Democracy The Basis For World-Order

By Frederick D. Bramhill

[Department of Sociology]

[The University of Chicago War Papers No. 3; February 1918]

The United States is a pacifist nation—I believe and hope an incurably pacifist nation. Our entrance into this war, reluctant as it was, and hesitant as for a time it continued, will be increasingly realized, I think, as a measure, not of our departure from, but of our devotion to, the cause of peace. We dislike all wars; we incline to distrust even our own; and I, at least, believe that the slowness with which the national fervor has been rising to this war is a not unencouraging evidence that we insist upon being definitely persuaded that this is no sordid war in which the common treasure and common lives are being spent in the service of nationalistic rivalries of dynasties or business or investments. You remember the passionate denial of our Chicago poet in 1898, when doubts of the same sort forced themselves on his mind:


Lies! lies!
It cannot be! The wars we wage
Are noble, and our battles still are won
By justice for us ere we lift the gage.
We have not sold our loftiest heritage!
The proud republic hath not stooped to cheat
And scramble in the market place of war.
Her forehead weareth yet its solemn star!

We do well, therefore, not to be impatient of popular scruples upon our entrance into war, but to be proud of them, and to regard the present task of leadership, not as the autocratic one of imposing this war upon a reluctant mass, but as the democratic one of winning their hearty support by demonstrating its worthiness. There may be some irony in the nature of some of the conspicuous leadership in our various war councils; but we may surely feel confident that sooner or later democracy will take effective charge of its own war, and hold it to its purpose.


Blindness we may forgive,
But baseness we will smite.

And especially, since we have decided upon the method of conscription for our armies, we owe it doubly to the young men whom we take, and to their fathers and mothers, to make it certain beyond the shadow of a doubt that no unworthy uses at home or abroad shall be allowed to tarnish their New World victories.

What then is our purpose? It is expressed in the topic I have taken for my discussion in this series as the cause of democracy as the essential basis of a world-order. That was the principal theme of the last half of the President's war address to Congress; subsequent events and discussion have increased its significance. I want to try to indicate in what sense it is true that Germany stands as the chief enemy of democracy; how it is impossible for her, so long as that enmity lasts, to be a good neighbor in the world, and how that is the chief obstacle to our American hope for peace and world-order.

The first task, then, is the unpleasant one of proving an indictment, not against a nation, but against a state—for I think it would be well for us to confess with Edmund Burke that we do not know how to indict a nation. And may I say parenthetically that I suppose that it is still possible to hate wrong without hating the wrongdoer, and that if we seem to claim virtue for ourselves and impute sin to the Germans, it behooves us to remember that it is largely sheer good luck that has enabled us to be right, and bitter, blinding pressure that has made Germany wrong. If Prussia is today trying to construct Mittel-Europa, it is largely Mittel-Europa that has made Prussia what she is.

Well, then, what do we mean when we say that Germany stands for autocracy against the democracies of the world? We do not mean anything so shallow as that her institutions of government are badly planned and should be amended. I suppose that may be said of the United States without treason, even in war time; and if this were a war to force Germany to adopt the United States Constitution, several of us might feel strongly inclined to be conscientious objectors. Such institutions are rather the manifestations and symptoms of something more fundamental—of an attitude toward life and of settled principles of public conduct. Democracy is not a set of devices, a form of machinery of suffrage, of representation, of elections, of relations of executive and legislature, and the like, though they may all have something to do with it. It is not a thing to be enacted, not a goal to be attained and enjoyed. If it were that, and if we had attained it, why then the sooner we found something more important to talk about the better. No! Democracy is a method of progress. It is a faith—unproved like other faiths, but with heartening gleams of promise—a faith in a common humanity; a belief that men are essentially the same kind of stuff; that in this long pilgrimage of history all travel a common road, and that only by the co-operation of all, by the recognition of all as common partners in the enterprise, with the common dignity of membership, the common experience of failure and achievement, can any sound and permanent advance, any progress worth the fighting for, be attained. It denies then that there can be any such thing as a governing class. To attempt to set aside any such class is in the first place an intolerable waste of human spiritual resources; and in the second place it thwarts the hope of civilization. The progress of organized society is the progress of justice between men, and the fruitful ideas of social justice are not handed down from above, but forced up from below. Democracy holds that only by raising a whole people to higher levels can any part of that nation ultimately prosper, and that only as participating and co-operating members can the whole people be raised. It stands for the appeal to reason.

