IN HIS OWN RIGHT
BOOK TWO - Volume One
By Paul MacLeod
While the violence continued to afflict the European continent, Since the September 1906 invasion of Cuba, there had been considerable debate in the upper echelons of the Administration about its future. Former President Estrada Palma had made quite clear his position on the issue before his death, stating that Cuba outside the United States had no future. Over a period of 2 ½ years, the United States had expended enormous amounts of money on the small island. Two universities had been constructed, as had roads, rail, telegraph and telephone. Yellow fever had been banished. In short, the development of Cuba had been a primary focus for the Roosevelt Administration. The President wished to incorporate Cuba as a territory, like Hawaii, New Mexico and Arizona. The Secretary of War, William Taft, was not so keen.He (left) pointed out to the Cabinet meeting in January, 1909, that the development of Cuba had been a considerable drain on the Administration's budget. Since the invasion, the US had spent over $600 million on Cuba's development, an enormous amount considering the return thus far from Cuba had been under $140 million. Yet the President was confident that, long term, Cuba would prove to be a vital investment. Besides, he argued:
"the Cuban people have shown their inability to
continue along a path of peaceful and orderly progress without our direct
supervision. We would not have intervened if her
people showed the self-restraint necessary for peaceful self-government. I
will not allow anarchy to reassert itself."
Roosevelt was certain that, if abandoned, Cuba would
return to civil war. He had the backing of Senator Shelby Cullom, chair of the
Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He argued that Taft was only keen on getting
out of Cuba because the post of Governor had been passed on to Colonel Enoch
Crowder, former aide-de-camp to the Army Chief of Staff, General Arthur
McArthur, another man whom Taft disliked. Taft and Roosevelt had fought over the
appointment in 1907, with Taft favouring Major General Franklin Bell.
A number of Cubans had volunteered to join the US military when it became clear the direction in which the tide was turning. The new capitol building being constructed in Havana would house representatives from March, even though they had elected a Democrat, Jose Miguel Gomez, as the new Governor. He would have a new budget in place by next month. The only outstanding question appeared to be the issue of race. This interestingly made Cuba a close ally of the South. Southerners, even though they questioned the Hispanic bloodlines as worthy, certainly understood Cuban intolerance for the "uppity black man".
The Cabinet conference of January, 1909, was Taft's last chance to put his view. It was rejected outright by the President. Over the past four months, the two once-close friends had made public the growing distance between them. It was but the first of a number of disputes between Roosevelt and Capitol Hill.
Real unemployment was dropping to unprecedented levels, unless you looked at the figures for Negro workers, but even then, over five million of them had found work in the last four years. There was growing demand from the industrial leaders that the four-year halt on immigration be lifted as soon as possible, possibly by driving down the head tax once again. Wages, in their opinion, were climbing far too high.
However, the President was most reluctant to
change the situation. He wanted the Congress to reintroduce his Federal Labor
Court so that he could set wages independent of the market before allowing more
immigrants. Otherwise, wages were only going to fall back to the pitiful levels
he had been trying to avoid. Present migration was about 450,000 per annum. The
figures indicated that he might push that up another 300,000 without major
impacts. However, the business community were talking about 14 million over the
next decade and tripling the intake immediately. It simply wasn't on his agenda.
The New Ottoman Government
Despite the arrest of most of the Committee of Union and Progress after the aborted coup of the Jonturkler, or Young Turks, the Sultan Abdulhamid II had been forced to restore the 1876 Constitution and reconvened Parliament. While Mehmed Kiamil Pasha remained Grand Vizier, the Parliament was dominated by the League of Private Initiative and Decentralisation, run by Prince Sabaheddin. The LPID ran on a platform of administrative decentralisation, promotion of industrialisation and seeking European assistance to restructure the Ottoman economy.
With the power of the Sultan broken, Prince Sabaheddin
frankly understood that the Empire needed money and development, and it needed
it quickly. He approached the governments of Britain and France to state it was
time for the Second Tanzimat, or period of reform. The First Tanzimat had been
brought to an end by the collapse of the Vienna Stock Exchange in 1873. He was
prepared to make concession in return for considerable aid. The British were
already in virtual possession of Egypt, and owned the rights to the Suez Canal.
What would Britain be prepared to offer in exchange for imperial control of all
of Egypt? Likewise, Tripolitania was in the grips of the indigenous Senussi
movement, an anti-Ottoman administration started by Sayyid Mohammed Ali al-Senussi
in the 1830's. Turning Tripolitania over to French administration, as had been
done in Algeria and Tunisia, was an option on the table. The Ottoman Empire made
clear its willingness to get out of Africa, but wanted adequate levels of
compensation for the action.
The mood for concessions by the Ottomans led to a visit in February, 1909, by two distinguished guests. Sir Nathan Meyer, 1st Baron Rothschild, was head of the international banking dynasty, a member of the House of Lords and administrator of the estate of Cecil Rhodes. He had been purchasing large tracts of land in Palestine on behalf of the Zionist Organisation. Present with him was the chairman of that organisation and president of the Jewish Colonial Trust, a German named David Wolfsohn. They were arguing for the removal of remaining barriers to the purchase of land in Palestine.
The problem with buying land in Palestine was that there was little registration as to who actually owned the Ottoman land and the classification into which it fell. Those areas which were registered were often registered under invalid names, or were of a form of ownership which had no recognition. The Prince argued that, as such, the barriers to purchase had to remain.....unless, Rothschild and his supporters were prepared to finance the costs of registering all the land in the Ottoman Empire. It was, as far as Sabaheddin was concerned, the Empire's chance to develop one of his pet projects, its own version of the Domesday Book.
Prince Sabaheddin had also won strong support among Arabs and Armenians for his willingness to concede centralised control. He pledged that, over the next three months, his Government would develop a new system of governance for the country and would seek to obtain from outside sources the funds necessary for the modernisation of the Ottoman state.
The hive of international diplomacy was soon buzzing with the plans to fundamentally redraw and restructure the Ottoman Empire. The Government had already begun receiving payments from the British and the French for their possessions in Africa. They were gathered here to determine how much the Ottomans should get in total, and for what should it be used to offer the Porte its best chance at survival. Prince Sabaheddin chaired the Conference at Trebizond, now within the new Kingdom of Armenia. The World Zionist Organisation requested and received observer status at the talks.
Part of the deal involved modernisation, aid in areas such as policing, the development of communications and transport infrastructure and the establishment of a public school system. The government would be reorganised. Incentives would be provided for foreign investment. Food production and distribution would be upgraded. Manufacturing would be stepped up, as would the search for oil and other minerals. Major housing redevelopments would be poured through the cities of the Ottoman Empire, with modernisations of water and electricity systems. Military training colleges, with British and French specialists, would train a modern army.
In organisation, there would be a federation under the Sultan. There would be new monarchs, with veto rights for the Sultan, elected by a limited suffrage in Armenia, Syria, Mesopotamia, Palestine, Jordan and Arabia. When monarchs in these countries died, the people would elected a new king, rather than have a line of succession. The full title of the Sultan, reflecting the administration break-up of the Empire, would now be "By the grace of Allah, the Most Wise, Merciful and Compassionate, Mehmet, of the Ottoman Empire sultan, King of Turkey, Lord of Kurdistan, Smyrna and Rhodes, Prince of Uhyun, Caliph of Islam." In the new Council of Lords, there would be four Grand Dukes of the Empire, chosen out of seven kings, who are in turn selected from three lords from each national level, all approved by the Sultan. Each kingdom would also get to elect two knights. Below this Council would be the Parliament, formed by direct limited suffrage election and would elect the Grand Vizier. There could be no veto by the Sultan on the appointment of a Grand Vizier. The influence of the British in devising this scheme was unquestionable.
