The Art of Public Speaking by Dale Carnegie - HTML preview
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We are usually apt to excuse the slower rate of liberal progress in our Old World by contrasting the obstructive barriers of prejudice, survival, solecism, anachronism, convention, institution, all so obstinately rooted, even when the branches seem bare and broken, in an old world, with the open and disengaged ground of the new. Yet in fact your difficulties were at least as formidable as those of the older civilizations into whose fruitful heritage you have entered. Unique was the necessity of this gigantic task of incorporation, the assimilation of people of divers faiths and race. A second difficulty was more formidable still--how to erect and work a powerful and wealthy State on such a system as to combine the centralized concert of a federal system with local independence, and to unite collective energy with the encouragement of individual freedom.
This last difficulty that you have so successfully up to now surmounted, at the present hour confronts the mother country and deeply perplexes her statesmen. Liberty and union have been called the twin ideas of America. So, too, they are the twin ideals of all responsible men in Great Britain; altho responsible men differ among themselves as to the safest path on which to travel toward the common goal, and tho the dividing ocean, in other ways so much our friend, interposes, for our case of an island State, or rather for a group of island States, obstacles from which a continental State like yours is happily altogether free.
Nobody believes that no difficulties remain. Some of them are obvious. But the common-sense, the mixture of patience and determination that has conquered risks and mischiefs in the past, may be trusted with the future.
Strange and devious are the paths of history. Broad and shining channels get mysteriously silted up. How many a time what seemed a glorious high road proves no more than a mule track or mere cul-de-sac. Think of Canning's flashing boast, when he insisted on the recognition of the Spanish republics in South America--that he had called a new world into existence to redress the balance of the old. This is one of the sayings--of which sort many another might be found--that make the fortune of a rhetorician, yet stand ill the wear and tear of time and circumstance. The new world that Canning called into existence has so far turned out a scene of singular disenchantment.
Tho not without glimpses on occasion of that heroism and courage and even wisdom that are the attributes of man almost at the worst, the tale has been too much a tale of anarchy and disaster, still leaving a host of perplexities for statesmen both in America and Europe. It has left also to students of a philosophic turn of mind one of the most interesting of all the problems to be found in the whole field of social, ecclesiastical, religious, and racial movement. Why is it that we do not find in the south as we find in the north of this hemisphere a powerful federation--a great Spanish-American people stretching from the Rio Grande to Cape Horn? To answer that question would be to shed a flood of light upon many deep historic forces in the Old World, of which, after all, these movements of the New are but a prolongation and more manifest extension.
What more imposing phenomenon does history present to us than the rise of Spanish power to the pinnacle of greatness and glory in the sixteenth century? The Mohammedans, after centuries of fierce and stubborn war, driven back; the whole peninsula brought under a single rule with a single creed; enormous acquisitions from the Netherlands of Naples, Sicily, the Canaries; France humbled, England menaced, settlements made in Asia and Northern Africa--Spain in America become possessed of a vast continent and of more than one archipelago of splendid islands. Yet before a century was over the sovereign majesty of Spain underwent a huge declension, the territory under her sway was contracted, the fabulous wealth of the mines of the New World had been wasted, agriculture and industry were ruined, her commerce passed into the hands of her rivals.
Let me digress one further moment. We have a very sensible habit in the island whence I come, when our country misses fire, to say as little as we can, and sink the thing in patriotic oblivion. It is rather startling to recall that less than a century ago England twice sent a military force to seize what is now Argentina. Pride of race and hostile creed vehemently resisting, proved too much for us. The two expeditions ended in failure, and CHAPTER XXXI
nothing remains for the historian of to-day but to wonder what a difference it might have made to the temperate region of South America if the fortune of war had gone the other way, if the region of the Plata had become British, and a large British immigration had followed. Do not think me guilty of the heinous crime of forgetting the Monroe Doctrine. That momentous declaration was not made for a good many years after our Gen. Whitelocke was repulsed at Buenos Ayres, tho Mr. Sumner and other people have always held that it was Canning who really first started the Monroe Doctrine, when he invited the United States to join him against European intervention in South American affairs.
The day is at hand, we are told, when four-fifths of the human race will trace their pedigree to English forefathers, as four-fifths of the white people in the United States trace their pedigree to-day. By the end of this century, they say, such nations as France and Germany, assuming that they stand apart from fresh consolidations, will only be able to claim the same relative position in the political world as Holland and Switzerland. These musings of the moon do not take us far. The important thing, as we all know, is not the exact fraction of the human race that will speak English. The important thing is that those who speak English, whether in old lands or new, shall strive in lofty, generous and never-ceasing emulation with peoples of other tongues and other stock for the political, social, and intellectual primacy among mankind. In this noble strife for the service of our race we need never fear that claimants for the prize will be too large a multitude.
As an able scholar of your own has said, Jefferson was here using the old vernacular of English aspirations after a free, manly, and well-ordered political life--a vernacular rich in stately tradition and noble phrase, to be found in a score of a thousand of champions in many camps--in Buchanan, Milton, Hooker, Locke, Jeremy Taylor, Roger Williams, and many another humbler but not less strenuous pioneer and confessor of freedom.
Ah, do not fail to count up, and count up often, what a different world it would have been but for that island in the distant northern sea! These were the tributary fountains, that, as time went on, swelled into the broad confluence of modern time. What was new in 1776 was the transformation of thought into actual polity.
What is progress? It is best to be slow in the complex arts of politics in their widest sense, and not to hurry to define. If you want a platitude, there is nothing for supplying it like a definition. Or shall we say that most definitions hang between platitude and paradox? There are said, tho I have never counted, to be 10,000
definitions of religion. There must be about as many of poetry. There can hardly be fewer of liberty, or even of happiness.
