Newton M. Mann.

Import and outlook of socialism online

. (page 1 of 21)
Online LibraryNewton M. MannImport and outlook of socialism → online text (page 1 of 21)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook








TURE : Natural History of the Jewish and Chris-
tian Scriptures. Second edition. One vol., 5x8
inches, 409 pages, §1.50 net, postage 15 cents.
" A sun-clear book. Careful, fearless."— U7iity.
"Clear and intelligible. Its fundamental postu-
late, that ' the Hebrew literature was an evolution
and not a miracle,' will commend the book to the
modern layman." — The Outlook.

One vol., 5x8 inches, 336 pages, &1.50 net, post-
age 12 cents.



Import and Outlook
of Socialism


Newton Mann

Author of " The Evolution of a Great Literature," etc.



Copyright, 19 io
By James H. West Company









Our slogan is Social Justice, zvhich means
equal opportJtnity, and retvard proportioned
to service


Social Unrest Since the American Era 1776 .... 9

An Unconscious Socialism Making its Way in Law

AND Custom 49

Recent Development of Socialism 83

The Next Steps to be Taken 109

Socialism International 148

Prospects of Socialism on Materialistic Grounds . . 163

Superfluities and Excrescences 189

Prospects of Socialism on Moral Grounds 203

Socialism Universal Peace 227

Socialism the Enfranchisement of Woman 242

viii Contents

Socialism the Applied Ethics of Jesus 265

Socialism and the Church 299

The New World in the Making 315

Index 333

Import and Outlook of



The American Revolution, which carried with it
the first clear declaration of the rights of man made
by representatives of a people, was the signal of on-
coming social disturbances the greatest in history.
Our fathers uttered a pronouncement so far-reaching,
so notably ahead of their time, ahead of their own
practice even (slavery was then a fact recognized
in all the States), as to make it an ideal to be striven
for through the centuries rather than a declaration
of an existing, undisputed equality, or of a universal
inherent right of liberty accorded by the signers,
and to the defense of which they pledged their lives,
their fortunes, and their sacred honor. So decidedly
is this the case that in later time some of us, who
might be called their great-grandchildren, seeing the
actual conditions out of which the preamble to the
immortal Declaration came, and seeing, too, how far
almost all the world even yet is from admitting the

10 Import and Outlook of Socialism

validity of it, have, without much disapproval, heard
its assumptions characterized as " glittering general-
ities," unrealizable in the actual world. But Calhoun,
who first made this fling, and made it from an obvious
motive, is a name less revered than Jefferson, and
Jefferson is rather ennobled than otherwise in that
he suffered his pen here to be guided by the soul of
Rousseau. To be sure, as S. J. Randall said, it
was not in defense of " natural rights," or to establish
a doctrine of philosophy, that Americans drew the
sword, but to redress specific grievances ; neverthe-
less it was perfectly in order to set forth at the outset
certain great principles which should forever give
depth and dignity to an instrument otherwise made
up of more or less petty complaints against the Brit-
ish king. Thus, though it be incidentally, the Ameri-
can Revolution won the credit of entering upon a
conflict which later took on vast proportions, became
world-wide, and has not to this day reached its climax.
As the first sparks kindling the conflagration came
over from Europe in the writings of certain French
philosophers, so the light of it shone back and fired
the breasts of Frenchmen for their far more resound-
ing Revolution. As the events of that marvelous
uprising began to unroll themselves, enthusiastic lovers
of liberty the world over took them to indicate the
dawn of a new day in which the social regeneration
of mankind could be worked out unhindered by any
obstacles. But no secure basis for a democracy had
been prepared. The middle class — the class that ac-

