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THE LIBRARY

OF

THE UNIVERSITY

OF CALIFORNIA

RIVERSIDE




UNDEECUEEENTS IN AMEEICAN
POLITICS




UNDERCURRENTS

IN

AMERICAN POLITICS



COMPRISING THE FORD LECTURES, DELIVERED AT

OXFORD UNIVERSITY

AND THE BARBOUR-PAGE LECTURES, DELIVERED AT

THE UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA

IN THE SPRING OF 1914



BY

ARTHUR TWINING HADLEY

PRESIDENT OF YALE UNIVERSITY




NEW HAVEN: YALE UNIVERSITY PRESS

LONDON: HUMPHREY MILPORD

OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS

MDCCCCXV



hi






COPYRIGHT, 1915

BY
YAXE UNIVERSITY PRESS



First printed May, 1915, 1000 copies
Reprinted November, 1915, 1000 copies



PREFACE

In the spring of 1914 it was my privilege to
deliver the Barbour-Page Lectures at the Univer-
sity of Virginia and the Ford Lectures at Oxford
University. As the two courses dealt with kindred
subjects, I am publishing them in a single volume.

The whole might well have been entitled ' ' Extra-
Constitutional Government in the United States."
The Oxford Lectures, on Property and Democracy,
show how a great many organized activities of the
community have been kept out of government con-
trol altogether. The Virginia Lectures, on Politi-
cal Methods, show how those matters which were
left in government hands have often been managed
by very different agencies from those which the
framers of our Constitution intended.

As the first three lectures were delivered to an
English audience, they contain some explanations
which are unnecessary for American readers; but
it seemed on the whole better to print them in their
original form.

110463



vi PREFACE

When so wide a range of topics is treated in so
small a book, it is impossible to give any adequate
set of references to authorities. I have tried in the
several lectures to make due acknowledgment to
the men who have most nearly anticipated my lines
of thought or have furnished me with the largest
budgets of illustrative facts ; but I have only been
able to name a few among the many to whom I am
thus indebted.

Yale University, New Haven
April 1915



TABLE OF CONTENTS
PROPERTY AND DEMOCRACY

LECTURE I

THE GRADUAL DEVELOPMENT OP AMERICAN

DEMOCRACY ..... 3

Colonial organization was essentially aris-
tocratic ...... 3

Religious exclusiveness in New England, 4.
Large land grants in middle colonies, 6. Effect
of slavery in south, 8.

Independence made no immediate change
in this respect ..... 10
Universal suffrage not adopted, 11. High prop-
erty qualifications, 11. Leaders of both parties
aristocratic, 13.

The turning point came in 1820 with the
advent of a new generation ... 14
Effect of political watchwords, 15. Effect of
Hamilton's land policy, 16. Western type of
man and commonwealth, 20. Andrew Jackson, 20.
Political democracy established before 1840, 22.

The political change was attended with a
social change, but not with an industrial
one ....... 25

Contrast between Europe and America, 27.
Absence of labor legislation, 27. Socialistic agi-
tation not effective, 30.



viii CONTENTS

LECTURE II

THE CONSTITUTIONAL POSITION OF THE PROP-
ERTY OWNER ..... 32

The American political and social system is
based on industrial property rights . 33

Traditional opposition between military and in-
dustrial classes in Europe, 33. No such tradition
in America, 35. Working and fighting power in
same hands, 36.

These rights have been protected by a con-
stitutional compact .... 37

Character of the Constitutional Convention of
1787, 38. Balance between home rule party and
federal party, 39. Immunities given to the
property owner, 40. The American doctrine of
sovereignty, 42.

No serious attempt has been made to amend
the Constitutional provisions protecting
property ...... 47

A democracy of small landowners, 48. Need
of attracting capital, 49. Freedom of incorpora-
tion, 51. Constitutional guarantees of corporate
independence, 53. The Dartmouth College case,
54. The Fourteenth Amendment and the San
Mateo case, 55.

The Civil War produced industrial unrest,
but not industrial reform ... 56
Emancipation of slaves, 56. Currency agitation,
57. High protective tariff, 58. The competitive
system in America, 59. Its effect on industrial
efficiency, 62.