I am not bold enough to try a definition. I will not try to gauge how far the advance of moral forces has kept pace with that extension of material forces in the world of which this continent, conspicuous before all others, bears such astounding evidence. This, of course, is the question of questions, because as an illustrious English writer--to whom, by the way, I owe my friendship with your founder many long years ago--as Matthew Arnold said in America here, it is moral ideas that at bottom decide the standing or falling of states and nations. Without opening this vast discussion at large, many a sign of progress is beyond mistake. The practise of associated action--one of the master keys of progress--is a new force in a hundred fields, and with immeasurable diversity of forms. There is less acquiescence in triumphant wrong. Toleration in religion has been called the best fruit of the last four centuries, and in spite of a few bigoted survivals, even in our United Kingdom, and some savage outbreaks of hatred, half religious, half racial, on the Continent of Europe, this glorious gain of time may now be taken as secured. Perhaps of all the contributions of America to human civilization this is greatest. The reign of force is not yet over, and at intervals it has its triumphant hours, but reason, justice, humanity fight with success their long and steady battle for a wider sway.
Of all the points of social advance, in my country at least, during the last generation none is more marked than the change in the position of women, in respect of rights of property, of education, of access to new callings.
As for the improvement of material well-being, and its diffusion among those whose labor is a prime factor in its creation, we might grow sated with the jubilant monotony of its figures, if we did not take good care to remember, in the excellent words of the President of Harvard, that those gains, like the prosperous working of your institutions and the principles by which they are sustained, are in essence moral contributions, "being CHAPTER XXXI
principles of reason, enterprise, courage, faith, and justice, over passion, selfishness, inertness, timidity, and distrust." It is the moral impulses that matter. Where they are safe, all is safe.
When this and the like is said, nobody supposes that the last word has been spoken as to the condition of the people either in America or Europe. Republicanism is not itself a panacea for economic difficulties. Of self it can neither stifle nor appease the accents of social discontent. So long as it has no root in surveyed envy, this discontent itself is a token of progress.
What, cries the skeptic, what has become of all the hopes of the time when France stood upon the top of golden hours? Do not let us fear the challenge. Much has come of them. And over the old hopes time has brought a stratum of new.
Liberalism is sometimes suspected of being cold to these new hopes, and you may often hear it said that Liberalism is already superseded by Socialism. That a change is passing over party names in Europe is plain, but you may be sure that no change in name will extinguish these principles of society which are rooted in the nature of things, and are accredited by their success. Twice America has saved liberalism in Great Britain. The War for Independence in the eighteenth century was the defeat of usurping power no less in England than here. The War for Union in the nineteenth century gave the decisive impulse to a critical extension of suffrage, and an era of popular reform in the mother country. Any miscarriage of democracy here reacts against progress in Great Britain.
If you seek the real meaning of most modern disparagement of popular or parliamentary government, it is no more than this, that no politics will suffice of themselves to make a nation's soul. What could be more true?
Who says it will? But we may depend upon it that the soul will be best kept alive in a nation where there is the highest proportion of those who, in the phrase of an old worthy of the seventeenth century, think it a part of a man's religion to see to it that his country be well governed.
Democracy, they tell us, is afflicted by mediocrity and by sterility. But has not democracy in my country, as in yours, shown before now that it well knows how to choose rulers neither mediocre nor sterile; men more than the equals in unselfishness, in rectitude, in clear sight, in force, of any absolutist statesman, that ever in times past bore the scepter? If I live a few months, or it may be even a few weeks longer, I hope to have seen something of three elections--one in Canada, one in the United Kingdom, and the other here. With us, in respect of leadership, and apart from height of social prestige, the personage corresponding to the president is, as you know, the prime minister. Our general election this time, owing to personal accident of the passing hour, may not determine quite exactly who shall be the prime minister, but it will determine the party from which the prime minister shall be taken. On normal occasions our election of a prime minister is as direct and personal as yours, and in choosing a member of Parliament people were really for a whole generation choosing whether Disraeli or Gladstone or Salisbury should be head of the government.
The one central difference between your system and ours is that the American president is in for a fixed time, whereas the British prime minister depends upon the support of the House of Commons. If he loses that, his power may not endure a twelvemonth; if on the other hand, he keeps it, he may hold office for a dozen years.
There are not many more interesting or important questions in political discussion than the question whether our cabinet government or your presidential system of government is the better. This is not the place to argue it.
Between 1868 and now--a period of thirty-six years--we have had eight ministries. This would give an average life of four and a half years. Of these eight governments five lasted over five years. Broadly speaking, then, our executive governments have lasted about the length of your fixed term. As for ministers swept away by a gust of passion, I can only recall the overthrow of Lord Palmerston in 1858 for being thought too subservient to France. For my own part, I have always thought that by its free play, its comparative fluidity, its rapid flexibility of adaptation, our cabinet system has most to say for itself.
Whether democracy will make for peace, we all have yet to see. So far democracy has done little in Europe to protect us against the turbid whirlpools of a military age. When the evils of rival states, antagonistic races, territorial claims, and all the other formulas of international conflict are felt to be unbearable and the curse becomes too great to be any longer borne, a school of teachers will perhaps arise to pick up again the thread of the best writers and wisest rulers on the eve of the revolution. Movement in this region of human things has not all been progressive. If we survey the European courts from the end of the Seven Years' War down to the French Revolution, we note the marked growth of a distinctly international and pacific spirit. At no era in the world's history can we find so many European statesmen after peace and the good government of which peace is the best ally. That sentiment came to violent end when Napoleon arose to scourge the world.