And what, by contrast, is autocracy? It is the appeal to authority as such, to prescription, to the method of power. It denies the righteousness and the profit of general co-operation. It believes in the management of many wills by the competent few. Where democracy holds that men are in general such that they will respond to opportunity and turn toward the light, autocracy holds that they must in general be managed for their own good and that of the state by a will that is not their own. Democracy invites the ranging human spirit to experiment with life. Autocracy proposes to order and regiment it. Democracy respects intrinsic human life with a respect touched with humility; autocracy distrusts and suppresses it.

Germany in its organized capacity stands for autocracy. This is not the time to discuss in detail German imperial institutions. They have been much discussed during this war, both intelligently and unintelligently. A Reichstag based, it is true, on universal suffrage, but in a positive sense endowed with little power and elected from districts none of which have been changed since 1870, and most of them not since 1867, in spite of the fact that the movement of population has been greater and more politically significant in the Germany of the last generation and a half than almost anywhere else in the world; districts which the government refuses to reform because as they stand they grossly over-represent the backward-looking reactionary elements and under-represent the democratic, forward-looking elements; a council of German executives set over it, made up of representatives appointed by and responsible to the monarchs of the states; all under the presidency of a Kaiser who does not know how, if indeed it could be done, to distinguish between his Prussian kingship by divine right and his imperial presidency by constitutional enactment. That sort of utterance which was described in the Reichstag at the time of the famous Daily Telegraph interview in 1907 as "the impulsive manifestations, the effervescences, the explosions of monarchical subjectivism" is apparently made without distinction between Prussian and imperial authority. "That which was lacking in the old Hansa," said the Emperor in the nineties, "a strong united empire obedient to one will, we now have, thanks to the grace of heaven and the deeds of my grandfather. Only one is master in the Empire and I am that one—I tolerate no other." And the Junkers join in maintaining the confusion. "The king of Prussia or the German emperor," said von Oldenburg-Januschau in the Bundesrat on January 29, 1910, "must always be in a position to say to any lieutenant: 'Take ten men and close the Reichstag.'"

It would be a mistake of serious consequence, however, to believe that the essence of German autocracy was spread evenly throughout the Empire. Its source and its home are Berlin and the dominance of Prussia. Prussia has since 1870 commanded the Empire, and the more artistic, easy-going, and amiable parts have yielded an implicit obedience to the strenuous discipline of the drill-sergeant of the Elbe. It is necessary to remind ourselves that Prussia is in population and area more than three-fifths of all Germany; that her king is ipso facto German emperor; that by special arrangement he commands effectively the entire military power of the Empire; that Prussia has an absolute veto upon any constitutional change, as well as upon any change in the laws governing the army and navy. In spite of some evidence of occasional irritation, the right of Prussia to dictate the character of the new Empire has not been seriously questioned. And it is not strange that this is so. No German can forget how the long-deferred hopes of the idealists and liberals came to apparent wreck in 1848 and the prospect of a Germany united under democratic auspices seemed permanently defeated with the refusal of the Prussian king to accept an imperial crown by the gift of the people; nor how the strong and ruthless hand of Bismarck took charge of the forces of German nationality, beat down liberal opposition, re-created the Prussian army, and through three planned and "willed" wars forged the German Empire. Nor can any German forget how in the short space of ten years, under Prussian militarist leadership, the German name rose in the world from a position of political insignificance if not ridicule to a practical primacy in Europe, signalized by the meeting in Berlin of a Congress of Powers under the presidency of Bismarck himself to settle that very Eastern question out of which this present war took its origin. In the eyes of patriotic Germans Prussia earned its leadership; but liberal Germany has paid the cost in its submission to the arrogant and overbearing Prussian autocracy—an autocracy hardened against the voices of reform by the intoxication of success. Movements toward democracy in the rest of Germany have either made their way against Prussian opposition, as in Bavaria, or have been killed by the Prussian veto, as in the Mecklenburgs.

