Warren G. Harding
State of the Union Address
December 8, 1922
MEMBERS OF THE CONGRESS:
So many problems are calling for solution that a recital of all of them,
in the face of the known limitations of a short session of Congress, would
seem to lack sincerity of purpose. It is four years since the World War
ended, but the inevitable readjustment of the social and economic order
is not more than barely begun. There is no acceptance of pre-war conditions
anywhere in the world. In a very general way humanity harbors individual
wishes to go on with war-time compensation for production, with pre-war
requirements in expenditUre. In short, everyone, speaking broadly, craves
readjustment for everybody except himself, while there can be no just and
permanent readjustment except when all participate.
The civilization which measured its strength of genius and the power
of science and the resources of industries, in addition to testing the
limits of man power and the endurance and heroism of men and women--that
same civilization is brought to its severest test in restoring a tranquil
order and committing humanity to the stable ways of peace.
If the sober and deliberate appraisal of pre-war civilization makes
it smee a worth-while inheritance, then with patience and good courage
it will be preserved. There never again will be precisely the old order;
indeed, I know of no one who thinks it to be desirable For out of the old
order came the war itself, and the new order, established and made secure,
never will permit its recurrence.
It is no figure of speech to say we have come to the test of Our civilization.
The world has been passing--is today passing through of a great crisis.
The conduct of war itself is not more difficult than the solution of the
problems which necessarily follow. I am not speaking at this moment of
the problem in its wider aspect of world rehabilitation or of international
relationships. The reference is to our own social, financial, and economic
problems at home. These things are not to be considered solely as problems
apart from all international relationship, but every nation must be able
to carry on for itself, else its international relationship will have scant
Doubtless our own people have emerged from the. World War tumult less
impaired than most belligerent powers; probably we have made larger progress
toward reconstruction. Surely we have been fortunate in diminishing unemployment,
and our industrial and business activities, which are the lifeblood of
our material existence, have been restored as in no other reconstruction
period of like length in the history of the world. Had we escaped the coal
and railway strikes, which had no excuse for their beginning and less justification
for their delayed settlement, we should have done infinitely better. But
labor was insistent on holding to the war heights, and heedless forces
of reaction sought the pre-war levels, and both were wrong. In the folly
of conflict our progress was hindered, and the heavy cost has not yet been
fully estimated. There can be neither adjustment nor the penalty of the
failure to readjust in which all do not somehow participate.
The railway strike accentuated the difficulty of the American farmer.
The first distress of readjustment came to the farmer, and it will not
lie a readjustment fit to abide until he is relieved. The distress brought
to the farmer does not affect him alone. Agricultural ill fortune is a
national ill fortune. That one-fourth of our population which produces
the food of the Republic and adds so largely to our export commerce must
participate in the good fortunes of the Nation, else there is none worth
Agriculture is a vital activity in our national life. In it we had our
beginning, and its westward march with the star of the empire has reflected
the growth of the Republic. It has its vicissitudes which no legislation
will prevent, its hardships for which no law can provide escape. But the
Congress can make available to the farmer the financial facilities which
have been built up under Government aid and supervision for other commercial
and industrial enterprises. It may be done on the same solid fundamentals
and make the vitally important agricultural industry more secure, and it
must be done.
This Congress already has taken co gnizance of the misfortune which
precipitate deflation brought to American agriculture. Your measures of
relief and the reduction of the Federal reserve discount rate undoubtedly
saved the country from widespread disaster. The very proof of helpfulness
already given is the strongest argument for the permanent establishment
of widened credits, heretofore temporarily extended through the War Finance
The Farm Loan Bureau, which already has proven its usefulness through
the Federal land banks, may well have its powers enlarged to provide ample
farm production credits as well as enlarged land credits. It is entirely
practical to create a division in the Federal land banks to deal with production
credits, with the limitations of time so adjusted to the farm turnover
as the Federal reserve system provides for the turnover in the manufacturing
and mercantile world. Special provision must be made for live-stock production
credits, and the limit of land loans may be safely enlarged. Various measures
are pending before you, and the best judgment of Congress ought to be expressed
in a prompt enactment at the present session.
But American agriculture needs more than added credit facilities. The
credits will help to solve the pressing problems growing out of war-inflated
land values and the drastic deflation of three years ago, but permanent
and deserved agricultural good fortune depends on better and cheaper transportation.
Here is an outstanding problem, demanding the most rigorous consideration
of the Congress and the country. It has to do with more than agriculture.
