COX AND THE LEAGUE--"I FAVOR GOING IN"
"And I do earnestly urge that all the people of this great and enlightened state assemble at their respective places of worship and invoke Almighty God to enlighten the Rulers of the world to the end that they may see the folly of war and speedily terminate it; that in our homes and about our hearthstones we implore the Divine Spirit in behalf of the people of the stricken nations, whose miseries are beyond our comprehension--people who have been plunged into the depths of war through no fault of their own.
"And I do further recommend and urge that in all the schools of the State of Ohio the afternoon of Friday, October 2nd, 1914, be set aside for exercises, having for their purpose to instill into the minds of children and into their hearts the great blessing that will come to them and to the world when war is no more."
The quoted sentences from Governor Cox's proclamation for a day of prayer on October 4, 1914, a period at which the horrors of the great world war had but begun, disclose that Governor Cox is not a recent convert to the central thought and purpose of the conception of the League of Nations.
Through the numerous official proclamations and the many addresses which he made during the period of the war the central thought repeatedly emphasized was that the fruit of war must be an everlasting peace. In accordance with the proclamation of the President, establishing June 5, 1917, as the "call-to-the-colors" day of the young men of the Country, the Governor said:
"It is probably the most trying hour the world has ever known, and the policies of government, purified and preserved by those who live now, will determine the civilization under which our children and our children's children shall live in the future. What greater guarantee of their peace and happiness can be given them than a democracy that envelops all nations--a democracy sanctified by an endearing memory of what was unselfishly given to make it possible?"
In his proclamation calling for a State convention to perfect the organization of an Ohio branch of the League to Enforce Peace, the Governor emphasized as the second of its objects "to keep the world safe by a League of Nations," and he said that the purpose of the organization would be "to confirm opposition to a premature peace and sustain the determination of our people to fight until Prussian militarism is destroyed and the way may be open for securing permanent peace by a League of Nations." When hostilities were concluded Governor Cox had the faith that "this peace brings the dawn of a new day of consecration," and in his official proclamation he said: "A world is reborn. Our Nation has brought success to a righteous cause. Our State has given with full heart to the achievement of the glorious end."
In an address in Toronto, Canada, November, 1918, Governor Cox said: "We consign to posterity an example and inspiration and idealism as lofty as ever stirred the hearts of men. And then, turning away from the past, we face the sunrise of to-morrow with faith and resolution to make a better world than that of yesterday, and to demonstrate that our heroic defenders have not died in vain. These are dangerous times to permit the inventive genius of man to go unchecked in matters of armament. The unspeakable horrors of the war just ended make us instinctively turn our faces away from the possibility of a half-century from now, if our thought is to be turned intensively to the production of things destructive to home life. With the sea fairly alive with submarines, the air filled with squadrons of flying machines, and the mysteries of nature unfolding before the sustained labor of chemists--cities and states and nations could be quickly depopulated. The Prussian conspiracy would not have been possible if the international affairs of the earth had been assigned to a League of Nations. The play may seem to be altruistic, if not fantastic, but the skeptic is moved by the idea that nations cannot forget selfishness. If that be true, then the world lacks the fundamental fibers of character to build an enduring civilization."
In welcoming the returned soldiers of the 166th Infantry in New York in may, 1919, Governor Cox said: "If peace is to endure, it must be by means of institutions of government whose strength in the right must inspire public confidence. We solemnly give the pledge of our state that the faith will be kept."
Economic effects of the defeat of the Treaty of Peace were discussed by Governor Cox at Henderson, Kentucky, in April, 1920. He said: "Some of you may not know the effect of the defeat of the Treaty. While at Mayfield (Ky.) I saw an old farmer who told me he was offered twenty and ten dollars for his tobacco before Christmas, but was forced to sell at six and three dollars. The tumbling of the foreign exchange and the inability of Italy and other Continental European countries to purchase their tobacco is the cause of Western Kentucky farmers losing millions of dollars. This resulted from the Republican Senate's refusal to ratify the peace treaty. While the Republican dictators of the Senate set the stage for political triumph, they do not care how much tobacco growers or the people at large suffer.
