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Title: An essay on the American contribution and the democratic idea
Author: Churchill, Winston
Language: English
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By Winston Churchill


Failure to recognize that the American, is at heart an idealist is
to lack understanding of our national character. Two of our greatest
interpreters proclaimed it, Emerson and William James. In a recent
address at the Paris Sorbonne on “American Idealism,” M. Firmin Roz
observed that a people is rarely justly estimated by its contemporaries.
The French, he says, have been celebrated chiefly for the skill of their
chefs and their vaudeville actors, while in the disturbed ‘speculum
mundi’ Americans have appeared as a collection of money grabbers whose
philosophy is the dollar. It remained for the war to reveal the true
nature of both peoples. The American colonists, M. Roz continues, unlike
other colonists, were animated not by material motives, but by the
desire to safeguard and realize an ideal; our inherent characteristic
today is a belief in the virtue and power of ideas, of a national,
indeed, of a universal, mission. In the Eighteenth Century we proposed
a Philosophy and adopted a Constitution far in advance of the political
practice of the day, and set up a government of which Europe predicted
the early downfall. Nevertheless, thanks partly to good fortune, and
to the farseeing wisdom of our early statesmen who perceived that the
success of our experiment depended upon the maintenance of an isolation
from European affairs, we established democracy as a practical form of

We have not always lived up to our beliefs in ideas. In our dealings
with other nations, we yielded often to imperialistic ambitions and
thus, to a certain extent, justified the cynicism of Europe. We took
what we wanted--and more. From Spain we seized western Florida; the
annexation of Texas and the subsequent war with Mexico are acts upon
which we cannot look back with unmixed democratic pride; while more than
once we professed a naive willingness to fight England in order to
push our boundaries further north. We regarded the Monroe Doctrine as
altruistic, while others smiled. But it suited England, and her sea
power gave it force.

Our war with Spain in 1898, however, was fought for an idea, and,
despite the imperialistic impulse that followed it, marks a transition,
an advance, in international ethics. Imperialistic cynics were not
lacking to scoff at our protestation that we were fighting Spain in
order to liberate Cuba; and yet this, for the American people at large,
was undoubtedly the inspiration of the war. We kept our promise, we did
not annex Cuba, we introduced into international affairs what is known
as the Big Brother idea. Then came the Platt Amendment. Cuba was free,
but she must not wallow near our shores in an unhygienic state, or
borrow money without our consent. We acquired valuable naval bases.
Moreover, the sudden and unexpected acquisition of Porto Rico and the
Philippines made us imperialists in spite of ourselves.

Nations as well as individuals, however, must be judged by their
intentions. The sound public opinion of our people has undoubtedly
remained in favour of ultimate self-government for the Philippines, and
the greatest measure of self-determination for little Porto Rico; it has
been unquestionably opposed to commercial exploitation of the islands,
desirous of yielding to these peoples the fruits of their labour in
developing the resources of their own lands. An intention, by the
way, diametrically different from that of Germany. In regard to our
protectorate in the island of San Domingo, our “semi-protectorate” in
Nicaragua, the same argument of intention may fairly be urged. Germany,
who desired them, would have exploited them. To a certain extent, no
doubt, as a result of the momentum of commercial imperialism, we are
still exploiting them. But the attitude of the majority of Americans
toward more backward peoples is not cynical; hence there is hope that a
democratic solution of the Caribbean and Central American problem may
be found. And we are not ready, as yet, to accept without further
experiment the dogma that tropical and sub-tropical people will not
ultimately be able to govern themselves. If this eventually, prove to be
the case at least some such experiment as the new British Labour Party
has proposed for the Empire may be tried. Our general theory that the
exploitation of foreign peoples reacts unfavourably on the exploiters is
undoubtedly sound.

Nor are the ethics of the manner of our acquisition of a part of Panama
and the Canal wholly defensible from the point of view of international
democracy. Yet it must be remembered that President Roosevelt was
dealing with a corrupt, irresponsible, and hostile government, and that
the Canal had become a necessity not only for our own development, but
for that of the civilization of the world.

The Spanish War, as has been said, marked a transition, a development
of the American Idea. In obedience to a growing perception that dominion
and exploitation are incompatible with and detrimental to our system of
government, we fought in good faith to gain self-determination for an
alien people. The only real peril confronting democracy is the arrest
of growth. Its true conquests are in the realms of ideas, and hence it
calls for a statesmanship which, while not breaking with the past, while
taking into account the inherent nature of a people, is able to deal
creatively with new situations--always under the guidance of current
social science.

Woodrow Wilson’s Mexican policy, being a projection of the American Idea
to foreign affairs, a step toward international democracy, marks the
beginning of a new era. Though not wholly understood, though opposed by
a powerful minority of our citizens, it stirred the consciousness of a
national mission to which our people are invariably ready to respond.
Since it was essentially experimental, and therefore not lacking in
mistakes, there was ample opportunity for a criticism that seemed at
times extremely plausible. The old and tried method of dealing with such
anarchy as existed across our southern border was made to seem the safe
one; while the new, because it was untried, was presented as disastrous.
In reality, the reverse was the case.

Mr. Wilson’s opponents were, generally speaking, the commercial classes
in the community, whose environment and training led them to demand
a foreign policy similar to that of other great powers, a financial
imperialism which is the logical counterpart in foreign affairs of the
commercial exploitation of domestic national resources and domestic
labour. These were the classes which combated the growth of democracy at
home, in national and state politics. From their point of view--not
that of the larger vision--they were consistent. On the other hand, the
nation grasped the fact that to have one brand of democracy at home and
another for dealing with foreign nations was not only illogical but, in
the long run, would be suicidal to the Republic. And the people at large
were committed to democratic progress at home. They were struggling for

One of the most important issues of the American liberal movement early
in this century had been that for the conservation of what remains
of our natural resources of coal and metals and oil and timber and
waterpower for the benefit of all the people, on the theory that these
are the property of the people. But if the natural resources of this
country belong to the people of the United States, those of Mexico
belong to the people of Mexico. It makes no difference how “lazy,”
 ignorant, and indifferent to their own interests the Mexicans at present
may be. And even more important in these liberal campaigns was the issue
of the conservation of human resources--men and women and children who
are forced by necessity to labour. These must be protected in health,
given economic freedom and a just reward for their toil. The American
democracy, committed to the principle of the conservation of domestic
natural and human resources, could not without detriment to itself
persist in a foreign policy that ignored them. For many years our
own government had permitted the squandering of these resources by
adventurous capitalists; and gradually, as we became a rich industrial
nation, these capitalists sought profitable investments for their
increasing surplus in foreign lands. Their manner of acquiring
“concessions” in Mexico was quite similar to that by which they had
seized because of the indifference and ignorance of our own people--our
own mines and timber lands which our government held in trust. Sometimes
these American “concessions” have been valid in law though the law
itself violated a democratic principle; more often corrupt officials
winked at violations of the law, enabling capitalists to absorb bogus

The various rulers of Mexico sold to American and other foreign
capitalists the resources belonging to the people of their country, and
pocketed, with their followers, the proceeds of the sale. Their control
of the country rested upon force; the stability of the Diaz rule,
for instance, depended upon the “President’s” ability to maintain his
dictatorship--a precarious guarantee to the titles he had given. Hence
the premium on revolutions. There was always the incentive to the
upstart political and military buccaneer to overthrow the dictator and
gain possession of the spoils, to sell new doubtful concessions and levy
new tribute on the capitalists holding claims from a former tyrant.

The foreign capitalists appealed to their governments; commercial
imperialism responded by dispatching military forces to protect the
lives and “property” of its citizens, in some instances going so far as
to take possession of the country. A classic case, as cited by Hobson,
is Britain’s South African War, in which the blood and treasure of the
people of the United Kingdom were expended because British capitalists
had found the Boers recalcitrant, bent on retaining their own country
for themselves. To be sure, South Africa, like Mexico is rich in
resources for which advancing civilization continually makes demands.
And, in the case of Mexico, the products of the tropics, such as rubber,
are increasingly necessary to the industrial powers of the temperate
zone. On the other hand, if the exploiting nation aspire to
self-government, the imperialistic method of obtaining these products
by the selfish exploitation of the natural and human resources of the
backward countries reacts so powerfully on the growth of democracy at
home--and hence on the growth of democracy throughout the world--as to
threaten the very future of civilization. The British Liberals, when
they came into power, perceived this, and at once did their best to
make amends to South Africa by granting her autonomy and virtual
independence, linking her to Britain by the silken thread of Anglo-Saxon
democratic culture. How strong this thread has proved is shown by the
action of those of Dutch blood in the Dominion during the present war.

Eventually, if democracy is not to perish from the face of the earth,
some other than the crude imperialistic method of dealing with backward
peoples, of obtaining for civilization the needed resources of their
lands, must be inaugurated--a democratic method. And this is perhaps
the supreme problem of democracy today. It demands for its solution a
complete reversal of the established policy of imperialism, a new theory
of international relationships, a mutual helpfulness and partnership
between nations, even as democracy implies cooperation between
individual citizens. Therefore President Wilson laid down the doctrine
that American citizens enter Mexico at their own risk; that they must
not expert that American blood will be shed or the nation’s money be
expended to protect their lives or the “property” they have acquired
from Mexican dictators. This applies also to the small capitalists,
the owners of the coffee plantations, as well as to those Americans in
Mexico who are not capitalists but wage earners. The people of Mexico
are entitled to try the experiment of self-determination. It is an
experiment, we frankly acknowledge that fact, a democratic experiment
dependent on physical science, social science, and scientific education.
The other horn of the dilemma, our persistence in imperialism, is even
worse--since by such persistence we destroy ourselves.

