The Cleveland Era - A Chronicle of the New Order in Politics, Volume 44 in The - Chronicles of America Series
by Henry Jones Ford
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* See "The Path of Empire," by Carl Russell Fish (in "The Chronicles of America").

President Cleveland was no more affected by this Senate resolution than he had been by their other resolutions attacking his authority. He went ahead with his negotiations and concluded treaty arrangements which the Senate, of course, rejected; but, as that result had been anticipated, a modus vivendi which had been arranged by executive agreements between the two countries went into effect, regardless of the Senate's attitude. The case is a signal instance of the substitution of executive arrangements for treaty engagements which has since then been such a marked tendency in the conduct of the foreign relations of the United States.

A consideration which worked steadily against the Senate in its attacks upon the President, was the prevalent belief that the Tenure of Office Act was unconstitutional in its nature and mischievous in its effects. Although Senator Edmunds had been able to obtain a show of solid party support, it eventually became known that he stood almost alone in the Judiciary Committee in his approval of that act. The case is an instructive revelation of the arbitrary power conferred by the committee system. Members are loath to antagonize a party chairman to whom their own bills must go for approval. Finally, Senator Hoar dared to take the risk, and with such success that on June 21, 1886, the committee reported a bill for the complete repeal of the Tenure of Office Act, the chairman—Senator Edmunds—alone dissenting. When the bill was taken up for consideration, Senator Hoar remarked that he did not believe there were five members of the Senate who really believed in the propriety of that act. "It did not seem to me to be quite becoming," he explained, "to ask the Senate to deal with this general question, while the question which arose between the President and the Senate as to the interpretation and administration of the existing law was pending. I thought, as a party man, that I had hardly the right to interfere with the matter which was under the special charge of my honorable friend from Vermont, by challenging a debate upon the general subject from a different point of view."

Although delicately put, this statement was in effect a repudiation of the party leadership of Edmunds and in the debate which ensued, not a single Senator came to his support. He stood alone in upholding the propriety of the Tenure of Office Act, arguing that without its restraint "the whole real power and patronage of this government was vested solely in the hands of a President of the United States and his will was the law." He held that the consent of the Senate to appointments was an insufficient check if the President were allowed to remove at his own will and pleasure. He was answered by his own party colleagues and committee associates, Hoar and Evarts. Senator Hoar went so far as to say that in his opinion there was not a single person in this country, in Congress or out of Congress, with the exception of the Senator from Vermont, who did not believe that a necessary step towards reform "must be to impose the responsibility of the Civil Service upon the Executive." Senator Evarts argued that the existing law was incompatible with executive responsibility, for "it placed the Executive power in a strait-jacket." He then pointed out that the President had not the legal right to remove a member of his own Cabinet and asked, "Is not the President imprisoned if his Cabinet are to be his masters by the will of the Senate?" The debate was almost wholly confined to the Republican side of the Senate, for only one Democrat took any part in it. Senator Edmunds was the sole spokesman on his side, but he fought hard against defeat and delivered several elaborate arguments of the "check and balance" type. When the final vote took place, only three Republicans actually voted for the repealing bill, but there were absentees whose votes would have been cast the same way had they been needed to pass the bill.*

* The bill was passed by thirty yeas and twenty-two nays, and among the nays were several Senators who while members of the House had voted for repeal. The repeal bill passed the House by a vote of 172 to 67, and became law on March 3, 1887

President Cleveland had achieved a brilliant victory. In the joust between him and Edmunds, in lists of his adversary's own contriving, he had held victoriously to his course while his opponent had been unhorsed. The granite composure of Senator Edmunds' habitual mien did not permit any sign of disturbance to break through, but his position in the Senate was never again what it had been, and eventually he resigned his seat before the expiration of his term. He retired from public life in 1891, at the age of sixty-three.

From the standpoint of the public welfare, it is to be noted that the issue turned on the maintenance of privilege rather than on the discharge of responsibility. President Cleveland contended that he was not responsible to the Senate but to the people for the way in which he exercised his trusteeship. But the phrase "the people" is an abstraction which has no force save as it receives concrete form in appropriate institutions. It is the essential characteristic of a sound constitutional system that it supplies such institutions, so as to put executive authority on its good behavior by steady pressure of responsibility through full publicity and detailed criticism. This result, the Senate fails to secure because it keeps trying to invade executive authority, and to seize the appointing power instead of seeking to enforce executive responsibility. This point was forcibly put by "The Nation" when it said: "There is only one way of securing the presentation to the Senate of all the papers and documents which influence the President in making either removals or appointments, and that is a simple way, and one wholly within the reach of the Senators. They have only to alter their rules, and make executive sessions as public as legislative sessions, in order to drive the President not only into making no nominations for which he cannot give creditable reasons, but into furnishing every creditable reason for the nomination which he may have in his possession."*

* "The Nation," March 11, 1888.

During the struggle, an effort was made to bring about this very reform, under the lead of a Republican Senator, Orville H. Platt of Connecticut. On April 13,1886, he delivered a carefully prepared speech, based upon much research, in which he showed that the rule of secrecy in executive sessions could not claim the sanction of the founders of the government. It is true that the Senate originally sat with closed doors for all sorts of business, but it discontinued the practice after a few years. It was not until 1800, six years after the practice of public sessions had been adopted, that any rule of secrecy was applied to business transacted in executive sessions. Senator Platt's motion to repeal this rule met with determined opposition on both sides of the chamber, coupled with an indisposition to discuss the matter. When it came up for consideration on the 15th of December, Senator Hoar moved to lay it on the table, which was done by a vote of thirty-three to twenty-one. Such prominent Democratic leaders as Gorman of Maryland and Vest of Missouri voted with Republican leaders like Evarts, Edmunds, Allison, and Harrison, in favor of Hoar's motion, while Hoar's own colleague, Senator Dawes, together with such eminent Republicans as Frye of Maine, Hawley of Connecticut, and Sherman of Ohio voted with Platt. Thus, any party responsibility for the result was successfully avoided, and an issue of great constitutional importance was laid away without any apparent stir of popular sentiment.


While President Cleveland was successfully asserting his executive authority, the House of Representatives, too, was trying to assert its authority; but its choice of means was such that it was badly beaten and was reduced to a state of humble subordination from which it has never emerged. Its traditional procedure was arranged on the theory that Congress ought to propose as well as to enact legislation, and to receive recommendations from all quarters without preference or discrimination. Although the Constitution makes it the right and duty of the President to "recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient," measures proposed by the Administration stand on the same footing under the rules as those proposed by the humblest citizen of the United States. In both cases, they are allowed to reach Congress only in the form of a bill or resolution introduced by a member of Congress, and they go on the files without any distinction as to rank and position except such as pertains to them from the time and order in which they are introduced. Under the rules, all measures are distributed among numerous committees, each having charge of a particular class, with power to report favorably or adversely. Each committee is constituted as a section of the whole House, with a distribution of party representation corresponding to that which exists in the House.

Viewed as an ideal polity, the scheme has attractive features. In practice, however, it is attended with great disadvantages. Although the system was originally introduced with the idea that it would give the House of Representatives control over legislative business, the actual result has been to reduce this body to an impotence unparalleled among national representative assemblies in countries having constitutional government. In a speech delivered on December 10, 1885, William M. Springer of Illinois complained: "We find ourselves bound hand and foot, the majority delivering themselves over to the power of the minority that might oppose any particular measures, so that nothing could be done in the way of legislation except by unanimous consent or by a two-thirds vote." As an instance of legislative paralysis, he related that "during the last Congress a very important bill, that providing for the presidential succession... was reported from a committee of which I had the honor to be a member, and was placed on the calendar of the House on the 21st day of April, 1884; and that bill, which was favored by nearly the entire House, was permitted to die on the calendar because there never was a moment, when under the rules as they then existed, the bill could be reached and passed by the House." During the whole of that session of Congress, the regular calendar was never reached. "Owing to the fact that we could not transact business under the rules, all business was done under unanimous consent or under propositions to suspend the rules upon the two Mondays in each month on which suspensions were allowed." As a two-thirds majority was necessary to suspend the rules, any considerable minority had a veto power.

