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had this reached an annual total of ten million long tons. But in the five years beginning with 1904 it averaged over twice that. By 1907 the United States had surpassed Great Britain, Germany, and France combined in the production of pig-iron and steel together, and in the same decade a single great corporation has established its domination over the iron mines and steel manufacture of the United States. It is more than a mere accident that the United States Steel Corporation with its stocks and bonds aggregating $1,400,000,000 was organized at the beginning of the present decade. The former wilderness about Lake Superior has, principally in the past two decades, established its position as overwhelmingly the preponderant source of iron ore, present and prospective, in the United States-a treasury from which Pittsburg has drawn wealth and extended its unparalleled industrial empire in these years. The tremendous energies thus liberated at this centre of industrial power in the United States revolutionized methods of manufacture in general, and in many indirect ways profoundly influenced the life of the nation.
Railroad statistics tell the same story of unprecedented development, the formation of a new industrial society. The number of passengers carried one mile more than doubled between 1890 and 1908; freight carried one mile has nearly trebled in the same period and has doubled in the past decade. Agricultural products tell a different story. The corn crop has only risen from about two billion bushels in 1891 to two and seven-tenths billions in 1909; wheat from six hundred and eleven million bushels in 1891 to only seven hundred and thirty-seven million in 1909, and cotton from about nine million bales in 1891 to ten and three-tenths million bales in 1909. Population has increased in the United States proper from about sixty-two and one-half millions in 1890 to seventy-five and one-half millions in 1900 and to about ninety millions in 1910.
It is clear from these statistics that the ratio of the nation's increased production of immediate wealth by the enormously increased exploitation of its remaining natural resources vastly exceeds the ratio of increase of population and still more strikingly exceeds the ratio of increase of agricultural products. Already population is pressing upon the food supply while capital consolidates in billion-dollar organizations. The “Triumphant Democracy” whose achievements the iron-master celebrated has reached a stature even more imposing than he could have foreseen; but still less did he perceive the changes in democracy itself and the conditions of its life which have accompanied this material growth.
Having colonized the Far West, having mastered its internal
resources, the nation turned at the conclusion of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century to deal with the Far East, to engage in the world-politics of the Pacific Ocean. Having brought to its logical conclusion its long continued expansion into the lands of the old Spanish empire by the successful outcome of the recent war, the United States became the mistress of the Philippines at the same time that it came into possession of the Hawaiian Islands, and the controlling influence in the Gulf of Mexico. It provided early in the present decade for connecting its Atlantic and Pacific coasts by the Isthmian Canal, and became an imperial republic with dependencies and protectorates-admittedly a new world-power, with a voice potential in the problems of Europe, Asia, and Africa.
This extension of power and undertaking of grave responsibilities in new fields, this entry into the sisterhood of world-states, was no unrelated event. It was, indeed, in some respects the logical outcome of the nation's march to the Pacific, the sequence to the era in which it was engaged in occupying the free lands and exploiting the resources of the West. When it had achieved this position among the nations of the earth, the United States found itself confronted, also, with the need of constitutional readjustment, arising from the relations of federal government and territorial acquisitions. It was obliged to reconsider questions of the rights of man and traditional American ideals of liberty and democracy, in view of the task of government of other races politically inexperienced and undeveloped.
When we turn to consider the effect upon American society and domestic policy in these two decades of transition we are met with palpable evidences of the invasion of the old pioneer democratic order. Obvious among them is the effect of unprecedented immigration to supply the mobile army of cheap labor for the centres of industrial life. In the past ten years, beginning with 1900, over eight million immigrants have arrived. The newcomers of the eight years since 1900 would, according to a writer in 1908, “repopulate all the five older New England States as they stand to-day; or, if properly disseminated over the newer parts of the country they would serve to populate no less than nineteen states of the union as they stand”. In 1907 " there were one and one-quarter million arrivals. This number would entirely populate both New Hampshire and Maine, two of our oldest states." The arrivals of this one year would found a state with more inhabitants than any one of twenty-one of our other existing commonwealths which could be named.” Not only has the addition to the population from
Europe been thus extraordinary, it has come in increasing measure from southern and eastern Europe. For the year 1907, Professor Ripley, whom I am quoting, has redistributed the incomers on the basis of physical type and finds that one-quarter of them were of the Mediterranean race, one-quarter of the Slavic race, one-eighth Jewish, and only one-sixth of the Alpine, and one-sixth of the Teutonic. In 1882 Germans had come to the amount of 250,000; in 1907 they were replaced by 330,000 South Italians. Thus it is evident that the ethnic elements of the United States have undergone startling changes; and instead of spreading over the nation these immigrants have concentrated especially in the cities and great industrial centres in the past decade. The composition of the labor class and its relation to wages and to the native American employer have been deeply influenced thereby; the element of sympathy with labor has been unfavorably affected by the pressure of great numbers of immigrants of alien nationality and of lower standards of life.
