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greedy or predatory rich, as you please, and their attitude toward America, all being citizens of the same land. Because a Colonial American once wrote it down in our Declaration of Independence that men are created free and equal, that they are, and of right ought to be, entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness at the hands of their fellow-citizens and the world, the American ever since has been amazed and troubled by the curious human or chemic contradictions of and oppositions to this, not only in others but himself. Struggling along trying to be free and happy he finds that he is constantly interfered with by others who are doing the same thing, and that, Declaration of Independence or no Declaration of Independence, the curious fact remains that the strong, the ruthless, the shrewd get along as well here as they do anywhere and that they are constantly developing ways and means of undermining him and foreshortening his peace and happiness in favor of their own.
Thus, in illustration: (i) A Federal judge (1919) ruled that although Congress (1918) had forbidden any one to compel children of ten or more years of age to labor in cotton mills, still it was unconstitutional for Congress so to forbid and those who wished could so employ children. Result, hundreds of thousands of children returned to eleven hours per day factory labor.
(2) A New Jersey judge, one Gjjrnere by name, ruled (1900) that a child's life, lost in an accident on a railroad or other public conveyance, was not worth more than one dollar^ the child not being as yet a source of profit to its paPenTST^^
(3) An Ohio circuit judge (William H. Taft, afterwards President of the United States) ruled (1893) that quitting work without the consent of the employer was a criminal offense on the part of an employee.
(4) The Federal Supreme Court ruled (1908) that arbitration in labor disputes is unconstitutional, therefore something which an employer may not even enter upon with his employees.
(5) The Oregon Supreme Court decided (1903) that a citizen might be legally held in duress (jailed) for one month without trial—this in the face of explicit prohibition on the part of the American Constitution.
(6) The Massachusetts Supreme Court held in one dispute (1906) that where conditions are unsatisfactory there is no remedy open to labor save by individual and personal suit; union or combined action being illegal or unconstitutional.
(7) Four magnates, two of them controlling the production and two the distribution of milk for and in New York City, decided (January 10, 1919) that since they could not agree as to how the profits of the sale of milk in New York City were to be divided among them, New York was to have no milk until they could agree. Time of city without milk, one month.
(8) One Barnet Baff, wholesale chicken merchant in New York City, was murdered because he would not enter upon a scheme with other chicken-wholesalers to fix prices and extort a higher profit from the public. Secondary executors, but not primary instigators or murderers, were caught and electrocuted.
(9) In Lachnor vs. New York (198 U. S. 45) a majority of the judges of the New York Court of Appeals held unconstitutional a law limiting the hours of labor of bakers, many of whom (women) were forced to toil twelve hours daily in cellars to earn wages barely sufficient to keep them alive. The Court held that this law was void because it interfered with freedom of contract.
(10) In Ives vs. South Buffalo Ry. Co. (94 N. E. R. 431), a case in which a railroad employee, crippled for life while at work and without "contributory negligence," sued for recompense, the New York Court of Appeals unanimously decided that the law under which the suit was brought was unconstitutional. The judges admitted the injustice, since the man was helpless, but held the Constitution responsible.
. . . One might thus go forward for pages. I merely cite these in order to present a few definite instances. The truth is that while the average American imagines he is better looked after and more free here than he would be elsewhere, it is more a matter of thought than anything else. As to his daily earning and living capacity, while it is true that he gets more pay he also pays more for what he buys. A rising scale of wages has so regularly been accompanied by a lowering of the purchasing power of the dollar that he has not been much comforted by higher wages. In fact, the National Department of Labor (February, 1919), after studying family budgets in various cities of the country, announced that the then exorbitant cost of necessities bore heaviest on incomes of one thousand dollars or less, although five per cent of the population controlled ninety-five per cent of the wealth of the nation. And one should further note the rising Protection policy of a hundred years, under which the trusts flourished without any notable increase of wages to the local consumer, and the local consumer paid uniformly higher prices than those paid by foreigners for the same grade of goods, often the very same goods made here and shipped abroad. This protection explains the American multi-millionaire; also the American beggar and his slum. It also explains the profiteer. If the average American has had a little more of food and clothes than the men of some other countries, he has also been confronted by the very irritating spectacle of thousands upon thousands who have so much more than he has or can get. He has been made to appear as poor as any churchmouse anywhere, and, worst of all, his woes get but small attention from those who, financially able to control his only medium of expression, the newspapers, insist upon telling him that he is wel^. ^and happy. If any one should doubt this, let him consult, for one thing, the report of the Federal Trade Commission appointed by Congress (Report handed down June, 1918), wherein it was charged and proved that large exactions and safe profiteering permitted more than one giant concern to double, treble, even quintuple, its capitalization and still earn from 100 to 227 per cent in one instance. Q)aj, valued at five jrnfs a tan inth° ground, was being sold for twenty-two dollars a ton in New-¥ork—not over two hundred and fifty miles away. Milk was shoved up rapidly from seven to seventeen-and-one-half cents a quart, and with no interference on the part of any one and no effort to pool the wasteful competition and duplication of systems which, on the other hand, were offered as an excuse for the necessity of the more than 100 per cent increase. Wheat, potatoes, meat, oil, sugar rose in proportion. There was no corresponding increase in the wages, save to unionized labor (which was the only form of labor in a position to demand a just share, and which constituted but ten per cent of all employed). And these had to indulge in three hundred and sixty-seven strikes in the first three years of the war to effect even so much as a twenty per cent increase. (I am quoting figures furnished by the United States Bureau of Labor.) When complaint was made, one enthusiastic retort on the part of a corporation press was that the natural law of supply and demand must be allowed to work, that interference with exhorbitant prices meant curtailment of production at the source. The poor producer, robbed of his just right to high prices under a strenuous demand, would become discouraged and quit! On the other hand, the producer was constantly complaining that he was getting little more than before, while the rapidly increasing cost of labor was cited as proving the need of a from 100 to a 1000 per cent increase on everything—shoes, clothes, food, rent. That is all simple and interesting enough when one accepts human nature for what it is: a thing of rough balances and equations only or a catch-as-catch-can struggle in which the strong or the shrewd survive and the weak go under. But when, in the same land in which these things occur, the air is full of a huge hubbub over the extreme merits of democracy, and when at the same time any one who says anything against profiteering or intimates that democracy as such may be subject to at least some of the faults of autocracy is looked upon as an enemy, if not an enemy alien, it becomes slightly anachronistic, to say the least.
It is also a matter of pride with most of us, frequently expressed in disparagement of our European contemporaries, that we are a nation of workers. To hold a position in any American community, so the thought runs, a man must have a job. We do not conceal our contempt for the chap who fails to go down to an office or a business every day. Often, of course, our ostentatious workers do go down but do very little work. Still, somehow it is felt by the public at large that every man owes it to the community or the nation to put in from six to ten hours outside of the residential district doing something, if no more than twiddling his thumbs. Hence the huge commuting armies oscillating to and fro, between home and office or factory. And yet can it be said that American commercial activity is so immensely more profitable than that of any other nation? Or even as much so? During the late great war it was actually proved that both Germany and England had shrewder and more profitable business schemes and methods. The German plan for national co-operative buying was one. Again, the superior efficiency of the Germans and even the English was one of the facts which burst like a flash of lightning out of a clear sky upon the astonished American, the instantaneous skill with which all national resources—food, clothing, transportation, man-power—were mobilized and put