campaign the question is larger than a party question. It is an American question. It is a world question. Shall the American people continue their resistless march toward the commercial supremacy of the world? Shall free institutions broaden their blessed reign as the children of liberty wax in strength until the empire of our principles is established over the hearts of all mankind? Have we no mission to perform–no duty to discharge to our fellow-man? Has the Almighty Father endowed us with gifts beyond our deserts, and marked us as the people of His peculiar favor, merely to rot in our own selfishness, as men and nations must who take cowardice for their companion and self for their Deity–as China has, as India has, as Egypt has? Shall we be as the man who had one talent and hid it, or as he who had ten talents and used them until they grew to riches? And shall we reap the reward that waits on the discharge of our high duty as the sovereign power of earth; shall we occupy new markets for what our farmers raise, new markets for what our factories make, new markets for what our merchants sell–aye, and, please God, new markets for what our ships shall carry? Shall we avail ourselves of new sources of supply of what we do not raise or make, so that what are luxuries to-day will be necessities to-morrow? Shall we conduct the mightiest commerce of history with the best money known to man, or shall we use the pauper money of Mexico, China and the Chicago platform? Shall we be worthy of our might past of progress, brushing aside, as we have always done, the spider webs of technicality, and march ever onward upon the highway of development, to the doing of real deeds, the achievement of real things, and the winning of real victories?

THE LEADING QUESTION.

[3] In a sentence, shall the American people indorse at the polls the American administration of William McKinley, which, under the guidance of Divine Providence, has started the Republic on its noblest career of prosperity, duty and glory; or shall the American people rebuke that administration, reverse the wheels of history, halt the career of the flag and turn to that purposeless horde of criticism and carping that is assailing the government at Washington. Shall it be McKinley, sound money and a world-conquering commerce, or Bryan, Bailey, Bland and Blackburn, a bastard currency and a policy of commercial retreat? In the only foreign war this Nation has had in two generations, will you, the voters of this Republic and the guardians of its good repute, give the other nations of the world to understand that the American people do not approve and indorse the administration that conducted it? These are the questions you must answer at the polls, and I well know how you will answer them. The thunder of American guns at Santiago and Manila will find its answer in the approval of the voters of the Republic. For the administration of William McKinley, in both peace and war, will receive the mightiest indorsement of a grateful people ever registered. In both peace and war, for we rely on the new birth of national prosperity as well as on the new birth of national glory. Think of both! Think of our country two years ago and think of it to-day!

[4] Two years and more ago American labor begged for work; to-day employment calls for mine, factory and field. Two years and more ago money fled from the fingers of enterprise; to-day money is as abundant as demand and interest is at the lowest point in all the history of trade. Two years and more ago bonds were sold to syndicates in sudden emergencies to save the Nation’s credit; in 1898, bonds were sold to the people in the emergency of war, to rescue the oppressed and redeem benighted lands. In 1896, we exported gold in obedience to the natural laws of finance; in 1898, we export bayonets in obedience to the natural law of liberty. In 1894, the American people fought each other in strikes and insurrections because of misunderstandings born of the desperation of the times; in 1898, united and resistless, capitalists and workingman, side by side, entrench and charge, the American people fought the last great pirate of the world, in a war holy as righteousness. Two years and more ago, error-blinded and hatred-maddened men sought to create classes among the people, declared the decadence of American manhood and proclaimed the beginning of the end of the Republic; to-day proves that patriots are the only class this country knows, that American manhood is as virile under Santiago’s sun as it was among the snows of Valley Forge, despite its slanderers, and that the real career of history’s greatest Republic has only just begun.

[5] A moment ago I said that the administration of William McKinley had been guided by a providence divine. That was no sacrilegious sentence. The signature of events proves it. This man of destiny has amazed the world. He was nominated as the apostle of protection; in two months he was the standard bearer of the nation’s honor. He was elected as the representative of the conservative force of the Republic; in two years he filled the world with the thunder of the Republic’s guns and the heavens with the unfurled flag of liberty. This man, whom the world regarded as a single-issue statesman, as a tariff-schedule expert, gave to his countrymen the ablest argument in finance since Hamilton; rebuked the silver pirates of the Senate with utterance rich with the eloquence of truth; caught up the tangled lines of a diplomatic situation, vexed with infinite complication and inherited blunders; gave mankind a noble example of patient tact; taught the nations their first lesson in the diplomacy of honest speech; refused to be stampeded into conflict until the thunderbolts of war were forged; launched them at last when time had sanctified our cause before the bar of history, and preparation had made them irresistible; and now, in the hour of victory, clear-eyed and unelate, marks out the lines of our foreign policy as the soon-to-be supreme power of the world, and gives to the flag its rightful dominion over the islands of the sea. From protection to foreign war! From the insular and isolated to the world-embracing and universal! From the temporary and incidental to the essential, the permanent and the eternal! Who dare say God’s hand has not guided him? Who will fail to say amen with his vote to the administration and career of the last American President of the nineteenth century-McKinley, the master statesman of his day!