A subjective judgment, in accordance with our own democratic standards,
by the American Government as to the methods employed by a Huerta, for
instance, is indeed demanded; not on the ground, however, that such
methods are “good” or “bad”; but whether they are detrimental to Mexican
self-determination, and hence to the progress of our own democracy.


If America had started to prepare when Belgium was invaded, had entered
the war when the Lusitania was sunk, Germany might by now have been
defeated, hundreds of thousands of lives might have been spared. All
this may be admitted. Yet, looking backward, it is easy to read the
reason for our hesitancy in our national character and traditions.
We were pacifists, yes, but pacifists of a peculiar kind. One of our
greatest American prophets, William James, knew that there was an issue
for which we were ready to fight, for which we were willing to make the
extreme sacrifice,--and that issue he defined as “war against war.” It
remained for America to make the issue.

Peoples do not rush to arms unless their national existence is
threatened. It is what may be called the environmental cause that drives
nations quickly into war. It drove the Entente nations into war, though
incidentally they were struggling for certain democratic institutions,
for international justice. But in the case of America, the environmental
cause was absent. Whether or not our national existence was or is
actually threatened, the average American does not believe that it is.
He was called upon to abandon his tradition, to mingle in a European
conflict, to fight for an idea alone. Ideas require time to develop, to
seize the imagination of masses. And it must be remembered that in 1914
the great issue had not been defined. Curiously enough, now that it
is defined, it proves to be an American issue--a logical and positive
projection of our Washingtonian tradition and Monroe doctrine. These
had for their object the preservation and development of democracy,
the banishment from the Western Hemisphere of European imperialistic
conflict and war. We are now, with the help of our allies, striving to
banish these things from the face of the earth. It is undoubtedly
the greatest idea for which man has been summoned to make the supreme

Its evolution has been traced. Democracy was the issue in the Spanish
War, when we fought a weak nation. We have followed its broader
application to Mexico, when we were willing to ignore the taunts and
insults of another weak nation, even the loss of “prestige,” for the
sake of the larger good. And we have now the clue to the President’s
interpretation of the nation’s mind during the first three years of the
present war. We were willing to bear the taunts and insults of Germany
so long as it appeared that a future world peace night best be brought
about by the preservation of neutrality, by turning the weight of the
impartial public opinion of our democracy and that of other neutrals
against militarism and imperialism. Our national aim was ever consistent
with the ideal of William James, to advance democracy and put an end to
the evil of war.

The only sufficient reason for the abandonment of the Washingtonian
policy is the furtherance of the object for which it was inaugurated,
the advance of democracy. And we had established the precedent,
with Spain and Mexico, that the Republic shall engage in no war of
imperialistic conquest. We war only in behalf of, or in defence of,

Before the entrance of America, however, the issues of the European
War were by no means clear cut along democratic lines. What kind of
democracy were the allies fighting for? Nowhere and at no time had it
been defined by any of their statesmen. On the contrary, the various
allied governments had entered into compacts for the transference
of territory in the event of victory; and had even, by the offer of
rewards, sought to play one small nation against another. This secret
diplomacy of bargains, of course, was a European heritage, the result of
an imperialistic environment which the American did not understand,
and from which he was happily free. Its effect on France is peculiarly
enlightening. The hostility of European governments, due to their fear
of her republican institutions, retarded her democratic growth, and
her history during the reign of Napoleon III is one of intrigue for
aggrandizement differing from Bismarck’s only in the fact that it was
unsuccessful. Britain, because she was separated from the continent and
protected by her fleet, virtually withdrew from European affairs in
the latter part of the nineteenth century, and, as a result, made great
strides in democracy. The aggressions of Germany forced Britain in
self-defence into coalitions. Because of her power and wealth she became
the Entente leader, yet her liberal government was compelled to enter
into secret agreements with certain allied governments in order to
satisfy what they deemed to be their needs and just ambitions. She had
honestly sought, before the war, to come to terms with Germany, and had
even proposed gradual disarmament. But, despite the best intentions,
circumstances and environment, as well as the precarious situation of
her empire, prevented her from liberalizing her foreign relations to
conform with the growth of democracy within the United Kingdom and the
Dominions. Americans felt a profound pity for Belgium. But she was
not, as Cuba had been, our affair. The great majority of our citizens
sympathized with the Entente, regarded with amazement and disgust the
sudden disclosure of the true character of the German militaristic
government. Yet for the average American the war wore the complexion
of other European conflicts, was one involving a Balance of Power,
mysterious and inexplicable. To him the underlying issue was not
democratic, but imperialistic; and this was partly because he was unable
to make a mental connection between a European war and the brand of
democracy he recognized. Preaching and propaganda fail unless it can be
brought home to a people that something dear to their innermost nature
is at stake, that the fate of the thing they most desire, and are
willing to make sacrifices for, hangs in the balance.

During a decade the old political parties, between which there was
now little more than an artificial alignment, had been breaking up.
Americans were absorbed in the great liberal movement begun under the
leadership of President Roosevelt, the result of which was to transform
democracy from a static to a pragmatic and evolutionary conception,--in
order to meet and correct new and unforeseen evils. Political freedom
was seen to be of little worth unless also accompanied by the economic
freedom the nation had enjoyed before the advent of industrialism.
Clerks and farmers, professional men and shopkeepers and artisans were
ready to follow the liberal leaders in states and nation; intellectual
elements from colleges and universities were enlisted. Paralleling
the movement, at times mingling with it, was the revolt of labour,
manifested not only in political action, but in strikes and violence.
Readily accessible books and magazines together with club and forum
lectures in cities, towns, and villages were rapidly educating the
population in social science, and the result was a growing independent
vote to make politicians despair.

Here was an instance of a democratic culture growing in
isolation, resentful of all external interference. To millions of
Americans--especially in our middle western and western states--bent
upon social reforms, the European War appeared as an arresting
influence. American participation meant the triumph of the forces
of reaction. Colour was lent to this belief because the conservative
element which had opposed social reforms was loudest in its demand for
intervention. The wealthy and travelled classes organized preparedness
parades and distributed propaganda. In short, those who had apparently
done their utmost to oppose democracy at home were most insistent that
we should embark upon a war for democracy across the seas. Again, what
kind of democracy? Obviously a status quo, commercially imperialistic
democracy, which the awakening liberal was bent upon abolishing.

There is undoubtedly in such an office as the American presidency
some virtue which, in times of crisis, inspires in capable men an
intellectual and moral growth proportional to developing events.
Lincoln, our most striking example, grew more between 1861 and 1865
than during all the earlier years of his life. Nor is the growth of
democratic leaders, when seen through the distorted passions of
their day, apparently a consistent thing. Greatness, near at hand, is
startlingly like inconsistency; it seems at moments to vacillate, to
turn back upon and deny itself, and thus lays itself open to seemingly
plausible criticism by politicians and time servers and all who cry out
for precedent. Yet it is an interesting and encouraging fact that the
faith of democratic peoples goes out, and goes out alone, to leaders
who--whatever their minor faults and failings--do not fear to reverse
themselves when occasion demands; to enunciate new doctrines, seemingly
in contradiction to former assertions, to meet new crises. When a
democratic leader who has given evidence of greatness ceases to develop
new ideas, he loses the public confidence. He flops back into the ranks
of the conservative he formerly opposed, who catch up with him only when
he ceases to grow.

In 1916 the majority of the American people elected Mr. Wilson in the
belief that he would keep them out of war. In 1917 he entered the war
with the nation behind him. A recalcitrant Middle West was the first
to fill its quota of volunteers, and we witnessed the extraordinary
spectacle of the endorsement of conscription: What had happened? A very
simple, but a very great thing Mr. Wilson had made the issue of the
war a democratic issue, an American issue, in harmony with our national
hopes and traditions. But why could not this issue have been announced
in 1914 or 1915? The answer seems to be that peoples, as well as their
leaders and interpreters, must grow to meet critical situations. In 1861
the moral idea of the Civil War was obscured and hidden by economic and
material interests. The Abraham Lincoln who entered the White House in
1861 was indeed the same man who signed the Emancipation Proclamation
in 1863; and yet, in a sense, he was not the same man; events and
responsibilities had effected a profound but logical growth in his
personality. And the people of the Union were not ready to endorse
Emancipation in 1861. In 1863, in the darkest hour of the war, the
spirit of the North responded to the call, and, despite the vilification
of the President, was true to him to victory. More significant still,
in view of the events of today, is what then occurred in England. The
British Government was unfriendly; the British people as a whole had
looked upon our Civil War very much in the same light as the American
people regarded the present war at its inception--which is to say that
the economic and materialistic issue seemed to overshadow the moral one.
When Abraham Lincoln proclaimed it to be a war for human freedom,
the sentiment of the British people changed--of the British people as
distinct from the governing classes; and the textile workers of the
northern counties, whose mills could not get cotton on account of the
blockade, declared their willingness to suffer and starve if the slaves
in America might be freed.

Abraham Lincoln at that time represented the American people as
the British Government did not represent the British people. We are
concerned today with peoples rather than governments.

