Franklin Henry Giddings.

Democracy and empire; with studies of their psychological, economic, and moral foundations online

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3 1924 105 359 735


Box 257. LiVi-iSING, MICH.

Cornell University

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Norwood Mass. V-S,A.



This book is the product of a nearly continuous interest
which, for more than ten years, I have felt in the problems
of "Democracy" and of "Empire." My studies of theo-
retical sociology long ago led me to believe that the combi-
nation of small states into larger political aggregates must
continue until all the semi-civilized, barbarian, and savage
communities of the world are brought under the protection
jof the larger civilized nations. I became convinced also
f that the future of civilization will depend largely, and per-
i haps chiefly, upon the predominant influence of either the

t English-speaking people of the world or of the Russian


I Empire, according as one or the other of these two gigantic

i powers wins the advantage in the international struggle for
I existence. At the same time, I remained convinced that
; the democratic tendencies of the nineteenth century are not

likely to be checked or thwarted in our own or in future I
\ generations. Every phase of this democratic movement has*^
strongly interested me ; and I have found myself viewing it
from the standpoints of industry, of politics, and of educa-
tion. I could not cease my study of these problems until I
had tried to see them in their mutually qualifying relations,
to see how the different modes of democracy sometimes
limit and sometimes strengthen one another, and to under-
stand how it is that democracy and empire, paradoxical as
such a relationship seems, are really only correlative aspects
of the evolution of mankind. As a student and teacher of


sociology, I found it necessary to go even one step further,
and attempt to discover the relations of these phenomena
of democracy and empire to the psychology of society and
to the fundamental economic and ethical motives of human

The result of it all is a volume that, whatever its defects,
which I know are many, may at least claim the merit of
attempting to look at the problems of democracy and empire
in a broad way, and with due reference to the interaction of
many motives and tendencies that too often are studied by
the method of isolation, with consequences of distorted view
or of pessimistic feeling, not justified by fact. Inasmuch as
some of the papers which f oUow have appeared from time to
time in periodicals, while others were prepared and delivered
as lectures or addresses, that have not hitherto been pub-
lished, I have thought best to retain, as far as possible, their
original form. In form, therefore, the volume is a collection
of essays and addresses; but, in reality, it is much more.
The several papers could as weU have been presented as
successive chapters, for they are logically related parts of a
whole. A definite thesis is stated in the first paper, and
a definite conclusion is reached in the last. The interme-
diate papers are successive steps in a continuous argument.

I wish to express my obligations to editors and publishers
who have kindly permitted me to reproduce matter that has
appeared in periodicals. For the convenience of students, a
record of dates of publication of essays and of delivery of
lectures will be found at the end of the volume.

I am under renewed obligations to my colleagues of the
Faculty of Political Science of Columbia University. For
many excellent suggestions I owe thanks to Mr. George W.
Morgan, who has helped me in the preparation of manu-
script, and to Mr. Arthur M. Day, who has kindly read my


proofs, but who must not be held responsible for errors that
have escaped detection. My son, who made the full index
for my "Principles of Sociology," has prepared for this book
the less detailed index that I have deemed sufficient.

Neither this volume, nor any other of my books, could have
been written in the brief intermissions of labours as varied
as mine have been (both during the ten years that were
given to daily newspaper work, and during the subsequent
years that have been given to teaching) but for the untiring
cooperation of my wife, to whom above all others I am

New Yobk,
January, 1900.



The Democratic Empire 1


The Ethical Motive 13


The Psychology of Society 27


The Mind op the Mai«y 43

The Costs op Progress .67

Industrial Democracy 97


The Trusts and the Public 135


The Bailroads and the S-eate 145

Public Revenue and Civic Virtue 157


Some Results of the Freedom of Women .... 165

ix "




