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do if dominated by the State as Paris was, the world stood aghast, horrified at the spectacle. And when the Commune was crushed under such monstrous atrocities as it had never dreamed of perpetrating, such in fact as had rarely, if ever, disgraced modern civilization, the same world looked on complacently. The number of working-men slaughtered was far greater than in 1848, and the slaughter was greatly more inhuman, as it included thousands of the captured. As many more were deported to die in malarious regions.



The uprising of the Commune of Paris, though not distinctively a socialist movement (the socialists in it were a small minority), was attended with such destruction, such horrors - obscuring the equal, even greater horrors of its suppression — as to discredit for a time all efforts to bring the working-men forward into the control of affairs, and gave the socialist propaganda a serious set-back. This, however, was

, only temporary. The unprecedented increase of wealth, becoming more and more astonishing, and the corresponding augmentation of the evils of capitalism, arouse in reflecting minds of the present generation a feeling of profound and well-nigh universal discontent. That the bulk of this newly created wealth falls into the hands of a comparatively few persons, while the great mass of the workers out of whose toil it comes live from hand to mouth, is a fact which to the latter and to all lovers of social justice cannot but be the more exasperating the more it is considered. In the United States, where of late riches have most rapidly multiplied, more than half the wealth is now reported to be in the hands of one per cent. of the population; creating an aristocracy most menacing to democratic institutions. When these people reach over the heads of the rest of us and direct the making and the administration of law, as they are beginning to do, what will it avail to call this a republic and ours a republican form of government? In the general eagerness to get hold of dollars men are found to let go of all higher considerations; and if at the polls numbers continue to count for something, with legislatures the one per cent. who hold the great fortunes often count for more, and manage with alarming frequency to bear down the expressed wish of the people. The merging of corporations and the general swallowing up of minor business interests are fast bringing the capital of the country where it can act unitedly in any emergency, and where, acting with the sagacity and freedom from moral restraint which inhere in it, it will inevitably be, if present tendencies go on, the “power behind the throne."

In the meantime the multitude, possessors of little or nothing, are in a state of bewilderment and deep dissatisfaction. The better wages paid in America, the unavoidable participation of the great part of the people in the advantages of a rapidly developing country, have contributed thus far to bring a considerable measure of comfort to some of them; but one has only to go into the large cities or into the great manufacturing centers to find that there are thousands upon tens of thousands of whose lot no such pleasant thing is to be said. Corporations rolling in wealth witness (if things which proverbially have no souls may be supposed to have eyes) without compunction the squalor in which live the operatives out of whose toil others are made rich - witness it, and complacently go on declaring generous dividends. Under such circumstances community of interest between employers and employed cannot exist; on the contrary, incessant antagonism arises, breaking ever and anon into open war.

Strike follows strike on both sides of the sea, recurring quite as frequently in our country where wages are highest as elsewhere, indicating that the provoking cause lies deeper than in the inadequacy of wages paid, - lies in the wage-system itself, which does not directly relate the reward of labor to the value of the product of that labor.

As yet we have not in this country given so much attention to social questions as have the people of some of the European countries. These questions have been less pressing here, partly because life in America has been generally easier for the poor. Population being less crowded, opportunities for employment have been better; a great work of development has called loudly for labor; food has often been cheaper, making subsistence less precarious. But we are behind in this matter chiefly for another and very different reason. At the very time when Lassalle in Germany and Marx from his covert in England were laying down the principles of the great social reconstruction and waking Europe to the strife for new social ideals, we were absorbed with the belated slavery question, elsewhere long before disposed of by enlightened nations. It was a social question, a social evil, we had to deal with; but we dealt with it politically, and with weapons of war. So it came about that though slavery was in form abolished, the social question involved in it remained unsettled, remained under the new conditions even more acute and more disturbing than

The artificial juxtaposition of races so distinct — instituted to meet the exigencies of a state of society so different from that which has supervened, a daily, hourly contact, become repugnant but not possibly to be avoided turns into a source of the gravest difficulties, and is calculated to render the administration of political and social justice on the boasted American principle of equal rights, even where attempted, a failure if not a mockery.

While in the progressive countries of Europe millions are awake and astir for a better social order, in many quarters all good citizens combining efficiently for purity in municipal government, establishing municipal ownership of public utilities, introducing new



and revolutionary fiscal ideas; incorporating, in short, in law and custom many of the principles of social

we have to confess a shameful backwardness along some of these lines. We are not as inquiet under existing conditions as we ought to be. We are too generally indifferent where we have reason to be profoundly concerned; too free from that troublesome but saving Unrest which is the generator of progress, the vis medicatrix naturæ for social ills.

But there are indications in this present time that public sentiment is at a turning point with us. Every now and then a voice is heard from an unexpected quarter, chiming in with voices more familiar, calling upon a people so great in spite of their faults, and having such unrivaled opportunities for greatness yet unattained, to get uneasy at the spectacle of municipal corruption, of graft and criminal greed, almost daily brought to light, and to consider from what is xposed what must be the unmeasured extent and what the baseness deep and damning of that which remains under cover. It is beginning to be more commonly seen and said that Mammon-worship is threatening the destruction of a people whose start among the nations, whose geographical situation, the productivity of whose soil, the extent of whose territory, and the imperishable glory of certain of whose heroes, should go far to make the happiest and best in the world. Let us hope the warning will be heeded in time!

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