CONTENTS ix

LECTURE III

RECENT TENDENCIES IN ECONOMICS AND IN

LEGISLATION ..... 64

Competition did not protect shippers
against abuse of railway power . . 65
Sudden discovery of this fact after the civil war,
66. The Granger movement, 67. Kailway com-
missions and the Interstate Commerce Act of
1887, 71.

Failure of competition was not confined to
railways ...... 72

Other public utilities put under control of com-
missions, 73. Attempt to enforce competition in
productive industry, 74. The Sherman Anti-
Trust Act of 1890 not enforced for several years
after its passage, 75.

The present century has witnessed the first
serious movement toward state socialism
in America ..... 76

Humanitarian development in Nineteenth Cen-
tury, 76. Labor agitation ineffective when it
antagonized small landowners, 78. Change in
Twentieth Century, 80. Small property owners
now ranged against the money power, 81. Char-
acter of new laws passed since 1903, 86. In-
creased activity in enforcing old laws, 86. Symp-
toms of a reaction, 88. Practical limits to state
control in America today, 90.



CONTENTS



POLITICAL METHODS OLD AND NEW

LECTURE IV
THE GROWTH OF PARTY MACHINERY . . 97

The perversion of party government . 97
Two distinct senses of the word party, 99.
Either a means of organizing public opinion in-
telligently, or an agency for controlling the
offices of the country as a source of power and
livelihood, 99. Second meaning tends to sup-
plant the first, 101.

Constitution makes no provision against
this danger . . . . .102

Prescribed mode of election and duties of public
officers, 105. Did not prescribe mode of nomi-
nation or character of pledges that might be
exacted of the candidate, 105.

Actual agencies of nomination . . . 108
Caucus established 1796, 108. Overthrown 1824,

109. Substitution of the convention system, 110.
Made power less responsible instead of more so,

110. Martin Van Buren, 111.

Rewards of irresponsible activity . . 113
Municipal and state offices, 114. Jackson and
the Federal civil service, 116. Franchises, local
and national, 118. The tariff and the currency
as party issues, 120.



CONTENTS xi

LECTURE V
THE REACTION AGAINST MACHINE CONTROL . 122

Ineffective remedies .... 123
Turning one party out brings the machinery of
another party into office, 123. Predatory pov-
erty as dangerous a thing as predatory wealth,
125.

Partially effective remedies . . . 127
Separation of local from national issues, 128.
Brought to public notice by New York election of
1871, 129. Local politics made increasingly inde-
pendent of national party affiliations, 131. Elec-
tion of United States senators by the people,
132. Civil service reform, 134. What it has
accomplished and what it fails to accomplish,
136.

Present experiments and tendencies . . 137

Distrust of the legislature, 137. Direct legis-
lation through state constitutions, 143. The
referendum and initiative, 145. The direct pri-
mary, 146. The recall, 147.

LECTURE VI
THE SEAT OF POWER TODAY .... 149

Unorganized political opinion ineffective . 149

New system transfers political chicane from
party organization to groups of individuals, 151.
Creation of public sentiment by newspapers, 152.



adi CONTENTS

Growth of the independent press . . 153

The slavery agitation, 154. The campaign
against Tweed in New York, 155. Pulitzer's
theory of journalism, 158. Lessened power of
party leaders, 159. Government by popular
opinion, 159.

Unforeseen consequences of the change . 162

The appeal to emotion, 163. The appeal to im-
patience, 167. Theory of popular omniscience,
170. Undervaluation of the expert, 172. True
function of voters in a democracy, 174.

INDEX ...... 181



PEOPEETY AND DEMOCEACY



THE GRADUAL DEVELOPMENT OF
AMERICAN DEMOCRACY

At the time of the adoption of the federal con-
stitution in 1788 neither the United States as a
whole, nor any of the several commonwealths of
which it was composed, was a democracy in the
modern sense of the word.

Ever since their original settlement the political
and social system of the English colonies in
North America had been essentially aristocratic.
Nowhere among them do we find universal suffrage.
The right to vote was always confined to taxpayers,
and almost always to freeholders. In one colony
the minimum freehold qualification for the suffrage
was a thousand acres. Nor were the voters as a
body generally allowed the privilege of choosing
the chief magistrates. The higher administrative
officers were either appointed by the crown or
elected by councils composed of a few of the richest
and most influential citizens. The man of small
means and unconsidered ancestry had very little
direct participation in the affairs of state.



