December 13, 1906
March 18, 2014
From the Autobiography of Mark Twain on a speech given by then Secretary of State Elihu Root.
“As regards the coming American monarchy. It was before Mr. Root had been heard from that the chairman of the banquet said: ‘In this time of unrest it is of great satisfaction that such a man as you, Mr. Root, is chief adviser to the President.’
“He did not say, in so many words, that we are proceeding, in a steady march, toward eventual and unavoidable replacement of the republic by monarchy; but I suppose he was aware that that is the case. . . . .In observing the changed conditions which in the course of time have made certain and sure the eventual seizure by the Washington Government of a number of State duties and prerogatives which have been betrayed and neglected by the several States, he does not attribute those changes and the vast results which are to flow from them to any thought-out policy of any party or of any body of dreamers or schemers, but properly and rightly attributes them to that stupendous power – Circumstance – which moves by laws of its own, regardless of parties and policies, and whose decrees are final, and must be obeyed by all – and will be. The railway is Circumstance, the steamship is Circumstance, the telegraph is Circumstance. They were mere happenings; and to the whole world, the wise and the foolish alike, they are entirely trivial, wholly inconsequential; indeed silly, comical, grotesque. No man, and no party, and no thought-out policy said, ‘Behold, we will build railways and steamships and telegraphs, and presently you will see the condition and way of life of every man and woman and child in the nation totally changed; unimaginable changes of law and custom will follow, in spite of anything that anybody can do to prevent it.”