David Starr Jordan.

Imperial democracy; a study of the relation of government by the people, equality before the law, and other tenets of democracy, to the demands of a vigorous foreign policy and other demands of imperial dominion online

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David Starr Jordan, LL. D., President of
Leland Stanford Junior University.






" They enslave their cHi'dren's children who
make compromise -*it!i s>:nj' , ,

. ~ ";" ;














The present volume contains eight addresses bearing on the
policy of the United States, especially concerning the war with
Spain and its results.

The first address " Lest We Forget," was delivered May 25th,
1898, on the occasion of the graduation of the Class of 1898, in
the Leland Stanford Junior University. As this address has in a
sense a historical value, being one of the very first of hiany of
its kind, it is here published exactly as delivered with the change
of a word or two only and the omission of a brief quotation.
The second address, "Colonial Expansion," delivered before
the Congress of Religions at Omaha in October, 1898, is here
modified by the omission of a few passages which were used also
on the previous occasion. The third address, " A Blind Man's
Holiday," was read on February I4th, 1899, before the Gradu-
ate Club of Leland Stanford Junior University, and afterwards
repeated before the congregation of Temple Emanu-El in San
Francisco and the Berkeley Club in Oakland. It was reprinted
for general circulation under the title of " The Question of the
Philippines," by the courtesy of Mr. John J. Valentine, who has
also published a similar edition of " Lest We Forget." The
essay on the " Colonial Lessons of Alaska " was delivered be-
fore the University Extension Club of San Jose ; that on the
" Lessons of the Paris Tribunal," before the Congregationalist
Club in San Francisco. The essay on " A Continuing City "
was delivered before the New Charter Association of San Fran-

The essay on the " Last of the Puritans " is introduced to show
the substantial identity of the arguments for slavery or control


of man by man, benevolent or otherwise, with those for im-
perial dominion or the control of nation by nation, of race by
race, each has industrial and civil good for its avowed purpose,
and each has brute force for its method.

I am indebted to Mr Walter H. Page, editor of the Atlantic
Monthly, for permission to reprint " The Colonial Lessons of
Alaska," to Dr. N. C. Gilman, editor of the New World, for the
privilege of republishing the essay on " Colonial Expansion,"
to Whitaker and Ray of San Francisco for permission to use
- The Last of the Puritans," and to Mr. J. M. Rice, editor of the
Forum, for permission to reprint "The Lessons of the Paris
Tribunal of Arbitration.*

Leland Stanford Junior University, Palo Alto,
Santa Clara Co., California,


1. Lest We Forget I

2. Colonial Expansion 39

3. A Blind Man's Holiday 61

4. The Colonial Lessons of Alaska 181

5. The Lessons of the Paris Tribunal of Arbitration 215

6. A Continuing City 241

7. The Captain Sleeps 265

8. The Last of the Puritans 275







As educated men and women, in your hands lies the
future of the State. It is for you and such as you to
work out the problems of democracy. This is my justi-
fication in speaking to you of the present crisis. For
a great world crisis is on us, and this year of 1898 may
mark one of the three great epochs in our history.

Twice before in our national life have we stood in the
presence of a great crisis. Twice before have we come
to the parting of the ways, and twice has our choice been
controlled by wise counsel.

The first crisis followed the War of the Revolution.
Its question was this : What relation shall the emanci-
pated colonies bear to one another? The answer was
the American Constitution, the federation of self-govern-
ing and United States.

*" An address to the Members of the Graduating Class of 1898.
in Leland Stanford Junior University ; delivered May 25, 1898,



The second crisis came through the growth of slavery.
The union of the States " could not endure, half slave,
half free." The emancipation proclamation of Abraham
Lincoln marked our decision that the Union should
endure ; and- that all that made for division should be
; swept 3\fe&yJ ' c

The t.hir< gretft crisis is on us now. The war with
Spain is only' a ' part' of it. The question is not : Can
we capture Manila, Havana, Porto Rico or the Canaries?
It is not what we can take or what we can hold. The
American navy and the American army can accomplish
all we ask of them with time and patience.