Lord protectorates were established over those areas which might eventually become full members of the Empire, with their own elected King. The new autonomous territory of Uhyun would be land, forming nominally part of Palestine, but an area in which there could be no restrictions upon purchases of land by "approved foreign investors" and the right to move to protectorate status - and be considered for their own king - at a time of its own choosing. The sale of land could commence anytime after the completion of the National Census, which was being jointly financed by New York and London international banking houses. In return, they wanted a license to operate banking businesses in the Empire.
Britain also walked into the conference keen to build relations between her Empire and that of the Sultan. The Russian Empire was growing daily closer to the British. The question being asked in the British Foreign Office is whether it should continue its practice of building individual alliances, as she had recently done with Siam, or attempt, as they nearly had in the past, to build a defence bloc. The treaty with Siam had been brought on by French pressure to surrender its claims in Indochina. Rama, as the Siamese ruler was known, was understandably fearful that the imperial powers would swallow his country. This much information everybody knew. However, the King argued that if the British were prepared to count Siam as part of her network of friends, no French soldier would dare to cross her. Additionally, Siam would defend the Federated Malay States (established 1895), the Straits Settlement, Burma and Johor. In this situation, however, the Turks and the Russians were arch enemies and it would be hard to build a stable alliance between them.
Nonetheless, the Ottomans received more than they expected out of the conference: £215.8 million sterling. This was fifteen years revenue from the two provinces in one hit. It would fund the modernisation of the Empire. As to their disposal, rumour had it that Britain immediately intended to make Egypt a dominion, equal to India, Canada, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand, within the imperial preference trading system. The current Khedive and his successors would serve as the representatives of the British Crown. Tripolitania and Libya would be admitted to a new scheme being devised by the French to control their unchallenged domination of northern Africa.
The End of the Mediterranean War
The Prince Regent Carlos of Spain had met the news of the December tsunami that had damaged his fleet with a heavy heart. With perhaps thousands dead, there was now only a limited amount of money and manpower available for him to fulfill his dream. Unless a quick surrender could be achieved, the Spanish conquest of southern Italy would not occur.
Consulting with his generals, he learned that the landings at Gela and Pachino had both gone to plan. Syracuse had fallen virtually without a shot being fired on 9 January and Augusta was now in Spanish hands. The Italian forces stationed on the shorelines had lacked both equipment and transport. The generals were, however, tied down in a battle up the southern mountains toward Vizzini and had been struggling to make ground for the last two days.
It soon became clear to the Regent that an attempt to take the town would be difficult, particularly as his generals revealed that some soldiers had abandoned orders and headed off, attacking patrols and causing general confusion. After some talks, the Regent decided to take advantage of the situation. He instructed that two brigades were to hold the southern landing and a further five were to attempt to continue up the east coast to Messina. The Spanish 3rd Brigade should make an attempt for Agrigento. Clearly, Spanish forces should not tie themselves down attempting to seize the mountain passes.
The 3rd Brigade headed to Agrigento and took the town with ease. They were given instructions to hold it, but not to proceed any further. What the Spanish did not know is that the Italians had intercepted communications and were aware of what they were doing. The defensive forces holding Palermo were ordered to move east to strengthen the forces at Messina, which would soon come under attack. What the Italians did not know is that Spanish soldiers were not adept at following orders. It was thus a surprise to all when the 3rd Brigade took the city of Palermo on 25 January.The fall of Palermo shook King Vittorio Emanuele III (left) to the core. He immediately sacked Prime Minister Giolitti, appointing in his place Sidney Sonnino with the instruction that Italy was not to surrender Sicily. However, the remainder of the Sicilian campaign was a race: a race to determine how many troops the Italians could evacuate from Messina before the city fell. When that occurred on 17 February, about half of the total Italian forces assigned to Sicily had been left behind as prisoners of war. The Spanish had lost close to five thousand troops, with an estimated sixteen thousand wounded. However, the casualties on the Italian side were much higher, with modern day estimates suggested thirty thousand as a conservative figure.
For the Spanish, this was the size of victory necessary to
restore confidence in the cause. The spirit of the Regent were further lifted
when a letter arrived from the Pope, suggesting that he and the Austrian Emperor
were blessed by God for the mission of liberating the Papal States. He was
assured by the letter that the tsunami had been the work of the Devil to try his
faith. The letter was golden in the hands of Sonnino, who, with a sense of anger
and disbelief, sent a copy to Paris.
In his most recent briefing on the war, his
generals had advised him that surrender was the only option. French troops had
more experience and a greater mobility, as well as being as motivated as his own
forces. The briefings on the other countries had proven interesting as well.
They had indicated that support for the war in Austria-Hungary was continuing to
fall, despite their advances, and that Spanish support could be undermined. They
pointed out that Austria's troops had poor mobility compared to his own, while
Spain was suffering from equipment shortages for which France was compensating.
It was thus that on 13 March, 1909, representatives of five nations gathered in the Palazzo Chiablese, the former residence of the Savoy monarchs, in Turin. Present was the Foreign Ministers of Italy, France, Austria-Hungary and Spain, as well as the Grand Negus of Shewa, sent as the representative of Emperor Menelik II of Ethiopia. Their intent was to end the Mediterranean War and the Treaty of Turin, which followed, outlined the following terms:
France would withdraw its troops to the borders of Piedmont. Piedmont, along with the Aosta Valley, would be annexed and reclassified as the French Province of Savoy. Liguria would be declared the Republic of Genoa. In Africa, the Italian colony of Eritrea would be ceded to France. Austria-Hungary would directly annex the province of Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giulia. Spain would annex the islands of Sardinia and Sicily. The Italian Somaliland would be divided up between France and Ethiopia, who had assisted the French in hampering Italian forces in Africa. France would take responsibility for East and West Ogaden. Ethiopia would get Mogadishu and the southern coast. The growing anticlerical movement in Austria-Hungary, the staunch anticlericalism in France and the strength of monophysite philosophy in Ethiopia prevented any claim by the Spanish for the restoration of the Papal States.The Treaty of Turin was, for Italy, the end of its colonial era. In addition to the loss of its overseas territories, the nation lost over three-tenths of its population through either war or annexation. It had also lost the majority of its industrial base. The power of Italian nationalism was broken by the war, as was the careers of many of its leaders, whose power bases were no longer contained within the Italian kingdom. While Prime Minister Sonnino bore responsibility for the peace treaty and resigned shortly thereafter, his main opponent, Giolitti was now excluded from the Parliament. Thus Sonnino would remain the most powerful member of the Italian legislature for some time to come, even though he could never again serve as Prime Minister. In his place, at the head of a right-centre coalition, the King chose Antonio Salandra (left). Their new objective was to crush internal dissent from the radicals and socialists to ensure the stability of their reduced homeland.
One of those who bore the brunt of the crackdown and fled abroad was a 26-year-old schoolmaster Benito Mussolini, who was offered a job staffing for an Italian member of the Austrian Reichsrat. During his work, he became convinced of the need to reunify the Italian people within the Empire. He would turn his campaigning skills to the establishment of the University of Trieste, Austria's first Italian language university. He also began to argue in favour of Italian incorporation within the Austro-Hungarian Empire as the "third crown" by non-military means.
An America In Conflict
On the first day of April, 1909, the Lower California Company was served notice by the local authorities that their lease on Magdalena Bay had been terminated. They were advised that the operation of the orchil factory and the exploitation of its workers were in non-compliance with the contractual terms and they were to leave immediately. Their investors began to panic.
The Lower California Company immediately advised the US Navy Office, which regularly performed manoeuvres in the bay, as well as establishing a "temporary base" on Isla Margarita and controlling the traffic through the Puerto de Bahia Magdalena. Navy officials were most displeased.When news from the business community and the military officials filtered into the White House through different channels, President Roosevelt immediately intervened. A letter was sent to President Porfirio Diaz (left), requesting a meeting on the border between the two leaders. Diaz had recently promised free elections in Mexico again, and there was grave concern that he would attempt to use a nationalist standoff as a means of ensuring his political survival.
