ROLAND G. USHER
AT present four concrete problems or groups of problems face the American people.(1) First and foremost, we must take into consideration the entire control of the ocean highways to the United States by a European power and the complete dependence of the foreign trade of the United States upon foreign merchant marines. This is the natural effect, the inevitable legacy of the supremacy of the sea. It is now necessary for us to ask whether this is desirable. Should we view its continuance with favor and regard with complacency our dependence, for our contact with the rest of the world and with the rest of the Western Hemisphere, upon the good will of some European nation? Should we calculate literally that its forbearance or its own peculiar interests and the complications of international politics together with the strength of the strategic position of the United States would counsel it to extend our privileges to the point of freedom of trade? Will a change in the mistress of the seas, a shifting of the balance of power in Europe, and the rise of new and powerful economic entities in Europe change the policy of the nation controlling the sea to our detriment? If we decide that our dependence and existence by the sufferance and good will of some foreign nation is either undesirable or inexpedient, the prerequisites of substantial independence of all nations will be a subject of the utmost moment. The type of preparedness which it would involve, the extent of armament required should war become inevitable,---these will be more than merely interesting subjects.
If on the other hand it seems for any reason whatever desirable to depend upon the present connection or relationship, will it be expedient for us to raise, with insistence, questions that may imperil our cordial relations with the sea-power, and shall we continue to espouse policies in direct contravention to its well-known precepts and interests? The consequences, if we act in this manner, we must carefully appreciate. Nor must we forget that the supremacy of the Pacific affects us as well as the supremacy of the Atlantic and of the Gulf of Mexico. Should a German victory throw the one into the hands of Germany, the other will unquestionably fall into the hands of Japan, and the tensity of our present relations with that nation will then force us to ask whether we are now in a position to maintain our present contentions with Japan the moment she becomes mistress of the Pacific. Will not a new policy in the far East become imperative, at the sacrifice of consistency and even of existing interests?
We have long claimed the supremacy of the Western Hemisphere and have predicated our paramount interests in it as against any European power, but our claim has not yet been admitted in Europe and in South America and is more than likely to be challenged in the near future by both. If either or both raise the question of the validity of such an interpretation of the Monroe Doctrine, can we maintain it? Is it desirable or expedient that we should do so? Assuming that we might attain the actual supremacy of the Western Hemisphere, does a paramount interest exist which makes such action essential or desirable?
The third issue which we have to face is that of imperialism, of expansion in the Western Hemisphere, of the maintenance of the Monroe Doctrine in the sense of policing the Gulf of Mexico and the smaller Latin-American countries. If we assume this is just, can we also prove that it is expedient? If we believe that it is consonant with their interests, can we also show that it accords with our own? Indeed, it will be imperative for us to ask ourselves whether we have national ambitions for the acquisition of territory outside the present continental limitations of the United States and to reach some conclusion as to the object of acquiring such territory, of the likelihood of opposition, and of our ability to meet it successfully.
In the imperialist problem of the far East lies the fourth question for decision. Are the Philippines the key to the open door of the Eastern trade? Shall we defend them if they are assailed, not out of any love for the Filipinos, not with any notion that they are commercially profitable to the Government or to us as individuals, but because their strategic position makes us a far Eastern power and gives us a position, if not a right, from which to defend and promote our economic interests in China? If we decide to exclude the Japanese from the United States, will it not affect our relations in the far East? Shall we ask full privileges in Japan for Americans and deny the Japanese similar privileges in the United States? Will not our ambitions in Asia, provided we have them, dictate our treatment of Asiatics in the United States?
These problems---an independent position on the sea, the supremacy of the Western Hemisphere, imperialism in Asia---are neither complementary nor entirely consistent unless we maintain a strong affirmative, and therefore an aggressive, position upon all of them. We cannot expect to maintain our supremacy in the Western Hemisphere and continue to depend upon some European power for the use of its merchant marine; we cannot hope to play an important part in Asia unless we are within measurable distance of controlling the Pacific; we can scarcely expect to acquire territory in the Gulf of Mexico without meeting opposition and without sacrificing the ideals of Pan-Americanism.
Inevitably, one and all reduce themselves to the question of armament. If certain policies are desirable, if certain objects are to be attained, if we cherish certain ambitions, extensive armament will be a prerequisite of their consummation. The non-military character of our organization, our traditional policy of peace, and our dislike of aggression must be carefully considered in relation to these four problems. If we shall decide against extensive armament, it will be, so far as these problems are concerned, equivalent to a decision for disarmament. Inadequate force will be the same as no force at all; the expenditure of a thousand dollars is sheer waste when a million is necessary.
1. The author wishes to remind his readers that he is dealing in the Fourth Book, "The Future," with possibilities and probabilities, and is attempting to balance against each other the more plausible and important solutions suggested. He is not to be understood as in any sense advocating one rather than another. In particular, he disclaims any attempt to represent his own views. In these as in other chapters, many statements, if isolated and compared with similarly isolated fragments from earlier chapters, will appear contradictory unless the student carefully remembers that they are intended to represent the contradictory views held by different sections of the community. Back to text.
THE PREREQUISITES OF INDEPENDENCE
THAT American goods should be carried in American ships and protected by a strong United States navy is a proposition unlikely to be disputed but nevertheless one which we must examine rather closely before answering categorically. If patriotism seems to counsel an affirmative reply, discretion and expediency, with economic advantages in mind, may argue in the negative. Nor will a decision that must be advanced at all costs prove by any means that the prerequisites of its attainment are within our power.
The ethics of independence are literally those of self-defense: the unassailable right of every nation to control the factors essential to its territorial integrity, its economic prosperity, and, its international status. As against other communities the interests of the United States must be supreme and of this principle we can admit no contravention. Our national interests and in particular our national honor can never make anything less than independence a fact to be regarded by the American people with complacency and satisfaction.
The economic desirability of independence is by no means to-day a matter of assumption. Since the United States became an integral part of the interdependent international economic fabric, its access to the markets of the world is not merely desirable, nor in the least something permissive, but an economic necessity imperative for our welfare. On the assumption of the continuance of intercourse our whole economic fabric is built. We definitely depend upon the sale of our products and manufactured goods to other nations and are as thoroughly dependent for our physical existence upon the prompt return of their commodities. This fact has changed in all its more important aspects the relations of the power in control of the sea to other nations. In the past, England found a great navy the bulwark of her existence because it protected the imports of food and raw materials upon which her national existence depended. Other nations were able to acquiesce in her supremacy because their importations. were by no means as essential to their own welfare. While it is still true that England draws from foreign sources a larger proportion of her maintenance than other nations, it is no longer true that her prosperity is more dependent than that of others upon freedom of access to the world's markets. The difference is now one in degree rather than in kind and is apparent rather than substantive. The Germans have built a large merchant marine and have created a great fleet for the express purpose of holding in their own hands factors able to establish that continued contact with the markets of the world which is to-day the paramount interest of Germany. Advisedly, she has decided that independence of the sea-power is indispensable. This change in the situation may prevent other nations from conceding longer England's paramount interest in the sea and lead them to insist that all nations now possess the same interest in freedom of intercourse, even though it may differ in degree. Freedom of access to the world's markets beyond the possibility of interference by any nation may become an international premise.
The economic results to the United States of independence of the sea-power are therefore clear. It would provide for the continuance of our contact with the international market upon which depends our prosperity. The profits of freight, brokerage, and insurance, which now are paid to England, would come to us. It would free American trade from all the influence of alterations in European alliances and from the effects of political and military events in Europe, placing us beyond that inevitable influence, which all such events exert to-day upon international markets and the world's trade. From arbitrary interference of any kind it would deliver us. We would be able to compel others to accord our interests the same attention they would expect all nations of equal wealth and international standing to accord their own. It would assure beyond cavil our international economic status and privileges.
Nor are the economic gains of independence by any means those of greatest interest to us in this inquiry. Independence of the sea-power is in itself a prerequisite of independent action by the United States in foreign affairs, a prerequisite of territorial expansion, of imperialism, of Pan-Americanism, and indeed of any clash with Europe's victor into which we entered with reasonable expectation of a successful issue. Until we are free from the English merchant fleet and from the control of all the approaches to the Western Hemisphere by the English navy, we shall not be able to act in foreign affairs contrary to the policies and interests of the sea-power without immediately entailing upon ourselves an economic crisis of the first magnitude. To attempt independent action in diplomacy before we take control of the sea in earnest will actually compel the sea-power, whether in the hands of England or Germany, to destroy our commerce with the rest of the world, and ruin our economic fabric. Independence is not a commercial problem alone but a question of international status. Yet in the last analysis the desirability of our complete independence of the seapower involves the probable cost not only of winning it but of retaining it, as well as the desirability of independent action in foreign affairs and the probability of our desire to prosecute policies contrary to the interests of the power likely to control the seas. If policies contrary to the past or present interests of the sea-power are essential to our future prosperity, independence will become a fundamental prerequisite of our policy. If the ends we must subserve are practically identical with those of the sea-power, an alliance with it will secure them.
The first prerequisite of independence is not at all a merchant marine, but an adequate merchant marine,---one large enough to render us independent in fact of the world itself, one considerable enough to carry the whole of our exports and imports in time of war, when the belligerent status of part of the world's fleets might otherwise deprive us of our necessary contact. In other words we must gauge the essentials of independence not by the requirements necessary to cope with normal conditions but with those imperative in handling any abnormal situation which might arise. When we speak of independence therefore we are talking less of existing facts than of possibilities.
The second essential is a system of exchange in the hands of American bankers, providing not only adequate exchange facilities with Europe but the establishment in all parts of the world of such branch banks as are needed to deal without question with the entire volume of American trade. At present, like most countries, we are largely dependent upon London exchange, and through London our business with all the less developed parts of the world is done. No independence can be real until we are freed absolutely from this situation. Nor is this demand to be satisfied by the creation of agencies which merely make direct exchange with all parts of the world possible. The facilities provided must be such as to make direct exchange profitable and desirable, not only for American merchants but for their foreign customers.
The third indispensable prerequisite is the control of the ocean highways by the United States fleet, so that our contact with Europe and the Mediterranean, our control of the Panama Canal, our trade in South America, and our commerce with the far East and the Islands of the East, is assured beyond peradventure. Here however we are not able to measure the means and methods necessary to secure independence by calculations based upon the probable exigencies of our own polity. While the European situation retains its present characteristics, the power controlling the sea will consider its authority a domestic necessity of primary importance and will never maintain it purely for the sake of controlling the approaches to the United States or of dictating to us our relationship with other nations. It will be necessary for us to realize that when we challenge it in our own interests we raise the much larger issue of the national integrity of the seapower and its domestic defenses against European aggression. For Germany this is no more a purely international issue than it is for England; both regard it as a domestic issue of the very first consequence. We must prepare to assail the means England has taken to protect her international status and her actual existence, not merely her dispositions for patrolling the Atlantic or her fleet in American waters; to challenge her control of our approaches will at once raise the issue of her supremacy anywhere, even in the English Channel. To build a fleet large enough to conquer the European power in control of the sea may not be necessary, but we must have a fleet at least large enough to threaten its existence by making a battle too dangerous to be accepted. Undoubtedly this will mean a very large fleet of high efficiency.
England will object almost as vitally to a great American merchant marine. Her notion of an adequate merchant marine for herself is based upon the number of ships needed in time of war to carry the supplies on which she depends. In other words, her merchant marine must be placed in time of peace on a war footing and requires for its support in time of peace a very great volume of freight for transport. So large a merchant marine cannot be maintained by subsidies and the nation can afford to own it only as long as it sustains itself. Inasmuch as the amount of trade in the world at any one time is more or less limited, the English must secure an abnormal amount of ocean commerce to keep their merchant marine on this war footing in time of peace. The prosperity of her fleet and therefore its existence is immediately threatened by the creation of other great fleets which rob her own of its livelihood by taking from it a part of the world's carrying trade. As the English fleet already conveys the bulk of the world's trade, the creation of any other merchant marine is certain to affect its profits, and if to the German fleet is added a great American merchant fleet, a serious crisis will result for English shipping of a nature which the sea-power can solve only by aggressive action.
An army is absolutely essential to prevent the existing sea-power from putting undue pressure upon us while our own fleets are building. If England or Germany invades us with an army they can of course take possession of that which the sea-power is intended to protect, the country itself. Unless we are ready to defend ourselves on land, we can be periodically compelled to sacrifice everything gained on the sea in order to rid ourselves of the invading army. Independence cannot therefore be attempted without the creation at home of an army large enough to render a successful invasion of the country so problematical that no European power will attempt it. We do not wish to fight, but under the circumstances we can avoid fighting only by making it more dangerous to the aggressor than a victory will be worth. An army of less than half a million men will be entirely inadequate, and only circumstances can show whether a half-million men, thoroughly trained and elaborately equipped, will be sufficient to make us immune.
Let us not evade the real issue by needless quibbling. Under present circumstances an attempt by the United States to ensure its independence of the sea-power involves an attack upon England and an extensive alteration in England's present position in the world; nor will the situation be strikingly different should Germany take England's place. Whatever our purpose, whatever its justification, we shall still be adopting a policy whose results for other nations cannot fail to be interpreted as aggression. From them we shall be attempting to take something which they now have---a circumstance which will go far to close their ears to any arguments tending to prove that they never should have had it and that they possess at the present day no right to it. The fact will still remain---they are losing something and we are getting it. To them it will be aggression and with it they will deal accordingly. However just therefore or expedient independence may be for us, we must not forget that it will practically involve us in military and naval measures essentially identical with a lively aggressive attack upon the power in control of the sea. If we hesitate before adopting a policy which is aggression even in appearance, or to maintain it with the utmost determination by extensive military and naval measures, we shall do well to refrain from talking of the desirability of independence. It is to be secured and maintained in no other way, once we have won it.
The difference between security and independence is almost as great as the distance between the antipodes. For security we ask merely a probable safety from actual violence, and it does not make a great deal of difference to us whether our security rests upon arms or upon strategic factors in our own or the European situation. That we are not in actual present danger of violent conquest suffices. For independence on the other hand, it is scarcely enough to be certain beyond any reasonable doubt that we can resist any possible assault which can be delivered. All eventualities and possibilities become of importance and we must prepare for all as if they were actually upon us. In providing for security we may eliminate everything beyond the clearest probabilities; in preparing for independence we must make ready to meet even the remotest possibilities. In the one, we shall be satisfied if we can avoid the worst; in the other, we consciously set our aim upon the attainment of the best possible and make up our minds to be satisfied with nothing less.