The familiar facts of the massing of population in the cities and contemporaneous increase of urban power, and of the massing of capital and production in fewer and vastly greater economic units, especially attest the revolution. “It is a proposition too plain to require elucidation", wrote Richard Rush, Secretary of the Treasury, in his report of 1827, “that the creation of capital is retarded rather than accelerated by the diffusion of a thin population over a great surface of soil.” Thirty years earlier Albert Gallatin declared in Congress that “if the cause of the happiness of this country were examined into, it would be found to arise as much from the great plenty of land in proportion to the inhabitants which their citizens enjoyed as from the wisdom of their political institutions. Possibly both of these Pennsylvania financiers were right under the conditions of the time; but it is at least significant that capital and labor entered upon a new era as the end of the free lands approached. A contemporary of Gallatin in Congress had replied to the argument that cheap lands would depopulate the Atlantic coast by saying that if a law were framed to prevent ready access to western lands it would be tantamount to saying that there is some class which must remain “and by law be obliged to serve the others for such wages as they pleased to give”. The passage of the arable public domain into private possession has raised this question in a new form and has brought forth new answers. This is peculiarly the era when competitive individualism in the midst of vast unappropriated opportunities changed into monopoly, by huge aggregations of capital, of
the fundamental industrial processes as the free lands disappeared. All the tendencies of the large-scale production of the twentieth century, all of the energies of the age of steam, found in America exceptional freedom of action and were offered regions of activity equal to the states of all western Europe. Here they reached their highest development.
The decade following 1907 is marked by the work of Mr. Harriman and his rivals in building up the various railroads into a few great groups, a process that had gone so far that before his death Mr. Harriman was ambitious to concentrate them all under his single control. High finance under the leadership of Mr. Morgan has steadily achieved the consolidation of the greater industries into trusts or combinations and has effected a community of interests between them and a few dominant banking organizations, with allied insurance companies and trust companies. In New York City have been centred as never before the banking reserves of the nation, and here by the financial management of capital and speculative promotion there has grown up a unified control over the nation's industrial life. Colossal private fortunes have arisen. No longer is the per capita wealth of the nation a real index to the prosperity of the average man. Labor on the other hand has shown an increasing self-consciousness, is combining and increasing its demands. In a word, the old pioneer individualism is disappearing, while the forces of social combination are manifesting themselves as never before. The self-made man has become, in popular speech, the coal baron, the steel king, the oil king, the cattle king, the railroad magnate, the master of high finance, the monarch of trusts. The world has never before seen such huge fortunes exercising combined control over the economic life of a people, and such luxury as has come out of the individualistic pioneer democracy of America in the course of its competitive evolution.
At the same time the masters of industry, who control interests which represent billions of dollars, do not admit that they have broken with pioneer ideals. They regard themselves as pioneers under changed conditions, carrying on the old work of developing the natural resources of the nation, compelled by the constructive fever in their veins, even in ill-health and old age and after the accumulation of wealth beyond their power to enjoy, to seek new avenues of action and of power, to chop new clearings, to find new trails, to expand the horizon of the nation's activity, and to extend the scope of their dominion. “This country”, said the late Mr. Harriman in an interview a few years ago, “has been developed by a wonderful people, flush with enthusiasm, imagination and speculative bent. ... They have been magnificent pioneers. They saw into the future and adapted their work to the possibilities. . . . Stifle that enthusiasm, deaden that imagination and prohibit that speculation by restrictive and cramping conservative law, and you tend to produce a moribund and conservative people and country." This is an appeal to the historic ideals of Americans who viewed the republic as the guardian of individual freedom to compete for the control of the natural resources of the nation.
On the other hand, we have the voice of the insurgent West, recently given utterance in the New Nationalism of ex-President Roosevelt, demanding increase of federal authority to curb the special interests, the powerful industrial organizations, and the monopolies, for the sake of the conservation of our natural resources and the preservation of American democracy.
The past decade has witnessed an extraordinary federal activity in limiting individual and corporate freedom for the benefit of society. To that decade belong the Conservation Congresses and the effective organization of the Forest Service, and the Reclamation Service. Taken together these developments alone would mark a new era, for over three hundred million acres are, as a result of this policy, reserved from entry and sale, an area more than equal to that of all the states which established the Constitution, if we exclude their western claims; and these reserved lands are held for a more beneficial use of their forests, minerals, arid tracts, and water rights, by the nation as a whole. Another example is the extension of the activity of the Department of Agriculture, which seeks the remotest regions of the earth for crops suitable to the areas reclaimed by the government, maps and analyzes the soils, fosters the improvement of seeds and animals, tells the farmer when and how and what to plant, and makes war upon diseases of plants and animals and insect pests. The recent legislation for pure food and meat inspection, and the whole mass of regulative law under the Interstate Commerce Clause of the Constitution, further illustrate the same tendency.
Two ideals were fundamental in traditional American thought, ideals that developed in the pioneer era. One was the ideal of individual freedom to compete unrestrictedly for the resources of a continent—the squatter ideal. The other was the ideal of a democracy"government of the people, by the people and for the people". The operation of these ideals took place contemporaneously with the passing into private possession of the free public domain and the