The United States was prepared to nationalise the
company's assets, including the lease, in order to retain Navy facilities. It
argued that the loss of Magdalena Bay to a company that was not American was a
threat to US security. Additionally, there were large US investment in the
regions of Baja California and Baja California Sur. How long would those
businesses survive if the Navy activity was removed? There must be at least a
guarantee of continued access.
Diaz cancelled the Presidential conference without warning after Roosevelt had already left the capital and made quite some road inland. He stated that the movement of US forces in New Mexico Territory, California and Texas was disconcerting and threatening. However, the military of both nations were looking for a spar, staring each other down over the Rio Grande.
The President returned to Washington. However, Secretary of War Taft continued toward Mexico City, with instructions to offer to purchase from Mexico the disputed territory at a negotiable sum. The Secretary would not return to the United States for nearly two months. The fact that it was Taft, and not Secretary of State Root, who visited Mexico gave a clear indication to Diaz of the seriousness of the situation. However, Diaz ensured that his media were poorly-advised. The version in Mexico was something like this:
At home, Roosevelt was very much distracted by other issues. The doctrine of corporate personhood was one which the President had long found unsatisfactory. The position, established in Santa Clara County v Southern Pacific Railroad, was a controversial one and had been for the last 25 years. However, the President saw the opportunities involved in the revocation of that doctrine and had made sure he had the numbers on the Court to remove it at the next opportunity.
For example, he thought, if corporations are no longer persons, all corporate political activities, including lobbying and donations could be banned. The Senate was already corrupt. By making it directly elected and no longer subject to the powers of the corporate giants, the Senate could be purified. By removing their personhood, you could make the corporations subject to surprise, unscheduled searches. You could make every expansion into a new community subject to democratic oversight and approval.
The Court would overturn it, given the opportunity. However, Roosevelt wanted more. Roosevelt had become a great fan of the idea of constitutional amendment, forcing the issues of the day directly back to the people and getting them to pressure their own state government. He considered this his legacy, his great opportunity to make the United States a truly democratic republic. One amendment would never make it into the Constitution. It read:
SECTION 1. The U.S. Constitution protects only the rights of living human beings.
SECTION 2. Corporations and other institutions granted the privilege to exist shall be subject to any and all laws enacted by the citizens and their elected governments.
SECTION 3. Corporations and other for-profit institutions are prohibited from attempting to influence the outcomes of elections, legislation or government policy through the use of aggregate resources or by rewarding or repaying employees or directors to exert such influence.
SECTION 4. Congress shall have the power to implement this article by appropriate legislation.
There were, however, a number of Amendments that did make it into the US Constitution under the watch of Roosevelt. They read as follows:
SECTION 1. For the purposes of providing all citizens, regardless of wealth, a more equal opportunity to influence elections, public policy and run for public office; of furthering the principle of "one person, one vote" and preserving a participatory and democratic republic; as well as the purpose of limiting corruption and the appearance of corruption, we the people declare the unlimited use of money to influence elections incompatible with the principle of equal protection established under the Fourteenth Amendment.
SECTION 2. The Congress shall have the power to set limits on
contributions and expenditures made to influence the outcome of any federal
SECTION 4. The power of each state to set limits on
contributions and expenditures shall extend to all elections in that state,
including initiative and referendum elections, as well as the power to lower any
federal limits for the election of members of Congress to represent the people
of that state.
SECTION 1. All citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, shall have the right to vote in any public election held in the jurisdiction in which the citizen resides. The right to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States, any State, or any other public or private person or entity.
SECTION 2. Each State shall administer public elections in the State in accordance with election performance standards established by the Congress. The Congress shall reconsider such election performance standards at least once every four years to determine if higher standards should be established to reflect improvements in methods and practices regarding the administration of elections.
SECTION 3. Each State shall provide any eligible voter the opportunity to register and vote on the day of any public election.
SECTION 4. Each State and the District constituting the seat of Government of the United States shall establish and abide by rules for appointing its respective number of Electors. Such rules shall provide for the appointment of Electors on the day designated by the Congress for holding an election for President and Vice President and shall ensure that each Elector votes for the candidate for President and Vice President who received a majority of the popular vote in the State or District.
SECTION 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on income, property, production, the export and import of goods and services, and from every source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.
SECTION 1. In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become President.
SECTION 2. Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.
SECTION 3. Whenever the President transmits to the President
pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his
written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his
office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary,
such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting
The American people, however, were much more concerned about racial conflict. One person gravely worried was African American leader, Dr William du Bois (below). There had already been actions by the White Citizens of AmericaMovement and a series of riots in a number of American cities. It had started in Charleston, South Carolina, due to competition between a black and white applicant for a city job, in October 1908. Then on 24 January, there had been another riot in Washington DC. A week later, in early February, 1909, there had been a three day riot in Illinois, which had left scores of people dead and homeless. There had been further riots in Tennessee, Texas, Alabama and Arkansas. Estimates were that as many as 266 people had been killed, at least two-thirds of them coloured. Persons injured numbered 3759 and there had been approximately 7000 homes destroyed in the accumulating waves of violence.
Desegregation was being deconstructed, but race relations were coming apart at the seams. The President had ordered that discrimination in employment was not to be practiced at a federal level. He had also stated that, if by October desegregation in state facilities was incomplete, he would seek an order from the Supreme Court stating that it must proceed with all deliberate speed. However, there was a degree of panic among state legislators and, particularly in the South, the citizens.
However, Du Bois knew that tolerance could not be enforced and quite assuredly he was aware that the Negro population needed to organise to defend themselves. He invited the President of the Anti-Imperialist League, Moorfield Storey, to serve as President, and renowned Jewish banker, Jacob Schiff, to serve as a Director. Nurse and social worker Lillian Wald also agreed to serve, as did Columbia University Professors John Dewey and Joel Spingarn. Joining this coalition was Congresswoman Mary White Ovington of New York (S), female suffrage activist and publisher Josephine Ruffin, Director of the District of Columbia Board of Education Mary Terrell, importer Inez Boissevaine, chair of the Chicago School of Sociology Jane Addams, ex-Congressman George White of Nth Carolina (R), New York World editor Charles Russell, journalists Joseph Steffens and Ray Baker, the owner of the New York Evening Post Oswald Villard, and the owner and editor of the Chicago Conservator, Ida B Wells.
This new National Negro Committee, with Professor Spingarn as Chairman and Moorfield Storey as President, was thus formed on 12 February, 1909, to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln. The Committee decided that lobbying and litigation would be useful, however, massive resistance would force the adoption of a campaign of civil disobedience, producing crisis situations through marches, boycotts and "sit-ins". However, like the White Citizens of America, they began to accumulate armaments should they prove necessary in defence of their people.
There had been considerable discussion about segregation in American society since the decisions of the Supreme Court in 1909 and, with Oklahoma moving to introduce an amendment to its constitution, the new National Negro Committee saw an opportunity for its first case.
Oklahoma's new proposed amendment stated that illiterate people could not vote, unless their grandfather had voted. This meant that illiterate whites would be able to vote; illiterate blacks could not. With an election due in November, the NNC was concerned that black voters would be disenfranchised. They also wanted an explicit ruling, in light of the increasing weakness of Plessy, on the status of the grandfather clauses. Only 1.5% of African Americans qualified to vote based on these clauses.
Although public facilities were steadily desegregating (including transport, schools and dining areas), the prohibitions against voting by black citizens were the last outstanding point of discrimination. In June, the Government backed the NNC to obtain a restraining order, forbidding any amendment to the Oklahoma Constitution until the Supreme Court had considered whether or not the proposal was constitutional.