The standing committees, whose ostensible purpose was to prepare business for consideration, were characterized as legislative cemeteries. Charles B. Lore of Delaware, referring to the situation during the previous session, said: "The committees were formed, they met in their respective committee rooms day after day, week after week, working up the business which was committed to them by this House, and they reported to this House 8290 bills. They came from the respective committees, and they were consigned to the calendars of this House, which became for them the tomb of the Capulets; most of them were never heard of afterward. From the Senate there were 2700 bills.... Nine tenths of the time of the committees of the Forty-eighth Congress was wasted. We met week after week, month after month, and labored over the cases prepared, and reported bills to the House. They were put upon the calendars and there were buried, to be brought in again and again in succeeding Congresses."

William D. Kelley of Pennsylvania bluntly declared: "No legislation can be effectually originated outside the Committee on Appropriations, unless it be a bill which will command unanimous consent or a stray bill that may get a two-thirds vote, or a pension bill." He explained that he excepted pension bills "because we have for several years by special order remitted the whole subject of pensions to a committee who bring in their bills at sessions held one night in each week, when ten or fifteen gentlemen decide what soldiers may have pensions and what soldiers may not."

The Democratic party found this situation extremely irritating when it came into power in the House. It was unable to do anything of importance or even to define its own party policy, and in the session of Congress beginning in December, 1885, it sought to correct the situation by amending the rules. In this undertaking it had sympathy and support on the Republican side. The duress under which the House labored was pungently described by Thomas B. Reed, who was just about that time revealing the ability that gained for him the Republican leadership. In a speech, delivered on December 16, 1885, he declared: "For the last three Congresses the representatives of the people of the United States have been in irons. They have been allowed to transact no public business except at the dictation and by the permission of a small coterie of gentlemen, who, while they possessed individually more wisdom than any of the rest of us, did not possess all the wisdom in the world."

The coterie alluded to by Mr. Reed was that which controlled the committee on appropriations. Under the system created by the rules of the House, bills pour in by tens of thousands. A member of the House, of a statistical turn of mind, once submitted figures to the House showing that it would take over sixty-six years to go through the calendars of one session in regular order, allowing an average of one minute for each member to debate each bill. To get anything done, the House must proceed by special order, and as it is essential to pass the appropriations to keep up the government, a precedence was allowed to business reported by that committee which in effect gave it a position of mastery. O. R. Singleton of Mississippi, in the course of the same debate, declared that there was a "grievance which towers above all others as the Alps tower above the surrounding hills. It is the power resting with said committee, and oftentimes employed by it, to arrest any legislation upon any subject which does not meet its approval. A motion to go into committee of the whole to consider appropriation bills is always in order, and takes precedence of all other motions as to the order of business." The practical effect of the rules was that, instead of remaining the servant of the House, the committee became its master. Not only could the committee shut off from any consideration any measure to which it was opposed, but it could also dictate to the House the shape in which its own bills should be enacted. While the form of full consideration and amendment is preserved, the terms of a bill are really decided by a conference committee appointed to adjust differences between the House and the Senate. John H. Reagan of Texas stated that "a conference committee, made up of three members of the appropriations committee, acting in conjunction with a similar conference committee on the part of the Senate, does substantially our legislation upon this subject of appropriations." In theory, the House was free to accept or reject the conference committee's report. Practically the choice lay between the bill as fixed by the conference committee or no bill at all during that session. Mr. Reagan stated the case exactly when he said that it meant "letting six men settle what the terms are to be, beyond our power of control, unless we consent to a called session of Congress."

To deal with this situation, the House had refused to adopt the rules of the preceding Congress; and after electing John G. Carlisle as Speaker and authorizing the appointment of a committee on rules, it deferred the appointment of the usual legislative committees until after a new set of rules had been adopted. The action of the Speaker in constituting the Rules Committee was scrupulously fair to the contending interests. It consisted of himself, Samuel J. Randall of Pennsylvania, and William R. Morrison of Illinois from the Democratic side of the House; and of Thomas B. Reed of Maine and Frank Hiscock of New York from the Republican side. On the 14th of December, the committee made two reports: a majority report presented by Mr. Morrison and a minority report presented by Mr. Randall and signed by him alone.

These reports and the debates which followed are most disappointing. What was needed was a penetrating discussion of the means by which the House could establish its authority and perform its constitutional functions. But it is a remarkable circumstance that at no time was any reference made to the only way in which the House can regain freedom of action—namely, by having the Administration submit its budget demands and its legislative proposals directly to the committee of the whole House. The preparatory stages could then be completed before the opening of the legislative session. Congress would thus save the months of time that are now consumed in committee incubation and would almost certainly be assured of opportunity of considering the public business. Discrimination in legislative privilege among members of the House would then be abolished, for every member would belong to the committee on appropriations. It is universally true in constitutional governments that power over appropriations involves power over legislation, and the only possibility of a square deal is to open that power to the entire membership of the assembly, which is the regular practice in Switzerland and in all English commonwealths. The House could not have been ignorant of the existence of this alternative, for the whole subject had been luminously discussed in the Senate Report of February 4,1881. It was, therein, clearly pointed out that such an arrangement would prevent paralysis or inaction in Congress. With the Administration proposing its measures directly to Congress, discussion of them and decisions upon them could not be avoided.

But such a public forum could not be established without sweeping away many intrenchments of factional interest and private opportunity, and this was not at all the purpose of the committee on rules. It took its character and direction from an old feud between Morrison and Randall. Morrison, as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee in 1876, had reported a tariff reform measure which was defeated by Randall's influence. Then Randall, who had succeeded to the Speakership, transferred Morrison from the chairmanship of the Ways and Means Committee to the chairmanship of the committee on public lands. But Morrison was a man who would not submit to defeat. He was a veteran of the Civil War, and had been severely wounded in leading his regiment at Fort Donelson. After the war, he figured in Illinois politics and served as Speaker of the State Legislature. He entered Congress in 1873 and devoted himself to the study of the tariff with such intelligence and thoroughness that his speeches are still an indispensable part of the history of tariff legislation. His habitual manner was so mild and unassuming that it gave little indication of the force of his personality, which was full of energy and perseverance.

Randall was more imperious in his mien. He was a party leader of established renown which he had gained in the struggles over force bills at the close of the reconstruction period. His position on the tariff was that of a Pennsylvania protectionist, and upon the tariff reform issue in 1883, he was defeated for the Speakership. At that time, John G. Carlisle of Kentucky was raised to that post, while Morrison again became chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. But Randall, now appointed chairman of the Appropriations Committee, had so great an influence that he was able to turn about forty Democratic votes against the tariff bill reported by the Ways and Means Committee, thus enabling the Republicans to kill the bill by striking out the enacting clause.

