Page images
PDF
EPUB

THE NEW AMERICANISM

FRANKLIN K. LANE, SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, WASHINGTON, D.C.

I have come 5,000 miles straightaway across the sea and the continent to be able to talk to you for a few minutes this morning.

The last time I heard “America" sung was on a Japanese ship, coming from the Hawaiian Islands to San Francisco, filled with Japanese, Chinese, Koreans, Filipinos, Australians, Indians, Scotchmen, Irishmen, and a sprinkling of Americans; and all united in singing it with the same gusto that you have shown. There is only one other song that has today the same international significance, and that is the “Marseillaise.” “America, the beautiful!" I heard it sung last on a bit of a plateau looking up into a wonderful canyon on the island of Oahu and down on to the ocean—that ocean of so many colors that Mark Twain when he visited the islands described it properly as a shipwreckt rainbow. And in front of me those who sang it were the representatives of all the nations that line the Pacific Ocean, beginning at New Zealand, Australia, India, Siam, and the islands, Malay Peninsula, China, the Philippines, and all around the Pacific until we come to the United States.

You have not sung the “Star-Spangled Banner," but I must tell you of that. I traveled up to see the volcano on the island of Hawaii, that place of profoundest mystery, a place where within one year there has arisen out of the bed of the crater itself a mountain, or two mountains, forst right up from the bottom. And traveling beyond that, across great lava flows, I came out into a coffee plantation; and there I was met by a school teacher. I must give you her name because I would like to do honor to her and to all who are like her. Her first name I do not know; but everybody in the Hawaiian Islands calls her Ben-Ben Taylor. She had 135 children gathered there around the flag-Japanese, Koreans, half-Chinese, halfHawaiians, Portuguese, and Americans—and they all stood in reverence before that flag at salute and sang the “Star-Spangled Banner." Each child then raised his hand and swore an oath of fealty and loyalty to one flag and one country. Over the desk was a blackboard, and on that blackboard was registered the fact that every child in that school owned a Thrift Stamp. On that blackboard was also registered this more pregnant fact, that the school had a school garden and that 85 per cent of the children workt in that school garden.

We who live on the Atlantic and we who live on the Pacific side of this continent do not have what I would call a Pacific Ocean sense. You have got to sail out thru the Golden Gate and beyond the islands and far into the middle of that great ocean before you realize that there is a future civilization there, a world that is just budding, just opening to the light. We sent missionaries there 100 years ago-men and women from New England who went to spread the gospel. They spread our institutions, our love for the right things; and that group of islands today is one great missionary to the whole Orient, for out of those islands there is being cast, as radium casts its light, a sense and a consciousness of what civilization means, and those little tots of three, five, ten, and fifteen years of age, of all these nationalities that are foreign to us—those little tots are being brought up, not merely with a deep adoration for our flag, but with a real sense of what that ilag

means.

Five thousand miles and more beyond that there is a land that is under the Stars and Stripes, the Philippines, where 10,000 teachers are today teaching 800,000 Philippine children the English language -and all a united country. They tell you wherever you may go that there are places-spots—that are weak; spots where we are not united. I have been thruout this country. There is no such spot.

On one of the islands my car was stopt by a group of Chinese and Hawaiians and Japanese who were giving what they call a luau to the men who were going to the front from that island-a banquet given by those men, of foreign blood, most of them, to the soldiers that were going to France. And I went into the banquet, and in that restaurant, which was a Japanese restaurant, there were the Food Administration's rules, the wheatless day and the meatless day. You cannot beat that spirit! It makes no difference what drives they make in France; it makes no difference how they may march men in solid phalanx one after another to their death; it makes no difference how many great guns they may have that will shoot 75 miles; it makes no difference how many rapid-fire guns they may have that will mow men down; it makes no difference what gases they may have to throw out upon our boys and suffocate them; it makes no difference what ships may sail beneath the seas and sneak up on hospital ships as they carry nurses across the waters, you cannot beat the spirit of the American people. Wars have never been determined by single battles; wars have never been determined by the thrust of the bayonet alone; wars have always been determined by the spirit of the people and the sense of their own righteous cause.

We have determined upon great things in this nation; we have determined upon some things with regret. Some things have been forst upon us. We have determined, first of all, that we shall meet force with force, because there is but one language that Germany understands, and that comes out of the mouth of the big gun; and that language we will speak until we see a Germany that is repentant.

We have determined, too, that no matter how great the need, there shall be no limit set to the number of men that we will send, of the number of aëroplanes or the number of guns. We will put every boy and every factory and every dollar and every hand at the service of Christian civilization.

We know why we are in this war. It is not for glory; it is not that we may write a great page in the martial history of this world; it is not for any addition to our territory; it is not out of pride because Germany so long and so indecently flouted us and jeered at us. Ultimately, when you come down to ask the real reason, you know that this is the reason: That there is such a thing as Christian civilization, and that means that while force is in the world and while there must be an appeal to force, civilization means that physical force shall be limited by moral force. The rule of the Stone Age and the principles of the Stone Age do not govern us. Man's mind has developt; man has learned how to organize; man has mastered the forces of nature. Within our lifetime man has at last learned how to conquer the air itself. We are learning how to master this world, but we have evolved something more than physical or mental greatness; we have evolved a moral and spiritual nature, and those natures have arisen in this world to master and put a limit upon and make impossible the ascendancy of the Stone Age instinct.

