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dustrial injustice. It is a small minority that is to-day using our convention system to defeat the will of a majority of the people in the choice of delegates to the Chicago Convention.
The only tyrannies from which men, women and children are suffering in real life are the tyrannies of minorities.
Am I overstating the case? Have our political leaders always, or generally, recognized their duty to the people as anything more than a duty to disperse the mob, see that the ashes are taken away, and distribute patronage? Have our leaders always, or generally, worked for the benefit of human beings, to increase the prosperity of all the people, to give to each some opportunity of living decently and bringing up his children well? The questions need no answer. ,
II I BELIEVE in a larger opportunity for the people themselves directly to participate in government and to control their governmental agents, because long experience has taught me that without such control many of their agents will represent them badly. By actual experience in office I have found that, as a rule, I could secure the triumph of the causes in which I most believed, not from the politicians and the men who claim an exceptional right to speak in business and government, but by going over their heads and appealing directly to the people themselves.
1 Address at Carnegie Hall, New York City, March 20, 1912. This and the three succeeding excerpts are from Progressive Principles, Copyright, 1913, by Elmer H. Youngman. Progressive National Service, publishers.
I am not under the slightest delusion as to any power that during my political career I have at any time possessed. Whatever of power I at any time had, I obtained from the people. I could exercise it only so long as, and to the extent that, the people not merely believed in me, but heartily backed me up. Whatever I did as President I was able to do only because I had the backing of the people. When on any point I did not have that backing, when on any point I differed from the people, it mattered not whether I was right or whether I was wrong, my power vanished.1
III The difference between us and our present-day opponents is as old as civilized history.
In every great crisis of the kind we face to-day we find arrayed on one side the men who with fervor and broad sympathy and lofty idealism stand for the forward movement; the men who stand for the uplift and betterment of mankind, and who have faith in the people; and over against them the men of restricted vision and contracted sympathy, whose souls are not stirred by the wrongs of others. Side by side with the latter appear the other men who lack all intensity of conviction, who care only for the pleasure of the day; and also those other men who distrust the people, who if dishonest wish to keep the people helpless so as to exploit them, and who if honest so disbelieve in the power ple to bring about wholesome reform that every appeal to popular conscience and popular intelligence fills them with angry terror. According to their own lights, these men are often very respectable, very worthy; but they live on a plane of low ideals. In the atmosphere they create impostors flourish, and leadership comes to be thought of only as success in making money, and the vision of Heaven becomes a sordid vision, and all that is highest and purest in human nature is laughed at, and honesty is bought and sold in the market-place.
1 Address before the National Convention of the Progressive Party, Chicago, August 6, 1912.
of the peo
Opposed undyingly to these men are the men of faith and vision, the men in whom love of righteousness burns like a flaming fire, who spurn lives of soft and selfish ease, of slothful self-indulgence, who scorn to think only of pleasure for themselves, who feel for and believe in their fellows, whose high fealty is reserved for all that is good, that is just, that is honorable. By their very nature these men are bound to battle for the truth and the right. They do not address themselves only to the cultured and exclusive few. They prize character even more than intellect. They know well that conscience is not the privilege merely of the men of wealth and cultivation, and they make their appeal to all men alike in the name of the great fundamental qualities, and qualities that every man should have, the qualities of generosity and unselfishness, of fearless honesty and high courage.
We who war against privilege pay heed to no outworn system of philosophy. We demand of our leaders to-day understanding of and sympathy with the living and the vital needs of those in the community whose needs are greatest.
We are against privilege in every form.
We believe in striking down every bulwark of privilege.
Above all we are against the evil alliance of special privilege in business with special business in politics.
We believe in giving the people a free hand to work in efficient fashion for true justice.
To the big man and to the little man, in all the relations of life, we pledge justice and fair dealing.
A period of change is upon us. Our opponents, the men of reaction, ask us to stand still. But we could not stand still if we would; we must either
forward or go backward.
Never was the need more imperative than now for men of vision who are also men of action. Disaster is ahead of us if we trust to the leadership of men whose souls are seared and whose eyes are blinded, men of cold heart and narrow mind, who believe we can find safety in dull timidity and dull inaction.
The unrest cannot be quieted by ingenious trickery of those who profess to advance by merely marking time, or who seek to drown the cry for justice by loud and insincere clamor about issues that are false and issues that are dead.
The trumpets sound the advance, and their peal cannot be drowned by repeating the war-cries of by-gone , battles, the victory shouts of vanished hosts.
The principles for which we stand to-day can be set forth in the words which Lincoln used fifty-four years ago, when in speaking of the then phase of the eternal struggle between privilege and justice, between the rights of the many and the special interest of the few, he said:
That is the real issue. That is the issue which will continue in this country when these poor tongues of Judge Douglas and myself shall be silent. It is the eternal struggle between two principles — right and wrong - throughout the world. They are the two principles that have stood face to face from the beginning of time. The one is the common right of humanity, the other the divine right of kings. It is the same principle in whatever shape it develops itself. It is the same spirit that says, “You toil and work and earn bread, and I will eat it.” No matter in what shape it comes, whether from the mouth of a king who bestrides the people of his own nation and lives from the fruit of their labor, or from one race of men as an apology for enslaving another race, it is the same tyrannical principle.
We the people cannot turn back. Our aim must be steady, wise progress. It would be well if our people would study the history of a sister republic. All the woes of France for a century and a quarter have been due to the folly of her people in splitting into the two camps of unreasonable conservatism and unreasonable radicalism. Had pre-Revolutionary Frånce listened to men like Turgot, and backed them up, all would have gone well. But the beneficiaries of privilege, the Bourbon reactionaries, the short-sighted ultra-conservatives, turned down Turgot; and then found that instead of him they had obtained Robespierre. They gained twenty years' freedom from all restraint and reform, at the cost of the whirlwind of the red terror; and in their turn the unbridled extremists of the terror induced a blind reaction; and so, with convulsion and oscillation from one extreme to another, with alternations of violent radicalism and violent Bourbonism, the French people went through misery towards a shattered goal. May we profit by the experience of our brother republicans across the water, and go forward steadily, avoiding