Publication information

Source type: magazine
Document type: editorial
Document title: “Politics and Labor”
Author(s): Robins, Raymond
Date of publication: January 1902
Volume number: 6
Issue number: 66
Pagination: 10-13 (excerpt below includes only pages 10 and 11)

Robins, Raymond. “Politics and Labor.” Commons Jan. 1902 v6n66: pp. 10-13.
Theodore Roosevelt (first annual message to Congress); Theodore Roosevelt; Theodore Roosevelt (presidential policies); anarchism (laws against); anarchism (government response: criticism); anarchism (dealing with).
Named persons
Ernest Howard Crosby; Leon Czolgosz; Theodore Roosevelt; Leo Tolstoy [variant spelling below].
The excerpt below comprises two nonconsecutive portions of the editorial (p. 10 and p. 11). Omission of text within the excerpt is denoted with a bracketed indicator (e.g., [omit]).

Politics and Labor

     President Roosevelt’s first message to the congress of the United States has aroused more general interest than any other state paper within thirty years. The extraordinary circumstances that have resulted in the elevation of Mr. Roosevelt to the most powerful political office of the modern world, are largely responsible for the unusual eagerness with which the people of the English speaking nations have followed his first steps in the courts of the mighty. Comparatively young and inexperienced, yet chief magistrate of the foremost industrial power in a commercial age, consigned by a designing political boss to the national political grave-yard, yet within a year, by the awful instrumentality of an assassin’s bullet clothed with untrammeled command of that boss and his party machinery, a reformer with high ideals, distrusted by predatory capital and feared by politicians, yet in an hour, ushered into the mightiest theatre of action and called without let or hindrance to play the title role among the rulers of the earth, he has well been deemed a sign and a wonder by the sons of men. Nor was there lacking that intoxicating flavor of mystery that ever envelopes the new and untried leader, suddenly emerging from obscurity into that fierce light that beats upon the throne. By some Mr. Roosevelt was regarded as an impractical dreamer, chasing the butterflies of municipal and national purity about the byways of Police Commissions and Civil Service Reform. To others he appeared the incarnation of honest, common sense and enlightened public spirit. For these latter Roosevelt was the Moses of the upright, strenuous life, that would lead the people into the promised land of civic righteousness, and with his own right arm lasso our modern golden calf and drag him bellowing down the steps of the capital.
     Before us lies this first deliverance of the strenuous life in power. It is an inspiring message and worthy of our best faith in the main. Upon questions of labor it rings true to the nobler promise of the great Republic.


     Upon one subject only of this generally admirable message, are we in complete dissent. Mr. Roosevelt could not have disappointed some of his ardent admirers more, than by giving the sanction of his name and fame to the crassly ignorant cry for legislative persecution against philosophic anarchy. To recommend a law that would exclude Tolstoi and deport Crosby, that had it been in force on the 6th day of last September would have divided many happy homes, excluded some and banished other worthy citizens, but have left us Leon Czolgosz, the republican elector and native born citizen of Cleveand [sic] to assassinate our beloved President, is a depth of blind resentment we had not expected from Roosevelt the brave. The change advocated by this message in the fundamental law of the land, involving a new special jurisdiction for the federal courts, with its calendar of state crimes, is both revolutionary and futile.
     For Czolgosz and all murderers of any faith and name we have the gallows and the grave. For philosophic anarchy there is just one cure, a free government providing equity for all its citizens. So long as our government presents the spectacle in many places, of corruption at the bottom and incompetence at the top, for just so long will ill-balanced persons, dwelling alone upon its crying evils and forgetful of its many great though silent blessings, revolt against government in any form. A purer administration and more equitable legislation in city, state and nation, is the only possible answer to philosophic anarchy. Legislative persecution to combat ideas is the bastard offspring of ignorance and fear. The stamping out process is an old failure. The Spanish Inquisition played out that hand three hundred years ago—and lost.