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Steel Corporation. The world has never seen such a consolidation of capital and so complete a systematization of economic processes.

Such is the economic appearance of the Middle West a century after the pioneers left the frontier village of Pittsburgh and crossed the Ohio into the forests. De Tocqueville exclaimed, with reason, in 1833: “ This gradual and continuous progress of the European race toward the Rocky Mountains has the solemnity of a providential event. It is like a deluge of men, rising unabatedly, and driven daily onward by the hand of God.”

The ideals of the Middle West began in the log huts set in the midst of the forest a century ago. While his horizon was still bounded by the clearing that his ax had made, the pioneer dreamed of continental conquests. The vastness of the wilderness kindled his imagination. His vision saw beyond the dank swamp at the edge of the great lake to the lofty buildings and the jostling multitudes of a mighty city; beyond the rank, grass-clad prairie to the seas of golden grain; beyond the harsh life of the log hut and the sod house to the home of his children, where should dwell comfort and the higher things of life, though they might not be for him. The men and women who made the Middle West were idealists, and they had the power of will to make their dreams come true. Here, also, X were the pioneer's traits,- individual activity, inventiveness, and competition for the prizes of the rich province that awaited exploitation under freedom and equality of opportunity. He honored the man whose eye was the quickest and whose grasp was the strongest in this contest: it was

every one for him. self.”

The early society of the Middle West was not a complex, highly differentiated and organized society. Almost every family was a self-sufficing unit, and liberty and equality flour

ished in the frontier periods of the Middle West as per

haps never before in history. American democracy came from X the forest, and its destiny drove it to material conquests; but

the materialism of the pioneer was not the dull contented materialism of an old and fixed society. Both native settler and European immigrant saw in this free and competitive movement of the frontier the chance to break the bondage of social rank, and to rise to a higher plane of existence. The pioneer was passionately desirous to secure for himself and for his family a favorable place in the midst of these large and free but vanishing opportunities. It took a century for this society to fit itself into the conditions of the whole province. Little by little, nature pressed into her mold the plastic pioneer life. The Middle West, yesterday a pioneer province, is to-day the field of industrial resources and systematization so vast that Europe, alarmed for her industries in competition with this new power, is discussing the policy of forming protective alliances among the nations of the continent. Into this region flowed the great forces of modern capitalism. Indeed, the region itself furnished favorable conditions for the creation of these forces, and trained many of the famous

American industrial leaders. The Prairies, the Great Plains, * and the Great Lakes furnished new standards of industrial

measurement. From this society, seated amidst a wealth of material advantages, and breeding individualism, energetic competition, inventiveness, and spaciousness of design, came the triumph of the strongest. The captains of industry arose and seized on nature's gifts. Struggling with one another, increasing the scope of their ambitions as the largeness of the resources and the extent of the fields of activity revealed themselves, they were forced to accept the natural conditions of a province vast in area but simple in structure. Competition grew into consolidation. On the Pittsburgh border of

seen.

the Middle West the completion of the process is most clearly

On the prairies of Kansas stands the Populist, a survival of the pioneer, striving to adjust present conditions to his old ideals.

The ideals of equality, freedom of opportunity, faith in the X common man are deep rooted in all the Middle West. The frontier stage, through which each portion passed, left abiding traces on the older, as well as on the newer, areas of the province. Nor were these ideals limited to the native American settlers: Germans and Scandinavians who poured into the Middle West sought the country with like hopes and like faith. These facts must be remembered in estimating the effects of the economic transformation of the province upon its democracy. The peculiar democracy of the frontier has passed away with the conditions that produced it; but the democratic aspirations remain. They are held with passionate determination.

The task of the Middle West is that of adapting democ-X racy to the vast economic organization of the present. This region which has so often needed the reminder that big. ness is not greatness, may yet show that its training has produced the power to reconcile popular government and culture with the huge industrial society of the modern world. The democracies of the past have been small communities, under simple and primitive economic conditions. At bottom the problem is how to reconcile real greatness with bigness.

It is important that the Middle West should accomplish this; the future of the Republic is with her. Politically she is x dominant, as is illustrated by the fact that six out of seven of the Presidents elected since 1860 have come from her borders. Twenty-six million people live in the Middle West as against twenty-one million in New England and the Middle States together, and the Middle West has indefinite capacity for

growth. The educational forces are more democratic than in the East, and the Middle West has twice as many students (if we count together the common school, secondary, and collegiate attendance), as have New England and the Middle States combined. Nor is this educational system, as a whole, inferior to that of the Eastern States. State universities crown the public school system in every one of these States of the Middle West, and rank with the universities of the seaboard, while private munificence has furnished others on an unexampled scale. The public and private art collections of Pittsburgh, Chicago, St. Paul, and other cities rival those of the seaboard. “World's fairs,” with their important popular educational influences, have been held at Chicago, Omaha, and Buffalo; and the next of these national gatherings is to be at St. Louis. There is throughout the Middle West a vigor and a mental activity among the common people that bode well for its future. If the task of reducing the Province of the Lake and Prairie Plains to the uses of civilization should for a time overweigh art and literature, and even high political and social ideals, it would not be surprising. But if the ideals of the pioneers shall survive the inundation of material success, we may expect to see in the Middle West the rise of a highly intelligent society where culture shall be reconciled with democracy in the large.

V

THE OHIO VALLEY IN AMERICAN HISTORY 1

In a notable essay Professor Josiah Royce has asserted the salutary influence of a highly organized provincial life in order to counteract certain evils arising from the tremendous development of nationalism in our own day. Among these evils he enumerates: first, the frequent changes of dwelling place, whereby the community is in danger of losing the well-knit organization of a common life; second, the tendency to reduce variety in national civilization, to assimilate all to a common type and thus to discourage individuality, and produce a “remorseless mechanism - vast, irrational;" third,

, the evils arising from the fact that waves of emotion, the passion of the mob, tend in our day to sweep across the nation.

Against these surges of national feeling Professor Royce would erect dikes in the form of provincialism, the resistance of separate sections each with its own traditions, beliefs and aspirations. “Our national unities have grown so vast, our forces of social consolidation so paramount, the resulting problems, conflicts, evils, have become so intensified," he says, that we must seek in the province renewed strength, usefulness and beauty of American life.

Whatever may be thought of this philosopher's appeal for a revival of sectionalism, on a higher level, in order to check the tendencies to a deadening uniformity of national con

1 An address before the Ohio Valley Historical Association, October 16, 1909.

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