Page images
[ocr errors]


be represented by their detectives, not to spot agita. tors to discharge them, but to make careful notes of any bad practises which might be reformed. . . . Let it be considered bad form to characterize any man as a Bolshevist merely because you do not agree with him.

Let us have parades of Socialists or Communists, or Christians, or any other sect that can muster enough enthusiasm and confidence in their cause to make a showing. Let us make it the greatest offense against morals and manners to silence the voice of a prophet; to refuse a respectful hearing to those who speak in the name of a more perfect justice, in the name of a better social order."

So we are brought to the conclusion that as law is not the enemy of liberty, so lawlessness is the product not of liberty but of its denial. It is not less liberty that we need, but more. If we would avoid the lawless state through which Mexico, for example, has been passing, we must guard against that assumption of despotic power and that denial of popular rights which has engendered there a contempt for the ballot as the means of reform and an impatience of the restraints of law. Obedience to law can be expected only if the law represents the free will and sincere convictions of the people. The Pilgrims, drawing up the Famous Mayflower Compact, November 11, 1620, pledged to yield to their laws "all due submission and obedience"; but they offered their allegiance because the laws were their own, not imposd upon them from above.

Washington, in his Farewell Address, declared that “the very idea of the power and the right of the people to establish Government presupposes the duty of every individual to obey the established Government.” Jefferson, in his First Inaugural, asserted that liberty is to be secured only "by absolute acquiescence in the decisions of the majority; the vital principle of republics, from which there is no appeal but to force, the vital principle and immediate parent of despotism.”

This principle was reaffirmed by Lincoln in these well-known words: "Let every American, every lover of liberty, every well-wisher to his posterity swear by the blood of the Revolution never to violate in the least particular the laws of the country, and never to tolerate their violation by others. As the patriots of '76 did to the support of the Declaration of Independence, so to the support of the Constitution and the laws, let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor; let every man remember that to violate the law is to trample upon the blood of his fathers and to tear the charter of his own and his children's liberty. Let reverence for the

. laws be breathed by every American mother to the lisping babe that prattles on her lap. Let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges. Let it be written in primers, spelling books, and almanacs. Let it be preached from the pulpits, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. In short, let it become the political religion of the Nation."

And finally, Roosevelt, speaking at Columbus, September 10, 1910, declared, “The first essential to the achievement of justice is that law and order shall obtain, that violence shall be repressed, that the orderly course of law shall be unobstructed, and that those who commit violence shall be sternly punished.”

This is the American tradition. It is broken by anyone who urges bomb-throwing, assassination, disobedience to the laws, arrest without warrant, punishment without due trial by jury, the incitement of class against class, suppression of free speech and a free press, the branding by opprobrious names of those with whom we disagree, the use of any means but open argument and the ballot-box either for the attaining of a better order or the maintenance of the order that now is. We are passing through perilous times, and may have to pass through times still more perilous. But no harm will come to the American Republic if we remain true to our heritage of liberty for all within the law.


Theodore Roosevelt, The New Nationalism: Law, Order and

Justice. W. H. Hamilton, Current Economic Problems, pp. 637-646. Durant Drake, Problems of Conduct, pp. 410-413. P. F. Brissenden, The Launching of the I. W. W. J. E. Cutler, Lynch-Law. J. G. Brooks, American Syndicalism. Ole Hanson, Americanism vs. Bolshevism. G. Sorel, Reflections on Violence. J. Spargo, Syndicalism, Industrial Unionism, and Socialism. Thorstein Veblen, On the Nature and Uses of Sabotage. Roland Hugins, in Atlantic Monthly, vol. 123, p. 701. Thirty Years of Lynching in the United States, published by

the National Association for the Advancement of Colored

People, 70 Fifth Avenue, New York, N. Y.
H. R. Mussey, in Atlantic Monthly, vol. 109, p. 441.



« PreviousContinue »