For the Prussian malady, in political terms, is the "monarchical principle"; and Prussia resents as a threat to her position and prestige any impairment in Germany (and even, as we have recently been enabled to see, in Russia) of the doctrine of royal power. "All that the Emperor gains," said Yorck von Wartenburg in the Prussian House of Lords in January, 1914, "is a loss for the King of Prussia. Now Prussia represents in Germany the monarchical principle." What then is this monarchical principle ? It is the doctrine of the hereditary executive, not as a form within which the popular will operates, as in Great Britain, Italy, Spain, Holland, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, but as an active and dominant power. It is monarchy by divine right. The monarch is not within the constitution, as in truly constitutional states, but outside of it and above it; not an organ of the constitution, but anterior to it. What political institutions exist have their being by the king's grace. He consults for his own guidance and information, but not for the control of his judgment, a legislature one house of which is in the absolute control of the hopelessly reactionary Junkers, who are more royalist than the king, and the other based upon a travesty of popular suffrage which practically excludes the mass of the people from all representation, and which Bismarck himself denounced as the most senseless and miserable in the world. The king, say all the commentators, is responsible to God and his conscience, and to nobody and nothing else. In Great Britain and other liberal monarchies the maxim that the king can do no wrong has long since yielded the practical corollary that, since any human being may do wrong if he does anything, the king must be constitutionally prevented from doing personally any act whatsoever that can have any political significance. Not so in Prussia. There the doctrine still holds that what an active king does is politically unchallengeable—a doctrine that disappeared in Great Britain with the Stuarts in 1688, and in France with the Bourbons in 1830. It is of some interest to remark that the last body of systematic glorification of monarchical absolutism which can be compared with the chorus of the Prussian professors since about 1870 is that which accompanied from 1814 to 1830 those restored Bourbons of whom it was said that they forgot nothing and learned nothing. The present King of Prussia has constantly expressed the high monarchical view. "Regarding myself as an instrument of the Lord," he said on one occasion, "I go my way, whose goal is the welfare and peaceable development of our fatherland, and in so doing I am indifferent to the views and opinions of the day." And on another occasion: "Those who will work with me I welcome; those who oppose me I will smash." With the gift of a statue of the Great Elector to the city of Bielefeld he wrote that it was sent as a permanent sign that "as in this ancestor, so in me, there is an inflexible will to go forward in the way once deemed right, in spite of all resistance." In 1890, addressing an academic audience, he said: "Gentlemen, my ancestors, feeling the pulse of the time, have always discerned coming events. Then they have placed themselves at the head of the new movements, resolved to direct them and lead them to new ends. Similarly I think that I, too, have recognized whither the new spirit and the century nearing its end are tending."

We might well dismiss such utterances as the vagaries of a somewhat unbalanced mind if it were not for two facts. In the first place the lack of balance is not personal merely, but institutional; no man can be a Prussian king and be wholly sane; a measure of insanity is a prerequisite to any full occupancy of the office. And in the second place a potentate who so conceives his office and hears it always so described by others is pretty sure to be the unwitting instrument of more matter-of-fact minds and more realistic forces, which avoid public scrutiny by thrusting him forward. The real political struggle in an absolutism goes on in the shadow behind the throne.

Let me refer finally, for illustration of the Prussian idea of kingship, to the Kaiser's famous Koenigsberg speech of August, 1910, in which he said that he would take his inspiration from God alone, who had given him his crown, and never from public opinion or the will of assemblies. This utterance raised in the Reichstag a storm of criticism coming from two angles: first, from the non-Prussian members, who resented the apparent transfer of the doctrines of the Prussian monarchy to the Empire; and secondly, from the democratic members, both Prussian and non-Prussian, who attacked its antidemocratic substance. The official defense by Bethmann-Hollweg on November 26, 1910, denied the first and unqualifiedly defended the second. He said:

The Koenigsberg speech which the King of Prussia pronounced to his subjects in a Prussian province ["Very good!" from the Right] does not constitute, as has been asserted, a proclamation of absolutist views in contravention to the constitution, but a somewhat energetic affirmation of that monarchical principle upon which the Prussian public law rests ["Very good!" from the Right]; an affirmation joined with the expression of profound religious conviction shared by the great mass of the German people. The kings of Prussia are united to their people through a logical evolution of several centuries. That evolution did not take such a course that the people created its kingdom; on the contrary, by a labor almost unexampled in history, it was its great chieftains issuing from the House of Hohenzollern, it was this House which, finding a firm support in the capacity and tenacity of its population, it was this House which forged the Prussian state ["Very good!"]. Upon the basis of this historic evolution the Prussian constitution knows not the conception of popular sovereignty. That is why the kings of Prussia are, so far as their own people are concerned, kings by their own right ["Very good!" from the Right. Laughter from the Left]. Gentlemen, your laughter does not change history. And if, at the present moment, from the democratic side, the pretension is energetically raised that the King of Prussia is to be regarded as a great dignitary established by the people, it is no matter for surprise if the King asserts with the same vigor his will never to submit to any popular sovereignty ["Very good!" from the Right]. The personal irresponsibility of the king, the self-sufficiency, original, autocratic, of the monarchical power, these are the fundamental ideas of the life of the Prussian state, which have remained vital, even through the constitutional period of its historic evolution. They are the ideas which the King of Prussia has asserted in the old city where the kings of Prussia were crowned according to the ancient formula "By the Grace of God."

