Anglo-American Magazine/August, 1902
The movement of human thought from the particular to the universal has caused many changes in the attitude of man toward himself and this, his world. Definiteness, and still greater definiteness, characterize this movement. The dim perceptions and vague phantasms of the old theology have flickered and vanish in the clear white light of science. Darwin horrified the world, but today our remote relationship with the anthropoid apes is not repulsive. Our cave and arboreal ancestors, hairy of body and prognathus of jaw, have taken their place on the witness stand, and false Adam’s lineal claim has been thrown out of court. We are for the greater frankness today. We demand an honest statement of fact. No matter. More than ever to-day is the race to the swift, the battle to the strong. Nor have the how it hurts, the truth must be spoken. Truth—not of the heart’s ardent logic, but of the head’s colder reasoning. Credulity has little place in the present age. There is no longer the naïve faith in rosy dreams, and reverence for hoary tradition. Let us hear the evidence, we say. If there be none, fling them out!
Disguise it as we may, though a good world, it is yet a brutal one. For nineteen hundred years the teachings of Christ have been multiplied and spread all over the earth. And in the year just ended the nations of the earth, as of yore, went up against one another in their harness. In that same time, in the United States, there were 14,000 murders. We are not unaccustomed to a community burning one of its members at the stake and carrying off to its homes choice slices of roasted flesh, heat-crinkled ears, and shriveled finger joints. We kill men, individually and collectively; we put to the torture; nor is it unusual for the females of our species to be ravished much in the same way the wife-stealing exogamists did in the forgotten past. So we must confess the truth: our civilization has not yet proved itself aught but a veneer, and a very thin veneer. Underneath we are as savage and elemental and barbarous as primitive man.
More than ever today is the race to the swift, the battle to the strong. Nor have the meek and lowly yet come to inherit the earth. In the struggle for food and shelter, for place and power, the weak and less efficient are crowded back and trampled under, as they always have been. We have captains of industry who live in palaces, and control revenues more colossal than those controlled by the wearers of the Roman or Babylonian purple. And we have wage slaves of field and sweatshop, and paupers as empty-bellied and cadaverous as any who have raised the wail of the miserable and the despised down all the past. It is the same old game of natural selection, ruthlessly being played out. From era to era the rules change somewhat, but at bottom it is the same — the survival of the fittest. Among the ancient forebears of the race it was the physically strong who triumphed, and gathered to them an unequal portion of material comfort and glory. Later, it was those who were strong both physically and intellectually. Today it is the intellectually strong. But through all its guises, through all its differences of time and space, it is the strong who triumph, and, more usually, the strongest of the strong. Just as sure as in the past lower and weaker types have given way to higher and stronger types, just so sure, to-day and tomorrow, will the higher and stronger types take to themselves the earth and its treasures. And their tenure shall be a tenure of strength. Should they weaken, or should yet stronger types arise, they will be dispossessed and crushed.
Evolution is an expression which we use for convenience to describe the play and interplay of force and matter. We do not know whether there is a vast directing intelligence behind this process. We do not know that it deals only with the things that are; that never yet has it been known to produce a result other than that predicated by the forces and matter at work. If the sum of the forces of a given environment lay a premium upon the ugly and vile, and a handicap on the beautiful and good, the ugly and vile will survive, and the fact is one well worth the notice of those who would read moral purposes into the evolutionary process. Such sentimental ethicists, heart reasoners and dreamers, fail to note the difference between precept and practice, between preached ethics and practiced ethics. They spell out, with reckless reverence, such phrases as “liberty,” “equality,” “natural rights” and “universal brotherhood,” seemingly unaware of the fact that beautiful and good be blotted out. To happen otherwise is unthinkable. It would take away whatever rational sanction for thought we may possess; for the stupendous fabric of knowledge we have reared crashes to chaos if there be no such thing as persistence of phenomena.
So evolution deals with force and matter. It has no concern with human right and wrong. And the fact is well worth the notice of those who would read moral purposes into the evolutionary process. Such sentimental ethicists, heart reasoners and dreamers, fail to note the difference between precept and practice, between preached ethics and practiced ethics. They spell out, with reckless reverence, such phrases as “liberty,” “equality,” “natural rights’ and ‘universal brotherhood,” seemingly unaware of the fact that eternal difference and eternal inequality is the iron rule of life. They preach the gospel of the weak, and straightway take a mortgage on their neighbor’s goods and chattels, or undercut or outbid their competitors in business or labor. While they talk idle words of right and wrong, and of what ought to be, what is taking place. While they are saying, “The abused negro, give him a chance,” the negro is being disenfranchised and reduced to an economic slavery as severe as the chattel slavery he endured a generation back. They speak of the right of a people to its native soil, forgetting that all peoples are trespassers; and even as they speak, the dominant races are robbing and slaving in every quarter of the globe.