Turning to the patriotic issue of the present campaign, he said at the same time: "It will be with infinite pleasure that we shall ask the Republican spellbinders if they have kept the faith with the boys who sleep overseas."
During all the progress of the early part of the campaign the Governor denounced those who "are seeking to set up racial lines and create a prejudice among the foreign elements in our midst." He said: "While other powers are doing everything possible to hold the loose ends of civilization together, these leaders are deliberately conspiring to mislead the great bulk of Americans with assertions that are, when analyzed, nothing more than demagoguery of the crudest kind." Earlier in the year, in speaking before the Jefferson Club of Marion, Indiana, the Governor said: "The plot to multiply the woes of mankind, in order that confusion multiplied might be charged to President Wilson's insistence on principle and international good faith, is now passing through the process of public thought, and we have confidence in an intelligent verdict. The winning of the war, in less time than the formalizing of peace carries a contrast that needs no comment."
During the period for the selection of delegates to the Democratic Convention at San Francisco, Governor Cox gave a signed interview to the New York Times, in which he reviewed the controversy concerning the League of Nations and outlined two reservations which he believed would satisfy every reasonable objection. In part, he said:
"If public opinion in the country is the same as it is in Ohio, then there can be no doubt but that the people want a League of Nations because it seems to offer the surest guarantee against war. I am convinced that the San Francisco Convention will endorse in its vital principles the League adopted at Versailles.
"There can be no doubt but that some senators have been conscientious in their desire to clarify the provisions of the treaty. Two things apparently have disturbed them. First, they wanted to make sure that the League was not to be an alliance, and that its basic purpose was peace and not controversy. Second, they wanted the other powers signing the instrument to understand our constitutional limitations beyond which the treaty-making power cannot go.
"Dealing with these two questions in order, it has always seemed to me that the interpretation of the function of the League might have been stated in these words:
"'In giving its assent to this treaty, the Senate has in mind the fact that the League of Nations which it embodies was devised for the sole purpose of maintaining peace and comity among the nations of the earth and preventing the recurrence of such destructive conflicts as that through which the world has just passed. The co-operation of the United States with the League and its continuance as a member thereof, will naturally depend upon the adherence of the League to that fundamental purpose.'
"Such a declaration would at least express the view of the United States and justify the course which our nation would unquestionably follow if the basic purpose of the League were at any time distorted. It would also appear to be a simple matter to provide against any misunderstanding in the future and at the same time to meet the objections of those who believe that we might be inviting a controversy over our constitutional rights, by making a senatorial addition on words something like these:
"'It will of course be understood that in carrying out the purpose of the League, the government of the United States must at all times act in strict harmony with the terms and intent of the United States Constitution, which cannot in any way be altered by the treaty-making power.'
"Some people doubt the enduring quality of this general international scheme. Whether this be true or not, the fact remains that it will justify itself if it does no more than prevent the nations of the earth from arming themselves to the teeth and wasting resource which is necessary to repair the losses of the war. No one contends that it is a perfect document, but it is a step in the right direction. It would put the loose ends of civilization together now and do more toward the restoration of normal conditions in six months' time than can the powers of the earth, acting independently, in ten years' time. The Republican senatorial cabal insists that the treaty be Americanized. Suppose that Italy asked that it be Italianized-- France that it be Frenchized--Britain that it be Britainized, and so on down the line. The whole thing would result in a perfect travesty.
"The important thing now is to enable the world to go to work, but the beginning must not be on the soft sands of an unsound plan. If this question passes to the next administration, there should be no fetich developed over past differences. Yet at the same time there must be no surrender of vital principles. It may be necessary if partitions and reparation require changing, to assemble representatives of the people making up the nations of the League, in which event revision may not be so much an affair of diplomats. But I repeat the pressing task is getting started, being careful however that we are starting with an instrument worth while, and not a mere shadow."
