Open main menu

Page:Collier's New Encyclopedia v. 10.djvu/127

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.




88 for Roosevelt, and 8 for Taft. The Democrats also secured the control of the House by a large majority, and of the Senate by 7 votes.

Shortly after his inauguration, President Wilson called Congress in special session to revise the tariff. He revived the custom of Washington and Adams and delivered his message to Congress in person. A new tariff act was at once drafted and was passed on October 3, 1913. The bill, in general, greatly reduced the duties, and the loss of revenue was made up by an income tax law which was made a part of the tariff law. Congress at this session also considered the problem of currency reform. This resulted in the establishment of the Federal Reserve Bank.

Foreign relations occupied the greater part of the attention of President Wilson during 1913. The President followed President Taft's action in refusing to recognize General Huerta as president, chiefly on account of the belief that he had connived in the murder of Madero. Relations with Japan also became serious as the result of the passage by the legislature of California of laws prohibiting the ownership of land by aliens who could not be naturalized. The Japanese Government made a strong protest and William J. Bryan, Secretary of State, went to California in an effort to secure a change in the State Legislature. In this he failed. An agreement was arrived at, however, between the United States and Japan, by the terms of which Japan promised to restrict the immigration to the United States. The republic of China was recognized on May 2, 1913. Conditions in Nicaragua resulted in the establishment of a practical American protectorate in that country. On December, 1913, the President delivered a special message on the Mexican situation in which he declared that he saw no reason to “alter our policy of watchful waiting.” A bill was passed by Congress providing for an emergency army of 240,000 men.

Congress passed many important measures, including the Interstate Trade Commission Bill on December 8, 1914, and the Clayton Anti-Trust Act on October 8, 1914. Largely through the efforts of the President, the Panama Canal Tolls Measure was repealed by Congress, as the result of protest made by Great Britain that its terms violated the Hay-Pauncefote Treaty.

Early in 1914 the Mexican situation grew more acute. The President lifted the embargo on the shipment of arms into Mexico, and large amounts of munitions were purchased by revolutionists against Huerta. On April 9, a number of American marines were arrested at Tampico by an officer of Huerta. Their surrender and an apology were demanded by Rear-Admiral Mayo, who also insisted on a salute of the United States flag. Huerta refused to yield to this demand, and on April 20 the President requested authority of Congress to employ the forces of the United States to exact reparation. There followed the bombardment and occupation of Vera Cruz, with a loss of 18 American marines. Americans were warned to leave Mexico. While plans were being made for actual hostilities. President Wilson accepted the offer of Argentina, Brazil and Chile to arbitrate the question at issue. The commissioners of these countries met at Niagara Falls. While they were in session, Huerta, having been defeated, resigned, and the government was relinquished to Carranza. The United States forces were withdrawn from Vera Cruz in November, 1914. A treaty was negotiated with Colombia by which the United States agreed to pay $25,000,000 to that country for the loss of Panama. This treaty was not ratified by the Senate. Eighteen peace and arbitration treaties were negotiated during this year.

United States in the World War.—The policy which was proclaimed by the United States at the outset of the World War was one of strict neutrality. For nearly three years, this attitude was officially maintained, often under circumstances of great difficulty. Both the Entente and the Central Powers, in their effort to gain a real or fancied advantage, violated the letter and spirit of international law, to the prejudice of our undoubted rights. The State Department was constantly busied with correspondence addressed to Great Britain and Germany, calling them to account for these violations, and demanding that the offending practices be abandoned. It was realized, however, that both of the warring powers were under great strain, and the diplomatic representations of this country were marked by patience and self-restraint. But from the beginning there was a difference between the injuries we suffered from the belligerents. Only property losses were incurred from the encroachments of Great Britain, as in the case of the British blockade regulations and the blacklist, while Germany's infractions of the law of nations involved the loss of American lives. Financial losses could have been made good at the end of the war; the loss of life was irreparable.

Apart from these direct grievances, the tide of popular feeling ran strongly against Germany, because of the viola-