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- The Progressive Democracy of James M. Cox - 4/14 -
guarantee of cordial and sound industrial relations between employee and employer than legislation which follows the lines of the Ohio workmen's compensation law? Under its influence, industrial conditions have improved, life and limb have been conserved, the workmen's families are happy in their security and a new era has dawned for millions of people. It was enacted when legislation of this sort was an experiment in America. If every state in this Union had a law of this sort our nation would have solved half of its industrial problems. Our courts are free from the vexatious litigation that fosters criticism and they are trusted as never before in history. It has been a factor of no small importance that enabled our state to uphold the sovereignty of the law without repressive measures directed against freedom of speech and pen.
"Educational activities have been quickened and rural life has been regenerated through modem school legislation. To the boys and girls of our rural districts there are coming schools which will be second to none in our most progressive cities, and one of the reasons for draining of the country districts of population will be checked. It has given an impetus to church and community life that is of greatest importance.
"These things are cited not because there is any disposition to urge that there should be encroachment by the federal government on local control. It is the healthful, reasonable individualism of American national life that has enabled the people of this country to think for themselves. We have no will to impair their independence. The central government can assist and give encouragement to state movements if the men called to high positions are in sympathy with progress. A reactionary central government can demonstrate likewise that it has no sympathy with men of vision who ever have difficult tasks in bringing about the taking of forward steps.
"The details of these instances, which might be greatly expanded, have been touched in order to form a setting as for a picture. Our view is toward to-morrow. The opposition, and I assume that they are sincere in it, stands in the skyline of the setting sun, looking backward, backward to the old days of reaction."
COX AND THE LEAGUE--"I FAVOR GOING IN"
"And I do earnestly urge that all the people of this great and enlightened state assemble at their respective places of worship and invoke Almighty God to enlighten the Rulers of the world to the end that they may see the folly of war and speedily terminate it; that in our homes and about our hearthstones we implore the Divine Spirit in behalf of the people of the stricken nations, whose miseries are beyond our comprehension-- people who have been plunged into the depths of war through no fault of their own.
"And I do further recommend and urge that in all the schools of the State of Ohio the afternoon of Friday, October 2nd, 1914, be set aside for exercises, having for their purpose to instill into the minds of children and into their hearts the great blessing that will come to them and to the world when war is no more."
The quoted sentences from Governor Cox's proclamation for a day of prayer on October 4, 1914, a period at which the horrors of the great world war had but begun, disclose that Governor Cox is not a recent convert to the central thought and purpose of the conception of the League of Nations.
Through the numerous official proclamations and the many addresses which he made during the period of the war the central thought repeatedly emphasized was that the fruit of war must be an everlasting peace. In accordance with the proclamation of the President, establishing June 5, 1917, as the "call-to-the- colors" day of the young men of the Country, the Governor said:
"It is probably the most trying hour the world has ever known, and the policies of government, purified and preserved by those who live now, will determine the civilization under which our children and our children's children shall live in the future. What greater guarantee of their peace and happiness can be given them than a democracy that envelops all nations--a democracy sanctified by an endearing memory of what was unselfishly given to make it possible?"
In his proclamation calling for a State convention to perfect the organization of an Ohio branch of the League to Enforce Peace, the Governor emphasized as the second of its objects "to keep the world safe by a League of Nations," and he said that the purpose of the organization would be "to confirm opposition to a premature peace and sustain the determination of our people to fight until Prussian militarism is destroyed and the way may be open for securing permanent peace by a League of Nations." When hostilities were concluded Governor Cox had the faith that "this peace brings the dawn of a new day of consecration," and in his official proclamation he said: "A world is reborn. Our Nation has brought success to a righteous cause. Our State has given with full heart to the achievement of the glorious end."