ON RESIGNING FROM THE SENATE, 1861
The success of the Abolitionists and their allies, under the name of the Republican party, has produced its logical results already. They have for long years been sowing dragons' teeth and have finally got a crop of armed men. The Union, sir, is dissolved. That is an accomplished fact in the path of this discussion that men may as well heed. One of your confederates has already wisely, bravely, boldly confronted public danger, and she is only ahead of many of her sisters because of her greater facility for speedy action. The greater majority of those sister States, under like circumstances, consider her cause as their cause; and I charge you in their name to-day: "Touch not Saguntum." It is not only their cause, but it is a cause which receives the sympathy and will receive the support of tens and hundreds of honest patriot men in the nonslaveholding States, who have hitherto maintained constitutional rights, and who respect their oaths, abide by compacts, and love justice.
And while this Congress, this Senate, and this House of Representatives are debating the constitutionality and the expediency of seceding from the Union, and while the perfidious authors of this mischief are showering down denunciations upon a large portion of the patriotic men of this country, those brave men are coolly and calmly voting what you call revolution--aye, sir, doing better than that: arming to defend it. They appealed to the Constitution, they appealed to justice, they appealed to fraternity, until the Constitution, justice, and fraternity were no longer listened to in the legislative halls of their country, and then, sir, they prepared for the arbitrament of the sword; and now you see the glittering bayonet, and you hear the tramp of armed men from your capitol to the Rio Grande. It is a sight that gladdens the eyes and cheers the hearts of other millions ready to second them. Inasmuch, sir, as I have labored earnestly, honestly, sincerely, with these men to avert this necessity so long as I deemed it possible, and inasmuch as I heartily approve their present conduct of resistance, I deem it my duty to state their case to the Senate, to the country, and to the civilized world.
Senators, my countrymen have demanded no new government; they have demanded no new Constitution.
Look to their records at home and here from the beginning of this national strife until its consummation in the disruption of the empire, and they have not demanded a single thing except that you shall abide by the Constitution of the United States; that constitutional rights shall be respected, and that justice shall be done.
Sirs, they have stood by your Constitution; they have stood by all its requirements, they have performed all its duties unselfishly, uncalculatingly, disinterestedly, until a party sprang up in this country which endangered their social system--a party which they arraign, and which they charge before the American people and all mankind with having made proclamation of outlawry against four thousand millions of their property in the Territories of the United States; with having put them under the ban of the empire in all the States in which their institutions exist outside the protection of federal laws; with having aided and abetted insurrection from within and invasion from without with the view of subverting those institutions, and desolating their homes and their firesides. For these causes they have taken up arms.
I have stated that the discontented States of this Union have demanded nothing but clear, distinct, unequivocal, well-acknowledged constitutional rights--rights affirmed by the highest judicial tribunals of their country; rights older than the Constitution; rights which are planted upon the immutable principles of natural justice; rights which have been affirmed by the good and the wise of all countries, and of all centuries. We demand no power to injure any man. We demand no right to injure our confederate States. We demand no right to interfere with their institutions, either by word or deed. We have no right to disturb their peace, their tranquillity, their security. We have demanded of them simply, solely--nothing else--to give us equality, security and tranquillity. Give us these, and peace restores itself. Refuse them, and take what you can get.
What do the rebels demand? First, "that the people of the United States shall have an equal right to emigrate and settle in the present or any future acquired Territories, with whatever property they may possess (including slaves), and be securely protected in its peaceable enjoyment until such Territory may be admitted as a State into the Union, with or without slavery, as she may determine, on an equality with all existing States." That is our Territorial demand. We have fought for this Territory when blood was its price. We have paid for it when gold was its price. We have not proposed to exclude you, tho you have contributed very little of blood or money. I refer especially to New England. We demand only to go into those Territories upon terms of equality with you, as equals in this great Confederacy, to enjoy the common property of the whole Union, and receive the protection of the common government, until the Territory is capable of coming into the Union as a sovereign State, when it may fix its own institutions to suit itself.
The second proposition is, "that property in slaves shall be entitled to the same protection from the government of the United States, in all of its departments, everywhere, which the Constitution confers the power upon it to extend to any other property, provided nothing herein contained shall be construed to limit or restrain the right now belonging to every State to prohibit, abolish, or establish and protect slavery within its limits." We demand of the common government to use its granted powers to protect our property as well as yours. For this protection we pay as much as you do. This very property is subject to taxation. It has been taxed by you and sold by you for taxes.
The title to thousands and tens of thousands of slaves is derived from the United States. We claim that the government, while the Constitution recognizes our property for the purposes of taxation, shall give it the same protection that it gives yours.
Ought it not to be so? You say no. Every one of you upon the committee said no. Your senators say no. Your House of Representatives says no. Throughout the length and breadth of your conspiracy against the Constitution there is but one shout of no! This recognition of this right is the price of my allegiance. Withhold it, and you do not get my obedience. This is the philosophy of the armed men who have sprung up in this country. Do you ask me to support a government that will tax my property: that will plunder me; that will demand my blood, and will not protect me? I would rather see the population of my native State laid six feet beneath her sod than they should support for one hour such a government. Protection is the price of obedience everywhere, in all countries. It is the only thing that makes government respectable. Deny it and you can not have free subjects or citizens; you may have slaves.
We demand, in the next place, "that persons committing crimes against slave property in one State, and fleeing to another, shall be delivered up in the same manner as persons committing crimes against other property, and that the laws of the State from which such persons flee shall be the test of criminality." That is another one of the demands of an extremist and a rebel.
