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The Washington times. (Washington [D.C.]) 1902-1939, March 04, 1913, Complete Final Edition, Image 1

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Special Inaugural
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:NTJ3fBER 7743
President Taft and President-Elect Wilson on Their Way tp the
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- There has been a change of government. It began
two years ago, when the House of Representatives became!
Democratic by a decisive majority. It has now been com
pleted. The Senate about to assemble will also be Demo
cratic. The offices of President and Vice President have
been put into the hands of Democrats. What does the
change mean? That is the question that is uppermost in
our minds today. Thar is the question I am going to try to
answer, in order, if I may, to interpret the occasion.
It means much more than the mere success of a party.
The success of a party means little except when the nation
is using that party for a large and definite purpose. No one
can mistake the purpose for which the nation now seekj
to use the Democratic party. It seeks to use it to interpret a
change in its own plans and point of view. Some old things
with which we had grown familiar, and which had begun
to creep into the very habit of our thought and of our lives,
have altered their aspect as we have latterly looked critic
ally upon them, with fresh, awakened eyes; have dropped
their disguises and shown themselves alien and sinister.
Some new things, as ve look frankly upon them, willing
to comprehend their real character, have come to assume
the aspect of things long believed in and familiar, stuff of
our own convictions. We have been refreshed by a new
" insight into our own life.
We see that in many things that life is very great. It
is incomparably great in its material aspects, in its body of
wealth, in the diversity and sweep of its energy, in the in
dustries which have been conceived and built up by the
genius of individual men and the lfmitless enterprise of
groups of men. It is great, also, very great, in its moral
force. Nowhere else in the world have noble men and
women exhibited in more striking forms the beauty and
the energy of sympathy and helpfulness and counsel in
their efforts toVectify wrong, alleviate suffering, and set
the weak in the way of stfength and hope. We have built
up, moreover, a great system of government, which has
stood through a long age as in many respects a model for
those who seek to set liberty upon foundations that will
endure against fortuitous change, against storm and acci
dent Our life contains every great thing, and contains it
in rich abundance.
But the evil, has come with the. good, and much fine
gold has been corroded. With riches has come.inexci?sable"
waste. We have squandered a great part of wjhat;we; might
have used, and have not stopped to conserve the exceeding
bounty of nature, without which our genius for enterprise
would have, been worthless and impotent, scorning to.be
careful, shamefully prodigal as well as admirably efficient.
We have been proud of our industrial achievements but
we have not hitherto stopped thoughtfully enough to count
the human cost, the cost of lives snuffed out, of energies
overtaxed and broken, the fearful physical and spiritual
cost to the men and women and children upon whom the
dead weight and burden of it all has fallen pitilessly the
years through. The groans and agony of it all had not yet'
reached our ears, the solemn, moving undertone of our life,4
coming up out of the mines and factories and out of every
home where the struggle had its intimate and familiar seat.
With the great government went many deep secret things
which we too long delayed to look into and scrutinize with
candid, fearless eyes. The great government we loved has
too often been made use of for private and selfish-purposes,
and those who used it had forgotten the people.
At last a vision has been vouchsafed us of our life as
a whole. We see the bad with the good, the debased and
decadent with the sound and vital. With this vision we
approach new affairs. Our duty is to cleanse, to reconsider,
to restore, to correct the evil without impairing the good,
to purify and humanize every process of our common life
without weakening or sentimentalizing it. There has been
something crude and heartless and unfeeling in our haste
to succeed and be great. Our thought has been "Let every
man look out for himself, let every generation look out for
itself," while we reared giant machinery which made it im
possible that any but those who stood at the levers of con
trol should have a chance to look out for themselves. We
had not forgotten our, morals. We remembered well
enough that we had set up a policy which was meant to
serve the humblest as well as the most powerful, with an
eye single to the standards of justice and fair play, and re
membered it with pride. But we were very heedless and in
a hurry to be great.
We have come now to the sober second thought. The
scales of heedlessness have fallen from our eyes. ,We have
made up pur minds to square every process of ournational
life again. witH "the standards we so prtwdly set up at tfte
ucgiuuuig ttiiu ljavc always utiiicuauuui cuu. uui, ww
is a work of restoration.
