Newer Ideals of Peace


Jane Addams

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American cities have been slow to consider industrial questions as germane to government, and the Federal authorities have persistently treated the millions of immigrants who arrive every year upon a political theory and method adopted a century ago, because both of them ignore the fact that the organization of industry has completed a revolution during that period. The gigantic task of standardizing the successive nations of immigrants throughout the country has fallen upon workmen because they alone cannot ignore the actual industrial situation. To thousands of workmen the immigration problem is a question of holding a job against a constantly lowering standard of living, and to withstand this stream of "raw labor" means to them the maintenance of industrial efficiency and of life itself. Workingmen are engaged in a desperate struggle to maintain a standard of wages against the constant arrival of unskilled immigrants at the rate of three- quarters of a million a year, at the

(94) very period when the elaboration of machinery permits the largest use of unskilled men.

It may be owing to the fact that the workingman is brought into direct contact with the situation as a desperate problem of a living wage against starvation; it may be that wisdom is at her old trick of residing in the hearts of the simple, or that this new idealism, which is that of a reasonable life and labor, must, from the very nature of things, proceed from those who labor; or possibly it may be because amelioration arises whence it is so sorely needed; but certainly it is true, that, while the rest of the country talks of assimilation as if it were a huge digestive apparatus, the man with whom the immigrant has come most sharply into competition, has been forced into fraternal relations with him.

Curiously enough, however, as soon as the immigrant situation is frankly regarded as an industrial one, as these men must regard it, the political aspects of the industrial situation is revealed in the fact that trade organizations which openly concern themselves with the immigration problem on its industrial side, quickly take on the paraphernalia and machinery which have hitherto associated themselves only with governmental life and control. The trades unions have worked out all over again local autonomy, with central

(95) councils and national representative bodies and the use of the referendum vote; and they also exhibit many of the features of political corruption and manipulation.

The first real lesson in self-government to many immigrants has come through the organization of labor unions, and it could come in no other way, for the union alone has appealed to their necessities. One sees the first indication of an idealism arising out of these primal necessities, and at moments one dares to hope that it may be sturdy enough and sufficiently founded upon experience to make some impression upon the tremendous immigration situation.

The movements embodying a new idealism have traditionally sought refuge with those who are near to starvation. Although the spiritual struggle is associated with the solitary garret of the impassioned dreamer, it may be that the idealism fitted to our industrial democracy will be evolved in crowded sewer ditches and in noisy factories. It may be contended that this remarkable coming together of the workingman and the immigrant has been the result of an economic pressure, and is without merit or idealism, and that the trades union record on Chinese exclusion and negro discrimination has been damaging. Be that as it may, this assimilation between the

(96) immigrant and the workingman has exhibited amazing strength, which may be illustrated from two careful studies made in two different parts of the country.

To quote first from a study made from the University of Wisconsin of the stock yards strike which took place in Chicago in 1904 [1] "Perhaps the fact of the greatest social significance is that this was not merely a strike of skilled labor for the unskilled, but was a strike of Americanized Irish, Germans, and Bohemians, in behalf of Slovaks, Poles, and Lithuanians.... This substitution of races in the stock yards has been a continuing process for twenty years. The older nationalities have already disappeared from the unskilled occupations, and the substitution of races has evidently run along the line of lower standard of living. The latest arrivals, the Lithuanians and Slovaks, are probably the most oppressed of the peasants of Europe." The visitors who attended the crowded meetings of the strikers during the summer of 1904 and heard the same address successively translated by interpreters into six or eight languages, who saw the respect shown to the most uncouth of the speakers by the skilled American men represent-

(97)-ing a distinctly superior standard of life and thought, could never doubt the power of the labor organizations for amalgamation, whatever opinion they might hold concerning their other values. This may be said in spite of the fact that great industrial disturbances have arisen from the under-cutting of wages by the lowering of racial standard. Certainly the most notable of these have taken place in those industries and at those places in which the importation of immigrants has been deliberately fostered as a wage-lowering weapon; and even in those disturbances and under the shock and strain of a long strike, disintegration did not come along the line of race cleavage.