It remained for an American President to announce the moral issue of the
present war, and thus to solidify behind him, not only the liberal mind
of America, but the liberal elements within the nations of Europe. He
became the democratic leader of the world. The issue, simply stated, is
the advancement of democracy and peace. They are inseparable. Democracy,
for progress, demands peace. It had reached a stage, when, in a
contracting world, it could no longer advance through isolation:
its very existence in every country was threatened, not only by the
partisans of reaction from within, but by the menace from without of a
militaristic and imperialistic nation determined to crush it, restore
superimposed authority, and dominate the globe. Democracy, divided
against itself, cannot stand. A league of democratic nations, of
democratic peoples, has become imperative. Hereafter, if democracy wins,
self-determination, and not imperialistic exploitation, is to be the
universal rule. It is the extension, on a world scale, of Mr.
Wilson’s Mexican policy, the application of democratic principles to
international relationships, and marks the inauguration of a new era. We
resort to force against force, not for dominion, but to make the
world safe for the idea on which we believe the future of civilization
depends, the sacred right of self-government. We stand prepared to treat
with the German people when they are ready to cast off autocracy and
militarism. Our attitude toward them is precisely our attitude toward
the Mexican People. We believe, and with good reason, that the German
system of education is authoritative and false, and was more or less
deliberately conceived in order to warp the nature and produce
complexes in the mind of the German people for the end of preserving and
perpetuating the power of the Junkers. We have no quarrel with the
duped and oppressed, but we war against the agents of oppression. To the
conservative mind such an aspiration appears chimerical. But America,
youngest of the nations, was born when modern science was gathering
the momentum which since has enabled it to overcome, with a bewildering
rapidity, many evils previously held by superstition to be ineradicable.
As a corollary to our democratic creed, we accepted the dictum that to
human intelligence all things are possible. The virtue of this dictum
lies not in dogma, but in an indomitable attitude of mind to which the
world owes its every advance in civilization; quixotic, perhaps, but
necessary to great accomplishment. In searching for a present-day
protagonist, no happier example could be found than Mr. Henry Ford, who
exhibits the characteristic American mixture of the practical and the
ideal. He introduces into industry humanitarian practices that even
tend to increase the vast fortune which by his own efforts he has
accumulated. He sees that democratic peoples do not desire to go to
war, he does not believe that war is necessary and inevitable, he lays
himself open to ridicule by financing a Peace Mission. Circumstances
force him to abandon his project, but he is not for one moment
discouraged. His intention remains. He throws all his energy and wealth
into a war to end war, and the value of his contribution is inestimable.

A study of Mr. Ford’s mental processes and acts illustrates the true
mind of America. In the autumn of 1916 Mr. Wilson declared that “the
people of the United States want to be sure what they are fighting
about, and they want to be sure that they are fighting for the things
that will bring the world justice and peace. Define the elements; let
us know that we are not fighting for the prevalence of this nation over
that, for the ambitions of this group of nations as compared with the
ambitions of that group of nations, let us once be convinced that we are
called in to a great combination for the rights of mankind, and America
will unite her force and spill her blood for the great things she has
always believed in and followed.”

“America is always ready to fight for the things which are American.”
 Even in these sombre days that mark the anniversary of our entrance into
the war. But let it be remembered that it was in the darkest days of the
Civil War Abraham Lincoln boldly proclaimed the democratic, idealistic
issue of that struggle. The Russian Revolution, which we must seek
to understand and not condemn, the Allied defeats that are its
consequences, can only make our purpose the firmer to put forth all our
strength for the building up of a better world. The President’s masterly
series of state papers, distributed in all parts of the globe, have
indeed been so many Proclamations of Emancipation for the world’s
oppressed. Not only powerful nations shall cease to exploit little
nations, but powerful individuals shall cease to exploit their fellow
men. Henceforth no wars for dominion shall be waged, and to this
end secret treaties shall be abolished. Peoples through their
representatives shall make their own treaties. And just as democracy
insures to the individual the greatest amount of self-determination,
nations also shall have self-determination, in order that each shall be
free to make its world contribution. All citizens have duties to
perform toward their fellow citizens; all democratic nations must be

With this purpose America has entered the war. But it implies that our
own household must be swept and cleaned. The injustices and inequalities
existing in our own country, the false standards of worth, the
materialism, the luxury and waste must be purged from our midst.


In fighting Germany we are indeed fighting an evil Will--evil because it
seeks to crush the growth of individual and national freedom. Its object
is to put the world back under the thrall of self-constituted authority.
So long as this Will can compel the bodies of soldiers to do its
bidding, these bodies must be destroyed. Until the Will behind them is
broken, the world cannot be free. Junkerism is the final expression
of reaction, organized to the highest efficiency. The war against the
Junkers marks the consummation of a long struggle for human liberty in
all lands, symbolizes the real cleavage dividing the world. As in the
French Revolution and the wars that followed it, the true significance
of this war is social. But today the Russian Revolution sounds the
keynote. Revolutions tend to express the extremes of the philosophies
of their times--human desires, discontents, and passions that cannot be
organized. The French Revolution was a struggle for political freedom;
the underlying issue of the present war is economic freedom--without
which political freedom is of no account. It will not, therefore,
suffice merely to crush the Junkers, and with them militarism and
autocracy. Unless, as the fruit of this appalling bloodshed and
suffering, the democracies achieve economic freedom, the war will
have been fought in vain. More revolutions, wastage and bloodshed will
follow, the world will be reduced to absolute chaos unless, in the more
advanced democracies, an intelligent social order tending to remove
the causes of injustice and discontent can be devised and ready for
inauguration. This new social order depends, in turn, upon a world order
of mutually helpful, free peoples, a league of Nations.--If the world
is to be made safe for democracy, this democratic plan must be ready for
the day when the German Junker is beaten and peace is declared.

The real issue of our time is industrial democracy we must face that
fact. And those in America and the Entente nations who continue to
oppose it will do so at their peril. Fortunately, as will be shown, that
element of our population which may be designated as domestic Junkers
is capable of being influenced by contemporary currents of thought,
is awakening to the realization of social conditions deplorable and
dangerous. Prosperity and power had made them blind and arrogant. Their
enthusiasm for the war was, however, genuine; the sacrifices they are
making are changing and softening them; but as yet they can scarcely be
expected, as a class, to rejoice over the revelation--just beginning
to dawn upon their minds--that victory for the Allies spells the end of
privilege. Their conception of democracy remains archaic, while wealth
is inherently conservative. Those who possess it in America have as a
rule received an education in terms of an obsolete economics, of the
thought of an age gone by. It is only within the past few years that our
colleges and universities have begun to teach modern economics,
social science and psychology--and this in the face of opposition from
trustees. Successful business men, as a rule, have had neither the time
nor the inclination to read books which they regard as visionary,
as subversive to an order by which they have profited. And that some
Americans are fools, and have been dazzled in Europe by the glamour of a
privilege not attainable at home, is a deplorable yet indubitable fact.
These have little sympathy with democracy; they have even been heard
to declare that we have no right to dictate to another nation, even an
enemy nation, what form of government it shall assume. We have no right
to demand, when peace comes, that the negotiations must be with the
representatives of the German people. These are they who deplore the
absence among us of a tradition of monarchy, since the American people
“should have something to look up to.” But this state of mind, which
needs no comment, is comparatively rare, and represents an extreme. We
are not lacking, however, in the type of conservative who, innocent of a
knowledge of psychology, insists that “human nature cannot be changed,”
 and that the “survival of the fittest” is the law of life, yet these
would deny Darwin if he were a contemporary. They reject the idea that
society can be organized by intelligence, and war ended by eliminating
its causes from the social order. On the contrary they cling to the
orthodox contention that war is a necessary and salutary thing, and
proclaim that the American fibre was growing weak and flabby from luxury
and peace, curiously ignoring the fact that their own economic class,
the small percentage of our population owning sixty per cent. of the
wealth of the country, and which therefore should be most debilitated by
luxury, was most eager for war, and since war has been declared has most
amply proved its courage and fighting quality. This, however, and other
evidences of the patriotic sacrifices of those of our countrymen who
possess wealth, prove that they are still Americans, and encourages the
hope and belief that as Americans they ultimately will do their share
toward a democratic solution of the problem of society. Many of them are
capable of vision, and are beginning to see the light today.

In America we succeeded in eliminating hereditary power, in obtaining a
large measure of political liberty, only to see the rise of an economic
power, and the consequent loss of economic liberty. The industrial
development of the United States was of course a necessary and desirable
thing, but the economic doctrine which formed the basis of American
institutions proved to be unsuited to industrialism, and introduced
unforeseen evils that were a serious menace to the Republic. An
individualistic economic philosophy worked admirably while there was
ample land for the pioneer, equality of opportunity to satisfy the
individual initiative of the enterprising. But what is known as
industrialism brought in its train fear and favour, privilege and
poverty, slums, disease, and municipal vice, fostered a too rapid
immigration, established in America a tenant system alien to our
traditions. The conditions which existed before the advent of
industrialism are admirably pictured, for instance, in the autobiography
of Mr. Charles Francis Adams, when he describes his native town of
Quincy in the first half of the Nineteenth Century. In those early
communities, poverty was negligible, there was no great contrast between
rich and poor; the artisan, the farmer, the well-to-do merchant met
on terms of mutual self-respect, as man to man; economic class
consciousness was non-existent; education was so widespread that
European travellers wonderingly commented on the fact that we had no
“peasantry”; and with few exceptions every citizen owned a piece of land
and a home. Property, a refuge a man may call his own, and on which
he may express his individuality, is essential to happiness and
self-respect. Today, less than two thirds of our farmers own their land,
while vast numbers of our working men and women possess nothing but the
labour of their hands. The designation of labour as “property” by our
courts only served to tighten the bonds, by obstructing for a time the
movement to decrease the tedious and debilitating hours of contact of
the human organism with the machine,--a menace to the future of the
race, especially in the case of women and children. If labour is
“property,” wretches driven by economic necessity have indeed only the
choice of a change of masters. In addition to the manual workers, an
army of clerical workers of both sexes likewise became tenants, and
dependents who knew not the satisfaction of a real home.

