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almost disappeared. In international affairs especially we growl when we are told to growl, approve at the appointed time and place, and reserve our real applause for ourselves.
The founders of our country prayed in humility of spirit, asking divine guidance for the right path, meanwhile acknowledging their own sin and error. In their left hand they held the Great Book that they might not forget its precepts, and in their right a loaded rifle with which to emphasize their freedom and resist aggression. These men were hard of body and stern of mind, but they laid down a code of national morality which has stood for the protection of the weak and justice to all to this day.
It is not so much the causes that may concern us at the moment,-and they are many,- but the fact itself that this nation is faced on all sides with questions of policy and action the answers to which will affect us for all time. We need at the moment the wisest and strongest government possible, resting secure upon an intelligent public opinion. We may get the government we need,-let us hope we may,--but its action will be sustained or hampered, as the case may be, by waves of emotion rather than by opinion. We are not now capable of turning out a concrete, unmistakably intelligent public belief to serve as a sure foundation for such statesmanship as our leaders must exercise. It is small consolation to feel that some big event, some unexpected and gross violation of American rights, some sudden demand upon the people for action, would sweep everything aside and unite the nation upon a single issue. It is no credit to us that the blowing up of the Maine possibly brought about the war with Spain.
Sentimentality is the mainspring of such interest as is taken in foreign affairs in this the most important epoch as yet in the affairs of humanity. It is time we took stock of ourselves, noted the points at which we fail to measure up to our original standards, and with earnestness and humility retrace our footsteps to the cross-roads where we first went astray.
It has been said, and truly, that militarism is a state of mind. It can be said with equal truth that the advocacy of peace at any price is also a state of mind, for like all moods it can be changed on the instant, and this is especially true of our own nation.
"This horrid war must be stopped; it's just awful," exclaimed a fair delegate to one of the society congresses recently held in the West; and she really meant it-at the moment. Should war come to our own country, this same young woman would as likely as not be found urging her men friends to enlist, and giving her own life to the work of relief for the sick and wounded. This is satisfactory as far as it goes, but it does not go far toward lending stability to our national character, and no vessel that ever sailed the deep and troubled seas stood more in need of ballast than our own good ship of state in these perplexing days. As the ballast of a ship is largely the measure of its seaworthiness, so the mentality and thoughtfulness of a nation as a whole measure its greatness and its real progress.
To be a rich and prosperous people is a most desirable state for a nation, but it has its grave dangers. We are told that through this war the gold of the world may find lodgment in America and thus in time. transform us from a debtor to a creditor nation. From the banker's and the investor's point of view this is a most desirable condition, but unless such a nation keeps jealous watch upon its ideals and the practice thereof it soon becomes moribund with wealth and poverty-stricken of soul. America has worked hard to pay off the mortgage held by Europe. There is a national danger that when this is paid we shall become more slothful of spirit, more intent merely upon interest-getting than upon the use of money to keep our own people employed at living wages and our national life at high spiritual tension.
The interior ills from which England is suffering to-day result largely from a rich people growing richer without effort, and the constantly increasing sanctity of the rights of property as compared with
the rights of humanity. The integrity of the English race and the individuality of the English character are all that are saving the day for that old country of long and tremendous history. The American nation of the present time has no such integrity of race, and individualism is not generally apparent in our people. We are led by our mental noses in whichever direction is desired by those who furnish our reading-matter and make speeches to us. A political meeting means a gathering of those who are going to agree with the speaker. Resolutions are adopted at public gatherings with little or no debate. Petitions to Congress for this, that, or the other thing are signed because some one asks us to sign. Thousands of petitions have been received in Washington for and against a proposed measure with many of the signatures appearing on both sides of the question. That is the reason why they are as a rule so ineffective as a referendum: : no one in Washington takes them seriously; the politicians know all too well how they have been secured.
The whole trouble with us Americans is that we do not think. We think that we think, but some one else does it for us, and we unconsciously, perhaps, imagine our conclusions to be our own. The knowledge of all the ages is at our disposal. The facts of contemporaneous history are given us every day. No people in the world have freer access to the news of all that is happening on this globe. The average American is of greater intelligence and possesses a livelier curiosity as to the doings of humanity the world over. than the average citizen of any other country, and yet with all these advantages. and natural talents we are unable to think for ourselves and to reach individual conclusions that we are able to support effectively when attacked by those who reason to the contrary.