The character of modern warfare makes opposition to the victor by the United States futile unless we undertake truly elaborate preparations in the very near future. Those who expect him to be too exhausted at the end of the war for aggression in pursuit of his ambition are reckoning without their host. Whatever the economic exhaustion in Europe may be, the army and navy which control the land and sea will undoubtedly be the largest and best equipped that the world has ever known, while their training and equipment will have been carried by the war itself to a point of perfection of which men scarcely dream to-day. To meet such a victor must we prepare, and unless we make adequate preparations for the conflict it were better that we made none at all. Security we may attain at a relatively small cost; but for independence we shall have to pay the price which the victor sets upon it and not a price which we ourselves predetermine.
Can we afford independence? Will not the cost of adequate armament be prohibitive? No impartial student will hesitate to reply in the negative. We can easily afford with our vast resources to do what the European states have done with half as much, if only we consider the object worthy. Indeed we already have the expense of armament without its protection., While the United States army is hardly as bad as the most radical of its critics claim, there can be no doubt whatever that in comparison with European armies it is by far the most expensive and the least efficient in the world. Our army annually costs (according to figures recently compiled by one of the Peace Foundations) $1314 a man while the German army costs $306, the French army $291, and the English $378. Our average expense is more than four times that of any European nation for the men actually in the field, and, while we pay our men higher wages than any other nation, the real difference in expense is not in that item.
If we put the issue thus, the result is little short of staggering. We have paid recently over one hundred millions of dollars a year for our army while Germany has expended on hers two hundred millions. She has produced the largest and best-equipped standing army the world has known, one seven times as numerous as ours and, at a moderate computation, more than ten times as efficient, at just about double the cost. The total expenditure of France in 1912 was two hundred and fifty-nine millions of dollars for which she had to show, a navy fourth in size and at least third in efficiency in the world, an active army of over six hundred thousand men and a reserve army of about four millions, which were put into the field at a few days' notice. The French artillery corps was supposedly the largest and finest in the world. The United States spent in that same year on its army and navy combined only fifteen millions of dollars less and had to show a navy of considerable size but not of commensurable efficiency and an army of barely eighty thousand men, with no reserves, no artillery to speak of, and no supplies of ammunition. Belgium put three hundred thousand well-equipped men into the field at a very few days' notice and her annual military budget is listed at thirteen millions of dollars---four times as many men well equipped at a cost of about one-eighth of what we pay for one quarter as many men, the adequacy of whose equipment is open to the gravest doubt. This army of course was largely composed of reserves, but the Italian standing army, counting over three hundred thousand men, is maintained at a cost of a little more than half our military budget. The size of our army has increased little in the last four decades but its expense has quadrupled.
The figures in regard to the navy are also thoroughly instructive. The Germans are supposed to have been spending prodigious amounts in recent years and have certainly built up a fleet enormous in size and of undoubted efficiency. They spent in 1912 and 1913 one hundred and eleven millions of dollars; the United States spent twenty-five millions of dollars more; England, with the largest navy in the world and supposedly the greatest bill of expenditure, spent two hundred and sixteen millions of dollars; and France with the fourth largest navy spent eighty-one millions of dollars. The English navy has cost something over a third more than the United States navy and its efficiency is perhaps three times as great. Our present army and navy are in fact the result of good money misspent, the bulk of which seems unrepresented by anything military or naval. These figures have been published so often that the truth ought to have been thoroughly well-known long before this. We can easily afford armament because we are already paying for adequate armament, if the sums spent by European nations are any criterion of what armament costs.
If further expenditure becomes necessary there are two very simple methods by which vast sums can easily be saved. The first is by economy in national administration. Lack of business methods and incompetent clerks cost us annually many millions. A resolute application to the departments in Washington, and particularly to the Post Office and Customs Service, of advanced business methods will save more millions a year than an American likes to contemplate. Every European post office is an asset in the annual budget of a good many millions, whereas the United States post office can produce a small credit balance only by a process which is called in private business "juggling the accounts," and by compelling the railroads to perform much of the service of carrying the mails, including the whole of the parcels post, without recompense. If the so-called "Pork Barrel" alone can be stopped, a good many battleships can annually be built from that great sum of money which is now apportioned out in contracts for the constituents of congressmen. We have built a good many harbors which ships never enter and deepened a good many rivers which have no water in them at certain seasons of the year. There is some truth in the parody of the famous remark: "Millions for graft, but not one cent for safety."
War and armament are both expensive, but we can easily afford independence, if we decide it is desirable, by foregoing a variety of luxuries and extravagancies which are quite as void of permanent importance as armament. Any one who will take the trouble to turn to the census and see the millions and millions spent annually upon tobacco, beer, fine clothes, theaters, automobiles, will see that a small fraction of the total sum, which is as decidedly wasted each year so far as the future is concerned as if it had been burned up, would provide us with an armament sufficiently large to achieve every conceivable purpose the American people might ever have. We can afford armament without really burdening ourselves at all, if we can spend honestly the sums already appropriated, and we can place the matter beyond all doubt by a little economy in national administration plus a very slight sacrifice in our own luxuries.
Realizing then that independence of the sea power is a prerequisite of aggressive action by the United States, let us assume that independence attainable and consider the desirability of the territorial expansion which it will make possible.
THE ECONOMICS OF EXPANSION
MANY European statesmen have advisedly reached the conclusion that the truly significant factor in the national warfare is its rate of economic progress, the continuance of which must be assured at all costs and the consequences of whose diminution is to be dreaded as a calamity fatal to the national prosperity. Do the economic premises of European expansion apply at all to the United States? Shall we need in the future new territory to develop and new markets to exploit? Are we wrong in supposing that our interests are different in character from those of European nations and that the logic which they find convincing does not apply to our needs or interests? What are the prospects for the continuance of the recent rapid economic development in this country and what will be the probable consequence of its retardation?
First and foremost, the rate of American growth has been the result of immigration. A young country with plenty of land, and an abundance of natural resources needed merely the application of labor to produce commodities and profit. Roughly speaking, the capital was in existence and the amount of it that could be utilized, its rate of development, depended entirely upon the number of hands which could be put to work. The normal rate of progress would be the normal annual increase in the number of hands that were put to work, which, if dependent upon the ordinary growth of the population, would not in any one year be large. Rapid immigration, by furnishing us with an abnormal increase of hands every year, caused an utterly unprecedented and abnormal rate of development. In the next place, we put these hands to work upon virgin resources ---upon lands which had never been cropped, in forests untouched by the ax, or upon deposits of free mineral which could be dug with a spade. Our resources were as extraordinary in quality as the increase in the number of hands was abnormal; even the crudest and most wasteful of methods yielded astonishing profits. The first impulse of machinery and the new facilities of transportation, communication, and intercourse, gave an added stimulus to the rate of progress.
Never before in history had it been so easy to move men from one place to another, to locate the resources awaiting development, and to put hands promptly at work. From the first use of machinery came an astounding increase in the output, and from the new transportation an unexpected ease of distribution.
We are already beginning to feel a slackening of this rate of growth, for all three of the factors which created it are far less potent than before. Immigration has fallen off not only in actual numbers, not only in proportion to population, but in quality. The hands which now come are not directed by as good heads as formerly. Then our exuberance has exhausted practically all of our virgin resources: the best land is already tilled; the free minerals are nearly exhausted; our great forests have been so denuded as to cause the utmost concern. The pace of development is no longer accelerated by the advent of new inventions of former potency, and the future will scarcely see the introduction of as epoch-making devices. The rate of growth is already retarded and may slacken to a degree that we would not now consider progress.
From these changes, as well as from the benefits of the previous development, has resulted a striking transportation. The market in America in the past for crude, rough labor was phenomenal and entirely abnormal because we were compelled to perform a multitude of operations badly rather than not at all; to-day we are seeking skilled labor rather than unskilled. Such a demand proceeds from the necessity of careful, intensive work upon resources which no longer yield the same rate of return. The days of extensive farming are numbered and the days of intensive cultivation are here.
In the past our rate of growth was fostered almost entirely by forces in America, because we did actually stand somewhat apart from the European fabric, and because the world as a whole was by no means closely related in business. The creation of an interdependent international economic fabric has made prosperity in one country dependent upon the existence of healthy, normal conditions elsewhere. When we write of identity of interests and of interdependence, we mean simply that one nation is as dependent upon another's buying what it produces, as the second is upon selling to the first what it has produced itself. Neither produces all it needs; neither makes the slightest attempt to produce everything; each counts definitely upon obtaining from others what it does not make and of supplying to them in turn the surplus of commodities which it does not consume at home. This is to-day the premise of international trade. Its concrete result is to make domestic prosperity for any nation largely dependent upon the continuance of its foreign trade, to make our prosperity in America depend not so much upon what we produce as upon what other nations buy from us. Obviously, a situation which prevents our customers in foreign countries from purchasing leaves our own commodities unsold and unsalable, while the failure of foreign nations to produce prevents us from obtaining commodities which we vitally need. If the war has destroyed the market for American copper abroad, it has badly crippled manufacturers here who use aniline dyes or potash. Kid skins we have imported from France; dyes and potash from Germany; the war, which we did not create, immediately interfered with the normality of American business because the United States is an integral part of the interdependent economic structure of the world. There could scarcely be a fact more significant than this: that American prosperity is as dependent upon conditions in foreign countries and upon their domestic well-being as it is upon forces and factors primarily American. In the future, we shall need to take carefully into account probabilities and developments in Europe, South America, Africa, and the far East, if we are to envisage those factors vital to the future prosperity of American citizens.
Undoubtedly the reaction upon economic conditions of the facility of communication and intercourse between nations tends to diminish the rate of progress in all nations and to equalize it. To the least developed sections and districts, where the imperative need for capital and labor results in high rates of interest and high wages, capital and labor usually hasten, until the demand has been filled and the supply more nearly assumes the normal ratio to the demand in other sections of this interdependent fabric. Each year progress is made because the increase in population provides new mouths to feed, new bodies to house and clothe, and more individuals with economic cravings to satisfy. To this increased demand each nation normally contributes; of the larger supply needed to meet it each produces its part, which will naturally bear some rough proportion to its own previous economic efficiency. An abnormal share of this new demand will be necessary for the nation which is eager to develop at an abnormal rate, and the actual amount of goods to be annually sold will be greater because the same proportion of the new demand is annually larger by that year's increase in the population of the world. The continuance of this abnormal degree of growth Germany has decided she must ensure by forcible methods; all other European nations are not less determined to obtain it if they can, and are driven to seek new markets in which they can develop new trade more easily than they can secure a larger share of the increased demand in each other's markets.
There is no nation in Europe, not even Germany, where economic growth has moved at as unprecedented a speed as it has in the United States. A century ago the pioneers of settlement had scarcely crossed the Mississippi and now the surging tide of industrialism has transferred the center of population and industry from the Atlantic coast to the Mississippi valley. No state in Europe was as dependent upon another as we were a century ago upon Europe; none was as backward in manufactures, as deficient in the finer arts of civilization, as unfamiliar with the greatest traditions of the race. To-day the disparity no longer exists, for we are the peers of any European state in economic development. Where Germany has risen from poverty to affluence, we have conquered a continent with our own bare hands and dragged from the earth by unremitting toil an aggregate wealth comparable to that of nations whose accumulations of capital are as old as Europe. Such an achievement is without parallel in the annals of the race.
We are apt to forget that the United States has been in the past a seeker for labor and capital, the possessor of an insatiable demand rather than of a surplus supply. We ourselves have furnished Europe with that vast and ever expanding market which enabled European industry to advance by leaps and bounds during the last century. Here England and France found the outlet for their surplus; here the profitable location for their investments of capital; here has been sold the swelling volume of the new Germany's produce; here has been in the past Europe's greatest field for development, the world's most extended market, the one demand which was increasing faster than the rate of production in Europe could keep pace with. And the benefit was mutual! We needed their capital and labor and their market for our raw products and their supplies of manufactured goods while we were developing our own industry.
But this market is now a thing of the past; the demand no longer exists; and in its place stands a new supply seeking a market. It is not too much to say that the cause of the present struggle for markets in Europe is the attempt to replace the market which the United States once afforded their produce but which it provides no longer. Here is the root of Pan-Germanism, the secret of the interest in Morocco, in China, in South America. Europe has always depended upon selling to a rapidly developing market and has adjusted her economic fabric to an ever increasing demand. For at least two centuries the United States furnished that market and, now that it does so no longer, it must be replaced. There is this great and significant difference in the situation: the company of nations seeking markets numbers one more. The United States itself is now an independent and integral part of the world's interdependent and interlocking economic fabric; its interests with Europe are still mutual but no longer different; complementary to those of European nations rather than their counterpart; identical in character, purposes, and needs. We no longer furnish them a market whose demands it is as much our interest as theirs for them to supply, but we produce a portion of the world's supply as necessary to them as theirs to us, and are seeking ourselves markets for the annual increase in our output.
Already the problem is in existence and a solution desirable; soon the need will be imperative. Inevitably, from the retardation of the rate of progress will come a change in the aspect of business for the ordinary man, because two hands and two legs are every year capable of rendering less valuable service to the community and the unskilled work will be increasingly hard to find. The old superabundance of food which has become almost a tradition in America is already a thing of the past. There has been too much food; the tendency will steadily be to provide just enough. Scientific farming and production makes it easy to avoid overproduction and the growth of more diversified interests will rapidly reduce the proportion of the population which devotes its time to agriculture. Inevitably will come a rise in the price of necessities, and, as unskilled labor will steadily command a smaller price, the degree of comfort to be had for the same quality and quantity of work will diminish. From the exhaustion of virgin resources and of the first impulse from machinery will result in a gradual cessation of immigration, the rate at which the home market has increased in the past will diminish steadily, and we shall tend to produce in the future only to meet the normal increase of demand due to our own normal increase in population, and to meet our share of the same normal increase in foreign countries. We shall face therefore in a not distant future the same issues England has already faced and which Germany is now attempting to meet; we shall experience the same difficulties in meeting them and may conceivably find the only available expedients to solve them those which England has already used and which Pan-Germanism is attempting to provide---new markets.