With this proclamation, from the mouth of one whom we have learned to regard not as an extremist but as a moderate in Germany, of the doctrine of absolutism, of royal absolution from the common restraints of men, we may turn from the "monarchical principle."

We must look back of the throne. Behind the monarchical principle stands Prussian militarism and the whole system of caste control knit together by the military cult. It is the misfortune of Prussia that it has so demonstrably prospered in the long history of its upbuilding as a European power by the use of non-moral, if not immoral, force. The faith in arms, in force per se, as an instrument of Providence, through the agency of the Hohenzollerns, for the advancement of Prussia and of Germany, has been drilled in for many generations. It was Mirabeau who said: "War is the national industry of Prussia"; and to him is also attributed the other epigram: "Prussia is not a nation that has an army; it is an army that has a nation." Reference has been already made to the part played by arms in the unification of Germany under Prussian leadership, and the process was summed up in those words of Bismarck, the towering figure of the new Empire, spoken September 30, 1867: "The great questions of the present are not decided by arguments and the decisions of majorities, but by blood and iron." These words are of the currency of thought of Prussian statesmen. Although Maximilian Harden is not always a reliable spokesman of the mind of Prussia, he was unquestionably echoing, not inventing, when he said: "If our jealous enemies force us to it, the furor teutonicus will reawaken, and Germany will remember that war has more than once been the most profitable of its industries."

It is of some significance that the present King of Prussia made his first address upon his accession to the throne to his army, and that not until three days later did he address the Prussian people. His speeches to soldiers are full of his insistence upon the priority of the military profession in the life of Prussia, and of his soldiers' complete subjection to the king's will. "Now, as ever, the one pillar on which the Empire rests is the army." "The chief pillars of the army are courage, honor, and unconditional blind obedience." "The soldier has not to have a will of his own; you must indeed all have one will, and that is my will; there is only one law and that is my law." These are random samples from Wilhelm's addresses to soldiers.

Americans will like to contrast with these the words of Abraham Lincoln when he addressed a regiment on its way to the front in 1864:

I always feel inclined when I talk to soldiers to try to impress upon them the importance of success in this contest I happen temporarily to occupy this White House. I am a living witness that any one of your children may look to come here as my father's child has. It is in order that each one of you may have an open field and a fair chance for your industry, enterprise, and intelligence; that you may all have equal privileges in the race of life with all its desirable human aspirations. It is for this that the struggle should be maintained, not for one year only, but for two or three.

We may congratulate ourselves upon being the inheritors of the tradition of Abraham Lincoln rather than that of the Hohenzollerns.

Two more quotations, neither from a military man, will help to emphasize the position assigned to the military caste in Prussia. Professor Hans Delbrueck, of the University of Berlin, in his Regierung und Volkswille, published in the spring of 1914, after declaring that the army stopped at a form of sentiment anterior to the modern notion of patriotism, and that German soldiers serve the king, not the fatherland, goes on: "The king is their comrade, and they are attached to him as to their war leader, and that is the foundation of our national life. The essence of our monarchy lies in its relations with the army. Whoever knows our officers must be convinced that they would not tolerate the government of a minister of war dependent on the Reichstag." And Bethmann-Hollweg in the Landtag, January 10, 1914, said: "The dearest wish of every Prussian is to see the army of the king remain intact under the management of its king, and not to become an army of Parliament." Whoever recalls the long struggle in England and America to establish the principle of civil control of the military arm will realize the gulf which lies here between Prussia and the Western democracies; and I know of no more instructive contrast than that between the army crisis over Ulster in the spring of 1914 with the debates of the House of Commons upon the resignation of Sir John Seeley as Secretary of State for War, on the one hand, and the Zabern incident and the Reichstag proceedings of December and January, 1913-14, on the other.