Only this practical aim, then, was in view in the reports presented by the committee on rules. The principal feature of the majority report was a proposal to curtail the jurisdiction of the Appropriations Committee by transferring to other committees five of the eleven regular appropriation bills. What, from the constitutional point of view, would appear to be the main question—the recovery by the House of its freedom of action—was hardly noticed in the report or in the debates which followed. Heretofore, the rules had allotted certain periods to general business; now, the majority report somewhat enlarged these periods and stipulated that no committee should bring more than one proposal before the House until all other committees had had their turn. This provision might have been somewhat more effective had it been accompanied by a revision of the list of committees such as was proposed by William M. Springer. He pointed out that there were a number of committees "that have no business to transact or business so trifling and unimportant as to make it unnecessary to have standing committees upon such subjects"; he proposed to abolish twenty-one of these committees and to create four new ones to take their place; he showed that "if we allow these twenty useless committees to be again put on our list, to be called regularly in the morning hour... forty-two days will be consumed in calling these committees"; and, finally, he pointed out that the change would effect a saving since it would "do away with sixteen committee clerkships."

This saving was, in fact, fatal to the success of Springer's proposal, since it meant the extinction of so many sinecures bestowed through congressional favor. In the end, Springer reduced his proposed change to the creation of one general committee on public expenditures to take the place of eight committees on departmental expenditures. It was notorious that such committees did nothing and could do nothing, and their futility, save as dispensers of patronage, had been demonstrated in a startling manner by the effect of the Acts of July 12, 1870, and June 20, 1874, requiring all unused appropriations to be paid into the Treasury. The amounts thus turned into the Treasury aggregated $174,000,000 and in a single bureau there was an unexpended balance of $36,000,000, which had accumulated for a quarter of a century because Congress had not been advised that no appropriation was needed. Mr. Springer remarked that, during the ten years in which he had been a member of Congress, he had observed with regard to these committees "that in nearly all cases, after their appointment, organization, and the election of a clerk, the committee practically ceased to exist, and nothing further is done." William R. Morrison at once came to the rescue of the endangered sinecures and argued that even although these committees had been inactive in the past they "constituted the eyes, the ears, and the hands of the House." In consequence, after a short debate Mr. Springer's motion was rejected without a division.

The arrangements subsequently made to provide time and opportunity for general legislation, turned out in practice to be quite futile and indeed they were never more than a mere formal pretense. It was quite obvious, therefore, that the new rules tended only to make the situation worse than before. Thomas Ryan of Kansas told the plain truth when he said: "You do not propose to remedy any of those things of which you complain by any of the rules you have brought forward. You propose to clothe eight committees with the same power, with the same temptation and capacity to abuse it. You multiply eightfold the very evils of which you complain." James H. Blount of Georgia sought to mitigate the evils of the situation by giving a number of other committees the same privilege as the appropriation committees, but this proposal at once raised a storm, for appropriation committees had leave to report at any time, and to extend the privilege would prevent expeditious handling of appropriation bills. Mr. Blount's motion was, therefore, voted down without a division.

While in the debate, the pretense of facilitating routine business was ordinarily kept up; occasional intimations of actual ulterior purpose leaked out, as when John B. Storm of Pennsylvania remarked that it was a valuable feature of the rules that they did hamper action and "that the country which is least governed is the best governed, is a maxim in strict accord with the idea of true civil liberty." William McKinley was also of the opinion that barriers were needed "against the wild projects and visionary schemes which will find advocates in this House." Some years later, when the subject was again up for discussion, Thomas B. Reed went to the heart of the situation when he declared that the rules had been devised not to facilitate action but to obstruct it, for "the whole system of business here for years has been to seek methods of shirking, not of meeting, the questions which the people present for the consideration of their representatives. Peculiar circumstances have caused this. For a long time, one section of the country largely dominated the other. That section of the country was constantly apprehensive of danger which might happen at any time by reason of an institution it was maintaining. Very naturally, all the rules of the House were bent for the obstruction of action on the part of Congress." It may be added that these observations apply even more forcibly, to the rules of the Senate. The privilege of unrestricted debate was not originally granted by those rules but was introduced as a means of strengthening the power of sectional resistance to obnoxious legislation.

The revision of the rules in 1885, then, was not designed really to facilitate action by the House, but rather to effect a transfer of the power to rule the House. It was at least clear that under the proposed changes the chairman of the committee on appropriations would no longer retain such complete mastery as Randall had wielded, and this was enough to insure the adoption of the majority report. The minority report opposed this weakening of control on the ground that it would be destructive of orderly and responsible management of the public funds. Everything which Randall said on that point has since been amply confirmed by much sad experience. Although some leading Republicans, among whom was Joseph G. Cannon of Illinois, argued strongly in support of Randall's views, the temper of the House was such that the majority in favor of the change was overwhelming, and on December 18, 1885, the Morrison plan was finally adopted without a roll call.

The hope that the change in organization would expedite action on appropriation bills, was promptly disappointed. Only one of the fourteen regular appropriation bills became law before the last day of the fiscal year. The duress to which the House was subject became tighter and harder than before, and the Speakership entered upon a development unparalleled in constitutional history. The Speaker was practically in a position to determine what business the House might consider and what it might not, and the circumstances were such as to breed a belief that it was his duty to use his discretion where a choice presented itself. It is obvious that, when on the floor of the House there are a number of applicants for recognition, the Speaker must choose between them. All cannot be allowed to speak at once. There is no chance to apply the shop rule, "first come first served," for numerous applications for the floor come at the same time. Shall the Speaker choose at random or according to some definite principle of selection? In view of the Speaker's interest in the welfare of the party which raised him to the office, he would naturally inquire in advance the purpose for which the recognition of the chair was desired. It was a manifest step towards orderly procedure in session, however, when instead of crowding around the clerk's desk bawling for recognition, members applied to the Speaker in advance. In Speaker Blaine's time, this had become a regular practice and ever since then, a throng of members at the Speaker's office trying to arrange with him for recognition has been a daily occurrence during a legislative session. Samuel W. McCall, in his work on "The Business of Congress," says that the Speaker "usually scrutinizes the bill and the committee's report upon it, and in case of doubt he sometimes refers them to a member in whom he has confidence, for a more careful examination than he himself has time to give."

Under Speaker Carlisle, this power to censor proposals was made conspicuous through the factional war in the Democratic party. For several sessions of Congress, a bill had been pending to repeal the internal revenue taxes upon tobacco, and it had such support that it might have passed if it could have been reached for consideration. On February 5, 1887, a letter was addressed to Speaker Carlisle by three prominent Democrats: Samuel J. Randall of Pennsylvania, George D. Wise of Virginia, and John S. Henderson of North Carolina, saying: "At the instance of many Democratic members of the House, we appeal to you earnestly to recognize on Monday next, some Democrat who will move to suspend the rules for the purpose of giving the House an opportunity of considering the question of the total repeal of the internal revenue taxes on tobacco." The letter went on to argue that it would be bad policy to let a Republican have credit for a proposal, which it was declared "will command more votes than any other measure pending before the House looking towards a reduction in taxation; and favorable action on this proposition will not interfere with other efforts that are being made to reduce the burden of the people."

Speaker Carlisle, however, refused to allow the House to consider the matter on the ground that negotiations with Randall and his friends for concerted party action had so far been fruitless. "Among other things," he wrote, "we proposed to submit the entire subject to a caucus of our political friends, with the understanding that all parties would abide by the result of its action.... We have received no response to that communication, and I consider that it would not be proper under the circumstances for me to agree to a course of action which would present to the House a simple proposition for the repeal of the internal revenue tax on tobacco, snuff and cigars, to the exclusion of all other measures for the reduction of taxation." The letter closed by "sincerely hoping that some plan may yet be devised which will enable the House to consider the whole subject of revenue reduction."

No one was less of an autocrat in temper and habit of thought than Speaker Carlisle, and he assumed this position in deference to a recognized function of his office, supported by a long line of precedents. The case was, therefore, a signal illustration of the way in which the House has impaired its ability to consider legislation by claiming the exclusive privilege of proposing legislation. If the rules had allowed the President to propose his measures directly to the House, then the way would have been opened for a substitute or an amendment. As it was, the House was able to act only upon matters within the control of a few persons advantageously posted, and none of the changes of rules that have been made from time to time have seriously disturbed this fundamental situation.

