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His resentment against Germany is only the resentment that a man without a sense of humor feels at his own caricature.
To Wilson the German theory of the state is a denial of democracy. He objects to it for himself as well as for others. He has none of Bernhardi or Treitschke in him-no Nietzschean nightmares about the Supermanno morbid dreams of Weltmacht oder Niedergang. He cares much about justice and humanity; little about domination. To him the spiritual freedom of democracy and the moral responsibility of every individual for his own life are of infinitely more value than the Prussian efficiency in the world, whether military or industrial.
The moral and political differences in the two men are strikingly illustrated in their attitude toward treaty pledges. In dealing with Colombia Roosevelt adopted the course that Germany subsequently followed in dealing with Belgium. Trampling the solemn treaty obligations of the United States under foot, he "took" what he wanted in the name of necessity, knowing that it would work to his immediate political advantage.
Wilson, on the other hand, risked a crushing political defeat in order to force the repeal of the free tolls provision of the Panama Canal Act for no purpose except to keep the pledged word and the good faith of the United States unsullied.
These radically different courses of conduct toward treaty obligations were not accidental. Each man in his actions reflected his own soul, his own conscience and his own conception of government.
It seems inevitable that Wilson and Roosevelt must be the opposing candidates in the campaign. Every foreign or domestic policy of the United States, actual or potential, is somehow embodied in these two men-Germany, Mexico, preparedness, trusts, corporations, everything. They would bring to the arbitrament of the bal
lot box the vital principles that in Europe have been submitted to the Court of Blood and Iron. The election would definitely decide the destiny of the Republic for the next generation-peace, democracy and liberty, or war, imperialism and Prussianism.
The World believes in the old democracy, in the old faith of the fathers, in the old principles of government upon which the Republic was established. But it makes no claims to infallibility. The old democracy commands less veneration today than it ever before commanded. The old faith of the fathers is publicly flouted. The old principles of government are boldly and aggressively challenged. Perhaps the American people are ready for a fundamental change that will leave the form of gov ernment intact but revolutionize its spirit. Perhaps the Magna Charta, the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence and the Emancipation Proclamation represent theories that are dead and that it is time to bury their carcasses. Perhaps the true pathway to freedom lies through German Kultur, and the Germans have failed to impose it upon mankind only because they were clumsy bunglers.
In any event, The World is firmly convinced that the principles and policies represented by Woodrow Wilson and the principles and policies represented by Theodore Roosevelt ought to be submitted to a referendum of the American people. There alone is an issue. There alone is a question worthy of the judgment of a great people sitting as a court of last resort.
Woodrow Wilson will inevitably be the Democratic candidate. The World repeats that if the Republican party is honest in its antagonism to the President, Theodore Roosevelt must be the Republican candidate for President. There can be no other.
[March 4, 1917]
WOODROW WILSON today completes his first term as President of the United States.
No other four years except those of Lincoln have been so eventful, and no other four years except those of Lincoln have made so much history of first importance.
One may like Mr. Wilson or dislike him, approve his policies or detest them, but nobody can deny him a place among the masterful Presidents who have stamped their genius for all time upon the Government of the United States. The courses of American history have been changed mightily by the fact that Woodrow Wilson was President, and because he has been President the processes of American Government will never again be quite what they were in the past.
Whatever the verdict of history may be upon the various policies of the Wilson Administration, no difficulty will be experienced in fixing the responsibility. Since March 4, 1913, Mr. Wilson has been the Government of the United States in as great a degree as Jefferson or Jackson and in even a greater degree than Washington or Lincoln.
Mr. Taft was never President 'during his four years in the White House; the Republican party was President. Mr. Roosevelt was President part of the time during his two terms; the Republican Old Guard was President part of the time, and there were glorious intervals in which Wall Street reigned supreme, after the manner of Frederick the Great, who did what he pleased and allowed his subjects to say what they pleased-Mr. Roosevelt playing the rôle of the garrulous but obedient populace.
The President of the United States during the last
four years has been Woodrow Wilson, and no othernot the Democratic party, not Wall Street, not the Cabinet, not Congress, but Woodrow Wilson and he alone. What is good is his, and what is bad is his. Never for a moment has he relaxed his grip upon the Government. Never for a moment has any other mind and purpose than his controlled the policies of his Administration. He has yielded to nobody. He has compromised with nobody except the American people. Abused and vilified as few Presidents have ever been, denounced by his enemies alternately as a weakling and a despot, a coward and a dictator, he has gone his way if not serenely at least with a sure and certain step.
His critics are fond of pretending that they cannot understand what he is trying to do, but no doubts assail him. He knows what he wants to do and how he wants to do it. When he cannot reach his goal by one path he abruptly changes his course and follows another path, but always with an eye single to the goal itself.
No other President ever so completely controlled Congress or made so little ostensible effort to control Congress. He has shaped legislation by none of the old and familiar devices. Nobody has been bribed by patronage to support his policies and measures, nor has anybody been punished by the withholding of patronage for opposing the Administration. There has been no denunciation of Congress or of individual members of Congress. Yet on every important issue, no matter how violent the opposition, the President has managed to have his way. He has ruled by the sheer force of ability-because his is the biggest brain and his the broadest vision in Washington. His victories over a sullen and reluctant Congress have been veritable triumphs of mind over matter.
Even his bitterest enemies are compelled to acknowledge this extraordinary intellectual power. When Mr. Roosevelt indulged in his outbursts of foam and fury at
the general reluctance of the American people to plunge blindly into war he could give no reason for this state of public opinion except that President Wilson had "chloroformed the conscience of the country." In other words, 100,000,000 people had been so hypnotized by the President that they thought only what he wanted them to think, believed only what he wanted them to believe and did only what he wanted them to do. A superman, indeed, if this be true-a superman above all other supermen in history; yet it is not true. Mr. Wilson's influence over public opinion lies in the ability to understand it, and give it adequate expression, not in the ability to dictate a nation's sentiments.
The chief complaint of Mr. Wilson's critics is that he is not belligerent, that he is not warlike, that he is "too proud to fight." For the welfare of American institutions this is a happy failing. A President with Mr. Wilson's genius for government and his power to impose his political will upon others would be a grave menace to the Republic if these extraordinary gifts were supplemented by military ambition and a passion for military glory.
If the world, after this War, is to be re-established upon the basis of democracy, the political principles of Woodrow Wilson must prevail. Nothing else can save it. On the verge of the crisis, when it is inevitable that the United States must draw the sword in defense of its rights and its honor, the American people can face the future in supreme confidence that they will enter the war under a leadership that knows no ulterior purpose-a leadership that is wise and sagacious and self-restrained and that will safeguard republican institutions as the most precious possession of mankind.
No other American is so well fitted by temperament, by training, by ability and by mastery of the science and art of government to solve the problems that must confront this country during the next four years. No other