The incident of Zabern shed such a sudden illumination upon the Prussian militarist spirit that it deserves a passing notice. In the fall of 1913 the Prussian garrison in this little Alsatian town had got itself into a state of intolerable friction with the townspeople—this, be it remembered, more than forty-two years after the region had passed under the German flag. An officer who was reviewing some cases of discipline came upon that of a soldier charged with stabbing a peasant. "What!" he exclaimed, "Did they fine you for sticking an Alsatian blackguard? I'd have given you ten marks for it, myself," and remitted the sentence. Immediately all the popular resentment flared up, and there were many clashes of varying seriousness. The soldiery proceeded to put down opposition with ruthless severity. Civilians were beaten and imprisoned. A boy was arrested for "intending to laugh" at an officer. Civil authorities, including magistrates, were suspended. The incident which finally commanded the attention of all Germany was the sabering of a lame shoemaker. Democratic and liberal members launched a series of interpellations in the Reichstag, and the arrogance of the Prussian war party received a more complete and general denunciation than it had ever had before. The net result, however, was the turning into hollow mockery of all attempts of the Reichstag to subject the military authorities to any substantially greater restraint; the acquittal of all the officers concerned; the famous telegram of the Crown Prince to the Colonel at Zabern: Immer feste daran! ("Keep right at it!"); and a coveted decoration for the Colonel from the Emperor.

A more humorous but scarcely less significant illustration of military domination is the exploit of the renowned Cobbler of Koepenick in 1907. A shoemaker got possession of a captain's uniform, dressed himself in it, marched into the city hall of a Berlin suburb, demanded and was yielded complete possession of the place, helped himself to what pleased him, and marched out again, to the accompaniment of hearty guffaws from the South German comic journals. The cobbler was later arrested and, I believe, adjudged insane—a fresh instance of the well-known difficulty of drawing the line between the sane and the foolish.

And the monarchy, which omits no opportunity of proclaiming its reliance upon the army, co-operating with, as it always does, or used by, as it always is, all those vested interests whose hope of life lies in the appeal, not to the common sense of men, but to reverence, tradition, authority, and blind force, has maintained since 1870 a systematic cult of king and army, a vast propaganda for the militarist-monarchical idea. In the army, caste rules supreme and is carefully isolated from civilizing influences. Universal service is robbed of much of its democratic significance by a system of classification of recruits partly based upon, partly itself creating, social distinctions in civil life. The officers belong overwhelmingly to a narrow social group and are systematically kept in the spirit of caste. It is of more than passing significance that the Emperor, who has helped to decrease drinking, has been unwilling to discourage in the least degree and has even positively countenanced the caste-enforced system of dueling still maintained in the German army.

To all this the Prussian popular mind is carefully molded by the public-school system, whose organization serves in considerable degree to widen rather than to obliterate class distinctions, and in which the Prussian nationalist cult is methodically inculcated. There is an interesting Royal Decree of February 13, 1890:

German history, and especially that of modern and recent times, must be emphasised, and ancient and mediaeval history must chiefly be taught for the purpose of making the pupils susceptible to the heroic and to historic greatness by the use of examples out of these times.

This was followed by the following more explicit order of the Prussian Minister of Education:

That which was said at the time of Frederick the Great, that "the other nations envy Prussia her King," is still true today. A wealth of vivid reflections and profoundly suggestive incidents will be furnished by a recital of the uninterrupted work for their country and people in which the Hohenzollerns have been engaged for nearly half a millennium. Hence all the Prussian kings should occupy a prominent place in your teaching.

The elementary schools, the upper schools, the universities, and even the stage have been the agencies of the Prussian state system. Speech, press, and public meeting have been carefully controlled. The right of association has been rigidly limited. The government with all its resources of social, economic, and intellectual pressure has entered actively into political contests to support the forces of reaction and suppress the promptings of change. Never has there been an attempt on such a scale, so competently engineered or so nearly successful, to distort a people's mind by the pressure of authority. At the time of the Zabern affair there happened to be at the University of Chicago an exchange professor of theology from a Prussian university, to whom I mentioned the incident casually, expecting the sort of reaction one would, I think, naturally expect from a man of his sort in Great Britain or America. Not so! We could not in this country understand, so his reply ran, how necessary it was at all costs to maintain the prestige of the military, and in that strain he continued with some vehemence. We may thank heaven that we cannot understand; but we cannot at the same time help asking ourselves what power it is that produces truculent professors of theology, and sets them to preaching at home and abroad their truculent theology and philosophy. There is but one answer: the Prussian militarist autocracy—and as time goes on we shall realize more and more clearly that the blackest crime of that autocracy is the poisoning of the wells of the generous German spirit.

