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Title: Americanism
Author: Roosevelt, Theodore
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Americanism" ***


                              Americanism

                          THEODORE ROOSEVELT


                     Address delivered before the
                  Knights of Columbus, Carnegie Hall
                   Tuesday Evening, October 12, 1915



                              Americanism


Four centuries and a quarter have gone by since Columbus by discovering
America opened the greatest era in world history. Four centuries have
passed since the Spaniards began that colonization on the main land
which has resulted in the growth of the nations of Latin-America. Three
centuries have passed since, with the settlements on the coasts of
Virginia and Massachusetts, the real history of what is now the United
States began. All this we ultimately owe to the action of an Italian
seaman in the service of a Spanish King and a Spanish Queen. It is
eminently fitting that one of the largest and most influential social
organizations of this great Republic,――a Republic in which the tongue
is English, and the blood derived from many sources should, in its
name commemorate the great Italian. It is eminently fitting to make an
address on Americanism before this society.


                        DEMOCRATIC PRINCIPLES.

We of the United States need above all things to remember that, while
we are by blood and culture kin to each of the nations of Europe,
we are also separate from each of them. We are a new and distinct
nationality. We are developing our own distinctive culture and
civilization, and the worth of this civilization will largely depend
upon our determination to keep it distinctively our own. Our sons and
daughters should be educated here and not abroad. We should freely take
from every other nation whatever we can make of use, but we should
adopt and develop to our own peculiar needs what we thus take, and
never be content merely to copy.

Our nation was founded to perpetuate democratic principles. These
principles are that each man is to be treated on his worth as a man
without regard to the land from which his forefathers came and without
regard to the creed which he professes. If the United States proves
false to these principles of civil and religious liberty, it will have
inflicted the greatest blow on the system of free popular government
that has ever been inflicted. Here we have had a virgin continent on
which to try the experiment of making out of divers race stocks a
new nation and of treating all the citizens of that nation in such a
fashion as to preserve them equality of opportunity in industrial,
civil and political life. Our duty is to secure each man against any
injustice by his fellows.


                          RELIGIOUS FREEDOM.

One of the most important things to secure for him is the right to
hold and to express the religious views that best meet his own soul
needs. Any political movement directed against any body of our fellow
citizens because of their religious creed is a grave offense against
American principles and American institutions. It is a wicked thing
either to support or to oppose a man because of the creed he professes.
This applies to Jew and Gentile, to Catholic and Protestant, and to
the man who would be regarded as unorthodox by all of them alike.
Political movements directed against men because of their religious
belief, and intended to prevent men of that creed from holding office,
have never accomplished anything but harm. This was true in the days
of the “Know-Nothing” and Native-American parties in the middle of the
last century; and it is just as true today. Such a movement directly
contravenes the spirit of the Constitution itself. Washington and his
associates believed that it was essential to the existence of this
Republic that there should never be any union of Church and State; and
such union is partially accomplished wherever a given creed is aided
by the State or when any public servant is elected or defeated because
of his creed. The Constitution explicitly forbids the requiring of
any religious test as a qualification for holding office. To impose
such a test by popular vote is as bad as to impose it by law. To vote
either for or against a man because of his creed is to impose upon
him a religious test and is a clear violation of the spirit of the
Constitution.

Moreover, it is well to remember that these movements never achieve the
end they nominally have in view. They do nothing whatsoever except to
increase among the men of the various churches the spirit of sectarian
intolerance which is base and unlovely in any civilization but which
is utterly revolting among a free people that profess the principles
we profess. No such movement can ever permanently succeed here. All
that it does is for a decade or so to greatly increase the spirit of
theological animosity, both among the people to whom it appeals and
among the people whom it assails. Furthermore, it has in the past
invariably resulted, in so far as it was successful at all, in putting
unworthy men into office; for there is nothing that a man of loose
principles and of evil practices in public life so desires as the
chance to distract attention from his own shortcomings and misdeeds by
exciting and inflaming theological and sectarian prejudice.