Evolution does not hold in leash its mighty forces till pigmy man has determined the right and the wrong of the next step. Nor has it a chosen people. In the surface strata of the earth rot the wrecks of myriads of species which were, but which are not. For a time they held their own in the forefront of the fight for life, then vanished before stronger competitors like summer mist in the prime of day. The story of man is likewise filled with such disaster. We speculate on that early race whose records we read in the Nile mud, and which had disappeared ere the ancient Egyptian dynasties were founded. The Celt who overshadowed Europe in the morning of history, wretchedly survives in a few isolated regions. And what of that dark-skinned race which held the soil even before he came? And in our own day we have witnessed the melancholy spectacle of the Tasmanian passing away in order that a superior race might find room. Yet the passing of these people is no manifestation of retributive justice. They did no sin. The Celt was not emasculated by luxury. He was not eaten with the canker of degeneration. He was strong and vigorous and healthy. But a new and stronger race burst upon the stage he trod, and he was hustled ignominiously off.
By the ethics we hold today, this hurling out of existence of unsinning races is unjust. None the less they have been hurled out, they are being hurled out. And there lies the crux of the whole question. In the struggle of type with type, it is ethnics which determines, not ethics. Under a given environment the race which survives is that best fitted to survive; and it is best fitted to survive because in its evolution it has developed characters which better enable it to cope with the given environment than the can the race it displaces.
On the other hand, it may be said that this is all very true of the past, but that in the present, man, actuated by higher ideals and a broader humanity, softens the rigor of the struggle of type with type. The possession of certain moral concepts is a safeguard against a repetition of the cruelties of the past. Maxims and axioms have become potent factors in the new evolution. In other words, ethical formulae have the power to mould and determine social growth, even in the face of and contrary to the whole previous biological and social growth. But is this true? A hundred years ago, they hit upon a few such formulas in France. It was the settled opinion that by the instilling of wise and virtuous maxims a whole people would become wise and virtuous. But they had failed to figure upon their own composition, and the scheme of social regeneration went gloriously to pieces. Today we own many wise and virtuous maxims. Yet the world holds its hands and watches Great Britain trounce little Transvaal. We of the United States have proclaimed for a century and a quarter that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are inalienable rights; yet, when our economic development was ripe, we denied some millions of people over on the other side of the world the right to live and pursue happiness otherwise than by the sacrifice of their liberty. And the sociologist hammering together the ribs of his skeleton science, confesses that the time has not yet arrived when man may intellectually impel as well as direct the society in which he lives.
Preach as we may, the struggle between man and man, and between families of men, still goes on. Heart-reasoners and idealizers do not retard one jot or tittle the passing of the Alaskan Indian — an erstwhile mighty race now crooning its death-song over the cold ashes of dead fires. Nor do these heart-reasoners and idealizers stop for an instant the political and commercial exploitation of the continent of Africa. In the disposition of China, with her four hundred millions of souls, they have no say. And in the clamor and tumult of the marshalling of the races and the apportionment of the globe, their voices are not heard.
There are breeds and breeds of men, some stronger than others, some more efficient. The present world-era is a machine era and a commercial era. And in such an era, the best inventors, cheapest producers, and keenest traders, are the fittest breeds for survival, provided, certainly, that they are also possessed of commensurate organization and political genius. And in this connection it is of interest to speculate upon which of the breeds is preeminently fittest to live in this our world in these first decades of the twentieth century. Which breed, from the evidence at hand, bids highest for the material wealth and resources of the globe? Which breed, for today and the immediate tomorrow, is it that may be called “The Salt of the Earth?”
At first glance, and on closer scrutiny, the evidence preponderates in favor of the Anglo-Saxon. In lands, in wealth, in population (including tributary population), in commercial and political prestige, and in peculiar fitness to cope with the forces of this present world-era, it stands second to none. Consider the British Empire. It is four times the size of Europe, containing between eleven and twelve millions of square miles of territory. Its population approximates four hundred millions. In this day, when a world-power must be a sea-power, it possesses far and away the strongest navy in the world. In wealth and power and structure it is like to nothing in all the past. It is the mightiest and most prodigious empire the world has yet witnessed. And like unto none in all the past, a confederation of democracies such as it is, it carries within itself the capacity for growth and adaptation. It is the most successful political adventure man has as yet achieved.