It provides the channel for the flow of the country's commerce. But the
farmer is particularly hard hit. His market, so affected by the world consumption,
does not admit of the price adjustment to meet carrying charges. In the
last half of the year now closing the railways, broken in carrying capacity
because of motive power and rolling stock out of order, though insistently
declaring to the contrary, embargoed his shipments or denied him cars when
fortunate markets were calling. Too frequently transportation failed while
perishable products were turning from possible profit to losses counted
in tens of millions.
I know of no problem exceeding in importance this one of transportation.
In our complex and interdependent modern life transportation is essential
to our very existence. Let us pass for the moment the menace in the possible
paralysis of such service as we have and note the failure, for whatever
reason, to expand our transportation to meet the Nation's needs.
The census of 1880 recorded a population of 50,000,000. In two decades
more we may reasonably expect to count thrice that number. In the three
decades ending in 1920 the country's freight by rail increased from 631,000,000
tons to 2,234,000,000 tons; that is to say, while our population was increasing,
less than 70 per cent, the freight movement increased over 250 per cent.
We have built 40 per cent of the world's railroad mileage, and yet find
it inadequate to our present requirements. When we contemplate the inadequacy
of to-day it is easy to believe that the next few decades will witness
the paralysis of our transportation-using social scheme or a complete reorganization
on some new basis. Mindful of the tremendous costs of betterments, extensions,
and expansions, and mindful of the staggering debts of the world to-day,
the difficulty is magnified. Here is a problem demanding wide vision and
the avoidance of mere makeshifts. No matter what the errors of the past,
no matter how we acclaimed construction and then condemned operations in
the past, we have the transportation and the honest investment in the transportation
which sped us on to what we are, and we face conditions which reflect its
inadequacy to-day, its greater inadequacy to-morrow, and we contemplate
transportation costs which much of the traffic can not and will not continue
Manifestly, we have need to begin on plans to coordinate all transportation
facilities. We should more effectively connect up our rail lines with our
carriers by sea. We ought to reap some benefit from the hundreds of millions
expended on inland waterways, proving our capacity to utilize as well as
expend. We ought to turn the motor truck into a railway feeder and distributor
instead of a destroying competitor.
It would be folly to ignore that we live in a motor age. The motor car
reflects our standard of living and gauges the speed of our present-day
life. It long ago ran down Simple Living, and never halted to inquire about
the prostrate figure which fell as its victim. With full recognition of
motor-car transportation we must turn it to the most practical use. It
can not supersede the railway lines, no matter how generously we afford
it highways out of the Public Treasury. If freight traffic by motor were
charged with its proper and proportionate share of highway construction,
we should find much of it wasteful and more costly than like service by
rail. Yet we have paralleled the railways, a most natural line of construction,
and thereby taken away from the agency of expected service much of its
profitable traffic, which the taxpayers have been providing the highways,
whose cost of maintenance is not yet realized.
The Federal Government has a right to inquire into the wisdom of this
policy, because the National Treasury is contributing largely to this highway
construction. Costly highways ought to be made to serve as feeders rather
than competitors of the railroads, and the motor truck should become a
coordinate factor in our great distributing system.
This transportation problem can not be waived aside. The demand for
lowered costs on farm products and basic materials can not be ignored.
Rates horizontally increased, to meet increased wage outlays during the
war inflation, are not easily reduced. When some very moderate wage reductions
were effected last summer there was a 5 per cent horizontal reduction in
rates. I sought at that time, in a very informal way, to have the railway
managers go before the Interstate Commerce Commission and agree to a heavier
reduction on farm products and coal and other basic commodities, and leave
unchanged the freight tariffs which a very large portion of the traffic
was able to bear. Neither the managers nor the commission tile suggestion,
so we had the horizontal reduction saw fit to adopt too slight to be felt
by the higher class cargoes and too little to benefit the heavy tonnage
calling most loudly for relief.
Railways are not to be expected to render the most essential service
in our social organization without a air return on capital invested, but
the Government has gone so far in the regulation of rates and rules of
operation that it has the responsibility of pointing the way to the reduced
freight costs so essential to our national welfare.
Government operation does not afford the cure. It was Government operation
which brought us to the very order of things against which we now rebel,
and we are still liquidating the costs of that supreme folly.
Surely the genius of the railway builders has not become extinct among
the railway managers. New economies, new efficiencies in cooperation must
be found. The fact that labor takes 50 to 60 per cent of total railway
earnings makes limitations within which to effect economies very difficult,
but the demand is no less insistent on that account.