SOME OF THE FACTS.

[6] What are the great facts of this administration? Not a failure of revenue, not a perpetual battle between the executive and legislative departments of government; not a rescue from dishonor by European syndicates at the price of tens of millions in cash and national humiliation unspeakable. But a war has marked it, the most holy ever waged by one nation against another; a war for civilization; a war for a permanent peace; a war which, under God, although we knew it not in the beginning, has swung open to the Republic the portals of the commerce of the world. And the first question you must answer with your vote is whether you indorse that war? We are told that all citizens and every platform indorse the war, and I admit, with the joy of patriotism that this is true. But that is only among ourselves–and we are of and to ourselves no longer. This election takes place on the stage of the world, with all earth’s nations for our auditors. If the administration is defeated at the polls, will England believe that we have accepted the results of the war? Will Germany, that sleepless searcher for new markets for her factories and fields, and therefore the effective meddler in all international complications–will Germany be discouraged from interfering with our settlement of the war, if the administration is defeated at the polls? Will Russia, that weaver of the webs of commerce into which province after province and people after people falls, regard us as a steadfast people if the administration is defeated at the polls? The world is observing us to-day. Not a Foreign Office in Europe that is not studying the American Republic and watching the American elections of 1898 as it never watched an American election before? Are the American people the chameleon of the nations? “If so, we can easily handle them,” say the diplomats of the world. Which result, say you, will have the best effect for us upon the great powers that watch us with the jealousy strength always inspires–a defeat at the hands of the American people of the administration which has conducted our foreign war to a world-embracing success, and which has in hand the most important foreign problems since the revolution, or, such an indorsement of the administration by the American people as will swell to a national acclaim? No matter what your views on the Dingley or the Wilson laws; no matter whether you favor Mexican money or the standard of this Republic; we must deal from this day on with nations greedy of every market we are to invade; nations with statesmen trained in craft; nations with ships and guns and money and men. Will they sift out the motive for your vote, or will they consider the large result of the indorsement or rebuke of the administration? I repeat, it is more than a party question. It is an American question. It is an issue in which history sleeps. It is a situation which will influence the destiny of the Republic.

[7] There is an issue in the war which affects ourselves. Shall we indorse the administration on the conduct of the war? What of its conduct? Men declared that McKinley was too slow; he waited still. Politicians, willing to buy votes with some other man’s blood, called him coward; unmoved, the President pleaded with Spain to let the oppressed go. Base-drum orders and bowie-knife editors denounced him as apostate to liberty; he silently held his course. A great party’s unwise leaders lifted the slogan of “On to Havana;” before the hour had struck, the chief magistrate pursued the policies of peace. But while, in and out of his party, men, powder-brained and politics-mad stormed; while a solid opposition denounced; while the war looked on with inquiry, William McKinley silently prepared. He had been to war himself, and he knew you must powder before you can fire a gun; you must have provisions before you can feed soldiers; you must have a cause before you can fling the flags of battle out before the eyes of men; and you must let time and events ripen your cause before you make your declaration on it. William McKinley meant it to be a war of victory. William McKinley meant that the record should be made up before the grim judgment was pronounced; and then–then, when the day was full, when ships were manned and coasts defended, and powder purchased, and all was ready for battle–then, our soldier-President hurled the navy and army of the Republic upon the hosts of Spain and smote them West and East like the avenging hand of fate. History will tell our children the result–Manila, Santiago, Dewey, Sampson, Schley, and peace–peoples freed, new lands acquired, the geography of the earth remade by liberty, henceforth the master map-maker of the world.

[8] And, yet, have we peace? Does not the cloud of war linger on the horizon? If it does not–if only the tremendous problems of peace now under solution remain, ought not the administration be supported in its fateful work by the indorsement of the American people? Think of England abandoning its Ministry at the moment it was securing the fruits of a successful war! Think of Germany rebuking Bismarck at the moment he was dictating terms of peace to France! What would America say of them, if they should do such a deed of mingled insanity, perfidy and folly? What would the world say of America if, in the very midst of peace negotiations, upon which the nations are looking with jealousy, fear and hatred, the American people should rebuke the administration in charge of those peace negotiations and place a hostile House and Senate in Washington? God forbid! When a people show such inconstancy, such childish fickleness as that, their career as a power among nations is a memory.

NO CHANGE OF LEADERS.