Battles are fought to-day through engineering and
technical skill, not through physical dash. The great
cannon speaks the language of science, and individual
courage is helpless before it. The standing of our naval
officers in matters of engineering is beyond question.
There are a hundred nameless lieutenants in our war-
ships who, if opportunity offered, could write their names
beside those of Grenville and Nelson and Farragut and
Dewey. The glory of Manila is not dim beside that of
Mobile or Trafalgar. The cool strength and soberness
of Yankee courage, added to the power of naval en-
gineering, could meet any foe on earth on equal terms,
and here the terms are not equal. Personal fearlessness
our adversaries possess, and that is all they have. That
we have, too, in like measure. Everything else is ours.
We train our guns against the empty shell of a medi-
aeval monarchy, broken, distracted, corrupt.

The war with Spain marks in itself no crisis. The
end is seen from the beginning. It was known to Spain
as clearly as to us. But her government had no re-


course. They had come to the end of diplomacy, and
could only die fighting. " To die game " is an old habit
of the Spaniard. " Whatever else the war may do,"
says the Spanish diplomat, with pathetic honesty, "it
can only bring ruin to Spain."

It is too late for us now to ask how we got into the
war. Was it inevitable ? Was it wise ? \Vas it right-
eous? We need not ask these questions, because the
answers will not help us. We may have our doubts as
to one or all of these, but all doubts we must keep to
ourselves. We are in the midst of battle, and must fight
to the end. The "rough-riders" are in the saddle.
" What though the soldier knew some one had blun-
dered ? " The swifter, fiercer, more glorious our attacks,
the sooner and more lasting our peace. There is no
possible justification for the war unless we are strong
enough and swift enough to bring it to a speedy end.
If America is to be the knight-errant of the nations she
must be pure of heart and swift of foot, every inch a

The crisis comes when the war is over. What then?
Our question is not what we shall do with Cuba, Porto
Rico and the Philippines. It is what these prizes will
do to us. Can we let go of them in honor or in safety?
if not, what if we hold them ? What will be the reflex
effect of great victories, suddenly realized strength, the
patronizing applause, the ill-concealed envy of great
nations, the conquest of strange territories, the raising
of our flag beyond the seas? All this is new to us. It
is un-American; it is contrary to our traditions; it is
delicious ; it is intoxicating.

For this is the fact before us. We have come to our


manhood among the nations of the earth. What shall
we do about it? The war once finished, shall we go
back to our farms and factories, to our squabbles over
tariffs and coinage, our petty trading in peanuts and
postoffices? Or shall our country turn away from these
things and stand forth once for all a great naval power,
our vessels in every sea, our influence felt over all the
earth? Shall we be the plain United States again, or
shall we be another England, fearless even of our own
great mother, second to her only in age and pres-

The minor results of war are matters of little moment
in comparison. Let us look at a few of them as we pass.
Most of them are not results at all. The glow of battle
simply shows old facts in new relation.

The war has stirred the fires of patriotism, we say.
Certainly, but they were already there, else they could
not be stirred. I doubt if there is more love of country
with us to-day than there was a year ago. Real love of
country is not easily moved. Its guarantee is its per-
manence. Love of adventure, love of fight, these are
soon kindled. It is these to which the battle spirit ap-
peals. Love of adventure we may not despise. It is
the precious heritage of new races ; it is the basis of
personal courage ; but it is not patriotism ; it is push.
Love of fight is not in itself unworthy. The race which
cannot fight if need be, is a puny folk destined to be the
prey of tyrants. But one who fights for fight's sake is a
bully, not a hero. The bully is at heart a coward. To
fight only when we are sure of the result, is no proof
of national courage.

Patriotism is the will to serve one's country ; to make


one's country better worth serving. It is a course of
action rather than a sentiment. It is serious rather than
stirring. The shrilling of the mob is not patriotism. It
is not patriotism to trample on the Spanish flag, to burn
fire-crackers, or to twist the Lion's tail. The shrieking
of war editors is not patriotism. Nowadays, nations
buy newspapers as they buy ships. Whatever is noisy,
whether in Congress or the pulpit, or on the streets,
cannot be patriotism. It is not in the galleries that we
find brave men. " Patriotism," says Dr. Johnson, " is
the last refuge of the scoundrel." But he was speaking
of counterfeit patriotism. There could not be a coun-
terfeit were there not also a reality.

