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(4) Equality in business opportunities
equal wage, but it almost always has involved some sacrifice on behalf of the ablest workmen. These could usually get higher wages for themselves if they would not trouble themselves about the affairs of their fellows. But they have felt that the welfare of the working class as a whole was more important than their own individual success. This democracy of labor has by no means been complete. Unskilled workmen have frequently gained little by the efforts of the more skilled who have formed labor unions. The problem of lifting the unskilled to a better position by education, by organization, or by other means, is one of the great problems of democracy at present.
Equality in business opportunities became a serious problem when the railroads came to be the great means of transportation. Until then there were, to be sure, sometimes private toll roads and toll bridges, but there were also public highways and canals, and one merchant could get his goods transported for him at about the same rate as his neighbor. The railroads introduced a new power. They could make a cheaper rate to one city than to another, or to one merchant than another. They could give passes to some and withhold them from others. In 1869 the Supreme Court of Iowa held that a railroad was private property and so could act as it pleased. But complaints of business men that they were not having an equal chance with their rivals led Congress, finally, in 1887, to establish an Interstate Commerce Commission to regulate railroad rates and secure fair play. At first this commission had small power, but in 1906 it was given power to fix the minimum rate, and in 1910 it was given still greater power. It has worked toward equality of opportunity. Other measures to restrain monopoly and unfair com
petition, and thus maintain equality of opportunity were enacted by Congress in 1914.
We have already spoken of education as one of the (5) main conditions of liberty. It is also a need of democ- Equality racy. America has been more democratic in this field
education than in some others.
As we trace the growth of democracy we can see one Present great change in emphasis. There has been a nearly task constant movement away from the old ideas of inequality which grew out of military conquest, and differences in birth between classes. The first steps of democracy were to rise above these long-time barriers. The great declarations of rights were directed against old privileges. They proclaimed to favored classes, “You are no better than I.” This was a necessary first step.
But to say that men are equal doesn't make them so. The great task of the present day is to make good in fact what our fathers claimed in words or cherished as an ideal. And, despite all that has been done to advance democracy, a great task remains. We have seen that some insist that inequality is necessary for progress. Yet few, if any, in America will object to equality, if it means leveling up and not leveling down. What is feared by some is that democracy must always mean leveling down. It is urged that people do not want expert leaders, that they will prefer for high office a man who claims that he is no better than the average rather than one who knows how to govern. This is doubtless sometimes the case. But the objection is a survival of the old and outworn fears of early days. True democracy means, not leveling down, but leveling up. Few, if any, in this country will object to giving every child the opportunity of as good an education as he can profit by. Few, if any, will object
to growth of intelligence and improvement of the standard of living of all men. Even from the point of view of greater wealth and prosperity, the more enlightened employers are coming to recognize that the cheapest and most ignorant labor is sometimes not the best. But, in a larger view, this country is committed to a great enterprise. It is making a great venture. It is trying to prove that democracy is possible. It is a nation“ dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” It is dawning upon us more and more that to make men equal is not a task to be fulfilled on battle-fields. War can, at best, do away with burdens laid on men by others. It cannot remove the inequalities due to defective laws, to poverty, to ignorance, to vice, to bad influences, and to want of courage and high purpose. To deal with these sources of inequality is the greater task.
THE UNITED STATES AND OTHER NATIONS
NE man alone could not live nobly and well. Why the
toward living a comfortable, free, and full life. It needs a larger group to provide many of the good things which we have. Our food, our clothes, our tools, our books, our laws which protect us, all require that many should coöperate, that is, work together. A nation is a group of people, large enough to make these and other good things possible; it is made up of people who are enough alike to live under one government.
In earlier times kings with armies would conquer many peoples and bring them under one empire, that is, under one command. Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Macedonia, Rome, one after another conquered all the peoples near them, and many distant peoples. These conquered peoples spoke many different languages and did not unite with each other very intimately. However, the empire kept them at peace and so helped trade and made it possible for men to study, to learn, and discover many of the secrets of nature. They built beautiful buildings, made statues, painted pictures, composed music, and wrote books. But empires did not favor liberty and democracy. A nation made up of people who speak one language and have common interests and common sympathies is a better kind of union than the old empires. It is be
Why international relations
cause we believe that our country stands for liberty, union, and democracy that we love and revere it.
But the full benefits of union and coöperation cannot be obtained if these are limited by national boundaries. Just as a clan or small group of people shut away from other people would not progress far, so a modern nation cannot get on well by itself. Some nations could not live at all without exchanging goods with other people. England is a rich nation, but it cannot raise enough grain and meat to supply all its people. It would starve, with all its money, if it could not get grain from other countries. The United States is so large a nation, and has so many kinds of soil and minerals, and such different climates in different regions, that it would not starve. But it would suffer in other ways. It needs the beautiful things made in France and Belgium, the chemicals of Germany, the fine cloth of Great Britain, the coffee and cocoa, and flowers from Holland and South America. It needs the music, the books, the ideas that other people produce. In many ways we are living as neighbors to the whole world. We can send letters to nearly all parts of the earth where men live for less than it used to cost to send a letter a few miles, or than it would even now cost to hire a boy to carry a message half a mile. We can send money safely; we can exchange with any who have what we want and want what we have. It is clear then that the real business of living will include living in a world with other nations and not merely living in America.
The great question is, Can the people of the world have the liberty and self-government which our nation and some other nations enjoy, and still have the advantages of union on a larger scale? Can nations combine