T or organization is
shown by the manner in which it passes through unexpected catastrophes.
Five times in the history of the United States has the ruler of
the nation been removed by death, and in each case the Vice-President
has succeeded without any serious shock to the institutions of the
country. There have been changes in policy, as when the effort of
the Whig party to re-establish a Bank of the United States was defeated
by the so-called defection of the new President from their ranks.
To the death of the first H is no doubt
due all the present disadvantages of the independent Treasury system.
F succeeded T
without much remark. The accession of J,
although he also is supposed to have changed the policy of the Government
disadvantageously, did not have any permanently detrimental effect
upon the progress of the country. The death of G
and the succession of A caused no changes
of general importance.
No doubt these events caused the disappointment
of many personal ambitions, which were probably compensated for
by the unexpected gratification of the personal ambitions of others.
In all the pettier detail of an Administration,
in the selection of persons for offices, and in the flow of the
streams of political influence, the change of one President for
another produces considerable effect, but the general public takes
very little interest in these contests for personal emolument. Under
civil-service rules even these personal changes will probably be
reduced to a minimum. The greater interest at the present time manifests
itself, or would have manifested itself, had the belief in the soundness
of Mr. R financial convictions been
less certain, in the monetary question. If the Vice-President had
been a man like S, under the last Democratic
Administration, who had at that time shown himself at least a waverer
on the silver question, and who subsequently went over body and
soul to B and free coinage, the death of
MK would have given
a far greater shock to the money market than was experienced. One
can conceive the consternation in financial circles if C
had died in 1893 and had been succeeded by S.
It is well that the importance of
the Vice-Presidential office is beginning to be appreciated, and
that the effects of an unwise choice are being more seriously looked
at when the second name on the ticket is chosen at the national
conventions. It is understood more and more that in this industrial
age the success of a party or Administration and their continuation
in power depend on the prosperity of the country.
It is said with some degree of truth
that statesmen and politicians should neither be praised nor blamed
for the ebb and flow of prosperous business; but they are certainly
to blame if they do not exert themselves to fashion the laws and
to administer them in the manner best calculated to economize and
make the most of the resources, gathered under the combined forces
of nature working in concert with the energies of the people. To
make the crops good or bad is mainly the work of nature, but there
are numberless other resources which are dependent almost altogether
upon human enterprise. So much depends in business on the feelings
of the mind and on a continued cheerful view of the future, kept
within due limits. It is in so carrying on its operations and shaping
its policy as to encourage the most cheerful view of business that
the circumstances will allow, that a government may in reality conduce
to the general prosperity, and likewise in properly suppressing
undue tendency to extravagant views leading to over-trading and
perhaps more than any of his predecessors, had, by the training
of his whole career, grown into a recognition of the intimate relations
between business and the operations of the Government in the United
States. In appointing a skillful financier Secretary of the Treasury,
he looked carefully to the success of his Administration by taking
care of the pockets of the people. Under all the disadvantage of
an imperfect system for the handling of revenues and expenditures,
Secretary G has held the money available
for circulation with very little fluctuation.
The science of adapting the operations
of the Government to modern industrial needs is yet in its infancy.
Rulers all over the world are beginning to recognize that these
industries of the people, which afford them a means of livelihood
and keep them contented and happy, must be fostered not simply as
a basis of taxation, but for their own sakes. Government must be
made secondary to the business of the people.
In his promise to carry out the policy
of his predecessor Mr. R has reassured
the business interests of the United States, and through them the
connected business interests of other countries.
In one sense no man can guarantee
that he will do just the same as another man would have done in
his place. The personal equation 
is different, and in manner and detail the action may vary, although
the result may be similar. It may be, too, that the new President,
as a younger man, may have less hesitation in recommending and pushing
through financial reform than his predecessor. One thing can be
counted on pretty surely, that some classes of enterprise will go
on more slowly until Mr. R has marked
out the line he intends to pursue by his actions. He comes into
office more unpledged in almost every direction than any President
who has yet gone into the White House.