[9] But, if possible, war lurks in the future, what then? Shall we forsake our leaders at the close of a campaign of glory and on the eve of new campaigns for which it has prepared? Yet, that is what the success of the Opposition to the government means. What is that old saying about the idiocy of him who changed horses while crossing a stream? It would be like discharging a workman because he was efficient and true. It would be like court-martialing Grant and discharging his heroes in dishonor because they took Vicksburg.

[10] Ah! The heroes of Vicksburg and Peach Tree Creek, Atlanta, Mission Ridge, the Wilderness and all those fields of glory, of suffering and of death. Soldiers of ’61! A generation has passed and you have reared a race of heroes worthy of your blood–heroes of El Caney, San Juan and Cavite, of Santiago and Manila! Aye, and 200,000 more as brave as they who waited in camp with the agony of impatience the call of battle, ready to count the hellish hardship of the trenches–the very sweets of fate–if they could only fight for the flag. For every tented field was full of Hobsons, Roosevelts, Wheelers and their men; full of the kind of soldiers that, in regiments of rags, starving, with bare feet in the snows of winter, made Valley Forge immortal; full of the same kind of boys that endured the hideous hardships of the civil war, drank from filthy roadside pools as they marched through swamps of death, ate food alive with weevils, and even corn picked from the horses’ camps, slept in the blankets of the blast with sheets of sleet for covering, breakfasted with danger and dined with death and came back–those who did come back–with a laugh and a shout and a song of joy, true American soldiers, pride of their county and envy of the world. For that is the kind of boys the soldiers of 1898 are, notwithstanding the slanders of politicians and the infamy of a leprous press which try to make the world believe our soldiers are suckling babes and womanish weaklings, and our government in war a corrupt machine, fattening off the suffering of our armies. In the name of patriotism I arraign these maligners of the soldierhood of our Nation. I call to the witness stand that Bayard of our armies, General Joe Wheeler. I call that Hotspur of the South, Fitzhugh Lee. I call the 200,000 men, themselves, who went to war for the business of war. And I put all these against the vandals of politics who are blackening their fame as soldiers and as men. I call history to the witness stand. In the Mexican war the loss from every cause was 25 per cent., and this is on incomplete returns; in the present war the loss from every cause is only 3 per cent. In the Mexican war the sick lay naked on the ground with only blankets over them, and were buried with only a blanket around them. Of the volunteer force 5,423 were discharged for disability, and 3,229 died from disease. When Scott marched to Mexico only 96 men were left out of one regiment of 1,000. The average of a Mississippi company was reduced from 90 to 30 men. From Vera Cruz to Mexico a trail of sick and dying marked his line of march. General Taylor publicly declared that in his army five men died from sickness for every man killed in battle. The three-months’ men lost nearly 9 per cent.; the six months men lost 14 per cent., the twelve months men twenty-nine per cent.; the men enlisted for the war lost 37 per cent.; 31,914 soldiers enlisted for the war and 11,914 of these were lost, of whom 7,369 are unaccounted for. In the war for the Union–no, there is no need of figures there. Go to the field of Gettysburg and ask. Go ask that old veteran how fever’s fetid breath breathed on them and disease rotted their blood. But in the present war, thank God, the loss and suffering is less than in any war in all the history of the world.

[11] And if any needless suffering there has been, any deaths from criminal neglect, any hard condition not a usual incident of sudden war by a peaceful people has been permitted, William McKinley will see that the responsible ones are punished. Although our loss was less than the world ever knew before, although the condition of our troops was better than in any conflict of our history, McKinley, the Just, has appointed from both parties a commission of the most eminent men in the Nation to lay the facts before him. Let the investigation go on, and when the report is made the people of America will know how black as midnight is the sin of those who, for purposes of politics, have shamed the hardihood of the American soldiers before the world, demoralized our army in the face of the enemy, and libeled the government at Washington to delighted and envious nations. And think of what was done! Two hundred and fifty thousand men suddenly called to arms; men unused to the life of camps; men fresh from the soft comforts of the best homes of the richest nation on earth. Those men equipped, transported to camps convenient for instant call to battle; waiting there the command which any moment might have brought; supplies purchased in every quarter of the land and carried hundreds, even thousands, of miles; uniforms procured, arms purchased, ammunition bought, citizens drilled into the finest soldiery on the globe; a war fought in the deadliest climate in the world, beneath a sun whose rays mean madness, and in Spanish surroundings, festering with fever–and yet the least suffering and the lowest loss ever known in all the chronicles of war. What would have been the result if those who would have plunged us into war before we could have prepared at all could have had their way? What would have happened if these warriors of peace who denounced the President as a traitor when he would not send the flower of our youth against Havana, with its steaming swamps of fever, its splendid outworks and its 150,000 desperate defenders–what would have happened if they could have had their way? The mind shrinks and sickens at the thought. Those regiments which we greeted the other day with our cheers of pride would not have marched back again. All over this weeping land the tender song, “We shall meet but we shall miss him, there will be one vacant chair,” would have risen once again from desolated homes. And the men who would have done this are the men who are assailing the government at Washington to-day and blaspheming the reputation of the American soldier. But the wrath of the people will pursue them. The scorpion whips of the furies will be as a caress to the deep damnation of those who seek a political issue in defaming the manhood of the Republic. God bless the soldiers of ’98, children of the heroes of ’61, descendants of the heroes of ’76! In the halls of history they will stand side by side with those sons of glory, and the opposition to the government at Washington shall not deny them.