Notwithstanding the new rules adopted in December, 1885, nothing of importance was accomplished by the House. On February 15, 1886, William R. Morrison introduced a tariff bill making a moderate reduction in rates of duty, which, after considerable amendment in the committee of ways and means, was reported to the House on the 12th of April; but no further action was taken until the 17th of June, when Morrison moved that the House go into committee of the whole to consider the bill. Thirty-five Democrats voted with the Republicans against the motion, which was defeated by 157 nays to 140 yeas. No further attempt was made to take up the bill during that session, and in the ensuing fall Morrison was defeated as a candidate for reelection. Before leaving Congress he tried once more to obtain consideration of his bill but in vain. Just as that Congress was expiring, John S. Henderson of North Carolina was at last allowed to move a suspension of the rules in order to take a vote on a bill to reduce internal revenue taxes, but he failed to obtain the two-thirds vote required for suspension of the rules.

That the proceedings of the Forty-ninth Congress were not entirely fruitless, was mainly due to the initiative and address of the Senate. Some important measures were thus pushed through, among them the act regulating the presidential succession and the act creating the Interstate Commerce Commission. The first of these provided for the succession of the heads of departments in turn, in case of the removal, death, resignation, or inability of both the President and the Vice-President.

The most marked legislative achievement of the House was an act regulating the manufacture and sale of oleomargarine, to which the Senate assented with some amendment, and which was signed with reluctance by the President, after a special message to the House sharply criticizing some of the provisions of the act. A bill providing for arbitration of differences between common carriers and their employees was passed by the Senate without a division, but it did not reach the President until the closing days of the session and failed of enactment because he did not sign it before the final adjournment. Taken as a whole, then, the record of the Congress elected in 1884 showed that while the Democratic party had the Presidency and the House of Representatives, the Republican party, although defeated at the polls, still controlled public policy through the agency of the Senate.


Although President Cleveland decisively repelled the Senate's attempted invasion of the power of removal belonging to his office, he was still left in a deplorable state of servitude through the operation of old laws based upon the principle of rotation in office. The Acts of 1820 and 1836, limiting commissions to the term of four years, forced him to make numerous appointments which provoked controversy and made large demands upon his time and thought. In the first year of his administration, he sent about two thousand nominations to the Senate, an average of over six a day, assuming that he was allowed to rest on Sunday. His freedom of action was further curtailed by an Act of 1863, prohibiting the payment of a salary to any person appointed to fill a vacancy existing while the Senate was in session, until the appointment had been confirmed by the Senate. The President was thus placed under a strict compulsion to act as a party employment agent.

If it is the prime duty of a President to act in the spirit of a reformer, Cleveland is entitled to high praise for the stanchness with which he adhered to his principles under most trying circumstances. Upon November 27, 1885, he approved rules confirming and extending the civil service regulations. Charges that Collector Hedden of the New York Customs House was violating the spirit of the Civil Service Act, and was making a party machine of his office, caused the Civil Service Commission to make an investigation which resulted in his resignation in July, 1886. On the 10th of August, Daniel Magone of Ogdensburg, New York, a widely known lawyer, was personally chosen by the President with a view to enforcing the civil service law in the New York Customs House. Before making this appointment, President Cleveland issued an order to all heads of departments warning all officeholders against the use of their positions to control political movements in their localities. "Officeholders," he declared, "are the agents of the people, not their masters. They have no right, as officeholders, to dictate the political action of their associates, or to throttle freedom of action within party lines by methods and practices which prevent every useful and justifiable purpose of party organization." In August, President Cleveland gave signal evidence of his devotion to civil service reform by appointing a Republican, because of his special qualifications, to be chief examiner for the Civil Service Commission.

Democratic party workers were so angered and disgusted by the President's policy that any mention of his name was enough to start a flow of coarse denunciation. Strong hostility to his course of action was manifested in Congress. Chairman Randall, of the committee on appropriations, threatened to cut off the appropriation for office room for the commission. A "rider" to the legislative appropriation bill, striking at the civil service law, caused a vigorous debate in the House in which leading Democrats assailed the Administration, but eventually the "rider" was ruled out on a point of order. In the Senate, such party leaders as Vance of North Carolina, Saulsbury of Delaware, and Voorhees of Indiana, openly ridiculed the civil service law, and various attempts to cripple it were made but were defeated. Senator Vance introduced a bill to repeal the law, but it was indefinitely postponed by a vote of 33 to 6, the affirmative vote being cast mainly by Republicans; and in general the strongest support for the law now came from the Republican side. Early in June, 1887, an estimate was made that nine thousand civil offices outside the scope of the civil service rules were still held by Republicans. The Republican party press gloated over the situation and was fond of dwelling upon the way in which old-line Democrats were being snubbed while the Mugwumps were favored. At the same time, civil service reformers found much to condemn in the character of Cleveland's appointments. A special committee of the National Civil Service Reform League, on March 30, 1887, published a report in which they asserted that, "tried by the standard of absolute fidelity to the reform as it is understood by this League, it is not to be denied that t this Administration has left much to be desired." At a subsequent session of the League, its President, George William Curtis, proclaimed that the League did not regard the Administration as "in any strict sense of the words a civil service reform administration." Thus while President Cleveland was alienating his regular party support, he was not getting in return any dependable support from the reformers. He seemed to be sitting down between two stools, both tilting to let him fall.

Meanwhile, he went on imperturbably doing his duty as he saw it. Like many of his predecessors, he would rise early to get some time to attend to public business before the rush of office seekers began, but the bulk of his day's work lay in the discharge of his compulsory duties as an employment agent. Many difficult situations were created by contentions among Congressmen over appointments. It was Cleveland's habit to deal with these cases by homely expostulation and by pleas for mutual concessions. Such incidents do not of course go upon record, and it is only as memoirs and reminiscences of public men are published that this personal side of history becomes known. Senator Cullom of Illinois in his "Fifty Years of Public Service" gives an account that doubtless fairly displays Cleveland's way of handling his vexatious problems. "I happened to be at the White House one day, and Mr. Cleveland said to me, 'I wish you would take up Lamar's nomination and dispose of it. I am between hay and grass with reference to the Interior Department. Nothing is being done there; I ought to have some one on duty, and I cannot do anything until you dispose of Lamar.'" Mr. Lamar, who had entered the Cabinet as Secretary of the Interior, was nominated for associate justice of the Supreme Court on December 6, 1887. He had been an eminent member of the Senate, with previous distinguished service in the House, so that the Senate must have had abundant knowledge of his character and attainments. It is impossible to assign the delay that ensued to reasonable need of time for inquiry as to his qualifications, but Senator Cullom relates that "the nomination pended before the Judiciary Committee for a long time." Soon after the personal appeal, which was made by the President to every Senator he could reach, action was finally taken and the appointment was confirmed January 16, 1888.

Senator Cullom's reminiscences also throw light upon the process by which judges are appointed. President Cleveland had selected Melville W. Fuller of Illinois for the office of chief justice of the Supreme Court. According to Senator Cullom, Senator Edmunds "was very much out of humor with the President because he had fully expected that Judge Phelps, of his own State, was to receive the honor.... The result was that Senator Edmunds held the nomination, without any action, in the Judiciary Committee for some three months." Senator Cullom, although a party associate of Edmunds, was pleased that the President had selected an Illinois jurist and he was determined that, if he could help it, Edmunds should not have the New Hampshire candidate appointed. He therefore appealed to the committee to do something about the nomination, either one way or the other. The committee finally reported the nomination to the Senate without recommendation. When the matter came up in executive session, "Senator Edmunds at once took the floor and attacked Judge Fuller most viciously as having sympathized with the rebellion." But Cullom was primed to meet that argument. He had been furnished with a copy of a speech attacking President Lincoln which Phelps had delivered during the war, and he now read it to the Senate, "much to the chagrin and mortification of Senator Edmunds." Cullom relates that the Democrats in the Senate enjoyed the scene. "Naturally, it appeared to them a very funny performance, two Republicans quarreling over the confirmation of a Democrat. They sat silent, however, and took no part at all in the debate, leaving us Republicans to settle it among ourselves." The result of the Republican split was that the nomination of Fuller was confirmed "by a substantial majority."