But this tight little island on the rim of the Western Ocean, with its dependencies, is not the Anglo-Saxon race. Beyond that Western Ocean, stretching forth its arms from the East Indies to the Antilles, is the United States. What figure does it make among the nations? The United States has a larger population than any European country save Russia; while, measured by its standard of living, by its wealth, education, and productive capacity, in real greatness it is far beyond the land of the White Tsar. In the last ten years its increase of thirteen millions of population was greater than that of any other country; while of that portion of its increase brought about by immigration practically all is assimiliable. By the machinery it has cunningly devised, and by its efficient organization of industry, its seventy-five millions are equal in productive power to one hundred and fifty millions of Europeans. It has rushed into the world-market with such zest and vigor that the other manufacturing countries have not yet caught their breaths. And it has shot up to the van of the creditor nations, and even now is lending its money to every power in Europe. But this is not the Anglo-Saxon race.
Words are subject to growth, and such growth involves a change in the connotation. When the Angles, Jutes, and Saxons settled Britain, it chanced that of the three names, that of the Angles was chosen to designate the land — Angle-land in that early day. Later, for convenience of thought, in order to differentiate between the salient features of the people of Angle-land and those of other lands, the people of England were called Anglo-Saxons. The word soon lost this signification. The Englishman of the last few hundred years, what of the Celt, Scandinavian, and Norman in him, could not be literally called an Anglo-Saxon, yet he was so called, for the connotation had changed. And of recent times it has undergone yet greater change. Today, “Anglo-Saxon” stands for the English-speaking people of the world, who, in forms and institutions and traditions, are more peculiarly and definitely English than anything else.
As Aline Gorren has pointed out, there is no need to quarrel with the label “Anglo-Saxon.” A better label might have been chosen, but it was not. Our own country might better have been named after Columbus. “Anglo-Saxon,” then, has come to stand for the race, to stand for the civilization England has given to the world. Let it go at that. The name does not alter the fact, while the fact is of vaster importance. “Anglo-American” would be, perhaps, a little nearer the mark. But “Anglo” and “American” are both literal misnomers, and the difficulty only grown more complicate. So, in default of better and in line with custom, we employ Anglo-Saxon” to designate that portion of the human family which speaks the English tongue, acknowledges English traditions, and which, in traits and characteristics, is more nearly English than anything else.
A common fellowship, a common nothing of the commercial and political hatred of Europe, knit the whole race together. It is not daring too much to say that never again will the Anglo-Saxon race go to war with itself. What if the Australian Confederation is growing lustily down there in the Antipodes? What if the Australian Confederation is growing lustily down there in the Antipodes? What if the center of economic exchanges (and with it necessarily the seat of Empire) is crossing the Atlantic? What if the island of Britain is to become in the words of Mr. William Clarke, “the Athens for the Greater England?” Angle-land, the historic home of the race? The outpost of the Anglo-Saxon civilization facing the frontier of Europe when the Pacific has become an Anglo-Saxon sea? Blood of one blood, bone of one bone, they draw closer together in the hastening years, and the old sea-mother does not forget her virile progeny, sea-farmers themselves and empire-builders to the ends of the earth.
Is this a dream? There are men who say there is room in the world for all, that there is no need of shoving, that race-pride is insular prejudice and empire-building a lust and an abomination. Nonetheless, the facts point the other way. The population of the world is increasing, and, what of man’s recent great conquests of force and matter, the increase is just beginning to accelerate. As for empire-building, it is a function which the times demand shall be performed. Those people that build no empires are losing ground. When Alfred the Great intermittently ruled and ran in England, the population was approximately two millions. Scandinavia, at that date, possessed about the same. To-day, the population of all Scandinavia is about eight millions, while that of England alone is forty-one millions, without taking into account the millions it has flung broadcast over the earth, or the seventy-five millions in the United States. To solve this interesting problem would be to become involved, first, in an intricate mesh of causes; but on the face of it, England has toiled and sweated at empire-building, while Scandinavia has not. But of what moral value, may be asked, is this prolificacy of breed? — of a breed which blunders brutally through the world, beating down the lesser breeds to its own gross aggrandizement? Ah! but moral values have nothing to do with it The strong breeds are stamping hungrily over the earth; they are devouring the weak; they are surviving, they and their progeny.