The other study was made in the anthracite coal fields, and was undertaken from the University of Pennsylvania 1: "The United Mine Workers of America is taking men of a score of nationalities, English-speaking and Slav, men of widely different creeds, languages, and customs, and of varying powers of industrial competition, and is welding them into an industrial brotherhood, each part of which can at least understand of the others that they are working for one great and common end. This bond of unionism is stronger than one can readily imagine who has not seen its mysterious workings or who has not

(98) been a victim of its members' newly found enthusiasm. It is to-day the strongest tie that can bind together 147,000 mine workers and the thousands dependent upon them. It is more than religion, more than the social ties which hold together members of the same community."

It was during a remarkable struggle on the part of this amalgamation of men from all countries, that the United States government, in spite of itself, was driven to take a hand in an industrial situation, owing to the long strain and the intolerable suffering entailed upon the whole country. Even then, however, the Government endeavored to confine its investigation to the mere commercial questions of tonnage and freight rates with their political implications, and it was only when an aroused and moralized public opinion insisted upon it that the national commission was driven to consider the human aspects of the case. Because of this public opinion, columns of newspapers and days of investigation were given to the discussion of the deeds of violence, discus signs having nothing to do with the original den mends of the strikers and entering only into the value set upon human life by each of the contesting parties. Did the union encourage violence against non-union men, or did it really do everything to suppress violence? Did it live up to its creed

(99) which was to maintain a standard of living that families might be properly housed and protected from debilitating toil and disease, and that children might be nurtured into American citizenship ? Did the operators protect their men as far as possible from mine damp, from length of hours proven by experience to be exhausting? Did they pay a wage to the mine laborer sufficient to allow him to send his children to school? Questions such as these, a study of the human problem, invaded the commission day after day during the sitting. One felt for the moment the first wave of a rising tide of humanitarianism, until the normal ideals of the laborer to secure food and shelter for his family, a security for his own old age, and a larger opportunity for his children became the ideals of democratic government.

Let us imagine the result if, during the long anthracite strike, the humane instinct had so overmastered the minds of the strikers, and so exalted their passions that they had lifted a hand against no man, even though he seemed to be endangering their cause before their eyes. Such a result might have come about, partly because the destruction of life had become abhorrent and impossible to them engaged as they were in the endeavor to raise life in the coal regions to a higher level, and partly because they would have

(100) scorned to destroy an enemy in order to achieve a mere negative result when the power lay within themselves to convert him into an ally, when they might have made him a source of help and power, a comrade of the same undertaking. If the element of battle, of mere self-seeking, could be eliminated from strikes, if they could remain a sheer uprising of the oppressed and underpaid to a self-conscious recognition of their condition, so unified, so irresistible as to sweep all the needy within its flood, we should have a tide rising, not to destruction, but to beneficence. Let us imagine the state of public feeling if there had been absolutely no act of violence traceable, directly or indirectly, to the union miners; if during the long months of the strike the great body of miners could have added the sanction of sustained conduct to their creed. Public sympathy would have led to an understanding of the need these miners were trying to meet, and the American nation itself might have been ready to ask for legislation concerning the minimum wage and for protection to life and limb, equal to the legislation of New Zealand or Germany. But because the element of warfare unhappily did exist, government got back to its old business of repression.

To preserve law and order is obviously the

(101) function of government everywhere; and yet in our complicated modern society, especially as thousands of varied peoples are crowded into cities, it is not always easy to see just where real social order lies. The officials themselves are sometimes perplexed, and at other times deliberately use the devices of government for their own ends. We may take once more in illustration the great strike in the Chicago stock-yards. The immediate object of the strike was the protection of the wages of the unskilled men from a cut of one cent per hour, although, of course, the unions of skilled men felt that this first invasion of the wages increased through the efforts of the union, would be but the entering wedge of an attempt to cut wages in all the trades represented in the stock-yards. Owing to the refusal on the part of the unions to accept arbitration offered by the packers at an embarrassing moment, and because of the failure of the unions to carry out the terms of a contract, the strike in its early stages completely lost the sympathy of that large part of the public dominated by ideals of business honor and fair dealing. It lost, too, the sympathy of that growing body of organized labor which is steadily advancing in a regard for the validity of the contract, and is faithfully cherishing the hope that in time the trades unions

(102) may universally attain an accredited business standing.