But this I see as I watch the situation : True patri-
otism declines as the war spirit rises. Men say they
have no interest in reform until the war is over. There
is no use of talking of better financial methods, of fairer
adjustment of taxes, of wiser administration of affairs,
until the war fever has passed by. The patriotism of the
hour looks to a fight with some other nation, not towards
greater pride in our own.

The war has united at last the North and the South,
we say. So at least it appears. When Fitzhugh Lee is
called a Yankee, and all the haughty Lees seem proud
of the designation, we may be sure that the old lines of
division exist no longer. North and South, East and
West, whatever our blood, birth or rank, we Yankees
stand shoulder to shoulder in 1898. But our present
solidarity shows that the nation was sound already, else
a month could not have welded it together.

It is twenty-eight years ago to-day that a rebel soldier
who says


" I am a Southerner,
I loved the South and dared for her
To fight from Lookout to the sea
With her proud banner over me."

stood before the ranks of the Grand Army and spoke
these words :

" I stand and say that you were right ;

I greet you with uncovered head,
Remembering many a thundrous fight,

When whistling death between us sped ;
I clasp the hand that made my scars,

I cheer the flag my foemen bore,
I shout for joy to see the stars

All on our common shield once more."

This was more than a quarter of a century ago, and
all this time the great loyal South has patiently and
unflinchingly accepted war's terrible results. It is not
strange, then, that she shows her loyalty to-day. The
" Solid South," the bugaboo of politicians, the cloak of
Northern venality, has passed away forever. The warm
response to American courage, in whatever section or
party, in whatever trade or profession, shows that with
all our surface divisions, we of America are one in heart.
The impartial bitterness of Spanish hatred directed to-
ward all classes and conditions of Anglo-Saxons alike
emphasizes the real unity of race and nation.

There are some who justify war for war's sake.
Blood-letting " relieves the pressure on the boundaries."
It whets courage. It keeps the ape and tiger alive in
men. All this is detestable. To waste good blood is
pure murder, if nothing is gained by it. To let blood
for blood's sake is bad in politics as it is in medicine.

War is killing, brutal, barbarous killing, and its direct
effects are mostly evil. The glory of war turns our
attention from civic affairs. Neglect invites corruption.
Noble and necessary as was our Civil War, we have not
yet recovered from its degrading influences. Too often
the courage of brave men is an excuse for the depreda-
tions of venal politicians. The glorious banner of free-
dom becomes the cover for the sutler's tent.

The test of civilization is the substitution of law for
war ; statutes for brute strength. No doubt diplomacy,
as one of our Senators has said, is mostly "a pack of
lies," and arbitration, as we have known it, is com-
pulsory and arbitrary compromise. But in the long run
truth will out, even in diplomacy. The nations who
suffer through clumsy and blundering tribunals of arbi-
tration will learn from this experience. They will find
means, at last, to secure justice as well as peace. As
private war gave way to security under national law, so
must public war give way to the law of civilization.

I hear men say to-day that war is necessary to the
Republic because we need new heroes for our worship.
The old heroes are getting stale. Those of the Revolu-
tion are half mythical. Washington and Greene were
never actually alive in real flesh and blood. Even Grant
and Sherman, Lee and Jackson, Thomas and Farragut
are names only to most of us. Our fathers knew them,
but theirs are not names to conjure with to-day. The
name of Dewey fills a popular want. The heroes of the
newspaper in times of peace are mere tinsel heroes.
Here is one with flesh and blood in him, a man of nerve
and courage and success.

All this is true, but our heroes were with us already.


In times of peace they were ready for heroism. The
real hero is the man who does hiy duty. It does not
matter whether his name be on the headlines of the
newspapers or not. His greatness is not enhanced when
a street or a trotting horse is named for him. It is the
business of the Republic to make a nation of heroes.
The making of brave soldiers is only a part of the work
of making men. The glare of battle shows men in false
perspective. To one who stands in its light we give the
glory of a thousand. But we may applaud with the rest
as the great captains pass before us. They have earned
their renown, yet when " the tumult and the shouting
dies," still the crisis remains. What effect must the
war have on us ?