Sentimentality is our curse. The Russian people, lacking in education, far removed from the stimulus of modern life, possess a spirituality which puts them far above us in the things that really count. The purity of race, the fineness of spirit
which has been refined from the dross in the fires of recent adversity, have gained for the French to-day the admiration of the world, including those who are engaging them in deadly combat. Likewise with the British; but for their individualism, the grave tenacity of purpose inherent in their character, the fiery belief of each and every Englishman, Scotchman, loyal Irishman, and men of such breeds that he is fighting for his own hard-thought-out creed and the rights he believes to be his, the British Empire would have gone to pieces before this in the face of increasing adversity.
Those qualities which stamp a nation as great are not created by war; they merely become apparent at such a time. They are bred in the nation in times of peace. There is no magic wand, not even a grave national peril, which can call forth from a people what is not in them. They must have had the power to think, sufficient strength of character to stamp them as individualistic, and a deeply implanted suspicion of those who would lead them through tricks of oratory or appeals to prejudice. In America we have the best material ever given a country from which to create a thinking people, and we are wasting it-wasting our mental powers in acrobatics under the leadership of men and women who seek personal advantage either consciously or unconsciously or in the furtherance of some idea with which they have become obsessed. We are easily worked by every charlatan who has the public ear. Insincerity, sentimentality, and hysteria pass with us for convictions and even inspirations. Credulous, lacking in sound conviction, we are blown here and there by every passing breeze, be it wafted from heaven or from the mouth of some self-appointed guide to our national salvation.
Civilization has come to mean the use of electricity, street-cars, cheap newspapers, and the thousand and one conveniences or nuisances of modern life. A gathering in an American forum for the discussion of a national or a local policy would be an impossibility; it would be
broken up through organized hooliganism. Our nearest approach to a national council is held at Washington, and its purpose is largely destroyed through the fact that our chosen representatives lack the support of thinking constituencies.
Perhaps we shall yet find ourselves. The evil is great, however, and our nation will perforce pass through ordeals of which this generation has little or no conception before we acquire that supreme strength which comes of a proud humility of spirit and an individual singleness of purpose. Those who founded this great
republic had these qualities highly developed. When we get rid of the rubbish and strip our souls to view, we shall find the old and admirable foundations still there, and upon them we can build anew. The clearing away will be a cataclysm, for the task grows more enormous with every day that we fail to think each one for himself, and that God-given faculty inherent in every American mind is fast becoming atrophied.
All this has nothing to do with material wealth or so-called modern progress; those things will take care of themselves.
Portrait of a Poet
By LOUIS UNTERMEYER
FIRE he sings of, fierce and poignant flame;
Passion that bids a timid world be bold,
Calm, even calculating, shrewd, and cold.
Marionettes that plead as he commands;
Rockets that sputter feebly-and expire.
And he is pleased and proud, and warms his hands.
Are We a World Power?
By ARTHUR BULLARD
UR oldest political tradition is in direct opposition to participation in world politics. The advice of our first President about keeping out of "entangling alliances" has been the corner-stone of our foreign policy. And in the early days of our national life Monroe developed in a message to Congress the idea of Washington that has become famous as his "Doctrine."
Very rarely have we departed from these formulæ. In the fifties one of our senators introduced a resolution inviting the nations of the world to establish an international court to do away with the crudities of war. He was promptly voted down. Half a century ago we were unwilling to negotiate even arbitration treaties with Europe.
The Monroe Doctrine is rather like the British Constitution: it has never been reduced to a formal written document. Its interpretation has often changed. The monarchs of the Holy Alliance, having crushed the French Revolution, were planning to reëstablish the authority of the Spanish king over his revolted provinces in America. This was the cause of Monroe's action. But although the original danger passed, the doctrine, changing with circumstances, has shown remarkable vitality.
The people of the United States believe that their interests and security would be seriously threatened if any European power, especially a monarchial power, extended its political organization on this side of the world. We are on record as determined to go to war to preserve the American status quo from foreign aggression.