Concerning population, we must not forget Malthus of old time, whose memorable “law” has been somewhat derided of late. Insofar as it related to the human, because the human was capable of modifying its environment, Malthus’ law of population was considered extreme. But today there are many who have swung to the opposite extreme and deny the possibility of there ever being a pressure of population. Such men hold that man has been increasing his control over nature and production faster than he himself has been increasing. But that does not disprove the inevitability of a pressure of population, sometime, somewhere. In the first place, society has just been passing through a developmental stage of production. The means of subsistence have kept ahead of population. But that they can, indefinitely, continue to keep ahead, is absurd. There must come a time when man shall attain his maximum of productivity. Again, the world is only so large, and it cannot be populated to infinity. And yet, again, the rise in the standard of living requires a greater subsistence for a given population.
Japan, China, and India, on a small scale, but precisely similar to a worldscale, have endured pressure of population. By large colonies of hetairae, by infanticide and destruction of malformed infants, and by famine, pestilence, and the thousand and one ills of excessive crowding, they have kept their numbers stationary. Introduce the machinery and organization of the Western world into stifling China, and her four hundred millions would become eight hundred millions in a very short time. Japan has undergone this experience somewhat, and her erstwhile stationary population is now increasing at the rate of half a million yearly. The Western world is increasing for a like reason. The figures are interesting. At the beginning of the last century the population of Europe was one hundred and sixty millions; at the close, three hundred and seventy millions. In the United States, the city of New York, alone, has half a million more souls than did all the thirteen colonies in 1776; while the country, in one hundred years, has increased from five millions to seventy-five millions. At the present rate of increase of eighteen per cent, we shall have, roughly, a round half-billion in the year 2000. One hundred years ago the population of Europe and of countries whose people were of European origin was one hundred and sixty-three millions; today the same stock is five hundred millions; and at present rate of increase, one hundred years from now will be fifteen hundred millions.
Then there are those who draw wrong conclusions from the biological law — that, other things being equal, the higher the organism the less fertile it is. They contend, with the rise in the plane of living caused by mastery of production, that man will not only intentionally check the birth rate, but that he will become organically less fertile. In the first instance, let France be considered. Did she cease to expand because of the check she put upon her birth rate? Or, rather, did she not put the check upon her birth rate because she had ceased to expand and was beginning to feel the pressure of population against subsistence? The facts seem to bear out the latter explanation. England had shut France out from the sea; Russia and the Continental alliances from the land. Perforce, she recoiled upon herself. She did not have room. Nor has she been blind to the causes of her misfortune. Paul Leroy-Beaulieu, writing in 1882, in tone similar to scores of writers and statesmen, says: “From now on, our colonial expansion must occupy the first place in our national consciousness . . . We must found a great French Empire in Africa and in Asia; else of the great role which France has played in the past there will remain nothing but the memory, and that dying out as the days pass . . . Colonization is a question of life or death for France. Either we must found an African Empire, or in one hundred years we shall have sunk to the level of a second-rate power.” It is a fair supposition, had France continued to expand, that her population would have continued its upward sweep. Recoiling upon herself, unable to maintain her standard of living and at the same time permit her natural increase, she chose, consciously or not, to limit her birth rate. Had she chosen otherwise, her population most probably would have increased, but inevitably her standard of living would have fallen. Twixt the devil and the deep sea, as it were.
The decline in the average fertility of a species does not proceed only from within. External forces, operating through a long period of time, may produce a highly organized type, such as man, capable of reacting, within certain limits upon his natural environment By so reacting, the tenure of life is made more secure. With the tenure of life more secure, with a reduced mortality, and an increased lifetime of the generation, the degree of his previous fertility is no longer necessary to maintain his species constant. Without going into the discussion of how it is brought about, let it suffice to say that man, multiplying until he presses against the means of subsistence and the bounds of his habitat, must then undergo a decline in organic fertility. But the point is: not until after he presses against the means of subsistence and the bounds of his habitat.
In a society, where industry is stationary, production must balance with consumption. And in such a society, which is also not expanding, mortality must balance with fertility. As long as production is increasing, or habitat expanding, just so long may births exceed deaths; but when a society becomes stationary in both these matters, it must speedily, in one way or another, bring about a balance between fertility and mortality. In short, the artificial and natural checks upon fertility must operate from within.