Our line of action seems a narrow one. Our policy
has been fully declared. Our armies invade Cuba to
put an end to disorder, brutality and murderous wrong.
In the words of the resolution of. Congress :

" The abhorrent conditions which have existed for more than
three years in the island of Cuba, so near our own borders, have
shocked the moral sense of the people of the United States,
have been a disgrace to Christian civilization, and cannot longer
be endured."

And in recording the necessity which forces us to act
we disclaim all selfish intentions. Thus Congress used
these words which are already part of the record of his-
tory and which we may not forget :

" The United States hereby disclaims any disposition or inten-
tion to exercise sovereignty, jurisdiction or control over said
islands except for the pacification thereof, and asserts its deter-
mination when that is accomplished to leave the government and
control of the island to its people."


The wrongs we mmld avenge are not new to Spain.
By such cruelties sn'e has always held her possessions.
By such means she has lost most of them. Flanders,
Mexico, Peru, Venezuela, Chili, Cuba, all tell the same
story. Spain still belongs to the seventeenth century.
From the seventeenth century Cuba has escaped. To
her we shall bring order and relief. Her shackles once
broken, then we shall stay our hand. To Cuba Libre,
independent and free, we will leave the choice of her
own future.

But this is easier said than done. Cuba Libre has no
heart or will to choose. Her present nominal govern-
ment is not that of a republic. It is a political oligarchy,
which has its seat not in Havana, but in New York.
Cuba is helpless now. As a republic she will be helpless
still. Spanish blood and Spanish training ill prepare a
land for freedom. Freedom such as we know it has
never yet been won by people of Latin- blood. The free-
dom of Spanish America is for the most part military
despotism. It is said of the government of Russia that
it is " despotism tempered by assassination." That of
most of our sister republics is assassination tempered by
despotism. Mexico, the best of them, is not a republic ;
it is a despotism, the splendid tyranny of a man strong
and wise, who knows Mexico and how to govern her, a
humane and beneficent tyrant.

There are many noble men in Cuba, men of education
and character, with the culture and bearing of gentlemen.
Some of these I know, and one I have been proud to call
my friend, Felipe Poey, during fifty years professor in the
University of Havana. Most good men in Cuba hope
for the success of the insurgents, but they have not much


confidence in Cuban democracy. The common run of
the Cuban population is of a very different class.

"The Cuban soldiers at Tampa," says John R.
Rathom, "are very small, excitable, erratic, physically
unfit. They go about the camps brandishing their
machetes and telling our infantrymen who tower above
them like giants, how they are going to cut the Span-
iards to pieces. Their whole spirit is one of frothy

There are three things inseparable from the life of
the Cuban people to-day, the cigarette, the lottery ticket,
and the machete. These stand for vice, superstition and
revenge. Above these the thoughts of the common man
in Cuba seldom rise. Most of the people cannot read,
and those who can, read largely the literature of vice.

From my own visit to Havana, two keen recollections
remain. In the early morning the markets are filled by
a long procession of loaded burros who came down from
the mountain side. These bring everything that is eat-
able, with the rest live pigs and sheep. Pigs and sheep
alike are tied in pairs and hung saddle-wise, head down-
ward, from the backs of the donkeys. From two until
four in the morning the long procession comes in, the
pigs lustily squealing, the sheep helpless and dumb. But
nobody cares for an animal's pain. There is no society
for prevention of cruelty to animals in Cuba. There are
not many who could understand even the purpose of
such a society. In Havana, bull-fights follow the church
services, not fights but slaughter. A horse lame and
blind is ripped up by an infuriated bull, who in turn is
done to death by the stab of a skilful butcher.

At Christmas time all interest centers in the lottery.


Everybody buys lottery tickets. Charms, fortune-tellers,
astrology and all the machinery of superstition are
brought into play to select the lucky numbers. How
many days old am I ? How many days old is my Dolores ?
How many days old was I on my lucky day when I drew
the prize last year? How can I find my lucky number?
These matters are talked of everywhere on the streets,
in the church, in the wine rooms, in the theaters. One
hears the parrots on their posts at the gate discussing
the very same questions. The birds rattle off the names
and numbers as glibly as their masters, and with as high
a conception of the possibilities of life.