We can easily house in the United States three hundred millions of people and provide them with work, but we cannot continue for many more decades to provide work for our own people at present wages and supply them with the same amount of commodities at present prices. If we continue to retain our increasing population within our own borders, if we continue to add to it artificially by immigration, inevitably there will be proportionately less work and therefore less wages, because there will be proportionately more laborers; inevitably there will be less food and more mouths and therefore higher prices and less to eat per individual. We can grow indefinitely in the United States but not at the present rate of growth nor with the present degree of individual comfort. If precedent affords us the slightest glimpse of the future, we shall soon be seeking new markets, new fields to which capital and labor may emigrate.
From such new economic demands will follow, unless precedent is again misleading, new demands upon national policy and statecraft. The capital and labor who wish to emigrate will desire, as they have in the past, assurances from the national government of protection in their new residence, or will demand as in the case of the cotton culture the creation of new economic opportunities by political agencies. In the path of our economic expansion we shall find as other nations have a great number of obstacles placed there partly by chance, partly by past history, and partly by the designs of other nations to secure for themselves unusual privileges. Already it is almost an axiom of European politics that a chief duty of the modern government lies in the removal of artificial obstacles standing in the way of the economic interests of the nation and in the prevention of arbitrary interference with its interests by other nations, whether by tariffs, fleets, or armies. They see clearly in Europe that the most vital interest of the state is economic, because economic prosperity is the foundation of political independence, of national unity, and of international status; they see that prosperity depends upon the continuance of the rate of growth, and that political and military action ought to protect and further these economic interests. The present European conflicts are based primarily upon these economic contentions. This then is an economic war---a war for markets, for colonies or dependencies in which markets may be developed, for access and perhaps preferential rights in those of Asiatic communities. Precisely these factors are already present in the United States, and, if precedent be any criterion, will before long lead our statesmen and citizens to a conviction that the supreme duty of the state is to provide for the economic welfare of its citizens, whence it is but a step to territorial expansion, to an insistence upon new markets, secured by political, diplomatic, and it may be by military and naval agencies.
The interests of the United States therefore are identical with those which have led the present nations into this war so far as our interest in their prosperity extends. American business is affected by all events in Europe---political alliances between different nations, changes in their internal conditions, their domestic or governmental efficiency as reflected in their economic structure, and in the part they play in the international fabric of which we are an integral part, in the welfare of which we are as much concerned as they. We have no choice, the world is interdependent and we are a part of it, whether we like it or not; whether we know it or not.
International friendships and antipathies are based upon contact, upon constant intercourse and acquaintanceship between the nations concerned, though in the past close alliances and vigorous hatreds were pretty generally confined to nations physically contiguous. Before the days of railroads and steamships, a nation's interests were not likely to extend much beyond its own borders or to be vitally affected by events which did not happen in its immediate vicinity. But to-day the interests of the United States, like those of all great nations, are bounded, not by the territorial limits of North America, but by the activities of American citizens.
The extension of the economic fabric promptly spread our interests to the confines of the globe and made us potentially the allies or enemies of any country upon it. The old traditions taught that no European alliance could subserve the true interests of the United States; that the Atlantic isolated us from Europe, freed us from its tangle of political alliances, and left us without mutual interests with any European state beyond those which could be advanced by diplomacy. There was indeed a feeling of antipathy towards Europe, a belief almost that their existence was hostile to our welfare, and that we were by no means as interested in their welfare as they were in ours. To the Revolutionists the colonies were being exploited for the profit of English merchants; to the eager advocates of protective tariffs, American labor was being exploited by foreign countries and undersold by the products of underpaid foreign labor. All this is past. Vital interests of the United States exist to-day in every country in the world. The railroad, steamship, and telegraph have put all nations in all parts of the globe into immediate contact, have created interests where none existed, and have made possible international alliances and wars based upon interests that seem widely sundered. To-day we have interests which can be furthered by foreign alliances, and which may actually dictate the nature of our own alliances. The variety and extent of the interests which make our entrance inevitable into international politics render the United States an ally of consequence for any nation, and a power to be feared and courted. Our past traditions, our present intentions, our nobler ideals will not alter the work of economic force whose potency has transformed the face of Nature and habits of mankind. With their work we must reckon and realize speedily that our unwillingness to recognize and failure to accept these fundamental changes will simply plunge us into crises whose origin and character we shall not comprehend and therefore shall not be able to solve, or will leave us at the mercy of foreign nations who have seen their comprehension worth unlimited time and infinite trouble. We too must understand that we may not be taken by surprise; we must prepare to meet the attempts of other nations to utilize these forces, and to mold the international future in their own image for the promotion of their own special interests.
THE ETHICS OF EXPANSION
IF we are able to demonstrate convincingly the desirability and expediency of territorial expansion or of imperialism, shall we also be able to prove their consonance with ethical standards? If the Monroe Doctrine is expedient, is it also just? If the supremacy of the Western Hemisphere is profitable to maintain, is it also praiseworthy? We shall need to justify Pan-Americanism and show that it accords with motives deserving the regard of the American people. Assuming that the Japanese in California and in Latin America are inimical to our economic interests, have we the ethical right to protest? We are challenging England's treatment of neutral shipping and protesting in one way or another against her control of the sea; there is a movement on foot to increase the American merchant marine and to establish as nearly as possible our actual independence of the sea-power; the justification of both is by no means an issue of indifference to the American people. Are any of, these legitimate ambitions? Do all or any of them fulfill the ideal which the American people seem to cherish of noble and disinterested action at this present crisis?
The ethics of expansion and the justification of any policy pursued by the United States in the past or adopted in the future, depend entirely upon our definition of the word ethics. For a good many generations there has been a more or less active debate over the existence or non-existence of a permanent standard by which ethical values at different periods and in different countries could be compared and measured. Obviously, if such a standard exists we must test our behavior by it and accept the verdict; but, fortunately or unfortunately, there are almost as many ethical standards as there are notions of right conduct. The most we can do is to apply the better known successively to the facts and note the result. Many are inclined to contend that the lack of agreement upon an ethical standard robs any conclusion of practical value as a guide to statesmen or individuals. To maintain such a position is plainly to make expediency the only test of rightness and to treat any further inquiry as academic and therefore inconsequential.
At least two of the notions of ethical conduct, at present widely supported, declare any and all policies of expansion or imperialism prima facie unethical and ipso facto wrong. The pacifist assumes that anything gained by compulsion or armed force is wrong: war is abnormal, unnatural, and criminal, proceeding from the worst of motives involving the most despicable conceivable behavior, and resulting in brutality, inhuman cruelty, and unnecessary destruction. From this there is no escape if once we grant the premise. More subtly the principles of individualist ethics, to be found in the bulk of ethical treatises and espoused by nearly all teachers and thinkers who look upon themselves as ethicists, militate against these conceptions of expansion which we are considering. If the analysis of a layman in such controverted matters is not entirely at fault, the object of individualist ethics is really the contentment of the individual in this present life and the welfare of his soul after death. The layman has in mind that sort of right conduct which will lead to his happiness here and to his spiritual salvation hereafter, and naturally demands the furtherance of such ends by the development of spiritual and mental qualities, minimizing as a matter of course the importance and even questioning the value of the acquisition of wealth and the struggle for economic advantage. Indeed the temporalities of life sink into the background and become almost non-ethical because of their comparative powerlessness, long demonstrated by experience, to advance the contentment of the inner man in this present existence beyond a relatively elemental point, or to satisfy him of their ability to save his soul in the next world. The quasi-religious tinge, so marked in present ethical teaching, has its effective origin in the blending of certain features of Christianity with certain aspects of Greek and Roman philosophic teaching.
Economic forces are essentially non-ethical because unadapted to the advancement of the highest ethical ends; economic prosperity is nonethical because it is also almost powerless to advance the aims cherished by ethicists. While thinkers have not denied the rightness of a desire nor a certain moderate degree of physical comfort and have even laid stress upon the importance, for the development of the loftier motives, of an entire freedom from anxiety concerning actual subsistence, they have strongly doubted the expediency of recognizing among ethical motives the desire for worldly position or for economic advantage. Those who have admitted such impulses to a place, have usually accorded them a very secondary and subordinate position and have plainly regarded the decision as a concession grudgingly made to the fallibility of human nature, rather than the recognition of a tenet desirable or necessary. The result is most strikingly seen in the divergence between the teachings of ethicists and the notions of right conduct ordinarily followed in the business community. The economic world has not unnaturally regarded as inadmissible a series of principles which virtually accorded the business world the position of an excrescence on the community, and recognized its continued existence as scarcely likely to further the highest aims of individual or state and only too apt to foster notions destructive of the truest good of both. According to such ethical premises, there are no ethics in business.
If we test by these same tenets the territorial expansion of nations and imperialist policies, the premise will infallibly demonstrate the nonethical character of both and their lack of consonance with the true ends and desires of the community. If not actually base and despicable they will hardly appear noble or praiseworthy.
The premise of expansion and imperialism is in fact the necessity and desirability of economic gain and of material well-being, continued beyond the needs of national subsistence to the acquisition of as great a degree of prosperity and wealth as can be attained. Any rate of progress less than the maximum involves sacrifice and (constructively) suffering. With freedom from actual penury and starvation and even with the attainment of comparative comfort, imperialists are dissatisfied; they demand wealth, the possession of as much more than just enough as can be had. The ethics of expansion, if we may fairly claim that it exists, has sought to define and delimit the economic selfishness of individuals and nations in order to determine how far and why certain particular notions for obtaining wealth are expedient. It has tried to list means and methods permissible in furthering designs for the increase of bodily comfort and material prosperity here on earth. It is builded upon the tenets of political economy rather than upon those of ethics, and it naturally reproduces faithfully the non-ethical and non-moral character of economic postulates which the founders of political economy readily admitted were true if they were tested by such notions of ethics or morals. Indeed, if ethics apparently excludes from consideration the science of accumulating wealth, political economy no less firmly insists that the admission of "ethical" or "moral" impulses will at once vitiate its logic. If ethics assumes that the chief end of life is spiritual contentment and salvation, political economy predicates the increase of individual wealth as the sole purpose of life. Each admits the other's existence; both practically declare that the logic of one destroys that of the other.
Shall we not be wise to recognize here a conflict of standards, or a lack of consonance between standards, rather than a lack of ethical qualities in what we are judging? In other words ethical values seem to be comparative and temporary rather than positive or permanent, resulting not from the character of the thing judged but from its consonance with certain preconceived premises. Conduct or policy will be ethical or not according to its relation to certain postulates which we must always include as the most essential element of our decision. Ethical values are not only comparative but relative.
From the slightest investigation of the deeds and policies of nations and individuals in the past, we shall learn that these ideas of ethics have never been applied by a community to the problems of its existence or of its economic welfare. While adhesion to the general desirability of these concepts has been readily accorded, the conduct of individuals and of nations has been regulated by a very different set of precepts. No great amount of thought will be needed to discover also that nations have never recognized as applicable to them the rules of individual ethics. The reason is only too obvious: the conduct of nations for the increase of their economic welfare or the preservation of their territorial integrity cannot very well be judged by rules intended to promote the peace of mind and the spiritual salvation of individuals.
The premise of international ethics seems to be an application of the notion of individual self-defense to the larger entity. From the very earliest times the individual has been accorded the right to take another's life in defense of his own; he has demanded and ordinarily received, subject of course to examination and verification, the right to judge of the imminence of danger to his own safety and the consequent necessity for taking the other's life. In this principle statesmen have seen a direct analogy to the threatening of national existence by invasion, and from it they have drawn justification for such measures as they deemed imperative for defense. In crises they have justified severe measures with individuals and other nations by the plea that they were indispensable to the preservation of the national independence. The discretionary right to judge of the existence of the necessity and to pass upon the means requisite to meet it, they have always arrogated and they have invariably denied---though not with invariable success---any right to censure the use of this discretion after the event had proved their judgment bad. Of the desirability of such right of self-defense there has never been much question, but such circumstances are not those recently challenged by ethicists.
We have to deal to-day with a very subtle type of self-defense, which does not assume direct aggression in arms nor yet any injury of the sort hitherto recognized as a justification. Does a desire to ensure the future economic welfare of the nation stand upon the same footing as its right to repel armed invasion of its own territory? Has a nation a right to regard as hostile a series of economic developments, which no individual or nation created or originated, which are entirely impersonal, and which affect nearly all nations in some degree, because they seem likely to interfere in the future with that nation's degree of economic prosperity? The danger is of course contingent; it is in the next place impersonal; and in the third place, it is not an intentional injury even although it may conceivably involve great peril to national integrity. This is the danger which the demand for expanding markets, territorial expansion, and imperialism pleads. That it would not be in accordance with international ethics for one nation to assail another's domain, simply for the sake of increasing its own territory or to add forcibly to its own movable property, is pretty generally agreed. Is the ethical aspect of the situation altered when it is possible to allege a plausible future economic difficulty? Can economic "threats" justify reprisal in arms? May one nation draw into its hands the trade and consequent profit which another has at present, so long as the trade itself is not the actual object or the direct result of an armed invasion? Above all, does even a great and impending economic catastrophe justify a nation in defending itself by the conquest of those individuals or nations who are not themselves in any conceivable way responsible for the economic forces likely to produce this calamity? Such a defense Germany has alleged for her invasion of Belgium; such a defense must France give for her rights in Morocco; such must be the defense of the United States in the maintenance of its supremacy on the Western Hemisphere, of the Monroe Doctrine, or of any degree of intervention in Latin America.
The issue is exceedingly subtle and entirely without precedent in previous international disputes. The danger exists only in the future and its character is purely economic. No nation can be proved the aggressor, and in addition the solution is to be obtained at the expense of those people least involved in the production of the crisis itself. If it is wicked to kill a man with a gun, and considered murder to poison him; if it is unethical to make war by means of many men armed with guns, and wrong to poison the water supply of great cities; is it ethical to deprive these same people of their means of livelihood and reduce them to penury because some one else believes his welfare depends upon it? We agree that we must not rob individuals and nations with arms. May we rob them by economic methods? We are not allowed to steal territory from each other or from third parties simply that we may possess it. Are we justified in taking that property or rights in it by armed invasion on the plea that it is essential to our future economic welfare?
