Source: Economic Tangles
Source type: book
Document type: book chapter
Document title: “Slow Movement of Great Reforms” [chapter 29]
Author(s): Grenell, Judson
Publisher: none given
Place of publication: Lansing, Michigan
Year of publication: 1902
Pagination: 194-98 (excerpt below includes only pages 194-95)
|Grenell, Judson. “Slow Movement of Great Reforms” [chapter 29]. Economic Tangles. Lansing: [n.p.], 1902: pp. 194-98.|
|excerpt of chapter|
|Pan-American Exposition; McKinley assassination (personal response); McKinley assassination (public response: Buffalo, NY); socialism.|
In the book’s table of contents the chapter title is given as “The Slow Progress of Great Reforms.”
From title page: Economic Tangles: Industrial Problems Explained through Lessons Drawn from Passing Events.
From title page: Press of Wynkoop Hallenbeck Crawford Co. of Lansing, Mich.
Slow Movement of Great Reforms [excerpt]
No one visited the Pan-American
Exposition at Buffalo without picking up new ideas or saw ways of improving
on old ones. The workingman who walked through the machinery, liberal arts or
electricity building, for example, was a poor stick indeed if he did not go
away better prepared to give satisfaction to his employers, and be of more value
to himself and the community in which he lived. That such an assembling of the
latest achievements in the arts and sciences must necessarily aid the inventive
mind is beyond question.
For myself I was particularly interested in the crowds. And to see these it was not necessary to visit the Midway, though doubtless few people went to the exposition without taking a stroll, at least, through this fascinating highway of all nations. Each building, and department in a measure, had its type of crowd. In those devoted to manufactures and the liberal arts the women were in the majority. In the machinery building the men predominated—in the main thoughtful men who came with a purpose. The art building attracted a still different class, and it was not at all difficult to note a facial resemblance running through a considerable number.
Having been on the grounds during the illness and death of President McKinley, when the eyes of the whole nation, it is supposed, were directed towards Buffalo, and hoping for the good news that would tell of his recovery from the assassin’s bullet, I had a favorable opportunity to see just how much the crowds really were interested in the outcome of the fatal  shooting, and to hear the expressions of opinion on socialism, anarchy and reform movements generally. When home with those we know, we are not apt to pay much attention to chance expressions. They are so multitudinous that their value is depreciated, but to talk with a stranger on a burning question, when he feels certain that the airing of his opinions cannot affect his business or his social, religious or political welfare, is a different thing. So I made it a point, while on the grounds, and opportunity offered, to drop a word or two with an interrogation point attached, just to see how the land lay in the minds of the average citizen away from home.
The result showed that even the mildest of socialism, let alone the more drastic sort, will have hard sledding for many years to gain even a respectable foothold. And as for anarchy, not one in a thousand, it might be said, has conceived of any but the violent kind—if such can be called anarchy at all. The seeds that are to bring forth the cooperative commonwealth and revolutionize industry have not yet sprouted. The commercial interests of the country must yet go through many financial panics and take all sorts of remedies for industrial ills before the common people will listen to the voice of the socialist philosopher demanding the dethronement of the present captains of industry.