It seems probable that most of the oppressed people,
crowded from their homes by Weyler's armies, will be
dead before we come to their relief. In starving out
Havana we shall doubtless starve them first. Those who
survive may become our bitterest enemies before the year
is out. For these people prefer the indolence of Spanish
rule with all its brutalities to the bustling ways of the
Anglo-Saxon. Many of them would take their chances
of being starved or butchered rather than to build roads,
wash their faces, and clean up their towns. To suppress
the lottery and the cock-fight would be to rob them of
most that makes life worth living. The Puritan Sabbath
and the self-control it typifies in their minds would be
worse than the flames of Purgatory. Whether as a free
nation under our protection or whether governed by our
martial law, it will be no easy task to hold the peace in
Cuba Libre. The down-trodden Cuban and the Spanish
oppressor are the same in blood, the same in method.

But we may say that American enterprise will change
all this. It will flow into Cuba when Cuba is free. It


will clean up the cities, stamp out the fevers, build roads
where the trails for mule-sleds are, and railroads where
the current of traffic goes. It will make the pearl of the
Antilles the fairest island on the face of the earth.

No doubt all this will come if we give a stable gov-
ernment. Whatever else we say or do we must give such
a government. The nations of the world will hold us
responsible for Cuba through the years to come. A
virtual serfdom under American martial law is the fate of
Cuba, though we may declare her free and independent.

Why then shall we not hold Cuba, if she becomes
ours by right of conquest? Because that would be a
cowardly thing to do. The justification of her capture
is that we do not want her. If we want Cuba, common
decency says that we must let her alone. Ours is a war
of mercy, not of conquest. This we have plainly declared
to all the nations. Perhaps we meant what we -said,
though the speeches in Congress do not make this clear.
If we can trust the records, our chief motives were three :
Desire for political capital, desire for revenge, and sym-
pathy for humanity.

It was desire for political capital that forced the hand
of the President. "The war," says Dr. Frank Drew,
did not begin as an honorable war. If it is to become
such, it must be made honorable by other men than those
whose votes committed us to it."

If we retire with clean hands, it will be because our
hands are empty. To keep Cuba or the Philippines
would be to follow the example of conquering nations.
Doubtless England would do it in our place. The habit
of domination makes men unscrupulous.

Professor Nicholson of Edinburgh has said: "There


can be no question, in the light of history, that the polit-
ical instinct of the English people or to adopt the pop-
ular language of the moment, the original sin of the
nation is to covet everything of its neighbor's worth
coveting, and it is not content until the sin is complete."
No wonder England now pats us on the back. We are
following her lead. We are giving to her methods the
sanction of our respectability. Of all forms of flattery,

imitation is the sincerest.


By a war of conquest fifty years ago we took from
Mexico her fairest provinces. For the good of humanity
we did it, no doubt, and along the lines of manifest des-
tiny. Brave battles our soldiers fought, but for all that,
the war itself was most inglorious. So it reads in history
as we write it to-day. It is iniquitous in history as writ-
ten in Mexico.

Shall then the war for Cuba Libre come to an inglori-
ous end ? If we make anything by it, it will be most in-
glorious. It will be without honor if its two millions a
day are made good by conquered territory. Neither for
conquest nor for revenge have we sent forth the army of
the Republic. " Let us beware," says J. K. H. Burgwin,
" of placing ourselves in the position of doing a noble and
generous act and then demanding that a bankrupt and
humbled enemy shall pay our expenses." If we are going
to hold the prizes of war or to use them in thrifty trade
we should never have set out on the errands of humanity.

The nations of Europe look with jealousy on our pos-
sibilities of strength. "If I only," some king may say

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Online LibraryDavid Starr JordanImperial democracy; a study of the relation of government by the people, equality before the law, and other tenets of democracy, to the demands of a vigorous foreign policy and other demands of imperial dominion → online text (page 1 of 20)