To an extent to which very few public men favoring the League of Nations have gone, Governor Cox has expressed the firm conviction that the League will enable the people of Ireland to bring their contention and claims before a world tribunal. It was his statement before an audience in Cincinnati that the League would be the means by which the Irish case could be heard in the highest court in the world, and he stated that thus far it had never been heard even in a magistrate's court. Sentiments on the question of self-determination were also expressed in his article in the New York Times. In this the Governor said:
"We are a composite people in the United States and the belief of students of government in years past that our democracy would not endure was based entirely upon the idea that we could not build a nation from the blood of many races which had old inherited prejudices. It is very important, particularly at this time when racial impulses and emotions have been stirred world-wide as never before, that we make the utmost effort to prevent division along these lines. In this connection it is well to bear in mind that the armistice which preceded the peace was based upon fourteen cardinal points; one of the most, if not the most, important of which was the right of self-determination.
"Wars in the past have resulted largely from dispute over territory and imposed restraints of racial aspirations. Governmental entities are more apt to last and to live harmoniously with others if groups are bounded by racial homogeneity rather than by the physical characteristics of the earth in the form of mountains, rivers, etc. Individual aspiration is a God-given element and distinct ambitions possess the soul of racial unity. In harmony with this theory, the San Francisco convention should emphasize the Democratic belief in the principle of self-determination in government. Our citizens will not deny to any race of people the right to hold the emotions which stirred the founders of our Republic."
The Governor's position on the League was amplified in his Address of Acceptance at Dayton on August 7th, 1920, in which he said:
"We are in a time which calls for straight thinking, straight talking and straight acting. This is no time for wobbling. Never in all our history has more been done for government. Never was sacrifice more sublime. The most precious things of heart and home were given up in a spirit which guarantees the perpetuity of our institutions--if the faith is kept with those who served and suffered. The altar of our republic is drenched in blood and tears, and he who turns away from the tragedies and obligations of the war, not consecrated to a sense of honor and of duty which resists every base suggestion of personal or political expediency, is unworthy of the esteem of his countrymen.
"The men and women who by expressed policy at the San Francisco Convention charted our course in the open seas of the future sensed the spirit of the hour and phrased it with clarity and courage. It is not necessary to read and reread the Democratic platform to know its meaning. It is a document clear in its analysis of conditions and plain in the pledge of service made to the public. It carries honesty of word and intent. Proud of the leadership and achievement of the party in war, Democracy faces unafraid the problems of peace. Indeed, its pronouncement has but to be read along with the platform framed by Republican leaders in order that both spirit and purpose as they dominate the opposing organizations may be contrasted. On the one hand we see pride expressed in the nation's glory and a promise of service easily understood. On the other a captious, unhappy spirit and the treatment of subjects vital to the present and the future, in terms that have completely confused the public mind. It was clear that the senatorial oligarchy had been given its own way in the selection of the presidential candidate, but it was surprising that it was able to fasten into the party platform the creed of hate and bitterness and the vacillating policy that possesses it.
"In the midst of war the present senatorial cabal, led by Senators Lodge, Penrose and Smoot, was formed. Superficial evidence of loyalty to the President was deliberate in order that the great rank and file of their party, faithful and patriotic to the very core, might not be offended. But underneath this misleading exterior, conspirators planned and plotted, with bigoted zeal. With victory to our arms they delayed and obstructed the works of peace. If deemed useful to the work in hand no artifice for interfering with our constitutional peace-making authority was rejected. Before the country knew, yes, before these men themselves knew the details of the composite plan, formed at the peace table, they declared their opposition to it. Before the treaty was submitted to the senate in the manner the Constitution provides, they violated every custom and every consideration of decency by presenting a copy of the document, procured unblushingly from enemy hands, and passed it into the printed record of senatorial proceedings.
From that hour dated the enterprise of throwing the whole subject into a technical discussion, in order that the public might be confused. The plan has never changed in its objective, but the method has. At the outset there was the careful insistence that there was no desire to interfere with the principle evolved and formalized at Versailles. Later, it was the form and not the substance that professedly inspired attack. But pretense was futile when proposals later came forth that clearly emasculated the basic principle of the whole peace plan. It is not necessary to recall the details of the controversy in the senate. Senator Lodge finally crystallized his ideas into what were known as the Lodge reservations, and when congress adjourned these reservations held the support of the so-called regular Republican leaders.
