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force." Lord Grey's response to Mr. Wilson had a sequel less than three weeks later in the announcement by the German Imperial Chancellor that Germany was ready not merely to join, but to head, a union of peoples designed to restrain a disturber of the peace.
Encouraged, it can hardly be questioned, by these endorsements of the principles of the League to Enforce Peace, the President dwelt in his socalled Peace Note to the belligerents in December 1916 on “the measures to be taken to secure the future peace of the world," a matter in which, he declared, the people and Government of the United States were vitally and directly interested, and in which they were ready, and even eager, to co-operate when the war was over with every influence and resource at their command. That declaration, being incidental rather than essential to the main purpose of Mr. Wilson's Note, might well have been passed over without specific reference in the replies of the belligerents. It was therefore the more notable that both groups directly responded to the suggestion thus tentatively advanced, Germany professing herself prepared to collaborate fully after the end of the conflict then in progress in the exalted task the President had outlined, while the Allies declared that “they associate themselves whole-heartedly with the plan of creating a League of the Nations to ensure peace and justice throughout the world." What fruit those seeds of agreement will bear only the future can show.
Mr. Wilson was not the originator of the League to Enforce Peace, but his advocacy of its programme both in his Washington speech in May and in his Note to the belligerents in December 1916 had the effect of commending the League's proposals to political thinkers the world over. The difficulties such a scheme would inevitably have to meet cannot be considered here, except in one aspect that particularly concerns America. Critics of President Wilson and of the League to Enforce Peace have pointed out, and with undeniable force, that the participation of the United States in such a League of Nations would be fundamentally inconsistent both with the Monroe Doctrine and with the American Constitution.
The Monroe Doctrine is certainly no fatal obstacle. That article of political faith is being progressively modified under the influence of changing circumstances, and it is destined to be modified further still. The Constitutional objection is more serious. Under the provisions of the Constitution the President has a free hand in all ordinary diplomatic negotiations, but he needs the concurrence of the Senate for the ratification of a treaty, while the declaration of war rests with Congress alone. How, then, could he pledge himself in advance to enter into the treaty relations on which the League's very existence would depend? And how could he guarantee the co-operation of the armed forces of the United States in the exercise of military pressure on a recalcitrant member of the League ?
These are questions that must be seriously
faced, for America does not lightly relax her constitutional safeguards. They are not likely to form permanent or insuperable obstacles to the participation of the United States in a League of Nations. Americans have too strong a sense of their rôle as international mediators for that. But they may well provide American opponents. of the League with the means of seriously delaying and obstructing the realization of its ideals.
LABOUR AND SOCIAL REFORM
It is time that property, as compared with humanity, should take second place, not first place. We must see to it that there is no overcrowding, that there is no bad sanitation, that there is no unnecessary spread of avoidable diseases, that the purity of food is safeguarded, that there is every precaution against accident, that women are not driven to impossible tasks, nor children permitted to spend their energy before it is fit to be spent. The hope and elasticity of the race must be preserved ; men must be preserved according to their individual needs, and not according to the programmes of industry merely. What is the use of having industry, if we perish in producing it? If we die in trying to feed ourselves, why should we cat? If we die trying to get a foothold in the crowd, why not let the crowd trample us sooner and be done with it ?- The New Freedom, chap. xi.
EVERY quality in Mr. Wilson's character made him a social reformer. He was a social reformer as Governor of New Jersey, and he was elected President of the United States in 1912 on a social reform programme. With organized labour he had temperamentally great sympathy, but down to his entry into New Jersey, politics he had come into little actual contact with Labour as a political and social force.
His attitude on Labour questions had been defined as far back as 1910, when he was still President of Princeton, in a letter affirming that “it is not only perfectly legitimate, but absolutely necessary, that labour should organize if
it is to secure justice from organized capital, and everything that it does to improve the condition of working-men, to obtain legislation that will impose full legal responsibility upon the employer for his treatment of his employees and for their protection against accident, to secure just and adequate wages, and to put reasonable limits upon the working day and upon the exactions of those who employ labour, ought to have the hearty support of all fair-minded and publicspirited men.”
Mr. Wilson has not varied from that attitude during the years that have intervened ; but it is a much less simple matter to handle labour problems from the White House than from the State House at Trenton. All questions of factory laws, industrial disputes, wage rates, compensation for accidents, and the like fall within the sphere of the State legislatures, not of the Federal Government. The only legislative power to be assumed by Congress is such as can be squared with clause 3 of section 8 of Article I of the Constitution, giving it authority “ to regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes."
The words “ among the several States " are driven hard. They at once bring every considerable railway under Federal regulation; and while Congress can do nothing to influence conditions of employment in a factory doing business exclusively within its own State, it gets some
* This principl was definitely confirmed by the leading case U.S. ». E. C. Knight, heard before the Supreme Court in 1895.