And now let me ask you to make some new determinations, not merely that we shall prosecute this war to a finish and to a glorious end, but that you shall make this war of use to America. It will be loss enough, but it is a great challenge a supreme challenge. Let me ask you to make these determinations if you will: That we shall teach the American what Americanism is, and that we shall teach the American what Americanism is not. And the burden of doing that must fall largely upon the teachers whom you represent. What god do you serve? Under what ilag do you march? What is this Americanism? It is not internationalism; it is the most intense nationalism, because thru this nation mankind is to be served. It is a consciousness thru our whole being that things can be achieved by work and by will and that is the lesson that you are to carry—that you are carrying, that you are preaching every day to the children of America.

And how can you do it? You can do it by teaching American history in the American tongue, by giving American standards, by letting American boys and girls know that the history of the United States is not a mere series of fugitive incidents, remote, separated, unrelated, but is a philosophy going thru the history of one hundred and forty years; by teaching them that those men in America are noble who contribute to the elevation of American ideals, and that those men are ignoble who do not add to the march of this philosophy of mankind.

Americanism must be to us a political religion. Religion is a consciousness that there is something better than yourself toward which you are striving. That man is religious who believes or who knows that he stands in the compelling presence of an ideal, and an ideal is always something that you are not, but that you hope to be. Christ is the representative of our religion. We see him on the cross, and to us he represents sympathysympathy for man's suffering, sympathy for the torture thru which men move in order to work their way up the Jacob's ladder to heaven.

For what are we but creatures of the night led forth by day.
Who needs must falter and with stammering steps
Spell out our paths in syllables of pain ?

Christ is representative of suffering and of sympathy, and we look to him, no matter what our creed may be, no matter what dogmatic faith we may have; and if we get into ourselves the love of those things he represents, we are Christians. So too let us get within ourselves the consciousness that there is an American ideal, that there is something that is represented by us primarily and beyond all other people; for here in this land there was given first expression to liberty and justice, and justice thru liberty, by which men rise; not disorder, laziness, and wilfulness, because thru these men fall. Let us exalt the virtues that we know Americans have in their hearts, and then we shall be true Americans, no matter upon what soil we are born, nor how we may have been brought up.

We have come upon a new day in the United States—a great day. War may not be necessary; certain things that develop out of war are necessary; and if we could not get them in any other way, war would be worth while; but I know that we can get them in other ways. We need moral, physical courage, coordination, discipline, a sense of something bigger than ourselves toward which we look. There is a big man and a little man in every one of us; and this day is great because the big man has come out. I want that to stick.

We have come upon a new day, a day in which we appreciate the man who fights for us, a day in which we appreciate the mind that leads us, a day in which we have sympathy for mankind and an understanding of its needs. We have walkt out of the plain and come up upon a high point, and now we are surveying the world with great curiosity and are wondering to ourselves what is this thing that causes Canada, with a population of only 7,000,000 people, to put 500,000 of her boys across the water. There must be something great in that, something splendid and noble, that will cause such a sacrifice. What is it that has made Russia revolt-Russia, the greatest disappointment of all the war to us, so hopeless and chaotic? And yet it is not in our hearts to feel that the seed sown there will die. She will come back, and good sense will master. Do you know the trouble with Russia ? Russia started right, but Russia had no George Washington, no Jefferson, no Franklin, no Alexander Hamilton, and she had no people who had been trained for two hundred and fifty or more years in local selfgovernment; and she had been submarined, torpedoed, for years and years by propaganda, by people who were dreamers, who were visionaries, who thought that the world could be turned upside down in a day and that men could be made anew.

But Russia has 180,000,000 people, 80 per cent of whom cannot read nor write; and as soon as they have a public school system, as soon as they have teachers who teach them what order is and how slowly men must grow, Russia will become a great power in the world again. Russia is made of people who are young, and the young have to grow, and with them we must be tender, and for them we must be sympathetic. I believe in Russia because I believe that it is impossible that a people so young should die so quickly, because I believe that you cannot—and the Kaiser cannot-step upon Russia as he would step upon a spider and put it out, because the human soul is not to be extinguisht that way.

Now we have come up to a new day, a day in which we want to know what Russia is to be, a day in which we want to know what is the matter with China—China, that adopted republican institutions. Factionalism is her trouble. She does not realize that the foundation of liberty is order, and that personal ambition must be subordinated to the welfare of the nation. She has not yet grown to have a national sense.

And so as we from this mountain top overlook the world we see that the world is being made anew, and we have in our hands the power to make our part of it what we will. We have in our hands the power to see that social conditions shall not be as they have been. We have it in our power to see that economic conditions shall not be as they have been. We have the power to see that this world shall take a great impetus from the shedding of blood, just as it took a great impetus from the shedding of blood two thousand years ago. And I say now, as I know the country says:

As Christ died to make men holy,
Let us die to keep men free,
God's truth is marching on!

THE WORLD'S FOOD SUPPLY AND WOMAN'S OBLIGATION

JANE ADDAMS, HULL-HOUSE, CHICAGO, ILL. During the last three years every sympathetic man and woman in the United States has been at times horribly opprest with the consciousness that widespread famine has once more returned to the world. At moments there seemed to be no spot upon which to rest one's mind with a sense of well-being.

One recalled Servia, where three-fourths of a million people, out of the total population of three million, had perisht miserably of typhus and other diseases superinduced by long-continued privations; Armenia, where, in spite of her heart-breaking history, famine and pestilence have never stalkt so uncheckt; Palestine, where the old horrors of the Siege of Jerusalem, as described by Josephus, have been revived; and perhaps the crowning horror of all, the "Way of the Cross"-so called by the Russians because it

« PreviousContinue »