Publication information
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Source: Bradstreet’s
Source type: magazine
Document type: editorial
Document title: “Dealing with the Anarchists”
Author(s): anonymous
Date of publication: 14 September 1901
Volume number: 29
Issue number: 1211
Pagination: 578-79

“Dealing with the Anarchists.” Bradstreet’s 14 Sept. 1901 v29n1211: pp. 578-79.
full text
anarchism (dealing with); anarchism (laws against); anarchism (government response).
Named persons
David Bennett Hill; William McKinley.


Dealing with the Anarchists

     The fact that the shots that laid President McKinley on his bed of pain were fired by an anarchist has profoundly impressed the people of the United States. Following almost within a year after the sovereign of a friendly nation was struck down by another anarchist, who sailed from the United States to seek the ruler’s life, the circumstance has been felt to have an added and sinister significance. It has forced upon the people and their representatives the question what is to be done to prevent the country becoming an asylum for assassins who make the murder of rulers a part of their propaganda. This country has been extolled by one of her lofty-spirited sons as the land “of the open soul and open door, with room about her hearth for all mankind,” but its welcome should be understood to be one for men of good will. It cannot, so far as it is humanly possible to prevent that consummation, become an abiding place for the enemies of government and of law from other lands.
     It is not, however, to be denied that it is no easy problem that is presented, particularly under a government working so strictly under constitutional forms and limitations as does that of the United States. As regards anarchists dwelling within the United States at present, little seems feasible beyond possibly the strengthening of legislation directed against incitements to violence and a more energetic enforcement of the legislation already on the statute books, though even here care must be taken that the action of the government be not regarded as amounting to persecution for the sake of speculative opinion. As regards anarchists seeking entrance to the United States from foreign countries, legislation might be enacted prohibiting the landing of immigrants of that class. Here, also, there might be difficulties in the way. Anarchists may conceal their opinions, and in this way many of them may be able to find a refuge here, particularly those whose notoriety is not great. There is also danger of injustice being done in individual cases, and our history has shown that there is a certain traditional reluctance to shut the gates upon persons seeking a home with us, many of whom in the past certainly have been driven to seek refuge in the new world by oppression upon political grounds.
     Difficult as it is, however, the problem is before us and must be met. Action need not be taken in haste, and in the normal course it cannot be taken by the national law-making body until the first sharp feelings of grief and indignation occasioned by the shooting at Buffalo shall have subsided. But action of some kind seems a necessity. It may not be uninteresting to recall at this time some incidents which aroused the attention of the world seven years ago. Early in the summer of that year the State Department was made the recipient of information about the movements of foreign anarchists, which had been gathered as the result of a system of interchange then lately put in force. As the result of that information a bill prohibiting the landing of alien anarchists was framed by the Senate Committee on Immigration, under the chairmanship of Senator Hill, of New York, and was advocated by him and others with [578][579] such energy and persuasiveness that it was passed by the Senate. Objection to its immediate consideration in the House was, however, made, and the bill failed to become a law. Of the weight of the information on which it was founded, the world received that summer a most startling illustration in the murder of the President of the French republic.
     Is it not possible that such a measure may be again revived, now that our own President has been stricken by the bullet of one of these enemies of society? In 1894, as may be recalled, an understanding looking to the suppression of anarchy and the exclusion of anarchists from the continental states was much mooted. The time seems to be propitious for the taking of international action against anarchists through the renewal of this agreement and the adhesion of the United States thereto, an adhesion which might well be signalized by the passage of a stringent measure of exclusion. It would be strange if, with the aid of such a system of registration as might be carried out to-day under international auspices, any notorious propagandist of anarchist violence could find a place within the limits of civilization. These placed under the ban, their weaker-minded followers would lose their main source of inspiration, and the world would doubtless be saved some high and moving tragedies.



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