Clearly the managers are without that intercarrier, cooperative relationship
so highly essential to the best and most economical operation. They could
not function in harmony when the strike threatened the paralysis of all
railway transportation. The relationship of tile service to public welfare,
so intimately affected by State and Federal regulation, demands the effective
correlation and a concerted drive to meet an insistent and justified public
The merger of lines into systems, a facilitated interchange of freight
cars, the economic use of terminals, and the consolidation of facilities
are suggested ways of economy and efficiency.
I remind you that Congress provided a Joint Commission of Agricultural
Inquiry which made an exhaustive investigation of car service and transportation,
and unanimously recommended in its report of October 15, 1921, the pooling
of freight cars under a central agency. This report well deserves your
serious consideration. I think well of the central agency, which shall
be a creation of the railways themselves, to provide, under the jurisdiction
of the Interstate Commerce Commission, the means for financing equipment
for carriers which are otherwise unable to provide their proportion of
car equipment adequate to transportation needs. This same agency ought
to point the way to every possible economy in maintained equipment and
the necessary interchanges in railway commerce.
In a previous address to the Congress I called to your attention the
insufficiency of power to enforce the decisions of the Railroad Labor Board.
Carriers have ignored its decisions, on the one hand, railway workmen have
challenged its decisions by a strike, on the other hand.
The intent of Congress to establish a tribunal to which railway labor
and managers may appeal respecting questions of wages and working conditions
can not be too strongly commended. It is vitally important that some such
agency should be a guaranty against suspended operation. The public must
be spared even the threat of discontinued service.
Sponsoring the railroads as we do, it is an obligation that labor shall
be assured the highest justice and every proper consideration of wage and
working conditions, but it is an equal obligation to see that no concerted
action in forcing demands shall deprive the public of the transportation
service essential to its very existence. It is now impossible to safeguard
public interest, because the decrees of the board are unenforceable against
either employer or employee.
The Labor Board itself is not so constituted as best to serve the public
interest. With six partisan members on a board of nine, three partisans
nominated by the employees and three by the railway managers, it is inevitable
that the partisan viewpoint is maintained throughout hearings and in decisions
handed down. Indeed, the few exceptions to a strictly partisan expression
in decisions thus far rendered have been followed by accusations of betrayal
of the partisan interests represented. Only the public group of three is
free to function in unbiased decisions. Therefore the partisan membership
may well be abolished, and decisions should be made by an impartial tribunal.
I am well convinced that the functions of this tribunal could be much
better carried on here in Washington. Even were it to be continued as a
separate tribunal, there ought to be contact with the Interstate Commerce
Commission, which has supreme authority in the rate making to which wage
cost bears an indissoluble relationship Theoretically, a fair and living
wage must be determined quite apart from the employer's earning capacity,
but in practice, in the railway service, they are inseparable. The record
of advanced rates to meet increased wages, both determined by the Government,
is proof enough.
The substitution of a labor division in the Interstate Commerce Commission
made up from its membership, to hear and decide disputes relating to wages
and working conditions which have failed of adjustment by proper committees
created by the railways and their employees, offers a more effective plan.
It need not be surprising that there is dissatisfaction over delayed
hearings and decisions by the present board when every trivial dispute
is carried to that tribunal. The law should require the railroads and their
employees to institute means and methods to negotiate between themselves
their constantly arising differences, limiting appeals to the Government
tribunal to disputes of such character as are likely to affect the public
This suggested substitution will involve a necessary increase in the
membership of the commission, probably four, to constitute the labor division.
If the suggestion appeals to the Congress, it will be well to specify that
the labor division shall be constituted of representatives of the four
rate-making territories, thereby assuring a tribunal conversant with the
conditions which obtain in the different ratemaking sections of the country.
I wish I could bring to you the precise recommendation for the prevention
of strikes which threaten the welfare of the people and menace public safety.
It is an impotent civilization and an inadequate government which lacks
the genius and the courage to guard against such a menace to public welfare
as we experienced last summer. You were aware of the Government's great
concern and its futile attempt to aid in an adjustment. It will reveal
the inexcusable obstinacy which was responsible for so much distress to
the country to recall now that, though all disputes are not yet adjusted,
the many settlements which have been made were on the terms which the Government
proposed in mediation.
Public interest demands that ample power shall be conferred upon the.
labor tribunal, whether it is the present board or the suggested substitute,
to require its rulings to be accepted by both parties to a disputed question.
