Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

Realizing all this, does it not seem as if the Diaz policy must be revived and an element control the government which shall be in a great manner dictatorial and coercive until the different elements can all be brought under control?

General Diaz went a long way in bringing his people up to a proper standard, they ought to see that they have not yet attained the position where popular government can be maintained, but with another such period of progress under control they may reach the point where full constitutional republican self-government can be maintained.

The great question today is whether Huerta is the man to reëstablish that method of government. He has had no chance to show what he can do, for he has been handicapped for the most of the time since he came into power by the attitude of our own government toward him, which, while seeking to have him attain certain results, seems to throw every impediment it can in the way of his attaining them.

The difficulty in considering the present question of the relations between our government and that of Mexico, is that we know practically nothing of what is going on. Our daily press contain voluminous articles which today make assertions of almost positive definiteness, which are tomorrow contradicted, leaving us with no distinct, actual knowledge, but sifting what we hear as best we may, the conclusion seems to be that our administration has taken a positive position of suppression of the Huerta administration and that nothing that Huerta can do, or anything that can be done there short of his annihilation, will have President Wilson's support or approval. Of the wisdom of this position there are varied opinions, and it may be fair to withhold open condemnation or approval or even open discussion, until we know just what his policy and position is to be.

The situation is very grave, for we will be held responsible for the protection of the lives and property of foreign subjects, as well as our own, and the considerations involved are too important to be trifled with. Our own people have a right to the protection of their interests in that country,

and they are entitled to know if they will have such protection.

General Huerta seems to have some of the qualifications which I believe necessary to bring peace to Mexico, but he cannot accomplish much with the decided opposition of the United States. There are many objections to be made to the methods which Huerta has followed, but the people of this country should recognize what Mexico and its people are. They are not like ourselves, their temperament and conditions, their previous government, the revolutions through which they have passed, and many of their ideals are entirely different from our own.

In an attempt to rehabilitate that country, I do not think we can safely assert what we would like to have them be, but we must start with a condition and not with a theory. If instead of trying to force them into a condition such as we would like, we take them as they are and endeavor to have them follow along lines which we believe to be in accordance with our ideas of the relationship of the United States to the Latin-American republics, we can hope for a very marked success and probably an adjustment of the whole existing condition, but if we try to assume that they must be as we want at the start, and then expect them to follow along lines which we may lay down, I think we will have great difficulty in bringing this about.

It seems rather a strong position for our government to take that they shall dictate to the head of another government who is in power and is the present provisional President of that country, what he shall do and what he shall not do, without giving better reasons than have yet been given. We are not taken into the confidence of our government, and, consequently, are unable to judge of its policy, if it has one, and what it is aiming to do.

We are quite aware that the government must of necessity keep much of its negotiations to itself, but it does seem as if more might be said to our people, who have vast sums of money invested in Mexico, and who are anxiously waiting to see what policy our government is to pursue, if it has a policy, in order to adjust their own affairs.

The people of our country have, I think, an entirely erroneous and unjust opinion of the people of Mexico. While they are unlike us in many ways, my own experience has found them to be in the main, that is, among the business people, of high character and integrity, fair and just in their dealings, and without those barbarous and inhuman proclivities that so many are apt to attribute to them.

The situation can be settled, and settled with reasonable promptness, but it must be done with full consideration for Mexico, and with a full understanding of its people.

DEMOCRACY ON TRIAL

By John Howland, D.D., President of Colegio Internacional, Guadalajara, Mexico

In the opinion of some students of history, democracy is but one stage in the invariable and inescapable cycle of political growth: autocracy, constitutional monarchy, oligarchy, democracy, and anarchy leading back to absolutism; the only possible variation being the length of the different periods, which will be dependent on special local conditions. Others, while not attempting to elude or minimize the historical testimony, would affirm that the lapse from democracy to an anarchy which finds its remedy only by a return to absolutism is by no means a necessity, but simply an accident, owing to defective conditions in previous stages; and that, at the worst, the movement is not a cycle but an ascending spiral in which the former stage is simply approached but at a much higher level, having eliminated much that held it down and back, carrying with it much of the good it has won out of the past and ever approaching more and more the straight tangent which will be the perfect and permanent democracy. Under every system since men first congregated, the strong have ruled the weak; but side by side with the rude fact of power have grown the ideals of fellowship and justice, and these have helped to correct the inequality and injustice which condition human life.

The struggle has been two-fold: to limit more and more the power of the ruler, and to introduce a larger and more effective participation of the people in public affairs. Hence we find two conceptions of democracy, not mutually exclusive but still fundamentally distinct: the one based on social equality, and the other the simple vesting of power in the people. The former is undoubtedly the most frequently entertained: and the cry of "Liberty, Fraternity, Equality," is the one which finds the quickest and most ardent response

THE JOURNAL OF RACE DEVELOPMENT, VOL. 4, NO. 3, 1914

in the sympathies of the people. Not only is it the more popular, but doubtless it must be conceded to occupy a higher moral plane, for the latter tends to lead to the former; that is, the vesting of power in all should result in the minimizing, if not in the obliteration, of all degrading or oppressive inequalities. No country can attain real and permanent progress as long as any class, be it high or low, fails through ignorance or indifference to respond to the call of patriotism, whether that call be to the field of battle or to the quieter but more strenuous struggle for the attainment of individual perfection and the fulfilment of personal obligations.

In the republics of ancient times and in most of those of the present, the adoption of democracy was a transition from a previous condition, so that the republican form had to be superimposed on elements that were more or less refractory. The United States has the unique position of being a republic in which the general character of its government was prepared before the nation came into being. The determinative element in the formation of the new race was a group of the descendants of those who had already fought valiantly for liberty and wrested successive concessions from the reluctant crown. When independence was secured for the English colonies, they had only to formulate and publish the principles that had already actuated them from the first. So, naturally, the new republic moved forward with scarcely a jar or tremor in its course.

This difference of origin is often overlooked in judging the progress and attainment of other republics. Because they do not correspond in every detail to the form that the United States has elaborated, they are considered defective or abnormal. It is easy to forget that a republican form of government furnishes no guarantee against tyranny and that a monarchy is not inconsistent with a high degree of political freedom. The writer of the article on democracy in the Encyclopedia Britannica does not hesitate to claim that Great Britain is the best type extant of a true democracy and that from her have come the ideals that have led to the establishment of republics, though none of them have attained to the height of the parent country. He calls the French

« ForrigeFortsæt »