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THE TWO AMERICAS
SPEECH AT THE FORMAL OPENING OF THE PANAMERICAN EXPOSITION, BUFFALO, MAY 20, 1901
"O-DAY we formally open this great exposition
by the shores of the mighty inland seas of the North, where all the peoples of the Western Hemisphere have joined to show what they have done in art, science, and industrial invention, what they have been able to accomplish with their manifold resources and their infinitely varied individual and national qualities. Such an exposition, held at the opening of this new century, inevitably suggests two trains of thought. It should make us think seriously and solemnly of our several duties to one another as citizens of the different nations of this Western Hemisphere, and also of our duties each to the nation to which he personally belongs.
The century upon which we have just entered must inevitably be one of tremendous triumph or of tremendous failure for the whole human race, because, to an infinitely greater extent than ever before, humanity is knit together in all its parts, for weal or woe. All about us there are innumerable tendencies that tell for good, and innumerable ten
dencies that tell for evil. It is, of course, a mere truism to say that our own acts must determine which set of tendencies shall overcome the other. In order to act wisely we must first see clearly. There is no place among us for the mere pessimist; no man who looks at life with a vision that sees all things black or gray can do aught healthful in molding the destiny of a mighty and vigorous people. But there is just as little use for the foolish optimist who refuses to face the many and real evils that exist, and who fails to see that the only way to ensure the triumph of righteousness in the future is to war against all that is base, weak, and unlovely in the present.
There are certain things so obvious as to seem commonplace, which, nevertheless, must be kept constantly before us if we are to preserve our just sense of proportion. This twentieth century is big with the fate of the nations of mankind, because the fate of each is now interwoven with the fate of all to a degree never even approached in any previous stage of history. No better proof could be given than by this very exposition. A century ago no such exposition could have even been thought of. The larger part of the territory represented here to-day by so many free nations was not even mapped, and very much of it was unknown to the hardiest explorer. The influence of America upon Old World affairs
was imponderable. World politics still meant European politics.
All that is now changed, not merely by what has happened here in America, but by what has happened elsewhere. It is not necessary for us here to consider the giant changes which have come elsewhere in the globe; to treat of the rise in the South Seas of the great free commonwealths of Australia and New Zealand; of the way in which Japan has been rejuvenated and has advanced by leaps and bounds to a position among the leading civilized powers; of the problems, affecting the major portion of mankind, which call imperiously for solution in parts of the Old World which, a century ago, were barely known to Europe, even by rumor. Our present concern is not with the Old World, but with our own Western Hemisphere, America. We meet today, representing the people of this continent, from the Dominion of Canada in the north, to Chile and the Argentine in the south; representing peoples who have traveled far and fast in the last century, because in them has been practically shown that it is the spirit of adventure which is the maker of commonwealths; peoples who are learning and striving to put in practice the vital truth that freedom is the necessary first step, but only the first step, in successful free government.
During the last century we have on the whole
made long strides in the right direction, but we have very much yet to learn. We all look forward to the day when there shall be a nearer approximation than there has ever yet been to the brotherhood of man and the peace of the world. More and more we are learning that to love one's country above all others is in no way incompatible with respecting and wishing well to all others, and that, as between man and man, so between nation and nation, there should live the great law of right. These are the goals toward which we strive; and let us at least earnestly endeavor to realize them here on this continent. From Hudson Bay to the Straits of Magellan, we, the men of the two Americas, have been conquering the wilderness, carving it into state and province, and seeking to build up in state and province governments which shall combine industrial prosperity and moral well-being. Let us ever most vividly remember the falsity of the belief that any one of us is to be permanently benefited by the hurt of another. Let us strive to have our public men treat as axiomatic the truth that it is for the interest of every commonwealth in the Western Hemisphere to see every other commonwealth grow in riches and in happiness, in material wealth and in the sober, strong, self-respecting manliness, without which material wealth avails so little.
To-day on behalf of the United States I welcome
you here—you, our brothers of the North, and you, our brothers of the South; we wish you well; we wish you all prosperity; and we say to you that we earnestly hope for your well-being, not only for your own sakes, but also for our own, for it is a benefit to each of us to have the others do well. The relations between us now are those of cordial friendship, and it is to the interest of all alike that this friendship should ever remain unbroken. Nor is there the least chance of its being broken, provided only that all of us alike act with full recognition of the vital need that each should realize that his own interests can best be served by serving the interests of others.
You, men of Canada, are doing substantially the same work that we of this Republic are doing, and face substantially the same problems that we also face. Yours is the world of the merchant, the manufacturer and mechanic, the farmer, the ranchman, and the miner; you are subduing the prairie and the forest, tilling farm-land, building cities, striving to raise ever higher the standard of right, to bring ever nearer the day when true justice shall obtain between man and man; and we wish Godspeed to you and yours, and may the kindliest ties of good will always exist between us.
To you of the republics south of us, I wish to say a special word. I believe with all my heart in the Monroe Doctrine. This doctrine is not to be invoked