Of course we have no accepted legal precedent on which to base this doctrine, and in international law a proposition like this must be based either on precedent or force. We have been able to maintain the Monroe Doctrine for nearly a century because we have had, or have been thought to have, more than sufficient force to counterbalance any temptation to violate it. The French effort to conquer Mexico at the favorable moment when we were occupied by the Civil War was so disastrous to them that it did not encourage others to try. And whenever the temptation has grown strong in one or another of the European countries to launch an adventurous American policy, it has always happened that other European powers were so jealous that the threat was not translated into action. Our ability to maintain the Monroe Doctrine has never been put to the test.
The justice of our contention is not formally accepted by Europe. Various governments have assured us that they had no territorial ambitions on our side of the world, but the general attitude of European statesmen, and of writers on such subjects, is that the Monroe Doctrine is a bumptious bluff. They deny its legality and smile at our pretense of power. They do not believe that we would or could defend our claim. But few, if any, of them seriously think it worth their while to challenge us. If a man announces that he will fight in defense of something you do not want very much, there is no gain in arguing-or proving-that you could take it if you really wanted to.
But there are two sides to the Monroe Doctrine: the Americas for the Ameri
cans, and the inevitable corollary, Europe for the Europeans. And while the Europeans are only scornfully tolerant of the first proposition, they are inclined to be scrupulously insistent on the second. It has been a maxim of modern diplomacy that the United States has no interest in Europe.
Any intervention on our part is an impertinence. The exceptionswhen our intervention has been solicited -are amusing. The people who from time to time have invited us to the council-table of Europe have done so because they thought we would vote on their side, and they have at once become vehement advocates of the Monroe Doctrine if we opposed them.
There has never been a time, for instance, when the British press has had so many kind words to say for the Monroe Doctrine as when at the Hague Conference our delegates showed signs of siding with Germany in regard to the "freedom of the seas." At that time the English would have been willing to recognize our protectorate, even annexation, of all South America if we would only go home and not vote on this "purely European" issue.
But more amusing, and more typical, was our part in the Algeciras Conference of 1906. Our interests in the fate of Morocco were almost invisibly small. Germany wanted to prevent France from annexing the country, and above all to obtain some guaranty that the rest of the world would be given equal commercial chances in Morocco. As we had said so much about "the open door" in the far East, they naturally expected us to vote for them, and so welcomed us to the conference. England and France, having received assurances of our support, were also cordial in their invitations.
But a few years later, when France decided to proclaim a protectorate over Morocco, despite her solemn promises at Algeciras, and Germany was trying to get the other signatories to the treaty to join her in a protest, England and France both took the stand that we were a "purely American" power and had no business mixing in a European and African dis
pute. The governments of Europe expect us to live up to the Monroe Doctrine except when they think it will help their game to have us depart from it.
Frequently our diplomatic representatives, acting on instructions from Washington, have admitted this obligation not to meddle in European disputes. The most formal recognition of this principle was given by our delegates at the first Hague Conference. They abstained from voting on the disarmament resolution on the ground that it was a "purely European issue," and when they voted for the arbitration arrangement, they read into the records this ponderous qualification:
Nothing contained in this convention shall be so construed as to require the United States of America to depart from its traditional policy of not intruding upon, interfering with, or entangling itself in the political questions or policy or internal administration of any foreign state; nor shall anything contained in the said convention be construed to imply a relinquishment by the United States of America of its traditional attitude towards purely American questions.
Again, when Mr. White, our delegate to the Conference of Algeciras, signed that treaty, he made a similar statement. The United States accepted the changes in the status of Morocco agreed upon by the conference, but expressly refused to assume any responsibility for the enforcement of the treaty.
From these and similar official statements it results that our Government has been extremely careful to make it clear that we did not consider the policing of Europe as part of our job. In signing the various Hague conventions in regard to the method of warfare, we virtually said: "If the misfortune of war falls on us, we will live up to these rules." We also solemnly pledged ourselves not to violate the territory of neutral nations.
But I do not find any warrant in the records of the Hague conferences for Mr. Roosevelt's contention that we are in honor bound to make other people live up