Let there be no confusion about the purpose of the suggested conferment
of power to make decisions effective. There can be no denial of constitutional
rights of either railway workmen or railway managers. No man can be denied
his right to labor when and how he chooses, or cease to labor when he so
elects, but, since the Government assumes to safeguard his interests while
employed in an essential public service, the security of society -itself
demands his retirement from the service shall not be so timed and related
as to effect the destruction of that service. This vitally essential public
transportation service, demanding so much of brain and brawn, so much for
efficiency and security, ought to offer the most attractive working conditions
and the highest of wages paid to workmen in any employment.
In essentially every branch, from track repairer to the man at the locomotive
throttle, the railroad worker is responsible for the safety of human lives
and the care of vast property. His high responsibility might well rate
high his pay within the limits the traffic will bear; but the same responsibility,
plus grovernmental protection, may justly deny him and his associates a
withdrawal from service without a warning or under circumstances which
involve the paralysis of necessary transportation. We have assumed so great
a responsibility in necessary regulation that we unconsciously have assumed
the responsibility for maintained service; therefore the lawful power for
the enforcement. of decisions is necessary to sustain the majesty of government
and to administer to the public welfare.
During its longer session the present Congress enacted a new tariff
law. The protection of the American standards of living demanded the insurance
it provides against the distorted conditions of world commerce The framers
of the law made provision for a certain flexibility of customs duties,
whereby it is possible to readjust them as developing conditions may require.
The enactment has imposed a large responsibility upon the Executive, but
that responsibility will be discharged with a broad mindfulness of the
whole business situation. The provision itself admits either the possible
fallibility of rates or their unsuitableness to changing conditions. I
believe the grant of authority may be promptly and discreetly exercised,
ever mindful of the intent and purpose to safeguard American industrial
activity, and at the same time prevent the exploitation of the American
consumer and keep open the paths of such liberal exchanges as do not endanger
our own productivity.
No one contemplates commercial aloofness nor any other aloofness contradictory
to the best American traditions or loftiest human purposes. Our fortunate
capacity for comparative self-containment affords the firm foundation on
which to build for our own security, and a like foundation on which to
build for a future of influence and importance in world commerce. Our trade
expansion must come of capacity and of policies of righteousness and reasonableness
in till our commercial relations.
Let no one assume that our provision for maintained good fortune at
home, and our unwillingness to assume the correction of all the ills of
the world, means a reluctance to cooperate with other peoples or to assume
every just obligation to promote human advancement anywhere in the world.
War made its a creditor Nation. We did not seek an excess possession
of the world's gold, and we have neither desire to profit Unduly by its
possession nor permanently retain it. We do not seek to become an international
dictator because of its power.
The voice of the United States has a respectful hearing in international
councils, because we have convinced the world that we have no selfish ends
to serve, no old grievances to avenge, no territorial or other greed to
satisfy. But the voice being beard is that of good counsel. not of dictation.
It is the voice of sympathy and fraternity and helpfulness, seeking to
assist but not assume for the United States burdens which nations must
bear for themselves. We would rejoice to help rehabilitate currency systems
and facilitate all commerce which does not drag us to the very levels of
those we seek to lift up.
While I have everlasting faith in our Republic, it would be folly, indeed,
to blind ourselves to our problems at home. Abusing the hospitality of
our shores are the advocates of revolution, finding their deluded followers
among those who take on the habiliments of an American without knowing
an American soul. There is the recrudescence of hyphenated Americanism
which we thought to have been stamped out when we committed the Nation,
life and soul, to the World War.
There is a call to make the alien respect our institutions while lie
accepts our hospitality. There is need to magnify the American viewpoint
to the alien who seeks a citizenship among us. There is need to magnify
the national viewpoint to Americans throughout the land. More there is
a demand for every living being in the United States to respect and abide
by the laws of the Republic. Let men who are rending the moral fiber of
the Republic through easy contempt for the prohibition law, because they
think it restricts their personal liberty, remember that they set the example
and breed a contempt for law which will ultimately destroy the Republic.
Constitutional prohibition has been adopted by the Nation. It is the
supreme law of the land. In plain speaking, there are conditions relating
to its enforcement which savor of nation-wide scandal. It is the most demoralizing
factor in our public life.
Most of our people assumed that the adoption of the eighteenth amendment
meant the elimination of the question from our politics. On the contrary,
it has been so intensified as an issue that many voters are disposed to
make all political decisions with reference to this single question. It
is distracting the public mind and prejudicing the judgment of the electorate.