"From that time the processes have been interesting. Political expediency in its truest sense dwarfed every consideration either of the public interest or of the maintenance of the honor of a great political party. The exclusive question was how to avoid a rupture in the Republican organization. The country received with interest, to say the least, the announcement from Chicago, where the national convention was assembled, that a platform plank dealing with the subject of world peace, had been drawn leaving out the Lodge reservations, and yet remaining agreeable to all interests, meaning thereby, the Lodge reservationists, the mild reservationists and the group of Republican senators that openly opposed the League of Nations in any form.
"As the platform made no definite committal of policy and was, in fact, so artfully phrased as to make almost any deduction possible, it passed through the convention with practical unanimity. Senator Johnson, however, whose position has been consistent and whose opposition to the League in any shape is well known, withheld his support of the convention's choice until the candidate had stated the meaning of the platform, and announced definitely the policy that would be his, if elected.
"The Republican candidate has spoken and his utterance calls forth the following approval from Senator Johnson:
"'Yesterday in his speech of acceptance Senator Harding unequivocally took his stand upon the paramount issue in this campaign--the League of Nations. The Republican party stands committed by its platform. Its standard-bearer has now accentuated that platform. There can be no misunderstanding his words.'
"Senator Harding, as the candidate of the party, and Senator Johnson are as one on this question, and, as the latter expresses it, the Republican party is committed both by platform in the abstract and by its candidate in specification. The threatened revolt among leaders of the party is averted, but the minority position as expressed in the senate prevails as that of the party. In short, principle, as avowed in support of the Lodge reservations, or of the so-called mild reservations, has been surrendered to expediency.
"Senator Harding makes this new pledge of policy in behalf of his party:
"'I promise you formal and effective peace so quickly as a Republican congress can pass its declaration for a Republican executive to sign.'
"This means but one thing--a separate peace with Germany!
"This would be the most disheartening event in civilization since the Russians made their separate peace with Germany, and infinitely more unworthy on our part than it was on that of the Russians. They were threatened with starvation and revolution had swept their country. Our soldiers fought side by side with the Allies. So complete was the coalition of strength and purpose that General Fochs was given supreme command, and every soldier in the allied cause, no matter what flag he followed, recognized him as his chief. We fought the war together, and now before the thing is through it is proposed to enter into a separate peace with Germany! In good faith we pledged our strength with our associates for the enforcement of terms upon offending powers, and now it is suggested that this be withdrawn. Suppose Germany, recognizing the first break in the Allies, proposes something we cannot accept. Does Senator Harding intend to send an army to Germany to press her to our terms? Certainly the allied army could not be expected to render aid. If, on the other hand, Germany should accept the chance we offered of breaking the bond it would be for the express purpose of insuring a German-American alliance, recognizing that the Allies--in fact, no nation in good standing--would have anything to do with either of us.
"This plan would not only be a piece of bungling diplomacy, but plain, unadulterated dishonesty, as well."
"No less an authority than Senator Lodge said, before the heat of recent controversy, that to make peace except in company with the Allies would 'brand us everlastingly with dishonor and bring ruin to us.'
"And then after peace is made with Germany, Senator Harding would, he says, 'hopefully approach the nations of Europe and of the earth, proposing that understanding which makes us a willing participant in the consecration of nations to a new relationship.'
"In short, America, refusing to enter the League of Nations (now already established by twenty-nine nations) and bearing and deserving the contempt of the world, would submit an entirely new project. This act would either be regarded as arrant madness or attempted international bossism.
"The plain truth is, that the Republican leaders, obsessed with a determination to win the presidential election, have attempted to satisfy too many divergent views. Inconsistencies, inevitable under the circumstances, rise to haunt them on every hand, and they find themselves arrayed, in public thought at least, against a great principle. More than that, their conduct is opposed to the idealism upon which their party prospered in other days."
