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failed because the citizens gradually grew to consider the interests of the class against the whole; for, when such was the case, it mattered not whether the poor plundered the rich or the rich exploited the poor; in either case the end of the republic was at hand. We are resolute not to fall into such a pit. This great Republic of ours shall never become the government of a plutocracy and it shall never become the government of a mob.”
The way of our duty lies clearly in cultivating the sense of common American ideals as transcending the interests of group or class. Party loyalty must cease to be blind or selfish; it must be a matter of temporary union to achieve some definite political ends seriously believed to be for the general good. Special interests must cease to use their wealth and power to defeat measures that will make for the public welfare. The conscious aim of both parties to the industrial struggle must be to work out an industrial system both just and efficient. Or-since it is Utopian to expect such a voluntarily maintained wide-spread subordination of private and group interests—the public must watch its component groups, and by a series of carefully devised checks and restraints, reduce to a minimum their power to thwart the common good.
Finally, in all sorts of positive ways, the people, through their legislators, must forward the general happiness. We already provide parks and playgrounds, hospitals and asylums, public schools and universities, libraries and museums, and many other privileges, freely to every American citizen. All sorts of other public benefits are being discussed-health and old age insurance, maternity benefits, public employment for the unemployed, and the like. Each of these projects must be accepted or rejected on its particular merits. But we have definitely abandoned the conception that the function of government is purely negative, to prevent wrongdoing. Our government is the American people using its sovereign power to forward in every possible way the common good. The record of what our government already does for us is an inspiring one; and doubtless the future will see its beneficent activity extended in many directions. May its aim ever be, not sectional advantage, not class control, not the advancement of special interests, but the good of the American people as a whole!
Webster's Reply to Haynes, Jan. 26, 1830 (Reprinted in Foer
ster and Pierson, op. cit., p. 17). John Fiske, American Political Ideas, II. James Bryce, The American Commonwealth, Book I, Chapters
XXIX, XXX. Theodore Roosevelt, The New Nationalism: chapters on The
Nation and The States.
WASHINGTON, in his Farewell Address, said to his countrymen: “Citizens, by birth or choice, of a common country, that country has a right to concentrate your affections."
The American of today yields to no one in patriotism ; certainly we make more noise about it than any
1; other nation! The fact that we are a composite people, gathered here from many lands with mutually hostile traditions, has not worked to make us less united, or less loyal to this country of our birth or adoption. On the contrary, there is actually, beyond doubt, a greater spiritual homogeneity here than in most of those older lands. It is not common ancestry that makes national unity, it is common ideals, and common hopes. The Great War showed that men of all racial stocks were equally eager to give their money, their labor, and their lives to the national service. There are varying degrees of sympathy for, or hostility toward, the several nations of the old world; but for us all it is “America first.”
There is, indeed, in some quarters, a distrust of this patriotic sentiment. Here and there a band of
a "internationalists" disavow it. A small group of pacifists, among them men of the highest motives, and a few leaders of distinction, speak of the nationalistic emotion as a primitive and dangerous passion, to be superseded by the boundaryless brotherhood of man.