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CHAP. States paid the Canal Company $40,000,000 for its
property and franchise.
The importance of a ship canal by means of which both war vessels and merchant craft may be passed, through United States territory exclusively, from the ocean to the Great Lakes, has been often urged upon legislators. In 1903 the Legislature of New York passed a bill, subject to popular approval, appropriating $101,000,000 for enlargement of the Erie Canal, and the action was ratified at the polls in the succeeding election. This, indeed, only contemplates a widening and deepening, with some changes of route, to make a barge canal; but it is looked upon as a step toward the construction of a ship canal which is supposed to be one of the certainties of the future.
The Presidential Election of 1904.-Chief Declarations of the
Platforms.—The Result Compared.—Principal Topics of the
The most important event of the year 1904 was CHAP. the Presidential election. The platform of the Republican party recalled the fact that the party was now
1904. exactly half a century old, and that in the forty-four June22. years since its first triumph by the election of Abraham Lincoln it had had complete control of the Government twenty-four years, and partial control for eighteen more, and reasoned that this was not due to chance, but was a demonstration that the party had commanded the confidence of the American people for nearly two generations to a degree never equalled in our history, because it had displayed a high capacity for government, “which has been made even more conspicuous by the incapacity and infirmity of purpose shown by its opponents.” It reminded the public that it had made protection of home industries the national policy, had established the gold standard, and had so established the public credit that even in time of war the Government was able to borrow money at two per cent. It claimed credit for the enterprise of an isthmian canal,
CHAP. the irrigation of arid lands at the West, the reorganiza
tion of the army, the improvement of the militia, and the steady increase of the navy. On the much-debated subject of the “trusts” it made this declaration:
“Laws enacted by the Republican party, which the Democratic party failed to enforce, and which were intended for the protection of the public against the unjust discrimination or the illegal encroachment of vast aggregations of capital, have been fearlessly enforced by a Republican President, and new laws insuring reasonable publicity as to the operations of great corporations, and providing additional remedies for the prevention of discrimination in freight rates, have been passed by a Republican Congress. We promise to continue these policies.”
Its other declarations included these:
“We insist upon the maintenance of the principle of protection, and therefore rates of duty should be readjusted only when conditions have so changed that the public interest demands their alteration; but this work cannot safely be committed to any other hands than those of the Republican party. Whether, as in 1892, the Democratic party declares the protective tariff unconstitutional or whether it demands tariff reform or tariff revision, its real object is always the destruction of the protective system.”
“We have extended widely our foreign markets, and we believe in the adoption of all practicable methods for their further extension, including commercial reciprocity wherever reciprocal arrangements can be effected consistent with the principles of protection and without injury to American agriculture, American labor, or any American industry.”
“The maintenance of the gold standard, established by the Republican party, cannot safely be committed to the Democratic party, which resisted its adoption
and has never given any proof since that time of belief CHAP. in it or fidelity to it.”
“We favor legislation which will encourage and build up the American merchant marine, and we cordially approve the legislation of the last Congress which created the Merchant Marine Commission to investigate and report upon this subject.”
“We cordially approve the attitude of President Roosevelt and Congress in regard to the exclusion of Chinese labor, and promise a continuance of the Republican policy in that direction.”
The newest and most radical declaration was this:
“We favor such Congressional action as shall determine whether by special discriminations the elective franchise in any State has been unconstitutionally limited, and, if such is the case, we demand that representation in Congress and in the electoral college shall be proportionally reduced as directed by the Constitution of the United States."
On the subject of trusts of all kinds it made this declaration:
“Combinations of capital and of labor are the results of the economic movement of the age; but neither must be permitted to infringe upon the rights and interests of the people. Such combinations, when lawfully formed for lawful purposes, are alike entitled to the protection of the laws, but both are subject to the laws, and neither can be permitted to break them."
The platform then paid a high tribute to the character of President McKinley, and recited the acts of President Roosevelt's administration.
The Convention unanimously nominated Theodore Roosevelt for President, with Charles W. Fairbanks, of Indiana, for Vice-President.
CHAP. The platform adopted by the Democratic National LXXX.
Convention contained these declarations: 1904, “Large reductions can easily be made in the annual July 8. expenditures of the Government without impairing
the efficiency of any branch of the public service, and we shall insist upon the strictest economy and frugality compatible with vigorous and efficient civil, military, and naval administration as a right of the people too clear to be denied or withheld.”
“We favor the enforcement of honesty in the public service, and to that end a thorough legislative investigation of those executive departments of the government already known to teem with corruption, as well as other departments suspected of harboring corruption, and the punishment of ascertained corruptionists.”
“We condemn the action of the Republican party in Congress in refusing to prohibit an executive department from entering into contracts with convicted trusts or unlawful combinations in restraint of interstate trade.”
“We insist that we ought to do for the Filipinos what we have done already for the Cubans, and it is our duty to make that promise now, and upon suitable guarantees of protection to citizens of our own and other countries resident there at the time of our withdrawal, set the Filipino people upon their feet, free and independent, to work out their own destiny."
“We denounce protectionism as a robbery of the many to enrich the few; and we favor a tariff limited to the needs of the Government economically, effectively, and constitutionally administered, and so levied as not to discriminate against any industry, class, or section.”
“We recognize that the gigantic trusts and combinations designed to enable capital to secure more than its just share of the joint products of capital and labor,