But the nonslaveholding States, treacherous to their oaths and compacts, have steadily refused, if the criminal only stole a negro and that negro was a slave, to deliver him up. It was refused twice on the requisition of my own State as long as twenty-two years ago. It was refused by Kent and by Fairfield, governors of Maine, and representing, I believe, each of the then federal parties. We appealed then to fraternity, but we submitted; and this constitutional right has been practically a dead letter from that day to this. The next case came up between CHAPTER XXXI
us and the State of New York, when the present senior senator [Mr. Seward] was the governor of that State; and he refused it. Why? He said it was not against the laws of New York to steal a negro, and therefore he would not comply with the demand. He made a similar refusal to Virginia. Yet these are our confederates; these are our sister States! There is the bargain; there is the compact. You have sworn to it. Both these governors swore to it. The senator from New York swore to it. The governor of Ohio swore to it when he was inaugurated. You can not bind them by oaths. Yet they talk to us of treason; and I suppose they expect to whip freemen into loving such brethren! They will have a good time in doing it!
It is natural we should want this provision of the Constitution carried out. The Constitution says slaves are property; the Supreme Court says so; the Constitution says so. The theft of slaves is a crime; they are a subject-matter of felonious asportation. By the text and letter of the Constitution you agreed to give them up.
You have sworn to do it, and you have broken your oaths. Of course, those who have done so look out for pretexts. Nobody expected them to do otherwise. I do not think I ever saw a perjurer, however bald and naked, who could not invent some pretext to palliate his crime, or who could not, for fifteen shillings, hire an Old Bailey lawyer to invent some for him. Yet this requirement of the Constitution is another one of the extreme demands of an extremist and a rebel.
The next stipulation is that fugitive slaves shall be surrendered under the provisions of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, without being entitled either to a writ of habeas corpus, or trial by jury, or other similar obstructions of legislation, in the State to which he may flee. Here is the Constitution:
"No person held to service or labor in one State, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due."
This language is plain, and everybody understood it the same way for the first forty years of your government.
In 1793, in Washington's time, an act was passed to carry out this provision. It was adopted unanimously in the Senate of the United States, and nearly so in the House of Representatives. Nobody then had invented pretexts to show that the Constitution did not mean a negro slave. It was clear; it was plain. Not only the federal courts, but all the local courts in all the States, decided that this was a constitutional obligation. How is it now? The North sought to evade it; following the instincts of their natural character, they commenced with the fraudulent fiction that fugitives were entitled to habeas corpus, entitled to trial by jury in the State to which they fled. They pretended to believe that our fugitive slaves were entitled to more rights than their white citizens; perhaps they were right, they know one another better than I do. You may charge a white man with treason, or felony, or other crime, and you do not require any trial by jury before he is given up; there is nothing to determine but that he is legally charged with a crime and that he fled, and then he is to be delivered up upon demand. White people are delivered up every day in this way; but not slaves. Slaves, black people, you say, are entitled to trial by jury; and in this way schemes have been invented to defeat your plain constitutional obligations.
Senators, the Constitution is a compact. It contains all our obligations and the duties of the federal government. I am content and have ever been content to sustain it. While I doubt its perfection, while I do not believe it was a good compact, and while I never saw the day that I would have voted for it as a proposition de novo, yet I am bound to it by oath and by that common prudence which would induce men to abide by established forms rather than to rush into unknown dangers. I have given to it, and intend to give to it, unfaltering support and allegiance, but I choose to put that allegiance on the true ground, not on the false idea that anybody's blood was shed for it. I say that the Constitution is the whole compact. All the obligations, all the chains that fetter the limbs of my people, are nominated in the bond, and they wisely excluded any conclusion against them, by declaring that "the powers not granted by the Constitution to the United States, or forbidden by it to the States, belonged to the States respectively or the people."
Now I will try it by that standard; I will subject it to that test. The law of nature, the law of justice, would CHAPTER XXXI
say--and it is so expounded by the publicists--that equal rights in the common property shall be enjoyed. Even in a monarchy the king can not prevent the subjects from enjoying equality in the disposition of the public property. Even in a despotic government this principle is recognized. It was the blood and the money of the whole people (says the learned Grotius, and say all the publicists) which acquired the public property, and therefore it is not the property of the sovereign. This right of equality being, then, according to justice and natural equity, a right belonging to all States, when did we give it up? You say Congress has a right to pass rules and regulations concerning the Territory and other property of the United States. Very well. Does that exclude those whose blood and money paid for it? Does "dispose of" mean to rob the rightful owners? You must show a better title than that, or a better sword than we have.
What, then, will you take? You will take nothing but your own judgment; that is, you will not only judge for yourselves, not only discard the court, discard our construction, discard the practise of the government, but you will drive us out, simply because you will it. Come and do it! You have sapped the foundations of society; you have destroyed almost all hope of peace. In a compact where there is no common arbiter, where the parties finally decide for themselves, the sword alone at last becomes the real, if not the constitutional, arbiter. Your party says that you will not take the decision of the Supreme Court. You said so at Chicago; you said so in committee; every man of you in both Houses says so. What are you going to do? You say we shall submit to your construction. We shall do it, if you can make us; but not otherwise, or in any other manner.
That is settled. You may call it secession, or you may call it revolution; but there is a big fact standing before you, ready to oppose you--that fact is, freemen with arms in their hands.
MY FELLOW CITIZENS:--No people on earth have more cause to be thankful than ours, and this is said reverently, in no spirit of boastfulness in our own strength, but with gratitude to the Giver of Good, Who has blessed us with the conditions which have enabled us to achieve so large a measure of well-being and happiness.
To us as a people it has been granted to lay the foundations of our national life in a new continent. We are the heirs of the ages, and yet we have had to pay few of the penalties which in old countries are exacted by the dead hand of a bygone civilization. We have not been obliged to fight for our existence against any alien race; and yet our life has called for the vigor and effort without which the manlier and hardier virtues wither away.
Under such conditions it would be our own fault if we failed, and the success which we have had in the past, the success which we confidently believe the future will bring, should cause in us no feeling of vainglory, but rather a deep and abiding realization of all that life has offered us; a full acknowledgment of the responsibility which is ours; and a fixed determination to show that under a free government a mighty people can thrive best, alike as regard the things of the body and the things of the soul.
