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one in purpose, in fellow-feeling, and in high resolve, as we stand to greet the new century, and, high of heart, to face the mighty tasks which the coming years will surely bring."
II Most Western Americans who are past middle age remember young, rapidly growing, and turbulent communities in which there was at first complete anarchy. During the time when there was no central police power to which to appeal, every man worth his salt, in other words every man fit for existence in such a community, had to be prepared to defend himself; and usually, although not always, the fact that he was prepared saved him from all trouble, whereas unpreparedness was absolutely certain to invite disaster.
In such communities before there was a regular and fully organized police force there came an interval during which the preservation of the peace depended upon the action of a single official, a sheriff or marshal, who if the law was defied in arrogant fashion summoned a posse comitatus composed of as many armed, thoroughly efficient, law-abiding citizens as were necessary in order to put a stop to the wrongdoing. Under these conditions each man had to keep himself armed and both able and willing to respond to the call of the peace-officer; and furthermore, if he had a shred of wisdom he kept himself ready in an emergency to act on his own behalf if the peace-officer did not or could not do his duty.
In such towns I have myself more than once seen well
* Address at Galena, Illinois, April 27, 1900. From The Strenuous Life. Copyright, 1900. The Century Company, publishers.
meaning but foolish citizens endeavor to meet the exigencies of the case by simply passing resolutions of disarmament without any power back of them. That is, they passed self-denying ordinances, saying that nobody was to carry arms; but they failed to provide methods for carrying such ordinances into effect. In every case the result was the same. Good citizens for the moment abandoned their weapons. The bad men continued to carry them. Things grew worse instead of better; and then the good men came to their senses and clothed some representative of the police with power to employ force, potential or existing, against the wrongdoers.
Affairs in the international world are at this time in analogous condition. There is no central police power, and not the least likelihood of its being created. Wellmeaning enthusiasts have tried their hands to an almost unlimited extent in the way of devising all-inclusive arbitration treaties, neutrality treaties, disarmament proposals,
and the like, with no force back of them, and the result has been stupendous and discreditable failure. Preparedness for war on the part of individual nations has sometimes but not always averted war. Unpreparedness for war, as in the case of China, Korea, and Luxembourg, has invariably invited smashing disaster, and sometimes complete conquest. Surely these conditions should teach a lesson that any man who runs may read unless his eyes have been blinded by folly or his heart weakened by cowardice.
The immediately vital lesson for each individual nation is that as things are now it must in time of crisis rely on its own stout hearts and ready hands for self-defense. Existing treaties are utterly worthless so far as concerns
protecting any free, well-behaved people from one of the great aggressive military monarchies of the world. 1
III QUR business is to create the beginnings of international order out of the world of nations as these nations actually exist. We do not have to deal with a world of pacificists and therefore we must proceed on the assumption that treaties will never acquire sanctity until nations are ready to seal them with their blood. We are not striving for peace in heaven. That is not our affair. What we were bidden to strive for is "peace on earth and goodwill toward men." To fulfill this injunction it is necessary to treat the earth as it is and men as they are, as an indispensable prerequisite to making the earth a better place in which to live and men better fit to live in it. It is inexcusable moral culpability on our part to pretend to carry out this injunction in such fashion as to nullify it; and this we do if we make believe that the earth is what it is not and if our professions of bringing good-will toward men are in actual practice shown to be empty shams. Peace congresses, peace parades, the appointment and celebration of days of prayer for peace, and the like, which result merely in giving the participants the feeling that they have accomplished something and are therefore to be excused from hard, practical work for righteousness, are empty shams. Treaties such as the recent all-inclusive arbitration treaties are worse than empty shams and convict us as a nation of moral culpability when our representatives sign them at the same
1 This and the following two sections are from America and the World War. Copyright, 1915. Charles Scribner's Sons, publishers.
time that they refuse to risk anything to make good the signatures we have already affixed to the Hague conventrons.
Moderate and sensible treaties which mean something and which can and will be enforced mark a real advance for the human race. As has been well said: “It is our business to make no treaties which we are not ready to maintain with all our resources, for every such scrap of paper is like a forged check — an assault on our credit in the world.”
TV ? The ultra-pacificists have been fond of prophesying the immediate approach of a universally peaceful condition throughout the world, which will render it unnecessary to prepare against war because there will be no more war. This represents in some cases well-meaning and pathetic folly. In other cases it represents mischievous and inexcusable folly. But it always represents folly. At best, it represents the inability of some well-meaning men of weak mind, and of some men of strong but twisted mind, either to face or to understand facts.
These prophets of the inane are not peculiar to our own day. A little over a century and a quarter ago a noted Italian pacificist and philosopher, Aurelio Bertela, summed up the future of civilized mankind as follows: “The political system of Europe has arrived at perfection. An equilibrium has been attained which henceforth will preserve peoples from subjugation. Few reforms are now needed and these will be accomplished peaceably. Europe has no need to fear revolution."
These sapient statements (which have been paralleled
by hundreds of utterances in the many peace congresses of the last couple of decades) were delivered in 1787, the year in which the French Assembly of Notables ushered in the greatest era of revolution, domestic turmoil, and international war in all history an era which still continues and which shows not the smallest sign of coming to an end. Never before have there been wars on so great a scale as during this century and a quarter; and the greatest of all these wars is now being waged. Never before, except for the ephemeral conquests of certain Asiatic barbarians, have there been subjugations of civilized peoples on so great a scale.
The effective workers for the peace of righteousness were men like Stein, Cavour, and Lincoln; that is, men who dreamed great dreams, but who were also preëminently men of action, who stood for the right, and who knew that the right would fail unless might was put behind it. The prophets of pacificism have had nothing whatever in common with these great men; and whenever they have preached mere pacificism, whenever they have failed to put righteousness first and to advocate peace as the handmaiden of righteousness, they have done evil and not good.
After the exhaustion of the Napoleonic struggles there came thirty-five years during which there was no great war, while what was called “the long peace” was broken only by minor international wars or short-lived revolutionary contests. Good, but not far-sighted, men in various countries, but especially in England, Germany, and our own country, forthwith began to dream dreams not of a universal peace that should be founded on justice and righteousness backed by strength, but of a