The leaders after the first ten days were, therefore, forced to make the most of the purely human appeal which lay in the situation itself, that 30,000 men, including the allied trades, were losing weeks of wages, with a possible chance of the destruction of their unions on behalf of the unskilled who were the newly arrived Poles and Lithuanians, unable as yet to look out for themselves. Owing to the irregular and limited hours of work -- a condition quite like that prevailing on the London docks before the great strike of the dockers -- the weekly wage of these unskilled men was exceptionally low, and the plea of the strikers was based upon the duty of the strong to the weak. A chivalric call was issued that the standard of life might be raised to that designated as American, and that this mass of unskilled men might secure an education for their children. Of course no appeal could have been so strong as this purely human one which united for weeks thousands of men of a score of nationalities into that solidarity which only comes through a self-sacrificing devotion to an absorbing cause.

The strike involved much suffering and many unforeseen complications. At the end of eight

(103) weeks the union leaders made the best terms possible. Through these terms the skilled workers were guaranteed against a reduction in wages, but no provision was made for the unskilled in whose behalf the strike had at first been undertaken. Although the hard-pressed leaders were willing to make this concession, the politicians in the meanwhile had seen the great value of the human sentiment which bases its appeal on the need of the under dog and which had successfully united this mass of workingmen into a new comradeship with the immigrants. The appeal was infinitely more valuable than any merely political cry, and the fact that the final terms of settlement were submitted to a referendum vote at once gave the local politicians a chance to avail themselves of this big, loosely defined sympathy. They did avail themselves of this in so dramatic a manner that they almost succeeded, solely upon that appeal, in taking the strike out of the hands of the legitimate officers and placing it in their own hands for their own political ends.

The situation was a typical one, exemplifying the real aim of popular government with its concern for primitive needs, forced to seek expression outside of the organized channels of government. If the militia could have been called in, government would have been placed even more

(104) dramatically in the position of the oppressor of popular self-government. The phenomenal good order, the comparative lack of violence on the part of the striking workmen, gave no chance for the bringing in of the militia. The city politician was of course very much disappointed, for it would have afforded him an opening to put the odium of this traditional opposition of government, an opposition which has always been most dramatically embodied in the soldier, upon the political party dominating the State but not the city. It would have given the city politician an excellent opportunity to show the concern of himself and his party for the real people, as over against the attitude of the party dominating the State. But because the militia was not called, his scheme failed, and the legitimate strike leaders who, although they passed through much tribulation because of this political interference, did not eventually lose control.

The situation in the Chicago stock-yards also afforded an excellent epitome of the fact that government so often finds itself, not only in opposition to the expressed will of the people making the demand at the moment, but apparently against the best instincts of the mass of the citizens as a whole.

For years the city administration had so pro-

(105)-tected the property interests invested in the stockyards, that none of the sanitary ordinances had ever been properly enforced. The sickening stench and the scum on the branch of the river known as Bubbly Creek at times made that section of the city unendurable. The smoke ordinances were openly ignored, nor did the meat inspector ever seriously interfere with business, being quite willing to have meat sold in Chicago which had n ot passed the inspection for foreign markets. The water steals, too, for which the stock-yards were at one time notorious, must have been more or less known to certain officials. But all this merely corrupted a limited number of inspectors, and although their corruption was complete and involved entire administrations, it did not actually touch large numbers of persons. During the strike of 1904, however, 1,200 policemen, actual men possessed of human sensibilities, were called upon to patrol the yards inside and out. There is no doubt that the police inspector of the district thoroughly represented the alliance of the City Hall with the business interests, that he did not mean to discover anything which was derogatory to the packers nor to embarrass them in any way during the conduct of the strike. Had these 1,200 men, more than a regiment in numbers, been a regiment in training and tradition, they,

(106) too, would have seen nothing, and would have been content at heart, as they were obliged to be in conduct, to have arrested the strikers on the slightest provocation, and to have protected the strike- breakers.