Social Unrest Since the American Era iy'j6 11

tually dethroned the king, took over the government,
and despoiled the nobles — had their own interests at
heart which they did not neglect; the masses, on
whom in a free republic things must soon or late de-
pend, were in the depths of ignorance, and, if they
could not vote, could carry pikes, and at the beck
of their leaders by very force of numbers overpower
any assembly. And so it happened that the fine
frenzy of revolution for the establishment of justice
and the rights of man had hardly more than destroyed
one despotism ere it went hopelessly astray into a
Reign of Terror, a mad exhibition of the policy
of judicially murdering opponents in the name of
liberty, from which the issue was easy into the im-
memorial folly of foreign conquest. So the cult of
military glory followed quick upon the cult of the
goddess of Reason, and its insatiable altars drank
the blood of millions, exhausted the resources of
France and of Europe, leaving behind, in mocking
compensation for untold agonies and incalculable
destruction, an arc de triumph and a few other im-
posing, but already embarrassing, monuments of
glory which were better called shame. But it was such
a blinding glory that some belated spirits even yet are
unable to see that the great man who wrapped him-
self in it was the chief scourge and monster of the
modern world. Whatever else may be said of him,
scourge and monster he assuredly was, and not more
because of the ravage and cruelty of his wars than
for his arresting and setting back for many a year

12 Import and Outlook of Socialism

the dial of progress in democratic government. The
Revolution was discredited in almost all eyes by its
eventuating in a succession of ever more unspeakable
horrors. A great reaction set in, and for thirty
years after Napoleon was disposed of scarce any
one around the whole world dared breathe a word
against tyrants, or to treat as anything more than
a rhapsody the doctrine that all men are created
equal and endowed by their Creator with certain
inalienable rights. The very word " liberty " came
to be suspect of sedition, where it was not used by
tyrants themselves to deceive the people. Despots
sat once more securely on their thrones.


The so notable subsidence of revolutionary senti-
ment did not mean that politically the world was
content; it meant only that the world-masters had
largely succeeded in tying the tongues of political
reformers who would again venture to call in ques-
tion the divine right of kings, or " rhapsodize "
over the universally inherent rights of man. Radical
politics thus tabued, the drift of thought on social
matters turned to questions of economics and the
industrial life, which was taking on new phases. The
situation of the workers had been rendered exceed-
ingly critical since 1780 by the introduction of ma-
chinery to do work before done by hand, a change
which completely revolutionized the whole system of
production other than agricultural. The old order

Social Unrest Since the American Era 1776 13

of things under which every producer had, or could
have, his own shop and in it his own simple imple-
ments, gave way to an order requiring capital to do
anything, requiring buildings of some size, expensive
machines, and many hired operatives. Enormous
increase of efficiency was attained, greatly swelling
the product and lowering its price in every industry,
in almost every case driving the small producer,
working in the old way, out of business, and forcing
him to seek his livelihood as an employe in some
large establishment. The number of persons thus
compelled to turn to the great factories for employ-
ment far exceeded the demand for their services, as
every man at a machine displaced a considerable num-
ber of hand workers, and they were inevitably brought
into sharp competition with one another for what
places there were, with the result that wages were next
to nothing, barely what would suffice to keep body and
soul together. So the centers of the new industry
became promptly the centers of poverty and wretched-
ness, and such, to a somewhat less appalling degree,
they have mostly remained to this day. At the same
time the profits of the new productive enterprises,
particularly in England where they were earliest
developed, were very large, amounting to fifty, even
one hundred or more per cent, on the investment,
speedily building up great fortunes. The gulf between
rich and poor deepened and widened, augmenting the
hideousness of a spectacle always so sadly common,
of two classes living, one flaunting, the other drudging.

14 Import and Outlook of Socialism

both dying, side by side, and yet apart as heaven is
from earth.

