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The independent. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1902-1907, June 15, 1905, Image 4

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Uho Nebraska, Independent
PAGE 4
JUNE 15, 1903
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Current Comment on Leading Topics
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SECESSION OF NORWAY
For the moment the secession of Norway
from Sweden overshadows the peace negotiations.
The Norwegian storthing has voted to dissolve
a union which has existed since 1814. From early
In the fourteenth century until 1814 Norway was
subject to Denmark. In that year Denmark was
coerced by England and Russia into ceding Nor
way to Sweden. This was Sweden's reward for
Joining the alliance against Napoleon, although
Sweden's king was Bernadotte, one of Napoleon's
old marshals. By a fierce show of resistance Nor
way gained a free and liberal constitution and a
parliament. , Sweden retained control of the for
eign relations of both nations. The king was
granted the right of veto, which, however, could
be overcome by the vote of three successive
storthings.
The controversy which led to the dissolution,
of the union arose oyer the question of separate
consular service. When the Norwegian storthing
finally voted to have a separate consular service
under a Norwegian minister of state King Oscar
vetoed the law. Norway did not wait for a vote
by three successive storthings, but almost im
mediately declared its independence. Various
phases of the situation are discussed in the press
of this country:
It Is generally agreed that, there will be
no war to restore the union. Sweden will let
the "erring sister," as she may consider her,
"go in peace." When the congress of Vienna
autocratically handed over Norway to the
king of Sweden ninety-one years ago the
people rebelled, but had to submit . There
will be no resort to force now. Swedes and
Norwegians can get along in perfect amity
under separate governments. They could not
if armies were to be mustered and battles
fought. Chicago Tribune.
The Norwegian storthing, or parliament,
in declaring the secession of Norway from
its union with Sweden, has consummated a
purpose long entertained by the - Norwegian
people. The difference between the two
countries is radical and arises from a con
flict of commercial interests. Sweden, which
possesses extensive manufactures, upholds
the policy of protection. Norway, which de
pends mainly upon its farms and its fisheries,
is a free trade nation. Hence, with a view
to a normal regulation of commerce, Norway
has for years been demanding a separate
consular service, and it Is the steady refusal
of this demand by the Swedish government
which has led to the final declaration of di
vorcement. St. Paul Pioneer-Press.
Russian absorption of Norway and Swe
den may seem remote. But Russian states
manship looks far ahead. It has been out
of the weakness of her neighbors that Rus
sia has gained in territory. To sec Norway
and Sweden wilfully reduce their strength
by separation because of local issues must ex
cite her hope of ultimate aggrandizement
New York World.
The motive behind the ofter or the Nor
wegian throne to a representative of the
Swedish house of Bernadotte is obviously a
diplomatic one, pure and simple. At heart
the Norwegians are not disposed to perpet
uate the monarchy. The sentiment of the
people is mainly democratic, and if a plebis
. cite were taken it would, without doubt, re
sult in an overwhelming declaration for the
establishment of a republic. There is in this
concession an implication of loyalty to the
king himself, independent of the political
conditions rendering a severance necessary,
which is highly flattering to that monarch and
which must tend also to take the edge off
the irritation of the Swedish people over the
Norwegian defection. As to the manner in
which the Norwegian people themselves will
regard the concession to Swedish royalty in
case the offer should be accepted, that is a
matter which it will take time to determine.
Meanwhile, however, the sop to Cerberus
seems ' to be fairly effective. Pittsburg
Leader.
Deposing a king is always good busi
ness. There ought not to be any more Jtings,
and the chief folly committed by the patriotic
Norwegians was in suggesting that a young
prince of the royal house be selected to as
cend the throne. Surely this is the time for
them to get rid of young and old princes, of
kings, thrones and hereditary monarchs gen
erally. New York Journal.
Their political development toward de
mocracy, too, would make the Norwegians
peculiarly suited to a republican government.
They are highly democratic. They have no
aristocracy, no privileges of birth, hereditary
nobility having been abolished by law in
1821. - The press is free and almost every im
portant town has at least one newspaper.
For years public education has been compul
sory .for children between 6 and 14 years
of age. Springfield Republican.