NONE SHALL BE ROBBED.

[12] No! they shall not be robbed of the honor due them, nor shall the Republic be robbed of what they won for their country. For William McKinley is continuing the policy that Jefferson began, Monroe continued, Seward advanced, Grant promoted, Harrison championed, and the growth of the Republic has demanded. Hawaii is ours; Porto Rico is to be ours; at the prayer of the people Cuba will finally be ours; in the islands of the east, even to the gates of Asia, coaling stations are to be ours; at the very least the flag of a liberal government is to float over the Philippines, and it will be the stars and stripes of glory. And the burning question of this campaign is, whether the American people will accept the gifts of events; whether they will rise, as lifts their soaring destiny; whether they will proceed upon the lines of national development surveyed by the statesmen of our past; or whether, for the first time, the American people doubt their mission, question fate, prove apostate to the spirit of their race, and halt the ceaseless march of free institutions?

[13] The opposition tells us that we ought not to govern a people without their consent. I answer, the rule of liberty that all just government derives its authority from the consent of the governed, applies only to those who are capable of self-government. We govern the Indians without their consent; we govern our territories without their consent; we govern our children without their consent. I answer, would not the natives of the Philippines prefer the just, humane, civilizing government of this Republic to the savage, bloody rule of pillage and extortion from which we have rescued them? Do not the blazing fires of joy and the ringing bells of gladness in Porto Rico prove the welcome of our flag? And, regardless of this formula of words made only for enlightened, self-governing peoples, do we owe no duty to the world? Shall we turn these peoples back to the reeking hands from which we have taken them? Shall we abandon them to their fate with the wolves of conquest all about them? Shall we save them from those nations, to give them a self-rule of tragedy? It would be like giving a razor to a babe and telling it to shave itself. It would be like giving a typewriter to an Eskimo and telling him to publish one of the great dailies of the world.

[14] They ask us how we will govern these new possessions. I answer, out of local conditions and the necessities of the case methods of government will grow. If England can govern foreign lands so can America. If Germany can govern foreign lands so can America. If they can supervise protectorates so can America. Why is it more difficult to administer Hawaii than New Mexico or California? Both had a savage and an alien population; both were more remote from the seat of government when they came under our dominion than Hawaii is to-day. Will you say by your vote that American ability to govern has decayed, that you are an infidel to American vigor and practical sense? Or that we are of the ruling race of the world; that ours is the blood of government; ours the heart of dominion; ours the brain and the genius of administration? We do but what our fathers did–but pitch the tents of liberty farther westward, farther southward; we only continue the march of the flag.

[15] The march of the flag! In 1789 the flag of the Republic waved over 4,000,000 souls in thirteen States, and this a savage territory which stretched to the Mississippi, to Canada, to the Floridas. The timid minds of that day said that no new territory was needed, and, for the hour, they were right. But under the lead of Jefferson we the territory which sweeps from the Mississippi to the mountains, from Texas to the British possessions, and the march of the flag began. The infidels to the gospel of liberty raved, but the flag swept on. The title to that noble land out of which Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana have been carved was uncertain.
Jefferson obeyed the Anglo-Saxon impulse within him and another empire was added the Republic and the march of the flag went on. Those who deny the power of free institutions to expand urged every argument, and more, that we hear to-day, but the march of the flag went on. A screen of land from New Orleans to Florida shut us from the gulf, and over this and the Everglade Peninsula waved the saffron flag of Spain. Andrew Jackson seized both, the American people stood at his back, and under Monroe the Floridas came under the dominion of the republic, and the march of the flag went on. The Cassandras prophesied every prophecy of despair we hear to-day, but the march of the flag went on. Then Texas responded to the bugle calls of liberty and the march of the flag went on. And at last we waged war with Mexico and the flag swept over the Southwest, over peerless California, past the Gate of Gold to Oregon on the north, and from ocean to ocean its folds of glory blazed. And now, obeying the same voice that Jefferson, Jackson, Seward heard and obeyed, Grant and Harrison heard and obeyed, William McKinley plants the flag over the islands of the sea, and the march of the flag goes on.

