Three Coming Issues -- By: Austin Bierbower
BSac 66:261 (Jan 1909) p. 58
Three Coming Issues
The trite prediction that our political parties will soon give way to others, occasionally threatens fulfilment. Issues disappear or become indistinct, or else the classes become confused, as now, when the radical element, once Republican, has become Democratic. The masses will not long vote on dead issues or be content with trifling ones.
Some fundamental differences, however, divide them, which, being founded in human nature, are perennial; and voters will struggle to get in their natural place on them, so that, while there must be new combinations, they will proceed on principles long recognized. The next subjects of cleavage promise to be moral.
New parties come from old ones, and new issues from principles in preceding ones. A party can no more die than can a State without leaving its parts in a new one, or spring from nothing any more than a civilization can. The present organizations must give birth to future ones, and transmit many features; so that a resemblance will exist between the Republican and one of the new parties and between the Democratic and the other; and Republicans will mostly go to one, and Democrats to the other, as their principles will do. The Federal thus passed into the Whig and the Whig into the Republican party, and the successive opponents of these into the successive phases of the Democratic party. While some issues have been added and principles enlarged, until there is
BSac 66:261 (Jan 1909) p. 59
now little difference between the two, there has yet been a continuity from the beginning on each side, which must continue. Political parties hate revolutions as much as do States, and men rarely forsake their affiliations where a passion is enlisted.
Our chief unsettled problems indicate as the next issues Intemperance, Clericalism, and Alienism.
These cannot be much longer suppressed, however desirable. The first is taking shape in many States and exciting extraordinary interest, while the others are being hastened by the vast immigration from lands where the Clerical issue is prominent. And when men can so divide as to be on one side or the other of a coherent set of principles, their organizations will follow. Great bodies are now on one side of one question, and on the opposite side of a corresponding one, so that, as controlling groups, they are not fitted for partisans. A minuter adjustment to principle is needed to bring them into practical politics; and the tendency is to this, the bulk of Republicans taking one side of all these questions — the hostile — and the bulk of Democrats the other — the friendly — so that, following their antecedents, the Republicans are arraying themselves against...
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