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there would be great national universities.
It was an inspiring dream, and possibly, for the time being, it will prove only that. And maybe it will come true, as other dreams in Mexico have come true. There was the dream of putting the soldiers on the land, for example. That came true with a bang.
On December 1, 1920, the regular army of Mexico consisted of 338 generals, 15,891 colonels, majors, captains, and lieutenants, and 77,295 soldiers. This was only the regular army. Following the defeat of Carranza, thousands of revolutionists and socalled bandits gladly made terms with the new Government and for the moment became a part of the army. This move was necessary for two reasons: first, it secured a livelihood through military pay for these men who had been following war for years; secondly, it brought these armed men under military discipline and government control.
This enrolling of all the revolutionary anti-Carranza forces raised the
grand total of the army on the first of 1921 to 669 generals, 18,992 officers, and 93,132 men. To keep this force going, an appropriation of 131,000,000 pesos for the army and 35,000,000 for the arsenals was necessary out of a total federal appropriation of 270,000,000, or more than fifty per cent. of the total government income.
Drastic methods were decided upon. A triple plan was worked out whereby first of all there was to be a decrease through voluntary discharge. This was to be further augmented by forced discharge of all incompetent soldiers and officers who could not establish their rank; but the real solution was the formation of a number of soldier agriculture colonies.
The words "Bandit colonies" have a rather bad sting to them, but not down in Mexico. For ten years the difference between "bandits" and "rev
olutionists" was all a matter of point of view. Thus these colonists might just as well be called "revolutionary colonies."
And the big thing about them is that they have actually been formed and are really working. Thousands of soldiers who for years have been following the trade of fighting, with the dream of land always somewhere in the background, have been put on the land in colonies, supplied with the tools of farming, and financially backed and cared for by the Government. Mexican swords have actually been beaten into plowshares and pruning-hooksand books and pencils; for moneys saved by army disarmament automatically go into education.
I know of no greater adventure in pioneering than this back-to-the-land movement of these soldiers who have been fighting for years that land and some intangible, indefinite something called "freedom" might be theirs. Villa is one of them-Pancho Villa, despised bandit or beloved knight, just as you choose. I looked up Villa in his own private colony.
For three long, dusty days I rode north from Mexico City, then took an eight-hour ride on a bumpy railroad to the filthy little mud village of Rosario in the hills of northern Durango: then rode six hours in a rickety, high-wheeled vehicle behind mangy, dwarfed mules.
There, in a long, one-storied adobe house, nestling against a great brown adobe church, I found Don Pancho. In soiled shirt, beltless, baggy trousers and with the grimy hands of a Mexican rancher, he greeted me in the doorway of his bedroom. He was a two-hundred-pound man, with crumpled black hair, a well trimmed
mustache, a great handsome head, with unusually high forehead and remarkable black eyes.
He was friendly and hospitable. We sat down in his bedroom for a while, and then he led me out of the room to the patio and through a gateway to a long shed where he kept the farming implements that the Government had given him. Villa was proud of them. He slipped into the seat of a baby tractor and threw on a lever. He petted it almost as he would have petted a horse. For a while he talked of the ranch and then, forgetful of his leg, he jumped down from the tractor and led the way to his blacksmith-shop.
The door was unfastened, and nothing was locked or even bolted.
I muttered words of praise while he led the way to the front of the church. A score of men were lounging about, and half a dozen were standing just within the entrance, in front of an improvised store counter. They were making Sunday morning purchases.
We edged our way past the counter to the inside of the church. Everywhere were piled bags of corn, cans of lard, and tools.
There was no light burning, or clean altar-cloth. Still, the statuary and pictures had been left undamaged. Villa pointed to the sacred pictures.
"When I came here, those poor fellows were thin and hungry," he said. "See how fat they are since I brought in all this corn and food."
He smiled, and led me out of the church, down a filthy, narrow mud street, through a large door into a big patio surrounded by a line of rooms made of adobe brick.
"This is to be our school," he said, with tremendous pride. "I'm fixing it up as fast as I can. Everything is tumbled down, and the roofs have fallen in; but I am repairing them, and in a few weeks we shall have a school here with four teachers. It 's going to be the best school I know how to start, and every child on this ranch is going to attend. Schools are what Mexico needs above everything else.
If I was at the head of things, I would put plenty of schools in the cities and towns, and besides I 'd put a school on every hacienda and ranch.
"Poor, ignorant Mexico!" he said slowly. "Until they have education, nothing much can be done. I know. I was twenty-five before I could sign my own name. And I know what it is to try to help people who can't understand what you are trying to do for them. I fought ten years for them. I had a principle. I fought ten years so that the poor man could live as a human being should, have his land, send his children to school, and enjoy human freedom. But most of them were too ignorant to understand my ideas. That's the reason I quit fighting. I kept fighting as long as Carranza was in power, but now, with Obregon at the head, I'd be doing more harm than good. So I've quit. Nothing can ever be done until the common people of Mexico are educated. Education comes first of all— education and the land for the peons. The other things must wait."