The day is unlikely to come when the eighteenth amendment will be repealed.
The fact may as well be recognized and our course adapted accordingly.
If the statutory provisions for its enforcement are contrary to deliberate
public opinion, which I do not believe the rigorous and literal enforcement
will concentrate public attention on any requisite modification. Such a
course, conforms with the law and saves the humiliation of the Government
and the humiliation of our people before the world, and challenges the
destructive forces engaged in widespread violation, official corruption
and individual demoralization.
The eighteenth amendment involves the concurrent authority of State
and Federal Governments., for the enforcement of the policy it defines.
A certain lack of definiteness, through division of responsibility is thus
introduced. In order to bring about a full understanding of duties and
responsibilities as thus distributed, I purpose to invite the governors
of tile States and Territories, at an early opPortunity, to a conference
with the Federal Executive authority. Out of the full and free considerations
which will thus be possible, it is confidently believed, will emerge a
more adequate, comprehension of tile whole problem, and definite policies
of National and State cooperation in administering the laws.
There are pending bills for the registration of the alien who has come
to our shores. I wish the passage of such an act might be expedited. Life
amid American opportunities is worth the cost of registration if it is
worth the seeking, and the Nation has the right to know who are citizens
in the making or who live among us anti share our advantages while seeking
to undermine our cherislied institutions. This provision will enable us
to guard against the abuses in immigration, checking the undesirable whose
irregular Willing is his first violation of our laws. More, it will facilitate
the needed Americanizing of those who mean to enroll as fellow citizens.
Before enlarging the immigration quotas we had better provide registration
for aliens, those now here or continually pressing for admission, and establish
our examination boards abroad, to make sure of desirables only. By the
examination abroad we could end the pathos at our ports, when men and women
find our doors closed, after long voyages and wasted savings, because they
are unfit for admission It would be kindlier and safer to tell them before
Our program of admission and treatment of immigrants is very intimately
related to the educational policy of the Republic With illiteracy estimated
at front two-tenths of 1 per cent to less than 2 per cent in 10 of the
foremost nations of Europe it rivets our attention to it serious problem
when we are reminded of a 6 per cent illiteracy in the United States. The
figures are based on the test which defines an Illiterate as one having
no schoollng whatever. Remembering tile wide freedom of our public schools
with compulsory attendance in many States in the Union, one is convinced
that much of our excessive illiteracy comes to us from abroad, and the
education of the immigrant becomes it requisite to his Americanization.
It must be done if he is fittingly to exercise the duties as well as enjoy
the privileges of American citizenship. Here is revealed tile Special field
for Federal cooperation in furthering education
From the very beginning public education has been left mainly in the
hands of the States. So far as schooling youth is concerned the policy
has been justified, because no responsibility can be so effective as that
of tile local community alive to its task. I believe in the cooperation
of the national authority to stimulate, encourage, and broaden tile Work
of tile local authorities But it is the especial obligation of tile Federal
Government to devise means and effectively assist in the education of the
newcomer from foreign lands, so that the level of American education may
be made the highest that is humanly possible.
Closely related to this problem of education is the abolition of child
labor. Twice Congress has attempted the correction of the evils incident
to child employment. The decision of the Supreme Court has put this problem
outside the proper domain of Federal regulation until the Constitution
is so amended as to give the Congress indubitable authority. I recommend
the submission of such an amendment.
We have two schools of thought relating to amendment of the Constitution.
One need not be committed to the belief that amendment is weakening the
fundamental law, or that excessive amendment is essential to meet every
ephemeral whim. We ought to amend to meet the demands of the people when
sanctioned by deliberate public opinion.
One year ago I suggested the submission of an amendment so that we may
lawfully restrict the issues of taxexempt securities, and I renew that
recommendation now. Tax-exempt securities are drying up the sources of
Federal taxation and they are encouraging unproductive and extravagant
expenditures by States and municipalities. There is more than the menace
in mounting public debt, there is the dissipation of capital which should
be made available to the needs of productive industry. The proposed amendment
will place the State and Federal Governments and all political subdivisions
on an exact equality, and will correct the growing menace of public borrowing,
which if left unchecked may soon threaten the stability of our institutions.
We are so vast and so varied in our national interests that scores of
problems are pressing for attention. I must not risk the wearying of your
patience with detailed reference.
Reclamation and irrigation projects, where waste land may be made available
for settlement and productivity, are worthy of your favorable consideration.