Much has been given to us, and much will rightfully be expected from us. We have duties to others and duties to ourselves--and we can shirk neither. We have become a great nation, forced by the fact of its greatness into relation to the other nations of the earth, and we must behave as beseems a people with such responsibilities.
Toward all other nations, large and small, our attitude must be one of cordial and sincere friendship. We must show not only in our words but in our deeds that we are earnestly desirous of securing their good will by acting toward them in a spirit of just and generous recognition of all their rights.
But justice and generosity in a nation, as in an individual, count most when shown not by the weak but by the CHAPTER XXXI
strong. While ever careful to refrain from wronging others, we must be no less insistent that we are not wronged ourselves. We wish peace; but we wish the peace of justice, the peace of righteousness. We wish it because we think it is right, and not because we are afraid. No weak nation that acts rightly and justly should ever have cause to fear, and no strong power should ever be able to single us out as a subject for insolent aggression.
Our relations with the other powers of the world are important; but still more important are our relations among ourselves. Such growth in wealth, in population, and in power, as a nation has seen during a century and a quarter of its national life, is inevitably accompanied by a like growth in the problems which are ever before every nation that rises to greatness. Power invariably means both responsibility and danger. Our forefathers faced certain perils which we have outgrown. We now face other perils the very existence of which it was impossible that they should foresee.
Modern life is both complex and intense, and the tremendous changes wrought by the extraordinary industrial development of the half century are felt in every fiber of our social and political being. Never before have men tried so vast and formidable an experiment as that of administering the affairs of a continent under the forms of a democratic republic. The conditions which have told for our marvelous material well-being, which have developed to a very high degree our energy, self-reliance, and individual initiative, also have brought the care and anxiety inseparable from the accumulation of great wealth in industrial centers.
Upon the success of our experiment much depends--not only as regards our own welfare, but as regards the welfare of mankind. If we fail, the cause of free self-government throughout the world will rock to its foundations, and therefore our responsibility is heavy, to ourselves, to the world as it is to-day, and to the generations yet unborn.
There is no good reason why we should fear the future, but there is every reason why we should face it seriously, neither hiding from ourselves the gravity of the problems before us, nor fearing to approach these problems with the unbending, unflinching purpose to solve them aright.
Yet after all, tho the problems are new, tho the tasks set before us differ from the tasks set before our fathers, who founded and preserved this Republic, the spirit in which these tasks must be undertaken and these problems faced, if our duty is to be well done, remains essentially unchanged. We know that self-government is difficult. We know that no people needs such high traits of character as that people which seeks to govern its affairs aright through the freely expressed will of the free men who compose it.
But we have faith that we shall not prove false to memories of the men of the mighty past. They did their work; they left us the splendid heritage we now enjoy. We in our turn have an assured confidence that we shall be able to leave this heritage unwasted and enlarged to our children's children.
To do so, we must show, not merely in great crises, but in the everyday affairs of life, the qualities of practical intelligence, of courage, of hardihood, and endurance, and, above all, the power of devotion to a lofty ideal, which made great the men who founded this Republic in the days of Washington; which made great the men who preserved this Republic in the days of Abraham Lincoln.
ON AMERICAN MOTHERHOOD
In our modern industrial civilization there are many and grave dangers to counterbalance the splendors and the triumphs. It is not a good thing to see cities grow at disproportionate speed relatively to the country; for the small land owners, the men who own their little homes, and therefore to a very large extent the men who till farms, the men of the soil, have hitherto made the foundation of lasting national life in every State; and, if the CHAPTER XXXI
foundation becomes either too weak or too narrow, the superstructure, no matter how attractive, is in imminent danger of falling.
But far more important than the question of the occupation of our citizens is the question of how their family life is conducted. No matter what that occupation may be, as long as there is a real home and as long as those who make up that home do their duty to one another, to their neighbors and to the State, it is of minor consequence whether the man's trade is plied in the country or in the city, whether it calls for the work of the hands or for the work of the head.
No piled-up wealth, no splendor of material growth, no brilliance of artistic development, will permanently avail any people unless its home life is healthy, unless the average man possesses honesty, courage, common sense, and decency, unless he works hard and is willing at need to fight hard; and unless the average woman is a good wife, a good mother, able and willing to perform the first and greatest duty of womanhood, able and willing to bear, and to bring up as they should be brought up, healthy children, sound in body, mind, and character, and numerous enough so that the race shall increase and not decrease.
There are certain old truths which will be true as long as this world endures, and which no amount of progress can alter. One of these is the truth that the primary duty of the husband is to be the home-maker, the breadwinner for his wife and children, and that the primary duty of the woman is to be the helpmate, the housewife, and mother. The woman should have ample educational advantages; but save in exceptional cases the man must be, and she need not be, and generally ought not to be, trained for a lifelong career as the family breadwinner; and, therefore, after a certain point, the training of the two must normally be different because the duties of the two are normally different. This does not mean inequality of function, but it does mean that normally there must be dissimilarity of function. On the whole, I think the duty of the woman the more important, the more difficult, and the more honorable of the two; on the whole I respect the woman who does her duty even more than I respect the man who does his.
No ordinary work done by a man is either as hard or as responsible as the work of a woman who is bringing up a family of small children; for upon her time and strength demands are made not only every hour of the day but often every hour of the night. She may have to get up night after night to take care of a sick child, and yet must by day continue to do all her household duties as well; and if the family means are scant she must usually enjoy even her rare holidays taking her whole brood of children with her. The birth pangs make all men the debtors of all women. Above all our sympathy and regard are due to the struggling wives among those whom Abraham Lincoln called the plain people, and whom he so loved and trusted; for the lives of these women are often led on the lonely heights of quiet, self-sacrificing heroism.