And poor ignorant Pancho Villa was right. Real liberty, real democracy, real independence, must wait.
It was Pancho Villa talking, but his was the voice of all Mexico crying out for new peons for old.
President Harding versus Senator
By A. MAURICE Low, Author of "THE AMERICAN PEOPLE: A Study in
o the foreign student of American politics, one whose knowledge of the subject is practical rather than theories learned from books, nothing more pointedly marks the difference between the British and American systems than the gradual rise of an Englishman to the premiership and the sudden leap of an American to the eminence of the White House. It is not only the difference in political thought, but it is the difference in temperament. More than once the Englishman has made a leap in the dark, but never willingly. He is perhaps the greatest adventurer the world has ever known, but he displays a peculiar timidity when it comes to venturing in men. He insists upon being properly introduced, he wants to know much about a man whom he intrusts with his affairs; he may think the leader of the party to which he is opposed incompetent or untrustworthy, but despite his defects he has more confidence in him than in a man of whom he knows nothing. Of the one man he knows the worst, of the other he knows nothing. He dislikes to yield certainty for chance.
The American, on the other hand, does not adventure greatly, but he is the greatest gambler on earth in men. His trust is almost the ingenuousness of a child. He puts men in high
places, he surrenders to them the welfare and destinies of the country on faith. He takes for granted what perhaps it would be better if he acquired by knowledge. He accepts implicitly their patriotism, wisdom, and devotion. The Presidency has raised more than one man from obscurity; every cabinet has a fair sprinkling of men whose reputation is only local. The system would be impossible in Europe, and it is doubtful if it could be made to work; in America, all things considered, it has worked fairly well and brought to the front the representative average.
Mr. Harding came to the Presidency not an obscure man, but a man almost unknown to his countrymen. Until his nomination his name meant nothing outside of a small political circle. He was not a national figure; when he spoke he commanded no great audience. He served his novitiate under the narrowing influence of state politics; he was a member of the legislature, lieutenant-governor. Then for nearly ten years he disappeared from politics and was almost forgotten by even that small public that once was his, to emerge again as a senator from his State. In the Senate no great legislative act was associated with his name. Yet he was nominated and elected, and the people, after his
nomination and election and before his induction into office, believed they knew him. In this belief they were sincere. There was a popular conception of the man, his mind, and his temperament. I shall endeavor to show how incorrect the popular conception was as proved by the first year of President Harding's administration.
The popular conception of Mr. Harding was a large-hearted, amiable, and somewhat pleasure-loving man to whom popularity was so dear that he would not willingly lose a friend and would do much to avoid making an enemy; who, physically and intellectually indolent, would follow the line of least resistance and would be satisfied to have his thinking done for him by others. Having been a senator and owing his nomination to a group of senators, as the public was led to believe, he would exalt the power of the Senate and be subservient to the senators who were his political creators. The White House under the new régime was to be a senatorial regency; a few senators would dictate, and the President would cheerfully obey their commands.
This may have been a correct appraisement of the character of Mr. Harding in his pre-Presidential days, but unless the belief in miracles still exists, one must doubt. Only a mirOnly a miracle could have wrought such a change in the Harding of the Senate and the Harding of the White House. A man's character does not alter after he has reached a certain age; especially is it too rigid for a radical modification to be possible in a few months. A man may reform, he may cast off certain
habits, he may adjust himself to new conditions, but the foundation on which character rests, the spiritual and the mental, remains constant. The public believed it knew the man whom it had elected President, and it knew him not at all.
As a senator Mr. Harding had joined in the denunciation of Mr. Wilson. That was natural. Mr. Harding was a good party man. The Democratic party was Mr. Wilson; to defeat the Democratic party Mr. Wilson must be destroyed. Mr. Wilson was an "autocrat" and had treated the Senate with contempt; autocracy is a terrifying word to affright those children of larger growth easily to be persuaded by phrases. suaded by phrases. Hence autocracy must be uprooted and the "Senate restored to its proper place in the Constitution"; otherwise liberty would perish and those "glorious sacrifices" so dear to perfervid oratory would have been made in vain. Mr. Wilson, knave or fool according to taste, had tried to tie the virile body of America to the corruption of Europe, and only the patriotism of the Senate had prevented such an unholy union. Mr. Harding was a member of the Foreign Relations Committee and trained with its dominant element. He was against the Versailles treaty and the League of Nations because his party was. party was. He was in favor of the reservations because the majority was. In a word, he was a sound party man in good standing who subscribed to its articles of faith and accepted them as his code.
Mr. Harding's affiliations were with the Senate; it was the Senate that had made possible his elevation to the