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THE MONROE DOCTRINE AND PEACE

I UNDERSTAND full well that in all ages, anyone who undertakes to destroy one of the nation's idols has a task before him, and no easy task. The children of Israel objected to Moses doing just this and so did the Aztecs when Cortez demolished theirs, but that is no reason why idols are any use to any people or any nation.

The Monroe Doctrine is a national fetish. It came with a canal boat, in the tallow candle age, and it ought to have gone out with them, but unfortunately it did not.

The so-called "Monroe Doctrine" was made the subject of a message to Congress by President Monroe in 1823. The population of the United States was then 10,000,000. The Monroe Doctrine was perhaps the best policy for the country in its weakness. It sounded well, it was a good bluff and it worked.

But the policy for a nation of 10,000,000 people does not follow as the logical policy for a nation of 92,000,000, and a nation that is now in the front rank of the nations.

The policy of any nation and of all people ought to be that which will bring the greatest blessing to the greatest number, and there is no way of blessing others and not blessing ourselves at the same time.

The Monroe Doctrine has prevented other nations -- we will say the English -- from taking hold of some of the turbulent South American states and giving them good government, which would have made them prosper, grow and be blessed. It has prevented us from doing the same, and has at the same time allowed a number of these festering governments to continue festering, they resting on the fact that the Monroe Doctrine sheltered them in their debauchery and allowed them free rein to do as they pleased.

Suppose all Central America had a strong Government like Mexico, what would it mean to the United States?

It is the duty of the strong nations to help the weak ones. Nothing is taken from a nation if it comes under the flag of England, Germany, or the United States. They bring it clean, up-to-date government, they advance it hundreds of years in the march of civilization, they add increased values to the land, increase wages, make life safe, prevent extortion from the people and lead them in the proper paths of national existence. All are blessed and the home country prospers in its trade, a proper and just reward for the blessings conferred. What have we brought to Porto Rico, the Philippines and Hawaii but prosperity and blessings, and how we have at the same time blessed our own land! Look at the increased trade in the last ten years:

 

1899

1909 

Philippines........

$ 4,813,000

 $20,615,000

Hawaii ..............

 27,136,000

   57,524,000

Porto Rico.........

   5,866,000

   49,663,000

 

$37,815,000

 $127,802,000

The increase in the import and export trade with Hawaii, Porto Rico and the Philippines in ten years is $90,487,000.

Cuba, over which we have a kind of protectorate, gave us an import and export trade in 1899 of $45,000,000 and in 1909 of $139,000,000, or in ten years our trade with these four places has increased $184,487,000.

The idea of a strong country taking charge of the government of a weak, unruly country is not wrong if it gives it a good government.

Suppose that in Arkansas is a school with numbers of unruly scholars; the teacher is a sickly chap and never can make his charges obey. The School Board of the district hear constant complaints regarding this school and after a personal visit make up their minds that order will never be restored while that teacher remains in charge, and that a change is needed. They hire a big six-footer to take the place of the teacher who could not keep order. As soon as the new man arrives, the unruly boys make up their minds that it is useless longer to try and behave as they have in the past and harmony now reigns in place of disorder. The new teacher has no fight on his hands; his presence is all that is needed to restore order.

Now nothing has changed, nothing has been taken away; it is the same school, the same scholars, the same books. Nothing has been lost; all was altered by the change in rulers. The functions of the school can now be carried out as they could not be under the reign of disorder.

THE GREATEST GIFT THE WORLD HAS EVER HAD HAS BEEN THE ENGLISHMAN'S WILLINGNESS TO GO TO ANY PART OF THE WORLD AND GOVERN IT, and it would be better for the world if England had still more of the world than it has, for the reason that its government is the cleanest of any and the cities in its colonies models of neatness and order.

To govern colonies and keep them prosperous and peaceful is a trade, and the Englishman leads toe world in it.

Our late successes in Porto Rico, Hawaii and the Philippines, show that we are a good second; then comes Holland with excellent colonial government. After that it is no one nation in particular, but the field, occupied by Italy, Belgium, Germany, Portugal and France, with Germany no doubt leading.

The hands of progress have been fast turned ahead through the example given by England as a success in colonial government.

Porto Rico has only 3,606 square miles, but since we have taken charge of it our import and export trade has grown from $5,859,000 to nearly $50,000,000 per year. An increase of $44,000,000, and while we have benefited our own country to such an extent, we have taken nothing from Porto Rico since our flag has flown over it, but we have given it the greatest inheritance on earth, good government.

While it was under the Spanish flag it languished. With the United States at the helm prosperity has increased by leaps and bounds, property has risen in value millions and millions of dollars. Good roads reach to all parts of the island. There are schools in all districts. Sanitary conditions have replaced filth. Porto Rico is better off, we are better off, and the world has gained.

Each man has the same property that he had under the Spanish rule. We have not taken a foot of land from anyone, but we have given every blessing that a good stable government can confer on the people of the Island.

It came to us, it is true, as an inheritance from war, but had it not come this way it would have paid us to have bought it from Spain, just as we bought Alaska from Russia. And here again is our wonderful blessing conferred, not only on our nation, but on Alaska, as we get in trade and gold many times over each year what we paid Russia for the whole country. Alaska never would have prospered under Russian rule as it has under ours. All the world likes to follow where the England and the United States govern.

Had Russia retained Alaska, no doubt Japan in the late war would have taken Alaska as one of the first steps in the war, and we might have had today a section of the Japanese Empire on our continent as a result of that war.