But you may be asking yourselves, Why is all this our business? Why can we not leave the democrats of Germany to settle this business for themselves? Why can we not leave the Prussian autocracy to run its inevitable course to ruin? For surely none of us believes that such an enterprise can possibly in the long run succeed; the seeds of disaster are planted deep within it, and their roots were visibly spreading before this war began. The answer is, on the one hand, simply the commonplace that no nation can nowadays live unto itself alone, that in this day of growing international interests and activities isolation is impossible; and, on the other hand, that Germany under such management cannot possibly be a tolerable neighbor. The same small group that is dominating Germany's domestic affairs is managing also German world-politics. The same men who clashed the saber in the streets of Zabern are the men who, in the name of Germany, have been swashbuckling through the streets of Europe, sending the gospel of the Hun to Asia, and spreading intrigue and the threat of war from America to India. The same blind pride of caste that they display at home, the same ruthless pursuit of power, the same contempt for the intrinsic value of humanity, are reflected in their disregard of smaller nations, of different cultures, and of international right.

They have attempted to erect Germans into the high caste of humanity. The naïveté with which they express that view is explicable only on the basis of the spirit which informs their daily doings with their own people. Let me quote at random only three or four typical expressions of this curious national egotism. One is from the Kaiser. "Great ideals," he said at the formal opening of the Sieges Allee in 1901, "have become for us Germans a permanent possession, while other nations have lost them. The German nation is now the only people left which is called upon to protect, cultivate, and promote these grand ideals." Professor Lasson, writing to a correspondent in Holland in September, 1914, said: "Germany is the most perfect political structure known to history. We are morally and intellectually superior to all—without a peer. It is the same with our organization and institutions." Professor Delbrueck, in the same book which I quoted a moment ago, writes: "The Germanic constitution, adapted as it is to the exigencies both of peace and war, wants no amendment; for it represents the loftiest of the many forms of political organization now existing in the world." And finally the Prussianized Scotchman, Houston Stewart Chamberlain, in his Kriegsaufsätze of 1915, rises to this lyric conclusion: "A liberty which is not German is not a liberty."

This is the spirit which we are called upon to meet. In a war certainly not of our seeking we have been forced to the reluctant realization of a duty we cannot avoid if we are to be permitted to hope for a peace of the world based, not upon domination, but upon mutual tolerance and the appeal to reason; not upon autocracy, but upon democracy. That duty appears now to be simply this: to see to it with every power we possess that the Prussian militarist autocracy comes out of this war unmistakably beaten at its own game; that its boast of unbroken national advancement by the appeal to arms be clearly shattered; and that it be sent back discredited in its only claim to support to be dealt with by the liberty-loving German people over whom for two generations it has so strangely domineered.

Then, and not until then, will the road be open for the next step toward a juster order of the world, toward that league of honor and of peace based upon the method of democracy that President Wilson so admirably pledged us to in his address to the Senate on January 22, and his war address of April 3. How long the first step may be we cannot now tell, but surely it is not only our right but our duty both to dream our dreams and see our visions and to study shrewdly the limits of the practical. Nor should we be so blind as not to see that one of the most practical of facts is the capacity of human nature in any possible social significance of that term for growth and change, all wiseacres to the contrary notwithstanding; and that one undeniable direction of change in the last half-century has been the transformation of vague hopes of a world-order based, not upon the old, impossible balance of selfish national egotisms, but upon democracy and the appeal to reason into fairly definite programs. New things are possible, and it is the privilege of the New World to insist now upon their possibility.

And finally, let us not in the meantime forget that in entering this war and offering to co-operate in plans for peace in a world made safe for democracy, we are again solemnly dedicating ourselves to the democratic principle of progress. At home we set our faces anew against irrational power and prescriptive authority, against any system whereby the wills of the many are subjected to the uses of the few, and address ourselves again to the business of furthering the "depth and width of human intercourse" among us. And abroad we commit ourselves to the principle of enlightened internationalism, and renounce that old false competitive nationalism which is not an instrument but an obstacle to the main current of progress—to the "fruitful processes of co-operation in the great experiment of living together."

© J. Fred MacDonald, 2013

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A Novel of World War One
By J. Fred MacDonald

The Headlong Fury