But they were, in point of fact, called upon to face a very peculiar situation, because of the type of men and women who formed the bulk of the strike- breakers, and because, during the first weeks of the strike, these men and women were kept constantly inside the yards, day and night. In order to hold them at all, discipline outside of working hours was thoroughly relaxed, and the policemen in charge of the yards, while there ostensibly to enforce law and order, were obliged every night to connive at prize- fighting, at open gambling, and at prostitution. They were there, not to enforce law and order as it defines itself in the minds of the bulk of healthy-minded citizens, but only to keep the strikers from molesting the non-union workers. This was certainly commendable, but, after all, only part of their real duty.

Because they were normal men living in the midst of normal life and not in barracks, they were shocked by the law-breaking which they were ordered to protect, and much drawn in sympathy to the strikers whom they were sup-

(107) posed to regard as public enemies. An investigator who interviewed one hundred policemen found only one who did not frankly extol the virtues of the strikers as over against the shocking vices of the imported men. This, of course, was an extreme case brought about by the unusual and peculiar type of the imported strike-breakers. There is, however, trustworthy evidence incorporated in affidavits which were at the time submitted to the Mayor of Chicago, concerning the unlawful conduct of the men who were under the protection of the city police.

It was hard for a patriot not to feel jealous of the union and of the enthusiasm of those newly emigrated citizens. They poured out their gratitude and affection upon this first big friendly force which had offered them help in their desperate struggle in the New World. This devotion, this comradeship, and this fine esprit de corps should have been won by the Government itself from these newly arrived, scared, and untrained citizens. The union was that which had concerned itself with the real struggle for life, shelter, a chance to work, and bread for their children. It had come to them in a language they could understand, through men with interests akin to their own, and it gave them both their first chance to express themselves through a democratic vote,

(108) and an opportunity to register by a ballot their real opinion upon a very important matter.

They used the referendum votes, the latest and perhaps the most clever device of democratic government, and yet they used it to decide a question which the government supposed to be quite outside its realm. When they left the old country, the government of America held their deepest hopes, and represented that which they believed would obtain for them the fullness of life denied them in the lands of oppressive governments. It is a curious commentary on the fact that we have not yet attained self-government when the real and legitimate objects of men's desires must still be incorporated in those voluntary groups for which the government, when it does its best, can only afford protection from interference. As the religious revivalist looks with longing upon the fervor of a single-tax meeting, as the orthodox Jew sees his son stay away from Yom Kippur service in order to pour all his religious fervor, his precious zeal for righteousness which has been gathered through the centuries, into the Socialist Labor Party -- so a patriot finds himself exclaiming to the immigrant, like another Andrea del Sarto to his wife, "Oh, but what do they -- what do they to please you more ?"

The stock-yards strike afforded an example of

(109) the national appeal subordinated to an appeal made in the name of labor. During the early stages of the strike it was discovered that newly arrived Macedonians were taking many of the places vacated by the strikers. One of the most touching scenes during the strike was the groups of Macedonians who would sit together in the twilight playing on primitive pipes singularly like the one which is associated with the great god Pan. The slender song would carry amazingly in the smoke- bedimmed air, affecting the spectator with a curious sense of incongruity.

When the organized labor of Chicago discovered that the strikers' places were taken by Greeks, the unions threatened, unless the Greeks were "called off," to boycott the Greek fruit-dealers all over the city, who with their street stands are singularly dependent upon the patronage of workingmen. The fact that the strike-breakers were Macedonians, as it happened, was an additional advantage at the moment; for the Greeks have been much concerned to make it clear that Macedonia belongs to Greece, and have hotly resented the efforts of Bulgaria to establish a protectorate over the country. They therefore responded at once to this acknowledgment of their claim, and, partly to show that the Macedonians and Greeks were countrymen, partly because they resented

(110) the implication that a Greek could act a cowardly part in any situation, and also, doubtless, because they were merchants threatened with loss of trade, they made superhuman efforts to clear the yards of Macedonians. This they accomplished in a remarkably short time. So reckless were they in the methods they used that it was common gossip throughout the Greek colony that strike-breakers would be refused the comforts of religion by the Greek priests in the city, although doubtless this rumor was unfounded. This utter recklessness of method, this determination to deter strikebreaking at any cost, is, of course, a revelation of the war element which is an essential part of any strike. The appeal to "loyalty" is the nearest approach to a moral appeal which can be safely made in the midst of a war of any sort. During a long strike one result of the non-moral appeal is to confuse the situation so that it becomes utterly impossible to tell how many men refuse to become strike-breakers because they are terrorized and how many stay away from conviction. The non-moral appeal not only sins against the principles advocated by trades unionists, but it contradicts itself and brings great confusion into the situation, as war ideals always do when thrust into a peaceful society. It was, for instance, quite impossible to tell whether the lowering in