Just as the happiest and most honorable and most useful task that can be set any man is to earn enough for the support of his wife and family, for the bringing up and starting in life of his children, so the most important, the most honorable and desirable task which can be set any woman is to be a good and wise mother in a home marked by self-respect and mutual forbearance, by willingness to perform duty, and by refusal to sink into self-indulgence or avoid that which entails effort and self-sacrifice. Of course there are exceptional men and exceptional women who can do and ought to do much more than this, who can lead and ought to lead great careers of outside usefulness in addition to--not as substitutes for--their home work; but I am not speaking of exceptions; I am speaking of the primary duties, I am speaking of the average citizens, the average men and women who make up the nation.
Inasmuch as I am speaking to an assemblage of mothers, I shall have nothing whatever to say in praise of an easy life. Yours is the work which is never ended. No mother has an easy time, the most mothers have very hard times; and yet what true mother would barter her experience of joy and sorrow in exchange for a life of cold selfishness, which insists upon perpetual amusement and the avoidance of care, and which often finds its fit dwelling place in some flat designed to furnish with the least possible expenditure of effort the maximum of comfort and of luxury, but in which there is literally no place for children?
The woman who is a good wife, a good mother, is entitled to our respect as is no one else; but she is entitled to it only because, and so long as, she is worthy of it. Effort and self-sacrifice are the law of worthy life for the man as for the woman; tho neither the effort nor the self-sacrifice may be the same for the one as for the other.
I do not in the least believe in the patient Griselda type of woman, in the woman who submits to gross and long continued ill treatment, any more than I believe in a man who tamely submits to wrongful aggression. No wrong-doing is so abhorrent as wrong-doing by a man toward the wife and the children who should arouse every tender feeling in his nature. Selfishness toward them, lack of tenderness toward them, lack of consideration for them, above all, brutality in any form toward them, should arouse the heartiest scorn and indignation in every upright soul.
I believe in the woman keeping her self-respect just as I believe in the man doing so. I believe in her rights just as much as I believe in the man's, and indeed a little more; and I regard marriage as a partnership, in which each partner is in honor bound to think of the rights of the other as well as of his or her own. But I think that the duties are even more important than the rights; and in the long run I think that the reward is ampler and greater for duty well done, than for the insistence upon individual rights, necessary tho this, too, must often be. Your duty is hard, your responsibility great; but greatest of all is your reward. I do not pity you in the least. On the contrary, I feel respect and admiration for you.
Into the woman's keeping is committed the destiny of the generations to come after us. In bringing up your children you mothers must remember that while it is essential to be loving and tender it is no less essential to be wise and firm. Foolishness and affection must not be treated as interchangeable terms; and besides training your sons and daughters in the softer and milder virtues, you must seek to give them those stern and hardy qualities which in after life they will surely need. Some children will go wrong in spite of the best training; and some will go right even when their surroundings are most unfortunate; nevertheless an immense amount depends upon the family training. If you mothers through weakness bring up your sons to be selfish and to think only of themselves, you will be responsible for much sadness among the women who are to be their wives in the future. If you let your daughters grow up idle, perhaps under the mistaken impression that as you yourselves have had to work hard they shall know only enjoyment, you are preparing them to be useless to others and burdens to themselves. Teach boys and girls alike that they are not to look forward to lives spent in avoiding difficulties, but to lives spent in overcoming difficulties. Teach them that work, for themselves and also for others, is not curse but a blessing; seek to make them happy, to make them enjoy life, but seek also to make them face life with the steadfast resolution to wrest success from labor and adversity, and to do their whole duty before God and to man. Surely she who can thus train her sons and her daughters is thrice fortunate among women.
There are many good people who are denied the supreme blessing of children, and for these we have the respect and sympathy always due to those who, from no fault of their own, are denied any of the other great blessings of life. But the man or woman who deliberately foregoes these blessings, whether from viciousness, coldness, shallow-heartedness, self-indulgence, or mere failure to appreciate aright the difference between the all-important and the unimportant,--why, such a creature merits contempt as hearty as any visited upon the soldier who runs away in battle, or upon the man who refuses to work for the support of those dependent upon him, and who tho able-bodied is yet content to eat in idleness the bread which others provide.
The existence of women of this type forms one of the most unpleasant and unwholesome features of modern life. If any one is so dim of vision as to fail to see what a thoroughly unlovely creature such a woman is I wish they would read Judge Robert Grant's novel "Unleavened Bread," ponder seriously the character of Selma, and think of the fate that would surely overcome any nation which developed its average and typical woman along such lines. Unfortunately it would be untrue to say that this type exists only in American novels. That it also exists in American life is made unpleasantly evident by the statistics as to the dwindling families in some localities. It is made evident in equally sinister fashion by the census statistics as to divorce, which are fairly appalling; for easy divorce is now as it ever has been, a bane to any nation, a curse to society, a menace to the home, an incitement to married unhappiness and to immorality, an evil thing for men and a still more hideous CHAPTER XXXI
evil for women. These unpleasant tendencies in our American life are made evident by articles such as those which I actually read not long ago in a certain paper, where a clergyman was quoted, seemingly with approval, as expressing the general American attitude when he said that the ambition of any save a very rich man should be to rear two children only, so as to give his children an opportunity "to taste a few of the good things of life."
This man, whose profession and calling should have made him a moral teacher, actually set before others the ideal, not of training children to do their duty, not of sending them forth with stout hearts and ready minds to win triumphs for themselves and their country, not of allowing them the opportunity, and giving them the privilege of making their own place in the world, but, forsooth, of keeping the number of children so limited that they might "taste a few good things!" The way to give a child a fair chance in life is not to bring it up in luxury, but to see that it has the kind of training that will give it strength of character. Even apart from the vital question of national life, and regarding only the individual interest of the children themselves, happiness in the true sense is a hundredfold more apt to come to any given member of a healthy family of healthy-minded children, well brought up, well educated, but taught that they must shift for themselves, must win their own way, and by their own exertions make their own positions of usefulness, than it is apt to come to those whose parents themselves have acted on and have trained their children to act on, the selfish and sordid theory that the whole end of life is to "taste a few good things."