Justice Harlan stepped up to take the case, however, the bench was not full. Justice Peckham was too ill to attend, as was Justice Brewer. Chief Justice Fuller himself was irregular. The remaining six judges agreed to allow Harlan to take the opinion. He said,
He further stated that, while the Court could not enforce
past rights, it could rule invalid legislation that prevented the exercise of
current rights and would not hesitate to declare invalid any government which
prevented the vote of citizens, black or white.
The Persian Interference
Since the ascension of Mohammed Ali Shah Qajar, on 21 January 1907, the new monarch of Persia (pictured right) had directly contravened the commitments he had made to respect the Constitution and national rights. The crisis reached a peak when, on 23 June, 1908, the Russian commander of the Iranian Cossacks, Colonel Liakhov, had refused to follow the orders of the Shah to place the Majlis under siege and bombard it with artillery fire. He and his brigade had been arrested, causing Russia's Foreign Minister Leon Trotsky no shortage of concern.
Russia and Britain had, as yet, failed to reach a conclusive agreement on a division of interests within Persia. Trotsky responded to the lack of cooperation, not by threatening war (something which would provoke British interference), but instead ordering Ambassador Zapolski to promote the value of socialism by providing arms to anti-Qajar forces. From November 1908, uprisings began to spread across the countryside.
In Rasht, Tabriz, Esfahan, Shiraz, Hamadan, Mashhad, Bandar Abbas and Bushehr, a group of fighters known as Socialist Freedom began to take to the streets. Gradually, one by one, cities across Persia fell to the rebel brigades. Britain demanded explanations from Russia as to what was occurring and threatened to intervene. Russia denied all knowledge of the resistance, arguing that the weapons had been stolen from facilities in the Caucasus and stating that it would move its troops to prevent the fall of Tehran.
However, strangely, the Russian troops never
arrived in time. And when the Socialist Freedom Brigades broke through pro-Qajar
forces and took the capital on 12 July, the Cossack brigade held by the
government were among the first liberated. The Shah and a number of his
supporters were escorted to the Russian Embassy, where they were granted asylum,
and then deported out of the country to Moscow. Four days later, the Majlis
deposed Mohammed Ali Shah and named his eleven year old son, Ahmad Shah, as
Across the border in the Ottoman Empire, life was looking up. A letter from the Sub-Governor of Damascus, Mustafa Kemal Bey, to the new Grand Vizier Prince Sabaheddin recorded that the last of the Jonturkler resistance had been destroyed. The last to fall in the purge had been the head of the rebellion and former General of the 3rd Army, Ahmed Djemal Pasha. The new Parliament in Constantinople was, for the first time in many years, a diverse gathering from across the Empire. There were those who were there to pursue religious and ethnic policies, however, blocs dedicated to views on taxation, the debate surrounding the role of censorship, and positions on Westernisation soon emerged. However, most importantly, the new Arab political elites came close to holding a majority in the Parliament, despite the fact that they couldn't agree on much.
The most vocal of these was 61-year-old Nafi al-Jabiri of Aleppo, son of a muftu, who quickly emerged as a potential leader. He insisted upon the removal of seniority restrictions in the civil service and demanded that the constitution be reformed to make the Grand Vizier and his ministers accountable to Parliament. He pointed out procedural bottlenecks and demanded that the Ottoman Empire create some meaningful alliances, strongly favouring France. Within the year, the ministry would incorporate three Arab ministers, Nafi among them as Minister of Finance. It was soon not uncommon for Arab deputies to dominate the floor of the Parliament, however they never incorporated as a bloc. In March, 1910, the same forces would decide to move the administrative capital of the Empire to Beirut. Additionally, Arabic was adopted as one of the official languages of the Empire. However, nationalists was criticised strongly, particularly those of Armenian heritage.
There were elements in the new Parliament who also raised the prospect of using the funds available to expand the Empire once again in Europe, but they were shouted down by those who remembered the last exercise of expansionism and the war with Russia. An anti-imperialist philosophy became one of the keynotes of policy in the early years of the Second Tanzimat. The other important policy was pan-Islamism, in which the role of the Sultan as Caliph took priority over his political position.
Further west, in Egypt, Khedive Abbas II was not a man with any great interest in statecraft. He would have much preferred to live on his estate outside Cairo. Besides which, he had little say in how things were ruled, that privilege falling almost exclusively to the British consul-general, Sir John Gorst. He did recognise, however, that Egypt was in dire need of British funds to continue its modernisations and the British were reluctant to invest such money as was needed unless they had control in name as well as in deed. As such, he had endorsed the sale of Egypt to Britain.
In February, 1910, he was in London, to be
installed as a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath, for his assisting
role in the negotiations of the sale of Egypt. He had, during his travel north,
met with His Holiness in Rome and the French President in Paris and had decided
one thing firmly - Egypt should be part of Europe, not part of Africa. It should
have the professional staff army, schools, hospitals, opera houses, theatres,
roads, railways, large scale industrialisation, ship building and, most of all,
massive irrigation schemes. He imagined his country becoming, in short measure,
as a massive primary and secondary producer within the British Empire and the
thought was not a sad one.
After three weeks of meetings, the initial
idea had transmigrated into a solid plan. His family would be well treated,
blessed with lands and titles - he himself would be Earl Abbas of Koubah. Egypt
would get a new Governor General, namely Viscount Kitchener, who would preside
over a Council of State, made up of regional aristocrats, and a National
Assembly, elected by the people. The Sudan would, until the British Parliament
decided otherwise, be incorporated under Egyptian rule. Egypt's military would
be professionalised, with a staff college, and the nation thoroughly modernised.
Most important of all, the British would, out of Suez Canal levies, incorporate
his recommendations on the gravity dam at Aswan and incorporate changes he had
proposed when renovations had begun three years previously, even though it would
extend the project out to 1916. Egypt would be a breadbasket.
Seeking Stability in Europe
The Shah of Persia was not the only one unable to keep up with the changing world. The Kaiser was carefully guided out of his old apartments at the Hohenzollern Castle, to be met by his son and his new Chancellor, August Bebel. He shuddered at the idea that Germany had a socialist chancellor, but the elections had clearly given the Social Democrats 121 seats out of a total of 391, and every indication was that they were increasingly in popularity. The three proceeded up to the Schnarrwacht Bastion to overlook the beautiful Swabian Alb.Kaiser Wilhelm told his son frankly, "I don't understand this world." The new Chancellor was detailing his arguments with the Russian leadership over the basic laws of a socialist society, and with British socialists over the value of traditions. He was supporting the idea of a homeland for the Jews in Uhyun during discussions with the Ottoman Ambassador. He was advocating full employment and the gradual nationalisation of all land. He was even talking about "alternate uses" for the Berliner Dom. Sacrilege! thought the Kaiser. Fortunately, as he had told Philipp, it was no longer necessary that this be his responsibility.
On 2 July, Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicated as German Emperor and King of Prussia, making way for his son (right). He would assume the title of Grand Duke of Baden-Wurttemberg and would reside at Sigmaringen on the Danube (with Prince Eulenberg-Hertefeld). His wife, Auguste Viktoria, took responsibility for the residence at Kiel and began to preside, somewhat controversially, over setting the fashion trend on Laboe Beach. In future, she would also be regularly spotted in Paris. The former Emperor and his "Dona" remained close and constant friends throughout their remaining years. Their son would be crowned Kaiser Wilhelm III of Germany and Prussia in April, 1910. (In 1921, the Grand Duke would lose both his wife and his partner. At that time, he moved to Achilleas Thniskon, his residence on the Greek island of Corfu. He lived a solitary existence in the sanctuary of Corfu until his death in 1932.)