We must recognize that it is a cardinal sin against democracy to
support a man for public office because he belongs to a given creed or
to oppose him because he belongs to a given creed. It is just as evil
as to draw the line between class and class, between occupation and
occupation in political life. No man who tries to draw either line is a
good American. True Americanism demands that we judge each man on his
conduct, that we so judge him in private life and that we so judge him
in public life. The line of cleavage drawn on principle and conduct in
public affairs is never in any healthy community identical with the
line of cleavage between creed and creed or between class and class.
On the contrary, where the community life is healthy, these lines of
cleavage almost always run nearly at right angles to one another. It is
eminently necessary to all of us that we should have able and honest
public officials in the nation, in the city, in the state. If we make
a serious and resolute effort to get such officials of the right kind,
men who shall not only be honest but shall be able and shall take the
right view of public questions, we will find as a matter of fact that
the men we thus choose will be drawn from the professors of every creed
and from among men who do not adhere to any creed.

For thirty-five years I have been more or less actively engaged in
public life, in the performance of my political duties, now in a public
position, now in a private position. I have fought with all the
fervor I possessed for the various causes in which with all my heart I
believed; and in every fight I thus made I have had with me and against
me Catholics, Protestants and Jews. There have been times when I have
had to make the fight for or against some man of each creed on grounds
of plain public morality, unconnected with questions of public policy.
There were other times when I have made such a fight for or against
a given man, not on grounds of public morality, for he may have been
morally a good man, but on account of his attitude on questions of
public policy, of governmental principle. In both cases, I have always
found myself fighting beside, and fighting against men of every creed.
The one sure way to have secured the defeat of every good principle
worth fighting for would have been to have permitted the fight to be
changed into one along sectarian lines and inspired by the spirit of
sectarian bitterness, either for the purpose of putting into public
life or of keeping out of public life the believers in any given creed.
Such conduct represents an assault upon Americanism. The man guilty of
it is not a good American.

I hold that in this country there must be complete severance of Church
and State; that public moneys shall not be used for the purpose of
advancing any particular creed; and therefore that the public schools
shall be non-sectarian. As a necessary corollary to this, not only the
pupils but the members of the teaching force and the school officials
of all kinds must be treated exactly on a par, no matter what their
creed; and there must be no more discrimination against Jew or Catholic
or Protestant than discrimination in favor of Jew, Catholic or
Protestant. Whoever makes such discrimination is an enemy of the public
schools.


                         HYPHENATED AMERICANS.

What is true of creed is no less true of nationality. There is no room
in this country for hyphenated Americanism. When I refer to hyphenated
Americans, I do not refer to naturalized Americans. Some of the very
best Americans I have ever known were naturalized Americans, Americans
born abroad. But a hyphenated American is not an American at all. This
is just as true of the man who puts “native” before the hyphen as
of the man who puts German or Irish or English or French before the
hyphen. Americanism is a matter of the spirit and of the soul. Our
allegiance must be purely to the United States. We must unsparingly
condemn any man who holds any other allegiance. But if he is heartily
and singly loyal to this Republic, then no matter where he was born, he
is just as good an American as anyone else.

The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin,
of preventing all possibility of its continuing to be a nation
at all, would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling
nationalities, an intricate knot of German-Americans, Irish-Americans,
English-Americans, French-Americans, Scandinavian-Americans or
Italian-Americans, each preserving its separate nationality, each
at heart feeling more sympathy with Europeans of that nationality,
than with the other citizens of the American Republic. The men who
do not become Americans and nothing else are hyphenated Americans;
and there ought to be no room for them in this country. The man who
calls himself an American citizen and who yet shows by his actions
that he is primarily the citizen of a foreign land, plays a thoroughly
mischievous part in the life of our body politic. He has no place
here; and the sooner he returns to the land to which he feels his real
heart-allegiance, the better it will be for every good American. There
is no such thing as a hyphenated American who is a good American. The
only man who is a good American is the man who is an American and
nothing else.