The Nature and Condpct op Political Majorities • . 177

The Destinies of Democract 197


The Relation op Social Democracy to the Higher Edu-
cation 215

The Popular Instruction Most Necessary in a Democracy 229


The Shadow and the Substance op Republican Government 249


The Consent op the Governed 257


Imperialism 267


The Survival of Civil Liberty 291


The Ideals of Nations 31S


The Gospel op Non-resistance ....... 341





The world has been accustomed to tMnk of democracy
and empire as antagonistic phenomena. It has assumed that
democracy could be established only on the ruins of empire,
and that the establishment of empire necessarily meant the
overthrow of liberty by a triumphant reign of absolutism.
Yet, in our day, we are witnessing the simultaneous develop- •
ment of both democracy and empire. The two most power-
ful nations of the world are becoming, year by year, more
democratic in their local life, in their general legislation, and
in their social institutions. Nevertheless, for a generation,
both have been continually extending their territorial boun-
daries, absorbing outlying states or colonial possessions, and
developing a complicated system of general or imperial ad-
ministration. Not only so, but, under that government which
has carried this policy to its highest perfection, the coexist-
ence of democracy and empire has become an approximately
perfect blending. Imperial Britain is not merely a combina-
tion of democracy with empire in a fortuitous association.
The union is organic; the whole is a democratic empire.
Not only has the home country, England, become in the last
twenty-five years a highly democratic community, not only
IS the same thing true also of Australia and of Canada ; but
also in ways which, though not quite so obvious, are not less
real, it is becoming true of India, of the African colonies,
and of the lesser dependencies. Not only to her colonial
children of English blood does England say, as Kipling puts



it, " And the Law that ye make shall be law after the rule
of your lands," but practically she says the same thing also
to dwellers in the Indian village community and in the islands
jOf the sea. As long as they conform to the English sense of
fthe sacredness of life, and to the English requirement of
social order, England is willing to respect their local customs
and their religious faiths, and to say to all alike, " The Law
that ye make shall be law, and I do not press my will." At
the same time, the imperial bond grows stronger, with the
strengthening of that loyalty to the imperial throne which
England requires in exchange for the protection that she
extends to her dependencies and for the order that she
establishes among once warring factions.

« So long as The
Blood endures,
I shall know that your good is mine : ye shall feel that my
strength is yours."

What is the explanation of this blending of democracy with
empire, a thing to most minds strange and to many incredible ?
Like many another fact in the moral, as in the material world,
it can be accounted for only through a study of its evolution.

Before the dawn of history, mankind had learned one fun-
damental lesson touching the conditions that render human
society possible. Before any state was formed, whUe still
the only known form of social organization was that which
made blood kinship the basis of membership in the tribe,
men had learned that social cohesion, practical cooperation,
and unity of purpose, rest on some kind of similarity among
the cooperating individuals. They were intensely alive to
the importance of that " homogeneity " which has suddenly
become so interesting to our modern anti-expansionists.
They realized that human beings too much unlike could no
more get on together peaceably than the warring elements of
flood and fire could combine in nature. But their experience
of homogeneity was of a narrow sort, and their ideas about
it were of the most simple description. The only homoge-
neity of which they could form any definite conception was


that of blood relationship. Men born of the same mother —
brethren in the literal sense — could understand one another,
could wish the same thing, could work by like methods, and,
in fine, could live together as a community. That strangers
might come together and organize a stable social group —
much more, that men of different tongues and races might
live under one government, would have been propositions to
their minds inconceivable.

When, however, with the beginnings of commerce and the
development of mechanical arts, tribal communities that had
grown to the proportions of a town were invaded by adven-
turers who had broken away from their ancient clan asso-
ciations, or whose clan organizations had been broken up
by war, and when the interlopers began to multiply and
to acquire wealth, it became necessary to devise a scheme
of government under which they could be included in the
body politic. The device that succeeded after many experi-j
ments had failed, was that of a legal fiction, whereby all whq
lived within the territorial boundaries occupied by a localized
tribe became nominally — for political, military, and fiscal
purposes — members of a purely nominal tribe, irrespective
of their blood relationship. It was a scheme of wholesale
adoption, or, as we should now say, of naturalization.

Thus it was discovered that men of different origins could
live together amicably, and could cooperate in public under-
takings ; and, for the moment, the radical minds of their gen-
eration may have imagined that homogeneity had ceased to
be a factor of any consequence in social organization, and that
thenceforth communities could develop without attention to
such limiting requirements. In this conclusion, however, if
such they reached, they were wholly mistaken. The com-
munity had not ceased to be made up of resembling individu-
als. All that had happened had been the substitution of a^^^
new and broader kind of resemblance for the old blood kin-
ship, as a basis of public life. The resemblance now essential *
consisted in mental and moral qualities, in capacities for
practical cooperation, in unity of purpose, and in agreement
upon methods of common activity. Mental homogeneity,


or like-mindedness,Jiq4- taken,, in men's thoughts the im-
portant place formerly held by homogeneity in a physical