In reality, our ethical inquiry involves not so much an investigation of methods as an inquiry into ends and purposes. The old international ethics concerned itself pretty exclusively with methods and permitted the use of arms for the purpose of defense, upon the assumption that defense would normally be limited to actual invasion of the national territory. Few nations then possessed interests at any distance from their own frontier and still fewer were able to pursue an aggressive policy. From the moment however that modern transportation and communication extended the interests of nations to the confines of the globe and made possible the pursuance of aggression by any nation in any part of the globe it might select, aggression and therefore defense promptly assumed a new complexion, which the old definition of international ethics by no means contemplated. The same economic forces which spread the national interests placed new weapons in the national hands---economic weapons of the utmost potency, whose use did not in the least involve warfare in the old sense, but whose results were not essentially different from those of conquest, lacking only the destruction of life and property. Was this kind of aggression justifiable? The old international ethics would have pronounced in the affirmative because it involved no actual armed invasion of the other's territory. If therefore we limit ourselves to methods employed rather than the thing done and adopt the position of most pacifists that the really objectionable thing is armed warfare, we shall justify and permit a great variety of practices by which nations may impoverish and conquer each other without the firing of guns, much more effectively and permanently than they could have in the past by means of actual armed conquest. This logic also deprives the nations thus assailed by economic weapons of all right to defend themselves. By declaring the use of arms unjustifiable in resistance to anything except armed aggression against the national territory, the nation appealing to arms against the new economic weapons becomes the aggressor, and is promptly called upon to shoulder the blame for the war.
Some sort of an agreement as to the meaning of the words "expansion" and "imperialism" is therefore essential to any conclusion as to the ethics of either. It should be obvious that between the actual assumption of political control as the result of armed invasion, and no interference at all, there are a great variety of possible stages. The whereabouts of the line between justifiable intercourse will promptly establish the ethics of any particular event. Shall we consider it just for the United States to preserve the peace in Central American republics when the process may involve interference with their elections or ministries? May we rightly insist upon economic privileges for American citizens in Latin America? Both of these involve no control over that nation by our own Government. It is then possible to take a further step and take control of the revenue of these states on the ground that debts are due American citizens which cannot be paid because of the financial methods in vogue among the natives. This involves practically an economic control over the native government exerted by the Government of the United States. It results as effectively in depriving it of the perception of its own taxes as if we had conquered that country and had appointed tax collectors to represent us, instead of claiming that the ones we do appoint represent the natives. It will be obvious to the least informed that they are appointed in the interests of American capitalists and that their only reason for existence is the inability or unwillingness of the natives to conform to what we believe to be American interests. This we assume to be ethical. It is then possible for the United States to assume military control of a country to restore order and create conditions which we deem advisable, but of which very clearly the natives do not approve, for if they did approve our intervention would not be necessary. This, it is claimed, does not involve economic control nor does it interfere in the least with the political independence of the natives.
Ordinarily, Europeans and Americans have declared that any variety or degree of interference or control over undeveloped peoples was beneficial to them, lenient, and entirely ethical, so long as it did not actually involve the assumption of technical sovereignty. To deprive the natives of political independence, to annex their territory and actually call it a part of the territory of some European nation, has generally been deemed unethical, whether done by armies or by influence. Everything except the fiction of political independence has been continually taken from the natives of undeveloped countries by all European nations and by the United States and has generally been deemed in accordance with international ethics, even though obtained by the actual use of force. The ethical line therefore between conquest and the actual economic or military possession of the country has been tenuous and dubious. The important fact to establish is therefore the purpose or aim of the action taken rather than the method employed.
In any proper sense of the word, expansion is an attempt to procure rights and privileges which we should not normally have and which the inhabitants of the country concerned would not voluntarily give us. It employs abnormal political influence to establish an abnormal economic relationship between the countries and obtain an abnormal economic profit. Any conception at all worthy of the name of ethics will place in the same category every variety of control which tends to this end, whether it is economic, military, or political; whether it is called intervention, protection, assistance, assimilation, penetration, the Monroe Doctrine, or conquest. If it aims at obtaining something we should not normally get, it will be on a par with the assumption of control. If it is wrong to obtain certain things, it will make no difference by what method we acquire them. If the method used be the criterion of blame, nothing acquired in any other way can be wrong.
Any application at all of what are ordinarily called ethical precepts will show that the threat to use force by the United States is as much aggressive action against some small Latin-American state as the actual dispatch of a military expedition or of a squadron. An ultimatum to Mexico employs as a political club the potential force which the greater size and wealth of the United States would allow us to exert. If armed aggression is wrong, threats really supported by potential armed aggression also are wrong. If we are asking for something for which it might be necessary to use armed force, and we deny the rightness of violence, then it will be equally wrong for us to obtain in any other way. The United States has established its economic preponderance in certain of the West Indian islands and in certain of the Central American republics by methods known to the Europeans as peaceful penetration, and the natives of those countries consider that they have lost all rights save the shadow of political independence. If so much was ethical, the assumption of actual political control will not deprive the natives of anything really valuable, since everything of importance is already lost. If this last step is not justifiable, it is difficult to see how any part of the process can be called ethical. Let us however once more remind ourselves that ethics is a question of definition and not a positive quality and that right conduct depends more upon our premise than upon what we do. We ought simply to realize that an ethical line cannot be drawn between certain types of behavior which are distinguished by the technical and artificial rather than by substantive differences.
In what way can we demonstrate the ethics or justice of the claim of the United States to supremacy in the Western Hemisphere? By what right shall we rule the Latin Americans? This issue involves the very difficult ethical question of the treatment of red men, black men, and heathens by white Christians. Are all entitled to precisely the same rights? If we are in duty bound to recognize the rights of red men and black men as equal to our own, we shall not be able to make good our claim to supremacy. Admittedly we should resist any claim advanced by England or Germany to supremacy over us; admittedly they would resent our claim of superiority over them; but we are able calmly to discuss and assert our supremacy in the Western Hemisphere as something almost too axiomatic to debate, just as the Germans and English assert with equal nonchalance their superiority and supremacy in Africa and Asia. Are any of them based upon ethical or moral contentions? If we regard the tenets of Christianity we shall admit that all men stand upon an equal footing without regard to race or color, and ethicists and pacifists as a body accordingly deny the rightfulness of any assertion of supremacy by the white race.
No such contention has ever been admitted in actual practice. The white race has arrogated the right to rule all other races and has thus far made good its title to supremacy and superiority. Nor has the United States taken an attitude upon this issue different from that of other white nations. The Indians and negroes have only very recently been accorded legal status and we have yet as a nation to act upon the assumption that the Indians possess rights paramount in the land to those of the white man. Such land as the white man did not wish to use, the Indians have been allowed to occupy, but the moment the white man desired it, reasons in plenty have been discovered for handing possession over to him. The basis of the opinion seems to be the distinction between the Christian and the heathen, and the general assumption, true for many centuries, that the white race alone would be Christian. There could be of course no question but that the Christians were to rule and that they must so deal with the heathen as to save their souls. Inevitably this meant that the white race took under its guidance and tutelage all other races and was to provide as best it could for their salvation, by the institution of churches and by good government and education. According to the ethics of the Crusaders and of the Inquisition, the Spaniards and the English who occupied the Western Hemisphere assumed the right to coerce the bodies of Indians and of negroes for the purpose of saving their souls. It was early recognized that political control and the direction of the labor of the natives by the white man was a necessary consequence of conversion and was indispensable to the maintenance of the tutelage of the whites.
The Protestant Reformation in the sixteenth century had a peculiar influence upon this tenet, tending on the whole greatly to strengthen it. Whereas Catholics had taught that the act of baptism was sufficient to save the heathen's soul, even if the individual could not comprehend the doctrine, the Protestants insisted upon the actual comprehension of the teaching, and, while the Catholics in practice placed the heathen upon a par with infants and assumed that the offices of the church must procure their salvation because they were not capable of assisting, the Protestants were of the opinion that Christians would not perform their whole duty unless they made the heathen capable of saving his own soul. That anyone else could save it for him they denied. To educate him to the point of comprehension meant however the continuance of the tutelage and supervision until such time as the less developed races should become Christians in something more than name and educated in something more than the outward signs of Christian character. Hence came the assumption that the Christian nations must watch over the lesser developed peoples in the Western Hemisphere in order to make real their Christianity and their ultimate salvation. It became a religious duty which could not be shirked or avoided; some white nation must be responsible for these peoples who so recently were heathen. If therefore Spain lost the supremacy, England must take it up, and, if it did not pass to England, the United States must assume it. It was a part of the white man's burden, a trust to be discharged as a part of his own duty toward God.
International ethics therefore is, a subtle and most peculiar mixture of the law of individual self-defense, the ethics of business, and the ethics of the Crusaders. So far as we are concerned, we can hardly claim to-day a real necessity for self-defense against actual aggression from South America, such as would in any sense justify us in taking military and naval control of the Western Hemisphere. In order to base our supremacy upon the necessity of the continuance of guardianship by a Christian nation, we must assume that the intellectual attainments of Latin Americans are as yet too rudimentary to permit their real comprehension of the tenets of Christianity, to say nothing of the imputation that the offices of the Catholic Church are entirely unable to ensure their salvation. To state such a proposition is to show its present absurdity as a basis of American policy. Unless we can justify our expansion by the ethics of business, the ethics of peaceful penetration, the ethics of future markets, or of territory to develop, we shall not be able to justify it at all.
In the end we return to the issue with which we started: what is ethics; what are the criteria of justice? Our premise will determine our conclusion; there is no escaping this fact; but what ethical premise will justify peaceful penetration? There is only one such standard: the actual conduct of nations in the past. If then we consider ethics right conduct and take as its standard the present conduct of nations, as well as our own past actions and those of the greater European nations, employing actual cases as against hypothetical assumptions, we shall have little difficulty in concluding that the expansion of the United States into Central and South America for the purpose of assuring its economic welfare in the future would be entirely in accordance with international ethics, as applied by white men in their relations with the lesser developed countries during the last three centuries. The practices of the past justify such ambitions. We can demonstrate the consonance of any sort of conduct with ethics if only we assume the right premise. Is it not possible after all that a search for the principles by which certain conduct could be proved ethical, would not only bear a close resemblance to the ancient logical fallacy of arguing in a circle but would also be scarcely recognizable as an ethical inquiry?
THE EXPEDIENCY OF THE MONROE DOCTRINE
THE history of international diplomacy contains nothing more elusive and difficult of definition than the Monroe Doctrine.(1) It has been quoted in the past in justification of a great variety of conflicting purposes and has shown an apparent flexibility and fluidity which approach contradiction. At times it has been limited to defensive measures; at others extended to justify forcible aggression; from a mere right to preserve our own independence has been developed a right to annex Latin-American territory, to build a canal, and to intervene in other nations' affairs. Where some presidents have seen in it a permissive relationship, others have found it mandatory. The historians have not been less confused than the diplomats have been contradictory; yet the American people are clearly agreed that the Monroe Doctrine contains something fundamental which they are not at all inclined to sacrifice and to which they attach a prodigious importance.
A possible explanation of this peculiar situation may be suggested. The Monroe Doctrine seems to be couched, in true Anglo-Saxon fashion, rather in the specific application of the principle involved than in a statement of the principle itself.
Continually we have been given the effect rather than the cause; the actual decision rather than the generalization from which it proceeded. The Monroe Doctrine has stood in reality for two definitive and fundamental conceptions of American polity, and the American people have rightly gaged its essential quality. First, it stands for our incontrovertible right of self-defense, expressed originally in a practical application of that principle to the situation of 1823. At that moment our political independence seemed absolutely safe from European powers in Europe, but by no means as secure from European states located in America. To ensure our independence therefore we had to prevent European states from projecting themselves into the Western Hemisphere. In the second place, the Monroe Doctrine has stood for the equally undoubted right of the United States to champion and protect its primary economic interests against Europe or America; we asserted our fundamental duty of defending and guaranteeing by all means in our power our economic independence. Monroe applied the principle to the situation of 1823 at a moment when our paramount interests had been for a century and still were freedom of trade with the West India Islands, and when the economic bond between the colonists in the Western Hemisphere was mutual in the strictest sense. America for Americans, the exclusion of Europeans, was not only a possibility but a desirability. Subsequent presidents and diplomats, as the particular issues changed, reasserted constantly not the general principle but its application to the situation. They made the Monroe Doctrine therefore a complex of all the varied ideas and notions which our statesmen have had in the past with regard to the maintenance of our political independence of Europe and the desirability of our economic independence. To protect the one and provide for the other has been the nearest approach to a primary interest which the United States has ever had.
Each particular expedient for advancing these fundamental interests has rarely held the foreground for more than a brief period. While freedom of access to the West Indies was really essential to American trade, the bulk of our diplomatic policies was directed against the English control of the Gulf of Mexico. While there were still great areas of unoccupied land in North America, American statesmen were apprehensive of colonization by European states and proceeded to purchase the land in question, to annex it or conquer it. During the French Revolution and the Napoleonic wars, neutral trade with France in foodstuffs was a prominent interest and led promptly to the War of 1812. The Peace of Vienna brought into the foreground this whole complex of motives, so that they appeared simultaneously in the various phases of the diplomatic negotiations of Monroe's period and included in its utterances precedent for most contingencies, rendering it the most important single period in our diplomatic history.
No sooner had the Doctrine been enunciated than the interest which it had primarily been intended to further disappeared by the operation of economic and political forces over which we had no control. Other forces for whose growth we were. as little responsible appeared in the United States and in Europe and entirely changed the aspect of the two fundamental problems of political independence and our economic dependence upon Europe. The growth of the cotton culture had now made the annexation of land suitable for cotton our primary interest, and had promptly taken the place in American policy of an insistence upon freedom of trade in the Gulf of Mexico. The fundamental problems were the same; the particular expedient by which we were attempting to provide an adequate medium of exchange with Europe was entirely different, and led therefore to the assertion of a practical solution, unrelated to the earlier suggested solution. It was still called the Monroe Doctrine, partly no doubt to claim for it the antiquity and correspondence with past precedent it deserved and partly because no better descriptive term suggested itself. The Civil War, the freeing of the slaves, the new economic development again changed the situation and therefore changed the practical expedient suggested for advancing our two most important interests. The moment the United States had become an integral part of the interdependent international fabric and had assumed, because of the rise of the German navy, actual supremacy in the Western Hemisphere, every practical consideration relating to these problems was again revolutionized and hence their practical expression was apparently entirely at odds with the earlier statements of the Monroe Doctrine. It could not have been otherwise, for the fundamental problems themselves were transformed beyond recognition.
