University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The Gender and Women's Studies Collection

Page View

The ladies' home journal
Vol. XX, No. 7 (June, 1903)

The world and his wife,   p. 14 PDF (952.2 KB)


Page 14

Jle WrUa             n a, %s Uie
A POPULAR EXPLANATION OF THE AFFAIRS OF TO-DAY
HE prosperity
and the riches
of our country
to-day are shown
by three facts. Or,
Ie may look at the
Vnited States and see
three gigantic pictures of
wNealth-bringing activity as
if the) were painted on our
continent as on a canvas. The
iirst picture is on the Atlantic
Coast, the next in the Mississippi
Valle%, and the third on the Pacific
Coast. And these are only typical.
The first picture is the almost com-
pete rebuilding of New York. No
'uch chain, e was ever made in any great city in
the world, no such rapid investment in perma-
nent improvement. Leaving out the fabulous sums that
are going into new private buildings, the public works
alone that are now under way will cost more than the
imagination can grasp. The underground electric rail-
road, now almost done, will cost thirty-five millions of
dollars; other underground roads and tunnels that are
planned and will be built will cost seventy-five millions
more; the tunnels and new stations of railroads entering
the city, ninety millions; the second bridge to Brooklyn,
nearly done, twenty millions; the third bridge, soon to
be built, twenty-two millions; the United States Gov-
ernment is spending there in buildings and harbor work
twenty millions ; the public library will cost three
millions and a half, besides the five millions that the
Carnegie branch libraries will cost; a new aqueduct,
five millions; dock improvements, three millions; and
these are by no means all. The State may spend one
hundred millions in improving the canals to bring trade
to the city. In the neighborhood of one uptown square
private persons and companies are spending forty
millions in new business buildings.
New York is not alone. It is only the biggest example
of rich growth among our Eastern cities. Similar
permanent improvements are making in nearly all the
Atlantic seaboard cities that are centres of trade. This
is not speculation. It is the foundation of a new era of
growth and prosperity.
A Picture of Mid-Continental Prosperity
THE second great picture of well-being is in the
'Mississippi Valley. A few weeks ago all the world
was reading of the celebration at St. Louis of the one
hundredth anniversary of the Louisiana Purchase. This
great area, including what are now twelve States and
two Territories, was bought by President Jefferson from
France for about three cents and a half an acre. Farther
and farther westward, now almost to the eastern border
of this region, have moved the centre of population of
the United States and the centre of manufacturing. For
the great Mississippi Valley is not only the garden that
feeds much of the world, but it is also a great manufac-
turing region.
In the value of the things it makes, what we used to call
the West " has left New England far behind, although
New England makes more things than it ever made
before. Hides used to be sent to the East and then sent
back again to the West as shoes. Wool used to be sent
to the East and then sent back again as cloth or as
clothing. The West is now stopping this costly way of
doing business, for it is making its own things out of its
,-wn materials.
The money laid up by Western farmers is now lent in
the Eastern States. The State of Nebraska owns bonds
of the State of Massachusetts. The Kansas banks have
eighty millions of dollars on deposit, two-thirds of it the
money of farmers
Not only, therefore, are the great cities of the Atlantic
States rebuilding themselves for greater trade and
greater comfort and greater beauty, but the cities of
the interior are doing the same thing ; and not the cities
only but the rural regions also.
Such a picture of prosperity and wealth as that which
stretches over the wide spaces of our mid-continent the
sun never shone down on before.
Pacific Trade Changes and Our Prosperity Over-Seas
THE third picture is as wonderful as the others; for the
Ttrade of the Pacific States is increasing to such
an extent as to change the old course of commerce
around the world. Silk and tea and other products
of Asia used to Fo westward to Europe and even to
the United States through the Suez Canal. And our
cotton goods and other things that we sent to Asia used
to go eastward by Europe and the Suez Canal over the
same route.
Now all this has changed or is changing. Chinese
things come across the Pacific to our shores directly to
us; and they are hauled across our continent and
a ross the Atlantic Ocean to Europe. Our cotton
gods and our flour and all the other things we
-'nd to Asia are now going westward
'hr our railroads and across the
Pacific.
Thus our Pacific States are chang-
ing the old trade routes of the
world, which will be even more
changed after the Central
American canal is cut. The
la;rgest ships afloat, except
one, are now on the Pacific
)ci-an; and the trade with
a will become ours.
The cities of the Pacific
.ill become the homes
(,f great commerce as
the cities of the At-
- *lantic have become.
Nor does our prosperous activity stop at either ocean.