4 UNDERCURRENTS IN POLITICS

Of course the conditions varied in different parts
of the country. The nearest approach to democracy
was found northeast of the Hudson river, in the
colonies of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode
Island and Connecticut. The settlers in this dis-
trict were for the most part Puritans. The region
was so inhospitable that it did not attract men of
wealth. In three of the four colonies a religious
rather than d commercial motive had been domi-
nant in the foundation. There was no opportunity
for the growth of a leisure class, nor would public
sentiment have approved of it if there had been.
But though the New England freeholders were
poor, they were exclusive. Though they tilled their
own lands, it did not prevent them from being
politically arrogant, any more than the same cause
had prevented a Cincinnatus or a Fabius from
being politically arrogant in the early days of the
Roman republic. The freeman of a Massachusetts
commonwealth looked upon new settlers who
aspired to become freemen with much the same
suspicious eye with which the Roman patrician
regarded his plebeian neighbors.

These suspicions were most strongly manifested
when the new settlers held a different creed from
the older ones. The original emigrants to Massa-
chusetts were Congregationalists. They looked



DEVELOPMENT OF DEMOCRACY 5

upon members of any other sect as men of doubtful
character, not to be trusted with the administration
of a growing commonwealth. "Woe to the Episco-
palian who held that his Lares and Penates were
as good politically as those of his Congregational
brother! During the earlier years of the history
of Massachusetts the charter required that the
freemen should be godly ; and the Puritan founders
of the colony doubted very gravely whether the
Thirty-nine Articles were a sufficiently acceptable
road to godliness to make it wise to trust the
Episcopalian with the franchise. Even when the
franchise itself had been more liberally bestowed
and political power had thus become diffused
through the whole body of freeholders, the spirit
of social exclusiveness remained almost unchanged.
For a great deal of the work of New England
society centered around the church rather than the
state; and the church was controlled by the
descendants of the original settlers.*

* The parallel between the aristocracy of New England
and the aristocracy of the early Roman republic has much
interest and significance.

In either case the aristocrats were at once farmers and
fighters, tilling the soil and resisting the enemy by turns.
In either case there was a body of outside or plebeian
neighbors, some of whom were just as wealthy as any of
the patrician aristocrats, who were for a time excluded



6 UNDERCURRENTS IN POLITICS

What was conspicuously true of Massachusetts
was true to a somewhat less degree in the other
New England colonies. They were societies of poor
but proud aristocrats. Connecticut was in some
respects the most independent and democratic of
all the New England commonwealths. Yet even in
Connecticut class distinctions were so strong that
down to the very eve of the Revolution the names
of the students in the catalogue of Yale College
were arranged, not in alphabetical rank, but in the
order of the respectability of their parentage.

In the group of colonies immediately southwest

from the offices and privileges of the state. The barrier
which separated the different classes from one another,
whether in Eome or in Massachusetts, was not primarily
a political but a religious one. The plebeian had not the
same gods as the patrician. The Episcopalian had not the
same gods as the Congregationalist. Long after the plebeian
had obtained equal rights to military offices like the consul-
ship or the dictatorship, he was excluded from semi-religious
positions like that of the praetor. The same thing holds
good in Massachusetts. Both in Home and in New England
the ruling class, when compelled to grant political equality,
tried to keep a modicum of their old power by reserving a
good deal of public authority to the representatives of the
church of the founders. This authority the outsider could
not claim to share merely because he shared the franchise
or the right of holding military command, unless he had
gone through the process which the Massachusetts Christian
described in terms borrowed from the phraseology of pagan
Eome the process of " sanctification and adoption."



