« ПретходнаНастави »
tried in 1869-73 to acquire San Domingo, which was an independent republic, but the Senate frustrated both these designs. Apart from these incidents, and the purchase of Alaska, the United States showed no desire to extend its territories from the Mexican War until the war with Spain in 1898.10 The annexation of the Hawaiian Islands took place in the same year, 11
It is of the first importance to be observed here that the wonderful growth of the United States until that time had been upon the basis of territorial acquisition with a view to ultimate statehood. This had been so since the acceptance by the Continental Congress of the cession made by Virginia in 1784 of all her right, title and claim to the Northwestern Territory, “upon condition that the territory so ceded shall be laid out and formed into states . . . and that the states so formed shall be distinct republican states, and admitted members of the Federal Union, having the same rights . . . as the other States.” And in order that the United States might carry out and fulfill these undertakings, power was given to Congress in the present Constitution to admit new States to the Union.12 In the meantime the newly acquired territories were held under direct control of and right of disposition by Congress until they had become sufficiently populated and prepared to be admitted into the Union upon an equal footing with the other States. This practice had been strictly followed ever since the first acquisition of territory by the United States until the cessions made to this country by Spain as a result of the Spanish-American War in 1898. That war, as aptly remarked by Judge Elliott in his remarkable work on the Philippines, may be graphically described as the “coming out party" of the United States as a colonizing nation. It really marked a new epoch in the development of the American Empire, and indeed a new stage in the development of colonial government.
As is well known, the new acquisitions presented a new series of problems which called for very extraordinary solutions. Under the famous Northwest Ordinance of 1787, enacted in accordance with the conditions of the cession made by Virginia three years before, the principle was proclaimed by which American expansion was to be regulated.18 By that ordinance the wide expanse of territory ceded by Virginia to the Continental Congress was declared a national domain, a reserve tract out of which, as
10 W. F. Willoughby, Territories and dependencies of the United States: Austin, op. cit.
13 The authorship of this ordinance rightly belongs to Mr. Jefferson, and next to the Declaration of Independence (if indeed standing second to that), this document ranks first in historical importance of all those drawn by him. According to Mr. Willoughby, "Next to the Constitution itself, it is the most important organic act of the Federal Government.” Willoughby, op. cit., p. 27 et seq.; see also Watson, op. cit., p. 1245 et seq.
the population increased, new States should be created, as already suggested, with rights in every way equal to those of the old ones. And even before such States should come into existence, the settlers in this region were to be granted the right of habeas corpus, of trial by jury and other essentials of Anglo-Saxon liberties. There was to be a local legislature or General Assembly composed of the governor, a legislative council and a house of representatives with authority to make laws in all cases for the good government of the district not repugnant to the provisions of the Ordinance. And as soon as a legislature should be formed in the territory, the council and house of representatives assembled had authority to elect, by joint ballot, a delegate to Congress, with a seat in Congress and a right of debating, but not of voting during this temporary territorial government.
Archibald Cary Coolidge, an American writer of note, has this to say:
The principle of the Northwest Ordinance was a new one in the history of democratic national expansion. Up to this time, colonies—unless, like the Greek ones, they separated themselves at the start—had been regarded as mere appendages or outposts of the mother country. They might have privileges and liberties of their own, but these privileges were personal; the territory did not form an equal part of the parent state, except in countries with an autocratic form of government, where all lands were at the disposal of the sovereign. Thus, though the emigrant to Eastern Siberia might feel that his position was exactly the same as that of his brother in Moscow, since both were subjects of a despotic ruler, the Englishman in the colonies was not the equal of the one at home, for he could vote for no member of parliament. No one of the English settlements had enjoyed complete self-government from the beginning; and the American Colonies had not contested the right of the mother country to legislate for them. They had merely resisted, as a violation of their inalienable rights as Englishmen, her attempt to impose taxes upon them without their consent; and this resistance had led to the war for independence. Now that they had triumphed and had possessions of their own about which they must legislate, they wisely determined to treat the new colonies as the equals of the old, and to impose upon them only such temporary restrictions as were necessary during the period of first development, when they were too weak to walk without guidance. Not only is the Northwest Ordinance thus of fundamental importance in the history of the United States, but it is a landmark in the story of government. 14
This principle of the Northwest Ordinance that the government by Congress of the territory belonging to the United States was to be merely temporary until its admission to the Union as a State or States thereof, upon an equal footing with the other States, was successively extended to all other territories subsequently acquired by the United States. In carrying out this principle Congress had full power and authority to fix the time and conditions for the proper admission of the new States under the
14 The United States as a World Power, pp. 28, 29.
Constitution. Of course, no condition imposed by Congress upon the territory for its admission into the Union as a State would be binding upon the new State which attempted to place it in a position of inferiority or inequality in respect to the other States. When a territory is admitted into the Union as a State thereof, it at once takes rank with every other State. There are no grades among the States of the Union. Until a State is in the Union it is out of it, but once in, it is on a perfect equality with every other State.15
In so far as representation in Congress is concerned, originally and until the Spanish-American War in 1898, the principle was virtually recognized that the territories were at least entitled to be heard in the law-making body of the United States. Thus, it became the constant policy of Congress when legislating for the organization of newly acquired territory by the United States to grant to such territory the right to have a delegate in Congress, with a seat in the House of Representatives, and a right of debating but not of voting therein.16 And while this sort of representation was not at all adequate or effective, yet so long as the old order of things continued to exist, that is to say, so long as the principle of ultimate admission to the Union was adhered to, this defective and inadequate representation of the territories in Congress was generally viewed as merely temporary and preparatory to the proper representation of the future State in the councils of the nation upon an equal footing with the other States, and therefore, was considered acceptable, and probably no one ever complained.