Another nomination which caused much agitation at the time was that of James C. Matthews of New York, to be Recorder of Deeds in the District of Columbia. The office had been previously held by Frederick Douglass, a distinguished leader of the colored race; and in filling the vacancy the President believed it would be an exercise of wise and kindly consideration to choose a member of the same race. But in the Washington community, there was such a strong antipathy to the importation of a negro politician from New York to fill a local office that a great clamor was raised, in which Democrats joined. The Senate rejected the nomination, but meanwhile Mr. Matthews had entered upon the duties of his office and he showed such tact and ability as gradually to soften the opposition. On December 21,1886, President Cleveland renominated him, pointing out that he had been in actual occupation of the office for four months, managing its affairs with such ability as to remove "much of the opposition to his appointment which has heretofore existed." In conclusion, the President confessed "a desire to cooperate in tendering to our colored fellow-citizens just recognition." This was a shrewd argument. The Republican majority in the Senate shrank from what might seem to be drawing the color line, and the appointment was eventually confirmed; but this did not remove the sense of grievance in Washington over the use of local offices for national party purposes. Local sentiment in the District of Columbia is, however, politically unimportant, as the community has no means of positive action.*

* It is a singular fact, which contains matter for deep consideration, that the District of Columbia, the national capital, is the only populated area in the civilized world without any sort of suffrage rights.

In the same month in which President Cleveland issued his memorable special message to the Senate on the Tenure of Office Act, he began another struggle against congressional practice in which he was not so fortunate. On March 10, 1886, he sent to Congress the first of his pension vetoes. Although liberal provision for granting pensions had been made by general laws, numerous special applications were made directly to Congress, and congressmen were solicited to secure favorable consideration for them. That it was the duty of a representative to support an application from a resident of his district, was a doctrine enforced by claim agents with a pertinacity from which there was no escape. To attempt to assume a judicial attitude in the matter was politically dangerous, and to yield assent was a matter of practical convenience. Senator Cullom relates that when he first became a member of the committee on pensions he was "a little uneasy" lest he "might be too liberal." But he was guided by the advice of an old, experienced Congressman, Senator Sawyer of Wisconsin, who told him: "You need not worry, you cannot very well make a mistake allowing liberal pensions to the soldier boys. The money will get back into the Treasury very soon."

The feeling that anything that the old soldiers wanted should be granted was even stronger in the House, where about the only opportunity of distinction allowed by the procedure was to champion these local demands upon the public treasury. It was indeed this privilege of passing pension bills which partially reconciled members of the House to the actual control of legislative opportunity by the Speaker and the chairmen of a few dominating committees. It was a congressional perquisite to be allowed to move the passage of so many bills; enactment followed as a matter, of course. President Cleveland made a pointed reference to this process in a veto message of June 21, 1886. He observed that the pension bills had only "an apparent Congressional sanction" for the fact was that "a large proportion of these bills have never been submitted to a majority of either branch of Congress, but are the results of nominal sessions held for the express purpose of their consideration and attended by a small minority of the members of the respective houses of the legislative branch of government."

Obviously, the whole system of pension legislation was faulty. Mere individual effort on the part of the President to screen the output of the system was scarcely practicable, even if it were congruous with the nature of the President's own duties; but nevertheless Cleveland attempted it, and kept at it with stout perseverance. One of his veto messages remarks that in a single day nearly 240 special pension bills were presented to him. He referred them to the Pension Bureau for examination and the labor involved was so great that they could not be returned to him until within a few hours of the limit fixed by the Constitution for the President's assent.

There could be no more signal proof of President Cleveland's constancy of soul than the fact that he was working hard at his veto forge, with the sparks falling thickly around, right in his honeymoon. He married Miss Frances Folsom of Buffalo on June 2, 1886. The ceremony took place in the White House, and immediately thereafter, the President and his charming bride went to Deer Park, Maryland, a mountain resort. The respite from official cares was brief; on June 8th, the couple returned to Washington and some of the most pugnacious of the pension vetoes were sent to Congress soon after. The rest of his public life was passed under continual storm, but the peace and happiness of his domestic life provided a secure refuge.

On the other hand, the rebuffs which Democratic Congressmen received in the matter of pension legislation were, it must be admitted, peculiarly exasperating. Reviewing the work of the Forty-ninth Congress, "The Nation" mentioned three enactments which it characterized as great achievements that should be placed to the credit of Congress. Those were the act regulating the presidential succession, approved January 18, 1886; the act regulating the counting of the electoral votes, approved February 3, 1887; and the repeal of the Tenure of Office Act, approved March 3, 1887. But all three measures originated in the Senate, and the main credit for their enactment might be claimed by the Republican party. There was some ground for the statement that they would have been enacted sooner but for the disturbance of legislative routine by political upheavals in the House; and certainly no one could pretend that it was to get these particular measures passed that the Democratic party was raised to power. The main cause of the political revolution of 1884 had been the continuance of war taxes, producing revenues that were not only not needed but were positively embarrassing to the Government. Popular feeling over the matter was so strong that even the Republican party had felt bound to put into its national platform, in 1884, a pledge "to correct the irregularities of the tariff and to reduce the surplus." The people, however, believed that the Republican party had already been given sufficient opportunity, and they now turned to the Democratic party for relief. The rank and file of this party felt acutely, therefore, that they were not accomplishing what the people expected. Members arrived in Washington full of good intentions. They found themselves subject to a system which allowed them to introduce all the bills they wanted, but not to obtain action upon them. Action was the prerogative of a group of old hands who managed the important committees and who were divided among themselves on tariff policy. And now, the little bills which, by dint of persuasion and bargaining, they had first put through the committees, and then through both Houses of Congress, were cut down by executive veto, turning to their injury what they had counted upon to help them in their districts.

During the campaign, Democratic candidates had everywhere contended that they were just as good friends of the old soldiers as the Republicans. Now, they felt that to make good this position they must do something to offset the effect of President Cleveland's vetoes. In his messages, he had favored "the most generous treatment to the disabled, aged and needy among our veterans"; but he had argued that it should be done by general laws, and not by special acts for the benefit of particular claimants. The Pension Committee of the House responded by reporting a bill "for the relief of dependent parents and honorably discharged soldiers and sailors who are now disabled and dependent upon their own labor for support." It passed the House by a vote of 180 to 76, with 63 not voting, and it passed the Senate without a division. On the 11th of February, President Cleveland sent in his veto, accompanied by a message pointing out in the language of the act defects and ambiguities which he believed would "but put a further premium on dishonesty and mendacity." He reiterated his desire that provision should be made "for those who, having served their country long and well, are reduced to destitution and dependence," but he did not think that the bill was a proper means of attaining that object. On the 19th of February, the House committee on pensions submitted an elaborate report on the veto in which they recited the history of the bill and the reasons actuating the committee. Extracts from Cleveland's messages were quoted, and the committee declared that, in "hearty accord with these views of the President and largely in accordance with his suggestions, they framed a bill which they then thought, and still continue to think, will best accomplish the ends proposed." A motion to pass the bill over the veto on the 24th of February received 175 votes to 125, but two-thirds not having voted in the affirmative the bill failed to pass. The Republicans voted solidly in support of the bill, together with a large group of Democrats. The negative vote came wholly from the Democratic side. Such a fiasco amounted to a demonstration of the lack of intelligent leadership. If the President and his party in Congress were cooperating for the furtherance of the same objects, as both averred, it was discreditable all around that there should have been such a complete misunderstanding as to the procedure.