The hardships often extreme growing out of the
industrial situation in the first quarter of the nine-
teenth century, the miseries untold to which the
toilers were reduced, tended vastly more to their
discontent than ever had any tyranny of any govern-
ment. It was the bourgeoisie, the middle class, that
in 1789 quarreled with the king, led the Revolution,
and profited by it. Fattened on the spoils of the
church and the nobility, or prospered in new
undertakings, they had become the comfortable, the
well-to-do class. In all lands men of this class were
pushing the great enterprises and reaping the great
harv^ests. Naturally they were satisfied with things
as they found them, loyal to the existing order. Not
so with the burden-bearers, the hewers of wood and
drawers of water; or they in yet worse plight who
found no wood to hew, no water to draw. And these
were and always have been the great part of the human
race. They had been patient, all-enduring in building
the pyramids of Egypt, the temples and hanging gar-
dens of Babylon ; with scarce a murmur they had
tramped to their death over the world with the world-
conquerors ; but now some of them had acquired a
little knowledge, some had seen better days, and not
a few in face of starvation openly revolted at their
lot. Here and there, in desperation, they marched on
the mills and destroyed the machines, which they took
for mortal enemies, invaders of their domain, plun-

Social Unrest Since the American Era 17J6 15

derers of the poor, snatching the food from their
mouths, the clothes from their backs. * But this
was to contend with fate, to fight against the gods.
Laying hold of the forces of Nature and applying
them to the work of production, putting upon
them the burden of toil which human hands before
had borne, is the great step forward in the industrial
world, the greatest ever taken, — the natural, inevi-
table step, and one which, under the proper social
order, so far from inducing hardship to any one would
have been fecund of blessing to all sorts and conditions
of men round the whole earth, lightening every load,
creating plenty, carrying into all households comfort,
light, and joy. The very fact that multitudes were
made miserable by the harnessing of steam and water-
falls to do the drudgery of life is itself proof positive
that there was something radically wrong in the ex-
isting social order, something not to be glossed over,
no minor defect calling for a little tinkering, but a
structural viciousness, beyond remedy short of funda-
mental change.

To this view, after Napoleon's banishment had left
Europe time to reflect, many thinkers came, and
thenceforth with them the pressing problem was less
a political than a distinctly social one. Some of them

* Shortsighted as this now appears to have been in the
workers, in extenuation it is well to remember that even
long after, many, including so distinguished a writer as
John Ruskin, took the ground that the way out of labor
troubles was to discontinue the use of machinery and return
to hand-production.

16 Import and Outlook of Socialism

saw and sympathized with the suffering and the
ominous disquietude of the toilers, and with rare self-
devotion undertook measures for their relief ; others,
smitten themselves with a great unrest in view of
the way the momentous social problem was left to
drift, urged upon the State the duty, to take preced-
ence of all other duties, of looking after the most
vital interests of the great body of its people, and,
by managing the great industries, prevent the abuse
of them.


The snows of only two winters had whitened the
blood-drenched field of Waterloo when one of those
geniuses came to the front who seem to rise now
and then as if on purpose to make amends, materially
or spiritually, for the losses inflicted on the world
by another of their countrymen : * Claude Henri,
Comte de Saint-Simon. Of aristocratic birth, as his
title indicates, Saint-Simon early freed himself of the
exclusive feeling characteristic of his class ; and see-
ing the backward trend of France, — seeing too the
wrongs done to the great mass of the toilers, who,
driven to desperation by the situation in which they
found themselves, must ultimately, if denied social
justice, either break out in violent revolution or so
degenerate physically and morally as to imperil the

* It will be remembered that Huxley said of Pasteur that
his material service alone made good to France the indem-
nity of five milliards francs paid to Germany, — price of
the folly, not to say the crime, of Napoleon III.

Social Unrest Since the American Era 1776 17

future of the whole race, — undertook with prophetic
self-consecration to devise a social system which,
resting on established scientific and ethical principles,
should be free from the fatal drawbacks of the present
order. He dissociated his system as far as possible
from revolutionary politics, so far, indeed, that he
even had hopes of its being accepted by Louis XVIII.
and put immediately into operation. It will help to-
ward an understanding of the social unrest we are
considering to glance at this and some of the subse-
quent plans for meeting it.