Such conditions gradually brought about a profound discontent, a
grouping of classes. Among the comparatively prosperous there was set
up a social competition in luxury that was the bane of large and
small communities. Skilled labour banded itself into unions, employers
organized to oppose them, and the result was a class conflict never
contemplated by the founders of the Republic, repugnant to democracy
which by its very nature depends for its existence on the elimination of
classes. In addition to this, owing to the unprecedented immigration of
ignorant Europeans to supply the labour demand, we acquired a sinister
proletariat of unskilled economic slaves. Before the war labour
discovered its strength; since the war began, especially in the allied
nations with quasi-democratic institutions, it is aware of its power to
exert a leverage capable of paralyzing industry for a period sufficient
to destroy the chances of victory. The probability of the occurrence
of such a calamity depends wholly on whether or not the workman can
be convinced that it is his war, for he will not exert himself to
perpetuate a social order in which he has lost faith, even though he now
obtains a considerable increase in wages. Agreements entered into with
the government by union leaders will not hold him if at any time he
fails to be satisfied that the present world conflict will not result
in a greater social justice. This fact has been demonstrated by what
is known as the “shop steward” movement in England, where the workers
repudiated the leaders’ agreements and everywhere organized local
strikes. And in America, the unskilled workers are largely outside of
the unions.

The workman has a natural and laudable desire to share more fully in
the good things of life. And it is coming to be recognized that material
prosperity, up to a certain point, is the foundation of mental and
spiritual welfare: clean and comfortable surroundings, beauty, rational
amusements, opportunity for a rational satisfaction of, the human.
instincts are essential to contentment and progress. The individual, of
course, must be enlightened; and local labour unions, recognizing
this, are spending considerable sums all over the country on schools
to educate their members. If a workman is a profiteer, he is more to be
excused than the business profiteer, against whom his anger is directed;
if he is a spendthrift, prodigality is a natural consequence of rapid
acquisition. We have been a nation of spendthrifts.

A failure to grasp the psychology of the worker involves disastrous
consequences. A discussion as to whether or not his attitude is
unpatriotic and selfish is futile. No more profound mistake could be
made than to attribute to any element of the population motives wholly
base. Human nature is neither all black nor all white, yet is capable
of supreme sacrifices when adequately appealed to. What we must get into
our minds is the fact that a social order that insured a large measure
of democracy in the early days of the Republic is inadequate to meet
modern industrial conditions. Higher wages, material prosperity alone
will not suffice to satisfy aspirations for a fuller self-realization,
once the method by which these aspirations can be gained is glimpsed.
For it cannot be too often repeated that the unquenchable conflicts are
those waged for ideas and not dollars. These are tinged with religious


Mr. Wilson’s messages to the American people and to the world have
proclaimed a new international order, a League of Democracies. And in a
recent letter to New Jersey Democrats we find him warning his party,
or more properly the nation, of the domestic social changes necessarily
flowing from his international program. While rightly resolved to
prosecute the war on the battle lines to the utmost limit of American
resources, he points out that the true significance of the conflict lies
in “revolutionary change.” “Economic and social forces,” he says, “are
being released upon the world, whose effect no political seer dare to
conjecture.” And we “must search our hearts through and through and
make them ready for the birth of a new day--a day we hope and believe
of greater opportunity and greater prosperity for the average mass of
struggling men and women.” He recognizes that the next great step in
the development of democracy which the war must bring about--is the
emancipation of labour; to use his own phrase, the redemption of masses
of men and women from “economic serfdom.” “The old party slogans,” he
declares, “will mean nothing to the future.”

Judging from this announcement, the President seems prepared to condemn
boldly all the rotten timbers of the social structure that have outlived
their usefulness--a position that hitherto no responsible politician has
dared to take. Politicians, on the contrary, have revered the dead wood,
have sought to shore the old timbers for their own purposes. But so
far as any party is concerned, Mr. Wilson stands alone. Both of the two
great parties, the Republican and the Democratic, in order to make
a show of keeping abreast of the times, have merely patched their
platforms with the new ideas. The Socialist Party in the United States
is relatively small, is divided against itself, and has given no
evidence of a leadership of broad sanity and vision. It is fortunate
we have been spared in this country the formation of a political labour
party, because such a party would have been composed of manual workers
alone, and hence would have tended further to develop economic class
consciousness, to crystallize class antagonisms. Today, however, neither
the Republican nor the Democratic party represents the great issue of
the times; the cleavage between them is wholly artificial. The formation
of a Liberal Party, with a platform avowedly based on modern social
science, has become essential. Such a party, to be in harmony with our
traditions and our creed, to arrest in our democracy the process of
class stratification which threatens to destroy it, must not draw its
members from the ranks of manual labour alone, but from all elements
of our population. It should contain all the liberal professions, and
clerks and shopkeepers, as well as manual workers; administrators, and
even those employers who have become convinced that our present
economic system does not suffice to meet the needs of the day. In short,
membership in such a party, as far as possible, should not be based upon
occupation or economic status, but on an honest difference of view from
that of the conservative opposition. This would be a distinctly American
solution. In order to form such a party a campaign of education will
be necessary. For today Mr. Wilson’s strength is derived from the
independent vote representing the faith of the people as a whole; but
the majority of those who support the President, while they ardently
desire the abolition in the world of absolute monarchy, of militarism
and commercial imperialism, while they are anxious that this war shall
expedite and not retard the social reforms in which they are interested,
have as yet but a vague conception of the social order which these
reforms imply.

It marks a signal advance in democracy when liberal opinion in any
nation turns for guidance and support to a statesman of another nation.
No clearer sign of the times could be desired than the fact that our
American President has suddenly become the liberal leader of the world.
The traveller in France, and especially in Britain, meets on all sides
striking evidence of this. In these countries, until America’s entrance
into the war, liberals had grown more and more dissatisfied with the
failure of their governments to define in democratic terms the issue of
the conflict, had resented the secret inter-allied compacts, savouring
of imperialism and containing the germs of future war. They are now
looking across the Atlantic for leadership. In France M. Albert Thomas
declared that Woodrow Wilson had given voice to the aspirations of his
party, while a prominent Liberal in England announced in a speech that
it had remained for the American President to express the will and
purpose of the British people. The new British Labour Party and the
Inter-Allied Labour and Socialist Conferences have adopted Mr. Wilson’s
program and have made use of his striking phrases. But we have between
America and Britain this difference: in America the President stands
virtually alone, without a party behind him representing his views;
in Britain the general democratic will of the nation is now being
organized, but has obtained as yet no spokesman in the government.

Extraordinary symptomatic phenomena have occurred in Russia as well as
in Britain. In Russia the rebellion of an awakening people against an
age-long tyranny has almost at once leaped to the issue of the day,
taken on the complexion of a struggle for industrial democracy. Whether
the Germans shall be able to exploit the country, bring about a reaction
and restore for a time monarchical institutions depends largely upon
the fortunes of the war. In Russia there is revolution, with concomitant
chaos; but in Britain there is evolution, an orderly attempt of a people
long accustomed to progress in self-government to establish a new
social order, peacefully and scientifically, and in accordance with a
traditional political procedure.

The recent development of the British Labour Party, although of deep
significance to Americans, has taken place almost without comment in
this country. It was formally established in 1900, and was then composed
of manual workers alone. In 1906, out of 50 candidates at the polls, 39
were elected to Parliament; in 1910, 42 were elected. The Parliamentary
Labour Party, so called, has now been amalgamated with four and a half
millions of Trade Unionists, and with the three and a half millions
of members of the Co-operative Wholesale Society and the Co-operative
Union. Allowing for duplication of membership, these three
organizations--according to Mr. Sidney Webb--probably include two fifths
of the population of the United Kingdom. “So great an aggregation of
working class organizations,” he says, “has never come shoulder to
shoulder in any country.” Other smaller societies and organizations are
likewise embraced, including the Socialists. And now that the suffrage
has been extended, provision is made for the inclusion of women. The new
party is organizing in from three to four hundred constituencies, and
at the next general election is not unlikely to gain control of the
political balance of power.

With the majority of Americans, however, the word “labour” as
designating a party arouses suspicion and distrust. By nature and
tradition we are inclined to deplore and oppose any tendency toward
the stratification of class antagonisms--the result of industrial
discontent--into political groups. The British tradition is likewise
hostile to such a tendency. But in Britain the industrial ferment has
gone much further than with us, and such a result was inevitable. By
taking advantage of the British experience, of the closer ties now being
knit between the two democracies, we may in America be spared a stage
which in Britain was necessary. Indeed, the program of the new British
Labour Party seems to point to a distinctly American solution, one in
harmony with the steady growth of Anglo-Saxon democracy. For it is now
announced that the word “labour,” as applied to the new party, does not
mean manual labour alone, but also mental labour. The British unions
have gradually developed and placed in power leaders educated in social
science, who have now come into touch with the intellectual leaders
of the United Kingdom, with the sociologists, economists, and social
scientists. The surprising and encouraging result of such association is
the announcement that the new Labour Party is today publicly thrown open
to all workers, both by hand and by brain, with the object of securing
for these the full fruits of their industry. This means the inclusion of
physicians, professors, writers, architects, engineers, and inventors,
of lawyers who no longer regard their profession as a bulwark of the
status quo; of clerks, of administrators of the type evolved by the war,
who indeed have gained their skill under the old order but who now in a
social spirit are dedicating their gifts to the common weal, organizing
and directing vast enterprises for their governments. In short, all
useful citizens who make worthy contributions--as distinguished from
parasites, profiteers, and drones, are invited to be members; there is
no class distinction here. The fortunes of such a party are, of course,
dependent upon the military success of the allied armies and navies. But
it has defined the kind of democracy the Allies are fighting for, and
thus has brought about an unqualified endorsement of the war by those
elements of the population which hitherto have felt the issue to be
imperialistic and vague rather than democratic and clear cut. President
Wilson’s international program is approved of and elaborated.