DISCARDED ARGUMENTS.

[16] Distance and oceans are no longer arguments. The fact that all the territory our fathers bought and seized is contiguous is no longer argument. In 1819 Florida was further from New York than Porto Rico is from Chicago to-day; Texas further from Washington in 1845 than Hawaii is from Boston in 1898; California more inaccessible in 1847 than the Philippines are now. Gibraltar is further from London than Havana is from Washington; Melbourne is further from Liverpool than Manila is from San Francisco. The ocean does not separate us from the lands of our duty and desire–the ocean to join us, a river never to be dredged, a canal never to be repaired. Steam joins us; electricity joins us–the very elements are in league with our destiny. Cuba not contiguous! Porto Rico not contiguous! Hawaii and the Philippines not contiguous! Our navy will make them contiguous. Dewey and Sampson and Schley have made them contiguous and American speed, American guns, American heart and brain and nerve will keep them contiguous forever.

[17] But there is a difference. We did not need the western Mississippi Valley when we acquired it, nor Florida, nor Texas, nor California, nor the royal provinces of the far Northwest. We had no emigrants to people this vast wilderness, no money to develop it, even no highways to cover it. No trade awaited us in its savage fastnesses. Our productions were not greater than our internal trade. There was not one reason for the land lust of our statesmen from Jefferson to Harrison, other than the prophet and the Saxon within them. But, to-day, we are raising more than we can consume. To-day, we are making more than we can use. Therefore, we must find new markets for our produce, new occupation for our capital, new work for our labor. And so, while we did not need the territory taken during the past century at the time it was acquired, we do need what we have taken in 1898, and we need it now. Think of the thousands of Americans who will pour into Hawaii and Porto Rico when the Republic’s laws cover those islands with justice and safety. Think of the tens of thousands of Americans who will invade the Philippines when a liberal government shall establish order and equity there. Think of the hundreds of thousands of Americans who will build a soap-and-water, common school civilization of energy and industry in Cuba, when a government of law replaces the double reign of anarchy and tyranny. Think of the prosperous millions that empress of islands will support when, obedient to the law of political gravitation, her people ask for the highest honor liberty can bestow–the sacred order of the stars and stripes, the citizenship of the great Republic!

[18] What does all this mean for every one of us? First of all, it means opportunity for all the glorious young manhood of the republic. It means that the resources and the commerce of these immensely rich dominions will be increased as much as American energy is greater than Spanish sloth; for Americans, henceforth, will monopolize those resources and that commerce. In Cuba, alone, there are 15,000,000 acres of forest unacquainted with the ax. There are exhaustless mines of iron. There are priceless deposits of manganese. There are millions of acres yet unexplored. The resources of Porto Rico have only been trifled with. The riches of the Philippines have hardly been touched by the finger tips of modern methods. And they produce what we cannot, and they consume what we produce–the very predestination of reciprocity. And William McKinley intends that their trade shall be ours. It means an opportunity for the rich man to do something with his money, besides hoarding it or lending it. It means occupation for every workingman in the country at wages which the development of new resources, the launching of new enterprises, the monopoly of new markets always brings. Cuba is as large as Pennsylvania, and is the richest spot on all the globe. Hawaii is as large as New Jersey; Porto Rico half as large as Hawaii; the Philippines larger than all New England, New York, New Jersey and Delaware. The trade of these islands, developed as we will develop it, will set every reaper in this Republic singing, every spindle whirling, every furnace spouting the flames of industry. I ask each one of you this personal question: Do you believe that these resources will be better developed and that commerce better secured; do you believe that all the priceless advantages will be better availed of for the benefit of this republic by Bryan, Bailey, Bland, and Blackburn and the opposition; or, by William McKinley and a House and Senate that will help and not hinder him?

THE TRADE ARGUMENT.

[19] If any man tells you that trade depends on cheapness and not on governmental influence, ask him why England does not abandon South Africa, Egypt, India? Why does France seize South China, Germany the vast region whose port is Kaouchou? Consider the commerce of the Spanish islands. In 1897 we bought of the Philippines $4,383,740, and we sold only $94,597. Great Britain, that national expert in trade, did little better, for in 1896 she bought $6,223,426 and sold only $2,063,598. But Spain–Spain the paralytic of commerce–Spain bought only $4,818,344 and sold $4,973,589. Fellow-citizens, from this day on that proportion of trade, increased and multiplied, must belong to the American Republic. I repeat, increased and multiplied, for with American brains and energy, with American methods and American government, does anyone here to-night doubt that American exports will exceed Spain’s imports twenty times over? Does any one of you doubt that $100,000,000 of food and clothing and tools and implements and machinery will ultimately be shipped every year from the United States to that archipelago of tremendous possibilities? And, yet, against the conditions that give us all that trade, the opposition is arrayed.