The inconsistencies of the Monroe Doctrine, its fluidity and flexibility, are therefore apparent rather than real. The fundamental principles are to-day what they always have been: our undoubted right to political independence, our incontrovertible duty to ensure our economic welfare and prevent arbitrary interference with it by European nations in their own interests. Such principles we cannot abandon without sacrificing all that is vital to our national integrity and national honor. Less than this we could not assert; more than this we cannot yield. It is not however international law and it has never been accepted by other nations, though its basic meaning they are not inclined to dispute because the same principles are implicit in their own polity. They recognize our right to maintain them as they expect us to grant their own necessity of acting in accordance with the same postulates.
It will be essential for us to recognize to-day, as has been so frequently admitted in the past, that a change of circumstances renders obsolete certain particular applications of the Doctrine. We are not obligated now and never have considered ourselves obligated in the past to reaffirm any particular solution, or to require from other nations a recognition of any of its past applications. To question the expediency of any particular application has never been and is not now to question the validity of the Doctrine itself, but involves simply a consideration of the ways and means, of the ends and methods expedient under existing circumstances. We are therefore entirely free to apply the Doctrine at any time to any new set of circumstances without considering ourselves bound by past problems or precedents. Consistency of action and statement with the past the circumstances of the new situation may render inexpedient, and compel us either to sacrifice the fundamental principle itself or our own previous attempts to further it. What has been already changed so often may be modified in the future as the exigencies of the case suggest.
Hence it is expedient for us to recognize in the first place that the specific applications of the Doctrine in the past have been rendered entirely obsolete by the disappearance of the situations to which they applied. Monroe and Adams saw in 1823 a natural geographical separation between the Old World and the New, a natural affinity of interests between republican peoples in the New World, and their common antipathy to monarchical governments in the Old, besides the mutual economic interests between the peoples in the Western Hemisphere in the West India trade. All these have since disappeared. To-day a geographical relationship between the Americas closer than that between the Western Hemisphere and Europe is a fiction. The development of the nineteenth century has produced a greater similarity between our Government and that of England or France, than between the United States and the Latin-American republics, while the latter's methods of administration and general premises of political thought are so utterly different from ours that the United States Government hesitates to recognize them as truly republican. The mutual interest in the West India trade disappeared ten years after Monroe's message was read and has never existed since. As for a threat to our political independence involved in the location of a European state in North America or the Gulf of Mexico, such as terrified Jefferson, Monroe, and Calhoun, there is not now and for fifty years has not been the slightest danger to our political independence from any such source; the growth of the United States in population and in wealth has effectually exorcised such perils. Nor are the interests which seemed so vital to American statesmen in the decades preceding the Civil War more significant. The territorial expansion of America in order to increase the area of cotton land has been rendered of consequence by the new machinery for ginning cotton, by the new fertilizers which have made the upland cotton available, and which have solved the cotton problem by making profitable the cultivation of other land besides virgin soil. The crop has grown by leaps and bounds and nothing but a slackening demand can prevent its continued growth.
Adams doubted in 1823 whether any pronunciamento by the United States could protect South America from Europe; certainly it could not exclude England who already controlled Latin America, and he saw no reason to doubt her ability to defend South America single-handed. Circumstances proved the correctness of his ideas. Before Monroe's message was enunciated an agreement between England and France to protect the republics solved the difficulty. If both were opposed to reconquest the restoration of Spanish authority was impossible. Nor has there appeared to this day good reason to doubt the correctness of the claim advanced by England and the South Americans that their defense from aggression has depended upon the English control of the sea and upon the lack of sufficient motive to challenge it. We are therefore at present under no obligation to continue a protection of South America which never was real, and if we decline to reaffirm a particular application of the Monroe Doctrine, primarily applied to the West Indies, we shall not rob the South Americans of anything on which they depend. The political independence of South America seems as well assured as that of the United States and in as little danger from Europe. The South Americans do not dread any such eventuality; our aid against Europe they do not desire, nor do they ask us to defend them. They do not believe us better prepared to fight for them than they are to protect themselves.
If by the Monroe Doctrine we mean Pan-Americanism, America for the Americans, the exclusion of Europeans and of European influence as a matter of principle, we must recognize that we are advocating a scheme which the South Americans believe inimical to their interests. Any closer connection between the United States and the Latin-American republics they consider so abnormal and artificial, so lacking in mutuality, and so entirely devoid of popular confidence that we must recognize frankly the full meaning of its adoption as an American policy. It spells imperialism and territorial expansion. Of this the South Americans have no doubt. "The Republicans think only of imperialism," says Calderon, "Will a generous élite succeed in withstanding this racial tendency? Perhaps, but nothing can check the onward march of the United States. Their imperialism is an unavoidable phenomena." It is from the very lack of mutuality in Pan-Americanism that he draws this conclusion. The ostensible objects of that movement are so clearly artificial, so entirely in favor of the United States, so clearly hostile to the best interests of Latin America, that Latin Americans feel driven to the conclusion that it is merely a cloak for the ambition of the United States and of its intention to conquer South America in the interests of its own economic future. The defeat of Europe's victor would be the necessary preliminary to the extension of American supremacy, and for the United States to claim its bounden duty to exclude Europe's victor from the Western Hemisphere would, in face of the facts, merely prove its intention to play the part of conqueror itself. Even if we decline to accept this logic as true, we shall still be conscious that it is not a phase of the situation which we can neglect.
If we invoke the Monroe Doctrine in its primal meaning of our bounden duty and right to ensure our present and future economic welfare by any means in our power, we shall find ready at hand the ethics of economic expansion recently developed in Europe and there considered valid and significant. That we may need in the near future new markets and new territory to develop is by no means improbable, and there is no district so thoroughly well fitted for our economic needs as Latin America. If we decide to utilize the Monroe Doctrine to justify territorial expansion, we must recognize fully and frankly that the defense we are seeking is in the future and is not at present existent, and that it is a far cry from the type of defense which the framers of this Doctrine originally had in mind. It will still be conquest, aggression against those innocent of any intention to harm us, who are not themselves the perpetrators of the evil we are trying to remedy.
Unquestionably, territorial expansion, imperialism, by whatever name we call it,---and if we follow past precedent we shall once more term it the Monroe Doctrine,---means only one thing: war with Europe's victor in the first place and with South America in the second place. We should also apparently put ourselves in the very peculiar diplomatic position of fighting the Latin Americans to compel them to allow us to protect them from European aggression. We should also be quarreling with our own best friends in Europe, who cherish no designs against South America, in order to render assistance to those who fear us, even when we come bearing gifts which they do not require and which they would not need even should they be attacked. This is at present the only proposed application of the Monroe Doctrine. Our medium of foreign exchange is assured beyond the possibility of doubt; our political independence is not likely to be threatened. Our dangers lie in the future and are contingent rather than actual, while the steps to promote them are desirable rather than imperative, but they all involve aggression or expansion, interference with the control of the sea, and with Latin America. They cannot be described as defensive measures of the older type and we must look for their justification to the ethics of modern expansion as seen in Pan-Germanism and in recent international developments.
Assuming however that expansion is desirable and ethical, is it attainable? Should we have a reasonable chance of success, if we attempted it? This is the true meaning of the phrase, "the expediency of the Monroe Doctrine." In a word, it means militarism; nothing else can justify it, nothing less can protect it. Its prerequisites include the establishment of our independence of the sea-power, both in the Atlantic and in the Pacific, by the development of a great navy and of a great merchant marine, one large enough to terrorize England, Germany, and Japan, the other sufficient in size to transport the whole volume of our foreign trade. We shall then need to provide an exchange system adequate for the transaction of the whole volume of our international trade, for if we challenge the sea-power we shall immediately deprive ourselves of her services as distributor and exchanger. A further indispensable military measure would be the occupation of Mexico and Central America in order to assure ourselves of the land approaches to the Panama Canal. So much would be needed to cope with Europe's victor. Until we have dealt with him and have made ourselves in the truest sense supreme over all the powers in the New World, aggression and expansion are not to be thought of. He too will have claims upon South America, and if we attempt to challenge them we must be prepared to do so in sufficient force to make good our protest.
There would then remain the Latin Americans to deal with. Our control of the Western Hemisphere would of course permit us to stop their trade with Europe, but the task of invasion would be stupendous. The area of Latin America is three times that of the United States. Not having been arranged by Nature for the purpose of facilitating military campaigns it is strewn with mountains, intersected by numerous rivers, fringed by a broad band of territory along the coast where the climate, swamps, and insects provide conditions of maximum difficulty for armies. The population is by no means negligible in numbers and is of proved courage. Even the peoples of the smaller states in Central America have merely to retire to the interior, and leave us to struggle with the enormous difficulty of crossing the hot coast district to achieve the privilege of chasing them around through the mountains and plateaus. To transport an army and provision it in Central America would require a merchant marine of great size and would certainly interfere considerably with the adequacy of our merchant marine for foreign commerce. Between the various states of Latin America there seems to be no legitimate strategic relationship. Each would have to be subdued separately if it were subdued at all and a series of campaigns, which would require years for completion, would be necessary unless the movement were undertaken by an army of truly phenomenal size and efficiency. In any case, an army of occupation would have to be left to retain control, unless an entirely unlikely result should eventuate, and gain us the willing submission of the inhabitants and their cooperation in the future. The conquest of even the smallest Central American state is beyond the power of the present United States army. The protection of its communications would not be possible with the present United States fleet. A navy at least as efficient as the present German navy and an army of a million men would be very likely adequate, but we could not definitely assume their adequacy until circumstances proved it. The expediency of the Monroe Doctrine in the sense of territorial expansion or imperialism involves this question: is the end itself sufficiently important to justify any such portentous efforts as would clearly be necessary to accomplish it?
To answer this question will require wisdom, discretion, and insight. Though we need not suggest a solution, we must not forget that our economic interests are primarily with Europe and not with South America. Adams and Monroe were entirely mistaken in expecting that the development of the future would accentuate the mutuality of interests between the United States and Latin America. Subsequent development has proved that the connection between the two is abnormal and that the true economic interests of both were with Europe. This much is certainly clear: it is not expedient for us to quarrel with Europe to extend our relations with Latin America. Indeed, it is an open question whether it would be to our economic advantage to close the markets of Europe temporarily by a conflict with the sea-power in order to monopolize eventually the markets of Latin America. The temporary loss in the European trade might conceivably exceed the total profits for many years in the trade with the new market. Whether we can extend our ægis over Latin America and exclude the European, without causing a general war with Europe, only the situation at the close of the present European war can decide. If we are not armed and ready when peace is signed, we may be foreclosed even before the attempt is made.
1. The author wishes to remind the reader that he is attempting in this chapter to state the pros and cons and not to prove that expansion and imperialism are expedient or desirable. Back to text.
THE ARGUMENT FOR DISARMAMENT
THE finest and in many ways the most attractive argument advanced in favor of total disarmament by the United States is the pacifist declaration of the duty of the United States to take advantage of its peculiar strategic position and set Europe an example.(1) Our position makes such a step more possible for us without endangering our national independence than for any European or Asiatic power. It is therefore for us to lead and not to wait in the expectation that some nation less favored than we will take the initiative. Such a step would be entirely in accordance with the general non-military character of our institutions and organization; and to conjure with such a precedent is ordinarily effective. If such an act is to accomplish its object, however, it will be highly necessary that the step should be taken as the result of a determination reached by the vast majority of the American people after due deliberation and discussion,---perhaps only after some great presidential campaign upon this specific issue of disarmament,---so that all the world might know that the chief ground and reason for the action was ethical and pacifist and not merely a motive of economy or a mixture of selfish and base influences. Expediency, economy, selfishness must be rigorously exorcised or the very purpose of the act will be frustrated.
Our disinterested conduct and our attempt at generous action must also be made crystal-clear to European nations by our behavior in things of lesser moment. To disarm from the most splendid of ethical motives and then to insist upon exacting from England a degree of consideration in matters of neutral trade which England felt greater than she could grant consistently with her safety; to act from motives of good will toward men and then to insist that the Japanese could not own property in the United States, or to decline to recognize that sort of government in Central American countries which they themselves deemed expedient, these would be so inconsistent with our general premises as to throw suspicion and doubt upon the purity of our original motive. Nobility in great things will compel us to act with generosity in small things, even though by it we should sacrifice much. Shall we make the greater sacrifice and balk at the less? Shall we yield the essential and hesitate before the unimportant?
Truly glorious would be the renunciation by the people of the United States of all ambition outside continental United States, the explicit surrender of all our outlying possessions, the abandoning of the Monroe Doctrine in any and every form, either as intervention, interference, or conquest. Economic advantages we would resolutely put behind us which the sword or threats might secure. The use of our wealth and potential strength as a club we would also explicitly forego, and declare openly to all men our intention in future to depend upon fair and honorable dealing and the great natural advantages of our position to promote our economic prosperity and secure for us all things truly necessary, declaring aught else wrong and unethical.
Another argument for disarmament is to be found in humanitarian motives---the horrors of war, the loss of life, suffering entailed upon the helpless and innocent, needless destruction of property resulting in no advantage to the belligerents, and in poverty and suffering to non-combatants. To many, such motives make a powerful appeal.
There are many reasons for believing that disarmament might be effected without involving real danger to our integrity. We are defended at present by our strategic position, the principal factors of which are the subtlety and delicate balance of European alliances and relationships rather than our actual geographical location, factors not easily supplemented by armies and navies and for which armament is a poor substitute. Were it more probable that a radical change would take place as a result of this war in the European balance of power, armament would be more justifiable. It seems likely that the vanquished will be beaten and humiliated but not crushed and that the balance of power will not be more changed than in 1815 or in 1870---and neither of these events produced a situation dangerous to the United States. That armament will be indispensable to our national integrity seems unlikely and disarmament in the near future for that reason appears to be comparatively safe. To this consideration we should add the fact that political control of the present territory of the United States is not as yet advantageous to any European nation or coalition in the settlement of its disputes in Europe and would be hardly essential to the extension of its authority elsewhere.