"Illustrating these observations by concrete facts, let it be remembered that those now inveighing against an interest in affairs outside of America, criticised President Wilson in unmeasured terms for not resenting the invasion of Belgium in 1914. They term the League of Nations a military alliance, which, except for their opposition, would envelop our country, when, as a matter of truth, the subject of a League of Nations has claimed the best thought of America for years, and the League to Enforce Peace was presided over by so distinguished a Republican as ex-President Taft, who, before audiences in every section, advocated the principle and the plan of the present League. They charge experimentation, when we have as historical precedent the Monroe Doctrine, which is the very essence of Article X of the Versailles covenant. Skeptics viewed Monroe's mandate with alarm, predicting recurrent wars in defense of Central and South American states, whose guardians they alleged we need not be. And yet not a shot has been fired in almost one hundred years in preserving sovereign rights on this hemisphere. They hypocritically claim that the League of Nations will result in our boys being drawn into military service, but they fail to realize that every high-school youngster in the land knows that no treaty can override our Constitution, which reserves to Congress, and to Congress alone, the power to declare war. They preach Americanism with a meaning of their own invention, and artfully appeal to a selfish and provincial spirit, forgetting that Lincoln fought a war over the purely moral question of slavery, and the McKinley broke the fetters of our boundary lines, spoke the freedom of Cuba, and carried the torch of American idealism to the benighted Philippines. They lose memory of Garfield's prophecy that America, under the blessings of God-given opportunity, would by her moral leadership and co-operation become the Messiah among the nations of the earth.
"These are fateful times. Organized government has a definite duty all over the world. The house of civilization is to be put in order. The supreme issue of the century is before us and the nation that halts and delays is playing with fire. The finest impulses of humanity, rising above national lines, merely seek to make another horrible war impossible. Under the old order of international anarchy war came overnight, and the world was on fire before we knew it. It sickens our senses to think of another. We saw one conflict into which modern science brought new forms of destruction in great guns, submarines, airships, and poison gases. It is no secret that our chemists had perfected, when the contest came to a precipitate close, gases so deadly that whole cities could be wiped out, armies destroyed, and the crews of battleships smothered. The public prints are filled with the opinions of military men that in future wars the method, more effective than gases or bombs, will be the employment of the germs of disease, carrying pestilence and destruction. Any nation prepared under these conditions, as Germany was equipped in 1914, could conquer the world in a year.
"It is planned now to make this impossible. A definite plan has been agreed upon. The League of Nations is in operation. A very important work, under its control, just completed, was participated in by the Hon. Elihu Root, Secretary of State under the Roosevelt administration. At a meeting of the Council of the League of Nations, February 11, and organizing committee of twelve of the most eminent jurists in the world was selected. The duty of this group was to devise a plan for the establishment of a Permanent Court of International Justice, as a branch of the League. This assignment has been concluded by unanimous action. This augurs well for world progress. The question is whether we shall or shall not join in this practical and humane movement. President Wilson, as our representative at the peace table, entered the League in our name, in so far as the executive authority permitted. Senator Harding, as the Republican candidate for the presidency, proposes in plain words that we remain out of it. As the Democratic candidate, I favor going in. Let us analyze Senator Harding's plan of making a German-American peace, and then calling for a 'new relationship among nations,' assuming for the purpose of argument only, that the perfidious hand that dealt with Germany would possess the power or influence to draw twenty-nine nations away from a plan already at work, and induce them to retrace every step and make a new beginning. This would entail our appointing another commission to assemble with those selected by the other powers. With the Versailles instrument discarded, the whole subject of partitions and divisions of territory on new lines would be reopened. The difficulties in this regard, as any fair mind appreciates, would be greater than they were at the peace session, and we must not attempt to convince ourselves that they did not try the genius, patience, and diplomacy of statesmen at that time. History will say that great as was the Allied triumph in war, no less a victory was achieved at the peace table. The Republican proposal means dishonor, world confusion and delay. It would keep us in permanent company with Germany, Russia, Turkey and Mexico. It would entail, in the ultimate, more real injury than the war itself. The Democratic position on the question, as expressed in platform is:
"'We advocate immediate ratification of the Treaty without reservations which would impair its essential integrity, but do no oppose the acceptance of any reservation making clearer or more specific the obligations of the United States to the League associates.'
