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The debate itself consists of twelve like Franklin in the constitutional discusshort addresses. Six so-called "main sions, “lays his shoulder to the main points, speeches,” usually fifteen minutes in knowing that the little points will take length, are first in order, the affirmative care of themselves.” The power of naropening the debate and alternating with rowing a question to a few essentials is a the negative until each debater has ad
great asset to a scholar in any field. Coldressed the audience. Then follow six
Then follow six lege debating does much to develop the rebuttal speeches of five minutes each, the gift, special to superior minds, of "selecting negative opening the rebuttal. This ar- the conclusive argument from a complex rangement, which gives the affirmative the theme, and of presenting it unanswerably" advantage of the opening and closing - the gift said to belong to debaters like speeches, is justified on the ground that the Spooner, Root, and Borah. It is not, hownegative team, supporting the status quo, ever, skill in analysis and in the handling has ordinarily the easier case. Each team, of evidence that is of the greatest value to a therefore, has sixty minutes in which to college man who later is to become a lawpresent constructive and refutatory argu- yer or a preacher. It is the habit of orderments.
ing the content of one's mind for the sake The shrewdness with which rival teams of other men and women. In their boyish interpret the question is shown in the fol- way, college debaters endeavor by means lowing incident. In 1906, Michigan met of topic sentences, frequent summaries, Wisconsin on the question, “Resolved that and sharply marked transitions, to follow a Federal Commission be given power to the motto which is said to hang above the fix rates." The debate turned on the editorial desk of Lyman Abbott: "I will meaning of "fix rates.” Wisconsin pre- make this so clear that my Aunt Rebecca sented the Esch-Townsend Bill, which could understand it." proposed to give a commission power to Sometimes a debate is the stepping-stone fix a definite freight rate in place of a rate to leadership. College communities are complained of. Michigan replied: "No; like the group of school-boys who elected in 1906 the term 'fix rates' must be inter- as president their best pitcher, chose as preted not by the Esch-Townsend Bill, secretary their best jumper, and then, with but by the Dolliver Bill, which is at pres- unconscious irony, selected as treasurer ent before congress. This bill proposes to their best runner. “Dynamic" men are give a commission power to substitute for almost invariably college leaders; thus dea rate complained of not a definite rate, baters are often recognized. A certain but something very different, namely, a sophomore presents a typical case. Durmaximum rate. Your meaning of 'fix ing his first and second years he was conrates' is two years old." It was held by tinually on probation, always on the verge the judges that Michigan had rightly in- of expulsion. Early in his junior year he terpreted the vital term of the proposition. promised the debating coach in college Thus debating tends to lead away from slang “to lay himself out" in an attempt intellectual pecking at the question. Know- to make the team. Immediately his coning all about a question, the debater must vivial pals missed him. For the first time choose only the essentials. A broad back- in his college career he did his level best. ground of knowledge must lie underneath, The result was that he was chosen leader though it may not appear in the speeches. of the team, and largely by his own ability
Not alone in the field of constructive won a decision for his alma mater. Then thinking, but also in the field of expres- college mates began to notice him. They sion, debating has great value. It teaches elected him first a member of the student young men both to think accurately and to court, then president of his class, then edipress their thought clearly and readily. tor of the college daily. The debate was President Eliot has said that the superior the turning-point in his career, for he beeffectiveness of some men lies not in their gan to take pride in his accomplishment, larger stock of ideas, but in their greater and from a position of obscurity he rose in power of expression. Forgetting this, edu- one year to effective leadership. cators too often limit their efforts to cram- In like manner, with another college ming facts into the heads of their students man it may be the responsibility of foot— facts, not ideas. The skilful debater,
The skilful debater, ball captain, of glee-club leader, of college
editor, of fraternity president, or of some to procure a set of the speeches made, and other extra classroom activity, that fur- will pay any reasonable price. nishes the opportunity for leadership. One distinguished jurist has affirmed that he Unless such dishonesty can be prevented, it would not exchange his joint debate for will soon bring deserved condemnation to any one full year of his college course. an honorable sport. Reputable institutions This taste of the joys of leadership often are refusing either to sell or buy material. reaches out into life. The president of a A third form of dishonesty sometimes western university attended in Minne- arises. Coaches too frequently are far apolis a meeting of twelve of the most more responsible for the argument preprominent alumni of his institution in the sented than are the debaters themselves. Twin Cities. Nine out of the thirteen, One debating coach had made a special including the president, had been in their study of "trade-unions" for ten years. He college-days members of 'varsity debating began in his high-school debates, followed teams. These men had not become promi- it out in his college contests, and finally, nent citizens because they had been de- taking charge of a college team, gave them baters as undergraduates; they had become three carefully prepared speeches to memleaders in active life because they made orize. Thus his students received none use of the same powers which in embry- of the value which comes of working up a onic stage sustained them in their college case. They were parrots, nothing more. debates. Forensics did not develop self- For this evil there are two possible remeconfidence, perseverance, courage. It dies. Many colleges, among them Stanmerely furnished to the young men occa- ford, the University of California, and sions to organize for successful behavior Swarthmore, rightly throw the burden of in emergencies the real power potential in preparation entirely upon their debaters, them.
