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The Idaho scimitar. [volume] (Boise, Idaho) 1907-1908, November 02, 1907, Image 1

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JUNI 1 i95s
The Idaho Scimitar,
Vol. I.
No. 1.
Roosevelt, a Trustee,
The great evolutions in human history have been
wrought out when, after long preparatory struggle
or waiting, the mass of mankind within the given
and affected area is magnetized into readiness for
the event or series of events. The hope of patriots
in this nation, that a notable uplift is to be achieved
in the present epoch, is based upon the fact that
the necessary preparatory period has already passed
into our national experience; and the declaration
for a square deal between the government and the
people and the people and the corporations, was
but the echo of the general purpose. Not all the
strenuous energy of any executive could have been
effective, except for the fact that the vast majority
of the voters of the country were ready and anx
ious for better things. Wanting this thrill of ex
pectancy and this gratified acceptance of a vigorous
onslaught upon acknowledged evils, the extraordi
nary self-assertion which has characterized the policy
of the President of the United States, would have
aroused instant and effective opposition. It would
have been regarded as a mere determination of ar
rogance; it would have been reprehended as an
invasion of our constitutional safety ; and, under
some personalities, it might have led to impeach
But into the Presidential purpose has entered the
might of the people's will. The insensate seizure of
governmental prerogative and authority, as well as
the effective confiscation in some instances, of the
people's property by law-breaking corporations, had
aroused such general and such steadfast feeling of
indignation that some milions of citizens of the
country—not heretofore in political affiliation with
the President or in an attitude of personal admira
tion toward him—were glad to give their voice of
commendation and their co-operation as citizens in
his warfare against the powerful evils of the times.
It was a mighty meeting—that of a people already
tempered and prepared by reformers, and a man
in the Presidential office asserting his determination
to effect reform. The president is therefore but the
trustee and not the originator of the purpose for
REFORM; and as such trustee he must be held to
a strict accountability in the utilization and expendi
ture of the superlative force at his command,
will not be sufficient that he shall display the peo-*
pie's will in spectacular assaults upon the citadel of
He must do more than this ; he must in
vest the resolute insistence of his fellow citizens in
a permanent civic righteousness, whose just applica
tion shall insure its perpetuity and whose present
achievement of good shall give abiding assurance
that the special form of evils, now to be corrected,
will not recur in the life of the republic.
No one doubts the zeal; no one questions the
dynamic force of the President when he declares
for the square deal. Only here and there one ques
tions his authority or the wisdom of its exercise,
when he goes further than any of his predecessors
in directing the other departments of government,
in waging legislative and judicial warfare against
those powerful aggregations which have grown up
under or in avoidance of the laws,
prodigious achievements of our civilization in its
conquering of the world's commercial mastery daz
zled the eyes of our people, blinding them to in
iquitous methods which were being fastened upon
our civic system; so, too, in the glory of the Presi
dent's repeated avowal for a square deal, in wljicfi
the people should attain their rights, there is little
visible tendency to inquire into the impartiality with
which he applies his chosen and forceful"remedy
Just as the
of personal direction. And yet as the day of re
flection came concerning the methods by which com
mercial grandeur had been reached for the nation—
but owned by the few to the oppression of the mass
—'So a time of earnest consideration is at hand, dur
ing which the presidential methods will be scruti
nized with watchful eye, to see wherein the great
good has been consciously or unconsciously accom
panied by unfairness.
Reform applied severely in some quarters and ig
nored in others, is not even half of good reform.
Punishment administered to one offender and with
held arbitrarily from another, is merely persecution
in the name of law, and evil perpetrated in the name
of righteousness. To call one railway magnate an
"undesirable citizen" because of his violation of the
law in the administration of"his financial power, and
to elevate to a cabinet position another railway
magnate who had confessedly violated the law in
necessary rivalry with his competitors, is to the
thoughtful man such an extravagant abuse of power
as to make eventual nullification of much of the
presidential purpose, and to work evil for the cause
of reform by making reform itself an objectionable
thing in the popular mind.