[20] What lesson does Cuba teach? Cuba can raise no cereals–no wheat, no corn, no oats, no barley and no rye. What we make and raise, Cuba consumes; and what she makes and raises, we consume. This order of commerce is fixed forever by the unalterable decree of nature. And she is at our doors, too–only an ocean river between us. Yet in 1896 we bought $40,017,703 of her products, and we sold her only $7,193,173 of our products; while Spain bought only $4,257,360 and sold $26,145,800–and that proportion existed before the insurrection. Fellow-citizens, from this day on that order must be reversed and increased. Cuba’s present population is only about 1,000,000; her proper population is about 10,000,000. Tens of millions of acres of her soil are yet untouched by enterprise. If Spain sells Cuba $21,000,000 in 1891, and $26,000,000 in 1896, America will sell Cuba $200,000,000 in 1906. In 1896 we bought of Porto Rico $2,296,653, and sold her only $1,988,888, and yet Spain bought only $5,423,760 and sold $7,328,880. William McKinley proposes that those figures shall be increased and reversed, and the question is whether you will indorse him in that resolution of prosperity. The practical question for each one of us is, whether we had better leave the developments of all this tremendous commerce to the administration which liberated these island continents, and now has the settlement of their government under way, or risk the future in the hands of those who oppose the government at Washington and the commercial supremacy of the Republic.

[21] How will all this help each one of us? Our trade with Porto Rico and Hawaii will be as free as between the States of the Union, because they are American soil, while every other nation must pay our tariff before they can compete with us. Until Cuba and the Philippines shall ask for annexation, our trade with them will, at the very least, be like the preferential trade of Canada with England–a trade which will give the republic the preference over the rest of the world–a trade which will apply the principle of protection to colonial commerce. That and the excellence of our goods and products will give the monopoly of these markets to the American people. And, then, the factories, and mills, and shops will call again to their hearts of fire the workingmen of the Republic, to receive once more the wages and eat once more the bread of prosperous times; then the farmer will find at his door once more the golden home market of those who work in factory and mill, and who want flour, and meat, and butter, and eggs, and garments of wool, and who have once more the money to pay for it all. It means new employment and better wages for every laboring man in the Union. It means higher prices for every item the farmers of this republic produce. It means active investment for every dollar of moldy capital in the land. It means all this, to-morrow, and all this forever because it means, not only the trade of the prize provinces, but the beginning of the commercial empire of the Republic.

GREAT FACT OF THE FUTURE.

[22] The commercial empire of the Republic! That is the greatest fact of the future. And that is why these islands involve considerations larger than their own commerce. The commercial supremacy of the Republic means that this Nation is to be the sovereign factor in the peace of the world. For the conflicts of the future are to be conflicts of trade–struggles for markets–commercial wars for existence. And the golden rule of peace is impregnability of position and invincibility of preparation. So we see England, the greatest strategist of history, plant her flag and her cannon on Gibraltar, at Quebec, the Bermudas, Vancouver–everywhere–until from every point of vantage her royal banner flashes in the sun. So Hawaii furnishes us a naval base in the heart of the Pacific; the Ladrones another, a voyage further into the region of sunset and commerce; Manila, another, at the gates of Asia–Asia, to the trade of whose hundreds of millions American merchants, American manufacturers, American farmers have as good a right as those of Germany, or France, or Russia, or England; Asia, whose commerce with England alone amounts to billions of dollars every year; Asia, to whom Germany looks to take the surplus of her factories, and foundries, and mills; Asia, whose doors shall not be shut against American trade! Within two decades the bulk of Oriental commerce will be ours–the richest commerce in the world. In the light of that golden future our chain of new-won stations rise like ocean sentinels from the night of waters–Porto Rico, a nobler Gibraltar; the Isthmian canal, a greater Suez; Hawaii, the Ladrones, the Philippines, commanding the Pacific! Ah! as our commerce spreads, the flag of liberty will circle the globe and the highways of the ocean-carrying trade of all mankind be guarded by the guns of the Republic. Shall this future of the race be left with those who, under God, began this career of sacred duty and immortal glory; or, shall we risk it to those who would build a dam in the current of destiny’s large designs. We are enlisted in the cause of American supremacy, which will never end until American commerce has made the conquest of the world; until American citizenship has become the lord of civilization, and the stars and stripes the flag of flags throughout the world.

