The Colorado Mine War -- By: A. A. Berle

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 071:284 (Oct 1914)
Article: The Colorado Mine War
Author: A. A. Berle


The Colorado Mine War

A. A. Berle

It has long been one of the axioms of statesmanship, so-called, that the surest method by which a nation can be diverted from the steady and serious contemplation of its own domestic affairs, is to fix the attention upon things in foreign lands; and Mr. Seward is said to have advised Mr. Lincoln to engage in a foreign war, in order to turn thus the attention of the American people from their interest in the question of slavery. The vast European war which is now engrossing the thought of the civilized world is having precisely this effect upon some of the most pressing of our domestic problems which are fraught with the greatest possibilities for good or evil to our own people. One of these is finding its most costly and dangerous expression at the present moment in Colorado, in the fierce and deadly struggle which is being waged in that State in what is now generally known as the Colorado Mine War. And war is no misnomer for the contest. For it has had all the bloody and murderous accompaniments of war. Machine guns, repeater rifles, fire, and devastation have been really and actually present in this struggle. Men have been killed in open battle. Property has been destroyed. Women and children have met their death exactly as they are now being reported as meeting it in the bloody struggle of Europe. The only reason they are not being massacred in Colorado at this min-

ute is that the cavalry of the United States are camped on the spot ready to open fire upon disturbers of the peace whoever they happen to be. Civil government has broken down in Colorado precisely as it has in the war-swept portions of Europe. The orderly processes of law exist, where they exist, only because the military arm of the national government is present, and permitting them to be exercised.

Only the intense preoccupation of the national mind with the vaster affairs of Europe prevents this matter from being one of the most acute problems to be solved in the immediate future. Only the fresh questions forced upon us by our foreign relations prevent the nation from thinking with the greatest possible tenseness and anxiety concerning an issue which, sooner or later, must be threshed out in the forum of the national political arena, and cause the establishment of some definite principles with reference to the future relations of some kinds of enterprises to the national and state governments. One of these is the mining industry. The Colorado war, important and frightful as it has been and is, is but a part of a vaster question which is looming up in this land, of which deadly hints have already been given at Lawrence, at Paterson, at Butte, and at Los Angeles. Under the influence of higher and more effective ...

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