A Russian concession has lately come into American
hands to develop the minerals, the fur trade, and the
fisheries of a large part of Eastern Siberia. Our energy
and capital have, of course, before gone into the main-
land of Asia, for railroad concessions in China are held
by Americans.    *
American companies are building electrical railways
in cities in South Africa; they are sending electrical
plants to Japan ; they are putting up electrical machinery
in mines in Spain ; they are equipping machine shops in
India; they are sending sawmills and electrical ma-
chinery to Mexico and railroad cars to Yucatan ; and
they have made contracts to build bridges in Austria
and in Australia.
All these and many other such world-girdling activi-
ties are constantly engaging our manufacturers and
engineers ; for the foregoing are only a small part of the
items that happened to be reported in the trade papers
for a single week. A profit from them all comes home
to swell the tide of American prosperity.
How Long Will ", Good Times " Continue?
How long our unparalleled prosperity will last men
areasking themselves here and abroad. No people
within a short time ever before made so much money
from farms, manufactures and trade as we have made
these last four or five years. Mr. J. Pierpont Morgan
declares our condition healthful. The "London Times"
thinks that we have had too much speculation and that
an early day of reckoning will come-that hard times
await us.
The large facts hardly yet warrant such a fear. Our
railroads have more to haul than they ever had before-
so much that they cannot keep it all moving; and they
are spending millions of dollars to build more tracks and
yards. The great steel mills have more orders ahead
than they have ever before had. Our trade at home is
greater than anybody five years ago would have dared
to predict it could become in twenty years. Our foreign
trade is again coming up to the enormous totals of two
years ago. The solid facts of the business world all
point to continued prosperity. Our factories are going,
and our fields are again green with the promise of
large crops.
There has been speculation. There has been the
putting of false values on stocks. There has been
much extravagance. But the productive activity of the
people of our country is so much greater than the
artificial putting up of values that the foundation of
prosperity yet seems secure.
The greatest danger is that the requirements of busi-
ness may possibly outrun the supply of money. The
money in circulation is $28-43 a person-$4 more than it
was ten years ago, and nearly twice as much as it was
twenty-five years ago. But the need is of still further
expansion. Even the wisest men of affairs have never
vet well understood the delicate, world-wide influences
that determine the coming and the going of good times
and bad times ; and no man's predictions have author-
ity. But there are no big signs of had weather yet.
A Strong Swing Toward Peace
N    ONE can look about the world and fail to see that
the great Governments are changing their kinds of
tasks. Nobody (but the Turk) now thinks of war.
Nobody thinks so much of party politics as he once
thought. Military and political tasks are laid aside for
tasks that help the people and for great works of
commerce.
Our Government gave its best thought during the last
Congress to the canal across Central America ; England
is engaged chiefly with an effort to make the Irish
tenants the owners of the land ; and the hero of the day
in England is Mr. Chamberlain, the Colonial Secretary,
who has gone home from a peace-bearing and con-
structive visit to South Africa ; and the subject of
discussion in all Europe is the Czar's decree for the
improvement of the Russian people.
The military hero is not in the public mind. No
General nor Admiral holds the people's attention.
The talk of the world is of trade or of lifting up the
unfortunate masses.
This change in the thought of mankind may fairly be
credited to the United States. We have stood for
peace. We have stood for work. We have stood for
philanthropy. We have stood for the well-being of the
man who toils. The other nations have seen that to go
to war would mean a loss of trade, a loss of working
power, an increase of individual misfortune-would
mean getting behind in the race.   Our republican
prosperity has had much to do with putting a long-
quarrelsome world into a gentler and humaner mood.
There is a strong swing toward universal peace.
Third in Naval Fighting Strength
IN SPITE of the peaceful mood of the world, the ener-
getic nations are building bigger navies than they had,
till lately, ever dreamed of. The British Government
will spend this year about one hundred and seventy
millions of dollars on its ships, and we shall spend
about half as much. Germany, too, is carrying out the
largest shipbuilding program that she ever made.
Our Government is fast forging ahead as a great naval
power. A few years ago it was sixth in the list of
nations in the fighting strength of its ships. In an
official report recently made by Captain Sigsbee, Chief
of the Office of Naval Intelligence, it was pointed out
that we shall soon stand third. England his and is