I appeal to history. Among the generals of Washington in the
Revolutionary War were Greene, Putnam and Lee, who were of English
descent; Wayne and Sullivan, who were of Irish descent; Marion,
who was of French descent; Schuyler, who was of Dutch descent, and
Muhlenberg and Herkemer, who were of German descent. But they were
all of them Americans and nothing else, just as much as Washington.
Carroll of Carrollton was a Catholic; Hancock a Protestant; Jefferson
was heterodox from the standpoint of any orthodox creed; but these and
all the other signers of the Declaration of Independence stood on an
equality of duty and right and liberty, as Americans and nothing else.

So it was in the Civil War. Farragut’s father was born in Spain and
Sheridan’s father in Ireland; Sherman and Thomas were of English and
Custer of German descent; and Grant came of a long line of American
ancestors whose original home had been Scotland. But the Admiral was
not a Spanish-American; and the Generals were not Scotch-Americans or
Irish-Americans or English-Americans or German-Americans. They were
all Americans and nothing else. This was just as true of Lee and of
Stonewall Jackson and of Beauregard.

When in 1909 our battlefleet returned from its voyage around the world,
Admirals Wainwright and Schroeder represented the best traditions and
the most effective action in our navy; one was of old American blood
and of English descent; the other was the son of German immigrants. But
one was not a native-American and the other a German-American. Each was
an American pure and simple. Each bore allegiance only to the flag of
the United States. Each would have been incapable of considering the
interests of Germany or of England or of any other country except the
United States.

To take charge of the most important work under my administration, the
building of the Panama Canal, I chose General Goethals. Both of his
parents were born in Holland. But he was just plain United States. He
wasn’t a Dutch-American; if he had been I wouldn’t have appointed him.
So it was with such men, among those who served under me, as Admiral
Osterhaus and General Barry. The father of one was born in Germany, the
father of the other in Ireland. But they were both Americans, pure and
simple, and first rate fighting men in addition.

In my Cabinet at the time there were men of English and French,
German, Irish and Dutch blood, men born on this side and men born in
Germany and Scotland; but they were all Americans and nothing else;
and every one of them was incapable of thinking of himself or of his
fellow-countrymen, excepting in terms of American citizenship. If any
one of them had anything in the nature of a dual or divided allegiance
in his soul, he never would have been appointed to serve under me, and
he would have been instantly removed when the discovery was made. There
wasn’t one of them who was capable of desiring that the policy of the
United States should be shaped with reference to the interests of any
foreign country or with consideration for anything, outside of the
general welfare of humanity, save the honor and interest of the United
States, and each was incapable of making any discrimination whatsoever
among the citizens of the country he served, of our common country,
save discrimination based on conduct and on conduct alone.

For an American citizen to vote as a German-American, an Irish-American
or an English-American is to be a traitor to American institutions;
and those hyphenated Americans who terrorize American politicians by
threats of the foreign vote are engaged in treason to the American
Republic.


                      PRINCIPLES OF AMERICANISM.

Now this is a declaration of principles. How are we in practical
fashion to secure the making of these principles part of the very
fiber of our national life? First and foremost let us all resolve
that in this country hereafter we shall place far less emphasis upon
the question of right and much greater emphasis upon the matter of
duty. A republic can’t succeed and won’t succeed in the tremendous
international stress of the modern world unless its citizens possess
that form of high-minded patriotism which consists in putting devotion
to duty before the question of individual rights. This must be done in
our family relations or the family will go to pieces; and no better
tract for family life in this country can be imagined than the little
story called “Mother,” written by an American woman, Kathleen Norris,
who happens to be a member of your own church.

What is true of the family, the foundation stone of our national
life, is not less true of the entire superstructure. I am, as you
know, a most ardent believer in national preparedness against war as
a means of securing that honorable and self-respecting peace which
is the only peace desired by all high-spirited people. But it is an
absolute impossibility to secure such preparedness in full and proper
form if it is an isolated feature of our policy. The lamentable fate
of Belgium has shown that no justice in legislation or success in
business will be of the slightest avail if the nation has not prepared
in advance the strength to protect its rights. But it is equally true
that there cannot be this preparation in advance for military strength
unless there is a social basis of civil and social life behind it.
There must be social, economic and military preparedness all alike,
all harmoniously developed; and above all there must be spiritual and
mental preparedness.