To return. So far as we may know, never before in the history of the world has the production of wealth been so high. And production to-day is not stationary. It is still increasing at prodigious leaps and bounds. Never before has the population of the world increased so rapidly. And never before has there been such an expansion of the superior races. For the first time it is a world expansion. The poles and naked space alone are its limits. As regards the human, there is no longer such a thing as geographical distribution. The whole earth is the habitat of man, and the possible habitat for the superior races alone. That the superior races, engaged as they are, in over-running the earth, should suddenly stop short, is impossible. That the inferior races must undergo destruction, or some humane form of economic slavery, is inevitable.
This position is not without its ethical side; but its ethics are practical ethics, and are not related to the heart. The future, when man shall come to intellectually impel as well as intellectually direct society in its affairs, may bring forth some new law of development; but the old law of development is — that the strong and fit, and their progeny, shall have a better chance for survival than the weak and less fit, and the progeny of the weak and less fit This is the acknowledged basis of American society to-day. In other words, equality of opportunity, so that every member of society, within certain race limits, may enter the lists without social handicap. We do not yet possess complete equality of opportunity, but the whole trend of society is in that direction. The practical, practiced ethics within the social organism, deny the slothful, improvident, weak, or vicious individual the best rewards society can give. This individual, if he starts with nothing but his heredity, either dies, or remains a hewer of wood and drawer of water to the end of his days. If he starts possessed of a bit of land, or a business left him by his progenitors, he is quickly crowded out, and becomes a tenant or wage slave to his stronger competitors. The real ethical significance of this is that the race progresses and wins a higher average of strength and efficiency.
However, this ethical concept cannot stop at its application to the individual. If, within a society, the slothful give way to the energetic, the weak to the strong, then without, between societies, the improvident and weak must give way to the strong and energetic. This is practical and consistent. It is actual. Not only does the strong individual appropriate the weak individual, but the strong society expropriates the weak society, the strong breeds the weak breeds.
The history of civilization is a history of wandering — a wandering, sword in hand, of strong breeds, clearing away and hewing down the weak and less fit. In the misty younger world, peoples, nobody knows whence or whither, rise up in blood-red splendor, conquering and slaving, and, like phantoms, conquered and slain pass away. True, those who rise by the sword perish by the sword; but be it remembered, in that day as in this, that those who forswear the sword none the less perish by the sword. It is the history of all life. In the meadow grass, sun-kissed and dew-kissed, flower-scattered and fragrant, this fearful struggle goes on. The drifting butterflies, the droning bees, the flute-throated warblers, the very fragrance, are potent weapons in the carnage. Selection, through the intensest struggle, is the keynote of progress. As primordial man dispossessed the ape, so has latter-day man dispossessed primordial man; and in like fashion are the barbarous and decadent peoples being dispossessed to-day.
There is such a thing as natural selection among races. In the last century, nineteenth of its era, millions of human beings were destroyed through contact with superior civilization. Unable to assimilate, or be assimilated, they perished. They were less fitted for organization, government, and exploitation of nature. Nor were they able to imitate these things. The strain which the dominant races today place upon their members was too great. The pace was too hot. They were unable to stand the concentration and sustained effort which pre-eminently mark the races best fitted to live in this our world. And so they perished, and so they are perishing, for no reason under the sun save that they are so made. Call it murder! The name does not affect the case. The fact is, it was done, it is being done. And it were well that this fact be taken into consideration by those who cast, in large, black capitals, the horoscope of man.
The twentieth century dawns in blood. In this it no wise differs from the previous centuries. But the times have changed somewhat. We no longer think in feudatories and provinces, but in continents. But while we think in continents, the minutest fragments of continents have place in our thought. As Lord Rosebery has said, “Every mile of unoccupied territory, every tribe of naked savages, is wrangled over as if it were situated in the center of Europe.”
In another way the times have changed. The nations gird up their loins and go forth, not primarily for militant conquest, but for industrial conquest. This is the machine age, the industrial age, the commercial age, in token whereof the captains of war are commanded by the captains of industry. The scramble for the world is the scramble for markets and resources, and to this end are bent the sword, the hammer and the mace. King’s mistresses, for insults, real or fancied, no longer hurl nations into conflict; nor do sacred sepulchres or holy Meccas sweep waves of armed men across the astonished earth but a squabble over iron mines, borax deposits, or coaling stations, is cause sufficient for the loosing of the most splendid fighting machines our modern civilization can boast.