doing away with all coaching, and trustDebating has shortcomings, even dan- ing to the honor of their opponents to do gers. It is easy, for example, to manufac- likewise. Still better is reducing the time ture evidence with little likelihood of de- of preparation from three months to six tection. However, the penalty of such weeks. Stanford and California pursue dishonesty, when discovered, is most se- this method in their annual “Carnot" vere. In a debate in 1907, one of the medal debates, which are models of the speakers deliberately misquoted an author- best debating in the country. The actual ity. An unusually shrewd opponent debating deteriorates under shorter prepawalked over to the desk of his rival, picked ration, but the exercise becomes far less up the book, and read the statement academic, and more nearly like the occaexactly as it had been quoted. Then he sions of every-day life. The debates under continued: “Honorable judges, the gentle- this system are contests not of voluminous man read the sentence as if it were punctu- research, but of individual constructive ated with a period at this point. As a thinking. Above all, this plan places the matter of fact, the punctuation is a men upon their own responsibility, and as comma." He then read the final clause, far as is possible eliminates opportunities showing the real intent of the authorityfor dishonesty. which was exactly opposite to the inter- NIeasuring success in debating by the pretation given by his opponent. The re- number of victories, several universities sult was disaster for the dishonest de- stand out above all others. Harvard has bater.
won seventeen debates from Yale and lost There are still more subtle forms of
She has won nine from Princeton dishonesty. Dozens of requests pour in
and lost seven. Pennsylvania won both from colleges and high schools upon every
debates from Cornell and Columbia in prominent debating team, offering to buy, 1907, 1908, 1909, and 1910, the best string rent, or borrow, material. A typical letter of consecutive victories known. The Uniread:
versity of Missouri has an enviable record.
With Kansas she has won seven and lost Dear Sir: We understand that your uni- four; with Texas, won four and lost one; versity debated the question of commission with Illinois, won three and lost one; with government last spring. We shall be glad Colorado, won two and lost none; with
Oklahoma, won one and lost three; with and to respect the cause of the other felWashington, won one and lost one. The
The low. It is teaching them grace, ease, conuniversities of Iowa, Illinois, Stanford, fidence, and resourcefulness in public Tulane, and the following colleges, Beloit, speech. In some academic circles it is cusCornell (Iowa), Oberlin, Swarthmore, tomary to ridicule a good speaker. The and Williams also have been remarkably students of a certain law school shuffle successful. Notre Dame, with her elo their feet when a classmate dares to recite quent Irishmen, is virtually invincible. in unusually good speaking form. The Bowdoin College has won over fifty per faculty lecture committee of another unicent. of her contests with Amherst, Wes-versity declined to invite a distinguished leyan, Clark, Vermont, Syracuse, and publicist to address the student body, on Cornell. Her chief achievement was that the ground that he was such an excellent within one month, and on totally different speaker that he could not have anything propositions, with a student body of three worth while to say.