The Report on Reconstruction of the new British Labour Party is perhaps
the most important political document presented to the world since the
Declaration of Independence. And like the Declaration, it is written
in the pure English that alone gives the high emotional quality of
sincerity. The phrases in which it tersely describes its objects are
admirable. “What is to be reconstructed after the war is over is
not this or that government department, this or that piece of social
machinery, but Society itself.” There is to be a systematic approach
towards a “healthy equality of material circumstance for every person
born into the world, and not an enforced dominion over subject nations,
subject colonies, subject classes, or a subject sex.” In industry as
well as in government the social order is to be based “on that equal
freedom, that general consciousness of consent, and that widest
participation in power, both economic and political, which is
characteristic of democracy.” But all this, it should be noted, is not
to be achieved in a year or two of “feverish reconstruction”; “each
brick that the Labour Party helps to lay shall go to erect the structure
it intends and no other.”

In considering the main features of this program, one must have in
mind whether these are a logical projection and continuation of the
Anglo-Saxon democratic tradition, or whether they constitute an absolute
break with that tradition. The only valid reason for the adoption of
such a program in America would be, of course, the restoration of some
such equality of opportunity and economic freedom as existed in our
Republic before we became an industrial nation. “The first condition
of democracy,”--to quote again from the program, “is effective personal

What is called the “Universal Enforcement of the National Minimum”
 contemplates the extension of laws already on the statute books in order
to prevent the extreme degradation of the standard of life brought about
by the old economic system under industrialism. A living minimum wage is
to be established. The British Labour Party intends “to secure to
every member of the community, in good times and bad alike... all the
requisites of healthy life and worthy citizenship.”

After the war there is to be no cheap labour market, nor are the
millions of workers and soldiers to fall into the clutches of charity;
but it shall be a national obligation to provide each of these with work
according to his capacity. In order to maintain the demand for labour
at a uniform level, the government is to provide public works. The
population is to be rehoused in suitable dwellings, both in rural
districts and town slums; new and more adequate schools and training
colleges are to be inaugurated; land is to be reclaimed and afforested,
and gradually brought under common ownership; railways and canals are to
be reorganized and nationalized, mines and electric power systems. One
of the significant proposals under this head is that which demands the
retention of the centralization of the purchase of raw materials brought
about by the war.

In order to accomplish these objects there must be a “Revolution in
National Finance.” The present method of raising funds is denounced; and
it is pointed out that only one quarter of the colossal expenditure made
necessary by the war has been raised by taxation, and that the three
quarters borrowed at onerous rates is sure to be a burden on the
nation’s future. The capital needed, when peace comes, to ensure a happy
and contented democracy must be procured without encroaching on the
minimum standard of life, and without hampering production. Indirect
taxation must therefore be concentrated on those luxuries of which it
is desirable that the consumption be discouraged. The steadily rising
unearned increment of urban and mineral land ought, by appropriate
direct taxation, to be brought into the public exchequer; “the definite
teachings of economic science are no longer to be disregarded.” Hence
incomes are to be taxed above the necessary cost of family maintenance,
private fortunes during life and at death; while a special capital levy
must be made to pay off a substantial portion of the national debt.

“The Democratic Control of Industry” contemplates the progressive
elimination of the private capitalist and the setting free of all who
work by hand and brain for the welfare of all.

The Surplus Wealth is to be expended for the Common Good. That which
Carlyle designates as the “inward spiritual,” in contrast to the
“outward economical,” is also to be provided for. “Society,” says the
document, “like the individual, does not live by bread alone, does not
exist only for perpetual wealth production.” First of all, there is to
be education according to the highest modern standard; and along with
education, the protection and advancement of the public health, ‘mens
sana in corpore sano’. While large sums must be set aside, not only for
original research in every branch of knowledge, but for the promotion
of music, literature, and fine art, upon which “any real development of
civilization fundamentally depends.”

In regard to the British Empire, the Labour Party urges self-government
for any people, whatever its colour, proving itself capable, and the
right of that people to the proceeds of its own toil upon the resources
of its territory. An unequivocal stand is taken for the establishment,
as a part of the treaty of peace, of a Universal Society of Nations;
and recognizing that the future progress of democracy depends upon
co-operation and fellowship between liberals of all countries, the
maintenance of intimate relationships is advocated with liberals

Finally, a scientific investigation of each succeeding problem in
government is insisted upon, and a much more rapid dissemination among
the people of the science that exists. “A plutocratic party may choose
to ignore science, but no labour party can hope to maintain its position
unless its proposals are, in fact, the outcome of the best political
science of its time.”


There are, it will be seen, some elements in the program of the new
British Labour Party apparently at variance with American and English
institutions, traditions, and ideas. We are left in doubt, for instance,
in regard to its attitude toward private property. The instinct for
property is probably innate in humanity, and American conservatism in
this regard is, according to certain modern economists, undoubtedly
sound. A man should be permitted to acquire at least as much property
as is required for the expression of his personality; such a wise
limitation, also, would abolish the evil known as absentee ownership.
Again, there will arise in many minds the question whether the funds
for the plan of National finance outlined in the program may be obtained
without seriously deranging the economic system of the nation and of the
world. The older school denounces the program as Utopian. On the other
hand, economists of the modern school who have been consulted have
declared it practical. It is certain that before the war began it would
not have been thought possible to raise the billions which in four
years have been expended on sheer destruction; and one of our saddest
reflections today must be of regret that a small portion of these
billions which have gone to waste could not have been expended for the
very purposes outlined--education, public health, the advancement of
science and art, public buildings, roads and parks, and the proper
housing of populations! It is also dawning upon us, as a result of new
practices brought about by the war, that our organization of industry
was happy-go-lucky, inefficient and wasteful, and that a more scientific
and economical organization is imperative. Under such a new system it
may well be, as modern economists claim, that, we shall have an ample
surplus for the Common Good.

The chief objection to a National or Democratic Control of Industry has
been that it would tend to create vast political machines and thus give
the politicians in office a nefarious power. It is not intended here to
attempt a refutation of this contention. The remedy lies in a changed
attitude of the employee and the citizen toward government, and the
fact that such an attitude is now developing is not subject to absolute
proof. It may be said, however, that no greater menace to democracy
could have arisen than the one we seem barely to have escaped--the
control of politics and government by the capitalistic interests of the
nation. What seems very clear is that an evolutionary drift toward the
national control of industry has for many years been going on, and that
the war has tremendously speeded up the tendency. Government has stepped
in to protect the consumer of necessities from the profiteer, and
is beginning to set a limit upon profits; has regulated exports and
imports; established a national shipping corporation and merchant
marine, and entered into other industries; it has taken over the
railroads at least for the duration of the war, and may take over coal
mines, and metal resources, as well as the forests and water power; it
now contemplates the regulation of wages.

The exigency caused by the war, moreover, has transformed the former
practice of international intercourse. Co-operation has replaced
competition. We are reorganizing and regulating our industries, our
business, making sacrifices and preparing to make more sacrifices in
order to meet the needs of our Allies, now that they are sore beset. For
a considerable period after the war is ended, they will require our aid.
We shall be better off than any other of the belligerent nations, and
we shall therefore be called upon to practice, during the years of
reconstruction, a continuation of the same policy of helpfulness.
Indeed, for the nations of the world to spring, commercially speaking,
at one another’s throats would be suicidal even if it were possible. Mr.
Sidney Webb has thrown a flood of light upon the conditions likely to
prevail. For example, speculative export trade is being replaced by
collective importing, bringing business more directly under the control
of the consumer. This has been done by co-operative societies, by
municipalities and states, in Switzerland, France, the United Kingdom,
and in Germany. The Co-operative Wholesale Society of Great Britain,
acting on behalf of three and a half million families, buys two and a
half million dollars of purchases annually. And the Entente nations, in
order to avoid competitive bidding, are buying collectively from us, not
only munitions of war, but other supplies, while the British Government
has made itself the sole importer of such necessities as wheat, sugar,
tea, refrigerated meat, wool, and various metals. The French and Italian
governments, and also certain neutral states, have done likewise. A
purchasing commission for all the Allies and America is now proposed.
After the war, as an inevitable result, for one thing, of transforming
some thirty million citizens into soldiers, of engaging a like number of
men and women at enhanced wages on the manufacture of the requisites of
war, Mr. Webb predicts a world shortage not only in wheat and foodstuffs
but in nearly all important raw materials. These will be required for
the resumption of manufacture. In brief, international co-operation
will be the only means of salvation. The policy of international trade
implied by world shortage is not founded upon a law of “supply and
demand.” The necessities cannot be permitted to go to those who can
afford to pay the highest prices, but to those who need them most. For
the “free play of economic forces” would mean famine on a large scale,
because the richer nations and the richer classes within the nations
might be fully supplied; but to the detriment and ruin of the world
the poorer nations and the poorer classes would be starved. Therefore
governments are already beginning to give consideration to a new
organization of international trade for at least three years after
the war. Now if this organization produce, as it may produce, a more
desirable civilization and a happier world order, we are not likely
entirely to go back--especially in regard to commodities which are
necessities--to a competitive system. The principle of “priority
of need” will supersede the law of “supply and demand.” And the
organizations built up during the war, if they prove efficient, will not
be abolished. Hours of labour and wages in the co-operative League of
Nations will gradually be equalized, and tariffs will become things
of the past. “The axiom will be established,” says Mr. Webb, “that the
resources of every country must, be held for the benefit not only of its
own people but of the world.... The world shortage will, for years to
come, make import duties look both oppressive and ridiculous.”