A restoration of stability was not as likely in Spain. In what many described as a Pyrrhic victory, the demands of the War of the Mediterranean on the Kingdom of Spain were considerable and costly. The considerable profits added to the Crown as a result of the sale of the African colonies had been expended completely in the effort to control Sardinia and Sicily. There was ongoing resistance to Spanish rule in both territories, particularly in Sardinia, making enormous demands on the military.
In May, 1909, the Spanish Government began to step up the conscription of troops from the general population. Many of Spain's elite soldiers had died in the war, particularly in the Sicilian tsunami disaster of the previous December. However, there was growing resistance to the enforced military service in Spain's north-east, centred on Barcelona, but spreading out to include Aragon, Valencia, Catalonia, the Basque Country and Navarre.
In addition, Spain was ruled by a conservative Catholic elite who had dealt with resistance in the north with a repressive violence. Since 1892, the Catalan people had expressed demands for self-rule in their Bases de Manresa. It was they who started the rebellion, calling a general strike and shutting down the port of Barcelona. They were quickly supported by the Basque. Zaragoza, capital of the agrarian north, joined in the general strike and, on 8 June, the port of Valencia also shut down. Troops headed to stamp out resistance in Sardinia and Sicily found themselves unable to leave, as ships blockaded the harbour and strikers blockaded the streets. Internal disagreements within the Parliament began to grow and socialist and liberal members joined with the strikers in calling for the removal of the Regent and the Government. Students rioted in the universities and by the middle of July, over a million Spanish citizens were on the streets demanding immediate change.
Strangely, the demands by the protestors had little to do with the war itself. They wanted the power of the elite capitalists broken (a cry backed by the Russian government), they wanted employment insurance (something which the cost of the war now prevented), they demanded in some quarters the separation of the Catholic Church from the Spanish state apparatus in imitation of French efforts less than a decade before and finally, they demanded that the vast estates that had existed since time immemorial be broken up and given over to the ownership of those who worked them.
Under the banner of a united alliance, anarchists, socialists, trade unionists, various nationalist groups and other discontent elements gathered in Madrid on 20 July, 1909. Regrettably, however, Prince Regent Carlos had kept his most loyal troops in the capital, sending to the front those who were expendable. In street battles in Madrid on the evening of 21 July, thousands of Spanish citizens were systematically slaughtered by their own military, who then spread out to reinforce the region. It is still unclear how many died in the weeks that followed.
The Madrid insurrection of 1909 taught the Spanish people some lessons. It taught the Regent and his government that monarchist, agrarian and capitalist interests must tightly ally themselves to the interests of the military elite, effectively making democratic institutions appear to be reactionary forces to the people. In the second place, it convinced those opposed to the government that they could not protest to effect change; they would have to destroy the apparatus of the state to win their freedom. Thirdly, it re-established connections between the various movements that opposed the status quo, creating an unified force that, while now underground, could continue to stir up discontent. Together, it spelled the demise of the Spanish state.
The Second Mexican-American War
There was enormous political turmoil in Mexico City when it became clear that US Secretary of War, William Taft, was there to purchase more land, not to offer compensation for past conflict as had been suggested. It stirred up considerable anti-American feeling, which President Diaz was confident he could control. The growing threat from democratic forces in Mexico was threatening his military rule of the country and, by raising the spectre of further American aggression, he hoped to unify his people behind him for the coming fraud of an election. If the result was questionable, he would win.
President Diaz instructed that the Secretary should stay at the US Embassy until the Palace was ready to receive him. And so Taft waited. And waited. And waited. In the Embassy, it was clear that Mexico's leader was trying to make a point. Deliberately insulting and belittling the US representative was certainly a way of making the point clear to America. In reality, there was little they could do about it. However, the tension between American and Mexican troops on the border was a matter that needed some dire attention. The charade that Mexico City was playing was one that required an enormous amount of restraint and professionalism by the soldiers inserted into the bit parts. Unfortunately, many of these soldiers were conscripts.
On 23 July, the officers at Camp Elliot in San Diego, acting on a "tip-off", gave an order to investigate the abandoned Adamson Ranch east of the city. What precisely happened after that point is unclear. It has undoubtedly been clouded over due to a century of propaganda, half truths and great exaggerations by both sides. What was clear is that over two thousand Mexican troops had made their way across the border and stationed themselves on US soil in preparation for the war they believed was coming. A quick strike and capture against San Diego in the early days of the war would cover these soldiers in glory. In the meantime, they could live on the secluded property and nobody on either side would be any the wiser.
The fire fight at the Adamson Ranch saw the Americans vastly outnumbered and the scout team quickly surrender, losing eleven soldiers in the process. The Mexican soldiers now knew that they (and their sixty plus prisoners) had to get back across the border. If the Americans found out what had happened here, Mexico would be blamed for starting the war. If the Mexican generals found out they had pre-empted orders, they would be probably be shot by Mexican guns rather than American ones. So they prepared to withdraw, unaware that one American soldier had avoided capture and was on his way back to Camp Elliot.
On 27 July, President Roosevelt ordered Secretary Taft to come home. He further demanded the release of American prisoners by Mexico and gave the Mexicans seven days to cede Magdalena Bay and its surrounds as sovereign US territory. President Diaz had been backed into a corner from which he could not escape. On 2 August, a Mexican force numbering over five thousand crossed the Californian border and the Mexican War had begun.At the start of war, General Arthur Macarthur, Army Chief of Staff since 1906, had already announced his retirement. In his place, the President had appointed Lieutenant General Leonard Wood, who, with Roosevelt, was an avid promoter of the Preparedness Movement. They argued that there needed to be steady and sizable increases in the American military capability to prepare for future intervention beyond America's immediate sphere of influence if required. With the arrival of the Mexican War, President Roosevelt's desire for a comprehensive boost to military expenditure was achieved. Congress approved the declaration of war on 7 August.
US forces struck across two fronts, the Rio Grande in Mexico and Baja California, reinforced by the Pacific Fleet. On 22 August, as troops began to cross the border, those who opposed the Diaz regime rose up to declare their independence from Mexico. Wealthy businessman Francisco Madero (left) and cattle rancher Venustiano Carranza were among those who announced the neutrality of Coahuila and sought American protection. In Chihuahua, three days later, wealthy miner Pascual Orozco used American supplied arms to stage a coup against the Governor and declare himself interim President. In the south, the head of Anenecuilco village, Emiliano Zapata, declared himself the General of the Liberation Army of the South and commenced a guerrilla campaign to overthrow President Diaz.
In Baja California and "the Sur", American nationals actively supported the invasion forces. Rear Admiral Cameron Winslow took temporary control of Magdalena Bay, governing it from the bridge of the battleship New Hampshire, although control would later be transferred to Admiral William Cowles (retd.), former CINC, Asiatic Fleet and the President's brother-in-law.
Considering the forces raised against him, President Diaz had little chance of survival. The fall of Hermosillo on 6 November sealed his fate and, two weeks later, Acting President Madero offered an unconditional surrender to the United States. Under the armistice signed at Matamoros, the United States claimed the new Territory of Southern California, retained the right to occupy Sonora, Sinaloa and Durango until their status was decided by negotiation and both countries agreed to recognise the defacto independence of the Republic of Chihuahua until such time as a peace treaty was reached. General Wood would get his fourth star for his efforts.
However, the Mexican War of 1909 represented a major point of
fracture for the Republican Party. The ongoing arguments that had threatened to
destroy party unity for over five years, and the "emergency" created
by the conflict moved the President to launch a new vision for the country - one
that threatened to destroy the status quo. Roosevelt had constantly ignored and
sidelined his " conservative" Secretary of War, William Taft, who was
sacked in September for his public disagreement with the new direction of the
President Roosevelt was strongly denounced by members of the Republican Party as a socialist agitator, before he kindly pointed out that large swathes of his speech had been quoting Abraham Lincoln. At a speech to a military base in Topeka, he said,
"I stand for the square deal. But when I say
that I am for the square deal, I mean not merely that I stand for fair play
under the present rules of the game, but that I stand for having those rules
changed so as to work for a more substantial equality of opportunity and of
reward for equally good service. One word of warning, which, I think, is
hardly necessary in Kansas. When I say I want a square deal for the poor man,
I do not mean that I want a square deal for the man who remains poor because
he has not got the energy to work for himself. If a man who has had a chance
will not make good, then he has got to quit. And you men of the Grand Army,
you want justice for the brave man who fought, and punishment for the coward
who shirked his work. Is not that so?"