DEVELOPMENT OF DEMOCRACY 7

of the Hudson river the social system was of a
different kind. There was much less religious
exclusiveness, there was much more commercial
inequality. Neither the Dutch in New York, the
Quakers in Pennsylvania, nor the Catholics who
followed Lord Baltimore to Maryland, showed the
same degree of bigotry and intolerance that ani-
mated the settlers of New England. These colonies
were to a greater or less extent trading ventures,
in which the heads of the enterprise reserved for
themselves the dominant influence in the direction
and control of affairs. Instead of a religious
aristocracy of small farmers, we therefore find a
commercial aristocracy of traders and planters.
The agricultural land of New York was largely
held by a few patroons or semi-feudal overlords;
a system originally established by the Dutch but
not essentially altered or disturbed when the
colony passed under British sovereignty. The
charters of the other colonies in this region New
Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland
either explicitly provided for a similar form of
organization or tacitly encouraged it. In all these
colonies, therefore, the influence of a comparatively
small number of wealthy citizens was dominant.

This dominance of wealth was even more marked
south of the Potomac, in the colonies or plantations



8 UNDERCURRENTS IN POLITICS

of Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia. The
agricultural conditions of this region made a
system, of large holdings or plantations profitable
both to the colonists themselves and to the fiscal
agents of the mother country. Inequalities of
wealth which in the middle colonies were an
accident became in the southern colonies an indus-
trial advantage if not an economic necessity.
Moreover the southern plantations were particu-
larly suitable to the employment of slave labor
first that of convicts or redemptioners, and after-
ward of negroes imported for the purpose. As is
generally the case where slavery prevails, the body
of freemen gradually divided itself into two
classes: those who were rich enough to own slaves
and those who were not. The former class, as is
usual in such communities, succeeded in engrossing
the political authority; partly by law, partly by
political maneuvering, and partly by the force of
social usage.

According to a report of the Surveyor General
of the Colonial Customs at the beginning of the
eighteenth century, quoted by Hildreth,* there were

* The account of colonial conditions given by Hildreth is
in many respects better than that which we have received
from later historians. Hildreth 's merits have been some-
what underrated, owing to his intense partisanship in deal-



DEVELOPMENT OF DEMOCRACY 9

in Virginia on each of the four great rivers men
in number from ten to thirty, who by trade and
industry had "gotten very competent estates."
These gentlemen took care to supply the poorer
sort with goods and necessaries, and were sure to
keep them always in their debt and consequently
dependent on them. Out of this number were
chosen the council, assembly, justices, and other
officers of government. The justices, besides their
judicial functions, managed the business and
finances of their respective counties. Parish affairs
were in the hands of self-perpetuating vestries,
which kept even the ministers in check by avoiding
induction and hiring them only from year to year.
The twelve counselors possessed extensive author-
ity; their assent was necessary to all the governor's
official acts; they constituted one branch of the

ing with American political history at the end of the
eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth century; but
his treatment of early colonial affairs is comparatively
unaffected by this partisanship, and shows the good effect
of contact, personal and social, with colonial traditions.
The men with whom Hildreth had talked in his boyhood
came of these colonial families whose methods and doings
he described. They had retained to a surprisingly large
extent the prejudices and feelings of their grandfathers.
In spite of his late date Hildreth thus speaks in the
character of an eyewitness. There is, I believe, no other
American historian of whom this fact is true in approxi-
mately equal extent.



10 UNDERCURRENTS IN POLITICS

Assembly; they exercised the principal judicial
authority as judges of the General Court; they
were at the head of the militia as lieutenants of
the counties; they acted as collectors of the export
duty on tobacco and the other provincial imposts,
and generally also of the Parliamentary duties,
while they farmed the king's quit-rents at a very
favorable bargain. A majority of these counselors,
united together by a sort of family compact,
aspired to engross the entire management of the
province.

All this is doubtless somewhat overstated. Con-
ditions were probably not as bad as this in 1705,
when the report was written; they certainly were
not as bad at the time of the Revolution. But we
are quite safe in saying that Thomas Jefferson's
doctrines of political equality were not drawn from
an observation of the practices that prevailed in
his immediate neighborhood.