To the mind of Saint-Simon the work of bettering
human conditions, after all the stress and strain of
a most perturbed generation, had made slight head-
way compared with what remained to be done. The
Revolution had attempted something, but had soon
lost its way and passed as a vision of the night.
Napoleon had come and gone, leaving little more
than tracks of fire and blood across the continent —
phantoms of death and hell passing with a deluded
world under the name of glory. A social reconstruc-
tion was called for, which should put an end to the
inimical competition of men with one another and
the exploiting of the many for the aggrandizement
of the few. Private fortunes should no more be
ground out of the toil of an army of operatives, but
all enterprises, great and small, should be so managed
that the proceeds would have equitable distribution
among the contributors. The grave problem before
Saint-Simon was to lay out a scheme to this end which

18 Import and Outlook of Socialism

might reasonably be expected to work, and which,
put in operation, should not disastrously quench the
spirit of enterprise or benumb the power of initiative
on which material progress so much depends. On
this latter score, while admittedly some decline would
result, it could be urged that a system of industry
might be acceptable though it did tend to weaken
the ambition of a few if at the same time it greatly
strengthened the ambition of the many. It could be
said that the overweening eagerness of the managers
to get vastly rich is a blight on them and on the world,
leading them often into such incessant and exhaustive
outlay of vital force that they do not live out half
their days, or live them in a sad neglect of what are
really the best things in life. What is yet worse,
this devouring ambition to gain a private advantage,
while it develops enterprise, prompts that exploiting
of the workers which takes all ambition out of them.
The world therefore, thought Saint-Simon, can afford
some curbing of the abnormal energy of the chiefs
of industry if it can have an uplift and a quickening
given to the spirit of its toilers. He held that the
world would not lose the services of these chiefs if
their private gains were very considerably restricted.
He would keep them at their posts of management.
They might work a little less furiously, but they would
work sufficiently, for every man delights in the exer-
cise of his capabilities. He proposed that the State
assume oversight of all industries, and arrange affairs
so that the products, or the value of them, should

Social Unrest Since the American Era 1776 19

go to the persons engaged in the just proportion that
their several efforts contribute to the production.
A formidable undertaking no doubt, and one not to
be perfectly carried out. Strictly equitable distribu-
tion would be difficult if not impossible to arrive at;
there would be unavoidable dissatisfaction here and
there ; but no distribution could be made on this
plan which would approach in inequity the actual dis-
tribution of profits in the great industries as then and
now conducted.

Saint-Simon's plan would convert the capable chiefs
of industry, the managers of all enterprises, — who
in his day as now were seeking to turn into their own
coffers the largest possible part of the earnings of the
largest possible number of people, — into public ser-
vants laboring not for their own good only but for the
good as well of the people serving under them. In lieu
of greed he urged generosity; in lieu of rivalry he
would bring in fraternity. So his scheme allied
itself in his thought with the teaching of Jesus, and
he came to call it " The New Christianity," which
at the same time he declared was primitive Chris-
tianity, whose fundamental principle he held to be :
" Men ought to regard one another as brothers."
This principle, modernized and glorified, he made to
read : " Religion must aid society in its chief purpose,
which is the most rapid improvement of the lot of
the poor." In these terms he lifted the question of
social reconstruction into a religion. And, indeed,
he found it nowise difficult to show that he was

20 Import and Outlook of Socialism

following after Jesus, who distinctly said his mission
was especially to the poor, in whose welfare he ever
showed himself most concerned. And it was apparent
to Saint-Simon, as it must be to every one who can-
didly considers the subject, that Christianity as it
now exists is not based on any such principle. On
the contrary, in the Christian more than ever in the
pagan world, and more and more as wealth increases,
the idle are surfeited in luxury, while diligent toilers
are quite generally without the comforts, often with-
out the necessaries of life.

