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Muhlenberg, the American of pure German blood, the pastor of a Lutheran church at the outbreak of the Rev. olution. On the Sunday after the call for arms came, he mounted his pulpit; he admonished his flock that there was a time for prayer and a time for battle, and that the time for battle had come. Casting aside his frock, he appeared in the uniform of a colonel of the Continental Army; and on many a stricken field he proved his valor and devotion. Custer, a man of German descent, was one of the most gallant and heroic figures of the Civil War and the Indian Wars; his name and career made up one of the finest traditions of our army. In the Civil War there fought many, many men of German birth; Sigel, Osterhaus, Heintzelman; innumerable others. They proved their Americanism by their deeds. Their grandsons are in our armies and navy to-day. Their undivided loyalty is given to one flag, to our flag. They are incapable of a loyalty different from that of their fellow Americans of different blood. These fellow Americans of theirs who happen to be of different blood must in their turn see to it that any one who discriminates against these men because they are of German blood is himself branded as a traitor.
Above all, we are bound to treat all our fellow Americans with reference solely to their whole-hearted loyalty to American ideals as embodied in the great Americans whose names I have used above. True Americans who are in whole or in part of German blood claim nothing except the right to serve America and to be judged according to their service.
1 From The Great Adventure. Copyright, 1918. Charles Scribner's Sons, publishers.
NATIONAL STRENGTH — THE BASIS OF
INTERNATIONAL PEACE Let us speak courteously, deal fairly, and keep ourselves armed and ready.
I. NATIONAL PREPAREDNESS
I THERE can be no genuine feeling of patriotism of the kind that makes all men willing and eager to die for the land, unless there has been some measure of success in making the land worth living in for all alike, whatever their station, so long as they do their duty; and on the other hand, no man has a right to enjoy any benefits whatever from living in the land in time of peace, unless he is trained physically and spiritually so that if duty calls he can and will do his part to keep the land against all alien aggression.
II If the people have not vision, they shall surely perish. No man has a right to live who has not in his soul the power to die nobly for a great cause. Let abhorrence be for those who wage wanton or wicked wars, who with ruthless violence oppress the upright and the unoffending. Pay all honor to the preachers of peace who put righteousness above peace. But shame on the creatures
1 Speech at Cooper Union, New York City, November 3, 1916.
who would teach our people that it is anything but base to be unready and unable to defend right, even at need by the sternest of all tests, the test of righteous war, war waged by a high-couraged people with souls attuned to the demands of a lofty ideal."
IF in the future we have war, it will almost certainly come because of some action, or lack of action, on our part in the way of refusing to accept responsibilities at the proper time, or failing to prepare for war when war does not threaten. An ignoble peace is even worse than an unsuccessful war; but an unsuccessful war would leave behind it a legacy of bitter memories which would hurt our national development for a generation to come. It is true that no nation could actually conquer us, owing to our isolated position; but we would be seriously harmed, even materially, by disasters that stopped far short of conquest; and in these matters, which are far more important than things material, we could readily be damaged beyond repair. No material loss can begin to compensate for the loss of national self-respect. The damage to our commercial interests by the destruction of one of our coast cities would be as nothing compared to the humiliation which would be felt by every American worthy of the name if we had to submit to such an injury without amply avenging it. It has been finely said that “a gentleman is one who is willing to lay down his life for little things"; that is, for those things which seem little to the man who cares only whether shares
1 From Fear God and Take Your Own Part. Copyright, 1916. George H. Doran Company, publishers.
rise or fall in value, and to the timid doctrinaire who preaches timid peace from his cloistered study.
Much of that which is best and highest in national character is made up of glorious memories and traditions. The fight well fought, the life honorably lived, the death bravely met - those count for more in building a high and fine type of temper in a nation than any possible success in the stock market, than any possible prosperity in commerce or manufactures. A rich banker may be a valuable and useful citizen, but not a thousand rich bankers can leave to the country such a heritage as Farragut left, when, lashed in the rigging of the Hartford, he forged past the forts and over the unseen death below, to try his wooden stem against the ironclad hull of the great Confederate ram. The people of some given section of our country may be better off because a shrewd and wealthy man has built up therein a great manufacturing business, or has extended a line of railroad past its doors; but the whole nation is better, the whole nation is braver, because Cushing pushed his little torpedo-boat through the darkness to sink beside the sinking Albemarle. : Every feat of heroism makes us forever indebted to the man who performed it. All daring and courage, all iron endurance of misfortune, all devotion to the ideal of honor and the glory of the flag, make for a finer and nobler type of manhood. It is not only those who do and dare and endure that are benefited; but also the countless thousands who are not themselves called upon to face the peril, to show the strength, or to win the reward. All of us lift our heads higher because those of our countrymen whose trade it is to meet danger have met it well
and bravely. All of us are poorer for every base or ignoble deed done by an American, for every instance of selfishness or weakness or folly on the part of the people as a whole. We are all worse off when any of us fails at any point in his duty toward the State in time of peace, or his duty toward the State in time of war. If ever we had to meet defeat at the hands of a foreign foe, or had to submit tamely to wrong or insult, every man among us worthy of the name of American would feel dishonored and debased. On the other hand, the memory of every triumph won by Americans, by just so much helps to make each American nobler and better. Every man among us is more fit to meet the duties and responsibilities of citizenship because of the perils over which, in the past, the nation has triumphed; because of the blood and sweat and tears, the labor and the anguish, through which, in the days that have gone, our forefathers moved on to triumph. There are higher things in this life than the soft and easy enjoyment of material comfort. It is through strife, or the readiness for strife, that a nation must win greatness.".
IV LET us prepare not merely in military matters, but in our social and industrial life. There can be no sound relationship toward other nations unless there is also sound relationship among our own citizens within our own ranks. Let us insist on the thorough Americanization of the newcomers to our shores, and let us also
1 Address before The Naval War College, Annapolis, June, 1897. From The Strenuous Life. Copyright, 1900. The Century Company, publishers.