Publication information
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Source: Independent
Source type: magazine
Document type: article
Document title: “President McKinley at Buffalo”
Author(s): anonymous
Date of publication: 12 September 1901
Volume number: 53
Issue number: 2754
Pagination: 2141

“President McKinley at Buffalo.” Independent 12 Sept. 1901 v53n2754: p. 2141.
full text
William McKinley (last public address).
Named persons
James G. Blaine; William McKinley.


President McKinley at Buffalo

President McKinley’s visit to the Buffalo Exposition has attracted attention at home and abroad, not for the exposition’s sake, but because the President made it an occasion to give a forecast of his policy on certain important subjects, which he believes to be also the policy of his party and of the country. We comment elsewhere on his utterances, and it is enough here to quote the most significant passages. After a felicitous expression about expositions as the “time-keepers of progress,” and the usual appropriate talk about the progress and development of the country, especially in its trade, about rapid transit, telegraphs, he turned to the topic of our prosperity depending largely on our foreign commerce; and here he spoke a positive word for reciprocity, crediting Mr. Blaine with great foresight:

     “We must not repose in fancied security that we can forever sell everything and buy little or nothing. If such a thing were possible it would not be best for us or for those with whom we deal. We should take from our customers such of their products as we can use without harm to our industries and labor.
     “Reciprocity is the natural outgrowth of our wonderful industrial development under the domestic policy now firmly established. What we produce beyond our domestic consumption must have a vent abroad. The excess must be relieved through a foreign outlet and we should sell everywhere we can and buy wherever the buying will enlarge our sales and productions, and thereby make a greater demand for home labor.
     “The period of exclusiveness is past. The expansion of our trade and commerce is the pressing problem. Commercial wars are unprofitable. A policy of good will and friendly trade relations will prevent reprisals. Reciprocity treaties are in harmony with the spirit of the times; measures of retaliation are not.”

     This led him to consider tariff revision:

     “If perchance some of our tariffs are no longer needed for revenue or to encourage and protect our industries at home, why should they not be employed to extend and promote our markets abroad?”

     Then naturally followed the subject of a commercial marine, and yet he did not directly urge a subsidy bill:

     “Then, too, we have inadequate steamship service. New lines of steamers have already been put in commission between the Pacific Coast ports of the United States and those on the western coasts of Mexico and Central and South America. These should be followed up with direct steamship lines between the eastern coast of the United States and South American ports.
     “One of the needs of the times is direct commercial lines from our vast fields of production to the fields of consumption that we have but barely touched. Next in advantage to having the thing to sell is to have the convenience to carry it to the buyer. We must encourage our merchant marine. We must have more ships. They must be under the American flag, built and manned and owned by Americans. These will not only be profitable in a commercial sense; they will be messengers of peace and amity wherever they go.”

     The Isthmian Canal was also favored positively, and a Pacific cable:

     “We must build the Isthmian Canal, which will unite the two oceans and give a straight line of water communication with the western coasts of Central and South America and Mexico. The construction of a Pacific cable cannot be longer postponed.”

     With his tribute to the memory of Mr. Blaine and a good word for the coming Pan-American Congress in Mexico this autumn, President McKinley concluded an address which is received with great approval in this country, and with some fears abroad that it indicates a serious commercial conflict with Europe, and an enhanced spirit of imperialism.



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