He also attacked his fellow Republicans for opposing his
efforts by calling them "untrue to the principles of conservatism".
Again, in a speech in New Mexico Territory to the troops, he said,
"The absence of effective state, and,
especially, national, restraint upon unfair money-getting has tended to create
a small class of enormously wealthy and economically powerful men, whose chief
object is to hold and increase their power. The prime need is to change the
conditions which enable these men to accumulate power which it is not for the
general welfare that they should hold or exercise. We grudge no man a fortune
which represents his own power and sagacity, when exercised with entire regard
to the welfare of his fellows. Comrades, we grudge no man a fortune in civil
life if it is honorably obtained and well used. It is not even enough that it
should have been gained without doing damage to the community. We should
permit it to be gained only so long as the gaining represents benefit to the
community. This, I know, implies a policy of a far more active governmental
interference with social and economic conditions in this country than we have
yet had, but I think we have got to face the fact that such an increase in
governmental control is now necessary."
He projected that he would ask Congress for
more centralisation of power. He wanted the power to regulate tariffs
independent of Congressional oversight. He wanted the restoration of his Labor
Court. He wanted the formation of a National Investigations Bureau to ensure
"compliance by those who resist the complete and effective public control
of private affairs." He also projected the formation of "public
service monopolies to control the necessities of life".
The political crisis was compounded by the social crisis inflicted by desegregation. The recent appointment of a progressive Democrat who staunchly criticised big business and greater government power in economic regulation, Louis Brandeis, to replace the late Justice Peckham was indicative of the fact that nothing was about to change as far as judicial review was concerned. (Despite the cries of the rebel Republican factions, those loyal to the President combined with the Democrats to achieve the appointment.)
However, it did not stop those opposing the doctrine from using every instrument available to them to delay what the Administration viewed as inevitable. Some of the state congresses passed laws which cancelled funding for desegregated school districts. Others referred decisions as to student allocations to all-white Boards of Education, who then selectively sent African Americans to one school and whites to another. Others decided to allow African American children into the established schools and opened new all-white academies in the nearby vicinity. In Virginia, one school district completely closed all operations rather than allow "niggers".
In the Congress itself, various congressional
delegations voiced their anger at desegregation policies. Six states declared
themselves unanimously in opposition to the new deal: South Carolina, Georgia,
Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas. The tension resulted in a degree
of civil disobedience and protests arranged by Dubois' National Negro Committee.
Dubois stated that "The New Negro will not tolerate segregation and
discrimination as a necessary reality." In Alabama and Mississippi, there
was established a joint commission to protect the sovereignty of the state from
the "encroachment and usurpation of the rights and powers of the
states" and to investigate secession.
The President's first action was to send in the National Guard to break up the violence, followed by his newly established National Intelligence Bureau. They were authorised to infiltrate activist groups, conduct psychological warfare to discredit and undermine them, harass dissidents through the legal system and conduct "extralegal activities", including vandalism, assaults, beatings and, when absolutely necessary, assassinations. The program was kept largely secret until 1924, when there was a leak from NIB offices to Congress. A subsequent 1929 Congressional inquiry concluded that the NIB had conducted
However, even the National Guard was insufficient to
control the violence in some areas of the nation. Violence continued in
Arkansas, Nebraska, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas and, eventually, the
President declared martial law in parts of those states. However, the
Constitution of Tennessee outlawed the use of martial law and, as far as Senator
Robert Taylor of Tennessee was concerned, the US Administration had violated the
terms of their continued membership of the Union. Standing at the Nashville
Parthenon, Senator Taylor declared his intention to resign in protest, waving a
copy of the Declaration of Independence and declaring the country had come under
the rule of a "mad King George". He declared that Tennessee had now
become "a conquered and occupied province like unto those in Mexico
subjugated by the Emperor in Washington". Claiming the principle of popular
sovereignty, he called for Tennessee to declare its independence of the United
States. As he had performed this act in a region under martial law, he was
immediately arrested by the military. The Union was now facing its greatest
crisis since the Civil War.
A Deal for Korea
The Resident-General of Korea, Okuma Shigenobu, had been involved in the talks in Tokyo from the beginning. The Emperor Gwangmu had proven surprisingly cooperative over the last few years during Prince Ito Hirobumi's administration, dismaying expectations of the Japanese Government, but, as Masatake assured them, this would all cease unless agreement was reached soon on the future of the peninsula. Korea's debt had fallen by 45% and was continuing to drop. The commitments that had been made by the Koreans had been kept. At current rates, they would have repaid every loan from Japan by 1912 and wiped out the justification that Japan held for its "sphere of influence".Hirobumi (left) gave some stern advice to the Imperial Court on his retirement was that, if they wished to hold on to Korea into the future, without the use of expensive military exercises that would prompt Russia to renewed action, now was the time to reach such an agreement. He had pledged to represent the Korean cause in Tokyo and had now fulfilled his honour. Shigenobu, the former Prime Minister and president of Waseda University, agreed with his predecessor - a rare event in Japanese politics considering their past history. As one of the nation's most beloved leaders, his opinion held a heavy weight and the fact that Ito and Okuma had been such rivals in the past made the matter a fait accompli.
So the question that confronted Japan was how to resolve the Korean situation without losing this valuable asset. One clear precondition of any arrangement was that Emperor Gwangmu must renounce his 1897 declaration of the Empire and recognise Meiji as his sovereign. That, clearly, was not going to occur, so it was decided early on that Gwangmu must abdicate. And voluntarily, when it was made clear to him that the only hope of autonomy by Korea was as a dominion of the Japanese Empire. Instead, the title of King of Joseon must be offered to his 35-year-old son, Crown Prince Cheok, along with the hand of Princess Masako, the 21-year-old daughter of Emperor Meiji, who would adopt a Korean name.
There was considerable debate as to whether or not Cheok would accept the terms. And so, the deal was "spiced up". Japan would return to Korea its debt repayments to date as an investment in building the empire and cancel the outstanding payments. In addition, Emperor Meiji offered to divide the realm. While he would retain the title of Emperor of Japan, there would be two equal realms. The new Kingdom of Naichi (Home Islands) would have King Yoshihito and Queen Sadako, ruling from Edo. The Kingdom of Joseon (Korea) would have King Yungheui and Queen Yi, ruling from Hanseong. Both would rule in their respective kingdoms under the sovereignty of the Emperor, who would return the imperial residence to Kyoto, which would be legally defined as being neither Naichi nor Joseon.
The offer was formally presented for consideration to the Imperial Court of Korea on 26 October, 1909, with an answer to be received the close of the year 1911 of the Gregorian calendar, also known as Meiji 43. There were many arguments over the next few year before the strongest opponent of union, Prince Gang, finally relented to take the title of Duke of Yenchi, the region of Manchuria that the Emperor coveted. Suddenly, support for the Emperor Gwangmu within the Korean imperial family began to evaporate. On 21 August, 1910, the Emperor abdicated, and his son took the throne as King Yungheui, refusing the imperial title. It was immediately clear that he would accept the Japanese conditions and that Joseon and Naichi would become the founding members of the newly-reinvigorated Japanese Empire. With the enormous growth that was sure to follow, the Empire could only continue to expand.
