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philanthropy as well as in our fighting we should act through the instrumentalities already prepared to our hand and already experienced in the tasks which are going to be assigned to them. This should be merely the expression of the practical genius of America itself, and I believe that the practical genius of America will dictate that the efforts in this war in this particular field should be concentrated in experienced hands as our efforts in other fields will be.
There is another thing that is significant and delightful to my thought about the fact that this building should be dedicated to the memory of the women both of the North and of the South. It is a sort of landmark of the unity to which the people have been brought, so far as any old question which tore our hearts in days gone by is concerned; and I pray God that thu outcome of this struggle may be that every other element of difference amongst us will be obliterated and that some day historians will remember these momentous years as the years which made a single people out of the great body of those who call themselves Americans. The evidences are already many that this is happening. The divisions which were predicted have not occurred and will not occur. The spirit of this people is already united, and when effort and suffering and sacrifice have completed the union, men will no longer speak of any lines either of race or of association cutting athwart the great body of this Nation. So that I feel that we are now beginning the processes which will some day require another beautiful memorial erected to those whose hearts uniting united America.
Congressional Record, LV, 2500.
60. OBJECTS IN GOING TO WAR
(May 22, 1917)
LETTER TO REPRESENTATIVE HELIN
It is incomprehensible to me how any frank or honest person could doubt or question my position with regard to the war and its objects. I have again and again stated the very serious and long-continued wrongs which the Imperial German Government has perpetrated against the rights, the commerce, and the citizens of the United States. The list is long and overwhelming. No nation that respected itself or the rights of humanity could have borne those wrongs any longer.
Our objects in going into the war have been stated with equal clearness. The whole of the conception which I take to be the conception of our fellow countrymen with regard to the outcome of the war and the terms of its settlement I set forth with the utmost explicitness in an address to the Senate of the United States on the 22d of January last. Again, in my message to Congress on the ad of April last those objects were stated in unmistakable terms. I can conceive no purpose in seeking to becloud this matter except the purpose of weakening the hands of the Government and making the part which the United States is to play in this great struggle for human liberty an inefficient and hesitating part. We have entered the war for our own reasons and with our own objects clearly stated, and shall forget neither the reasons nor the objects. There is no hate in our hearts for the German people, but there is a resolve which cannot be shaken even by misrepresentation to overcome the pretensions of the autocratic Government which acts upon purposes to which the German people have never consented.
Official Bulletin, May 23, 1917.
61. NEED OF A CENSORSHIP LAW
(May 22, 1917)
LETTER TO REPRESENTATIVE WEBB
I have been very much surprised to find several of the public prints stating that the administration had abandoned the position which it so distinctly took, and still holds, that authority to exercise censorship over the press to the extent that that censorship is embodied in the recent action of the House of Representatives is absolutely necessary to the public safety. It, of course, has not been abandoned, because the reasons still exist why such authority is necessary for the protection of the Nation.
I have every confidence that the great majority of the newspapers of the country will observe a patriotic reticence about everything whose publication could be of injury, but in every country there are some persons in a position to do mischief in this field who can not be relied upon and whose interests or desires will lead to actions on their part highly dangerous to the Nation in the midst of a war. I want to say again that it seems to me imperative that powers of this sort should be granted.
Congressional Record, LV, 3144.
62. FRIENDSHIP WITH RUSSIA
(May 26, 1917)
CABLEGRAM TO RUSSIA
In view of the approaching visit of the American delegation to Russia to express the deep friendship of the American people for the people of Russia and to discuss the best and most practical means of coöperation between the two peoples in carrying the present struggle for the freedom of all peoples to a successful consummation, it seems opportune and appropriate that I should state again, in the light of this new partnership, the objects the United States has had in mind in entering the war. Those objects have been very much beclouded during the past few weeks by mistaken and misleading statements, and the issues at stake are too momentous, too tremendous, too significant for the whole human race to permit any misinterpretations or misunderstandings, however slight, to remain uncorrected for a moment.
The war has begun to go against Germany, and in their desperate desire to escape the inevitable ultimate defeat, those who are in authority in Germany are using every possible instrumentality, are making use even of the influence of groups and parties among their own subjects to whom they have never been just or fair, or even tolerant, to promote a propaganda on both sides of the sea which will preserve for them their influence at home and their power abroad, to the undoing of the very men they are using.
The position of America in this war is so clearly avowed that no man can be excused for mistaking it. She seeks no material profit or aggrandizement of any kind. She is fighting for no advantage or selfish object of her own, but for the liberation of peoples everywhere from the aggressions of autocratic force. The ruling classes in Germany have begun of late to profess a like liberality and justice of purpose, but only to preserve the power they have set up in Germany and the selfish advantages which they have wrongly gained for themselves and their private projects of power all the way from Berlin to Bagdad and beyond. Government after Government has by their influence, without open conquest of its territory, been linked together in a net of intrigue directed against nothing less than the peace and liberty of the world. The meshes of that intrigue must be broken, but can not be broken unless wrongs already done are undone, and adequate measures must be taken to prevent it from ever again being rewoven or repaired.
Of course, the Imperial German Government and those whom it is using for their own undoing are seeking to obtain pledges that the war will end in the restoration of the status quo ante. It was the status quo ante out of which this iniquitous war issued forth, the power of the Imperial German Government within the Empire and its widespread domination and influence outside of that Empire. That status must be altered in such fashion as to prevent any such hideous thing from ever happening again.
We are fighting for the liberty, the self-government, and the undictated development of all peoples, and every feature of the settlement that concludes this war must be conceived and executed for that purpose. Wrongs must first be righted and then adequate safeguards must be created to prevent their being committed again. We ought not to consider remedies merely because they "ave a pleasing and sonorous sound. Practical questions can be settled only by practical means. Phrases will not accomplish the result. Effective readjustments will, and whatever readjustments are necessary must be made.
But they must follow a principle and that principle is plain. No people must be forced under sovereignty under which it does not wish to live. No territory must change hands except for the purpose of securing those who inhabit it a fair chance of life and liberty. No indemnities must be insisted on except those that constitute payments for manifest wrongs done. No readjustments of power must be made except such as will tend to secure the future peace of the world and the future welfare and happiness of its peoples.
And then the free peoples of the world must draw together in some common covenant, some genuine and practical coöperation that will in effect combine their force to secure peace and justice in the dealings of nations with one another. The brotherhood of mankind must no longer be a fair but empty phrase; it must be given a structure of force and reality. The nations must realize their common life and effect a workable partnership to secure that life against the aggressions of autocratic and self-pleasing power.
For these things we can afford to pour out blood and treasure. For these are the things we have always professed to desire, and unless we pour out blood and treasure now and succeed we may never be able to unite or show conquering force again in the great cause of human liberty. The day has come to conquer or submit. If the forces of autocracy can divide us they will overcome us; if we stand together victory is certain and the liberty which victory will secure. We can afford then to be generous, but we cannot afford then or now to be weak or omit any single guarantee of justice and security.
Official Bulletin, June 9, 1917,