We have itemized with some degree of particularity
the things that ought to bettered, and here are some of
the chief items: A tariff whicri cuts us off, from our proper
part in the commerce of the wbrld, violates the just prin
ciples of taxation, and makes the Government a facile in
strument in the hands of .private interests; a banking and
3 currency system based upon the necessity of the Govern
ment to sell its bonds fifty years ago and perfectly adapted
to concentrating cash and restricting credits; an industrial
system which, take it on all its sfdes, financial as well as
administrative, holds capital in leading strings, restricts the
liberties and limits the'opportunities of labor, and' exploits
without renewing or conserving the natural resources of
the country; a body of agricultural activities never yet
given the efficiency of great business undertakings or
served as it should be through the instrumentality of sci
ence taken directly to the farm, or afforded the facilities'
of credit best suited to its practical needs; watercourses un
developed, waste places unreclaimed, forests untended,
fast disappearing without plan or prospect of renewal, un
regarded waste heaps at every mine. We have studied as
perhaps no other nation has the- most effective means of-
production, but we have not studied cost or economy as we
should either as organizers of industry, as statesmen, or as
Nor have we studied and perfected the means by
which government may be put at the service of humanity,
in safeguarding the health of the nation, the health of it's
men and its women and its children, as well as their rights
in the struggle for existence. This is no sentimental duty.
The firm basis of government is justice, not' pity. These
are matters of justice. There can be no equality or oppor
tunity, the first essential of justice in the body politic, if
men and women and children be not shielded m their lives,
their very vitality, from the consequences of gat indus
trial and social processes which they cannot altecontrol,
or singly cope with. Society must see to it that it apes not
itself crush or weaken or damage its own coristituenMarts
1 he first dutv of lawis to keep sound the society it setves.
Sanitary laws, pure food laws, and laws detenniningOMi-, (.them, if theywill Lbu counsd anusj&oj
ditidhs of labor which individuals are powerless ta deter
mine for themselves are intimate parts of the veryjnisiness
of justice and legal efficiency.
These are some of the things.we ought to do, and not
leave the others undone, the old-fashioned, never-to-be-neglected,
fundamental safeguarding -of-property 'and of
individual light. This is the high enterprise of 1he new
day: to lift everything that concerns our life as a nation to
the light that shines from the hearthfire of every man's con
science and vision of the right. It is inconceivable that we
should do this as partisans; it is inconceivable we should do
it in ignorance of the facts as they are, or in blind hastel
We shall restore, not destroy.- We shall deal with our eco
nomic system as it is and "as it may be modified, not as-it,
might be if we had a clean sheet of paper to write upon;
and, step by step we shall make it what it should be, in the
spirit of those who question their own wisdom and seek
counsel and knowledge, not. shallow self-satisfaction or the
excitement of excursions whither they cannot tell. Justice,
and only justice, shall always be our motto.
And' yet it will be no cool process of mere science.
The nation has been deeply stirred, stirred by a solemn pas
sion, stirred by the knowledge of wrong, of ideals lost, of
government too often debauched and made an instrument
of evil. The feelings with which we face this new age of
right and opportunity sweep across our heart-strings like
some air out of God's own presence, where justice and
mercy are reconciled and the judge andlhe brother are one.
We know our task to be no mere task5 of politics, but a task
which shall search us through' and through, whether we be
able to understand our time and the need of our people,
whether we be indeed their spofcesnien and interpreters,
whether we have the pure heart tojjcomprehend and the
rectified will to choose our high course xrf action.
This is not a day of triumph; it Is a day of "dedication.
Here muster, not the forces of jmtyt but the forces of
humanity.- Men's hearts wait uponjus; men's lives hang in
the balance; men's hopes call upoiiis to say what we will
do. Who shall live up to the great 1rust? Who dares fail
to try? I summon all honestmen, all patriotic, alLforward-
looking men, to my side. GocThelpTng me, J:-ilKnofaft-
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