« ПретходнаНастави »
are immediately at hand of calling upon every man to declare himself, where he stands. Is it America first or is it not?
We ought to be very careful about some of the impressions that we are forming just now. There is too general an impression, I fear, that very large numbers of our fellow-citizens born in other lands have not entertained with sufficient intensity and af. fection the American ideal. But the number of such is, I am sure, not large. Those who would seek to represent them are very vocal, but they are not very influential. Some of the best stuff of America has come out of foreign lands, and some of the best stuff in America is in the men who are naturalized citizens of the United States. I would not be afraid upon the test of “America first” to take a census of all the foreign-born citizens of the United States, for I know that the vast majority of them came here because they believed in America ; and their belief in America has made them better citizens than some people who were born in America. They can say that they have bought this privilege with a great price. They have left their homes, they have left their kindred, they have broken all the nearest and dearest ties of human life in order to come to a new land, take a new rootage, begin a new life, and so by self-sacrifice express their confidence in a new principle; whereas, it cost us none of these things. We were born into this privilege; we were rocked and cradled in it; we did nothing to create it; and it is, therefore, the greater duty on our part to do a great deal to enhance it and preserve it.
I am not deceived as to the balance of opinion among the foreign-born citizens of the United States, but I am in a hurry for an opportunity to have a line-up and let the men who are thinking first of other countries stand on one side and all those that are for America first, last, and all the time on the other side.
Now, you can do a great deal in this direction. When I was a college officer I used to be very much opposed to hazing; not because hazing is not wholesome, but because sophomores are poor judges. I remember a very dear friend of mine, a professor of ethics on the other side of the water, was asked if he thought it was ever justifiable to tell a lie. He said Yes, he thought it was sometimes justifiable to lie; "but,” he said, “it is so difficult to judge of the justification that I usually tell the truth." I think that ought to be the motto of the sophomore. There are freshmen who need to be hazed, but the need is to be judged by such nice tests that a sophomore is hardly old enough to determine them. But the world can determine them. We are not freshmen at college, but we are constantly hazed. I would a great deal rather be obliged to draw pepper up my nose than to observe the hostile glances of my neighbors. I would a great deal rather be beaten than ostracized. I would a great deal rather endure any sort of physical hardship if I might have the affection of my fellow-men. We constantly discipline our fellow-citizens by having an opinion about them. That is the sort of discipline we ought now to administer to everybody who is not to the very core of his heart an American. Just have
an opinion about him and let him experience the atmospheric effects of that opinion! And I know of no body of persons comparable to a body of ladies for creating an atmosphere of opinion! I have myself in part yielded to the influences of that atmosphere, though it took me a long time to determine how I was going to vote in New Jersey.2
So it has seemed to me that my privilege this afternoon was not merely a privilege of courtesy, but the real privilege of reminding you—for I am sure I am doing nothing more—of the great principles which we stand associated to promote. I for my part rejoice that we belong to a country in which the whole business of government is so difficult. We do not take orders from anybody; it is a universal communication of conviction, the most subtle, delicate, and difficult of processes. There is not a single individual's opinion that is not of some consequence in making up the grand total, and to be in this great coöperative effort is the most stimulating thing in the world. A man standing alone may well misdoubt his own judgment. He may mistrust his own intellectual processes; he may even wonder if his own heart leads him right in matters of public conduct; but if he finds his heart part of the great throb of national life, there can be no doubt about it. If that is his happy circumstance, then he may know that he is part of one of the great forces of the world.
I would not feel any exhilaration in belonging to America if I did not feel that she was something more than a rich and powerful nation. I should not
feel proud to be in some respects and for a little while her spokesman if I did not believe that there was something else than physical force behind her. I believe that the glory of America is that she is a great spiritual conception and that in the spirit of her institutions dwells not only her distinction but her power. The one thing that the world cannot permanently resist is the moral force of great and triumphant convictions. THE SCHOOL OF CITIZENSHIP
[ADDRESS DELIVERED BEFORE THE CITIZENSHIP CONVENTION, WILSON NORMAL SCHOOL BUILDING,
WASHINGTON, D. C., JULY 13, 1916.]
I have come here for the simple purpose of expressing my very deep interest in what these conferences are intended to attain. It is not fair to the great multitudes of hopeful men and women who press into this country from other countries that we should leave them without that friendly and intimate instruction which will enable them very soon after they come to find out what America is like at heart and what America is intended for among the nations of the world.
I believe that the chief school that these people must attend after they get here is the school which all of us attend, which is furnished by the life of the communities in which we live and the nation to which we belong. It has been a very touching thought to me sometimes to think of the hopes which have drawn these people to America. I have no doubt that many a simple soul has been thrilled by that great statue standing in the harbor of New York and seeming to lift the light of liberty for the guidance of the feet of men; and I can imagine that they have expected here something ideal in the treatment that they will receive, something ideal in the laws which they would