                   SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC PREPAREDNESS.

There must be not merely preparedness in things material; there must
be preparedness in soul and mind. To prepare a great army and navy
without preparing a proper national spirit would avail nothing. And
if there is not only a proper national spirit but proper national
intelligence, we shall realize that even from the standpoint of the
army and navy some civil preparedness is indispensable. For example, a
plan for national defense which does not include the most far-reaching
use and co-operation of our railroads must prove largely futile. These
railroads are organized in time of peace. But we must have the most
carefully thought out organization from the national and centralized
standpoint in order to use them in time of war. This means first that
those in charge of them from the highest to the lowest must understand
their duty in time of war, must be permeated with the spirit of
genuine patriotism; and second, that they and we shall understand that
efficiency is as essential as patriotism; one is useless without the
other.

Again: every citizen should be trained sedulously by every activity at
our command to realize his duty to the nation. In France at this moment
the workingmen who are not at the front are spending all their energies
with the single thought of helping their brethren at the front by what
they do in the munition plant, on the railroads, in the factories. It
is a shocking, a lamentable thing that many of the trade unions of
England have taken a directly opposite view. I am not concerned with
whether it be true, as they assert, that their employers are trying to
exploit them, or, as these employers assert, that the labor men are
trying to gain profit for those who stay at home at the cost of their
brethren who fight in the trenches. The thing for us Americans to
realize is that we must do our best to prevent similar conditions from
growing up here. Business men, professional men, and wage workers alike
must understand that there should be no question of their enjoying any
rights whatsoever unless in the fullest way they recognize and live up
to the duties that go with those rights. This is just as true of the
corporation as of the trade union, and if either corporation or trade
union fails heartily to acknowledge this truth, then its activities
are necessarily anti-social and detrimental to the welfare of the
body politic as a whole. In war time, when the welfare of the nation
is at stake, it should be accepted as axiomatic that the employer is
to make no profit out of the war save that which is necessary to the
efficient running of the business and to the living expenses of himself
and family, and that the wage worker is to treat his wage from exactly
the same standpoint and is to see to it that the labor organization to
which he belongs is, in all its activities, subordinated to the service
of the nation.

Now there must be some application of this spirit in times of peace or
we cannot suddenly develop it in time of war. The strike situation in
the United States at this time is a scandal to the country as a whole
and discreditable alike to employer and employee. Any employer who
fails to recognize that human rights come first and that the friendly
relationship between himself and those working for him should be one of
partnership and comradeship in mutual help no less than self-help is
recreant to his duty as an American citizen and it is to his interest,
having in view the enormous destruction of life in the present war, to
conserve, and to train to higher efficiency alike for his benefit and
for its, the labor supply. In return any employee who acts along the
lines publicly advocated by the men who profess to speak for the I. W.
W. is not merely an open enemy of business but of this entire country
and is out of place in our government.

You, Knights of Columbus, are particularly fitted to play a great part
in the movement for national solidarity, without which there can be
no real efficiency in either peace or war. During the last year and a
quarter it has been brought home to us in startling fashion that many
of the elements of our nation are not yet properly fused. It ought
to be a literally appalling fact that members of two of the foreign
embassies in this country have been discovered to be implicated in
inciting their fellow-countrymen, whether naturalized American citizens
or not, to the destruction of property and the crippling of American
industries that are operating in accordance with internal law and
international agreement. The malign activity of one of these embassies
has been brought home directly to the ambassador in such shape that
his recall has been forced. The activities of the other have been set
forth in detail by the publication in the press of its letters in
such fashion as to make it perfectly clear that they were of the same
general character. Of course, the two embassies were merely carrying
out the instructions of their home governments.

