Page images
PDF
EPUB

principles which operated to upbuild these institutions and give them strength and stability, and who, above all else, warned Americans against accepting the doctrine of internationalism in the delusion they were acquiring a "new freedom.” To substitute internationalism for American nationalism and style it "new freedom” is on all fours with substituting free love for the institution of marriage and calling it the new virtue. There are some things which are fundamental and absolute.

One of the most potent and most fearless advocates of straight old-fashioned Americanism during that crisis was The National Republican, under the editorship of George B. Lockwood. Upon the establishment of its offices in Washington in January, 1918, a year before President Wilson's political tour of Europe, --The National Republican announced as one of its editorial policies,"championship of stalwart, unwavering Americanism ** * which is for America first, last and all the time and would sacrifice no just interest of the American people in behalf of any visionary scheme of internationalism.” On February 9, 1918, there appeared the editorial, “What Are We Fighting for in This War?"; June 22, 1918, the editorial, “The Aims of America Need No Explanation or Apology"; July 13, 1913, the editorial, “Settling the Terms of Peace"; all of which are reprinted in this volume. These, and many other contemporary editorials and articles in its news columns, entitle The National Republican to the credit and honor of being the first publication of national circulation, and, perhaps, the first publication of any kind in the United States to take an unequivocal stand against the menace of internationalism and to maintain that stand aggressively until the fight for Americanism was won.

For a time, The National Republican stood alone, among publications of national circulation, in its position. To The National Republican, with a circulation rising from 200,000 when the fight against the Wilson internationalism began to nearly a half million before the close of the campaign of 1920, more than to any other one influence, must be given the credit of arousing the masses and leaders of its party to a realization of the calamitous possibilities of such a program. In view of what transpired during the life of the Congress elected in November, 1918, the value of this, its service in behalf of Americanism, was incalculable.

So far as the records show, The National Republican's editorial of July 13, 1918, “Settling the Terms of Peace,” was the first utterance by a publication of national circulation in opposition to the United States' being a party to any treaty of peace which would include certain terms and conditions which President Wilson had indicated (even at that early date, four months before the signing of the armistice) he would write into the treaty. This is the first utterance of record that there must be "certain reservations,” safeguarding American rights and privileges, to such

[ocr errors]

INTRODUCTORY

a treaty as the White House had intimated and for which it was, even before the war was won or certain of being won, conducting a nation-wide propaganda. This also was the first utterance to point out the sinister possibilities of the Wilsonian doctrine of “self-determination,” the inclusion of which in the treaty has kept all Europe and the Near East in an armed ferment and bloody wars ever since the treaty was signed.

Attention should be called to another editorial, “A Decisive Peace That Is What Is Desired by the American People," published a month before the armistice. It was a protest against the "peace by negotiation" obsession of the Wilson administration, a demand that Germany be decisively defeated on the field of battle, her armies crushed, her surrender unconditional and our soldiers brought home "rather than to start a long peace parley with the world still an armed camp." Public opinion of America and Europe today is agreed that the crowning mistake of the allies was failure to do that very thing.

These editorials are cited because they were pioneers. They were written before public opinion was crystallized, at a time when nearly every public expression was antagonistic to or skeptical of the sentiments they expressed. Moreover, they were written and published at a time when every fair means and foul was being used by the Wilson administration to muzzle free speech and put in irons the freedom of the press. Few and courageous were the publications during those days which dared stand their ground and defy the official blackjacking, intimidation and vengeful prosecution that was the lot of those who insisted that free speech and a free press were inalienable American rights that could not be suspended to serve the purposes of plotting partisanship or to furnish a wider field for the publicity efforts of a few fawning satellites who, "drest with a little brief authority," sought to make a rubber stamp of every medium of public expression.

The general public has had only intimations of that most disgraceful chapter of America's war history. Only the publishing world realizes its full shame; of how the vast powers granted by the Congress to the administration, to enable it to win the war and save free institutions, were twisted and prostituted into a weapon to suppress the institutions of free speech and free press, lose the war by a compromising peace and perpetuate a partisan administration which, maddened by a lust for world power, was plotting to substitute internationalism for American nationalism and was craftily planning to force the United States to agree to a treaty which would renounce American doctrines and American institutions and dissolve them in the pool of an international league which, officered by its proposer and author and his retinue, should rule the world. Publications which refused to carry this propaganda, or had the temerity to criticize it, were threatened with

loss of their mailing privileges, with being classified as treasonable and prosecuted, with being denied paper, fuel and light with which to operate their enterprises. Here and there these threats were put in execution to strike terror to those who showed signs of independence. It was in such a period and under such conditions that The National Republican began its fight for the preservation of American institutions and keeping faith with those fundamental principles which made possible these institutions. Surely it took courage and high sense of patriotism thus to put its destiny to the touch.

Nor did The National Republican swerve from the policy thus fearlessly launched or slacken its vigor. The collection of editorials in this volume, covering the critical period of the Peace Conference in Paris, the treaty debates in the United States Senate and the "solemn referendum” of the presidential campaign of 1920, is as complete, logical and forceful a presentation of the reasons which determined the American Senate and the American people to reject the Paris treaty as has been compiled. They were written during the heat of the great controversy between Americanism and internationalism, when public opinion was still molten and so they caught and reflected the flaming spirit of the American people during that critical period. Yet, viewed in cold perspective, they ring true; events have marshalled and are marshalling in support of them instead of to their confusion and confutation.

The worth of this volume is greatly enhanced by the inclusion of quotations upon the subject of Americanism from the speeches and writings of America's greatest statesmen, orators and authors, from the earliest days of our republic down to the present day. This is by far the most complete collection of "Americanisms” yet made, and for it the readers are indebted to Hon. John T. Adams, of Dubuque, Iowa. Mr. Adams is a student of American history and an authority on the subject, and possesses one of the finest private American historical libraries in the country. His collaboration in the issuance of this book on Americanism is especially apropos because during the period covered by the editorials contained in this volume, he was an ardent supporter and wise counsellor of The National Republican in its militant support of American institutions and traditions.

These editorials by Mr. Lockwood and compilation of “Americanisms" by Mr. Adams are published "lest we forget.” They call the people's attention to the landmarks of national safety and sanity. They emphasize by iteration and reiteration the fundamental principles of this government, enunciated by the statesmen who founded it and espoused by every statesman since who has contributed aught of value toward the development of the nation, the unity of its people and the stability and perpetuity of its

INTRODUCTORY

institutions. America has reached the age when she should take counsel of her memory and keep ever in mind the advice of those who wrought in thought and deed and sacrifice to bring her to her high station, safeguard her liberties and make her ideals and institutions enduring throughout mortal time.

The fight for the preservation of American independence, ideals and institutions is not over. Already an organized effort is being put forth to galvanize the Wilson internationalism into life and to apotheosize its author. Sedulously and systematically the motives underlying the opposition to the Versailles treaty and covenant are being misrepresented. The history of the proceedings which terminated in the repudiation of President Wilson's international policies at the polls in 1920 is being mis-written by partisan press agents of the leadership repudiated so overwhelmingly by the American electorate. It seems well that at such a time the facts and arguments arrayed in opposition to this program of de-nationalization, so admirably set forth in this volume, should be put forth in permanent form.

J. BENNETT GORDON.

« PreviousContinue »