Alfred Landon Baker to Jane Addams, January 7, 1913


CHICAGO, 1/7/13

My dear Miss Addams:

I thank you very much for the opportunity of reading these interesting communications.

I am sorry that Mr. Amos Pinchot did not present in a different manner the viewpoint which bothers a number of us. If this movement was merely a Roosevelt personal campaign, the arguments which the Colonel uses might, perhaps, be reasonably satisfactory.

When I had finished reading Colonel Roosevelt's answer the first thought that came into my mind was a sincere wish that some crony or intimate comrade of the Colonel's -- one in whom there could be the slightest suspicion of any personal motive -- that such a one, over a friendly fireplace and with plenty of time at his disposal could have it out with him in a real give-and-take knock-down argument.

It is not right to imply that our viewpoint is more radical or more impractical, or partakes in any manner of temperamental discontent. The difference is far deeper than this. It goes to the root - the fundamental basis of our principles. The same arguments which Mr. Roosevelt uses in support of Perkins, Munsey and Flynn could have been much more easily used during his administration, in defense of Taft and Root, as well as others who were most efficient under him during his administration. And yet, when he was no longer in command, it required a revolution in the Republican party to get away from the men whpm the people no longer trusted.

The people do not trust these men under discussion any more than they trusted the old leaders in the Republican party. They believe that without the leadership of Theodore Roosevelt, these men, if left to themselves, would have the same personal viewpoint, the same mental attitude, adopt precisely the same methods as the very men whom we have been fighting in the Republican party. They believe this because these methods are personal and are a part of a man's character and were methods of their business lives.

The reason why various groups of men and women in this country have united on political questions is more an attitude of mind than any particular difference of opinion regarding either the trusts, the high cost of living or the tariff. There is an honest difference of opinion among men in our own ranks on all the above questions but there is no difference of opinion among the sincere men and women in our party that [page 2] it is absolutely necessary to elect to office men with the right mental attitude. And the only way to discover the right mental attitude of a man is to judge him by his personal life and career.

And even though Mr. Roosevelt believes in the sincerity of these men and recognizes their efficiency he cannot get rid of the fact that the people distrust them and that they never would have arrived at any leadership in the Progressive party, had the people been given an opportunity to express their own choice and to have made their own selection.

Is not too much emphasis put upon efficiency? I remember reading with great interest something which you once wrote -- that efficiency was not of so much importance as that the people themselves should actively participate in their own affairs. We all recognize the efficiency of monopolies and the efficiency of benevolent despotism. We know that if the people are left to manage their own affairs they may not select the most efficient men but we do know that the loss in efficiency in political and social affairs is more than made up by their gain in freedom and independence, by the habit of self government.

If our illustrious chief without whom, as I have always reiterated, our Progressive party would not at this time have been a unified national party, continues to put the emphasis on men of efficiency, and surrounds himself with these men who do not, and never will have, the confidence of the people, he will only keep the party unified while he, himself, is our leader and as soon as he passes out this condition will bring about a counter-revolution in the same way that it did after his own administration.

The mass of the people do not question the intellectual honesty of Taft. What they do disbelieve in is his mental attitude -- the natural viewpoint which is the expression of his real character. They have the same lack of confidence in the mental attitude of Perkins, Munsey, Flynn, et. al.

We all understand the necessity, so far as obtaining votes is concerned, of welcoming all sorts of people to our ranks. We recognize in the present building up of the party, money and organizing ability are tremendously necessary. We also recognize that without the leadership of Roosevelt these groups of men and women would not yet have been formed into a great national party. But we are equally as confident that we never will grow into a permanent party and achieve our ultimate purpose without the people themselves select the men who are managers and leaders -- and that the personal character of these managers and leaders measure up in character to the character of the movement itself.

Roosevelt does measure up to the standard. Many of the men with whom he [page 3] surrounds himself do not measure up to the standard; and the men with whom he surrounded himself while he was President -- with one or two exceptions -- did not possess the right mental attitude, and although they were efficient under him, when they succeeded to leadership it required a revolution to get rid of them.

Finally, if it is necessary that these men should hold important positions -- as Col Roosevelt believes that it is necessary -- he should move heaven and earth to, in a large measure, diminish their conspicuousness in the party by surrounding himself with many more of an entirely different character. Even though he believes absolutely in the sincerity of their convictions, yet the people do not share with him this fath and it seems to me that this is a very important distinction.

I believe it is absolutely essential to the welfare of our cause, to in some degree, be able to clarify the atmosphere which has been thickened by the influence of these men. Something is necessary to prevent our being constantly on the defensive and using the same arguments which the Colonel himself uses in this connection.

Very sincerely yours,

Alfred L Baker [signed]

Miss Jane Addams,
Hull House,

<Return herewith the two communications which have not been out of my possession or shown to others.