"The first duty of the new administration clearly will be the ratification of the Treaty. The matter should be approached without thought of the bitterness of the past. The public verdict will have been rendered, and I am confident that the friends of world peace as it will be promoted by the League, will have in numbers the constitutional requisite to favorable senatorial action. The captious may say that our platform reference to reservations is vague and indefinite. Its meaning, in brief, is that we shall state our interpretation of the covenant as a matter of good faith to our associates and as a precaution against any misunderstanding in the future. The point is, that after the people shall have spoken, the League will be in the hands of its friends in the Senate, and a safe index as to what they will do is supplied by what reservations they have proposed in the past.
"Our platform clearly lays no bar against any additions that will be helpful, but it speaks in a firm resolution to stand against anything that disturbs the vital principle. We hear it said that interpretations are unnecessary. That may be true, but they will at least be reassuring to many of our citizens, who feel that in signing the treaty, there should be no mental reservations that are not expressed in plain words, as a matter of good faith to our associates. Such interpretations possess the further virtue of supplying a base upon which agreement can be reached, and agreement, without injury to the covenant, is now of pressing importance. It was the desire to get things started, that prompted some members of the senate to vote for the Lodge reservations. Those who conscientiously voted for them in the final roll calls realized, however, that they acted under duress, in that a politically bigoted minority was exercising the arbitrary power of its position to enforce drastic conditions. Happily the voters of the republic, under our system of government, can remedy that situation, and I have the faith that they will, at the election this fall. Then organized government will be enabled to combine impulse and facility in the making of better world conditions. The agencies of exchange will automatically adjust themselves to the opportunities of commercial freedom. New life and renewed hope will take hold of every nation. Mankind will press a resolute shoulder to the task of readjustment, and a new era will have dawned upon the earth."
Speaking to the National Guardsmen at the National Rifle Matches at Camp Perry, Ohio, on August 12, he said:
"I recognize that in a sense you are assembled here for the purpose of increasing the efficiency of our military strength, and yet I am convinced that the great mass of our soldiers are united in purpose and prayer, to prevent wars in the future, if it can be honorably done. They know the meaning of modern warfare. There was very little romance in the long hours and the slaughter of the front trench. The thought that must have run through the mind of every solder in the midst of it all, was how such a thing was possible in modern civilization.
"The cost to the United States was more than one million dollars an hour for over two years. The total expense of twenty-two billion dollars was almost equal to the total disbursements of the United States government from 1791 to 1918. It was sufficient to have run the Revolutionary War for more than one thousand years at the rate of expenditure which that war involved. The army expenditures alone, so experts claim, are a near approach to the volume of gold produced in the United States from the discovery of America up to the outbreak of the European War, and yet the United States spent only about one-eighth of the entire cost of the war, and less than one-fifth of the expenditure of the allied side.
"If civilization has not had its lesson, then there is no hope for it. It could not stand such a war again and survive. The genius of man, if that is a happy term in discussing the horrors of conflict, has always made the latest war the most frightful. When we consider the development in the methods of human destruction between 1914 and 1918 and apply the problem of simple proportion, we are staggered even to think of the possibilities of the sons of men being again brought into combat.
"There will always be a national guard in the States, if for no other reason than domestic defense, and the military arm of the federal government will be maintained, but the hope that vast expenditures for armaments are a thing of the past, possesses every home in America, while the common impulse that moves the great mass of people world-wide is inspired by the vision of peace and the settlement of controversy by the arbitrament of reason rather than of force."