GOVERNMENT OWNERSHIP
The Typographical Journal points out that
the United States will soon undertake govern
ment ownership of the railway on the Isthmus
of Panama. It is announced that rates will be
lowered as soon as the government begins the
operation of the road:
The experiment will be watched with .
deep interest by all who have advocated gov
ernment ownership of public utilities. The
United States government will enjoy a mo
nopoly of the railroad business in this par
ticular part of the world, as no competing
lines exist, and none will be permitted to
build. Enjoying this monopoly, there will be
no necessity of offering inducements to ship
pers for their patronage in the shape of re
bates, etc.
After pointing out that state regulation of
railways has been, ijulte successful, the Chicago
Tribune says: , t ;
Is there any .ground for believing that,
whereas state regulation has proved bene
ficial, interstate regulation would be ruinous?
The question naturally arises in men's minds,
and those whose judgments are not pervert
ed by their selfish interests answer it in the
ueeiative.
GROWTH OF REFERENDUM
The rapid growth of referendum sentiment
in all parts of the country is constantly being
disclosed. The people of Nevada voted to amend
their constitution last fall. The Buffalo, N. Y.,
Enquirer, which has successfully supported the
fight for the installing of the advisory referen
dum and advisory initiative in that city, says:
The constitution of Nevada was amended
bn November 8, last, by a popular vote. The
- amendment provides that whenever 10 per
cent of the voters of the state shall express
their wish that any law made .by the legisla
ture shall be submitted to a vote of the
people, election officers shall submit the
question at the next state election. When a
majority of electors voting, signifies appro
val of the law, the law shall stand and shall
not be overruled except by. direct vote of the
people. When the majority of electors vot
ing signifies disapproval, , the law, so disap
proved shall be void. . ..." 7 ' ,
Nevada is the fourth' state in "the union
to adopt the referendum tin Its fundamental
law. There has been no noise about, this, but
it was a far-reaching victory for popular gov
ernment. Those who watch closely, the cur
rents of national life, see in such incidents
as the adoption of the Nevada amendment a
reason for a new courage and belief in pure
democracy.
There may be rapid " concentration of
wealth, and there may be a strong tendency
towards centralization of power, but the
remedy is making progress. That remedy is
not due to the few "men of special train
ing," but to the general understanding of the
needs, and the quickening of democratic
impulses in the heart of the multitude. No
autocratic spirit can withstand this. And in
it lies the guarantee to men of a justice which
comprehends the equality of opportunity and
the equality of rights. Let the people rule
now. '
The Boston Post says that the organization of
the Massachusetts referendum league gives defi
nite shape and leadership to a movement which
i-j unquestionably gaining strength among- the
people: '
If the campaign of education upon which
this league proposes to ; enter is conducted
wisely as well as vigorously, there is little
doubt that the popular support necessary to
compel action by the legislature will in time
, be secured. In fact, there is no such antago
nism between the representative system and
direct legislation as some people seem to
think. There is nothing incongruous in the
association of the referendum with the law
making machinery as it now exists in this
state. Indeed, it is not an untried method;
it already exists in connection with that most
important affair, the amendment of the consti
tution; it is demanded in legislation affecting
local rights and interests, and it has been
successfully used in ascertaining the popular
will for the Instruction of the legislature. The
plebiscite upon the question of woman suf
frage, a few years ago, is a notable instance
of what is called the "advisory initiative."
NEGOTIATIONS FOR PEACE
The negotiations for peace, inaugurated by
President Roosevelt, are making satisfactory pro
gress. Both Russia and Japan have agreed to
discuss terms, but the place where the pleni
potentiaries will meet has not yet been deter
mined. The New York World asks the following
questions:
But will military evacuation mean no
Japanese protectorate over Manchuria? Will
it imply the open door for all the nations of
the world? Or will it be followed by such
a close control of the government of that
province as Japan plainly proposes exercis
ing over Corea? It is there, in spite of all
temptation to hold what she has, that Japan
must give proof of her cood faith in dispos
sessing Russia.
With reference to an indemnity, which Rus
sia views with consternation, the Springfield Re
publican says: ?
Yet the payment of, a heavy indemnity
seems indispensable, from Japan's point of
view, if she i3 to concede to Russia full pos-
session of her old Siberian empire down to
the seacoast, and therefore the influence of

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