So much may be said for the principle of Democratic Control. In spite of
all theoretical opposition, circumstances and evolution apparently point
to its establishment. A system that puts a premium on commercial greed
seems no longer possible.

The above comments, based on the drift of political practice during
the past decade and a half, may be taken for what they are worth.
Predictions are precarious. The average American will be inclined to
regard the program of the new British Labour Party as the embodiment of
what he vaguely calls Socialism, and to him the very word is repugnant.
Although he may never have heard of Marx, it is the Marxian conception
that comes to his mind, and this implies coercion, a government that
constantly interferes with his personal liberty, that compels him
to tasks for which he has no relish. But your American, and your
Englishman, for that matter, is inherently an individualist he wants as
little government as is compatible with any government at all. And the
descendants of the continental Europeans who flock to our shores
are Anglo-Saxonized, also become by environment and education
individualists. The great importance of preserving this individualism,
this spirit in our citizens of self-reliance, this suspicion against too
much interference with personal liberty, must at once be admitted. And
any scheme for a social order that tends to eliminate and destroy it
should by Americans be summarily rejected.

The question of supreme interest to us, therefore, is whether the
social order implied in the British program is mainly in the nature of
a development of, or a break with, the Anglo-Saxon democratic tradition.
The program is derived from an English source. It is based on what is
known as modern social science, which has as its ultimate sanction the
nature of the human mind as revealed by psychology. A consideration of
the principles underlying this proposed social order may prove that it
is essentially--if perhaps paradoxically--individualistic, a logical
evolution of institutions which had their origin in the Magna Charta.
Our Declaration of Independence proclaimed that every citizen had the
right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” which means
the opportunity to achieve the greatest self-development and
self-realization. The theory is that each citizen shall find his place,
according to his gifts and abilities, and be satisfied therewith. We may
discover that this is precisely what social science, in an industrial
age, and by spiritualizing human effort, aims to achieve. We may find
that the appearance of such a program as that of the British Labour
Party, supported as it is by an imposing proportion of the population
of the United Kingdom, marks a further step, not only in the advance of
social science and democracy, but also of Christianity.

I mention Christianity, not for controversial or apologetic reasons, but
because it has been the leaven of our western civilization ever since
the fall of the Roman Empire. Its constant influence has been to soften
and spiritualize individual and national relationships. The bitter
controversies, wars, and persecutions which have raged in its name are
utterly alien to its being. And that the present war is now being fought
by the Allies in the hope of putting an end to war, and is thus in the
true spirit of Christianity, marks an incomparable advance.

Almost up to the present day, both in our conception and practice of
Christianity, we have largely neglected its most important elements.
Christian orthodoxy, as Auguste Sabatier points out, is largely derived
from the older supernatural religions. The preservative shell of dogma
and superstition has been cracking, and is now ready to burst, and the
social teaching of Jesus would seem to be the kernel from which has
sprung modern democracy, modern science, and modern religion--a trinity
and unity.

For nearly two thousand years orthodoxy has insisted that the social
principles of Christianity are impractical. And indeed, until the
present day, they have been so. Physical science, by enormously
accelerating the means of transportation and communication, has so
contracted the world as to bring into communion peoples and races
hitherto far apart; has made possible an intelligent organization of
industry which, for the first time in history, can create a surplus
ample to maintain in comfort the world’s population. But this demands
the will to co-operation, which is a Christian principle--a recognition
of the brotherhood of man. Furthermore, physical science has increased
the need for world peace and international co-operation because the
territories of all nations are now subject to swift and terrible
invasion by modern instruments of destruction, while the future
submarine may sweep commerce from the seas.

Again, orthodoxy declares that human nature is inherently “bad,” while
true Christianity, endorsed by psychology, proclaims it inherently
“good,” which means that, properly guided, properly educated, it is
creative and contributive rather than destructive. No more striking
proof of this fact can be cited than the modern experiment in prison
reform in which hardened convicts, when “given a chance,” frequently
become useful citizens. Unjust and unintelligent social conditions are
the chief factors in making criminals.

Our most modern system of education, of which Professor John Dewey is
the chief protagonist, is based upon the assertions of psychology that
human nature is essentially “good” creative. Every normal child is
supposed to have a special “distinction” or gift, which it is the task
of the educator to discover. This distinction found, the child achieves
happiness in creation and contribution. Self-realization demands
knowledge and training: the doing of right is not a negative but a
positive act; it is not without significance that the Greek word for sin
is literally “missing the mark.” Christianity emphasizes above all else
the worth of the individual, yet recognizes that the individual can
develop only in society. And if the individual be of great worth, this
worth must be by society developed to its utmost. Universal suffrage is
a logical corollary.

Universal suffrage, however, implies individual judgment, which means
that the orthodox principle of external authority is out of place both
in Christianity and democracy. The Christian theory is that none shall
intervene between a man’s Maker and himself; democracy presupposes that
no citizen shall accept his beliefs and convictions from others, but
shall make up his own mind and act accordingly. Open-mindedness is the
first requisite of science and democracy.

What has been deemed, however, in Christianity the most unrealizable
ideal is that which may be called pacifism--to resist not evil, to turn
the other cheek, to agree with your adversary while you are in the
way with him. “I come not,” said Jesus, in one of those paradoxical
statements hitherto so difficult to understand, “I come not to bring
peace, but a sword.” It is indeed what we are fighting for--peace. But
we believe today, more strongly than ever before, as democracy advances,
as peoples tend to gain more and more control over their governments,
that even this may not be an unrealizable ideal. Democracies, intent on
self-realization and self-development, do not desire war.

The problem of social science, then, appears to be to organize human
society on the principles and ideals of Christianity. But in view of
the fact that the trend of evolution is towards the elimination of
commercial competition, the question which must seriously concern us
today is--What in the future shall be the spur of individual initiative?
Orthodoxy and even democratic practice have hitherto taken it for
granted--in spite of the examples of highly socialized men, benefactors
of society--that the average citizen will bestir himself only for
material gain. And it must be admitted that competition of some sort is
necessary for self-realization, that human nature demands a prize. There
can be no self-sacrifice without a corresponding self-satisfaction.
The answer is that in the theory of democracy, as well as in that of
Christianity, individualism and co-operation are paradoxically blended.
For competition, Christianity substitutes emulation. And with democracy,
it declares that mankind itself can gradually be rained towards the
level of the choice individual who does not labour for gain, but in
behalf of society. For the process of democracy is not degrading, but
lifting. Like Christianity, democracy demands faith, and has as its
inspiring interpretation of civilization evolution towards a spiritual
goal. Yet the kind of faith required is no longer a blind faith, but one
founded on sane and carefully evolved theories. Democracy has become a
scientific experiment.

In this connection, as one notably inspired by emulation, by the joy of
creative work and service, the medical profession comes first to
mind. The finer element in this profession is constantly increasing in
numbers, growing more and more influential, making life less easy for
the quack, the vendor of nostrums, the commercial proprietor of the
bogus medical college. The doctor who uses his talents for gain is
frowned upon by those of his fellow practitioners whose opinion really
counts. Respected physicians in our cities give much of their time to
teaching, animating students with their own spirit; and labour long
hours, for no material return, in the clinics of the poor. And how
often, in reading our newspapers, do we learn that some medical
scientist, by patient work, and often at the risk of life and health,
has triumphed over a scourge which has played havoc with humanity
throughout the ages! Typhoid has been conquered, and infant paralysis;
gangrene and tetanus, which have taken such toll of the wounded in
Flanders and France; yellow fever has been stamped out in the tropics;
hideous lesions are now healed by a system of drainage. The very list of
these achievements is bewildering, and latterly we are given hope of
the prolongation of life itself. Here in truth are Christian deeds
multiplied by science, made possible by a growing knowledge of and
mastery over Nature.

Such men by virtue of their high mission are above the vicious social
and commercial competition poisoning the lives of so many of their
fellow citizens. In our democracy they have found their work, and the
work is its own reward. They give striking testimony to the theory that
absorption in a creative or contributive task is the only source of
self-realization. And he has little faith in mankind who shall
declare that the medical profession is the only group capable of being
socialized, or, rather, of socializing themselves--for such is the
true process of democracy. Public opinion should be the leaven. What
is possible for the doctor is also possible for the lawyer, for the
teacher. In a democracy, teaching should be the most honoured of the
professions, and indeed once was,--before the advent of industrialism,
when it gradually fell into neglect,--occasionally into deplorable
submission to the possessors of wealth. Yet a wage disgracefully
low, hardship, and even poverty have not hindered men of ability from
entering it in increasing numbers, renouncing ease and luxuries. The
worth of the contributions of our professors to civilization has been
inestimable; and fortunately signs are not lacking that we are coming
to an appreciation of the value of the expert in government, who is
replacing the panderer and the politician. A new solidarity of teaching
professional opinion, together with a growing realization by our public
of the primary importance of the calling, is tending to emancipate it,
to establish it in its rightful place.

Nor are our engineers without their ideal. A Goethals did not cut an
isthmus in two for gain.

Industrialism, with its concomitant “corporation” practice, has
undoubtedly been detrimental to the legal profession, since it has
resulted in large fees; in the accumulation of vast fortunes, frequently
by methods ethically questionable. Grave social injustices have been
done, though often in good faith, since the lawyer, by training and
experience, has hitherto been least open to the teachings of the new
social science, has been an honest advocate of the system of ‘laissez
faire’. But to say that the American legal profession is without ideals
and lacking in the emulative spirit would be to do it a grave injustice.
The increasing influence of national and state bar associations
evidences a professional opinion discouraging to the unscrupulous;
while a new evolutionary and more humanitarian conception of law is now
beginning to be taught, and young men are entering the ranks imbued
with this. Legal clinics, like medical clinics, are established for the
benefit of those who cannot afford to pay fees, for the protection
of the duped from the predatory quack. And, it must be said of this
profession, which hitherto has held a foremost place in America,
that its leaders have never hesitated to respond to a public call, to
sacrifice their practices to serve the nation. Their highest ambition
has even been to attain the Supreme Court, where the salary is a mere
pittance compared to what they may earn as private citizens.