At the very beginning of his canvass for the Presidency Governor Cox has gone upon the theory that the League of Nations needed simple explanation to the people of the Country. In his own phrase, he has talked the ABC's of the League, finding that the technical discussions had failed to hold the interest of the people. Illustrating this policy are two addresses made to state conventions early in August. At Wheeling, to the West Virginia Democratic Convention, he said:
"We resisted a world-wide menace, and we intend now to establish permanent protection against another menace. We know how easily wars came in the past. We want to make their coming difficult in the future. We have a definite plan; the American people understand it, and after the 4th of March, 1921, it is our purpose to put it into practical operation, without continuing months of useless discussion.
"The platform of our party gives us the opportunity to render moral co-operation in the greatest movement of righteousness in the history of the world, and at the same time to hold our own interests free from peril. Our position is plain. The circumstances of the last eighteen months convict the Republican leadership of attempted trickery with the American people. Under one pretext after another they prevented the readjustment of national conditions. They proposed certain reservations to the League of Nations, and then they were abandoned, to be followed by nothing more definite than the announcement of a 'hope' that an entirely new arrangement might be made in world affairs. What method they have in mind, if it is concretely in anyone's mind, the people do not know. No unprejudiced person can deny that the consequence of abandoning the League and attempting an entirely new project, will be prolonged delay. If the voters of the Republic, without regard to party, desire action, and prompt action along lines that are now clearly understood, they will render a verdict so overwhelmingly expressive of public indignation that scheming politicians for years to come will not forget.
"In the fact of an efficient leadership during the war, and of constructive, progressive, economic service in peace, the Republican leaders developed a smoke screen, behind which they seek to gain their objective, the spoils of office. For years the best thought and the humanitarian impulses of civilized countries have been applied to the high purpose of making war practically Impossible. The League of Nations became the composite agreement, and now the senatorial oligarchy meets it with the absurd plea that it increases the probability of armed conflict. It not only reveals unworthy intent, but a very poor estimate of American intelligence as well."
Taking the issue to the people, and free from what he termed strait-jacket restrictions, the Governor said at Columbus, when he talked to the Ohio Democratic Convention:
"I carefully reviewed the platform adopted at Chicago, and studied its principles, but I know as much about it now as when I started to read it. I gave intensive thought also to the speech made by the Republican candidate, the purpose of which was to interpret the meaning of that historic document, and after long and vigilant labor I found two pronouncements. What was the first? The statement that staggered the sensibilities of the civilization of the world, the unthinkable, monstrous proposal, that in the midst of the uncertainty of the hour, a separate peace ought to be made with Germany. I want you to go back with me just a year and a half, to the time when victory was son; to the time when our boys maintained their vigils on the banks of the Rhine, standing there in solid formation with 2,000,000 great lads behind them. Germany signed the peace document on the dotted line. What has happened in the united States Senate to prevent its acceptance by the upper branch of the American Congress? I need not recall, because every child knows about it. But the soldiers came back home; they were demobilized; they entered into their several walks of life believing that their victory had been complete, and that the offending powers had been brought to terms. And now, with the armies disbanded, and now, with our military strength no longer holding together, it is proposed by the candidate of the Republican party that he will prove false to the boys who stood by when that peace was made. He will destroy the pact and enter into a new covenant.
"Six hundred thousand French died at Verdun defending the slogan, 'They shall not pass.' More than a million English and Canadians died on the Somme, reforming their ranks, and hurling back the challenge, 'They shall not pass.' They were possessed of the crusading spirit; they were preserving the Democracy of the world, the very Government of the earth. And now another menace is threatened, and it is proposed that some one, acting in behalf of two millions of soldiers and the one hundred million people of this Republic, shall perform a perfectly perfidious act. Standing at the head of the hosts of the great army which opposes the hosts of reaction; standing at the head of the hosts of Democracy, at the head of the hosts of progress; at the head of the hundreds of thousands of independents of this Country, I give to you this assurance: That this dishonorable deed will not be perpetrated--for two very important reasons. First, Warren G. Harding will not have a chance to do it; and second, I will not insult two million soldiers by doing it myself.