Now my readers will wonder what the Monroe Doctrine has to do with the peace movement in the world. It has a great deal to do with the peace movement.

Suppose that England, Russia, Germany, France, Italy, Austria and Japan agreed, as I have proposed that each nation should, to reduce their standing armies one-tenth each year and when down to one-tenth of the present strength, that tenth to be retained for police duty in Europe, India and the Islands of the sea, to enforce peace. If any section of Africa or the Eastern World needed attention, this peace army and navy would take charge of that section and when peace had been restored, the Hague Tribunal would decide which nation should take charge of the district or country. If this Tribunal can decide a boundary dispute, it can also decide a case like this.

This would at once establish peace in all the nations of the Old World and the Orient, but it would leave sections of Central and South America still in the boiling pot, still festering sores, and they will nearly all remain in this condition unless some nation able to bring about good results steps in. Now under the Monroe Doctrine we would not allow any foreign nation to do this. Why, I cannot tell; they are nearer us where they are than they would be in South America. Had England or Germany occupied Venezuela twenty years ago and left an open door, it would have been a great blessing for us, infinitely better than things as they are. But, best of all, we ought to have stepped in long ago and established a protectorate over Venezuela. Venezuela has an area of 593,000 square miles and our import and export trade with this country is only $10,896,000 a year. It is a paradise; there are wonderful chances here for millions of people to thrive under our flag; they would surely come from every country. In five years all land would treble in value, all business would be on a safe basis; in ten years our trade would reach $100,000,000. We would build railroads, develop mines. The rich grass lands would support millions of cattle to take the place of our westerns plains, now rapidly filling with settlers. No one would be harmed by the change in government and no doubt ninety per cent. of the people would be glad of it. Only a few of the governing class would be out of jobs, and they would not be if we found them proper persons to hold their positions. Order would come out of years of chaos. We would be the master, they would be the scholars. Not a drop of blood would be spilled, but if things go on as now, there will be much spilled, if the past is any criterion of the future. The world would be benefited, our manufactures would boom with the business the would receive, and all from our bringing a great blessing to the world.

We would increase land values in that country by leaps and bounds. It would amount to millions. The man whose land is now worth $1,000 would find it in a few years worth at least $5,000 or $10,000. So we would make the people there richer than they can ever dream of being under the present government. This would take so much of the world out of the turbulent class and put it in the peaceful class. So much for Venezuela.

Now in Central America there is only one really good government, and that is Costa Rica. There is a fair government in Salvador and of this I shall speak later, but Costa Rica has a good clean government as far as the world knows. Good cities, prosperous, contented people, and this has more or less been brought about through the United Fruit Company's influence. American talent has helped it. It is the Switzerland of Central America. Panama will sooner or later come under our influence or control, and the opening of the Canal will bring many people there, so that large cities will spring up and the United States will not brook any disturbance there. But if Venezuela and Colombia were under the United Stats flag great prosperity would come to them and only north of Panama would remain states to be given good government, and in my mind it ought to be the duty of the United States and Mexico, jointly, to do so.

No one who lives in the United States and has never visited Mexico has any idea of the wonderful strides Mexico has made. To me, after forty-one visits, is it a wonderland. It has a wonderfully good government, splendid laws. Its railroad laws are no doubt the best in the world, and its railroads offer the best investment that can be made by investors anywhere in the world. The rates are stable, the Government gives fixed concessions that enable the railroads to be sure that is property will remain, and all the railroads, with a few exceptions, show increased incomes each year.

Its mining laws are as good as can be desired, its postal service and telegraph system are excellent. Its credit in the markets of the world for its bonds is near the top, and all its securities are now higher than ever.

The Americans and foreigners who live in Mexico all bear tribute to the splendid government. The hospitals in the City of Mexico is only excelled by one or two in the world. Its penitentiary is equaled by few.

The capital city of Mexico is a beautiful city and when the new government buildings now under way are finished, it will be, with its splendid parks, clean streets and avenues, one of the finest cities in the world.

This is our sister republic and a sister to be proud of. All this has been brought about by the great President and the officers under him during the last thirty years. Such ability to understand Latin-Americans, in connection with our strength, if combined in a joint protectorate over the Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Salvador, would produce wonderful results. Mexico with the United States would combine strength with knowledge, so if these countries had the stable government that this joint control would give, prosperity would be assured, the country would be opened to trade and settlement, the land would be developed and would rapidly rise in value, no one would be hurt and all would be benefited and all the shareholders in these roads in our own land would prosper.

Under the stable government in Mexico our trade has increased fourfold in thirty years.

People who do not know how to govern would give place to two nations that do know how, peace and prosperity would reign in all Central America and would be established for years to come. This joint control by the United States and Mexico would cement our two nations together as nothing else on earth can, and these close ties would be of mutual benefit. It would be a great and just tribute by the United States to the splendid work of President Diaz, in bringing order to the grand land he rules over. This arrangement and this country's establishing a protectorate over the rich and disgracefully governed Hayti would be a long step toward establishing world peace, at least peace and prosperity to this continent. All would be blessed, no one would be hurt, no blood would be spilled, and the future spilling of blood would be averted.

Then there would remain in South America some problems, but there is no doubt that Argentina, Chili and Brazil can work out in their sections the problem of good government in time, but if world peace were established in all other parts of the world, it would soon become contagious, and the promised day of peace would dawn for us all to live to see.

What a blessing if it could come now! I hope this book will be a step in that direction, and if I can in any way hasten that day, I shall consider it a greater crown than any king can wear.

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