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year we must plow, and reap, what kind of education we shall give to our children, etc., etc. Harvest time depends somewhat upon the particular portion of the world in which you live; education should depend somewhat upon your circumstances and probable future life.
There are some things which a world government could do better than national or state governments. A world government could compel peace amongst the nations; but it could not efficiently prescribe the character of sewers to be installed by the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, or Des Moines, Iowa. There are some things a national government can do better than a state, or city government. But we do not want to leave it to the national government to prescribe the character of telephone service our city shall have. I do not want to leave it to Congress to determine the time I shall retire at night. There are some things which might well be left to a world government, there are others which can best be cared for by our national government, and others by the state government; and still others by the county, and city, and family. And there are a few matters that even the individual, himself, can best perform, strange as it may seem to some.
The real problem is how to secure wise regulation. Will a strong centralized government bring the best results, or is the federal plan—joining national and state control—preferable? The issue concerns the method of government, one of the profound problems at the basis of all organized human life.
The tremendous growth of interstate commerce seems to have raised the query amongst some of us as to whether separate state governments are longer needed. The wisdom of local self-government and the federal system of statecraft is up for consideration. The Sanborn doctrine strikes at the very vitals of our present system.
There has been a marked tendency to swing from one extreme to the other. At one time the prevailing sentiment favored independent states. It was the genius of a Marshall that created the great public sentiment, later crystallized under the leadership of Lincoln, which saved our country from being transformed into several separate nations. Today the pendulum is swinging in the other direction. We are anxiously waiting to see if there is another champion of our federal system, our American plan of government, a man who will have the far-sighted vision and the courage to save the country this time from going to the other extreme. The life of our dual system of government is again at stake. Many of us have lost sight of its value in the glamour of a new nationalism.
Too much "nationalism" is just as wrong as too much "state's rights." There is a happy medium.
It is not this government as one nation, nor the several states, but the combination in one federal plan that has rendered such a distinct contribution to the welfare of humanity. It is this federal plan that must be most jealously guarded. A tendency one way or the other, towards centralization or towards decentralization, is dangerous.
It must be expected that, from time to time, there will be strong men, men who are ambitious to leave distinguished names in history, who will champion a powerful, centralized government in the United States. There always has been, and there always will be, a dramatic attraction in the building of great empires about a central authority; the glory of power in a supreme authority interests and awes even those who are governed.
The strength of nations does not lie in the vastness of the territory under one highly centralized and supreme authority. This truth has been centuries in the learning.
That government which hugs closest to the sober and mature judgment of the people, and keeps in touch with the demands of changing conditions, is the one which best fulfils its mission, and will live the longest. The makers of goveminent must set as their goal, not the creation of an extensive centralized machinery, but a human organism, capable of reaching out, and searching after, and meeting the demands of life.
"TITLE TO PROPERTY."
In spite of the protests and lamentations philanthropists and reformers, these many thousand years, the physical and mental inequalities which nature has imposed upon mankind have created corresponding social inequalities, and there is no reason to anticipate a material change in these conditions in the future. Probably the strongest and the fittest will continue to prevail forever in the struggle for existence. And yet unlimited competition has led to results so terrible that men have always sought to mitigate them by, I apprehend, the evolution of law, whose function is to protect the weak in various essential rights, chief among which rank rights in property. For, where the weak are altogether unprotected, the favored few become masters, while the majority sink into slavery, and the longer and severer the competition may be, the more attenuated the body of masters becomes, and the more exasperated the slaves, until order dissolves in chaos. Such convulsions are always attended by bloodshed and confiscation, and it is to temper such convulsions that the law pretends to secure to every man that which he owns. The theory is good. The difficulty has lain in reducing theory to practice, for it has been found singularly difficult, at certain moments, to determine in what, disputed rights in property, consists. When this condition occurs society grows progressively unstable, for it is obvious that a society is stable in proportion as the bulk of the population profit by maintaining that which exists, and is unstable in proportion as the majority look for advantage in revolution.
My thesis is that every man owns all that he ca'n defend, and if the law fails to recognize and regulate this practical ownership, it to that extent leaves the rights of property to be fixed by force, or, in other words, by private war.
I suspect that, throughout the western world, our civilization is facing some such crisis as this, in the sporadic warfare now waged between capital and labor, touching the ownership of industrial property, and in this short article I propose to enter a little into history in order to investigate these antagonistic claims to property, with a view to illuminating in some small degree the chasm which I infer our law must bridge, if order is to be permanently preserved. Now, in my judgment, lawyers would have deserved better of their clients and their age, had they shown more anxiety than I conceive the evidence indicates that they have shown, to mitigate the rigor of competition by adapting, as far as in them lay, the institutions over which they have exercised some control, to social changes whose hardships, though they could not avert, they might, by intelligence and good temper, have sensibly ameliorated.
I would suggest that probably the cause of the extreme instability of English society after Hastings was the series of confiscations which reduced perhaps the majority of the old population to villeinage. Villeins, by law, could neither acquire nor hold property as against their lord, while the class of landlords stretched upwards in gradations to the king, who was the greatest of all landlords, but greatest by so narrow a margin that he had often much ado to preserve some vestige of sovereignty. Hence the king intrigued with the serfs against their masters, and the abler the king the more he intrigued, as did Henry I, until the serfs gained very substantial advantages.
Also the crusades began, and commerce and capital grew with the crusades, and so, by the beginning of the thirteenth century, the serfs and burghers held the balance of power as between the allied barons and the king, as they conclusively proved in 1215 at Runnymede, when John