"And then proceeding to the second stage of these proceedings, the Republican candidate says that after he shall have made a separate peace with Germany, he will then assemble the conscience of the civilization of the world and form an entirely new relationship. If, for the sake of argument only, we are to assume that a separate peace with Germany were made, I believe that the Government of the United States of America would be so unworthy in the eyes of the nations of the world that none of them would have anything to do with us at all.
"This one question will remain in the public mind. After all this is the crux of the whole situation. The Republican candidate and the reactionaries now in control of the Republican party, promise you nothing whatsoever except a proposal which at is best will involve months and probably years of delay. On the other hand, we promise you this, that after the 4th of March, 1921, with the least amount of conversation possible, we will enter the League of Nations of the world. Our Democratic platform adopted at San Francisco gives us full license and opportunity to enter the League upon terms which will need no defense. Our position is not unbending; it is not captious. We proclaim that we will accept any conditions that interpret, that call attention to the limitations of our Constitution; that serve full notice now upon the powers of the earth that we can go so far and no further.
"In other words we have the opportunity of concluding this, the greatest movement for righteousness in all the history of the world, and then the loose ends of civilization will be put together. The opportunity for exchange will have been restored. America will proceed upon an era of prosperity and peace without precedent.
"I shall address no audience in America this year without puncturing the smoke screen of hypocrisy and insincerity which has been raised, in order that the reactionaries might creep in behind it and claim their main objective, the spoils of office. That smoke screen now is the statement that the League of Nations increases the probabilities of war. It would have been just as absurd to have said to the boys at the time our fathers won their freedom, that if you proclaim your independence you are going to have war, because you will have to fight to retain it. Every school boy in Ohio understands there are three branches of Government, Judicial, Legislative and Executive, and when war has been brought to an end, the head of the Executive Department, the President of the United States, makes the treaty with the power with which we have been at war, and then we find that limitation of power. The President can go no further. He submits it to the Senate for ratification. The President of the United States has very definite power, and there are also very specific powers reserved to the Congress of the United States. The Congress can do nothing contrary to the Constitution; the President can do nothing contrary to the Constitution. The Constitution provides that war can be declared by Congress, and Congress only. In order to give point and truth to what the reactionary leaders are now contending for, it would be necessary to change the Constitution of the United States. This would require a two-thirds' vote of the House and Senate, and then a three-fourths' vote of the states of the Union. Our machinery was so adjusted that no matter who might be the Executive Officer of this Republic, he did not possess the power to declare war. The power was placed as near to the people as it was possible to place it. It was placed with their Representatives in Congress.
"Now--the Republican leaders in contending that four or five potentates, four or five distinguished statesmen over seas, sitting in the council of the League of Nations, can order our soldiers anywhere, are speaking a deliberate and a willful untruth. Presidential proprieties require that I do not characterize it in stronger language. You know it is very hard to please the opposition, although we are under great debt to them for having made the gauge of battle in this campaign. The proposition to disgrace America by making a separate peace with Germany was simply opening their front lines. I have already entered that opening with the hosts of Democracy around me.
"About three months ago a well-meaning Republican business man was driving through Clark county. His soldier boy was at the wheel, and he looked over into a field and saw a hundred trucks lying there; and he seized upon the circumstance to attack the Administration at Washington. The son had heard enough of it, and he stopped the car and said: 'Father, you have got to stop talking that way. When we were in the front trench we had warm food, no matter whether we were in the midst of hell's fire or not. We had all the ammunition we needed. It was ten times better to have more trucks than we needed than to have fewer trucks than we needed.' And then there is another reason for it all. Need we be reminded that the opposition said that it would require Secretary Baker and President Wilson eighteen months to take 600,000 soldiers over seas, and, recognizing that it would require in all probability more than 2,000,000 soldiers to win the war, that the war would then last, under this Democratic Administration, four times eighteen months. Any child in this country can have the facts presented to him and he will have the mentality to grasp these outstanding circumstances: President Wilson and Secretary Baker, at the head of the military forces of the nation did not send 600,000 soldiers over in eighteen months' time. They sent 2,000,000 soldiers over in eighteen months' time, and won the war without the loss of a single troop ship."
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