Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 53.djvu/367

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THE QUESTION OF WHEAT.

true, it is quite certain that the saber-toothed eats have left no descendants behind them. Throughout North and South America they became extinct almost within historical times, and have left nothing behind them save their bones in the rocks.

 

THE QUESTION OF WHEAT.
By WORTHINGTON C. FORD,

LATE CHIEF OF THE BUREAU OF STATISTICS, TREASURY DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON, D. C.

III.—RUSSIA.

RUSSIA is the United States of Europe in its economic aspects. An immense territory, much of which is still unused; a population of exuberant fertility and restless wandering, gradually spreading itself over the land; an agricultural basis for its economy; an experience of slavery that was conclusive on its wastefulness and social evils; and an industrial and commercial exclusiveness that has heretofore made it the one great power of the continent of unknown and unmeasurable resources—these characteristics may be found in this country, the opposite to Russia in political practice and social theory. The simile may be extended. For Russia has been urged forward by two potent ambitions. Panslavism created the vision of a united eastern Europe, with Russia at the head, and with a great Russian port—Constantinople—on the Mediterranean. The desire to be the controlling agency in Asia has led the Government to make heavy sacrifices to further that end, seemingly now to be crowned with success. For Russia commands the north of Asia through her railroad, and is in possession of ports on the Pacific which may give her an important share, if not the most important share, in Asia's commerce. No longer shut off from her outlying and half-closed port and fortress of Vladivostock, she has secured southern outlets and connections implying even greater political than commercial power over the destinies of Asia. From ocean to ocean, across Europe and Asia, and from the arctic to the Mediterranean, this huge unformed empire rests, the arbiter in both continents. Is there no likeness in this to the pan-American ambitions of the United States?

In 1870 the population of Russia in Europe was 65,70,559, or about thirty-five souls to the square mile of territory. If Poland and Finland be included, the total population will be increased to 73,504,592, but the density of population will not be changed, as the dense settlement of Poland is neutralized by the sparse population of Finland. In 1897 the total population had increased to 100,159,-