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WHY THIS IS AMERICA'S WAR
By The World's Work. (May, 1917) This is America's war. The men who founded this government hoped that some day its principles would encompass the earth, and from that day to this every American who has known his heritage has hoped that every able people would take unto itself its own government. The 5 distrust of kings and all the system of privileges that hangs about them is bred deep in the bone with us. Perhaps in some cases the distrust is unreasonable, but fundamentally it is right. Nearly a hundred years ago President Monroe enunciated his famous doctrine. One of its main tenets 10 was and is that any extension of monarchy on this side of the ocean is a menace to our free institutions. It has become even clearer lately that any spread of the Prussian autocratic power was a menace to free institutions all over the world, ours as well as all others. If the Monroe Doctrine 15 was wise in its day the war for democracy is wise now.
It is true that overt acts which plunged us into war against the Kaiser were the sinking of our ships. Similarly we went to war against George III because of a stamp tax. But the repeal of the stamp duties would never have 20 stopped the Declaration of Independence, nor would a German offer to let our ships pass return us to a painful neutrality between the world's freedom and the doctrine of divine right.
Fundamentally it is a war for human rights, for gov- 25 ernment by the governed. Gradually the peoples of the world are recognizing the true character of the struggle and allying themselves against the Kaiser and the Prussian machine. And the Kaiser on his side has no allies. He has semi-vassal states. Germans direct the Austrian 30 armies, and Austrian diplomacy is but a shadow of the German. Bulgarian policies are fixed in Berlin more than
in Sofia. And Enver Pasha's ruling clique in Turkey is under the thumb of the German masters. These semi-vassal states might revolt, but except by revolt their freedom as states is largely ended, and while they are dominated by Prussia there is little hope for the political freedom of their subjects. The 160 million who live in the Kaiser's hopedfor place in the sun from Hamburg to Bagdad to be doomed to reaction and to drill until they would spread reaction over the rest of the world.
The peoples of the world have one after another, as the President phrased it,“ seen the facts with no veil of false pretense about them” and joined the battle line of freedom.
The French, the English, the Italian Liberals, the Greek Liberals, the Russian Liberals, and finally we, have seen the true character of the struggle. And as the veil is lifted we have seen a brighter hope for human freedom than ever appeared before. The dark forces of dynasties and divine right will have few refugees when peace at last comes.
Here, in England, in France, and in Italy there will be 20 a keener realization than ever before of the blessings of
political freedom. The Russian people have made good their emancipation. The Poles can again govern themselves. Greece will not longer be used for its king's kin
ship. China is struggling on to create a democracy. Lib25 eralism has everywhere in the neutral countries of Europe
gained an added impetus. And unless the war be a failure, autocracy in Germany, Austria, and Turkey will be ended. The 160 millions of people who were to be trained to enslave the earth will themselves be freed.
We are fighting for government by the representatives of the governed by majority rule; for the principle of nationalities that no nation need be an unwilling subject of another, that men of one race and language shall not
be subservient to men of another, that peoples shall not 35 be transferred from one government to another by sale or
conquest, and that each nation, large and small, shall have a fair chance of economic growth in order not only that its people shall have security for life and liberty but also an opportunity for the pursuit of happiness and well-being.
THE GREAT STRUGGLE° By NICHOLAS MURRAY BUTLER. (1917) ONE of the oldest and subtlest philosophies in the world 5 teaches that the whole of history consists in the struggle between the principle of good and the principle of evil. It teaches that now one, now the other, is uppermost, but that as the good principle overcomes the evil, or as the evil principle overcomes the good, so mankind marches 10 forward to freedom or so it falls back into serfdom and slavery.
This great struggle between the good and the evil principle has taken, in this twentieth century, the form of a contest between two political and social principles which 15 cannot live together in this world. And that is why this contest must be settled by force of arms. If those two principles had anything in common, an adjustment between them might possibly be reached; but each principle absolutely excludes the other. As Abraham Lincoln said 20 a generation ago, “This nation cannot exist half slave and half free,” so it may be said today, “This world cannot exist half despotism and half democracy.
Democracy must in its way dispose of despotism or despotism will in its way overcome democracy. Therefore it is to no ordinary contest that this nation goes forward. It is to no struggle as to which one may be for a moment indifferent. It is to the deepest and most tremendous conflict that all history records.
BY WOODROW WILSON. (JUNE 14, 1917) MY FELLOW-CITIZENS: We meet to celebrate Flag Day because this flag which we honor and under which we serve is the emblem of our unity, our power, our thought and purpose as a nation. It has no other character than that which we give it from generation to generation. The choices are ours. It floats in majestic silence above the hosts that execute those choices, whether in peace or in war. And yet, though silent, it speaks to us, - speaks to
us of the past, of the men and women who went before us 10 and of the records they wrote upon it. We celebrate the
day of its birth; and from its birth until now it has witnessed a great history, has floated on high the symbol of great events, of a great plan of life worked out by a great
people. We are about to carry it into battle, to lift it 15 where it will draw the fire of our enemies. We are about
to bid thousands, hundreds of thousands, it may be millions, of our men, the young, the strong, the capable men of the nation, to go forth and die beneath it on the fields of blood far away,
for what? For some unaccustomed 20 thing? For something for which it has never sought the fire before? American armies were never before sent across the seas. Why are they sent now? For some new purpose, for which this great flag has never been carried
before, or for some old, familiar, heroic purpose for which 25 it has seen men, its own men, die on every battlefield upon which Americans have borne arms since the Revolution?
These are questions which must be answered. We are Americans. We in our turn serve America, and can serve
her with no private purpose. We must use her flag as she 30 has always used it. We are accountable at the bar of his
tory and must plead in utter frankness what purpose it is we seek to serve.
It is plain enough how we were forced into the war. The extraordinary insults and aggressions of the Imperial German Government left us no self-respecting choice but to take up arms in defense of our rights as a free people and of our honor as a sovereign government. The military masters of Germany denied us the right to be neutral. They filled our unsuspecting communities with vicious spies and conspirators and sought to corrupt the opinion of our people in their own behalf. When they found that they could not do that, their agents diligently spread sedition amongst us 10 and sought to draw our own citizens from their allegiance,
and some of those agents were men connected with the official Embassy of the German Government itself here in our own capital. They sought by violence to destroy our industries and arrest our commerce. They tried to 15 incite Mexico to take up arms against us and to draw Japan into a hostile alliance with her, — and that, not by indirection, but by direct suggestion from the Foreign Office in Berlin. They impudently denied us the use of the high seas and repeatedly executed their threat that 20 they would send to their death any of our people who ventured to approach the coasts of Europe. And many of our own people were corrupted. Men began to look upon their own neighbors with suspicion and to wonder in their hot resentment and surprise whether there was any com- 25 munity in which hostile intrigue did not lurk. What great nation in such circumstances would not have taken up arms? Much as we had desired peace, it was denied us, and not of our own choice. This flag under which we serve would have been dishonored had we withheld our 30 hand.
But that is only part of the story. We know now as clearly as we knew before we were ourselves engaged that we are not the enemies of the German people and that they are not our enemies. They did not originate or desire this hideous war or wish that we should be drawn into it; and