1^* sooner was this fact grasped by the leading spirits of
the age than they were seized by a passion to perfect this-
newer type of homogeneity and to make it as complete as
had been the old homogeneity of blood. They perceived
that, through the contact of commerce and politics, through
imitation and comradeship, men originally unlike in many
important particulars would undergo assimilation and would
approach a common type. That assimilation could be has-
tened and that social cohesion could be made stronger, gen-
eration by generation, through the systematic development
of a public policy, was a natural thought. So it came to
pass that governments presently adopted certain policies that
were characteristic of all early civilizations. The first step
was an effort to bring under one central administration all
adjoining regions which, together with the dominant city
state, formed a natural geographic unity, and those popu-
lations which spoke allied languages and could easily be
assimilated to the common type. Thus was created the
enlarged or national state, in contrast to the small city state
which had been its nucleus. Through this policy a strong
military power was developed, and minute military regula-
tion was extended throughout society. Mere military gov-
ernment, however, was not enough to establish that perfect
homogeneity of mental and moral type which was desired.
Religion was still the dominant interest of the majority
of men; and so religious unification also was attempted.
Family, gentile, and local gods throughout the nation were
subordinated to the national god represented by the king^
and the organized priesthood of the dominant city. The
medley of ancient faiths was blended in a national, organic
religion, which, by its sanctions, was made to uphold the
authority of the central power. Then, finally, manners and
customs, forms of dress and ceremonial, even amusements,
were in like manner subjected to a minute regulation, all
in the interests of that perfect homogeneity of mental and


moral type which now was believed to be the requisite basis
of a true and strong national unity.

Such was the fijstj^ge of civilization. It was the estab-
lishment of political and social homogeneity by coercivel
methods, supplementing the spontaneous method of assimij
lation through social and commercial intercourse, by means
of communication, imitation, and the interchange of ideas.

Often this policy was developed into a creation of va^
military empires. Distant lands and wholly alien peoples
were brought by conquest under the rule of a victorious
nation, and compelled to accept religion, law, and manners
from the conqueror.

This first stage of civilization, rude, tyrannical, often brutal
as it was, accomplished one inestimable good : it put an end
to intertribal wars and to more serious contests between
petty states. Notwithstanding the enormous drain of men
and treasure into the imperial armies, it gradually released
larger numbers of men and greater stores of capital to en-
gage in the pursuits of peace. The homogeneity of belief
and habit which, to a great extent, it succeeded in creating,
prepared men to live together amicably with comparatively
little governmental restraint ; and so the very methods
which at first absorbed men in the activities of militarism,
presently released vast stores of intellectual and physical
energy for other interests.

And so a se^^isu^ka^ge of civilization was ushered in. Men
became critical : they began to demand release from formal
bonds which were no longer necessary to their well-being,
as they themselves conceived it. The spirit of revolt and of
revolution grew and waxed strong. The imperial bond was
weakened, and vast territories became an easy prey to in-
vading barbarians. Chaos and anarchy slowly gave way to
the formation of a new order ; and through successiye devel-
opments — of feudalism, of the growth of petty principalities,
and of new city states — new political forms were slowly
evolved. Throughout all these changes, the spirit of lib-
erty, often suppressed, sometimes well-nigh crushed, was,
after all, surely growing and coming to its maturity; until


at length it swept all before it in the vast movements of the
Renaissance, of the Reformation, and of the revolutionary
struggle, out of which emerged the practical principles of
personal liberty, freedom of contract, and constitutional law.

Men, however, had not forgotten that homogeneity of some
sort is essential to social unity. Over and over again, they
had seen its importance in the days of feudalism and of the
slow emergence of new national states from the ruins of the
Roman dominion ; and over and over they had attempted
to reassert the policies of early civilization in measures of
religious persecution, in restraints of trade, and in sumptuary
legislation. The outcome of these gigantic struggles was
a conviction that liberty and social cohesion could coexist
only in states of relatively small dimensions, with well-
defined natural boundaries, and peopled by men of substan-
tially one blood and type of mind. The doctrines of local
self-government and of state rights were the fruits which the
second stage of civilization bore in political philosophy.

No sooner, however, had men comfortably settled them-
selves to the belief that the final and ideal form of social
organization had been reached, than another marvellous
change began to take place. Under the opportunities
secured to them by liberty, men were stimulated to put
forth their energies to the utmost. Enterprise was quick-
ened, and innumerable forms of voluntary cooperation sprang
into existence. Invention, discovery, and exploration re-
vealed possibilities of material weU-being of which the race
had never dreamed, and wealth began to increase and popu-
lation to multiply at a rate never before known. Soon the
new enterprise and the growing population began to threaten
to overflow the relatively narrow bounds that had been set by
the political philosophy of liberalism to the republican state.
For a time the need of room in which to expand was perhaps
felt rather than seen ; but presently came the clear percep-
tion also, that by an almost paradoxical reaction, the indus-
trial and social consequences of liberty would bring about
fundamental changes in the organization of states, just as, at
an earlier time, the policy of militarism . had brought about


the reactions which caused its own overthrow. These condi-
tions manifested themselves chiefly in those countries which
had become most free — namely, England and the United
States. It was in the latter that expansion began on a large
scale and in which its results first became apparent. Moved
more perhaps by instinct than by reasoned-out opinions, the
American people added to their Northwest Territory the
Louisiana and Florida purchases, Oregon, Texas, and Cali-
fornia. Almost before the most far-seeing of men realized
what was happening, the compact little nation of the thirteen
original states had become a continental domain ; and the
homogeneous population of English blood was becoming thef
most heterogeneous admixture of nationalities of every speechf
and faith and political tradition to be found on the face of the

