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natural resources of the United States. But American democracy was based on free lands; these were the very conditions that shaped its growth and its fundamental traits. Thus time has revealed that these two ideals of pioneer democracy had elements of mutual hostility and contained the seeds of its dissolution. The present finds itself engaged in the task of readjusting its old ideals to new conditions and is turning increasingly to government to safeguard its traditional democracy. It is not surprising that socialism shows noteworthy gains as elections continue; that parties are forming on new lines; that the demand for primary elections, for popular choice of senators, initiative, referendum, and recall, is spreading, and that the regions once the centre of pioneer democracy exhibit these tendencies in the most marked degree. They are efforts to find substitutes for that former safeguard of democracy, the disappearing free lands. They are the sequence to the extinction of the frontier.
It is necessary next to notice that in the midst of all this national energy, and contemporaneous with the tendency to turn to the national government for protection to democracy, there is clear evidence of the persistence and the development of sectionalism. Whether we observe the grouping of votes in Congress and in general elections, or the organization and utterances of business leaders, or the association of scholars, churches, or other representatives of the things of the spirit, we find that American life is not only increasing in its national intensity but that it is integrating by sections. In part this is due to the factor of great spaces which make sectional rather than national organization the line of least resistance; but, in part, it is also the expression of the separate economic, political, and social interests and the separate spiritual life of the various geographic provinces or sections. The votes on the tariff, and in general the location of the strongholds of the Progressive Republican movement, illustrate this fact. The difficulty of adjusting railway rates to the diverse interests of different sections is another example. Whether the South should be supplied with salt from Kansas or from Michigan, whether Chicago and its tributary prairie areas should be supplied with lumber from the far Northwest, from Louisiana, or from some other area, depends upon the settlement of rates and involves adjudication by federal authorities, who are forced to recognize sectional interests. Without attempting to enter upon a more extensive discussion of sectionalism, I desire simply to point out that there are evidences that now, as formerly, the separate geographical interests have their leaders and spokesmen, that much Congressional legislation is determined by the contests, triumphs, or
compromises between the rival sections, and that the real federal relations of the United States seem likely to be shaped by the interplay of sectional with national forces rather than by the relation of state and nation. As time goes on and the nation adjusts itself more durably to the conditions of the differing geographic sections which make it up, they are coming to a new self-consciousness and a revived self-assertion. Our national character is a composite of these sections.
Obviously in attempting to indicate even a portion of the significant features of our recent history we have been obliged to take note of a complex of forces. The times are so close at hand that the relations between events and tendencies force themselves upon our attention. We must deal with the connections of geography, industrial growth, politics, and government. With these we must take into consideration the changing social composition, the inherited beliefs and habitual attitude of the masses of the people, the psychology of the nation and of the separate sections, as well as of the leaders. We must see how these leaders are shaped partly by their time and section, and how they are in part original, creative, by virtue of their own genius and initiative. We cannot neglect the moral tendencies and the ideals. All are related parts of the same subject and can no more be properly understood in isolation than the movement as a whole can be understood by neglecting some of these important factors, or by the use of a single method of investigation. Whatever be the truth regarding European history, American history is chiefly concerned with social forces, shaping and reshaping under the conditions of a nation changing as it adjusts to its environment. And this environment progressively reveals new aspects of itself, exerts new influences, and calls out new social organs and functions.
I have undertaken this rapid survey of recent history for two purposes. First, because it has seemed fitting to emphasize the significance of American development since the passing of the frontier, and, second, because in the observation of present conditions we may find assistance in our study of the past.
It is a familiar doctrine that each age studies its history anew and with interests determined by the spirit of the time. Each age finds it necessary to reconsider at least some portions of the past, from points of view furnished by new conditions which reveal the influence and significance of forces not adequately known by the historians of the previous generation. Unquestionably each investigator and writer is influenced by the times in which he lives and
while this fact exposes the historian to a bias, at the same time it affords him new instruments and new insight for dealing with his subject.
If recent history, then, gives new meaning to past events, if it has to deal with the rise into a commanding position of forces, the origin and growth of which may have been inadequately described or even overlooked by historians of the previous generation, it is important to study the present and the recent past, not only for themselves but also as the source of new hypotheses, new lines of inquiry, new criteria of the perspective of the remoter past. And, moreover, a just public opinion and a statesmanlike treatment of present problems demand that they be seen in their historical relations in order that history may hold the lamp for conservative reform. Seen from the vantage-ground of present developments what new light falls upon past events! When we consider what the Mississippi Valley has come to be in American life, and when we consider what it is yet to be, the young Washington, crossing the snows of the wilderness to summon the French to evacuate the portals of the great valley, becomes the herald of an empire. When we recall the titanic industrial power that has centred at Pittsburg, Braddock's advance to the forks of the Ohio takes on new meaning. "Carving a cross on the wilderness rim", even in defeat, he opened a road to what is now the centre of the world's industrial energy. The modifications which England proposed in 1794 to John Jay in the northwestern boundary of the United States from the Lake of the Woods to the Mississippi, seemed, doubtless, to him significant chiefly as a matter of principle and as a question of the retention or loss of beaver grounds. The historians hardly notice the proposals. But they involved, in fact, the ownership of the richest and most extensive deposits of iron ore in America, the all-important source of a fundamental industry of the United States, the occasion for the rise of some of the most influential forces of our time.