It is probable that adherence to the principle of the Northwest Ordinance had been until then possible not only because the territories so far acquired by the United States, with the exception of Alaska and Hawaii and some minor islands in the Pacific and elsewhere, had been contiguous territories, but also because they were populated by the same sturdy race of Americans who had peopled the original colonies which formed the Union, or if by other peoples of a different extraction and race, they were so sparsely populated that this alien element of their population could be easily outnumbered in the course of time by the steady increase of American settlers, all of which contributed to give greater solidarity and strength to the Union.
But now, suddenly and without warning, the whole situation was changed by the fortuitous circumstances of the Spanish-American War, and this country found itself confronted with the difficult and complicated problems arising from the acquisition of distant and alien territories and peoples of different ethnical compositions, history and civilization, entering, so to speak, upon the adventure of an imperial career.
15 Dick v. United States, 208 U. S. 340.
16 “There is no authority (express?) in the Constitution for granting a representative to a territory, nor is there any authority in that instrument for allowing a territory to be represented by a delegate, but it has been the policy of the government to permit each territory to elect a delegate to the House of Representatives. Such delegate is given the privilege of taking part in the proceedings of the House, but he is not permitted to vote on any measure coming before that body." Watson, op. cit., Vol. I, p. 169.
In the first place there were the Philippines, an enormous archipelago composed of more than three thousand islands, 7000 miles away, with their eight or ten million of heterogeneous peoples in various states of civilization, and the overwhelming difficulty of applying to them principles which until that time had been so easily applied in the former territories acquired by the United States. On the other hand, there was Porto Rico, an island in the Caribbean, about a thousand miles from the mainland of the United States, densely populated by a fairly homogeneous and cultured people who had received the American forces as fellow Americans and liberators; but a people of a different ethnical structure, with a different historical background, with different language, customs, laws, religion, mental processes, ideals, and everything that goes to make up a people.17
Out of this situation naturally arose the notion of governing these peoples upon an entirely different principle.18 There was, on the other hand, a large portion of the American people who were opposed to the retention of these acquisitions and the application to them of the same old principle lest they should disturb the social, political and economic life of this country. The sentiment of this large portion of the American people was so keen on this point, especially as to the Philippines, that the Senate of the United States took upon itself, soon after the act of ratification confirming the treaty of cession, to make by resolution the following declaration by a vote of 26 to 22:
Resolved, etc., That by the ratification of the treaty of peace with Spain it is not intended to incorporate the inhabitants of the Philippine Islands into citizenship of the United States, nor is it intended to permanently annex said islands as an integral part of the territory of the United States, but it is the intention of the United States to establish on said islands a government suitable to the wants and conditions of the inhabitants of said islands to prepare them for local self-government, and in due time to make such disposition of said islands as will best promote the interests of the United States and the inhabitants of the said islands.19
This resolution could not of course have any legal effect on the actual political status of the Philippine Islands, 20 but it was indeed an apparent departure from the old principle which had been applied theretofore in
17 "Instead of an open field offering every facility for the building-up of American communities with American institutions and laws, the United States, in Porto Rico and the Philippines, thus, had to do with countries fully occupied and already completely equipped as regards public institutions.” Willoughby, op. cit., p. 79.
18 See this JOURNAL, Vol. 10, pp. 312-317.
respect of all previous acquisitions. Or, as said by Mr. William J. Bryan, the leader of the Democratic Party, in a famous speech at that time:
I want to distinguish between expansion and imperialism. Republicans try to hide behind the word expansion. They say we have expanded in the past. Yes, my friends, this Government has expanded. This nation has secured contiguous territory, territory suitable for the settlement by American people, and that new territory has been settled and built up into States; but when we have expanded heretofore we have extended the limits of a republic. Now we are asked not to expand the limits of a republic, but to aspire to an imperial destiny and convert a republic into an empire.
Be not deceived. There is nothing in the past like that which we now are asked to embark upon. Heretofore we have had no expansion that separated citizens into two classes. Heretofore when people have come in they have come in to share in the destiny of this nation. This is the first time that we have been told that we must cross an ocean, conquer a people, drag them under our flag, and then tell them they are never to be citizens, but are to be subjects, and to be treated with kindness by our people.21
As to the future disposition to be made of Porto Rico, nothing was said at the time; but partly because of the natural alarm of the people and partly because of the apparent necessity of empowering the Federal Government to deal with the new acquisitions in the manner and form that should become the situation, the doctrine was for the first time promulgated in the constitutional history of this country that newly acquired territories and peoples were not to be considered as integral parts of the United States, as the former territory had been, but merely possessions or dependencies of the United States, subject to future disposition by Congress. In this way Congress was given unlimited power of government and disposition, not only over the Philippine Islands and Porto Rico, but also over any other territories and peoples that should be acquired by the United States in the future. This was indeed a very radical change, commendable perhaps for the gradual development of the American Empire, but it cannot be denied that the inhabitants of both the Philippines and Porto Rico were deprived of the benefits of the Constitution and timehonored traditions of the Republic—rights which had been always recognized and acknowledged to be inherent rights of the inhabitants of the former territories of the United States; and while efforts were made at the same time by proper limitations upon this novel doctrine, to protect these people against unreasonable encroachments by Congress upon their elemental rights of life, liberty, property, public worship, etc., such fundamental rights of American liberty as the writ of habeas corpus and public trial by jury were absolutely denied to them.
21 Cong. Rec., 56th Cong., 1st Sess., Vol. 33, p. 6340.
22 For the legal aspects of the doctrine see Downes v. Bidwell, 182 U. S. 244; see also an article by the writer on "The Relations between the United States and Porto Rico" in this JOURNAL, Vol. XII, pp. 483 et seq.