The Century Chest Collection

Our Laws a Hundred Years Hence, Prophecy by A. P. Crockett

(Transcribed from the original)

I have been requested to prepare for the Century Chest of the Lutheran Church a forecast of our laws a century hence. Professing no prophetic skill myself, I shall of necessity have to be guided largely by the trend of past events.
I desire those who hear this read a century hence, however, to remember that these prophecies are written with the full appreciation of the words of Saint Paul in First Corinthians, Thirteenth Chapter, where he said: "Charity never faileth, but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail", and if any of these prophecies fail to materialize it will at least show that Saint Paul knew what he was talking about.

Law is broadly defined to be rules governing our social conduct, or rules regulating the conduct of individuals toward one another and the community at large. Our present laws consist of the Statutes of the United States, and the laws of the various states, the common law of England as modified and interpreted by our courts to apply to conditions here.
Our courts cling to the precedents of the past, and extend their application with great caution. The rapid changes in our mode of living, the many new inventions, and changed conditions of our civilization have compelled our Courts to extend the powers granted in our Constitution far greater than was ever intended. Doubtless many more startling extensions will occur in the next hundred years.

A century hence will see the right of equal suffrage given woman. In England at this time the daily papers are full of accounts of what is called the "militant suffragettes", depicting the present stage of the battle which women are waging there for the right to vote. They burn beautiful country homes of prominent opponents of their cause, and threaten destruction of well known historic buildings, and many serve terms in prison for their violence and threats. A hundred years hence, the smoke of battle being cleared away, these women may be viewed as martyrs who walked through fire and blood to attain their end; today, in the heat of battle, they are thought to do their cause more harm than good.

The law now regards the husband and wife as one, but that one is chiefly the husband. The marriage ceremony of many of our churches requires the wife to promise "to obey" her husband. This unnatural obligation will be a thing of the past, and women then will be recognized as the equal of man in all her rights. She will then have the right to occupy any place of trust in the Government.

This doubtless will produce a radical change in the social life of women, especially in our large cities. Where now women amuse themselves with bridge whist and pink teas at their social functions, then they will pass the time discussing affairs of state, and the betterment of their fellow beings.

A century hence all railroads, telegraph lines and other public utilities will be owned and operated by Federal and State Governments. All corporations will receive their charters from the Federal Government instead of the various states. All judges, except possibly the Supreme Court, will be selected by the vote of the people.

At present we have no laws governing aerial navigation, but then rules regulating such matters will be as well defined as our maritime laws of today.

The conflicts between labor and capital will be regulated by certain laws permitting the laborers to participate in some measure in the profits of the business. The laborer also will then be benefited by laws requiring those more fortunate in accumulating wealth to bear a larger proportion of the burdens of taxation.

Our system of punishing criminals will be changed so that crime will be largely treated as a disease. Instead of corralling prisoners all in penitentiaries, they will be largely separated, given appropriate work and taught to become useful men and women.

Compulsory education will be rigidly enforced, and if the parent is unable to educate the child, the State will see that no child is permitted to grow up in ignorance.

I have prophesied here briefly a few things concerning man-made laws. Now, in conclusion, I wish to affirm that a century hence the laws of God as given through His Son, Jesus Christ, will still be the guiding light as in all ages past. They alone do not change.

A.P. Crockett

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