The Revolution of 1776 severed the relation of
the colonies to the mother country but did not
greatly alter the constitutions under which they
were organized. These constitutions continued to
follow the lines set down in the colonial charters in
all respects except those which concerned the Eng-



DEVELOPMENT OF DEMOCRACY 11

lish overlord. Before the Revolution most of the
colonies had been compelled to accept the governors
appointed by the crown; after the Revolution the
leading citizens elected their own governors and
fixed the bounds of their authority; but with
that exception the machinery was arranged and
conducted in pretty much the same manner as
before. No immediate attempt was made to extend
the right of suffrage or to increase the proportion
of elective offices. The property qualifications
demanded of officeholders remained very high.
In South Carolina, to quote an extreme instance,
no man could serve as governor unless he owned
property to the value of ten thousand pounds;
which even in the depreciated currency was an
enormous sum for that time. The social order was
essentially an aristocratic one not quite so much
so as it was in England at that time, but very much
more so than it is in England today. While the
right to stand for office was not denied to qualified
voters of proper age and substance, the actual
holding of office was chiefly enjoyed by such persons
as happened to belong to families of standing and
consideration.

Nor did the adoption of the Federal Constitution
involve any necessary or immediate change in these
particulars. This constitution indeed provided



12 UNDERCURRENTS IN POLITICS

that each of the several federated states should
have a republican form of government. But to
the makers of the Federal Constitution the word
"republican" did not mean democratic. The
members of the convention that drafted it were
representatives of the conservative class in the
community. Their "republic" was the equivalent
of Aristotle's "politeia, " or self-governing com-
monwealth. Most of them would have been horror-
stricken at the idea of universal suffrage. There
was indeed in all the states a strong minority of
real democrats, many of whom opposed the adop-
tion of the Constitution. But the necessity of
having an efficient central government was so
obvious that the views of the conservative party
prevailed decisively; and the outspoken champions
of democracy were forced to acquiesce, as best they
might, in the adoption of a polity which some of
them regarded as a betrayal of the cause of popular
liberty.

The conservatives or Federalists remained in
control for twelve years after they had secured
the passage of the Constitution. Then it was the
turn of the Democrats, who came into power with
the election of Thomas Jefferson in 1800. It is,
however, significant of the state of popular feeling
at the time that the advent of the popular party



DEVELOPMENT OF DEMOCRACY 13

to office was signalized by no important political
or social changes.* Jefferson's administration
illustrated the old adage, "A radical plus power
equals a conservative." The leaders of the Demo-
crats, like the leaders of the Federalists, were for
the most part representatives of old families.
Madison and Monroe bore as respectable names as
Washington or Adams. Aaron Burr, arch-democrat
and corrupter of society, who taught Tammany
Hall the methods which have made New York
politics a byword, was of as good social standing
as Alexander Hamilton, friend of "Washington and
founder of the republic's fiscal system.

To make America a democracy, in fact as well
as in name, it was not enough for one party to pass
out of power. It was necessary for one whole
generation to pass off the stage and give place to

* The apparent change of front by the Democratic leaders
in the years immediately following the adoption of the
United States Constitution was due to two causes.

In the first place, the formation of a centralized govern-
ment under the new constitution was actually followed by
a high degree of prosperity. The years preceding 1788 had
been a time of depression. The decade that immediately
followed was one of commercial expansion. It was natural,
and in fact inevitable, that this change from depression
to prosperity should be attributed to the Constitution and
that that instrument should become popular with everybody
who benefited by the commercial improvement.

The views of the extreme Democrats were further dis-



14 UNDERCURRENTS IN POLITICS

a new generation with other antecedents and other
ideals. Until about the year 1820 the citizens of
the United States were British subjects who had
accidentally transferred their allegiance without
correspondingly altering their political instincts.
The United States remained in many essential
features a group of English colonies, separated
from the mother country in 1776, somewhat against
their will, by the want of tact of George the Third
and his ministers, and united with one another in
1788, also somewhat against their will, by the
extraordinary tact of the leaders of the Consti-
tutional Convention. Colonial, however, they
remained in feeling, and separate also to a large
degree in feeling, for twenty or thirty years
afterward.

But with the advent of a new generation things
were altered. Farrand, who among all our histo-

credited by the history of the French Eevolution in 1792
and 1793. The excesses of the Eeign of Terror gave
conservatives in America as well as in England strong
arguments against putting unrestricted power in the hands
of the masses, and made Democrats themselves doubt
whether their own theories of popular government were as
good practical guides as they had previously supposed.
Jefferson and his immediate followers never abandoned
their belief in the people, but they modified to some extent
their desire to trust the people with the direct exercise of
administrative authority.


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