Thus we may review all the groups in the nation, but the most
significant transformation of all is taking place within the business
group,--where indeed it might be least expected. Even before the war
there were many evidences that the emulative spirit in business had
begun to modify the merely competitive, and we had the spectacle of
large employers of labour awakening to the evils of industrialism, and
themselves attempting to inaugurate reforms. As in the case of labour,
it would be obviously unfair to claim that the employer element was
actuated by motives of self-interest alone; nor were their concessions
due only to fear. Instances could be cited, if there were space, of
voluntary shortening of hours of labour, of raising of wages, when
no coercion was exerted either by the labour unions or the state;
and--perhaps to their surprise employers discovered that such acts were
not only humane but profitable! Among these employers, in fact, may be
observed individuals in various stages of enlightenment, from the few
who have educated themselves in social science, who are convinced that
the time has come when it is not only practicable but right, who realize
that a new era has dawned; to others who still believe in the old
system, who are trying to bolster it up by granting concessions, by
establishing committees of conference, by giving a voice and often a
financial interest, but not a vote, in the conduct of the corporation
concerned. These are the counterpart, in industry, of sovereigns whose
away has been absolute, whose intentions are good, but who hesitate,
often from conviction, to grant constitutions. Yet even these are
responding in some degree to social currents, though the aggressive
struggles of labour may have influenced them, and partially opened
their eyes. They are far better than their associates who still seek to
control the supplies of food and other necessities, whose efficiency is
still solely directed, not toward a social end, but toward the amassing
of large fortunes, and is therefore wasted so far as society is
concerned. They do not perceive that by seeking to control prices they
merely hasten the tendency of government control, for it is better to
have government regulation for the benefit of the many than proprietary
control, however efficient, for the benefit of the few.

That a significant change of heart and mind has begun to take place
amongst capitalists, that the nucleus of a “public opinion” has been
formed within an element which, by the use and wont of business and
habits of thought might be regarded as least subject to the influence of
social ideas, is a most hopeful augury. This nascent opinion has begun
to operate by shaming unscrupulous and recalcitrant employers into
better practices. It would indeed fare ill with democracy if, in such
an era, men of large business proved to be lacking in democratic
initiative, wholly unreceptive and hostile to the gradual introduction
of democracy into industry, which means the perpetuation of the
American Idea. Fortunately, with us, this capitalistic element is of
comparatively recent growth, the majority of its members are essentially
Americans; they have risen from small beginnings, and are responsive
to a democratic appeal--if that appeal be properly presented. And, as a
matter of fact, for many years a leaven had been at work among them; the
truth has been brought home to them that the mere acquisition of wealth
brings neither happiness nor self-realization; they have lavished their
money on hospitals and universities, clinics, foundations for scientific
research, and other gifts of inestimable benefit to the nation and
mankind. Although the munificence was on a Medicean scale, this private
charity was in accord with the older conception of democracy, and paved
the way for a new order.

The patriotic and humanitarian motive aroused by the war greatly
accelerated the socializing transformation of the business man and the
capitalist. We have, indeed, our profiteers seeking short cuts to luxury
and wealth; but those happily most representative of American affairs,
including the creative administrators, hastened to Washington with a
willingness to accept any position in which they might be useful, and
in numerous instances placed at the disposal of the government the
manufacturing establishments which, by industry and ability, they
themselves had built up. That in thus surrendering the properties for
which they were largely responsible they hoped at the conclusion of
peace to see restored the ‘status quo ante’ should not be held against
them. Some are now beginning to surmise that a complete restoration is
impossible; and as a result of their socializing experience, are even
wondering whether it is desirable. These are beginning to perceive
that the national and international organizations in the course of
construction to meet the demands of the world conflict must form the
model for a future social structure; that the unprecedented pressure
caused by the cataclysm is compelling a recrystallization of society in
which there must be fewer misfits, in which many more individuals than
formerly shall find public or semi-public tasks in accordance with their
gifts and abilities.

It may be argued that war compels socialization, that after the war
the world will perforce return to materialistic individualism. But this
calamity, terrible above all others, has warned us of the imperative
need of an order that shall be socializing, if we are not to witness the
destruction of our civilization itself. Confidence that such an order,
thanks to the advancement of science, is now within our grasp should not
be difficult for Americans, once they have rightly conceived it. We, who
have always pinned our faith to ideas, who entered the conflict for an
Idea, must be the last to shirk the task, however Herculean, of world
reconstruction along the lines of our own professed faith. We cannot be
renegades to Democracy.

Above all things, then, it is essential for us as a people not to
abandon our faith in man, our belief that not only the exceptional
individual but the majority of mankind can be socialized. What is true
of our physicians, our scientists and professional men, our manual
workers, is also true of our capitalists and business men. In a more
just and intelligent organization of society these will be found willing
to administer and improve for the common weal the national resources
which formerly they exploited for the benefit of themselves and their
associates. The social response, granted the conditions, is innate in
humanity, and individual initiative can best be satisfied in social

Universal education is the cornerstone of democracy. And the recognition
of this fact may be called the great American contribution. But in
our society the fullest self-realization depends upon a well balanced
knowledge of scientific facts, upon a rounded culture. Thus education,
properly conceived, is a preparation for intelligent, ethical, and
contented citizenship. Upon the welfare of the individual depends the
welfare of all. Without education, free institutions and universal
suffrage are mockeries; semi-learned masses of the population are at the
mercy of scheming politicians, controversialists, and pseudo-scientific
religionists, and their votes are swayed by prejudice.

In a materialistic competitive order, success in life depends upon the
knack--innate or acquired, and not to be highly rated--of outwitting
one’s neighbour under the rules of the game--the law; education is
merely a cultural leaven within the reach of the comparatively few
who can afford to attend a university. The business college is a more
logical institution. In an emulative civilization, however, the problem
is to discover and develop in childhood and youth the personal aptitude
or gift of as many citizens as possible, in order that they may find
self-realization by making their peculiar contribution towards the
advancement of society.

The prevailing system of education, which we have inherited from the
past, largely fails to accomplish this. In the first place, it has been
authoritative rather than scientific, which is to say that students have
been induced to accept the statements of teachers and text books, and
have not been trained to weigh for themselves their reasonableness and
worth; a principle essentially unscientific and undemocratic, since it
inculcates in the future citizen convictions rather than encourages the
habit of open-mindedness so necessary for democratic citizenship.
For democracy--it cannot be too often repeated--is a dynamic thing,
experimental, creative in its very essence. No static set of opinions
can apply to the constantly changing aspect of affairs. New discoveries,
which come upon us with such bewildering rapidity, are apt abruptly to
alter social and industrial conditions, while morals and conventions are
no longer absolute. Sudden crises threaten the stability of nations
and civilizations. Safety lies alone in the ability to go forward,
to progress. Psychology teaches us that if authoritative opinions,
convictions, or “complexes” are stamped upon the plastic brain of
the youth they tend to harden, and he is apt to become a Democrat or
Republican, an Episcopalian or a Baptist, a free trader or a tariff
advocate or a Manchester economist without asking why. Such “complexes”
 were probably referred to by the celebrated physician who emphasized
the hopelessness of most individuals over forty. And every reformer and
forum lecturer knows how difficult it is to convert the average audience
of seasoned adults to a new idea: he finds the most responsive groups
in the universities and colleges. It is significant that the “educated”
 adult audiences in clubs and prosperous churches are the least open to
conversion, because, in the scientific sense, the “educated” classes
retain complexes, and hence are the least prepared to cope with the
world as it is today. The German system, which has been bent upon
installing authoritative conviction instead of encouraging freedom of
thought, should be a warning to us.

Again, outside of the realm of physical science, our text books have
been controversial rather than impartial, especially in economics and
history; resulting in erroneous and distorted and prejudiced ideas of
events, such for instance, as our American Revolution. The day of the
controversialist is happily coming to an end, and of the writer who
twists the facts of science to suit a world of his own making, or of
that of a group with which he is associated. Theory can now be labelled
theory, and fact, fact. Impartial and painstaking investigation is the
sole method of obtaining truth.

The old system of education benefited only the comparatively few to
whose nature and inclination it was adapted. We have need, indeed, of
classical scholars, but the majority of men and women are meant for
other work; many, by their very construction of mind, are unfitted to
become such. And only in the most exceptional cases are the ancient
languages really mastered; a smattering of these, imposed upon the
unwilling scholar by a principle opposed to psychology,--a smattering
from which is derived no use and joy in after life, and which has no
connection with individual inclination--is worse than nothing. Precious
time is wasted during the years when the mind is most receptive. While
the argument of the old school that discipline can only be inculcated
by the imposition of a distasteful task is unsound. As Professor Dewey
points out, unless the interest is in some way involved there can be
no useful discipline. And how many of our university and high school
graduates today are in any sense disciplined? Stimulated interest
alone can overcome the resistance imposed by a difficult task, as any
scientist, artist, organizer or administrator knows. Men will discipline
themselves to gain a desired end. Under the old system of education a
few children succeed either because they are desirous of doing well,
interested in the game of mental competition; or else because they
contrive to clothe with flesh and blood some subject presented as a
skeleton. It is not uncommon, indeed, to recognize in later years with
astonishment a useful citizen or genius whom at school or college we
recall as a dunce or laggard. In our present society, because of archaic
methods of education, the development of such is largely left to chance.
Those who might have been developed in time, who might have found their
task, often become wasters, drudges, and even criminals.