Our danger of invasion is really slight and disarmament comparatively safe, because the victor would lack the motive for invasion rather than the power. He will be seeking markets in undeveloped territory which will furnish him an opportunity for the investment of capital and for an increase of the productive and consumptive capacity of that community at an entirely abnormal rate. Such a field the United States will not present. It is already too highly developed and already too independent and elaborate an economic structure to furnish him anything beyond the normal market which he will expect to find in the greater states. We cannot in the nature of things be his prey.
Nor should we probably sacrifice our access to foreign markets by abandoning any attempt to dispute the control of the sea with Europe's victor. The mere fact that our trade is carried in foreign ships, our exchange performed by foreign banking houses, and our intercourse dependent upon the good will and sufferance of foreign nations, is not necessarily dangerous and undesirable, even though it might conceivably be both. The really significant fact is that of interdependence, for the continuance of trade is as important and essential to all other nations, as it is to us, and could not be stopped by the victor on the sea without causing an international crisis of such magnitude that the whole world must rise and crush the sea-power in order to rid itself of the incubus. No nation controlling the sea can so act and subserve its own immediate ends, nor interfere with the freedom of passage of neutral nations without endangering its control and existence. Our interest in the sea is one that we share with the world at large and therefore one in which the world at large is as much interested as we are; hence it is one which the victor will be driven to recognize.
It is idle for us to seek independence on the sea from England or Germany. Reasons of domestic policy entirely unaffected by us or our policies impel both of them to assert rights in the ocean which neither could allow us to challenge. Our protestations they could not recognize as against their own paramount interests in the sea-power for defense. While intercourse is essential for our commercial prosperity, the control of the ocean highways is the prerequisite of England's existence or of Germany's international status. So long as England controls the sea, we need only remember the generosity and forbearance of her conduct in the past to assure ourselves of its continuance in the future. She understands thoroughly well the limitations and obligations of her position and is not in the least inclined to make intolerable to others what she deems necessary for herself. It is her peculiar geographical position, her peculiar economic condition, which makes real encroachment upon the rights of others difficult and dangerous for her. There can be in the nature of things no power in the world so well fitted to possess the sea-power as England, if we concede that any nation should have it. There can certainly be no power in the world whose possession of the sea-power would be so much to our own advantage; indeed, it is an open question whether we should be in a stronger and more advantageous position if we were more independent on the sea than we are at present. Not only her position but her experience in the past fits England to rule: she has learned her lesson and has demonstrated her ability to rule with efficiency and due regard for justice. The United States also possesses a heavy pledge of her generous interpretation of our requirements in the advantage she derives from our economic support in times of crises. Unless she can rely upon the complementary economic structure of the United States, England's position has a special weakness because in times of great stress her fleets cannot open the way to the markets in the Baltic and Black Seas whence come her necessities of life. So essential are our supplies to her that she must sacrifice even the reality of her overlordship on the sea to obtain our ungrudging support. The importance of this fact, many allege it is impossible to overestimate when we are considering the expediency of disarmament. With a change in the supremacy of the sea which would so revolutionize conditions as to make it essential for us to dispute its control with the victor we need not deal; for the English regard it so essential to their own existence that they will not allow another nation to possess it so long as England survives. Such a contingency as her literal destruction by the victor is so improbable as to be beyond the realm of hypothetics. Should Germany take her place, there are few advocates of disarmament who seem to believe that she would not fall heir to England's caution and generosity.
If we believe armament unnecessary for defense of our independence or of our economic welfare, is it not imperative for aggression? Do we not after all need to prepare to obtain by arms things merely desirable? Those who argue for disarmament deny specifically and generally that any adequate motives exist for aggression. With its ethics they disagree, and pronounce them as insufficient as the ethical notions behind Pan-Germanism which the vast majority of the American people have already condemned. Is this not sufficient, we are asked? Have not the people spoken? In addition, aggression is contrary to the non-military character of past precedent and to the tenets so often enunciated by our leaders of letting Europe alone. Turning from general principles to specific facts, we are told that aggression is not a possible policy for us because our strategic position is physically so weak that only a huge army can accomplish our object. Where the effort is so great, the stake must indeed be large to justify the undertaking, and the United States has not and never can have, it is claimed, interests which such aggression would be needed to subserve. And even if it had, we are now so late in commencing the elaborate preparations indispensable to the conduct of modern warfare that ten years of effort would scarcely put us in a condition to meet the victor of this present war. If he is exhausted by the struggle, he will not be capable of aggression and we shall need no defense; while the great force to ensure the accomplishment of any legitimate ambitions which the United States may cherish will be unnecessary because he will be in no position to oppose. If, on the other hand, as it seems more probable, his army and navy are not only extraordinary in size but unusual in efficiency, any attempt at aggression would be futile for the United States because the war will probably not last long enough to permit us to complete adequate preparations. Nor should we forget, they tell us, that until we have secured independence on the sea we are forbidden aggression and the assurance of ambitions which development alone cannot obtain. The creation of a merchant marine and a great navy is too serious a task to be completed in a shorter period than a number of years, and before it could be finished the opportunity for an aggressive move of which it was the prerequisite would have entirely disappeared. Would we not also be foolish if we supposed that England and Germany would fail to fathom the scheme and wait until we had completed our preparations before attacking us?
To many the economic inexpediency of disarmament is convincing.(2) To attempt by aggression to protect economic factors and provide for our future prosperity seems to a growing constituency one of the worst of fallacies. Economic purposes are neither aided or created by fighting; economic factors are the results of economic causes; economic benefits are obtained by the operation of economic forces which legislation and good will are as powerless as guns and battleships to create. Money cannot be made by war; profit is not a matter of force but the result of the application of labor to capital. So far as the United States possesses a strong economic position, it is beyond the reach of others; to the extent the United States is weak, force is incapable to remedy its economic deficiency. If we have any true interest in South American trade, we shall have no difficulty in obtaining our profit, because they will be as anxious to sell or buy from us as we shall be to buy or sell to them. If we have capital to loan on terms they consider favorable, they will be more anxious to borrow than we are to loan. When they buy goods from us, they must pay us in goods; when they borrow capital, they must pay the interest and principal by exports whose amount will therefore be regulated by the true interests of the countries concerned. In the long run---and it must be remembered that all economic calculations are based upon the normal operation of economic forces during long years---nothing can interfere with this process and nothing can take its place. Whatever the economic facts are, war is powerless to alter them.
In addition, it is claimed that the United States itself presents possibilities of development so vast and resources so extraordinary that American capital and labor may easily find adequate employment here for decades. If we add to the capital and labor available for our own development the amount which we would otherwise spend upon armament, we shall have in the process of time an enormous accumulation of commodities, of capital, of economic satisfactions and comforts for the community itself, far greater in volume than anything aggression could have provided, and we shall have avoided all possibility of loss. To add to our own capital by the work of our own hands is a process whose profits are absolutely certain; to attempt aggression for the development of resources located at a distance, means experiencing risk out of all proportion to the degree of profit expected and without certainty of any profit at all. At the price of armament we do not need expansion.
To these weighty factors is added commonly the assertion that the expense of armament is enormous and continuous, and, worse than either, an economic waste. With our labor and capital we create certain commodities which possess no utility, except for a species of exertion which is in itself not only useless but destructive. To spend great sums of money and years of time in the creation of things which are useless is not the sort of a proposition supposed to commend itself to men and women of sanity, but when this time and effort are used to create things whose only purpose is the destruction of human life and of the necessities and comforts of existence, such expenditure becomes not only foolish but criminal. It is not so much the amount to which the pacifists object as the expenditure of labor and capital for things which are useless save for the promotion of destruction. While conceivably such actions may be in accordance with the passions of man, they can hardly be supposed to accord with his interests and cannot by any stretch of the imagination be termed expedient in an economic sense. The science of economics is a science of wealth, of production, of the creation of what was not before. War is the science of destruction and cannot by any conceivable possibility be economic; its very premise excludes it from consideration.
What policy then shall the United States, once disarmed, espouse? What position will she occupy? How can she possibly maintain the respect of other nations and procure consideration for her institutions from those powers at whose mercy she will place herself?
The nobility of her action should in itself secure for her an international status and leadership otherwise impossible of attainment. If the general economic premises above listed are valid, the United States could not lose anything of value. One thing and only one would be desirable. The true policy of the United States would then without question lie in a firm alliance with the sea power, which would in its own interest fight our defensive battles for us and in exchange for our economic assistance further our legitimate ambitions in South America and in the far East. Such an understanding the United States already possesses with England and by virtue of it we are supreme to-day in the Western Hemisphere, the owners of the Panama Canal, the possessors of the Philippines, and exert great influence in Latin American affairs. To all intents and purposes we are at present disarmed and there would be no obstacle in the way of the continuance of this understanding with England and no great probability she would desire to exclude us from the position which we at present occupy. By such an alliance we have already achieved more than we could have possibly obtained by a truly enormous armament: the sea power was in a position to give us what we wished without having to fight for it ourselves and without requiring us to fight either to obtain it or maintain it. So long as we ally to all intents and purposes with the sea power, whether that alliance is written in documents or exists merely as a tacit understanding capable of change at any moment, we may expect all that consideration which we could reasonably hope to obtain from armament. Should the sea-power change hands, it would be necessary for us to consummate as soon as possible a similar understanding with its new possessor. It would not be essential for us to arm. In this argument there is much that is plausible, while it certainly accords with the facts of the recent situation. Should the result of the war leave the international situation in the Western Hemisphere in all essentials what it is now, such reasoning would be valid, though not necessarily conclusive.
1. This chapter is an attempt to state forcibly the arguments for disarmament as the succeeding is intended to state those against it. Back to text.
2. The student should read carefully Mr. Norman Angell's books. Back to text.
THE PRICE OF DISARMAMENT
IF armament will cost money, so will disarmament. The most futile of all suppositions is that either will be without expense or without gain: from both will come gain, but a different sort of gain; both will cost money, commodities, and it may be human life, though perhaps in different degree and for a different purpose. A little cool thought will show that neither can be clear gain and that the true difficulty in the American problem lies in the balancing of the gains of one against its losses, of weighing the gains of one against those of the other, and the losses of one against those of the other. The law of compensation is inexorable: we get nothing without paying for it. If certain ends are to be achieved, disarmament may be our best method; if we have set our hearts upon accomplishing certain other ends, disarmament may compel us to sacrifice them. Neither armament or disarmament is in itself an end; both are simply the means to ends. Only a lack of perspective can lead a statesman or student to regard armament or disarmament as desirable in themselves. Both are relative to losses that are to be avoided and to gains to be achieved.
What is the difference between disarmament and our present military and naval condition? A difference of name rather than of substance, for a force inadequate for the purpose in hand is as valuable as no force at all. At present our army is a police force intended chiefly to cope with the Indian problem which, because of the peculiar constitutional status of the Indian, could not be handed over to an ordinary constabulary. The army in the Philippines performs a similar duty. Our navy is a coast patrol because it is not adequate in the least to control the ocean approaches, our Island possessions, and the Panama Canal against the power supreme upon the sea. We shall be indeed lacking in a perception of the realities of the situation if we attempt to measure the adequacy of our navy by comparison with the strength of navies as insufficient as our own; it cannot be adequate until large enough to compel something more than respect from England. So long as a fleet can blockade our harbors without entering them, our coast defenses are of no particular importance for the control of the sea or for our intercourse with foreign nations. There is little purpose in keeping open a harbor which shipping cannot reach. If our navy were really capable of undertaking an aggressive campaign against the sea-power, harbor fortifications would relieve it of the necessity of detaching squadrons to keep open our harbors and so add to its offensive strength. Coast defenses can add to existing naval strength but can never supply its deficiencies; they defend the land and not the sea, and require in reality the cooperation of a large army rather than of a large fleet. They will not be really defensive until the American army is large enough to protect them from military assault from the rear. So long as the victor with the control of the sea in his hands can land military forces at will, he will find the problem simple of capturing our coast defenses. The latter are indeed vital to an adequate army in conflict with the sea-power but are of no real utility to a country whose only strength lies in a navy too small to cope with the sea-power. Let us not fall into the error of supposing that, because our army and navy are not adequate for such a task, they are therefore of no value at all. They perform well enough the tasks for which they are calculated, but the army is obviously not measured by the needs of the country for defense against invasion, nor is the navy built to take control of the sea from England, or to protect in transit a merchant marine. So far as defense or offense are concerned, the securing of our independence of the sea-power and the ensuring of our economic intercourse with foreign nations, we are already disarmed, because we possess no force in the least adequate to provide. for any of these ends.
The real debate lies therefore between a more logical continuance of our present policy. We must resolutely reduce our navy to the same status as the army, making it a police patrol rather than a weapon of defense or offense, or prepare for clear and well-considered reasons for an armament adequate to win our independence of the sea-power and to promote such national ambitions and interests as the people may decide are imperative or significant. The chief cost of disarmament (one might almost say its first price) lies in the inability of easily reversing the decision and of afterwards meeting such contingencies as present themselves. So elaborate and vast are the preparations for modern warfare that adequate measures for defense or offense cannot be taken when the need is pressing.
To disarm therefore means to renounce beforehand, without knowing whether it may some day be imperative, expedient, advisable, or desirable for us to exert our potential strength, any possibility of using it for any purpose however reasonable. To say that there could be no such purpose is to speak without real comprehension of the unexpected and unforeseen events of the last two decades. The present war is the result of factors not as old as the men who are fighting in it, and whose significance has been realized by scarcely two generations of statesmen. Such radical and rapid shifts of the situation have occurred in time of peace and as a result of non-military factors. Shall we forget that armies and navies are busily at work transforming the international situation, perhaps revolutionizing every element in it of consequence to us? We shall not need to wait for a generation to witness cataclysmic upheavals in conditions. Invaders and conquerors have by no means limited their assaults against foes who gave them adequate reason. The history of our own country affords conspicuous examples of a need for armament to accomplish an object whose desirability no one now questions. If we decide to disarm, the present conditions of warfare will make it practically impossible for us afterward to alter the decision. If we are to modify our policy we must do so now in order that we may be able in the near future to meet imperative exigencies or further desirable ends.