Every manufacturing country is striving feverishly to deal with the momentous problem of “surplus product.” In all industrial processes, labor, receiving in wages, roughly, half of the net product cannot possibly buy back more than that proportion of the product. Nor can the capitalist or parasite classes consume the remainder. None the less, it must be sold and consumed, somewhere, somehow, and the foreign market is the only vent. Then, again, the countries with the richer natural resources can rush their goods more cheaply into the foreign market; and thus it behooves the manufacturing countries with the poorer natural resources to go forth in search of richer foreign natural resources. And still again, the countries with the richer home resources must countercheck this move, or, in turn, be thrust out of the foreign market by their competitors who have become better equipped. For this reason the powers close hungrily in on China, which possesses great, if not the greatest virgin mineral deposits of the world; and for this reason, whether blindly, or with foresight, the United States opposes the partition of that most unfit empire.
So it goes; and natural selection, in new guise, still continues to operate. What its guise will be somewhere in the future, matters not. Only those peoples that survive now will be permitted to undergo some future different form of the selective process. And now, in the immediate present, the industrial conquest of the world is at hand. The period of development for the struggle is well nigh past. Everything is prepared. The machinery has been invented, industry organized, and capital massed. Railroads and waterways have made the parts of all the earth accessible, and the telephone and telegraph draw them closely together.
But there is another phase of the struggle which must be taken into consideration — nationalism. The growing consciousness of nationality has peculiarly marked the nineteenth century, and today, as never before, is there an avowed marshalling of the races. Up to the Renaissance, men dreamed of a world-state; but since then nationalism has become a dominant force. Napoleon failed whenever he came in conflict with this force. This is the force which drove Austria out of the German Confederation, which cemented the North German states into a national empire, which Garibaldi and the House of Savoy called to their aid in the unification of Italy. The mere massing of jarring nationalities does not today make a power of the first class. There must be assimilation.
But for assimilation there must be a common ancestry somewhere in the past. The Teuton, the Celt, and the Slav may assimilate one another under favorable conditions; but none of them may actually assimilate the black, brown or yellow races. Long separated branches of the one stock may grow together again and learn a common tongue and a common tradition; but widely differentiated stocks, though they may learn a common tongue, cannot learn the tradition which accompanies that tongue, nor assimilate, one way or the other, the different blood. Blood has proved itself thicker than water, and the nation which would play a leading part in the new drama must be one where those within the blood are dearer than those without.
And now, when the marshalling races proceed to the task of settling the planetary problem, how-stands the Anglo-Saxon? Undeniably he is the most significant figure on the world-stage. There is no country with large ambitions which does not regard him with gloomy respect. M. Edmond Demoulins, preaching a passionate gospel to the French, says: They (the Anglo-Saxons) are overrunning the earth at this hour, cultivating it, colonizing it, driving out everywhere the adherents of the old social system, and accomplishing these prodigies through the forces of private initiative alone, by the sole triumphant power of men left to their own devices.” And Sig. Guglielmo Ferrero, in “Young Europe,” strives to show the Latins wherein they lack much which is essential, and which the Anglo-Saxon possesses. He has done these things, and is doing them, they say, because of his initiative, will, energy, self-determination, and enterprise; because of his personal pride, and of his personal independence, which has been called “the great Teutonic legacy to the world.”
And it is for these things, and the place and power they have brought him, that the Anglo-Saxon is hated. He is prosperous wherever he goes, and he goes everywhere. And what more natural than that his push, energy and aggressiveness should stir up enmity? The sin of possessing fair lands and fat revenues is a sin which merely human governments cannot condone. That the Englishman is well and wisely hated on the Continent is an open fact; and equally open was the display of Europe’s hatred for the United States during the late Spanish-American war. The Fashoda incident and the Kaiser’s telegram to Kruger are events of yesterday; and to-day the agitation for a Continental alliance is frankly hostile. M. Leroy-Beaulieu, French economist and member of the French Institute, writes, in a letter to the Vienna Tageblatt: The United States is on the point of becoming the most important economic factor in the world. It may henceforth be regarded as the first industrial nation, and its superiority will become more strikingly evident year by year.” Then he proceeds to advocate an economic alliance between the Continental nations for the purpose of barring out American goods by high customs duties, while establishing lower rates among themselves — an economic alliance, in his own words, “which may possibly and desirably develop into a political alliance.”