Nor is it only the German and Austrians who take the view that as a
matter of right they can treat their countrymen resident in America,
even if naturalized citizens of the United States, as their allies
and subjects to be used in keeping alive separate national groups
profoundly anti-American in sentiment if the contest comes between
American interests and those of foreign lands in question. It has
recently been announced that the Russian government is to rent a house
in New York as a national center to be Russian in faith and patriotism,
to foster the Russian language and keep alive the national feeling in
immigrants who come hither. All of this is utterly antagonistic to
proper American sentiment, whether perpetrated in the name of Germany,
of Austria, of Russia, of England, or France or any other country.


                    RIGHTS AND DUTIES OF CITIZENS.

We should meet this situation by on the one hand seeing that these
immigrants get all their rights as American citizens, and on the other
hand insisting that they live up to their duties as American citizens.
Any discrimination against aliens is a wrong, for it tends to put the
immigrant at a disadvantage and to cause him to feel bitterness and
resentment during the very years when he should be preparing himself
for American citizenship. If an immigrant is not fit to become a
citizen, he should not be allowed to come here. If he is fit, he should
be given all the rights to earn his own livelihood, and to better
himself, that any man can have. Take such a matter as the illiteracy
test; I entirely agree with those who feel that many very excellent
possible citizens would be barred improperly by an illiteracy test. But
why do you not admit aliens under a bond to learn to read and write
within a certain time? It would then be a duty to see that they were
given ample opportunity to learn to read and write and that they were
deported if they failed to take advantage of the opportunity. No man
can be a good citizen if he is not at least in process of learning to
speak the language of his fellow-citizens. And an alien who remains
here without learning to speak English for more than a certain number
of years should at the end of that time be treated as having refused to
take the preliminary steps necessary to complete Americanization and
should be deported. But there should be no denial or limitation of the
alien’s opportunity to work, to own property and to take advantage of
civic opportunities. Special legislation should deal with the aliens
who do not come here to be made citizens. But the alien who comes
here intending to become a citizen should be helped in every way to
advance himself, should be removed from every possible disadvantage and
in return should be required under penalty of being sent back to the
country from which he came, to prove that he is in good faith fitting
himself to be an American citizen.


                     PREPARATIVES TO PREPAREDNESS.

Therefore, we should devote ourselves as a preparative to preparedness,
alike in peace and war, to secure the three elemental things; one,
a common language, the English language; two, the increase in our
social loyalty――citizenship absolutely undivided, a citizenship which
acknowledges no flag except the flag of the United States and which
emphatically repudiates all duality of intention or national loyalty;
and third, an intelligent and resolute effort for the removal of
industrial and social unrest, an effort which shall aim equally at
securing every man his rights and to make every man understand that
unless he in good faith performs his duties he is not entitled to any
rights at all.

The American people should itself do these things for the immigrants.
If we leave the immigrant to be helped by representatives of foreign
governments, by foreign societies, by a press and institutions
conducted in a foreign language and in the interest of foreign
governments, and if we permit the immigrants to exist as alien groups,
each group sundered from the rest of the citizens of the country, we
shall store up for ourselves bitter trouble in the future.


                        MILITARY PREPAREDNESS.