What continuity and meaning are furnished by the outcome in present times of the movements of minor political parties and reform agitations! To the historian they have often seemed to be mere curious side eddies, vexatious distractions to the course of his literary craft as it navigated the stream of historical tendency. And yet, by the revelation of the present, what seemed to be side eddies have not seldom proven to be the concealed entrances to the main current, and the course which seemed the central one has led to blind channels and stagnant waters, important in their day, but cut off like ox-bow lakes from the mighty river of historical progress by
the more permanent and compelling forces of the neglected currents. We may trace the contest between the capitalist and the democratic pioneer from the earliest colonial days. It is influential in colonial parties. It is seen in the vehement protests of Kentucky frontiersmen in petition after petition to the Congress of the Confederation against the "nabobs" and men of wealth who took out titles to the pioneers' farms while they themselves were too busy defending those farms from the Indians to perfect their claims. It is seen in the attitude of the Ohio Valley in its backwoods days before the rise of the Whig party, as when in 1811 Henry Clay denounced the Bank of the United States as a corporation which throve on special privileges-"a splendid association of favored individuals taken from the mass of society, and invested with exemptions and surrounded by immunities and privileges". Benton voiced the same contest twenty years later when he denounced the bank as
a company of private individuals, many of them foreigners, and the mass of them residing in a remote and narrow corner of the Union, unconnected by any sympathy with the fertile regions of the Great Valley in which the natural power of this Union, the power of numbers, will be found to reside long before the renewed term of the second charter would expire.
"And where", he asked, "would all this power and money centre? In the great cities of the Northeast, which have been for forty years and that by force of federal legislation, the lion's den of Southern and Western money-that den into which all the tracks point inward; from which the returning track of a solitary dollar has never yet been seen." Declaring, in words that have a very modern sound, that the bank tended to multiply nabobs and paupers, and that "a great moneyed power is favorable to great capitalists, for it is the principle of capital to favor capital", he appealed to the fact of the country's extent and its sectional divergences against the nationalizing of capital.
What a condition for a confederacy of states! What grounds for alarm and terrible apprehension when in a confederacy of such vast extent, so many rival commercial cities, so much sectional jealousy, such violent political parties, such fierce contests for power, there should be but one moneyed tribunal before which all the rival and contending elements must appear.
Even more vehement were the words of Jackson in 1837. "It is now plain", he wrote, " that the war is to be carried on by the monied aristocracy of the few against the democracy of numbers; the [prosperous] to make the honest laborers hewers of wood and drawers of water through the credit and paper system."
Van Buren's administration is usually passed hastily over with hardly more than mention of his Independent Treasury plan, and with particular consideration of the slavery discussions. But some of the most important movements in American social and political history began in these years of Jackson and Van Buren. Read the demands of the obscure labor papers and the reports of labor's open-air meetings anew, and you shall find in the utterances of socalled labor visionaries and the loco foco champions of "equal rights for all and special privileges for none", like Evans and Jacques, Byrdsall and Leggett, the finger points to the currents that now make the main channel of our history; you shall find in them some of the important planks of the platforms of the triumphant parties of our own day. As Professor Commons has shown by his papers and the documents which he has published on labor history, an idealistic but widespread and influential humanitarian movement, strikingly similar to that of the present, arose in the years between 1830 and 1850, dealing with social forces in American life, animated by a desire to apply the public lands to social amelioration, eager to find new forms of democratic development. But the flood of the slavery struggle swept all of these movements into its mighty inundation for the time. After the war, other influences delayed the revival of the movement. The railroads opened the vast prairies after 1850 and made it easy to reach them; and decade after decade new sections were reduced to the purposes of civilization and to the advantages of the common man as well as the promotion of great individual fortunes. The nation centred its interests in the development of the West. It is only in our own day that this humanitarian democratic wave has reached the level of those earlier years. But in the meantime there are clear evidences of the persistence of the forces, even though under strange guise. Read the platforms of the Greenback-Labor, the Granger, and the Populist parties, and you will find in those platforms, discredited and reprobated by the major parties of the time, the basic proposals of the Democratic party after its revolution under the leadership of Mr. Bryan, and of the Republican party after its revolution by Mr. Roosevelt. The Insurgent movement is so clearly related to the areas and elements that gave strength to this progressive assertion of old democratic ideals with new weapons, that it must be regarded as the organized refusal of these persistent tendencies to be checked by the advocates of more moderate measures.
I have dealt with these fragments of party history, not, of course, with the purpose of expressing any present judgment upon them, but