Meanwhile, the President was making a unique record by his vetoes. During the period of ninety-six years, from the foundation of the Government down to the beginning of Cleveland's administration, the entire number of veto messages was 132. In four years, Cleveland sent in 301 veto messages, and in addition he practically vetoed 109 bills by inaction. Of 2042 private pension bills passed by Congress, 1518 were approved and 284 became laws by lapse of time without approval. The positive results of the President's activity were thus inconsiderable, unless incidentally he had managed to correct the system which he had opposed. That claim, indeed, was made in his behalf when "The Nation" mentioned "the arrest of the pension craze" as a "positive achievement of the first order.'" But far from being arrested, "the pension craze" was made the more furious, and it soon advanced to extremes unknown before.*

* March 19, 1887.

The Democratic politicians naturally viewed with dismay the approach of the national election of 1888. Any one could see that the party was drifting on to the rocks and nobody deemed to be at the helm. According to William R. Morrison, who certainly had been in a position to know, President Cleveland had "up to this time taken no decided ground one way or the other on the question of tariff." He had included the subject in the long dissertation on the state of the Union, which ever since Jefferson's time the President has been wont to send to Congress at the opening of a session, but he had not singled it out as having precedence. He now surprised the country, roused his party, and gave fresh animation to national politics on December 6, 1887, by devoting his third annual message wholly to the subject of taxation and revenue. He pointed out that the treasury surplus was mounting up to $140,000,000; that the redemption of bonds which had afforded a means for disbursement of excess revenues had stopped because there were no more bonds that the Government had a right to redeem; and that, hence, the Treasury "idly holds money uselessly subtracted from the channels of trade," a situation from which monetary derangement and business distress would naturally ensue. He strongly urged that the "present tariff laws, the vicious, inequitable and illogical source of unnecessary taxation, ought to be at once revised and amended." Cleveland gave a detailed analysis of the injurious effects which the existing tariff had upon trade and industry, and went on to remark that "progress toward a wise conclusion will not be improved by dwelling upon the theories of protection and free trade. This savors too much of bandying epithets. It is a condition which confronts us, not a theory." The effect of the message was very marked both upon public opinion and party activity. Mr. Morrison correctly summed up the party effect in saying that "Mr. Mills, obtaining the substantial support of the Administration, was enabled to press through the House a bill differing in a very few essential measures from, and combining the general details and purposes of, the several measures of which I have been the author, and which had been voted against by many of those who contributed to the success of the Mills Bill."

An incident which attracted great notice because it was thought to have a bearing on the President's policy of tariff revision, was the veto of the Allentown Public Building Bill. This bill was of a type which is one of the rankest growths of the Congressional system—the grant of money not for the needs of public service but as a district favor. It appropriated $100,000 to put up a post-office building at Allentown, Pennsylvania, where adequate quarters were being occupied by the post-office at an annual rent of $1300. President Cleveland vetoed the bill simply on the ground that it proposed an unnecessary expenditure, but the fact was at once noted that the bill had been fathered by Congressman Snowden, an active adherent of Randall in opposition to the tariff reform policy of the Administration. The word went through Congress and reverberated through the press that "there is an Allentown for every Snowden." Mr. Morrison said in more polite phrase what came to the same thing when he observed that "when Mr. Cleveland took decided ground in favor of revision and reduction, he represented the patronage of the Administration, in consequence of which he was enabled to enforce party discipline, so that a man could no longer be a good Democrat and favor anything but reform of the tariff."

After the Mills Bill had passed the House* and had been sent to the Senate, it was held in committee until October 3, 1888. When it emerged it carried an amendment which was in effect a complete substitute, but it was not taken up for consideration until after the presidential election, and it was meant simply as a Republican alternative to the Mills Bill for campaign use. Consideration of the bill began on the 5th of December and lasted until the 22nd of January, when the bill was returned to the House transformed into a new measure. It was referred to the Ways and Means Committee, and Chairman Mills reported it back with a resolution setting forth that "the substitution by the Senate under the form of an amendment.... of another and different bill," is in conflict with the section of the Constitution which "vests in the House of Representatives the sole power to originate such a measure." The House refused to consider the resolution, a number of Democrats led by Mr. Randall voting with the Republicans in the negative. No further action was taken on the bill and since that day the House has never ventured to question the right of the Senate to amend tax bills in any way and to any extent. As Senator Cullom remarks in his memoirs, the Democrats, although they had long held the House and had also gained, the Presidency, "were just as powerless to enact legislation as they had been before."

* The Mills Bill was passed July 21, 1888, yeas 162, nays 149, not voting 14. Randall, Snowden, and two other Democrats joined the Republicans in voting against the bill.


While President and Congress were passing the time in mutual obstruction, the public discontents were becoming hot and bitter to a degree unknown before. A marked feature of the situation was the disturbance of public convenience involving loss, trouble, and distress which were vast in extent but not easily expressed in statistical form. The first three months of 1886 saw an outbreak of labor troubles far beyond any previous record in their variety and extent. In 1885, the number of strikes reported was 645 affecting 2284 establishments, a marked increase over preceding years. In 1886, the number of strikes rose to 1411, affecting 9861 establishments and directly involving 499,489 persons. The most numerous strikes were in the building trades, but there were severe struggles in many other industries. There was, for example, an interruption of business on the New York elevated railway and on the street railways of New York, Brooklyn, and other cities.

But the greatest public anxiety was caused by the behavior of the Knights of Labor, an organization then growing so rapidly that it gave promise of uniting under one control the active and energetic elements of the working classes of the country. It started in a humble way, in December, 1869, among certain garment cutters in Philadelphia, and for some years spread slowly from that center. The organization remained strictly secret until 1878, in which year it held a national convention of its fifteen district assemblies at Reading, Pennsylvania. The object and principles of the order were now made public and, thereafter, it spread with startling rapidity, so that in 1886 it pitted its strength against public authority with a membership estimated at from, 500,000 to 800,000. Had this body been an army obedient to its leaders, it would have wielded great power; but it turned out to be only a mob. Its members took part in demonstrations which were as much mutinies against the authority of their own executive board as they were strikes against their employers. The result of lack of organization soon began to be evident. In March 1886, the receiver of the Texas Pacific Railroad discharged an employee prominent in the Knights of Labor and thus precipitated a strike which was promptly extended to the Missouri Pacific. There were riots at various points in Missouri and Kansas, and railroad traffic at St. Louis was completely suspended for some days, but the strike was eventually broken. The Knights of Labor, however, had received a blow from which it never recovered, and as a result its membership declined. The order has since been almost wholly superseded by the American Federation of Labor, established in 1886 through shrewd management by an association of labor unions which had been maintained since 1881. The Knights had been organized by localities with the aim of merging all classes of working men into one body. The Federation, on the other hand, is composed of trades unions retaining their autonomy—a principle of organization which has proved to be more solid and durable.