I am certain that the only permanently safe attitude for this country
as regards national preparedness for self-defense is along its
lines of universal service on the Swiss model. Switzerland is the
most democratic of nations. Its army is the most democratic army
in the world. There isn’t a touch of militarism or aggressiveness
about Switzerland. It has been found as a matter of actual practical
experience in Switzerland that the universal military training has made
a very marked increase in social efficiency and in the ability of the
man thus trained to do well for himself in industry. The man who has
received the training is a better citizen, is more self-respecting,
more orderly, better able to hold his own, and more willing to respect
the rights of others and at the same time he is a more valuable and
better paid man in his business. We need that the navy and the army
should be greatly increased and that their efficiency as units and in
the aggregate should be increased to an even greater degree than their
numbers. An adequate regular reserve should be established. Economy
should be insisted on, and first of all in the abolition of useless
army posts and navy yards. The National Guard should be supervised and
controlled by the Federal War Department. Training camps such as at
Plattsburg should be provided on a nationwide basis and the government
should pay the expenses. Foreign-born as well as native-born citizens
should be brought together in those camps; and each man at the camp
should take the oath of allegiance as unreservedly and unqualifiedly
as the men of its regular army and navy now take it. Not only should
battleships, battle cruisers, submarines, ample coast and field
artillery be provided and a greater ammunition supply system, but
there should be a utilization of those engaged in such professions
as the ownership and management of motor cars, in aviation, and in
the profession of engineering. Map-making and road improvement should
be attended to, and, as I have already said, the railroads brought
into intimate touch with the War Department. Moreover, the government
should deal with conservation of all necessary war supplies such
as mine products, potash, oil lands and the like. Furthermore, all
munition plants should be carefully surveyed with special reference
to their geographic distribution and for the possibility of increased
munition and supply factories. Finally, remember that the men must be
sedulously trained in peace to use this material or we shall merely
prepare our ships, guns and products as gifts to the enemy. All of
these things should be done in any event, but let us never forget that
the most important of all things is to introduce universal military
service.

But let me repeat that this preparedness against war must be based upon
efficiency and justice in the handling of ourselves in time of peace.
If belligerent governments, while we are not hostile to them but merely
neutral, strive nevertheless to make of this nation many nations, each
hostile to the others and none of them loyal to the central government,
then it may be accepted as certain that they would do far worse to us
in time of war. If they encourage strikes and sabotage in our munition
plants while we are neutral it may be accepted as axiomatic that they
would do far worse to us if we were hostile. It is our duty from the
standpoint of self-defense to secure the complete Americanization
of our people. To make of the many peoples of this country a united
nation, one in speech and feeling and all, so far as possible, sharers
in the best that each has brought to our shores.


                           AMERICANIZATION.

The foreign-born population of this country must be an Americanized
population――no other kind can fight the battles of America either in
war or peace. It must talk the language of its native-born fellow
citizens, it must possess American citizenship and American ideals.
It must stand firm by its oath of allegiance in word and deed and
must show that in very fact it has renounced allegiance to every
prince, potentate or foreign government. It must be maintained on an
American standard of living so as to prevent labor disturbances in
important plants and at critical times. None of these objects can be
secured as long as we have immigrant colonies, ghettos, and immigrant
sections, and above all they cannot be assured so long as we consider
the immigrant only as an industrial asset. The immigrant must not be
allowed to drift or to be put at the mercy of the exploiter. Our object
is not to imitate one of the older racial types, but to maintain a
new American type and then to secure loyalty to this type. We cannot
secure such loyalty unless we make this a country where men shall feel
that they have justice and also where they shall feel that they are
required to perform the duties imposed upon them. The policy of “Let
alone” which we have hitherto pursued is thoroughly vicious from two
standpoints. By this policy we have permitted the immigrants, and too
often the native-born laborers as well, to suffer injustice. Moreover,
by this policy we have failed to impress upon the immigrant and upon
the native-born as well that they are expected to do justice as well as
to receive justice, that they are expected to be heartily and actively
and single-mindedly loyal to the flag no less than to benefit by living
under it.

We cannot afford to continue to use hundreds of thousands of immigrants
merely as industrial assets while they remain social outcasts and
menaces any more than fifty years ago we could afford to keep the black
man merely as an industrial asset and not as a human being. We cannot
afford to build a big industrial plant and herd men and women about
it without care for their welfare. We cannot afford to permit squalid
overcrowding or the kind of living system which makes impossible the
decencies and necessities of life. We cannot afford the low wage rates
and the merely seasonal industries which mean the sacrifice of both
individual and family life and morals to the industrial machinery. We
cannot afford to leave American mines, munitions plants and general
resources in the hands of alien workmen, alien to America and even
likely to be made hostile to America by machinations such as have
recently been provided in the case of the two foreign embassies in
Washington. We cannot afford to run the risk of having in time of war
men working on our railways or working in our munition plants who would
in the name of duty to their own foreign countries bring destruction
to us. Recent events have shown us that incitements to sabotage and
strikes are in the view of at least two of the great foreign powers of
Europe within their definition of neutral practices. What would be done
to us in the name of war if these things are done to us in the name of
neutrality?