Nor are they to be blamed, these Continental peoples. It is instinctive. They cannot but wish to endure. But tariff walls and political alliances will not help them against the Anglo-Saxon if they cannot attain a like economy of production. They must make their labor and machinery- as efficient as that of the Anglo-Saxon, and at home and abroad they must throw more of his “sheer nerve” into their enterprise. They must take the pace the Anglo-Saxon is setting, and it is confessedly a hot one. And not only must they take his pace, but they must overtake him. Not only must they learn from him the principles of the new colonization, but they must put a stop to his own tremendous colonizing, else there will be nothing left for them.
This question of colonization is illuminating. The maritime nations which emerged from the middle ages turned naturally to colonization. And of these, worthy of note, were Spain, Portugal, France, Holland and England. Martin V, on the principle that all countries under the sun are subject to the papacy, had given the King of Portugal a clear title to all lands whatsoever between Cape Bojador and the East Indies. And likewise. Pope Alexander VI, by the bull of May 4, 1493, had presented the King and Queen of Spain with all lands “west and south of a line drawn from the Arctic to the Antarctic pole, one hundred leagues west of the Azores.” Even so. But Spain and Portugal, holding these great areas in fee-simple from the Almighty, could not prevail The Netherlands took over the Eastern Empire of Portugal. Spain committed suicide, and her colonies were divided up in a wild scramble. The Netherlands, though doing fair colonizing work in New .Amsterdam, speedily knocked under, and it remained for England and France, like Carthage of old time, to grapple for the world. France was militant and romantic; England, industrial and hard-headed; and at the cost of enormous treasure and blood she hurled France back from the sea and the lands in the midst of the sea.
Since that time England has well demonstrated her peculiar colonizing fitness. Not only has she been the greatest colonizer, but she has been the most successful. She has made her colonies pay, which is something no other country can boast, with the exception of Holland’s Island of Java, which is merely a government plantation. And this colonial empire of hers is a thing so colossal as to dwarf Rome of the ancient world, and sufficient to cause Alexander the Macedonian to weep fresh tears could he rise from the grave and look about.
And England has conquered, sword in hand, every foot of this vast dominion, and at the same time put down piracy, cleared away the slavers, and held the sea for her highway – “incarnadined the multitudinous seas with the blood of her enemies and her own blood,” as some joyous writer puts it And after conquering it, with her managerial genius, she has organized and developed it. And with her political genius she has held it together and given it far greater measure of order and justice. And not only has she done all this, but she did it in pure pioneer fashion, breaking new trails, working things out for herself, and aping none of the other nations—they, “sweating and stealing” many a year behind.
Of the political genius of the Anglo-Saxon, John Fiske writes: “The task of organizing society politically so that immense communities might grow up peaceably, preserving their liberties, and affording ample opportunity for the varied exercise of the human faculties, is a task which baffled the splendid talents of ancient Greece, and in which the success of the Romans was but partial and short lived. We believe that the men who use the mingled speech of Alfred and William the Norman have solved the great political problem better than others have solved it if we except the provinces of the Netherlands, the Swiss cantons, and such tiny city states as Monaco and San Marino, which retain their ancient institutions, there is not a nation on earth making any pretence to freedom and civilization, which has not a constitution in great measure copied, within the present century, either from England or from the United States.”
As for managerial genius, there is no more brilliant an achievement than that of the Indian Empire. And today, seven thousand miles from home, one hundred thousand Anglo-Saxons rule two hundred heterogeneous millions of natives and set them their daily tasks. At plowing and sowing, at bridge building and road making, these swarming millions do the bidding of the mere handful of white masters, marshalling under their banner, fighting for them and dying for them.
If ever there was a race mastered by the verb “to do,” it is the Anglo-Saxon. Under a blind compulsion, in bitter sweat and hardship, unwitting of what he did so long as he did something, “in a fit of absent mind he has conquered and peopled half the world.” The record of the work done by the people of the United States is a proud one. As Josiah Strong has pointed out, in one hundred years 6,000,000 people have built homes for 75,000,000. “For forty years there was an average of 16,000 acres of wild land subdued daily.” Five and three-quarter million farms have been put under plough and harrow, half a myriad of cities built, 750,000 miles of telephone strung, and 800,000 of telegraph. Railways have been built which would parallel every line in all Europe, and with the remainder the globe could be girdled at the equator. In 1895, Mulhall estimated our energy at 129,306,000,000 foot-tons daily — more than twice as much as that of Great Britain, and almost as much as .that of Great Britain, Germany and France combined. Containing only five per cent of the world’s population, the United States furnishes 32 percent of the world’s food supply, while it has virtually just commenced to manufacture on a like Cyclopean scale. A remarkable contrast to this is furnished by South America, with its political dictatorships, its impotency, and its wanton poverty, which flourishes in the midst of its vast untouched natural wealth.