To these signs of popular discontent the Government could not be blind. A congressional committee investigated the railroad strikes, and both parties in Congress busied themselves with labor legislation. But in spite of this apparent willingness to cope with the situation, there now followed another display of those cross purposes which occurred so often during the Cleveland administration. The House had already passed a bill providing means of submitting to arbitration controversies between railroads engaged in interstate commerce and their employees. President Cleveland now sent a special message recommending that "instead of arbitrators chosen in the heat of conflicting claims and after each dispute shall arise, there be created a Commission of Labor, consisting of three members, who shall be regular officers of the government, charged among other duties with the consideration and settlement when possible, of all controversies between labor and capital." In spite of the urgency of the situation, the Senate seized this occasion for a new display of party tactics, and it Allowed the bill already passed by the House to lie without action while it proceeded to consider various labor measures of its own. For example, by June 1, 1886, the Senate had passed a bill providing that eight hours should be a day's work for letter-carriers; soon afterwards, it passed a bill legalizing the incorporation of national trades unions, to which the House promptly assented without a division; and the House then continued its labor record by passing on the 15th of July a bill against the importation of contract labor. This last bill was not passed by the Senate until after the fall elections. It was approved by the President on February 23, 1887.

The Senate also delayed action on the House bill, which proposed arbitration in labor disputes, until the close of the session; and then the President, in view of his disregarded suggestion, withheld his assent. It was not until the following year that the legislation recommended by the President was enacted. By the Act of June 13, 1888, the Department of Labor was established, and by the Act of October 1, 1888, in addition to provision for voluntary arbitration between railroad corporations and their employees, the President was authorized to appoint a commission to investigate labor conflicts, with power to act as a board of conciliation. During the ten years in which the act remained on the statute books, it was actually put to use only in 1894, when a commission was appointed to investigate the Pullman strike at Chicago, but this body took no action towards settling the dispute.

Thus far, then, the efforts of the Government to deal with the labor problem had not been entirely successful. It is true that the labor conflicts arose over differences which only indirectly involved constitutional questions. The aims of both the Knights of Labor and of the American Federation were primarily economic and both organizations were opposed to agitation of a distinctively political character. But parallel with the labor agitation, and in communication with it, there were radical reform movements of a type unknown before. There was now to arise a socialistic movement opposed to traditional constitutionalism, and therefore viewed with alarm in many parts of the country. Veneration of the Constitution of 1787 was practically a national sentiment which had lasted from the time the Union was successfully established until the Cleveland era. However violent political differences in regard to public policy might be, it was the invariable rule that proposals must claim a constitutional sanction. In the Civil War, both sides felt themselves to be fighting in defense of the traditional Constitution.

The appeal to antiquity—even such a moderate degree of antiquity as may be claimed for American institutions—has always been the staple argument in American political controversy. The views and intentions of the Fathers of the Constitution are exhibited not so much for instruction as for imitation, and by means of glosses and interpretations conclusions may be reached which would have surprised the Fathers to whom they are imputed. Those who examine the records of the formative period of American institutions, not to obtain material for a case but simply to ascertain the facts, will readily observe that what is known as the principle of strict construction dates only from the organization of national parties under the Constitution. It was an invention of the opposition to Federalist rule and was not held by the makers of the Constitution themselves. The main concern of the framers was to get power for the National Government, and they went as far as they could with such success that striking instances may be culled from the writings of the Fathers showing that the scope they contemplated has yet to be attained. Strict construction affords a short and easy way of avoiding troublesome issues—always involved in unforeseen national developments—by substituting the question of constitutional power for a question of public propriety. But this method has the disadvantage, that it belittles the Constitution by making it an obstacle to progress. Running through much political controversy in the United States is the argument that, even granting that a proposal has all the merit claimed for it, nevertheless it cannot be adopted because the Constitution is against it. By strict logical inference the rejoinder then comes that, if so, the Constitution is no longer an instrument of national advantage. The traditional attachment of the American people to the Constitution has indeed been so strong that they have been loath to accept the inference that the Constitution is out of date, although the quality of legislation at Washington kept persistently suggesting that view of the case.

The failures and disappointments resulting from the series of national elections from 1874 to 1884, at last, made an opening for party movements voicing the popular discontent and openly antagonistic to the traditional Constitution. The Socialist Labor party held its first national convention in 1877. Its membership was mostly foreign; of twenty-four periodical publications then carried on in the party interest, only eight were in the English language; and this polyglot press gave justification to the remark that the movement was in the hands of people who proposed to remodel the institutions of the country before they had acquired its language. The alien origin of the movement was emphasized by the appearance of two Socialist members of the German Reichstag, who made a tour of this country in 1881 to stir up interest in the cause. It was soon apparent that the growth of the Socialist party organization was hindered by the fact that its methods were too studious and its discussions too abstract to suit the energetic temper of the times. Many Socialists broke away to join revolutionary clubs which were now organized in a number of cities without any clearly defined principle save to fight the existing system of government.

At this critical moment in the process of social disorganization, the influence of foreign destructive thought made itself felt. The arrival of Johann Most from Europe, in the fall of 1882, supplied this revolutionary movement with a leader who made anarchy its principle. Originally a German Socialist aiming to make the State the sole landlord and capitalist, he had gone over to anarchism and proposed to dissolve the State altogether, trusting to voluntary association to supply all genuine social needs. Driven from Germany, he had taken refuge in England, but even the habitual British tolerance had given way under his praise of the assassination of the Czar Alexander in 1881 and his proposal to treat other rulers in the same way. He had just completed a term of imprisonment before coming to the United States. Here, he was received as a hero; a great mass meeting in his honor was held in Cooper Union, New York, in December, 1882; and when he toured the country he everywhere addressed large meetings.

In October 1883, a convention of social revolutionists and anarchists was held in Chicago, at which a national organization was formed called the International Working People's Association. The new organization grew much faster than the Socialist party itself, which now almost disappeared. Two years later, the International had a party press consisting of seven German, two Bohemian, and only two English papers. Like the Socialist party, it was, therefore, mainly foreign in its membership. It was strongest in and about Chicago, where it included twenty groups with three thousand enrolled members. The anarchist papers exhorted their adherents to provide themselves with arms and even published instructions for the use of dynamite.

Political and industrial conditions thus supplied material for an explosion which came with shocking violence. On May 4, 1885, towards the close of an anarchist meeting held in Chicago, a dynamite bomb thrown among a force of policemen killed one and wounded many. Fire was at once opened on both sides, and, although the battle lasted only a few minutes, seven policemen were killed and about sixty wounded; while on the side of the anarchists, four were killed and about fifty were wounded. Ten of the anarchist leaders were promptly indicted, of whom one made his escape and another turned State's evidence. The trial of the remaining eight began on June 21, 1886, and two months later the death sentence was imposed upon seven and a penitentiary term of fifteen years upon one. The sentences of two of the seven were commuted to life imprisonment; one committed suicide in his cell by exploding a cartridge in his mouth; and four met death on the scaffold. While awaiting their fate they were to a startling extent regarded as heroes and bore themselves as martyrs to a noble cause. Six years later, Illinois elected as governor John P. Altgeld, one of whose first steps was to issue a pardon to the three who were serving terms of imprisonment and to criticize sharply the conduct of the trial which had resulted in the conviction of the anarchists.

The Chicago outbreak and its result stopped the open spread of anarchism. Organized labor now withdrew from any sort of association with it. This cleared the field for a revival of the Socialist movement as the agency of social and political reconstruction. So rapidly did it gain in membership and influence that by 1892 it was able to present itself as an organized national party appealing to public opinion for confidence and support, submitting its claims to public discussion, and stating its case upon reasonable grounds. Although its membership was small in comparison with that of the old parties, the disparity was not so great as it seemed, since the Socialists represented active intelligence while the other parties represented political inertia. From this time on, Socialist views spread among college students, artists, and men of letters, and the academic Socialist became a familiar figure in American society.