It may be well for us to remember that we are annually paying enough money to provide an army and navy able to cope with any probability if only it can be efficiently spent instead of wasted. Indeed from some points of view the issue of disarmament might be phrased as the abandonment of our present pretense of armament, for which we pay so vast a sum without return or the attempt to make adequate the army and navy which we already support. What will it cost us to stop spending money beyond the needs of the police work which both now perform? What will that saving of a hundred and fifty million dollars a year cost us?
Will it cost us our security? Not necessarily, but quite possibly. We must remember that the props have been withdrawn from under our strategic structure which at one time made us practically invulnerable. We can be invaded to-day and might be assailed with conspicuous success; there will certainly be at the close of this war one if not two armies in existence large enough to conquer the United States. That any European country will have a motive for such a step is unlikely but by no means impossible. Our own defenses at present are the subtleties of the European situation itself, the delicate balance which makes it dangerous for a European nation to dispatch across the sea a large enough army to do us any damage or a large enough navy to attempt to assail our coast. But over these factors we exercise no control, and to disarm is to allow the exigencies of European politics and the interests of European nations to decide our destinies beyond a peradventure, without allowing us in any way to participate in molding the situation upon which our future depends or to protest against a result inimical to our interests and integrity. The tradition of American life is definitely non-military but if we are to decide advisedly that it is the most important American ideal to be continued at any cost, we should realize the price. Armies and navies are no longer permissive or abnormal elements in our strategic situation, though it is by no means certain that our security or integrity depends upon either.
Will disarmament cost us that access to the markets of the world upon which our economic existence depends? In all probability no, because it would not be expedient for the sea-power to try to prevent it. So long as the business of the world is as closely interlocked as at present, the prosperity of all nations depends upon continued access to each other. We are an integral part of the fabric and as long as their access to us is precisely as important as ours to them, they will be as anxious as we could possibly be to provide for the complete freedom of intercourse we desire. For the nation in control of the sea to threaten in any fashion the interests of all other nations would produce at once that very protest against its position which the sea-power must avoid at all costs. This aspect of the situation must influence German policy as definitely as it does English. Disarmament can hardly injure our commercial position so far as the continuance of intercourse is concerned.
Disarmament will surely cost us all our national ambitions, present and future. While it may not rob us of anything imperative for our existence, it will be likely to deprive us of nearly everything desirable or advisable which the interests of other nations do not impel them to yield to us. First we shall be compelled to renounce finally all notions of controlling the sea, and shall therefore be forced to throw ourselves upon the mercy of England or Germany in the Atlantic and of Japan in the Pacific, and depend upon their forbearance, generosity, and keen sense of their own interests to allow us such rights as are indispensable. Controversies with the sea-power growing out of its supremacy or out of other aspects of its international position, we shall be forbidden. Representations we may make, and we shall gain our point if they are willing to grant it, but we must realize at the outset that we shall never be able to force the issue upon them by presenting them with an ultimatum. Our privileges will necessarily be measured by their interests rather than by ours, while their policies rather than our needs will dictate the lineaments of our international position. An adequate merchant marine we shall be compelled to renounce and perforce rest satisfied with such facilities of ocean transport as the sea-power provides us, or which it allows others to furnish us, in addition to such a merchant fleet as it is willing to have us build. A merchant marine, capable of carrying all our commerce and of maintaining our independence, we can never have, for its very existence will at once arouse the apprehensions of the European power whose control of the sea rests fundamentally upon its own defensive needs and which will therefore scent aggression and danger and decline to permit us to develop such a merchant fleet.
South America we must recognize as foreign territory, occupied by foreign nations, in which we have neither rights nor interests. The Monroe Doctrine will promptly become impertinent and impossible. America for the Americans will be no longer a conceivable policy for us to maintain beyond the point which they are willing to accept. Although we may still assert our right of political independence and our right to ensure our economic independence, the two fundamental postulates of the Monroe Doctrine, they will both be expressions of opinion rather than policies, because we shall have definitely decided never to use force to support either. Without the possibility of its use we shall be totally unable to preserve political or economic independence, and will be compelled to accept as much of either as other nations find it in accordance with their interests to allow us to retain. That this will be considerable, our geographical position makes certain, but it will by no means guarantee as full a recognition of those principles as the American people may deem essential.
Our possessions outside the borders of the United States we shall retain, if we disarm, at the sufferance of the sea-power and of such nations as are able to reach them by land. In all probability we shall not keep them long. The control of the Gulf of Mexico and the supremacy of the Western Hemisphere to such an extent as we have possessed it, we must surrender forever, unless it becomes the interest of other nations literally to place their possessions in our hands for temporary safe-keeping. Everything outside the boundaries of continental United States including the Panama Canal will be sacrificed by disarmament and lost irretrievably. With them will disappear all possibility of aggression, control, overlordship, interference of any sort or kind in other countries, and any rights or privileges which aggressive action may be needed to obtain or maintain. Latin America, the Chinese trade, preferential rights in undeveloped countries we shall not have, and tariff laws and navigation acts militating against our trade we may be compelled to endure in silence. We shall possess outside the United States only what the good will and the interests of other nations voluntarily concede and we shall be compelled to accept patiently such action as they may take where they conceive that their interests run counter to ours.
The practical effect of our position when we are once disarmed may thus be illustrated. We shall find it necessary to accept England's interpretation of the rights of neutrals and regard as final her list of contraband the moment she insists upon it. Intervention and watchful waiting in Mexico will become impossible, for the whole weight of our action depends upon Mexico's fear that we may use our strength against her. Once they know we have pledged ourselves not to employ it, they will not pay the slightest attention to our representations beyond that dictated by international courtesy. In our various quarrels with Japan, we shall immediately be driven to accept their view of the situation and accord them such privileges as they demand in the United States, or insist upon our own contention at the expense of sacrificing all privileges in Japan and in the Japanese trade which they would take away from us in retaliation. If Germany or England seize the Panama Canal, take Cuba, appropriate the property of American citizens in Central America, a dignified diplomatic protest will be the extent of our power. Our position and the rights of American citizens will be measured by the lack of motives in other nations to do us harm, because the moment a reason arises urging them to deprive American citizens of rights there will be nothing to prevent their doing it.
Will disarmament cost us economic prosperity? Not at present, but in the future the degree of our prosperity, due to the operation of economic forces, will in all probability seriously reduce our margin of profit. To suppose as many do that our lack of strategic relation to the European field of war gives us no interest in their difficulties and makes their problems and affairs matters of indifference to us, is to cherish a fallacy of the most dangerous description. Our economic interests are complementary to theirs and absolutely identical in character. The economic phenomena in Europe which are at the roots of the present war exist in America and will be operative here in the very near future to a degree not greatly different from that in Europe. True, we do not have their precise difficulties to cope with, but we have the other end of the same situation, and if it does not manifest itself here in the same specific instances, we shall still be foolish to conclude that it will not affect our interests and our prosperity.
Disarmament will prevent us from obtaining access to the markets of the world except on terms favorable to other nations and consequently on terms less advantageous to us than to them. There is at any one moment only so much trade. If all remain satisfied with the share which the normal workings of economic forces allots to them, we shall have nothing of which to complain, but the most striking feature of the present situation is the insistence of some nations that they ought to get more than their normal share. To obtain it some have gone to war with others, whom they claim already have more than their share, and the latter are trying to retain it. So far as the United States is concerned, it will not make a great deal of difference which of the European nations obtains or retains an abnormal share of the world's trade. Obviously the strongest will get it, and the others will share what is left in some rough proportion to their strength, while the nation least fitted to compel others to consider its needs, will get only as much as the victors do not feel it worth their trouble to take. This interference by military and political forces with the working of economic factors must not be exaggerated: the economic factors themselves prevent its going beyond a certain point. It cannot entirely ruin our prosperity, if we actually have goods to sell which other nations wish to buy. But it can interfere in the future as it has in the past with the rate of our development and with our degree of profit. It will first reduce our trade with the lesser developed nations where the proportionate profits are large, and will compel us to deal with the highly developed nations where the normal profits are small and the competition great. Access to markets where competition has been minimized by political forces and the profits consequently enhanced will not be for us.
To meet the situation we will be driven to develop intensively our own resources and work hard to produce things which the world must have and for which it is ready to pay. It will mean of course economic pressure, an increase in the number of hands beyond the demand for work, and the creation of a more or less permanent body of individuals not able to find employment. We have hitherto had in the United States practically no poverty in the European sense and no margin of existence. These phenomena are just appearing and their development will be accelerated by any slackening in our rate of progress. At the same time the surplus population can emigrate without danger to our political independence because the size of our population will be of no military consequence once we have disarmed. Our geographical location will in all probability continue to make political conquest inexpedient for nations strong enough to undertake it. As the intensified development of our own resources proceeds, the supplies of minerals will decrease at a faster rate than at present, the land will yield constantly diminishing returns to a greater degree, and we shall be steadily looting the capital which Nature has furnished us. In each decade more labor will be required to secure the same degree of profit and as men continue to increase and the resources to decrease it will not be many decades before the pressure of existence will become apparent. We are already deeply in debt to Europe for the capital which we have borrowed in the past and some day we must pay the principal. It can be discharged only from profits, and the moment we reduce the present rate of development and therefore the present profit, the annual payment on our debt will become a larger and larger share of our net income, not because the sum is greater but because the income is diminishing. Above all we must remember that the pressure of these problems will steadily increase, bringing lower wages, higher prices, less to eat, less to wear, while a larger and more permanent part of the population is unemployed and lives on the margin of existence. The present standard of comfort in the United States can be maintained only by maintaining our present rate of progress.
Disarmament therefore will ask the present generation to sacrifice something of its present comfort, a good deal of its future well-being, and the possibilities of enhancing its economic prosperity and that of subsequent generations. It will prevent us from attempting to remove by force, arbitrary and artificial interference by other nations with the workings of the economic processes upon which our present prosperity depends. No European statesman supposes to-day that economic forces can be created by war or by legislative fiat, but they do believe that their operation can at times be consciously assisted and that political factors can always prevent interference by the political or military strength of other nations in their own interests. This protection disarmament will compel us entirely to forgo. We shall trust ourselves to the sufferance and good will of the other nations of the world, not expecting them to aggrandize themselves at our expense, but ready to accept the worst if they decide to act selfishly rather than with generosity. Is it not perhaps wise for us to ask whether they are at present ready to treat us in the spirit in which we purpose to deal with them? Do they show at present a conspicuous willingness to advance each other's interests? Have they forborne to promote their own where they knew them to be inimical to others? Have they hesitated to employ the force at their command to further their interests against peoples unprotected and utterly innocent of offense? Can we wisely accept their interpretation of their interests as the measure of our privileges?
We may also ask whether the sacrifice of the United States in the interests of universal peace will accomplish its object. The utility of disarmament as an argument for peace will depend entirely upon the extent to which other nations accept our decision as actuated by noble motives rather than by a mixture of vanity and selfishness.
Europeans claim to-day that the condition of our army and navy is due to the fact that we do not believe ourselves threatened rather than to our belief in the wickedness of war; that we would act as they have if the situation were similar. Disarmament is cheaper for us and not dangerous, they insist. There are indeed so many economic and quasi-economic motives cited in support of disarmament which do appeal to certain selfish instincts in every population that the purity of our motive in reaching that decision will be only too open to question by those who seek to impugn our sincerity. Unfortunately, too, the true distinction between war and peace seems hardly to be that of armament or disarmament. The line is difficult to draw to-day on account of the interrelated aspect of the economic world which spreads the interests of any nation to the confines of the globe. Where mine begins and thine leaves off is very difficult to state when we deal with the complex affairs of nations. Until we shall include in war every and any method of interfering unduly with the ordinary operations of life, we shall not make a distinction of any importance between war and peace. It is only too evident that the crux of the difficulty in international politics is the desire to secure an abnormal share of the world's trade, a valuable dependency, the right to exploit a certain people or a tract of land. Until the attempt to take another's property shall be deemed equally bad whether or not it results in actual warfare, no lasting result can be obtained. Indeed, a true comprehension of the present situation seems to show that warfare is really directed against the furtherance of economic ends by economic aggression and unfair dealing in other ways than war. Shall we therefore say to those who see their property being filched from them by "peaceful" methods, that they must not resist, because war is wrong? They see and feel a very real wrong and they perceive very clearly that nothing except force can save them; to it therefore they appeal with promptitude and dispatch. The true aggressor is the man they assail, for they regard themselves as pushed already into the last ditch and driven to defend their firesides by means which they would otherwise have preferred not to employ. The horrors of war, its dangers and risks they fully appreciate, but they feel that they cannot yield all they hold dear without a struggle.
Peace in fact is not a temporal condition, nor merely abstinence from war: it is a state of mind which will become universal when men no longer desire to take another's property by methods whose fairness the other will deny. Such a state of morality is not something which can be created in a brief time by agitation, example, precedent, or oratory. It is a condition and is no more something into which the community can be dragged or argued, than men can be coerced into it by shooting off cannon. The fact that it does not exist is the clearest possible evidence that the prerequisites are not yet true and are beyond the reach of argument or logic. Force is not the difficulty; the trouble lies in selfishness, wickedness, ignorance, and a lack of morality and Christianity in mankind. Nothing short of the slow process of education and growth, by which the bad will be made good and the covetous and greedy will be reformed seems capable of creating universal peace. Some difficulties, argument may avoid, some troubles may be explained, needless misunderstandings adjusted and the toll of suffering and destruction somewhat reduced.
If this is in a measure true, are we wise to entrust our national integrity and our future prosperity to the present moral and ethical impulses of European nations in the expectation of thus promoting the cause of peace? Will it be expedient to advertise beforehand our intention not to defend ourselves from robbery of any sort and our reliance upon the goodness of other nations? Will the victor look upon our interests as his own, and forbear to take from us more than we will gladly give him? Will he listen in the future to our representations of economic distress and trade difficulties and sacrifice something of his own welfare to advance ours?
