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we may be sure that the unseen helmsmen are profited by their labors.

Volumes could be filled with concrete instances of these methods. In a certain city is a house and lot advertised for sale for months at $10,000. The City decides to erect a school on that lot, and pays $17,500 for it. We may be sure that the greater part of that added sum goes to the party leaders, perhaps to a single boss, who was able to dictate the necessary votes. Again, a new boulevard, or the widening of a street, is decided upon. Some agents have bought up the lands along the new avenue, which are going to be worth double their former value. We may be sure that the party leaders are making their profit there. Important "welfare” laws are blocked year after year: a law limiting the working-day of some workers to ten or eight hours, a law requiring seats for salesgirls, a law requiring costly fire protective devices. We may be sure that there are those who are sharing the profits thus saved to the employers.

Some of these methods are quite obviously and cynically dishonest—as when the agent of a gas company approaches the chairman of a legislative committee that has framed, for this express purpose, a gas bill which would curtail the company's profits, and asks, “Well, how much do you want?” The gas bill is never reported out of committee; it was decided to be inexpedient, on grounds, of course, of public policy. Very likely it was inexpedient. But it could have been passed, and it was worth a good deal to the gas company to keep it from passing.

Millions of dollars are collected in our cities annually from gambling houses, "disorderly" houses, and other institutions of commercialized vice, for "protection.” Even many innocent people have to pay, as a

price of not being persecuted, subjected to annoyances, or refused privileges really their due.

But these cruder forms of bribery and blackmail are a small part of the story. More often the direction given to legislation seems intrinsically desirable to the party men. It is really too bad to compel a department store owner to put in seats for his salesgirls; they would sit down and be lazy when they ought to be on the alert for customers. To be sure, the store owner advertises largely in certain newspapers, and these newspapers boost the party leaders in question. If the bill to require seats were to be passed, the store owner would withdraw his full-page advertisements from these newspapers, and the newspapers would discover that the party leaders in question were unworthy of support. Perhaps, indeed, one of the party bosses owns the newspaper. More likely the newspaper owner has some direct or indirect way of rewarding him. The quid pro quo game has infinite ramifications. Reformers speak of "logrolling,” and the "pork-barrel,” or use goodness knows what other disparaging terms. But to the people in the game it is not dishonesty, it is justthe way the game is played. If you can get people with money or influence to do favors for you in return for your favors for them, you are no more dishonest than the average business man. Politics is business; and business exists for personal profits.

The result of it is, however, that "big business” pretty generally has its way, because it can afford to pay for it. As Governor Hughes of New York said in 1912, “There is a constant effort by special Interests to shape or defeat legislation, to seek privileges and to obtain favors in the administrative departments.” And that effort is pretty generally successful. There are always reasons discoverable for opposing or pushing bills, apart from the really controlling motives. Many a politician, being "in with” the Interests in question, sincerely believes it to be his duty to protect them from inadvisable legislation. The fact that he receives a splendid "legal fee" for his advice-or a stock-exchange tip-or a nomination for a higher office or a complimentary write-up—or social recognition for his wifeor what not—is simply the due reward of his political soundness. He has the business prosperity of this great nation at heart.

So, vitally important bills are defeated year after year. Special Interests fatten, Privilege is undisturbed, Profiteering goes on uncurbed, local constituencies are favored at the general expense, vast sums of public money flow into the pockets opened to receive it, incompetent "party men” sit in our legislative halls, untrained men grapple with complex administrative problems, able men are defeated for office because they are not subservient to the party organization.

It is not really quite so bad as all this! Even party bosses may have some sort of conscience; and the average politician is not a bad fellow. Other motives than the selfish ones enter in to mitigate the sordid scramble. Moreover, bosses fall out with one another sometimes, to the profit of the public. But the fact remains that the welfare of the people is constantly thwarted, and a great deal is done that has no popular will behind it. Or if the popular approval exists, it is because it has been created by the Interests, the politicians, and the newspapers who are working hand in hand for their common profit. This is the "Invisible Government,” the "machines,” the "rings,” whose dominance in our public affairs is matter of common knowledge. They work by underhand methods, methods which, though usually not recognized as such by those who use them, are fundamentally dishonest.

Mr. Elihu Root, in his farewell address to the New York Constitutional Convention in 1915, said, “We found that ... the majority of the legislators were occupying themselves chiefly in the promotion of private and local bills, of special interests ... upon which apparently their re-elections to their positions depended.” The situation there was thoroughly typical. Our rulers are elected by the people; but to a large extent they do not represent the people. They do not, primarily, owe their election to the people, but to the “machine” that brought about their nomination. And to the dictates of those party leaders, rather than to the popular will, they are, for the most part, loyal. They forward the Interests which their party is backing. They dare not—often they are convinced they ought not-to deviate from the party policy, on matters where the party demands their allegiance.

Can we then hope to purge the party machines of self-seeking and graft? Or can we hope to launch a new party whose leaders will maintain a more ideal. istic and disinterested attitude? Or can we devise a plan whereby the sovereign people will be more independent of party control and able oftener to elect men of expert qualification for office and a genuine public-mindedness? One of these things must be done if we are to justify the faith of our fathers in democracy. There is no problem more pressing for this generation. Democracy is still on trial. As the writer quoted at the opening of this chapter concludes, “With the inclusion of all men and women in the suffrage, with the rapidly increasing acceptance of direct government, the extensive work of the democratic impulse has ended. Now the intensive work of democracy must begin."


Theodore Roosevelt, American Ideals, Chapters III-VI; The

New Nationalism, Chapters on The Crook, and Corruption. H. G. Wells, The Future in America, Chap. VIII. R. C. Brooks, Corruption in American Politics and Life. Lincoln Steffens, The Shame of the Cities; The Struggle for

Self-Government. W. E. Weyl, The New Democracy, Chap. VIII, X. A. T. Hadley, Standards of Public Morality, Chapters IV, V. Edmond Kelly, Evolution and Effort, Chap. IX. Durant Drake, Problems of Conduct, Chap. XXIV. James Bryce, The Hindrances to Good Government. C. R. Henderson, The Social Spirit in America, Chap. XI. Graham Wallas, Human Nature in Politics. H. George, Jr., The Menace of Privilege, Book VI. Walter Lippmann, A Preface to Politics. A. M. Kales, Unpopular Government in the United States. C. C. P. Clark, The Machine Abolished.

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