Probably more significant than the Socialist movement, as an indication of the popular demand for radical reform in the government of the country, was the New York campaign of Henry George in 1886. He was a San Francisco printer and journalist when he published the work on "Progress and Poverty" which made him famous. Upon the petition of over thirty thousand citizens, he became the Labor candidate for mayor of New York City. The movement in support of George developed so much strength that the regular parties felt compelled to put forward exceptionally strong candidates. The Democrats nominated Abram S. Hewitt, a man of the highest type of character, a fact which was not perhaps so influential in getting him the nomination as that he was the son-in-law of Peter Cooper, a philanthropist justly beloved by the working classes. The Republicans nominated Theodore Roosevelt, who had already distinguished himself by his energy of character and zeal for reform. Hewitt was elected, but George received 68,110 votes out of a total of 219,679, and stood second in the poll. His supporters contended that he had really been elected but had been counted out, and this belief turned their attention to the subject of ballot reform. To the agitation which Henry George began, may be fairly ascribed the general adoption of the Australian ballot in the United States.

The Socialist propaganda carried on in large cities and in factory towns hardly touched the great mass of the people of the United States, who belonged to the farm rather than to the workshop. The great agricultural class, which had more weight at the polls than any other class of citizens, was much interested in the redress of particular grievances and very little in any general reform of the governmental system. It is a class that is conservative in disposition but distrustful of authority, impatient of what is theoretical and abstract, and bent upon the quick practical solution of problems by the nearest and simplest means. While the Socialists in the towns were interested in labor questions, the farmers more than any other class were affected by the defective system of currency supply. The national banking system had not been devised to meet industrial needs but as a war measure to provide a market for government bonds, deposits of which had to be made as the basis of note issues. As holdings of government bonds were amassed in the East, financial operations tended to confine themselves to that part of the country, and banking facilities seemed to be in danger of becoming a sectional monopoly, and such, indeed, was the case to a marked extent. This situation inspired among the farmers, especially in the agricultural West, a hatred of Wall Street and a belief in the existence of a malign money power which provided an inexhaustible fund of sectional feeling for demagogic exploitation.

For lack of proper machinery of credit for carrying on the process of exchange, there seemed to be an absolute shortage in the amount of money in circulation, and it was this circumstance that had given such force to the Greenback Movement. Although that movement was defeated, its supporters urged that, if the Government could not supply additional note issues, it should at least permit an increase in the stock of coined money. This feeling was so strong that as early as 1877 the House had passed a bill for the free coinage of silver. For this, the Senate substituted a measure requiring the purchase and coinage by the Government of from two to four million dollars' worth of silver monthly, and this compromise was accepted by the House. As a result, in February, 1878, it was passed over President Hayes's veto.

The operation of this act naturally tended to cause the hoarding of gold as the cheaper silver was equally a legal tender, and meanwhile the silver dollars did not tend to pass into circulation. In 1885, in his first annual message to Congress, President Cleveland mentioned the fact that, although 215,759,431 silver dollars had been coined, only about fifty million had found their way into circulation, and that "every month two millions of gold in the public Treasury are paid out for two millions or more of silver dollars to be added to the idle mass already accumulated." The process was draining the stock of gold in the Treasury and forcing the country to a silver basis without really increasing the amount of money in actual circulation or removing any of the difficulties in the way of obtaining supplies of currency for business transactions. President Cleveland recommended the repeal of the Silver Coinage Act, but he had no plan to offer by which the genuine complaints of the people against the existing monetary system could be removed. Free silver thus was allowed to stand before the people as the only practical proposal for their relief, and upon this issue a conflict soon began between Congress and the Administration.

At a convention of the American Bankers' Association in September, 1885, a New York bank president described the methods by which the Treasury Department was restricting the operation of the Silver Coinage Act so as to avoid a displacement of the gold standard. On February 3, 1886, Chairman Bland of the House committee on coinage reported a resolution reciting statements made in that address, and calling upon the Secretary of the Treasury for a detailed account of his administration of the Silver Coinage Act. Secretary Manning's reply was a long and weighty argument against continuing the coinage of silver. He contended that there was no hope of maintaining a fixed ratio between gold and silver except by international concert of action, but "the step is one which no European nation... will consent to take while the direct or indirect substitution of European silver for United States gold seems a possibility." While strong as to what not to do, his reply, like most of the state papers of this period, was weak as to what to do and how to do it. The outlook of the Secretary of the Treasury was so narrow that he was led to remark that "a delusion has spread that the Government has authority to fix the amount of the people's currency, and the power, and the duty." The Government certainly has the power and the duty of providing adequate currency supply through a sound banking system. The instinct of the people on that point was sounder than the view of their rulers.

Secretary Manning's plea had so little effect that the House promptly voted to suspend the rules in order to make a free coinage bill the special order of business until it was disposed of. But the influence of the Administration was strong enough to defeat the bill when it came to a vote. Though for a time, the legislative advance of the silver movement was successfully resisted, the Treasury Department was left in a difficult situation, and the expedients to which it resorted to guard the gold supply added to the troubles of the people in the matter of obtaining currency. The quick way of getting gold from the Treasury was to present legal tender notes for redemption. To keep this process in check, legal tender notes were impounded as they came in, and silver certificates were substituted in disbursements. But under the law of 1878, silver certificates could not be issued in denominations of less than ten dollars. A scarcity of small notes resulted, which oppressed retail trade until, in August, 1886, Congress authorized the issue of silver certificates in one and two and five dollar bills.

A more difficult problem was presented by the Treasury surplus which, by old regulations savoring more of barbarism than of civilized polity, had to be kept idle in the Treasury vaults. The only apparent means by which the Secretary of the Treasury could return his surplus funds to the channels of trade was by redeeming government bonds; but as these were the basis of bank note issues, the effect of any such action was to produce a sharp contraction in this class of currency. Between 1882 and 1889, national bank notes declined in amount from $356,060,348 to $199,779,011. In the same period, the issue of silver certificates increased from $63,204,780 to $276,619,715, and the total amount of currency of all sorts nominally increased from $1,188,752,363 to $1,405,018,000; but of this, $375,947,715 was in gold coin which was being hoarded, and national bank notes were almost equally scarce since they were virtually government bonds in a liquid form.

As the inefficiency of the monetary system came home to the people in practical experience, it seemed as if they were being plagued and inconvenienced in every possible way. The conditions were just such as would spread disaffection among the farmers, and their discontent sought an outlet. The growth of political agitation in the agricultural class, accompanied by a thorough-going disapproval of existing party leadership, gave rise to numerous new party movements. Delegates from the Agricultural Wheel, the Corn-Planters, the Anti-Monopolists, Farmers' Alliance, and Grangers, attended a convention in February, 1887, and joined the Knights of Labor and the Greenbackers to form the United Labor party. In the country, at this time, there were numerous other labor parties of local origin and composition, with trade unionists predominating in some places and Socialists in others. Very early, however, these parties showed a tendency to division that indicated a clash of incompatible elements. Single taxers, greenbackers, labor leaders, grangers, and socialists were agreed only in condemning existing public policy. When they came to consider the question of what new policy should be adopted, they immediately manifested irreconcilable differences. In 1888, rival national conventions were held in Cincinnati, one designating itself as the Union Labor party, the other as the United Labor party. One made a schedule of particular demands; the other insisted on the single tax as the consummation of their purpose in seeking reform. Both put presidential tickets in the field, but of the two, the Union Labor party made by far the better showing at the polls though, even so, it polled fewer votes than did the National Prohibition party. Although making no very considerable showing at the polls, these new movements were very significant as evidences of popular unrest. The fact that the heaviest vote of the Union Labor party was polled in the agricultural States of Kansas, Missouri, and Texas, was a portent of the sweep of the populist movement which virtually captured the Democratic party organization during President Cleveland's second term.

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