worth while to say. Such men, Henry hundred, she defeated both Cornell and Ward Beecher said, belong "to the school Syracuse, each with a student body of over of the beetle." Their ideas of public adthree thousand. The University of Michi- dress is "buzz, fight, and hit where you gan has possibly a still more striking rec- can." Happily, such ridiculous academiord. Since 1893 she has participated in cism is rare, and colleges are coming to thirty-eight debates, of which twenty-six recognize that the effective oral expression have been victories, twelve defeats. She of sound thinking is one of the primary has won four out of five with Wisconsin, requisites of a cultivated man. College seven out of eleven with Northwestern, debates, like many congressional discusthree out of four with Pennsylvania, sions, are not masterpieces either of arguthree out of four with Minnesota, and ment or of delivery, but they represent for nine out of fourteen with Chicago. She many young men the maximum opus of has received a unanimous decision in eigh- college life. "Why," asked a professor of teen debates, and lost one by unanimous history who was inclined to scoff at debatdecision. Eleven out of her last fourteen ing—"why do these fellows present grade contests have been victories.
A work in their debates, and grade B work Success, however, is not measured in my classes ?" The answer is simple. wholly in victories won. College debat- His classroom probably lacks the stimuing is giving to thousands of college boys lus of a good fight. The debate is for power to acquire information, to form blood; it is a fair field, and no favors sound judgments, to confine discussion to asked, and may the best man win; it essential issues, to state arguments clearly makes generous winners and game losers. and forcibly, to treat an opponent fairly, It makes manly men.
TOPICS OF THE TIME
DOES THE HARVEST MATCH day, with some concrete fact of national THE TILLAGE?
life which proves that, in the large, the
harvest of Christian impulses is inadequate Y all the outward signs of Church as compared with the weeds of human
worship, charitable effort, and the selfishness and mob recklessness. Grand multiplication of lay societies, the Amer- and indispensable as it is, the harvest does ican people may claim to enjoy the fruits not include to a satisfactory degree control of a vigorous Christian civilization. of the basic springs of popular desire and Church membership and church property, by voluntary agencies, have more than It is not difficult to perceive the points kept pace with the national expansion in at which Christian influence loses touch, population and wealth. It is hardly pos- in actual stress, with the selfish instincts sible that such variety of creed and liturgy of human nature; but it is immensely diffiever before existed under the protection cult to discover how to organize a conof a single flag. None of the sects and scious, reliant curb on those instincts. A denominations appear to have languished compact army of workers for private and for lack of material support or fervent public morality like the Society of Chrisworshipers. And among the strongest tian Endeavor, whose remarkable growth of them the only signs of discordance have and influence is described in another part come from a spirit of rivalry in doing the of this number of The Century, rensame kinds of good. In the broadest sense dered efficient help to public opinion in their diverse activities amount to one limiting the degrading exhibition of picChristian force working for the spiritual tures of the Reno prize-fight; yet neither and political unity of the nation.