The Party Founders
As the crises in the South and the war with Mexico added immeasurable burdens upon the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt, the loyalty of his own party members finally gave way during late December, 1909. Arguments broke out openly on the floor of the Congress between members of the Republican Party who endorsed the President and those who felt they had been driven to the end of their patience. It was inevitable that the party would split.
The formation of the new Constitution Party of the United States was led in the House of Representatives by Speaker Cannon. In the Senate, John Rockefeller of Rhode Island led the charge. In the final summation, a total of eighty-four Representatives defected from the Republican ranks. They called for a reduction of the federal government, a restoration of the racial status quo, an isolationist foreign policy, strong protectionism, and an open but selective immigration. The most heartbreaking defection for the President was that of his one-time mentor, Senator Chauncey Depew of New York.
Joining him from the Senate was twenty-one other Senators, including the whole delegation from Connecticut, New Hampshire, Delaware, Rhode Island and Utah. The Republican Party would continue to hold the largest number of Senators (thirty-seven in all), but would no longer be a majority (Democratic senators numbered thirty-two; Constitutional senators numbered twenty-three). In the House, the new balance would be: Democrats 191, Republicans 136, Constitutionals 84, Socialist Labor 24. In the long-term, President Roosevelt was extremely fortunate, as a few more defections would have guaranteed his impeachment. He was also extremely fortunate that, although they both loathed him with a passion, that was about the only thing that the Democrats and Constitutionals had in common.The Democratic Party, under the leadership of the new Speaker, James Beauchamp Clark (pictured left), wished to take advantage of the split within the Republican ranks. They had a dominant hold on the South. Thanks to the split, they could now confidently predict that a number of previously strong Republican states would drift their way. In the mid-Atlantic, Delaware, Maryland and New York were destined to fall. In the Great Lakes, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and Wisconsin all appeared ripe for the picking. On the Plains, Missouri and Oklahoma, and in the Midwest, New Mexico and Utah, would come on board. Even the conservative Rhode Islanders appeared likely to become Democrats.
Speaker Clark was confident that the shift was underway
and was determined to press ahead with the Democrats' own legislative agenda.
What he and his supporters discovered is that, without its conservative rump,
the Republican Party got along famously with the Democrat Party. They both
believed in lowering tariffs. They both believed in building the anti-corporate
agenda. They both favoured the introduction of income tax. They both agreed on
shorter working hours. They even agreed on female suffrage. Clark suggested and
President Roosevelt agreed that the two parties could work together to put to
bed a whole string of issues that had stressed his and past Administrations for
so long. However, Clark did manage to antagonise certain in his party for the
drive he added to Roosevelt’s policies. The only place in which the two men
seemed to actively disagree was in foreign policy.
However, the Democrats need to look after themselves first and foremost. The 1910 Congressional election were, at this stage, anybody's guess. However, by locking in direct elections for Senators in all states by year's end and forcing in the Amendment a whole Senate election, it was entirely possible that the Democrats could emerge with a Senate majority - one that, with clever judgment, could establish them for many years to come. That was their first port of call. In addition, they had already pressured the President to appoint Louis Brandeis to the Supreme Court; they would now demand, for their continued support, the right to appoint another Democratic favourite, a Georgian named Joseph Lamar, upon the next vacancy - most likely that of Justice Brewer who was widely believed to be in his final days.
The first legislation passed by the newly balanced Congress came in March, with the Tariff Act of 1910, which was a compromise document between Republicans and Democrats. The Democrats had wanted an immediate decrease of 25% across the board, coupled with the new income tax amendment, which was hurriedly being passed by the states. The Republicans came back with a plan to achieve 20% over five years, after which an independent US Tariff Authority would establish rates. The compromise was an immediate cut of 10%, followed by a cut of 5% in 1911-1913 and the independent authority to be established in 1914.
Agriculture Secretary James Wilson suddenly found himself with new strong supporters in the Democratic Party's powerful agrarian wing, with an expansion of agricultural education and mortgage subsidies for farmers. Labor Secretary Henry Stimson found great levels of support for his 56-hour week proposal and child labour prohibitions. Commerce Secretary Philander C. Knox, however, was gravely disappointed by the President's refusal to veto laws that greatly expanded anti-trust capacity and that allowed personal liability for directors of companies. And the President was thrilled when most of his vaunted Constitutional amendments were finally approved.
Speaker Clark and senior Democrats, of course, claimed the credit and William Jennings Bryan had, by mid-year, commenced campaigning on behalf of congressional members for the election, once again raising himself as the preferred candidate for 1912. For the first time in twenty years, and only months after their hope seemed all but lost, the Democrats were facing a revival. The House was now theirs, the Senate was soon to follow and, in two years time, their stalwart party leader would finally, they believed, be President.
With the split of the Republican Party, the Administration appeared to have lost the support of big business. A legion of previously faithful party contributors suddenly found closer ties to the Constitutional Party and it was clear that, unless something was done swiftly, the President and the Republicans could swiftly find themselves in an unenviable financial position. It was with this in mind that President Roosevelt sought a meeting on 30 March, 1909, with the richest man in history, John D. Rockefeller Snr.
The President of Standard Oil had been reassured by Roosevelt since he had come to office that his company would not be affected by the "trust-busting" that had come to characterise his Administration. However, the seeking of a meeting had the press salivating over the prospect that the great oil empire was about to founder. Meeting at the Astoria Hotel, the three men talked for four hours before emerging (Rockefeller had brought with him a "friend" - Andrew Carnegie). The President immediately told the media scrum that their idle speculations about the future of Standard Oil were just that - idle - and that Standard Oil remained "a benevolent monopoly, dedicated to the welfare of the American people". He stated that the conversation of the two men had centred on government efficiency.
Days after the meeting, Senator John D. Rockefeller Jnr announced that he would not be contesting for re-election, putting a massive hole in the Constitutional Party plans to hold Rhode Island. Standard Oil donations to the Republican Party resumed. However, the President had not walked away unscathed from the meeting. In April, he announced an interim budget plan. Military expenditure would be cut by a third. Forces would be withdrawn from the occupied territories of Mexico in return for the annexation of Baja California after just six months, a much shorter time frame than many of his more "imperialist" colleagues thought prudent. The election of Francisco Madero as President of Mexico would open the first opportunity for a conclusive peace treaty between the United States and its southern neighbour. However, it would be five months before it was finalised and only then was it achieved due to the increasing threat of rebellion by General Zapata in Mexico's southern provinces and a growing tension between Mexico City and its renegade province of Chihuahua, under the leadership of "President" Pascual Orozco.
Under the Peace of 1910, signed in August, the
United States claimed the new Territory of Southern California, formerly the
provinces of Baja California and Baja California Sur. American troops would
begin to withdraw from Sonora, Sinaloa and Durango as Mexican troops became
available to replace them and, in the interim, the US Army would defend Mexico's
territorial integrity from any incursion from Chihuahua. The US would also agree
not to recognise the government of Chihuahua until such time as recognition was
extended by Mexico and would agree not to supply arms to Orozco.
There would be a major efficiency drive, to rid government of waste. Monies saved would go into the foundation of a network of national universities, including schools of business and engineering, tax concessions for research and development and the creation of a national-wide public health system. The plan for a corporate personhood amendment was scrapped.
He also announced that the Commerce Department and the Attorney General's Department would be "abandoning their adversarial relationship with business" to forge cooperative partnerships between government and business. They would focus on reducing industrial disputes and accidents, levelling out economic fluctuations, standardising products and designs and promoting international trade by offering practical advice and help to business. Treasury would work on a scheme to promote home ownership and would use weight in the banking sector to create new long-term home mortgages to stimulate housing construction. Radio broadcasting would be organised, developed and regulated. Major new projects in irrigation, the expansion of electric power and flood control would be undertaken. A new air transport industry would be encouraged.