building ninety-four ships for her battle line; France,
seventy; the United States, forty-six; Germany, forty-
five. The tonnage of the English Navy will be more
than the tonnage of any other two navies.
Thus the heavy burdens for protection on the sea are
laid on all the leading nations. The naal tax is at least
a dollar a year on
every man, woian
and child in the
United States. Nor
is the time in sight
when the navies will be
smaller, for the policy is
to make them continually
higger. The Gove(rnl-
ments regard thetn as insur-
ance against war. Whether
this view be right or wrong no
Government is willing to let its
insurance lapse.
One thing can be said for a large
navy that cannot be said for a large
army. If there should be need for it
a big army could be put into the field in a little
while. Men could soon be trained on land, and
arms could soon be supplied. But the naval service
would require long training, and warships cannot be
built within a year or two. But the hope is that there
may never be another war between Great Powers.
The Bright Chapter of Our Dealings with Cuha
W HEN we went to war with Spain our Government
pledged itself to make Cuba free, and the promise
was promptly kept. But the island was impoverished,
and we promised to help it by admitting Cuban products,
especially sugar, to our markets for a period at a
reduced rate of duty. We did not keep this promise
promptly, but we shall probably keel) it at last.
A trade treaty giving such a reduction has been agreed
upon by the Presidents of the two Governments ; it has
been ratified by the Cuban Senate, and by the United
States Senate subject to the approval of the House
of Representatives ; and President Roosevelt will call
Congress in extra session early in the fall for this purpose.
When the- treaty at last takes effect Mr. Roosevelt
may fairly claim it as a personal achievement. He
recommended it in his first message. The Senate did
not act. He went forth last fall and made speeches to
the people about it. He recommended it in his second
message. Again the Senate did not act. He called it
together in extra session. It ratified the treaty subject
to the approval of the House ; and he will now call
Congress together in extra session. Thus he has shown
his quality of unweariness.
And thus will close-when this long-promised treaty
has gone into effect-one of the most interesting and
honorable chapters in our history. It is the chapter of
our dealings with Cuba. We found it a pest-land of
impoverished people. We made the island a health
resort. We gave the people their independence. We
found them poor from war. We shall give them trade
advantages to their enrichment and to our credit as a
humane and ionorable Government.
THE DECREE OF THE CZAR
A GREAT struggle for the mastery of the world may at
some time come between Russia and the nations
that speak the English tongue. Although the British
Empire has nearly twice as large a population as the
Russian, only r small part of it is English. There are
almost as many Russians as there are English-speaking
people in the world. But the English-speaking nations
hold many of tire best parts of the earth ; and they are
strong because their men are free. Thev have free
governments, free speech, and a free chance to work.
The Russian masses are far behind the English-speaking
masses. MAany of them are yet only a slight remove
from slavery.
One of the great questions of the future is whether the
one hundred and thirty million Russians, with their
increasing population, will be freed so that they will
push into the activities of the outer world. They are
yet held back. They have not free government, nor
free speech, nor a free chance.
The Czar's decree for greater freedom, which he
issued on the last anniversary of his father's birth, is,
therefore, an historic event. He promised greater
religious freedom, a larger share of local government,
a better chance for the individual man. Although the
Czar is the most absolute ruler in Europe he has less
power than any other monarch to carry out reforms in
his empire. His decree may result in little or in much.
For the real power of Russia is the power of the nobility
and of the officials, and most of them are corrupt. They
regard their income from the people, whether it take the
form of rent or of exactions, as their sacred right.
But the issuing of such a decree means much even
if small immediate results follow. It shows the same
liberal temper of the Czar that was shown when lie
called the Peace Conference at The Hague. It will
greatly encourage the liberal and progresive party to
push for greater freedom. It is a landmark in Russian
advancement, and it brings nearer the time when
this great empire, with its undeveloped strength
of men, will be opened to modern in-
flueices. It is the only empire that
stretches continuously from  the
waters of the Atlantic to the
waters of the Pacific. The great
part that it will play in the world
when it finds out its own
strength under freer institu-
tions is one of the most int('r-
esting revelations that the            -
future has in store for the
nations. This decree of
the Czar may be a short
step toward the devel-
opmlent of his people,
but it will become
;n historic one.
T .1


Go up to Top of Page