That good men and true, profound thinkers in the
highest fields, should be taking such ground in the first
quarter of the nineteenth century (Saint-Simon died
in 1825), is as salient an indication of the grave social
unrest of the time as was the smashing of machines
by riotous workmen in the great centers of industry.
So heavily lay upon his conscience the doing of this
first great socialistic work that he devoted to it the
best years of his life and spent on it his entire fortune,
so that ere he was through with his task he was in the
straitened circumstances of another lover of man-
kind of whom it is said that he " had not where to lay
his head. " In a letter appealing for help he wrote :

" For fifteen days I have lived upon bread and
water. I have worked without fire, and have sold
everything but my clothes to defray the cost of copy-
ing my work for the printer. It is my interest in the
public well-being, my desire to discover a means for
terminating in some gentle manner the fearful crisis

Social Unrest Since the American Era 1776 21

in which all European society now finds itself, that
has brought me to this state of distress. It is, there-
fore, without blushing that I confess my poverty, and
solicit the succor necessary to enable me to continue
my work."


The history of the period we are surveying makes
it appear that there was always a crisis of some sort
on, or an apprehension of one impending, and it is
hard to tell when or where things were at their worst.
The times of which Saint-Simon speaks — 1816-20 —
were certainly bad enough on both continents. In
America great distress prevailed. We are told, " The
larger part of the people, even with the utmost
economy, could hardly obtain the very necessaries of
life." " Never," says McMaster, " in the history of
our country had the sufferings of the dependent and
unfortunate classes been so forcibly and persistently
brought to the attention of the public ; never before
had so many worthy citizens been reduced to want."
Wages were very low, twenty-five cents a day in
winter, only two or three times as much in summer,
with employment hard to find even at those rates.
For this pittance men worked fourteen hours. Women
were paid much less and found it yet harder to get
anything to do by which to earn a living. By a
week's sewing, when it was to be had, a woman could
bring in fifty to seventy-five cents. Among laborers
there was universal murmuring, though none of them

22 Import and Outlook of Socialism

knew on whom or on what to lay the blame for all
these woes. And of the better instructed class no
enlightened man arose, as in France, to point out
whence such crying evils spring. Popular leaders
were absorbed in politics or in theology, to the neglect
of vital questions of economics.

In Europe the crisis following the Napoleonic wars
was more acute. Disbanded armies threw a multi-
tude of men into the ranks of the unemployed at a
time when the rapid development of labor-saving
machinery was trenching more and more upon the
workers' province. In England particularly, where
the cotton industry was making the greatest strides,
the situation was most distressing. Sympathetic souls
among the gentry were deeply moved and set in the
way of grave reflection. But it is noteworthy that
the one most stirred, and who most stirred his coun-
trymen and the world over the matter, came up from
the working class. This man was Robert Owen, one
of the most capable chiefs of industry that has ever


Born in poverty, by his own exertions he had risen
at nineteen years of age to be the manager of a
cotton-mill employing five hundred hands, where the
least of his distinctions was the spinning of the first
bales of cotton exported from the United States. This
was in the last decade of the eighteenth century. In
1800, having married Miss Dale, whose father was

Social Unrest Since the American Era iy/6 23

proprietor of a larger factory at New Lanark, thirty
miles up the Clyde from Glasgow, he entered upon
the management of that concern. The life of the
operatives there, as in all the factories of the time,
was most pitiable. The hours were shamefully long
both for men and women. Children of tender age
were employed early and late, and under conditions
debasing to mind and body, turning many into crip-
ples and more into criminals. The whole atmosphere
of the place was physically, mentally, and morally
hideous. The operatives were living in squalor, an
illiterate and for the most part drunken, vicious set.
But capital had thought nothing of this; the property
was paying well.

Owen, though through his marriage become part
owner, had higher than financial interests in mind. He
would transform the lives of the two thousand people
connected with the mill, and who made up the popula-
tion of the village. Not to dwell here on the meas-
ures by which he sought to accomplish this noble
purpose, suffice it to say they were gentle, considerate,
humane ; and that he so far succeeded that the results
might with much complacency be set before the world.

1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21

Online LibraryNewton M. MannImport and outlook of socialism → online text (page 1 of 21)