WHILE the diplomatic history of the nineteenth century in Europe remains a sealed book, the evidence available in contemporary history must differ widely from the line and precept which investigators in other fields than diplomatic history are accustomed to demand. For this reason the evidential precepts for sifting, evaluating, and comparing evidence at other periods, "result when applied strictly to the history of the last quarter of a century, in a series of negations and colorless affirmations which neither describe nor explain events." We must either deny the movements of our own time historicity, until we ourselves have passed from the scene, or recognize frankly and fully that we shall have to be satisfied with a good deal less than certainty and be content when we have produced an approximation of the truth which an investigator of the Stuart period would stigmatize as mere guesswork. Never should the student of contemporary affairs forget this probability of error in conclusions which seem undoubtedly sound; nor allow his reader to forget that some of his boldest statements would be regarded in treating almost any period of the past as conjectures scarcely worth hazarding. He must do the best he can with the bricks he has, and leave the production of a final and accurate account for his children and grand-children.
"The question of evidence reduces itself to two propositions:
the relative importance of data whose correctness is certain and
the relative credibility of testimony which would be important
if it were true. Indeed, in most cases, we have to deal as students
less with evidence than with testimony, itself explicit, clear,
and from authoritative sources. The real difficulty lies in the
amount of this testimony, its conflicting statements, and the
apparently unimpeachable character of all the witnesses. It may
often be clear that a witness might know the whole truth about
the facts we are investigating; but this will not prove that he
has chosen to tell us any of it."
[Usher, Pan-Germanism, revised edition, 1915, p. 346.]
Minute details, forests of dates, economic statistics by the thousand, innumerable biographical data, we have; to provide them for the period of Julius Caesar is difficult and exhausting and takes much of our time; we need not look for them in contemporary history; they fairly throng upon us; but are the least valuable and essential part of the story. In the second category, testimony, belongs nearly everything of an interpretative nature or which tends in any degree to elucidate these teeming facts and piece them into something resembling a picture. Beyond doubt these are the vital things. These, the secrets of senates and presidents, we know in the past centuries; these we lack almost entirely to-day. Letters by the hundred, memoirs, interviews we have, but they are all testimony, important only if true. And those who hold the key are distressingly discreet. Apparently, these difficulties are less serious in American than in European history, but the difference is more seeming than real; for where we can be quite sure we see the American side of the picture clearly and accurately, the clouds and mist which shroud the European background prevent us from apprehending beyond mistake the meaning of the whole.
In deciding what was credible and whom to believe I have tried to apply a few relatively simple tests. Of most importance seems to me the logic of events, the reading which best explains the really potent happenings, like the building of the Panama Canal, the annexation of the Philippines---les faits accomplis. It must too always be a reading in accord with the logic of events in modern Europe, for if one thing is more conspicuously true than another it is the world aspect of international politics. No country is isolated; no country unaffected by the sea-power of England or the ambitions of the Pan-Germanists.
To rely upon this logic of events, as I have called it is merely to accept, faute de mieux, the guidance of indirect testimony which could not have been manufactured for a purpose, in preference to a choice between several equally plausible explanations provided for us by those whose interests are obvious in guiding our opinions. We simply insist "upon a reasonably complete chain of indirect or circumstantial evidence, composed of actual events, however minute, as superior evidentially to any amount of direct testimony which is open to the suspicion of manufacture for the purpose of forming opinion, if not with the intention actually to mislead it." A comparison of this logic of events with direct testimony, American and foreign, with the ideas of competent foreign observers, with what we believe to be true of the European situation itself, and with the actions of our own and foreign governments seems to me to provide eventually the only approach to certainty we are likely to achieve during our own lifetime. To detail this process of reasoning to the reader would be tedious and not informative, for usually a brief inspection of the situation in the light of the general premises will show him the trend of reasoning. I have contented myself with stating results and not processes. Until testimony will stand the test of indirect evidence, I regard it as too uncertain for me.
These postulates at once exclude from the student's consideration all propaganda of any sort, except as evidence of what such partizans advocate; all newspaper and magazine material, except as providing testimony or as the factual background. In the former category belong the literature of peace societies and political associations---rhetoric in Congress, in the press, and between covers. Testimony is testimony and not evidence, whenever and wherever found. So, too, natives or returned travelers from South America, Mexico, or Japan are not necessarily equipped with more accurate information about the sentiments of the population or governmental policies, even after a residence of years, than we are about the secrets of the United States after a residence of a lifetime. We must demonstrate first that our witness really ought to know what we are seeking and then prove that he has some adequate motive to tell us.
The excellent bibliographies of American history ---J. N. Lamed's Literature of American History, Channing, Hart, and Turner's Guide to American History, and the bibliographies of Hart's American Nation---render a work of supererogation the listing of even that part of the voluminous literature which any student must perforce utilize. The Library of Congress publishes careful lists of all government publications, and has also compiled elaborate bibliographies on Cuba, Hawaii, the far East, and the like, thoroughly covering American interests. On a less elaborate scale and less accurately the Pan-American Union has done something of the sort for the literature in English about Latin America. For the less expert student the following titles and brief comments may prove useful as indications of books likely to be helpful.
THE UNITED STATES
a. Strategic Position.
MAHAN, A. T. The Influence of the Sea Power upon History, 166o-1783. Boston, 1890.
An epoch-making book of the first caliber, which even the casual reader will do well to ponder carefully. It has revolutionized the conceptions of men who guide empires.
-------Sea Power in its Relations to the War of 1812. Boston, 1905.
-------The Interest of America in Sea Power, Present and Future. Boston, 1898.
-------Naval Administration and Warfare. Boston, 19o8.
Undoubtedly, Admiral Mahan's books form the most important single contribution to an understanding of the polity of the United States.
SEELEY, J. R. Expansion of England. London, 1883
An extraordinary book, also epoch-making, in its analysis of England as colonizer and empire builder.
SEMPLE, E. C. American History and its Geographic Conditions. 1903.
BRIGHAM, A. P. Geographic Influences in American History. 1903.
Slighter and less valuable than Miss Semple's fine contribution.
b. American Development.
USHER, R. G. The Rise of the American People. New York, 1914
The present author has here set forth at greater length the fundamental notions of American history which underlie the present volume. There his defense can be found.
ADAMS, BROOKS. America's Economic Development. 1900.
On the West India trade, the best work is Edward Channing's History of the United States, ii., iii.
c. Foreign Relations.
MOORE, J. B. American Diplomacy. New York, 1905.
A relatively brief but thoroughly excellent sketch by probably the best equipped American authority.
LATANÉ, J. H. Diplomatic Relations of the United States and Spanish America. Baltimore, 1900.
COOLIDGE, A. C. The United States as a World Power. New York, 19o8.
DUNNING, H. A. The British Empire and the United States. New York, 1914.
A semi-official history, written for the Centennial of the Peace of Ghent. Careful, astute, as valuable for what it avoids as for what it says.
TRAVIS, IRA DUDLEY. The History of the Claylon-Bulwer Treaty. Ann Arbor, 1900.
JOHNSON, W. F, Four Centuries of the Panama Canal. 1906.
MOORE, J. B. Digest of International Law. 8 vols. 1906.
For reference only.
d. The Monroe Doctrine.
HAMILTON, S. M. The Writings of James Monroe, vi. New York and London, 1898-1903.
Contains the correspondence and the messages up to 1823. A useful selection of subsequent statements has been printed in American History Leaflet, No. 4. A bibliography of the literature is in D. C. Gilman's Monroe.
HENDERSON, J. B., JR. American Diplomatic Questions. 1901.
The discussion of the Monroe Doctrine is particularly full and satisfactory.
LAWRENCE, T. J. Essays on Some Disputed Questions in Modern International Law. 2d ed., Cambridge, England, 1885.
The views of a distinguished English international lawyer.
REDDAWAY, W. F. The Monroe Doctrine. Cambridge, England, 1898.
An English discussion, temperate and excellent. See also J. A. Cook in the Fortnightly Review, Sept., 1898, pp. 357-368.
PÉTIN, HECTOR. Les États Unis et la Doctrine de Monroe. Paris, 1901.
A French point of view.
ONCKEN, HERMANN. Historisch-politische Aufsätze und Reden, i., 37-95. München, 1914
The interesting views of a leading German historian and publicist.
BINGHAM, HIRAM. The Monroe Doctrine, an Obsolete Shibboleth. New Haven, 1913.
e. The Influence of International Politics on the United States.
USHER, R. G. Pan-Germanism. Boston, 1913. Revised edition, enlarged, 1915.
In this volume the present author has stated his general conception of the European situation. The bibliography in the revised edition contains numerous authorities.
MAHAN, A. T. The Interest of America in International Conditions. Boston, 1910.
The least valuable of his writings.
-------The Problem of Asia and its Effect on International Politics. Boston, 1900.
ARNOLD, W. T. German Ambitions as they Affect the United States.
REINSCH, P. S. World Politics at the End of the Nineteenth Century as Influenced by the Oriental Situation. New York, 1900.
GRIFFIS, H. E. America in the East: A Glance at our History, Prospects, Problems, and Duties in the Pacific Ocean. New York, 1914.
MASAOKA, N. Japan to America. New York, 1914.
A series of papers by Japanese leaders on relations with the United States. It is testimony, not evidence, except of what they wish us to believe.
LEA, HOMER. The Valor of Ignorance.
Written by an American soldier of fortune, who knew the far East well.
f. Imperialism: Expansion.
WILLOUGHBY, W. F. Territories and Dependencies of the United States. New York, 1905.
RANDOLPH, C. F. Law and Policy of Annexation. New York, 1901.
The constitutional aspects of imperialism. The bibliographies give titles of many less pretentious but more important articles and reviews.
g. Peace and Disarmament.
The publications of the Association for International Conciliation, of the World's Peace Foundation, and of the American Peace Society.
ANGELL, NORMAN. The Great Illusion. New York and London, 1910.
-------Arms and Industry. New York and London, 1914
MAHAN, A. T. Armaments and Arbitration, the Place of Force in the International Relations of States. New York, 1912.
-------Some Neglected Aspects of War. Boston, 1907.
CALDERON, F. GARCIA. Latin America; Its Rise and Progress. New York, 1913.
The best book in English by a Latin American.
MEROU, M. G. Historia de la Diplomacia Americana. Buenos Ayres, 1904.
BRYCE, JAMES. South America, Observations and Impressions. New York, 1913. Revised edition, 1914.
The work of a scholar of international repute, of a statesman, and diplomatist, written almost from a cosmopolitan point of view, and by a man with deep insight into the American people and the way in which things must be put to reach them.
CLEMENCEAU, GEORGES. South America To-day: A Study of Conditions, Social, Political, and Commercial. New York, 1911.
A study by an eminent French statesman and publicist, whose natural sympathies are with the Latin Americans.
DOMVILLE-FIFE, C. W. The Great States of South America. London, 1910.
An honest, readable English account from the English point of view.
"Latin Americans and the United States," by various authors. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, July, 1903.
CRICHFIELD, G. W. American Supremacy: The Rise and Progress of the Latin American Republics and their Relations to the United States under the Monroe Doctrine. New York, 19o8.
Perhaps the best of the veritable deluge of literature issued by enterprising publishers.
CRICHFIELD, G. W. The South American Year Book. London. Louis Cassier Co., Ltd.
Invaluable for statistical information.
PALMER, F. Central America and Its Problems. New York, 1910.
A frank story of what the noted correspondent saw.
The South American Series. Scribners, New York.
This series of descriptive books seems to be the best at present available.
The reader's attention is called to the admirable articles in the last edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica; they contain perhaps the latest information from authoritative sources. The periodical literature on Latin America is more than usually important because of the paucity of good books and because of the contemporary character of the subject. While the North American Review, the Political Science Quarterly, the American Journal of International Law contain valuable articles from time to time, the English, French, and German reviews are ordinarily better informed and more apt to print extended surveys because their audiences have long been interested in Latin America from something more than academic reasons. Archives Diplomatiques, Questions Diplomatiques et Coloniales, Revue Générale de Droit International Public, the Fortnightly, Contemporary, Nineteenth Century and After, and the South American Supplement of the London Times are to be strongly recommended. The interest in Germany is more recent and the articles less numerous. France-Amérique, published at Paris, and Union Ibero-Americano, published at Madrid, make a specialty of Latin American news. There is also a Pan-American Magazine, published at New Orleans.
BARRETT, JOHN. The Pan-American Union: Peace, Friendship, Commerce. Washington, 1911, Pp. 251.
An official account by the Director-General of the Union.
CHANDLER, C. L. "The Beginnings of Pan-Americanism." Bulletin of the Pan-American Union, Sept., 1911.
FORTESCUE, G. "The Pan-American Ideal."
Bulletin of the Pan-American Union, Jan., 1912.
GARRIGO, ROQUE F. America para los Americanos. New York, 1910.
LIMA, OLIVEIRA MANOEL. Pan-Americanismo (Monroe, Bolivar, Roosevelt). Rio de Janeiro, 1907 pp. 342.
LOBO, H. De Monroe á Rio Branco. Rio de Janeiro, 1912. PP. 155
ORLANDO, ARTHUR. Pan-Americanismo. Rio de Janeiro, 1906. pp. 220.
ROOT, ELIHU. "The Pan-American Spirit." Outlook, Oct. 20, 1906.
SHERRILL, C. H. The Pan-Americanism of Henry Clay, Sarmiento, and Root. Buenos Ayres, 1909. pp. 11.
-------"The South American Point of View." American Association of International Conciliation, Bulletin No. 52, 1913
TORRES-CAICEDO, J. M. Union Latino-Americano; pensamiento, de Bolivar para formar una Liga Americana, su Origen y sus Desarroelos y Estudio, sobre la Cuestion ó un Gobièrno legitimo es responsable par los Claños y Perguicios occasionados a los Extrangeros par las Facciones. Paris, 1865.
URRUTIA, F. G. El idèal international de Bolivar. Quito, 1911. pp. 105.
To this meager literature may be added a few scattered magazine articles of lesser moment: South American Supplement to the London Times for July 30, 1912; W. C. Fox in the Forum, vol. xxx., 294; the New York Nation, vol. xxii., 505; xxiii., 332. The correspondence and state papers of Clay and Blaine contain some illustrative material. The publications of the Pan-American Union are devoted almost entirely to trade statistics and descriptive material of an elementary character intended for those entirely ignorant of Latin America. The material in Spanish intended for circulation in Latin America is also largely descriptive. Excerpts and translations from the novelists and agitators anent the United States appear from time to time in the Review of Reviews, the Literary Digest, and similar periodicals.
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