Mr. Republican Pere

The last article in the December, 1911 issue of The National Geographic Magazine is a piece written by William Howard Taft, then President of the United States. It concerned The Arbitration Treaties, treaties that would bind the United States to arbitration with their co-signers instead of proceeding directly to war.

President Taft was the father of Robert A. Taft, the man who became known as Mr. Republican. Mr. Republican () led the Conservative Coalition which condemned the New Deal.

In light of our current political culture, and the fact that another Republican son of a Republican father is running for President, I think it's instructive to share a few quotes from a Republican president, who fathered a quite conservative son, who also ran for President. Unsuccessfully.

I only want now to take up ... the elimination from the exceptions in the old treaties of questions of national honor and vital interest. It struck me, as I am sure it must strike you when you read a treaty that says, "We will agree to arbitrate everything that arises between us except questions of national honor or vital interest," that you have omitted, from the things which you are to arbitrate, about everything that is likely to lead to war. At least, you have put into the treaty words which any nation that desires to avoid arbitration can fall back upon as including everything that they wish to include within that description.

Napoleon said that the Lord was on the side of the stronger battalions. Of course, if we wiped the enemy off the map, we would at once claim that the Lord was with us, and that would be a satisfactory arrangement. But it is a little difficult to explain our relations to the Lord if we are wiped off the map.

Arbitration cannot result in victory for both parties; somebody has got to be beaten. We cannot play "Heads I win, tails you lose"; we have to to have the people accept the fact that sometimes we may be beaten.

That Constitution of which we are so proud, that Constitution which is the greatest fundamental compact of government ever struck from the brain of man, has always shown itself equal to any emergency that has heretofore arisen, with its simple, elastic provisions which enable it to move on with the nation's progress, which open themselves to embrace every improvement that is needed for the progress of Christian civilization and the progress of our own government. Are we going to give that Constitution such narrow construction as to take a retrograde step and to become merely an observer of the world's progress toward universal peace, or are we going to lead?