The intelligence of the remark is on a par with its morality; for the most rudimentary mental process would have shown the speaker that if the average family in which there are children contained but two children the nation as a whole would decrease in population so rapidly that in two or three generations it would very deservedly be on the point of extinction, so that the people who had acted on this base and selfish doctrine would be giving place to others with braver and more robust ideals. Nor would such a result be in any way regrettable; for a race that practised such doctrine--that is, a race that practised race suicide--would thereby conclusively show that it was unfit to exist, and that it had better give place to people who had not forgotten the primary laws of their being.
To sum up, then, the whole matter is simple enough. If either a race or an individual prefers the pleasure of more effortless ease, of self-indulgence, to the infinitely deeper, the infinitely higher pleasures that come to those who know the toil and the weariness, but also the joy, of hard duty well done, why, that race or that individual must inevitably in the end pay the penalty of leading a life both vapid and ignoble. No man and no woman really worthy of the name can care for the life spent solely or chiefly in the avoidance of risk and trouble and labor. Save in exceptional cases the prizes worth having in life must be paid for, and the life worth living must be a life of work for a worthy end, and ordinarily of work more for others than for one's self.
The woman's task is not easy--no task worth doing is easy--but in doing it, and when she has done it, there shall come to her the highest and holiest joy known to mankind; and having done it, she shall have the reward prophesied in Scripture; for her husband and her children, yes, and all people who realize that her work lies at the foundation of all national happiness and greatness, shall rise up and call her blessed.
ALTON B. PARKER
THE CALL TO DEMOCRATS
From a speech opening the National Democratic Convention at Baltimore, Md., June, 1912.
It is not the wild and cruel methods of revolution and violence that are needed to correct the abuses incident to our Government as to all things human. Neither material nor moral progress lies that way. We have made our Government and our complicated institutions by appeals to reason, seeking to educate all our people that, day after day, year after year, century after century, they may see more clearly, act more justly, become more and more attached to the fundamental ideas that underlie our society. If we are to preserve undiminished the CHAPTER XXXI
heritage bequeathed us, and add to it those accretions without which society would perish, we shall need all the powers that the school, the church, the court, the deliberative assembly, and the quiet thought of our people can bring to bear.
We are called upon to do battle against the unfaithful guardians of our Constitution and liberties and the hordes of ignorance which are pushing forward only to the ruin of our social and governmental fabric.
Too long has the country endured the offenses of the leaders of a party which once knew greatness. Too long have we been blind to the bacchanal of corruption. Too long have we listlessly watched the assembling of the forces that threaten our country and our firesides.
The time has come when the salvation of the country demands the restoration to place and power of men of high ideals who will wage unceasing war against corruption in politics, who will enforce the law against both rich and poor, and who will treat guilt as personal and punish it accordingly.
What is our duty? To think alike as to men and measures? Impossible! Even for our great party! There is not a reactionary among us. All Democrats are Progressives. But it is inevitably human that we shall not all agree that in a single highway is found the only road to progress, or each make the same man of all our worthy candidates his first choice.
It is impossible, however, and it is our duty to put aside all selfishness, to consent cheerfully that the majority shall speak for each of us, and to march out of this convention shoulder to shoulder, intoning the praises of our chosen leader--and that will be his due, whichever of the honorable and able men now claiming our attention shall be chosen.
JOHN W. WESCOTT
NOMINATING WOODROW WILSON
At the National Democratic Convention, Baltimore, Maryland, June, 1912.
The New Jersey delegation is commissioned to represent the great cause of Democracy and to offer you as its militant and triumphant leader a scholar, not a charlatan; a statesman, not a doctrinaire; a profound lawyer, not a splitter of legal hairs; a political economist, not an egotistical theorist; a practical politician, who constructs, modifies, restrains, without disturbance and destruction; a resistless debater and consummate master of statement, not a mere sophist; a humanitarian, not a defamer of characters and lives; a man whose mind is at once cosmopolitan and composite of America; a gentleman of unpretentious habits, with the fear of God in his heart and the love of mankind exhibited in every act of his life; above all a public servant who has been tried to the uttermost and never found wanting--matchless, unconquerable, the ultimate Democrat, Woodrow Wilson.
New Jersey has reasons for her course. Let us not be deceived in our premises. Campaigns of vilification, corruption and false pretence have lost their usefulness. The evolution of national energy is towards a more intelligent morality in politics and in all other relations. The situation admits of no compromise. The temper and purpose of the American public will tolerate no other view. The indifference of the American people to politics has disappeared. Any platform and any candidate not conforming to this vast social and commercial behest will go down to ignominious defeat at the polls.
Men are known by what they say and do. They are known by those who hate and oppose them. Many years ago Woodrow Wilson said, "No man is great who thinks himself so, and no man is good who does not try to secure the happiness and comfort of others." This is the secret of his life. The deeds of this moral and intellectual giant are known to all men. They accord, not with the shams and false pretences of politics, but CHAPTER XXXI
make national harmony with the millions of patriots determined to correct the wrongs of plutocracy and reestablish the maxims of American liberty in all their regnant beauty and practical effectiveness. New Jersey loves Woodrow Wilson not for the enemies he has made. New Jersey loves him for what he is. New Jersey argues that Woodrow Wilson is the only candidate who can not only make Democratic success a certainty, but secure the electoral vote of almost every State in the Union.