When it is realized that we are consuming our timber four times as rapidly
as we are growing it, we must encourage the greatest possible cooperation
between the Federal Government, the various States, and the owners of forest
lands, to the end that protection from fire shall be made more effective
and replanting encouraged.
The fuel problem is under study now by a very capable fact-finding commission,
and any attempt to deal with the coal problem, of such deep concern to
the entire Nation, must await the report of the commission.
There are necessary studies of great problems which Congress might well
initiate. The wide spread between production costs and prices which consumers
pay concerns every citizen of the Republic. It contributes very largely
to the unrest in "agriculture and must stand sponsor for much against which
we inveigh in that familiar term--the high cost of living.
No one doubts the excess is traceable to the levy of the middleman,
but it would be unfair to charge him with all responsibility before we
appraise what is exacted of him by our modernly complex life. We have attacked
the problem on one side by the promotion of cooperative marketing, and
we might well inquire into the benefits of cooperative buying. Admittedly,
the consumer is much to blame himself, because of his prodigal expenditure
and his exaction of service, but Government might well serve to point the
way of narrowing the spread of price, especially between the production
of food and its consumption.
A superpower survey of the eastern industrial region has recently been
completed, looking to unification of steam, water, and electric powers,
and to a unified scheme of power distribution. The survey proved that vast
economies in tonnage movement of freights, and in the efficiency of the
railroads, would be effected if the superpower program were adopted. I
am convinced that constructive measures calculated to promote such an industrial
development--I am tempted to say, such an industrial revolution-would be
well worthy the careful attention and fostering interest of the National
The proposed survey of a plan to draft all the resources of the Republic,
human and material, for national defense may well have your approval. I
commended such a program in case of future war, in the inaugural address.
of March 4, 1921, and every experience in the adjustment and liquidation
of war claims and the settlement of war obligations persuades me we ought
to be prepared for such universal call to armed defense.
I bring you no apprehension of war. The world is abhorrent of it, and
our own relations are not only free from every threatening cloud, but we
have contributed our larger influence toward making armed conflict less
Those who assume that we played our part in the World War and later
took ourselves aloof and apart, unmindful of world obligations, give scant
credit to the helpful part we assume in international relationships.
Whether all nations signatory ratify all the treaties growing out of
the Washington Conference on Limitation of Armament or some withhold approval,
the underlying policy of limiting naval armament has the sanction of the
larger naval powers, and naval competition is suspended. Of course, unanimous
ratification is much to be desired.
The four-power pact, which abolishes every probability of war on the
Pacific, has brought new confidence in a maintained peace, and I can well
believe it might be made a model for like assurances wherever in the world
any common interests are concerned.
We have had expressed the hostility of the American people to a supergovernment
or to any commitment where either a council or an assembly of leagued powers
may chart our course. Treaties of armed alliance can have no likelihood
of American sanction, but we believe in respecting the rights of nations,
in the value of conference and consultation, in the effectiveness of leaders
of nations looking each other in the face ace before resorting to the arbitrament
It has been our fortune both to preach and promote international understanding.
The influence of the United States in bringing near the settlement of an
ancient dispute between South American nations is added proof of the glow
of peace in ample understanding. In Washington to-day are met the delegates
of the Central American nations, gathered at the table of international
understanding, to stabilize their Republics and remove every vestige of
disagreement. They are met here by our invitation, not in our aloofness,
and they accept our hospitality because they have faith in our unselfishness
and believe in our helpfulness. Perhaps we are selfish in craving their
confidence and friendship, but such a selfishness we proclaim to the world,
regardless of hemisphere, or seas dividing.
I would like the Congress and the people of the Nation to believe that
in a firm and considerate way we are insistent on American rights wherever
they may be questioned, and deny no rights of others in the assertion of
our own. Moreover we are cognizant of the world's struggles for full readjustment
and rehabilitation, and we have shirked no duty which comes of sympathy,
or fraternity, or highest fellowship among nations. Every obligation consonant
with American ideals and sanctioned under our form of government is willingly
met. When we can not support we do not demand. Our constitutional limitations
do not forbid the exercise of a moral influence, the measure of which is
not less than the high purposes we have sought to serve.
After all there is less difference about the part this great Republic
shall play in furthering peace and advancing humanity than in the manner
of playing it. We ask no one to assume responsibility for us; we assume
no responsibility which others must bear for themselves, unless nationality
is hopelessly swallowed up in internationalism.