Press enter after choosing selection

Expansion Is Legal

Expansion Is Legal image
Parent Issue
Day
10
Month
March
Year
1899
Copyright
Public Domain
OCR Text

The final nuuiber in the Unity Club ecture course was given last night by Dean H. B. Hutchius of the law dejartment on the subject "New Era in American Statesrnauship. " Ifc was a nasterful presentation of the constitnioual qnestions involved in the acquiition and control of our new possesions and our duty as au enlightened, lumaue and progressivo nation thereto, Iu opening he said that the century ust closing must always be one of preat historical interest. It has been one of unsnrpassedintellectualactivity, he mind of man having gone out into hitherto nnexplored regions with the esult that our living has been placed upon a higher plane and our activities lirected into channels, the possible exstence of which were uever previonsly dreamed of. The century has not been as great in the flelds of literature and irt as some others, but in discovery and iuvention and in the practical apilicatiou of knowledge to the comfort and happiness of the race, it has sur)assed all that have gone before. The lighways of commerce have been exended iu every direction and modern nventions have made the whole world a rnarket place. The possibilities of a ife time have been vastly increased. 3nt it is uot alone froni a material wint of view that the centnry just closing bas been remarkable. It has also been remarkable in the exteut to with the human mind bas been freed TOm traditions and superstitions vbich cramped and dwarfed it. Freelom of thought and publication have )ronght new conditions which raust e reckoned with and new demands vhicb will not be sileuced. The peaker reviewed the advance of religious teaching and thought and said he faith of the future must appeal both to the reason and the heart. He declared that the century would also tand out pre-eminently as an era of jersonai and political emancipation, in era wherein the rights of man as man were more generally recognized ind enforced than ever before, and vherein the power of the people, as a actor in government, made itself feit is never before and it will always be a sonree of pride that the battle for lersonal liberty and government by the eople was so largely fought by our rinsmen. The speaker showed how a government of the people and by the eople under a written constitution had developed during the century meeting successfully all demands put upon it and its influence had extended over ihe whole of Central and South Amerca and struggling humanity the world over has tnrned to its' principies for ight. The speaker spoke of tbe great rials which representative governnent has met and solved dnring the century and said the victories of Manila and Santiago mean more than he crushing of the Spanish power in he Philippines and Antilles, they mean a new era in American statesmanship. Mr. Hutchius declared his jelief that this new era would be one ;hat will add to the nation 's strength and the nation 's honor. While the new jroblems which the war have thrnst upou us are grave and difflcult, he did not see in them the dangers to the integrity of our institntions whieh some would have us believe. The lecturer ïere entered upon a discussion of the constitutional qnestions involved. 3e thonght a -careful stndy of the situation in connection with the provisions of the organic law must convince the candid mind that the adminstration is acting within constitutional limits. The question whether a European government had the power to add :o its domaiu by conquest or purchase was simply a question of ability and expedience. Here it is different. The very life of the federal government is wrapped np in the written eonstitn;ion which gave it birthand prescribes lts power. In this document the power must be found for every act of the government. The leoture, followed the varions cases in our history bearing npon the subject of the acquisition, control and disposition of territory, qnoting f rom Marshall, Taney, Webster and others and conclnded that the control of the territories of the United States was wholly in the hands of congress to direct as in its wisdom it may think best. He quoted from the Gonstitution to show that the territories of tbe United States, in whatever fnnctions of government they havo exercised, have received these powers from congress. The executive, the legislature and tbe courts were all creatures of congress. "The constitution," says Chief Justice Marshall, "confers absolntely on the governmeut of the Union the power of making war and making treaties ; consequently that government possesses the power of acquiring terri tory either by conquest or by treaty. ' Chief Justice Taney held that there is "uo power given by the constitutiou to the federal government to establish 01 maintain colonies bordering on the United States or at a distance, to be ruled and goverued at its own pleasure nor to enlarge its territorial limits in any way except by the admission o new states." But the "power to ex pand the territory of the United Stutes by the uew states is plainly given. " This opinión of Jndge Taney was given in councetiou with the Dred Scott case Our recent experience proves that territory may come under onr control as a result of war, which under no circnmstances which we can expect to exist, can be forrned into states. What is to be done with it? The sensible conclnsion is that the framers of the constitntion intended the government shonld have the power to acqnire territory for any pnrpose without limitation, Pending action by congress the president has fnll power to govern such territory snbject, of conrse, to the limitatious of bis office. Dean Hntchins held that there is nothing iu the present sitnation or :endencies which indicates a change of deals or that vo are drifting toward rnperiaiism. He argned tbat the government has hitherto exercised all the authority and powers which it is now jroposed to exercise over these new jossessions, ouly snch posses3ions have je,en called fcerritories instead of colones, and if there has been nothing unAmerican in this how can onr control of the new possessions which the forunes of war have thrown into our ïands be un-American? These terriories are oors by right of couquest. Che war was not undertaken for the )urpose of conquest but for humani arian objects, but one of its resulte has been the placing of these colon ies under our control. We owe a dnty to them herefore. We cannofc return them to Spain without stultifying ourselves. We cannot honorably barter them away o the highest bidder. Snch a course vould be mercenary, undignified and unstatesrnanlike. The difficulties and responsibilities which they bring we mist be honest enoagh, brave enough uid hopeful enongh to take upou ourselves and solve them. We cannot shift tbe burdeu if we woukl. Our honor will not permit it. We owe it to ourselves, to the people of these islauds and o the othar powers who have interests hete ani to the world in general to jear it. But what shall our policy be? It is ;oo early and we have too little light ou the subject at present to permit of a deolaratiou of that policy which might n future return to plague us. In the opinión of the leoturer the questions rowing out of the sitnation will not soon be settled. But that they will ïnally be settled iu a way to bring ïonor to the public I firmly believe, aid the speaker. In their control it vill be our duty to legislate for the ?ood of these people in aecordance vith the great principies of onr instiutions. It is our moral if not legal luty to do this and to manage their ffairs always with reference to iheir levelopment and wellbeing, in the ïope that they may finally be prepared or indepndent self governmen.