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xviii

PREFATORY ESSAY

autocratic rule of the Tsars to any other form of government; while the middle classes, who at one time favoured the constitutional agitation, have been alienated by the excesses of the Nihilists. Meanwhile, whether under Alexander IL, Alexander III., or Nicholas II., the policy of the Russian Government has been directed almost exclusively to the consolidation and extension of the Empire. The first object has been advanced by the incorporation of the Baltic provinces; by the suppression of the independence guaranteed to Finland on her annexation just a century ago; by the wholesale persecution of the Russian Jews, due not so much to religious prejudices, as to a conviction that any separate racial nationalism impairs the homogeneity which Russia thinks is expedient should prevail throughout the length and breadth of the Tsar’s dominions; and by the gradual destruction of every element in Poland which stands in the way of her permanent Russification. The second object has been pursued by the wars waged on behalf of Servia and Bulgaria,—which, whatever else they have achieved or failed to achieve, have resulted in largely increasing Russian authority throughout the Balkan Peninsula,—by the campaign against the independent Khanates in Eastern Asia, and by the construction of railroads which have practically made Russia the ruler of all the vast Northern area extending from the Baltic to the Pacific. A policy of this kind is only possible under an absolute autocracy. The experience of history teaches us that in empires, as in oceans, the tide must turn sooner or later, but during the period of which we write the tide of Muscovite aggrandizement has been flowing steadily in the same direction, and as yet there seems no sign ol its receding. In the United States of America a tendency towards what, for lack of a better word, we have called, in Europe, Conservative reaction has influenced the legislation of the years between 1875 and 1902. It was in the first named of the above years that the popular outcry against Chinese United immigration into the Western States assumed an active form. The resolution to prohibit the entry of Chinese labourers into the Union, which was formally embodied in a Bill passed by Congress in 1888 under Mr Cleveland’s presidency, may have been justified by local considerations. But it was a distinct violation of the fundamental principle, that the territory of the Great Republic was open “ to the meanest of Adam’s kin.” In like manner, popular jealousy of foreign competition may have had no small share in securing the enactment, two years later, of the highly protective duties on foreign imports recommended by Mr McKinley. Irom the earliest days of the Republic it had always been accepted as an axiom of State policy, that the United States were not to intervene in any way in affairs lying outside the American continent, and as a necessary corollary of this axiom, it was also held that the possession of colonies or foreign dependencies that would not ultimately become states in the Union was prohibited by the spirit, if not by the letter, of the Constitution. In foreign affairs up to a recent period non-intervention was the dominant principle of the administration, no matter which party might be in power. But during the last few years this principle has been openly disregarded. Whatever view may be taken of the war with Spain, there is no disputing the fact that its outcome, as seen in the acquisition of foreign territory, especially in another hemisphere, was inconsistent with the theory of the Constitution held by the founders of the Republic. A series of decisions of the United States Supreme Court in 1901, delivered in cases that had originated in the collection of customs by the revenue officers upon imports from the Philippines, Porto Rico, and Hawaii, gave legal form and substance to the colonial idea. These decisions, which (it should in fairness be stated) were made by a bare majority of the Court, held that the new possessions were not within the clause of the Constitution which provides that “all duties, imports, and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States,” the Court holding that, as here, “ territory belonging to the United States ” is not necessarily a part of the United States, and entitled to the same rights and privileges as the territory of the individual States composing the Union. In other words, a place is definitely made for colonies under the Constitution where many had thought no such place existed, and their government and treatment are thus entrusted solely to the legislation of Congress, under the clause of the Constitution which provides that “ the Congress shall have power to dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property belonging to the United States.” Thus public sentiment and judicial interpretation alike have accepted the new state of affairs which has made America a colonial power.