New Jersey will indorse his nomination by a majority of 100,000 of her liberated citizens. We are not building for a day, or even a generation, but for all time. New Jersey believes that there is an omniscience in national instinct. That instinct centers in Woodrow Wilson. He has been in political life less than two years. He has had no organization; only a practical ideal--the reestablishment of equal opportunity. Not his deeds alone, not his immortal words alone, not his personality alone, not his matchless powers alone, but all combined compel national faith and confidence in him. Every crisis evolves its master. Time and circumstance have evolved Woodrow Wilson. The North, the South, the East, and the West unite in him. New Jersey appeals to this convention to give the nation Woodrow Wilson, that he may open the gates of opportunity to every man, woman, and child under our flag, by reforming abuses, and thereby teaching them, in his matchless words, "to release their energies intelligently, that peace, justice and prosperity may reign." New Jersey rejoices, through her freely chosen representatives, to name for the presidency of the United States the Princeton schoolmaster, Woodrow Wilson.
HENRY W. GRADY
THE RACE PROBLEM
Delivered at the annual banquet of the Boston Merchants' Association, at Boston, Mass., December 12, 1889.
MR. PRESIDENT:--Bidden by your invitation to a discussion of the race problem--forbidden by occasion to make a political speech--I appreciate, in trying to reconcile orders with propriety, the perplexity of the little maid, who, bidden to learn to swim, was yet adjured, "Now, go, my darling; hang your clothes on a hickory limb, and don't go near the water."
The stoutest apostle of the Church, they say, is the missionary, and the missionary, wherever he unfurls his flag, will never find himself in deeper need of unction and address than I, bidden to-night to plant the standard of a Southern Democrat in Boston's banquet hall, and to discuss the problem of the races in the home of Phillips and of Sumner. But, Mr. President, if a purpose to speak in perfect frankness and sincerity; if earnest understanding of the vast interests involved; if a consecrating sense of what disaster may follow further misunderstanding and estrangement; if these may be counted upon to steady undisciplined speech and to strengthen an untried arm--then, sir, I shall find the courage to proceed.
Happy am I that this mission has brought my feet at last to press New England's historic soil and my eyes to the knowledge of her beauty and her thrift. Here within touch of Plymouth Rock and Bunker Hill--where Webster thundered and Longfellow sang, Emerson thought and Channing preached--here, in the cradle of American letters and almost of American liberty, I hasten to make the obeisance that every American owes New England when first he stands uncovered in her mighty presence. Strange apparition! This stern and unique figure--carved from the ocean and the wilderness--its majesty kindling and growing amid the storms of winter and of wars--until at last the gloom was broken, its beauty disclosed in the sunshine, and the heroic workers rested at its base--while startled kings and emperors gazed and marveled that from the rude touch of this handful cast on a bleak and unknown shore should have come the embodied genius of human government and the perfected model of human liberty! God bless the memory of those immortal workers, and prosper the fortunes of their living sons--and perpetuate the inspiration of their handiwork.
Two years ago, sir, I spoke some words in New York that caught the attention of the North. As I stand here to reiterate, as I have done everywhere, every word I then uttered--to declare that the sentiments I then avowed CHAPTER XXXI
were universally approved in the South--I realize that the confidence begotten by that speech is largely responsible for my presence here to-night. I should dishonor myself if I betrayed that confidence by uttering one insincere word, or by withholding one essential element of the truth. Apropos of this last, let me confess, Mr. President, before the praise of New England has died on my lips, that I believe the best product of her present life is the procession of seventeen thousand Vermont Democrats that for twenty-two years, undiminished by death, unrecruited by birth or conversion, have marched over their rugged hills, cast their Democratic ballots and gone back home to pray for their unregenerate neighbors, and awake to read the record of twenty-six thousand Republican majority. May the God of the helpless and the heroic help them, and may their sturdy tribe increase.
Far to the South, Mr. President, separated from this section by a line--once defined in irrepressible difference, once traced in fratricidal blood, and now, thank God, but a vanishing shadow--lies the fairest and richest domain of this earth. It is the home of a brave and hospitable people. There is centered all that can please or prosper humankind. A perfect climate above a fertile soil yields to the husbandman every product of the temperate zone. There, by night the cotton whitens beneath the stars, and by day the wheat locks the sunshine in its bearded sheaf. In the same field the clover steals the fragrance of the wind, and tobacco catches the quick aroma of the rains. There are mountains stored with exhaustless treasures; forests--vast and primeval; and rivers that, tumbling or loitering, run wanton to the sea. Of the three essential items of all industries--cotton, iron and wood--that region has easy control. In cotton, a fixed monopoly--in iron, proven supremacy--in timber, the reserve supply of the Republic. From this assured and permanent advantage, against which artificial conditions cannot much longer prevail, has grown an amazing system of industries. Not maintained by human contrivance of tariff or capital, afar off from the fullest and cheapest source of supply, but resting in divine assurance, within touch of field and mine and forest--not set amid costly farms from which competition has driven the farmer in despair, but amid cheap and sunny lands, rich with agriculture, to which neither season nor soil has set a limit--this system of industries is mounting to a splendor that shall dazzle and illumine the world. That, sir, is the picture and the promise of my home--a land better and fairer than I have told you, and yet but fit setting in its material excellence for the loyal and gentle quality of its citizenship. Against that, sir, we have New England, recruiting the Republic from its sturdy loins, shaking from its overcrowded hives new swarms of workers, and touching this land all over with its energy and its courage. And yet--while in the Eldorado of which I have told you but fifteen per cent of its lands are cultivated, its mines scarcely touched, and its population so scant that, were it set equidistant, the sound of the human voice could not be heard from Virginia to Texas--while on the threshold of nearly every house in New England stands a son, seeking, with troubled eyes, some new land in which to carry his modest patrimony, the strange fact remains that in 1880 the South had fewer northern-born citizens than she had in 1870--fewer in