its influence, nor that of all the Christian To refer only to the lay societies, their forces in the State of New York, have practical zeal and spiritual devotion leave produced a sentiment active enough to little, if anything, to be desired. Protes- prevent the enactment by the New York tant and Catholic, alike, labor unceasingly legislature of a law which makes pugilism to enlarge the field of direct Christian in- a State-regulated amusement, at work Auence and to instruct and protect the every day to spread the seeds of brutality rising generations in the sustaining faith and gambling among the young men of of the mothers and fathers. The only the nation. The Reno fight was merely elements that seem to be new in the prac- a sporadic incident, conceded to be lawless tice of Christian principles are a broader and shameless ; while these club fights, digsympathy and a wider charity, combining nified by a legal status, differ only in for more efficient helpfulness among the quantity, not in quality, from the "fights increasing mass of breadwinners who find to a finish," and serve to feed the newsthe modern pace difficult for their natural papers, and through them the homes of powers or accidental circumstances. the country, with the noisome jargon and
In very fact the tillage of the Christian details of the prize-ring. The same legisfield in the United States continues to be lature made it unlawful to maintain watersuperb in every element of energy, re- cups for public use, thereby proving its insourcefulness, and conviction. Christian tense anxiety for the welfare of humanity. men and women are the body and soul of Another great and zealous body of all the forces organized for education and Christian workers is known as “The Men moral progress, and the numbers enlisted and Religion Forward Movement.” It for fellowship and practical work have in- combines the moral force of thirteen large creased by leaps and bounds. And yet the brotherhoods and associations. It makes nation is brought face to face, almost every of September 24, for this year, a "Rally Day for Men and Boys,” in every part of A “JUDICIAL OLIGARCHY” the country. A special feature of its work is "social service," including efforts to N hysterical tone is frequent in the pubinterest working-men of all classes, and to secure the coöperation of labor leaders in characteristic has been displayed in the appealing to their followers. In that recent agitation about the recall of judges; broad, and even paramount, field of na- and a good example of it was given in the tional effort, where lurk the ills of indus- speech of Senator Owen of Oklahoma, trial turmoil, usually accompanied by some who declared to the Senate that the “conof the horrors of war, there is no lack of dition which the country faces" is nothknowledge of the spiritual and statutory ing less than a "judicial oligarchy." laws of justice and order; but when the The phrase is worth a little examination, pinch of dissension comes are they ever not merely to see how it squares with the heeded?
facts, but also as an illustration of the exOur problems and trials in these days do travagance of thought and language, and not differ much in kind from those of the of the setting up of imaginary monsters, other great Christian nations, but they into which ardent temperaments are bewould appear to be augmented by certain trayed when dealing with a question Aung powerful tendencies. Except for the em- hot and new into politics. Senator Owen phasis placed on the importance of money spoke with the appearance of great earnestas a means of attaining comfort and plea- ness, yet the very citations and statistics sure, the struggle would not be so fierce which he himself gave were enough to and reckless to achieve small or great mo- show that his alleged “oligarchy” is purely nopoly in trade and labor; except for the fanciful. For by far the larger number of use of money in elections and in legisla- judges in the United States are elected tures, the number of officials who serve and for short terms. The notion that they for the “spoils” would be fewer, and the could, if they desired, erect themselves into hand of the law would be more uniform a privileged class, far above the considerate in its pressure; and except for the mon- judgment of their fellow-citizens, and enstrous appetite for scandal and the details titled to treat the laws as if they were a of crime which has been stimulated under nose of wax, is really ludicrous. “We the pretense of "disseminating intelli- know what judges can be made to do," gence,” the whole country would not be said John Selden, but every man who has a morning and evening school for the study acquaintance with State judges knows that of the ways and means of human depravity. they cannot be made to think of them
There was one day last August when selves, much less to act, as oligarchs. two burnings at the stake by mobs were But the Oklahoma Senator's complaint merely the most lurid spots in the in- is chiefly of Federal judges, who are apflated chronicles of our Christian civili- pointed, not elected, who hold office durzation. Hardly a newspaper but felting good behavior, and who occasionally obliged by its duty to the morbid curios- decide that a law which Congress has atity of the public, to publish in extenso the tempted to enact is in violation of the Conpitiful ravings for fiendish vengeance of stitution. They make up our "judicial the half-crazed widow of the policeman oligarchy," if we have any. But do they, whose murder was the motive for the in fact, ever conceive of themselves as such, Coatesville horror.
or give color by their course to the charge At a time when, to an “argus-eyed" and that such in truth they are? The question universal press, no depravity and no crime must surely be answered in the negative by is too naked or too vile to be spread broad- any one who will fairly and attentively cast in the way of business, is it surprising study their bearing and their decisions. that all the Christian precept of the land These haughty Olympian judges, removed should be so largely negatived by the facts from all humane sympathies, out of touch of life?
with their age, anxious only to twist and The harvest may be disappointing when pervert the statutes to the profit of monopcompared with the tillage, but the tillage oly and oppression, are wholly creatures is vastly important, and, sometime, it may of the imagination. They exist in no accut nearer to the forces that work for evil. tual Federal court.