So it must be granted that the Anglo-Saxon is a race of mastery and achievement. It has done things, and it is doing things. And it is the worker and doer today who is best fitted for survival— the worker and doer, strong in his muscles and strong in his life, hard-headed and practical, properly respectful of common things, and unafraid of great things. The attitude of the Anglo-Saxon toward life. Aline Gorren well quotes: “To know what life is you must live it, face it squarely, take hold of it with both hands, shoulder its burdens, without asking whether they are pleasant or unpleasant, exactly as they present themselves. Do the Will, in short; and — perhaps — you may learn the doctrine. But do the Will, in any case, and the Will is that a man shall tell the truth, and have some care as to the purity of his ways, and not wish for strange gods, nor juggle with intellectual phantasmagoria; and, above all, that he shall depend upon his own resources, and help himself.” And not only is the Anglo-Saxon a worker and doer, but there is an unrest in his blood which the mere mechanism of life (a thing he thoroughly understands) cannot satisfy. With a wholesome regard for material comfort, he settles himself down in waste places and makes the soil fruitful and the sea prosperous. He destroys the wild and forbidding things, establishes law and order, devises machinery to lighten his labor, and builds himself bridges and roads and houses. But when he has done all this, he is not content to rest and enjoy it, and let the world wag on. He has still an interest in that world. The unrest and the adventuresness have not departed from him. He cannot shut his ears to the call of the far journeyer, and the wander-lust lays him by the heels till he turns his back upon the comfort he has created and fares forth empty handed to accomplish his destiny.
And as befits one born to place and power in a brutal world, the Anglo-Saxon is brutal. By that brutality much that he has achieved has been made possible. As readily as the other breeds, he strips his culture from him and steps forth in primal nakedness. And at other times, none the less brutal, with stern and rugged temper, fanatically sincere, he does harsh things in the belief that it is his God-given task to Anglicize the world. The scenes in London, following the capture of Cronje and the relief of Mafeking, are not yet forgotten. They were brutal — brutal and honestly disgraceful to a moral civilization. But none the less they are facts. When Kipling sings his savage songs of sweat and toil and blood-welter, the race as savagely responds. This also is a fact — one of many of its kind — and one most necessary to be taken into consideration by those who dream that in the dawning of the twentieth century lions and lambs may be persuaded to lie down peaceably together.
So, in the noon of the world, as in the morning, fitness and strength determine place and power. With population surging upward, and the families of men increasing faster than ever before, there cannot possibly be room for all the families of men. Not only will there not be room for the barbarous and decadent peoples, but there will not be room for all the developed and healthy. One by one they must depart to the limbo of the forgotten or vaguely remembered races. At the best, they may leave some scrawl on the page of history, some token in the institutions of those that endure. And for place among those that endure, the Anglo-Saxon makes his bid. As a machinist and an inventor of machines, as a governor and an inventor of governments, as a trader and a maker of trade, he is unmatched. In numbers, and resources, and strength, he is head and shoulders above the press. And in an age when to forswear the sword is to perish, he acknowledges the sword and is unafraid of the sword.
But he did not spring, full grown, from the earth. Nor did he climb down out of the sky. It so happens, like the camel, or the cuttlefish, or any other creature, that he has brought down out of the past certain characters differing in whole or degree from those of other men. And it further happens that these characters are all-potent in the present world-era. Just now, evolution, which has no chosen people, favors him. How long he may continue to be so favored is beyond foresight. A new force in his environment, or a new combination of forces, and evolution may turn upon him and destroy him. He may, after all, soften under his comfortable civilization. Master of matter, he may be mastered by matter. A conqueror of environment, he may succeed in putting into operation some new law of development, some highly moral selective process, which, in turn, may emasculate him, and leave him the defenseless prey of some other of the dominant northern races. He may divide the world with the Slav; he may give the world up to the Slav. All these things are possible, but just now, to-day, and in the promise of the immediate to-morrow, he stands forth the most prominent figure among the races, and the highest bidder for the world.
The historic works of Jack London and other major journalists are freely available from The Archive of American Journalism: www.historicjournalism.com