[23] No wonder that in the shadow of coming events, so great, free silver is already a memory. Men understand to-day that the greatest commerce of the world must be conducted with the steadiest standard of value and most convenient medium of exchange human ingenuity can devise. Time, that unerring reasoner, has settled the silver question. Profit is an unanswerable argument. In a year or two, thousands of Democratic investors will be making fortunes developing our island interests; tens of thousands of Democratic farmers will be selling their pork and beef and wheat to the teeming millions that will pour into the Antilles and the gardens of the Pacific and to the home market our foreign trade will create; tens of thousands of Democratic workingmen will be at work in our factories and not a Democrat of them will consent to be paid in any money but the best. Silver is to-day as innocuous as fiat paper money.

SILVER FIATISM.

[24] And why should not free silver be as dead as fiat paper money? It is the same proposition in a different form. If the government stamp can make a piece of silver which you can buy for 45 cents pass for 100 cents, that stamp can make a piece of paper worth a fraction of a cent pass for 100 cents. Free silver is the principle of fiat money applied to metal. And the American people have learned the fallacy of fiat money. If the government can create value out of nothing, why is all taxation not abolished? If revenue can be turned out of a printing press or stamp machine, why have a tariff for either revenue or protection? If the government can fix the ratio between gold and silver at 16 to 1 by law, when it is 35 or 40 to 1 in the market, why not fix the ratio at 1 to 1, make the silver dollar a more convenient size and sixteen times more plentiful? If free coinage makes 45 cents’ worth of silver really worth 100 cents, how will that raise the price of anything but silver? And how will that help anybody but the silver mine owner? And if free coinage will not make 45 cents of silver really worth 100 cents, if that piece of silver still remains worth only 45 cents, is that the kind of a dollar you want your wages paid in? Is that the kind of a dollar you want to sell your crops for? And if it is not the stamp of the government which raises the value, but the demand which free coinage creates, why has the value of silver gone down at a time when more silver is coined by the government than ever before? And if the people want more silver, why do they refuse to use what we already have? And if free silver makes money more plentiful, how will you get any of it? Will the silver mine owner give it to you? Will the government give or loan it to you? Where do you or I come in on this free silver proposition?

[25] Apply the principle to yourself as well as to the government. If you are to be paid in a dollar worth two-fifths of its face, why not slip a false bottom into your bushel measure and sell two-fifths of a bushel for a full bushel of grain. Why not work three hours and call it a day if they give you 45 cents’ worth of silver and call it a dollar? And if the government lies two-fifths in declaring that 45 cents is 100 cents, why not lie three-thirds and declare that nothing at all is 100 cents. Why not make a fiat dollar? And if they pay you a fiat dollar why not give a fiat bushel of wheat or a fiat day of labor? Why not just quit altogether; make money like hell’s pavements out of good resolution; stamp ourselves rich; pitch silver and gold into the sea; abolish hunger by statute and solve the money question by the imagination and the will?

[26] Do you think it safe to trust the precious business prosperity of this country to men who believe that this Nation should go to the silver standard of the Aztec republic. Is it safe to tamper with the standard to which the vast and delicate machinery of our commercial civilization is adjusted? Is it safe to disturb the measure with reference to which every contract is made, every policy of insurance issued, every value estimated? Is it safe to again experiment with our returning prosperity? Have we not learned our lesson well enough in the terrible school of a people’s woes.

[27] And yet I thank God for the financial baptism of fire the American people past through in 1896. Why? Because it started them to thinking and the American people never start to thinking and stop half way through the syllogism. And the American people are going to think this money question clear through and settle it forever. If the American laborer wants his wages paid and the farmer the price of his products paid in the best money, he wants that fact fixed in the laws of the Nation. No man wants any mistake about the kind of standard we have. Therefore we want it written in the laws of the Republic that a dollar of gold is this Nation’s standard of value, which nothing but the sovereign people can change. To-day we have nothing but a resolution that all our money shall be kept as good as gold–a resolution no President is bound to obey. When Cleveland was President, Stevenson was Vice President, and Olney was secretary of state. Our whole financial system rested on the life of Grover Cleveland. If he had died, Stevenson a free-silver man, would have become President and would have hurled us to a silver basis in a day. If Stevenson had died, Olney, a gold man, would have become President, and would have lifted us to a gold standard in the dip of a pen. No people on earth could endure that. And now, the American people are aroused to their danger and they will fix their standard by law where no conspiracy of mine owners and demagogues will ever be tempted to dislodge it by the election of a President; they will fix their standard by law where no power can alter it but the people themselves. And whoever is opposed to that proposition is opposed to a “government of the people, for the people and by the people.”

BASIS OF OUR FINANCES.

[28] The heart of our financial system, to-day, is the Nation’s resolution to keep all our money just as good as gold. Back of that resolution stands the government’s reserve of gold, ready to make that resolution good, just as the reserve of cash in your bank makes good its promise to pay your check. That gold reserve and the Nation’s pledge to maintain it, gives the whole world confidence in all the variegated money of the Republic, just as your bank’s reserve gives you confidence in its present solvency. When you can no longer get gold for your greenbacks or treasury notes, they are no longer good as gold. To-day, practically, a gold dollar ultimately stands back of every dollar of the Republic’s money. And so, upon that gold reserve–upon the government’s ability to pay out gold upon demand–rests the honor of the Nation and the safety of every dollar in the land.