(111) the type of man who was willing to take a striker's place, so that at last only very ignorant men from the southern plantations could be induced to work, was due to a species of class consciousness, a response to the demand felt so strongly by labor men_"Thou shalt not take thy neighbor's job"_or whether workingmen are becoming so afraid to take striker's places that these places must at last be given to men who have come from such remote parts of the country that "they do not know enough to be afraid." The unions themselves could take no accounting of their real strength because of the terrorism which had become thrust into the situation. And yet all that the stock-yards workers were demanding through this long and disastrous strike, was the minimum wage which has been guaranteed by conservative governments elsewhere, and is recognized even in the United States in much governmental work under the contracts of civil or Federal authorities. So timid are American cities, however, in dealing with this perfectly reasonable subject of wages in its relation to municipal employees, that when they do prescribe a minimum wage for city contract work, they allow it to fall into the hands of the petty politician and to become part of a political game, making no effort to give it a dignified treatment in relation to the cost of liv-

(112)-ing and to the margin of leisure. In this the Eng- fish cities have anticipated us, both as to time and legitimate procedure. Have Americans formed a sort of "imperialism of virtue," holding on to preconceived ideals of government and insisting that they must fit all the people who come to our shores, even though they crush the most promising bits of self-expression in the process? Is the American attitude toward self-government like that of the Anglo-Saxon towards civilization, save that he goes forth to rule all the nations of the earth by one pattern, while we remain at home and bid them to rule themselves by one pattern? We firmly decline not only to consider matters of industry and commerce as germane to government, but we also decline to bring men together upon that most natural and inevitable of all foundations, their industrial needs.

The government which refuses to consider matters of this sort, or at least waits until their neglect becomes a scandal before it consents to deal with them, as a result of this caution forces the most patriotic citizens to ignore the Government and to embody their scruples and hopes of progress in voluntary organizations. To be afraid to extend the functions of government may be to lose what we have. A government has always received feeble support from its constituents as soon as its

(113) demands appeared childish or remote. Citizens inevitably neglect or abandon civic duty, when their government no longer embodies their genuine desires. It is useless to hypnotize ourselves by unreal talk of colonial ideas, and of our patriotic duty towards immigrants as though the situation was one demanding the passage of a set of resolutions when we fail to realize that the nation can be saved only by patriots who are possessed of a contemporaneous knowledge.

As industrial relations imply peaceful relations, under a certain rough reorganization and reconstruction of governmental functions which the association of labor presents, it is inevitable that in its international aspects the association should formally advocate universal peace. Workmen have always realized, however feebly and vaguely they may have expressed it, that it is they who in all ages have borne the heaviest burden of privation and suffering imposed on the world by the military spirit.

The first international organization founded, not to promote a colorless peace, but to advance and develop the common life of all nations, was founded in London in 1864 by workingmen, and was called simply "The International Association of Workingmen." They recognized that a supreme interest raised all workingmen above the

(114) prejudice of race, and united them by wider and deeper principles than those by which they were separated into nations. They hoped that as religion, science, art, had become international, so now at last labor might take its place as an international interest. A few years later, at its third congress in Brussels they recommended that in case of war a universal strike be declared.

There is a growing conviction among workingmen of all countries that, whatever may be accomplished by a national war, however moral the supposed aim of such a war, there is one inevitable result -- an increased standing army, the soldiers of which are non-producers, and must be fed by the workers.

