The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 41, July 1937 - April, 1938

Book Reviews

BOOK REVIEWS
Divided We Stand: The Crisis of a Frontierless Democracy. By
Walter Prescott Webb. (New York: Farrar & Rinehart,
1937. Price, $2.50.)
Divided We Stand, by Walter Prescott Webb, is a great book.
"Great," despite insincere abuse and thoughtless overuse, is still
a word of solemnity, in its application to current books of any
time rarely applicable. With precedents of the centuries to fortify
its purpose, Divided We Stand is a modern instance of history's
coming down from the passionless air of bloodless impartiality to
plead the cause of humanity and to arouse redress against the
wrongs of an outraged people. Like all good history, it is a
delineation of facts, but, more than that, it is an interpretation
of them, a revelation of the human destiny these facts have led
to and are leading to. Under the white light of wit and the force
of elemental logic, it illumines the bleak walls of a boxed canyon
into which the march of time and the linked chain of events have
herded more than 50 millions of people occupying 80 per cent of
the territory of the United States.
The time is roughly that since the Civil War, when, having
freed the slaves of the South, the North began through "a subsidy
for business, an annual bonus for patriotism, and a monopoly for
ingenuity"-tariffs, pensions for the G. A. R., and patents-to
enslave the outlands, the South and the West, until now 200 corpo-
rations, 90 per cent of which are in the North, own one-fourth of
the wealth of America. By statistics and swift analysis of them,
Webb shows that bank deposits, income taxes, insurance companies,
wholesale suppliers, chain stores and other economic factors give
the North a proportionate grip on the rest of the nation, although
the South and the West "have within their boundaries most of the
natural wealth of America," the resources.
Tons of books have been published on American corporations,
but a chapter entitled "The Rise of America's Feudal System," as
vivid and dramatic as it is brief, sets the whole matter with its
human and inhuman implications before us. "The sole motive
of the American feudal system has been the economic one of making
profits. It has had no other duty, no other purpose, no other

257

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 41, July 1937 - April, 1938. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101103/. Accessed September 20, 2014.