[29] And yet that gold reserve is, to-day, in danger from every buccaneer of finance in the world. For when greenbacks are redeemed in gold at the treasury, they must be issued again in payment of the government’s expenses, and so they go back, finally, to the hands of the man who drew gold out of the treasury with them. And when the gold reserve goes down by redeeming those greenbacks, the government must sell bonds to get gold to replace that which the greenbacks have drawn out, unless the tariff puts enough gold into the treasury to keep the reserve intact. And so, when the financial spiders of the world see our revenue so reduced that it cannot keep our gold reserve full if attacked, they gather the greenbacks into their hands, get gold for them at the treasury, force the government to borrow gold on the Nation’s bonds to replace the gold they have just drawn out with those greenbacks, then buy those bonds with that very gold, and so secure the best investment known to man. And then those greenbacks once more go into circulation, once more get into the pirates’ hands, and once more serve as the tools of financial villainy. William McKinley says that conditions shall not continue; that if any man gets gold out of the treasury, by paying in a greenback, he shall get that greenback out again, until he pays gold back into the treasury for it. William McKinley says that the revenue laws of the nation shall be so framed that a ceaseless stream of gold, pouring into the treasury, will prove to the gamblers in the Nation’s honor that any raid on the Nation’s gold will meet inevitable defeat. He favors such a tariff as will prevent the Bill Sykes, and Fagins of finance from trying to open the Republic’s treasury with a greenback for a jimmy.

[30] Now on the threshold of our career as the first power of earth, is the time to permanently adjust our system of finance. The American people have the most tremendous tasks of history to perform. They have the mightiest commerce of the world to conduct. They cannot halt their progress of wealth and power to unsettle their money system at the command of ignorance. Think of Great Britain becoming the commercial monarch of the world with her financial system periodically assailed! Think of Holland or Germany or France yet sending their flag in every sea, with their money at the mercy of politicians seeking for an issue! Sixteen to one is past in our career. Why go back to it like the victim of opium to his deadly pipe? Now, when new rivers of gold are pouring through the fields of business, the foundations of all silver-standard argument that there is not enough gold, is swept away. Why mumble the meaningless phrases of a tale that is told when the golden future is before us, the world calls us, its wealth awaits us and God’s command is upon us? There are so many real things to be done–canals to be dug, railways to be laid, forests to be felled, cities to be builded, unviolated fields to be tilled, priceless markets to be won, ships to be launched, peoples to be saved, civilization to be proclaimed and the flag of liberty flung to the eager air of every sea. Is this an hour to waste upon triflers with Nature’s laws? Is this a season to give our destiny over to word mongers and prosperity wreckers? It is an hour to remember your duty to the home. It is a moment to realize the opportunities Fate has opened to this favored people and to you. It is a time to bethink you of the conquering march of the flag. It is a time to bethink you of your Nation and its sovereignty of the seas. It is a time to remember that the God of our fathers is our God and that the gifts and the duties He gave to them, enriched and multiplied, He renews to us, their children. It is a time to sustain that devoted man, servant of the people and of the most high God, who is guiding the Republic out into the ocean of infinite possibility. It is a time to cheer the beloved President of God’s chosen people, till the whole world is vocal with American loyalty to the American government of William McKinley, its head and chief.

[31] Fellow-Americans, we are God’s chosen people. Yonder at Bunker Hill and Yorktown His providence was above us. At New Orleans and on ensanguined seas His hand sustained us. Abraham Lincoln was his minister; and his was the altar of freedom, the boys in blue set on a hundred smoking battlefields. His power directed Dewey in the East, and He delivered the Spanish fleet into our hands on the eve of Liberty’s natal day as He delivered the elder Armada into the hands of our English sires two centuries ago. His great purposes are revealed in the progress of the flag, which surpasses the intentions of Congresses and Cabinets, and leads us, like a holier pillar of cloud by day and pillar of fire by night, into situations unforeseen by finite wisdom and duties unexpected by the unprophetic heart of selfishness. The American people cannot use a dishonest medium of exchange; it is ours to set the world its example of right and honor. We cannot fly from our world duties; it is ours to execute the purpose of a fate that has driven us to be greater than our small intentions. We cannot retreat from any soil where Providence has unfurled our banner; it is ours to save that soil for liberty and civilization. For liberty and civilization and God’s promises fulfilled, the flag must henceforth be the symbol and the sign to all mankind.

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