In an address in Toronto, Canada, November, 1918, Governor Cox said: "We consign to posterity an example and inspiration and idealism as lofty as ever stirred the hearts of men. And then, turning away from the past, we face the sunrise of to-morrow with faith and resolution to make a better world than that of yesterday, and to demonstrate that our heroic defenders have not died in vain. These are dangerous times to permit the inventive genius of man to go unchecked in matters of armament. The unspeakable horrors of the war just ended make us instinctively turn our faces away from the possibility of a half-century from now, if our thought is to be turned intensively to the production of things destructive to home life. With the sea fairly alive with submarines, the air filled with squadrons of flying machines, and the mysteries of nature unfolding before the sustained labor of chemists--cities and states and nations could be quickly depopulated. The Prussian conspiracy would not have been possible if the international affairs of the earth had been assigned to a League of Nations. The play may seem to be altruistic, if not fantastic, but the skeptic is moved by the idea that nations cannot forget selfishness. If that be true, then the world lacks the fundamental fibers of character to build an enduring civilization."
In welcoming the returned soldiers of the 166th Infantry in New York in may, 1919, Governor Cox said: "If peace is to endure, it must be by means of institutions of government whose strength in the right must inspire public confidence. We solemnly give the pledge of our state that the faith will be kept."
Economic effects of the defeat of the Treaty of Peace were discussed by Governor Cox at Henderson, Kentucky, in April, 1920. He said: "Some of you may not know the effect of the defeat of the Treaty. While at Mayfield (Ky.) I saw an old farmer who told me he was offered twenty and ten dollars for his tobacco before Christmas, but was forced to sell at six and three dollars. The tumbling of the foreign exchange and the inability of Italy and other Continental European countries to purchase their tobacco is the cause of Western Kentucky farmers losing millions of dollars. This resulted from the Republican Senate's refusal to ratify the peace treaty. While the Republican dictators of the Senate set the stage for political triumph, they do not care how much tobacco growers or the people at large suffer.
Turning to the patriotic issue of the present campaign, he said at the same time: "It will be with infinite pleasure that we shall ask the Republican spellbinders if they have kept the faith with the boys who sleep overseas."
During all the progress of the early part of the campaign the Governor denounced those who "are seeking to set up racial lines and create a prejudice among the foreign elements in our midst." He said: "While other powers are doing everything possible to hold the loose ends of civilization together, these leaders are deliberately conspiring to mislead the great bulk of Americans with assertions that are, when analyzed, nothing more than demagoguery of the crudest kind." Earlier in the year, in speaking before the Jefferson Club of Marion, Indiana, the Governor said: "The plot to multiply the woes of mankind, in order that confusion multiplied might be charged to President Wilson's insistence on principle and international good faith, is now passing through the process of public thought, and we have confidence in an intelligent verdict. The winning of the war, in less time than the formalizing of peace carries a contrast that needs no comment."
During the period for the selection of delegates to the Democratic Convention at San Francisco, Governor Cox gave a signed interview to the New York Times, in which he reviewed the controversy concerning the League of Nations and outlined two reservations which he believed would satisfy every reasonable objection. In part, he said:
"If public opinion in the country is the same as it is in Ohio, then there can be no doubt but that the people want a League of Nations because it seems to offer the surest guarantee against war. I am convinced that the San Francisco Convention will endorse in its vital principles the League adopted at Versailles.
"There can be no doubt but that some senators have been conscientious in their desire to clarify the provisions of the treaty. Two things apparently have disturbed them. First, they wanted to make sure that the League was not to be an alliance, and that its basic purpose was peace and not controversy. Second, they wanted the other powers signing the instrument to understand our constitutional limitations beyond which the treaty-making power cannot go.
"Dealing with these two questions in order, it has always seemed to me that the interpretation of the function of the League might have been stated in these words:
"'In giving its assent to this treaty, the Senate has in mind the fact that the League of Nations which it embodies was devised for the sole purpose of maintaining peace and comity among the nations of the earth and preventing the recurrence of such destructive conflicts as that through which the world has
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