The surprising growth of Socialism, at the moment, is due largely to the fact that it is the only political party upon an international basis, and also that it frankly ventures its future upon a better industrial organization. These two aspects have had much more to do with its hold in industrial neighborhoods than have its philosophic tenets or the impassioned appeal of its propagandists. The Socialists are making almost the sole attempt to preach a morality sufficiently allembracing and international to keep pace with even that material internationalism which has standarized the threads of screws and the size of

(115) bolts, so that machines may become interchangeable from one country to another. It is the same sort of internationalism which Mazzini preached when distracted Italy was making her desperate struggle for a unified and national life. He issued his remarkable address to her workingmen and solemnly told them that the life of the nation could not be made secure until her patriots were ready to die for human issues. He saw, earlier than most men, that the desire to be at unity with all human beings, to claim the sense of a universal affection is a force not to be ignored. He believed that it might even then be strong enough to devour the flimsy stuff called national honor, glory, and prestige, which incite to war and induce workingmen to trample over each other's fields and to destroy the results of each other's labor.

Workingmen dream of an industrialism which shall be the handmaid of a commerce ministering to an increased power of consumption among the producers of the world, binding them together in a genuine internationalism. Existing commerce has long ago reached its international stage, but it has been the result of business aggression and constantly appeals for military defense and for the forcing of new markets. In so far as commerce has rested upon the successful capture of

(116) the resources of the workers, it has been a relic of the mediaeval baron issuing forth to seize the merchants' boats as they passed his castle on the Rhine. It has logically lent itself to warfare, and is, indeed, the modern representative of conquest. As its prototype rested upon slavery and vas- salage, so this commerce is founded upon a contempt for the worker and believes that he can live on low wages. It assumes that his legitimate wants are the animal ones comprising merely food and shelter and the cost of replacement. The industrialism of which this commerce is a part, exhibits this same contemptuous attitude, but it is more easily extended to immigrants than to any other sort of workmen because they seem further away from a common standard of life. This attitude toward the immigrant simply illustrates once more that it is around the deeply significant idea of the standard of life that our industrial problems of to-day centre. The desire for a higher standard of living in reality forms the base of all the forward movements of the working class. "The significance of the standard of life lies not so much in the fact that for each of us it is different, as that for all of us it is progressive," [3] constantly invading new realms. To imagine that for immigrants it is merely a ques-

(117)-tion of tin cups and plates stored in a bunk versus a white cloth and a cottage table, and that all goes well if sewing-machines and cottage-organs reach the first generation of immigrants, and fashionable dressmakers and pianos the second, is of course a most untutored interpretation. Until the standard of life is apprehended in its real significance and made the crux of the immigrant situation, as recent economists are making the power of consumption the test of a nation's prosperity, we shall continue to ignore the most obvious and natural basis for understanding and mutual citizenship.

Because workmen have been forced to consider this standard of living in regard to immigrants as well as themselves, they have made genuine efforts toward amalgamation. This is perhaps easily explained, for, after all, the man in this country who realizes human equality is not he who repeats the formula of the eighteenth century, but he who has learned that the "idea of equality is an outgrowth of man's primary relations with nature. Birth, growth, nutrition, reproduction, death, are the great levelers that remind us of the essential equality of human life. It is with the guarantee of equal opportunities to play our parts well in these primary processes that government is chiefly concerned" [4] and not merely with the re-

(118)-pression of the vicious, nor with guarding the rights of property. All that devotion of the trades union for the real issues and trials of life could, of course, easily be turned into a passion for self-government and for the development of the national life if we were really democratic from the modern evolutionary standpoint, and held our town-meetings upon the topics of vital concern.

So long, however, as the Government declines to concern itself with these deeper issues involved in the standard of life and the industrial status of thousands of its citizens, we must lose it.

If progress were inaugurated by those members of the community who possess the widest knowledge and superior moral insight, then social amelioration might be brought about without the bungling and mistakes which so distress us all. But, over and over again, salutary changes are projected and carried through by men of even less than the average ethical development, because their positions in life have brought them in contact with the ills of existing arrangements. To quote from John Morley: "In matters of social improvement, the most common reason why one hits upon a point of progress and not another, is that one happens to be more directly touched than the other by the unimproved practice." [5]

(119) Perhaps this is a sufficient explanation of the fact that untrained workmen are entrusted with the difficult task of industrial amelioration and adjustment, while the rest of the community often seems ignorant of the truth that institutions which do not march with the extension of human needs and relationships are dead, and may easily become a deterrent to social progress. Unless we subordinate class interests and class feeling to a broader conception of social progress, unless we take pains to come in contact with the surging and diverse peoples who make up the nation, we cannot hope to attain a sane social development. We need rigid enforcement of the existing laws, while at the same time, we frankly admit the inadequacy of these laws, and work without stint for progressive regulations better fitted to the newer issues among which our lot is cast; for, unless the growing conscience is successfully embodied in legal enactment, men lose the habit of turning to the law for guidance and redress.