The executive of this nation is in the present hour
possessed of an authority, by popular sufferance,
never heretofore accorded to a President of this
republic. Extra-constitutional privileges are freely
allowed by the popular will. The danger to our in
stitutions is ignored. An obliteration of the sharp
dividing lines between the several departments of
government is permitted. All these things are not
only allowed, but welcomed and approved by the
populace, because of a belief that, using extravagant
authority, the President is devoting that authority
to achieve the people's rights. Thus he stands at
once upon the safest and most delicate ground ever
occupied by a chief executive. Supported in ad
mitted violation of our old ideals, he obtains his sus
tenance solely from the popular view that he is
discharging his duty as trustee of the popular pur
pose, and that into his objects enters no vile ambi
tion of his own—no favoritism—and that he and his
successors will be as ready to relinquish the extra
constitutional privilege as he has been to use that
It will not be deemed by thoughtful men an un
just reflection upon the exercise of the presidential
prerogative, if one shall call attention to the dan
gers which are associated with the exercise of un
limited power by a President, whose authority is by
the letter and the spirit of our constitution a limited
one. In the present case the danger is two-fold :
First, that in the name of needed reform of specific
evils the President shall achieve an abiding change
in the character of our government; and second,
that in the name of the square deal he shall punish
. such offenders as are personally repugnant to him,
and shall cherish and foster such offenders as have
the advantage of his personal regard.
The people of the United States want genuine re
form impartially applied. In the belief that the
present chief executive is actuated by this high and
holy sentiment, they aprove him; but if they shall
find that, even in some small and yet appreciable
degree, his resoluteness is vanity, his opposition to
individual wrong-doers is personal dislike of the
^offenders and not the offense, and that he can pro
tect other individual wrong-doers for the sake of
pt-rsonal friendship, there will be the most terrific
shattering of an idol that the nation has ever seen.
The best friends of President Roosevelt, and the
men who most vividly admire his policies, cannot
render a better service to him or the nation than to
sound to him a note of warning. Too much adula
tion of the President, too much subserviency to his
personal will, are dangerous to himself and to the
republic. He is mortal; he is a citizen. Those men
who hail him as a demigod, and those men who sa
lute him as the king who can do no wrong, are the
greatest enemies of the cause to which he has lent
his striking personality and his great office. If
they who are near to him in council will warn him
that he threatens destruction to the cause of reform
by the favoritism with which he administers upon
the exalted trusteeship accorded to him by the peo
ple, they will render a benignant service.
The American people want no persecution through
presidential frown and no protection to wrong-doers
through presidential favor.
The safest adviser for President Roosevelt in this
hour would be the man who would dare to tell him :
"You are not the state." The danger is that the
man would give mortal offense, who, however near
to President Roosevelt, should say : "The square
deal does not consist of a mere declaration in words
but a fair dealing without prejudice and without
favoritism, beginning in the executive office and ex
tending throughout its entire sphere of influence."
An Oath For Crime 0
The sentiment of the country has always been
against oath-bound political organizations. In rec
ognition of this, practically every fraternal society
in the country, whose ritual is secret, contains in
its basic law an inhibition of political discussion or
activity within its lodges.
This sentiment constitutes the essence of one
great objection to the so-called Mormon church—
which is not a church in the conventional sense,
but an aggregation of people under an absolute lead
ership, for the purpose of achieving commercial and
political ends. In the strictest meaning of the word,
this society is a secret organization. Its members
are oath-bound. Its ritual is secret. That which
answers in other societies for a fraternal obligation,
is in this society a devotion, supreme and unques
tioning, to the will of the superior officers of the
This is no chimera; it is the most indomitable fact
of the commercial and political experience of the
people in the intermountain country. One might
go further and say, that, actuated by historical
knowledge, the people of this country have been
especially jealous of the influence of churches in
political and business affairs; but that feeling is not
necessarily applicable in this case, since the Mormon
church is not a religious organization, being abso
lutely devoid of religion in the sense in which Chris
tian communities use that word. In lieu of piety, its
members have a superstition or a practical regard
for the power of the superior officers of the organi
zation. The superstition prompts the member to
regard the power of the superior officers to punish
and reward in the great hereafter; and the practical
view prompts the member to entertain a wholesome
awe of the power of the superior officers to punish
and reward in the present day.
Viewed in this light—as a secret, oath-bound, po
litical and commercial organization—how can the
people of the intermountain country be quiescent
under the domination of the Mormon church? If
this organization were not called a church (and it
is not such if any proper regard be paid to the
ventional idea of the word) the great self-respecting
citizenship of these states would overthrow the dom
ination, no matter what the cost of the struggle
might be. If for purpose of plunder; if to absorb

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