« ElőzőTovább »
fight for political liberty against autocracy. The British Parliament is the mother of modern political liberty, and the larger part of its history belongs as much to those American troops and to the rest of us as it does to the people who live in England. From the time of Magna Charta 5 in 1215 to 1775 we worked out the advance of free institutions together. Since that time we have worked them out separately but along parallel lines. Both nations have considered political liberty as the most vital tenet of existence and both have struggled to increase it at home 10 and extend it abroad. Great Britain has extended a helping hand to the liberal movements in Europe, and we have, under the Monroe Doctrine, guaranteed the opportunity for the people of the Americas to develop their own institutions free from attack by autocracy.
15 In his celebrated pronouncement Monroe let it be known that any attack by autocracy on free institutions in this hemisphere would be met by the armed forces of the United States. When he told the world this decision Monroe knew that he could count on the coöperation of the British 20 fleet in enforcing it. The exponents of autocracy at that time knew it, too. And since then every ambitious autocrat has known that if he reached his hand toward the Western Hemisphere it meant the American Army and Navy in front of him and the British fleet behind him and none has tried.
But in 1914 the Kaiser did not know that Great Britain and the United States would come to the defense of political liberty in Europe. He thought that England would stay neutral. He was sure that the United States was so 30 afraid of entangling alliances that it would rather see him crush political liberty in Europe than move a hand to defend it. But he was wrong. Liberty is not an ideal that admits of geographical limitations, and autocracy is the kind of beast that must be killed in its lair if even distant 35 regions are to be safe. But the Kaiser did not know that
an attack on liberty in Europe meant war by all democracies. If there had been a doctrine of the immunity of liberty in Europe like the Monroe Doctrine here, announced with the same vigor and supported by the same 5 liberal forces, it is doubtful if the Kaiser would have embarked on war. If after this war there is such a doctrine, it is doubtful if the Kaiser can have a successor. doctrine — the common and immediate defense of polit
ical freedom by every liberal country — has not been 10 announced in words; but when the American troops
passed Westminster on their way to France they set the seal of action on a Monroe Doctrine of the world — a union of the Anglo-Saxon and other liberal powers for the defense of democracy.
A JUST AND GENEROUS PEACE°
By WOODROW Wilson. (1917) 15 GENTLEMEN OF THE CONGRESS : Eight months have
elapsed since I last had the honor of addressing you. They have been months crowded with events of immense and grave significance for us. I shall not undertake to
retail or even summarize those events. The practical 20 particulars of the part we have played in them will be laid
before you in the reports of the Executive Departments. I shall discuss only our present outlook upon these vast affairs, our present duties, and the immediate means of
accomplishing the objects we shall hold always in view. 25 I shall not go back to debate the causes of the war. The
intolerable wrongs done and planned against us by the sinister masters of Germany have long since become too grossly obvious and odious to every true American to need
to be rehearsed. But I shall ask you to consider again and 30 with a very grave scrutiny our objectives and the measures
by which we mean to attain them; for the purpose of dis
cussion here in this place is action, and our action must move straight towards definite ends. Our object is, of course, to win the war; and we shall not slacken or suffer ourselves to be diverted until it is won. But it is worth while asking and answering the question, When shall we 5 consider the war won ?
From one point of view it is not necessary to broach this fundamental matter. I do not doubt that the American people know what the war is about and what sort of an outcome they will regard as a realization of their pur-10 pose in it. As a nation we are united in spirit and intention. I pay little heed to those who tell me otherwise. I hear the voices of dissent, — who does not? I hear the criticism and the clamour of the noisily thoughtless and troublesome. I also see men here and there fling them- 15 selves in impotent disloyalty against the calm, indomitable power of the nation. I hear men debate peace who understand neither its nature nor the way in which we may attain it with uplifted eyes and unbroken spirits. But I know that none of these speaks for the nation. 20 They do not touch the heart of anything. They may safely be left to strut their uneasy hour and be forgotten.
But from another point of view I believe that it is necessary to say plainly what we here at the seat of action con- 25 sider the war to be for and what part we mean to play in the settlement of its searching issues. We are the spokesmen of the American people and they have a right to know whether their purpose is ours. They desire peace by the overcoming of evil, by the defeat once for all of the sinister forces that interrupt peace and render it impossible, and they wish to know how closely our thought runs with theirs and what action we propose. They are impatient with those who desire peace by any sort of compromise, deeply and indignantly impatient, – but they will be 35 equally impatient with us if we do not make it plain to them
what our objectives are and what we are planning for in seeking to make conquest of peace by arms.
I believe that I speak for them when I say two things: First, that this intolerable Thing of which the masters of 5 Germany have shown us the ugly face, this menace of combined intrigue and force which
we see now so clearly as the German power, a Thing without conscience or honor or capacity for covenanted peace, must be crushed and, if it
be not utterly brought to an end, at least shut out from the 10 friendly intercourse of the nations; and, second, that when
this thing and its power are indeed defeated and the time comes that we can discuss peace, — when the German people have spokesmen whose word we can believe and
when those spokesmen are ready in the name of their people 15 to accept the common judgment of the nations as to what
shall henceforth be the bases of law and of covenant for the life of the world, - we shall be willing and glad to pay the full price for peace, and pay it ungrudgingly. We know
what that price will be. It will be full, impartial justice, 20 justice done at every point and to every nation that the
final settlement must affect, our enemies as well as our friends.
You catch, with me, the voices of humanity that are in the air. They grow daily more audible, more articulate, 25 more persuasive, and they come from the hearts of men
everywhere. They insist that the war shall not end in vindictive action of any kind; that no nation or people shall be robbed or punished because the irresponsible rulers
of a single country have themselves done deep and abom30 inable wrong. It is this thought that has been expressed in
the formula "No annexations, no contributions, no punitive indemnities.” Just because this crude formula expresses the instinctive judgment as to right of plain men every
where it has been made diligent use of by the masters of 35 German intrigue to lead the people of Russia astray- and
the people of every other country their agents could reach,
in order that a premature peace might be brought about before autocracy has been taught its final and convincing lesson, and the people of the world put in control of their own destinies.
But the fact that a wrong use has been made of a just 5 idea is no reason why a right use should not be made of it. It ought to be brought under the patronage of its real friends. Let it be said again that autocracy must first be shown the utter futility of its claims to power or leadership in the modern world. It is impossible to apply any stand- 10 ard of justice so long as such forces are unchecked and undefeated as the present masters of Germany command. Not until that has been done can Right be set up as arbiter and peace-maker among the nations. But when that has been done, as, God willing, it assuredly will be,
we 15 shall at last be free to do an unprecedented thing, and this is the time to avow our purpose to do it. We shall be free to base peace on generosity and justice, to the exclusion of all selfish claims to advantage even on the part of the victors.
Let there be no misunderstanding, Our present and 20 immediate task is to win the war, and nothing shall turn us aside from it until it is accomplished. Every power and resource we possess, whether of men, of money, or of materials, is being devoted and will continue to be devoted to that purpose until it is achieved. Those who desire to 25 bring peace about before that purpose is achieved I counsel to carry their advice elsewhere. We will not entertain it. We shall regard the war as won only when the German people say to us, through properly accredited representatives, that they are ready to agree to a settlement based upon jus- 30 tice and the reparation of the wrongs their rulers have done. They have done a wrong to Belgium which must be repaired. They have established a power over other lands and peoples than their own, over the great Empire of Austria-Hungary, over hitherto free Balkan states, over 35 Turkey, and within Asia, — which must be relinquished.