What, then, happened ? Did disintegration begin anew ?
Did the heterogeneous elements so conflict in interest and con-
tend in activity that national unity was destroyed ? On the
contrary, when the influence of that element of discord which,
from the formation of the Union, had existed in the widely
unlike economic and social systems of North and Souta
culminated in the Civil War, it was discovered that theip
had grown up in this vast heterogeneous people a nationll
feeling, a spirit of oneness, the like of which had nev4r
before been seen in all human history. It crushed rebellion;
it reinstated in the sisterhood of commonwealths the seced-
ing states; it extended amnesty to all; and again it secured
to all the blessings of equal protection, equal privilege, and
personal freedom. Furthermore, when all this had been ac-
complished, no tendency was seen to revert to those earlier
policies of civilization whereby the homogeneity necessary
to social unity was perfected through coercive means. No
suggestion was made that, throughout this vast domain, men
should be compelled to confess the same faith, to worship in
the same way, to dress in prescribed costumes, or to amuse
themselves according to forms prescribed by state authority.
Without knowing exactly why, the people had discovered that,
notwithstanding the apparent and, in many particulars, the


real diversity of interests and ideas — to say nothing of the
diversity of nationalities — some mode of unity had been
created among them which was quite sufficient to hold them
together in political and industrial organization as firmly as
any ancient tribe had been held together by its unity of
blood, or any ancient nation by its unity of ritual and

What, now, is the explanation of so strange a phenome-
non? If homogeneity is essential to social cohesion — if,
nevertheless, the ancient unity of blood or the less ancient
unity of faith and practice is no longer requisite, what is the
homogeneity which has taken their place and has proved to
be so all-sufficient that not only may liberty and social unity
coexist, but that they may even coexist and become ever
more nearly perfect in a nation of vast territorial area to
which no ultimate bounds can be predicted in assurance that
they are final ? Why, in short, is it that to-day a national
life is possible, wherein it has become wholly unnecessary to
insist upon any of those limitations in the interests of either
security or liberty which, in earlier days, were accepted as
the very axioms of political philosophy ?

The answer is, that the homogeneity which now underlies
all successful national life, or the wider life of vast empires
like that of Great Britain, is an ethical one. Kinship, faith,
and habit — all have served their time as the cohesive bonds
of peoples whom, step by step, they have prepared for the
larger life of that human community in which agreement
upon two or three principles of aspiration and conduct prove
now to be a sufficient basis of vast, intricate, and smoothly
working organization. An eth ical like-mindedness has taken
the place of all earlier and simpler modes of resemblance, as
the loundation oi human society.

In what, theni does this ethical like-mindedness consist?
Essentially it consists in a common loyalty to the common
judgment and will, in a common willingness to share a com-
mon destiny, and in a common conviction of the priceless
value of individual, religious, and local liberty. Given
mental and moral agreement in these particulars, and a


nation of any territorial extent, of any admixture of blood,
of interests, of religions, can wax strong generation by gen-
eration, while yet becoming more free and more diversified
in its social organization. »

We have now the principle by which to explain- the
wonderful phenomenon of the democratic empire. It is a
corollary of this principle that, when a nation makes itself
the nucleus of an empire, step by step extending its sway
over distant lands and peoples successively annexed, it can
continue to be democratic ; it can become, decade after i
decade, more democratic; it can even permit its colonies or
dependencies to be democratic, while at the same time main-
taining a strong imperial government for purposes of a
common defence ; all on the one inviolable condition that,
as it lengthens the reach of government, it must curtail the func-
tions of government. The small local community, homoge-
neous in nearly every respect — in blood, in traditions, in
beliefs, in interests — may successfully conduct a local or
municipal government of highly diversified functions.
Through that government it may not only protect life and
property, but also build roads and bridges, operate street
railways, water-works, and lighting appliances, and main-
tain schools and libraries. But a national government, if it
would respect liberty while maintaining political cohesion,
must leave most of these functions to local communities or
to voluntary enterprise. An imperial government must be
yet more general, if it is not to suppress freedom and the

Online LibraryFranklin Henry GiddingsDemocracy and empire; with studies of their psychological, economic, and moral foundations → online text (page 1 of 29)