Justice Dowling in his speech has described the excellent fourth
degree of your order, of how in it you dwell upon duties rather than
rights, upon the great duties of patriotism and of national spirit.
It is a fine thing to have a society that holds up such a standard of
duty. I ask you to make a special effort to deal with Americanization,
the fusing into one nation, a nation necessarily different from all
other nations, of all who come to our shores. Pay heed to the three
principal essentials: (1) The need of a common language, with a minimum
amount of illiteracy; (2) the need of a common civil standard, similar
ideals, beliefs and customs symbolized by the oath of allegiance to
America; and (3) the need of a high standard of living, of reasonable
equality of opportunity and of social and industrial justice. In every
great crisis in our history, in the Revolution and in the Civil War,
and in the lesser crises, like the Spanish war, all factions and races
have been forgotten in the common spirit of Americanism. Protestant and
Catholic, men of English or of French, of Irish or of German descent
have joined with a single-minded purpose to secure for the country what
only can be achieved by the resultant union of all patriotic citizens.
You of this organization have done a great service by your insistence
that citizens should pay heed first of all to their duties. Hitherto
undue prominence has been given to the question of rights. Your
organization is a splendid engine for giving to the stranger within our
gates a high conception of American citizenship. Strive for unity. We
suffer at present from a lack of leadership in these matters.

Even in the matter of national defense there is such a labyrinth of
committees and counsels and advisors that there is a tendency on the
part of the average citizen to become confused and do nothing. I ask
you to help strike the note that shall unite our people. As a people
we must be united. If we are not united we shall slip into the gulf of
measureless disaster. We must be strong in purpose for our own defense
and bent on securing justice within our borders. If as a nation we are
split into warring camps, if we teach our citizens not to look upon one
another as brothers but as enemies divided by the hatred of creed for
creed or of those of one race against those of another race, surely
we shall fail and our great democratic experiment on this continent
will go down in crushing overthrow. I ask you here to-night and those
like you to take a foremost part in the movement――a young men’s
movement――for a greater and better America in the future.


                             ONE AMERICA.

All of us, no matter from what land our parents came, no matter in
what way we may severally worship our Creator, must stand shoulder to
shoulder in a united America for the elimination of race and religious
prejudice. We must stand for a reign of equal justice to both big and
small. We must insist on the maintenance of the American standard of
living. We must stand for an adequate national control which shall
secure a better training of our young men in time of peace, both
for the work of peace and for the work of war. We must direct every
national resource, material and spiritual, to the task not of shirking
difficulties, but of training our people to overcome difficulties.
Our aim must be, not to make life easy and soft, not to soften soul
and body, but to fit us in virile fashion to do a great work for all
mankind. This great work can only be done by a mighty democracy, with
these qualities of soul, guided by those qualities of mind, which will
both make it refuse to do injustice to any other nation, and also
enable it to hold its own against aggression by any other nation. In
our relations with the outside world, we must abhor wrongdoing, and
disdain to commit it, and we must no less disdain the baseness of
spirit which lamely submits to wrongdoing. Finally and most important
of all, we must strive for the establishment within our own borders
of that stern and lofty standard of personal and public neutrality
which shall guarantee to each man his rights, and which shall insist
in return upon the full performance by each man of his duties both
to his neighbor and to the great nation whose flag must symbolize in
the future as it has symbolized in the past the highest hopes of all
mankind.


                   *       *       *       *       *


 Transcriber’s Notes:

 ――Punctuation and spelling inaccuracies were silently corrected.

 ――Variations in hyphenation and compound words have been preserved.




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