The old system tends to make types, to stamp every scholar in the same
mould, whether he fits it or not. More and more the parents of today
are looking about for new schools, insisting that a son or daughter
possesses some special gift which, under teachers of genius, might be
developed before it is too late. And in most cases, strange to say, the
parents are right. They themselves have been victims of a standardized

A new and distinctly American system of education, designed to meet the
demands of modern conditions, has been put in practice in parts of the
United States. In spite of opposition from school boards, from all
those who cling to the conviction that education must of necessity be an
unpalatable and “disciplinary” process, the number of these schools is
growing. The objection, put forth by many, that they are still in the
experimental stage, is met by the reply that experiment is the very
essence of the system. Democracy is experimental, and henceforth
education will remain experimental for all time. But, as in any other
branch of science, the element of ascertained fact will gradually
increase: the latent possibilities in the mind of the healthy child will
be discovered by knowledge gained through impartial investigation. The
old system, like all other institutions handed down to us from the ages,
proceeds on no intelligent theory, has no basis on psychology, and is
accepted merely because it exists.

The new education is selective. The mind of each child is patiently
studied with the view of discovering the peculiar bent, and this bent
is guided and encouraged. The child is allowed to forge ahead in those
subjects for which he shows an aptitude, and not compelled to wait on a
class. Such supervision, of course, demands more teachers, teachers of
an ability hitherto deplorably rare, and thoroughly trained in their
subjects, with a sympathetic knowledge of the human mind. Theirs will be
the highest and most responsible function in the state, and they must be
rewarded in proportion to their services.

A superficial criticism declares that in the new schools children will
study only “what they like.” On the contrary, all subjects requisite for
a wide culture, as well as for the ability to cope with existence in
a highly complex civilization, are insisted upon. It is true, however,
that the trained and gifted teacher is able to discover a method of so
presenting a subject as to seize the imagination and arouse the interest
and industry of a majority of pupils. In the modern schools French, for
example, is really taught; pupils do not acquire a mere smattering
of the language. And, what is more important, the course of study is
directly related to life, and to practical experience, instead of being
set forth abstractly, as something which at the time the pupil perceives
no possibility of putting into use. At one of the new schools in the
south, the ignorant child of the mountains at once acquires a knowledge
of measurement and elementary arithmetic by laying out a garden,
of letters by inscribing his name on a little signboard in order to
identify his patch--for the moment private property. And this principle
is carried through all the grades. In the Gary Schools and elsewhere
the making of things in the shops, the modelling of a Panama Canal, the
inspection of industries and governmental establishments, the
designing, building, and decoration of houses, the discussion and even
dramatization of the books read,--all are a logical and inevitable
continuation of the abstract knowledge of the schoolroom. The success of
the direct application of learning to industrial and professional
life may also be observed in such colleges as those at Cincinnati and
Schenectady, where young men spend half the time of the course in the
shops of manufacturing, corporations, often earning more than enough to
pay their tuition.

Children are not only prepared for democratic citizenship by being
encouraged to think for themselves, but also to govern and discipline
themselves. On the moral side, under the authoritative system of lay
and religious training, character was acquired at the expense of mental
flexibility--the Puritan method; our problem today, which the new system
undertakes, is to produce character with open-mindedness--the kind
of character possessed by many great scientists. Absorption in an
appropriate task creates a moral will, while science, knowledge, informs
the mind why a thing is “bad” or “good,” disintegrating or upbuilding.
Moreover, these children are trained for democratic government by the
granting of autonomy. They have their own elected officials, their
own courts; their decisions are, of course, subject to reversal by the
principal, but in practice this seldom occurs.

The Gary Schools and many of the new schools are public schools. And the
principle of the new education that the state is primarily responsible
for the health of pupils--because an unsound body is apt to make an
unsound citizen of backward intelligence--is now being generally adopted
by public schools all over the country. This idea is essentially an
element of the democratic contention that all citizens must be given
an equality of opportunity--though all may not be created equal--now
becoming a positive rather than a negative right, guaranteed by the
state itself. An earnest attempt is thus made by the state to give
every citizen a fair start that in later years he may have no ground
for discontent or complaint. He stands on his own feet, he rises in
proportion to his ability and industry. Hence the program of the British
Labour Party rightly lays stress on education, on “freedom of mental
opportunity.” The vast sums it proposes to spend for this purpose are

If such a system of education as that briefly outlined above is
carefully and impartially considered, the objection that democratic
government founded on modern social science is coercive must disappear.
So far as the intention and effort of the state is able to confer it,
every citizen will have his choice of the task he is to perform for
society, his opportunity for self-realization. For freedom without
education is a myth. By degrees men and women are making ready to take
their places in an emulative rather than a materialistically competitive
order. But the experimental aspect of this system should always be borne
in mind, with the fact that its introduction and progress, like that of
other elements in the democratic program, must be gradual, though always
proceeding along sound lines. For we have arrived at that stage of
enlightenment when we realize that the only mundane perfection lies in
progress rather than achievement. The millennium is always a lap ahead.
There would be no satisfaction in overtaking it, for then we should have
nothing more to do, nothing more to work for.

The German Junkers have prostituted science by employing it for the
destruction of humanity. In the name of Christianity they have waged
the most barbaric war in history. Yet if they shall have demonstrated
to mankind the futility of efficiency achieved merely for material ends;
if, by throwing them on a world screen, they shall have revealed
the evils of power upheld alone by ruthlessness and force, they will
unwittingly have performed a world service. Privilege and dominion,
powers and principalities acquired by force must be sustained by force.
To fail will be fatal. Even a duped people, trained in servility, will
not consent to be governed by an unsuccessful autocracy. Arrogantly
Germany has staked her all on world domination. Hence a victory for the
Allies must mean a democratic Germany.

Nothing short of victory. There can be no arrangement, no
agreement, no parley with or confidence in these modern scions of
darkness--Hohenzollerns, Hindenburgs, Zudendorffs and their tools.
Propaganda must not cease; the eyes of Germans still capable of sight
must be opened. But, as the President says, force must be used to the
limit--force for a social end as opposed to force for an evil end. There
are those among us who advocate a boycott of Germany after peace is
declared. These would seem to take it for granted that we shall fall
short of victory, and hence that selfish retaliative or vindictive
practices between nations, sanctioned by imperialism, will continue to
flourish after the war. But should Germany win she will see to it that
there is no boycott against her. A compromised peace would indeed mean
the perpetuation of both imperialism and militarism.

It is characteristic of those who put their faith in might alone that
they are not only blind to the finer relationships between individuals
and nations, but take no account of the moral forces in human affairs
which in the long run are decisive,--a lack of sensitiveness which
explains Germany’s colossal blunders. The first had to do with Britain.
The German militarists persisted in the belief that the United Kingdom
was degenerated by democracy, intent upon the acquisition of wealth,
distracted by strife at home, uncertain of the Empire, and thus would
selfishly remain aloof while the Kaiser’s armies overran and enslaved
the continent. What happened, to Germany’s detriment, was the instant
socialization of Britain, and the binding together of the British
Empire. Germany’s second great blunder was an arrogant underestimation
of a self-reliant people of English culture and traditions. She believed
that we, too, had been made flabby by democracy, were wholly intent upon
the pursuit of the dollar--only to learn that America would lavish
her vast resources and shed her blood for a cause which was American.
Germany herself provided that cause, shaped the issues so that there
was no avoiding them. She provided the occasion for the socializing
of America also; and thus brought about, within a year, a national
transformation which in times of peace might scarce in half a century
have been accomplished.

Above all, as a consequence of these two blunders, Germany has been
compelled to witness the consummation of that which of all things she
had most to fear, the cementing of a lasting fellowship between the
English speaking Republic and the English speaking Empire. For we had
been severed since the 18th Century by misunderstandings which of late
Germany herself had been more or less successful in fostering. She has
furnished a bond not only between our governments, but--what is vastly
more important for democracy--a bond between our peoples. Our soldiers
are now side by side with those of the Empire on the Frontier of
Freedom; the blood of all is shed and mingled for a great cause embodied
in the Anglo-Saxon tradition of democracy; and our peoples, through the
realization of common ideas and common ends, are learning the supreme
lesson of co-operation between nations with a common past, are being
cemented into a union which is the symbol and forerunner of the
democratic league of Nations to come. Henceforth, we believe, because
of this union, so natural yet so long delayed, by virtue of the ultimate
victory it forecasts, the sun will never set on the Empire of the free,
for the drum beats of democracy have been heard around the world. To
this Empire will be added the precious culture of France, which the
courage of her sons will have preserved, the contributions of Italy, and
of Russia, yes, and of Japan.

Our philosophy and our religion are changing; hence it is more and more
difficult to use the old terms to describe moral conduct. We say,
for instance, that America’s action in entering the war has been
“unselfish.” But this merely means that we have our own convictions
concerning the ultimate comfort of the world, the manner of
self-realization of individuals and nations. We are attempting to
turn calamity into good. If this terrible conflict shall result in
the inauguration of an emulative society, if it shall bring us to the
recognition that intelligence and science may be used for the upbuilding
of such an order, and for an eventual achievement of world peace, every
sacrifice shall have been justified.

Such is the American Issue. Our statesmen and thinkers have helped to
evolve it, our people with their blood and treasure are consecrating it.
And these statesmen and thinkers, of whom our American President is
not the least, are of democracy the pioneers. From the mountain tops on
which they stand they behold the features of the new world, the dawn of
the new day hidden as yet from their brothers in the valley. Let us have
faith always that it is coming, and struggle on, highly resolving that
those who gave their lives in the hour of darkness shall not have died
in vain.

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