I recall, in illustration of this, an instance which took place fifteen years ago. I had newly come to Chicago, fresh from the country, and had little idea of the social and industrial conditions in which I found myself on Halsted Street, when a dozen girls came from a neighboring factory with a grievance in regard to their wages. The

(120) affair could hardly have been called a labor difficulty. The girls had never heard of a trades union, and were totally unaccustomed to acting together. It was more in the nature of a "scrap" between themselves and their foreman. In the effort toward adjustment, there remains vividly in my memory a conversation I had with a leading judge who arbitrated the difficulty. He expressed his belief in the capacity of the common law to meet all legitimate labor difficulties as they arise. He trusted its remarkable adaptabiLty to changing conditions under the decisions of wise and progressive judges. He contended, however, that, in order to adjust it to our industrial affairs, it must be interpreted, not so much in relation to precedents established under a judicial order which belongs to the past, but in reference to that newer sense of justice which this generation is seeking to embody in industrial relations. He foresaw something of the stress and storm of the industrial conflicts which have occurred in Chicago since then, and he expressed the hope that the Bench of Cook County might seize the opportunity, in this new and difficult situation, of dealing with labor difficulties in a judicial spirit.

What a difference it would have made in the history of Chicago during the last fifteen years if more men had been possessed of this temper and

(121) wisdom, and had refused to countenance the use of force. If more men had been able to see the situation through a fresher medium; to apprehend that the old legal enactments were too individualistic and narrow; that a difference in degree may make a difference in kind; if they had realized that they were the first generation of American jurists who had to deal with a situation made novel by the fact that it was brought about by the coming together of two millions of people largely on an industrial basis!

Our constitutions were constructed by the advanced men of the eighteenth century, who had studied the works of the most radical thinkers of that century. Radicalism then meant a more democratic political organization, and in its defence, they fearlessly quoted the Greek city and the Roman Forum. But we have come to admit that our present difficulties are connected with our industrial organization and with the lack of connection between that organization and our inherited democratic form of government. If selfgovernment were to be inaugurated by the advanced men of the present moment, they would make a most careful research into those early organizations of village communities, folk-motes, and mire, those primary cells of both industrial and political organizations, where the people

(122) knew no difference between the two, but, quite simply, met to consider in common discussion all that concerned their common life. They would investigate the crafts, guilds, and artels, which combine government with daily occupations, as did the self-governing university and free town. They would seek for the connection between the liberty- loving mediaeval city and its free creative architecture, that art which combines the greatest variety of artists and artisans. They would not altogether ignore the "compulsion of origins" and the fact that our present civilization is most emphatically an industrial one. In Germany, when the Social Democratic party first vigorously asserted the economic basis of society and laid the emphasis upon its industrial aspect, the Government itself, in a series of legislative measures, designated "the Socialism of Bismarck," found itself dealing directly with industry, through a sheer effort to give itself a touch of reality. The Government of Russia, in the first year of the Japanese War, made an effort to relieve the needs of the people. The bureaucracy itself organized the workmen into a species of trades unions through which the Russian Government promised to protect the proletarian from the aggressions of capital. The entire incident was suggestive of the protection

(123) afforded by the central State to the slowly emanicipated serfs of central Europe when the barons, reluctant to give up their rights and privileges, so unjustly oppressed them.

Shall a democracy be slower than these old Powers to protect its humblest citizen, and shall it see them slowly deteriorating because, according to democratic theory, they do not need protection?


  1. Trade Unionism and Labor Problems, by John R. Commons, page 248.
  2. "The Slav Invasion," by F. J. Warne, pages 118, 119.
  3. The Standard of Life, by Mrs. Bernard Bosenquet, page 4.
  4. The American City. Delos F. Wilcox, page 200.
  5. Compromise, John Morley, page 213.

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