All in all, Roosevelt announced a radical reform of the Administration's agenda. He stated that the Republican Party remained the "party of the American future" and indicated, quite clearly, that he was still a potential candidate in the race for 1912.
The End of the Edwardian Age
It was a gorgeous spectacle on the morning of 6 May. The nine kings rode past as the crowd, waiting in awe, could not keep back gasps of admiration. In scarlet and blue and green and purple, three by three the sovereigns rode through the palace gates, with plumed helmets, gold braid, crimson sashes, and jewelled orders flashing in the sun. After them came five heirs apparent, forty more imperial or royal highnesses, seven queens—four dowager and three regnant—and a scattering of special ambassadors from uncrowned countries. Together they represented seventy nations in the greatest assemblage of royalty and rank ever gathered in one place. Then Big Ben tolled nine and the cortege left the palace and the sun of the old world began a dying blaze of splendour never to be seen again.
In the centre of the front row rode the new king, George V, flanked on his left by the Tsar of Russia and on his right by Kaiser William III, the German Emperor. Mounted on a grey horse, wearing the scarlet uniform of a British Field Marshal, carrying the baton of that rank, the Kaiser had composed his features in an expression of severity. "I am proud to call this place my home and to be a member of this royal family," he would write home after spending the night in Windsor Castle in the former apartments of Victoria. The new Kaiser was much travelled - Madrid, Paris, Rome, Vienna. However, he had hoped to come here under less inauspicious terms. With him rode the widowed Queen Alexandra’s two brothers, King Frederick of Denmark and King George of the Hellenes; her nephew, King Haakon of Norway; as well as the Prince Regent of Spain, King Manuel of Portugal and, wearing a silk turban, the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, wearing the full regalia of a Byzantine Emperor.
Tall, corpulent, and corseted, with green plumes waving from his helmet, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, heir of the old Emperor Franz Josef, rode with Prince Fushimi, brother of the Emperor of Japan; the King of Genoa in bright blue with green plumes; Prince Carl, brother of the King of Sweden; Prince Henry, consort of the Queen of Holland; and the Crown Princes of Serbia, Rumania, Bulgaria and Montenegro.
A regiment of minor German royalty followed, then the Crown
Prince of Siam, the Crown Prince of Persia, five princes of the former French
royal house of Orléans, a brother of the Khedive of Egypt wearing a
gold-tasselled fez, Prince Tsia-tao of China in an embroidered light-blue gown
of the world's most ancient dynasty, and the Kaiser’s uncle, Prince Henry of
Prussia, representing the German Navy, of which he was Commander in Chief. Amid
all this magnificence were three civilian-coated gentlemen, a representative
from Switzerland, the President of France and President Theodore Roosevelt, the
emerging potentate of the United States who was approaching a decade in office
and had led his country for much longer than most of them combined.
Yet not family feeling alone nor even the suddenness and
shock of Edward’s death—for to public knowledge he had been ill one day and
dead the next—accounted for the unexpected flood of condolences at his
passing. It was in fact a tribute to Edward’s great gifts as a sociable king
which had proved invaluable to his country. In the nine short years of his reign
England’s splendid isolation had given way, under pressure, to a series of
"understandings" or attachments, with the old continental enemies,
France, Germany and Russia, and one promising new power, Japan. The resulting
shift in balance registered itself around the world and affected every state’s
relations with every other. Though Edward neither initiated nor influenced his
country’s policy, his personal diplomacy helped to make the change possible.
The funeral was also an encounter for two men who did not like each other very much. Prime Minister Nikola Pasic of Serbia was gravely concerned by the information that had filtered across the border to the west from Montenegro. Prince Nikola of Montenegro was, in his view, an upstart who had neither manners nor breeding. Now, he was talking about declaring himself Tsar. The man clearly saw himself as some kind of modern-day Dusan. His son, Danilo, was no better; despite being married, he was steadily making his way through each of his wife's ladies-in-waiting and had now reportedly a venereal disease from one of his romps in Paris or London.
Now their madness had infected Prince George, who had actually murdered a servant in a fit of rage. However, the situation in Russia was of note. Since the Great Revolt, there had been a steadily growing impatience against the excesses of the Montenegrin Grand Duchesses, including rumours of "black magic". How much longer would this be tolerated? His Majesty must be made to deal with Montenegro. The Italians and Turks couldn't interfere; the new Russian government wouldn't allow the Grand Dukes to do more than splutter in protest. Serbia needed to finalise its borders and the Empire must include Montenegro.
Yet it need not require anything as bloody as a war. He had spoken recently to Colonel Dragutin Dimitrijevic, chief of the Intelligence Department of the Serbian General Staff, who had proposed a secret society to carry out terrorist activities abroad designed to advance the spread of Serbia's borders. If the Montenegrin prince and his two sons died, the throne would automatically pass to Serbia by right of birth through the late Queen. The Serbian government could provide assistance and arms to such a group, without being in any way linked. He had already staged one coup and pushed aside Prince George. With the help of Prince Alexander, he could stage another and ensure that the two crowns were unified forever.On 28 August, 1910, Prince Nikola I Petrovic of Montenegro (left) and his family were brutally slaughtered in the Biljarda Palace in Cetinje during a failed coup d'etat attempt. The precise origin of the plot appeared to be radical elements of the military, but the new Prince of Montenegro at its end was Alexander I, also the Crown Prince of Serbia, who was forced to begin his reign in most exceptionally trying circumstances.
There was general suspicion of Belgrade, prompting the withdrawal of diplomatic representatives in Cetinje. According to the Serbian Government reports to their citizens, this was due to safety concerns. However, all ambassadors, save that of Great Britain, returned to the royal capital within three months. All of the twenty-plus conspirators allegedly, having been killed by loyalist troops. Around 11pm last night, they murdered the security at the palace gate, cut telephone and telegraph lines and used dynamite to make their way into the royal apartments. The Prince was shot five times and then his body thrown from the palace balcony.
Serbia continued to insist that the Montenegrin army has long been a magnet for poor but ambitious men, who received education at the military academy and became influential in the royal court. Serbian intelligence chief, Colonel Dragutin Dimitrijevic, stated that Serbia had evidence of a planned coup in 1908, and had thwarted the efforts. Nonetheless, the motive was clearly pointing to Serbia. The new ruler of Montenegro was also heir to the throne of Serbia, meaning that it was inevitable that, one day, both countries will have the same head of state. It appears entirely possible that Montenegro would become a Serbian dependency. Prince Alexander delayed any plans for a coronation until such time as order was restored, being given access to Serbian troops to "ensure his country’s stability".
Prince Alexander moved quickly to begin the process of "Serbianisation" of Montenegro. He placed a ban on all languages other than Serbian in schools and prohibited the publication of documents in any other language but Serbian. He outlawed nationalist societies, banned citizens from carrying weapons, forcibly recruited Montenegrins into the Serbian army and instituted harsh punishments for any action that might threaten the eventual merger of Montenegro with Serbia.
The forced surrender of weapons was regarded as an individual insult and Italy had promised to supply sanctuary, money and arms to those whose prime interests involved the prevention of Serbian control. However, those nationalists abroad, who had planned for an uprising in the winter of 1911-12, were surprised when on 6 April, the deep despair of the Montenegrin population erupted into violence in the city of Podgorica. The Italians, arguing that the opponents of Serbia were not yet prepared, refused to get involved.
Initially, Prince Alexander believed that he could deal with the violence by throwing sums of money at the rebel leadership. However, when he was declined, he called for Serbian military support. Serbia invaded Montenegro on 14 May, 1911, and also reinforced its positions in Kosovo and Albania to ensure that these populations made no attempt to assist in the uprising. With no international support forthcoming, the Albanian and Montenegrin nations were utterly crushed. In the systematic extermination of rebels that followed, it is estimated that 14,000 people were executed.