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By W. N. Ewer 

First Soul— 

I was a peasant of the Polish plain; 
I left my plow because the message tan: 
Russia, in danger, needed every man 

To save her from the Teuton; and was slain. 
/ gave my life for freedom— this I know: 
For those who bade me fight had told me so. 

Second Soul— 

I was a Tyrolese, a mountaineer; 
I gladly left my mountain home to fight 
Against the brutal, treacherous Muscovite; 

And died in Poland on a Cossack spear. 
I gave my life for freedom — this I know: 
For those who bade me fight had told me so. 

Third Soul— 

I worked in Lyons at my weaver's loom. 
When suddenly the Prussian despot hurled 
His felon blow at Prance and at the world; 

Then I went forth to Belgium and my doom. 
/ gave my life for freedom—this I know: 
For those who bade me fight had told me so. 

Fourth Soul— 

I owned a vineyard by the wooded Main, 
Until the Fatherland, begirt by foes 
Lusting her downfall, called me, and I rose 

Swift to the call— and died in fair Lorraine. 
/ gave my life for freedom — this I know: 
For those who bade me fight had told me so. 

Fifth Soul— 

I worked in a great shipyard by the Clyde, 
There came a sudden word of wars declared, 
Of Belgium, peaceful, helpless, unprepared, 

Asking our aid; I joined the ranks, and died. 
I gave my life for freedom — this I know: 
For those who bade me fight had told me so, 

—The Nation, London. 


TV.2 ; , v»y-^5f | 

PUBLIC I.rS; Afjf 


A8T0R, L'*N;.'- *NT3 
TIX-DffN k^ ':H;«>13*'4 J 

Copyright, 1915, 
By Allan L. Benson 


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I. To the Working Class of the World . . i 

II. An Anti-War Program That Will Work . 5 

III. Is the War Referendum Right in Principle? 13 

IV. Is There Such a Thing As Aggressive War? 28 

V. Wars of Aggression That Were Made in 

England and America .... 45 

VI. The Place to Strike the First Blow Against 

War 63 

VII. Warlike Peoples and Peace-Loving Rulers 75 

VIII. Socialism and the War-Referendum . . 89 

IX. Women, War and the Ballot . . . 105 

X. The Causes of Modern War . . . .119 

XI. Patriotism 131 

XII. To Christians Who Pray for Peace . . 140 

XIII. The Prospects for More War . 148 

XIV. War and Socialism 155 

Appendix 174 



If the people were in favor of war, the way to 
end war would be to convert the people to peace. This 
book is devoted to the task of showing that since 
the people are opposed to war the logical way to end 
it is to take the power to declare war from minorities 
who misuse it and vest it in the people who may be 
depended upon not to use it at all. Public sentiment 
in favor of peace can be of little practical value so long 
as a minority in each nation control the war-making 

The ideas upon which this book is based began to 
come to me twelve days after the outbreak of the 
Great War in Europe, while I was writing an article 
on the war for Pearson's Magazine. It seemed such 
a colossal wrong that perhaps fifty men should have 
the power to force war upon 350,000,000 who did 
not want it. I had written more than half of the ar- 
ticle when the idea came to me that only the people, 
voting by direct ballot, should have the power to de- 
clare war — and thus it was that the demand for a 
referendum on war was first made in an article devoted 
to the war in Europe. 

For the next seven months, I did little else 

but develop the idea, write about it and speak about it 



One article, when re-printed as a pamphlet, had a cir- 
culation of more than 2,000,000 copies. The Execu- 
tive Committee of the Socialist Party has endorsed the 
plan in principle and, as noted on Page 102, it has re- 
ceived enthusiastic support elsewhere. 

All except the last chapter of this book was printed 
serially in the Appeal to Reason, the Socialist weekly 
published at Girard, Kansas. The last chapter was 

first printed in Pearson's Magazine. 

A. L. B. 
Yonkers, N. Y., April, 191 5. 




/ T*HE knife is at your throat and the pistol is at 
■*- your heart. 

You must end war or war will end you. 

What the great men of the world have failed to do, 
you must do or you die. What the great men of the 
world have failed to do you can do, because you are 
wholly opposed to war and they are not. 

It is idle to say that the ruling classes of the world 
could not end war if they wholly believed in peace. 
Between sunrise and sunset of any day they could sink 
their navies and disband their armies. Disarmament 
is both simple and effective. But no nation disarms 
because each nation is governed by a small ruling class 
of capitalists who do not really want perpetual peace. 

Every ruling class is opposed to every war in which 
it sees no opportunity to obtain profit for itself. But 
every ruling class favors war if it can accomplish its 
purpose in no other way. The capitalists of Great 
Britain regretted our war with Spain, but did not re- 
gret their own war with the Boer republics. The capi- 
talists of the United States regretted the war between 


Russia and Japan, but did not regret our war with 
Spain and the Philippines. 

The time has come when the working class, the 
world over, must speak or die. 

Civilization cannot long endure if it be subjected to 
many more such assaults as the great war that broke 
out in Europe in the summer of 19 14. 

Civilization could and did survive the wars of the 
past, but the wars of the past were as nothing in com- 
parison with this war. 

Grant so shed human blood that, in the dark days 
of the American Civil War, thousands called him a 

The generation that judged Grant did not know 
what butchering meant. 

Beside the European commanders of to-day, Grant 
was a mere brawler. Grant, in all his life, never shed 
so much human blood as these men shed during the 
first three months of the war. Nor did Napoleon. 

All through the ages we have looked to the butcher- 
ing class to devise means to end butchery. We should 
no longer look to the butchers — we should look to 

If civilization is to endure, the working class cannot 
forever be kept upon the operating table. 

The working class must set its face against the 
farce of a peace tribunal housed in a palace built from 
the profits on armor plate — a peace tribunal that can 
prevent all wars except little wars, medium-sized wars 
and big wars. 


The working class must sweep aside these qualified 
opponents of war and station its own huge bulk in 
their place. 

We do not depend upon burglars to frame our 
statutes against burglary — why should we depend upon 
capitalists to bring peace and keep peace? 

J The only peace these creatures bring to us is the 
peace of death. 

Instead of balm, they give us bombs. After wor- 
ship, they give us warships.} To end war they are will- 
ing to do almost anything except to keep the peace. 
The net result of all their efforts in our behalf is the 
European war of 1914 — the greatest calamity that 
ever befell the human race. 

Yet it would not be accurate to charge that the capi- 
talist peace movement is sheer hypocrisy. It is sin- 
cere as far as it goes. It fails only because most of 
the men behind it want peace with a proviso— peace 
always if it can be had without detriment to profits; 
peace always for neighboring nations whose quarrels 
are without interest to their neighbors ; but peace never 
when the ruling class of a nation believes it can accom- 
plish its purposes in no other way. 

A program will now be presented which, if adopted, 
would bring to the world peace without a proviso- 
peace without end. 

It is not a program that the butchers will approve. 

It is not a program based upon a plan that has 

It is a program based upon the needs of the working 


class — which is equivalent to saying that it will not 
be installed by the capitalist class. It can be placed 
in effect only by the working class. 

But the working class is strong. It includes all but 
a fraction of the people. What the working class de- 
mands it can have. It has only to learn to demand — 
and to insist 

Let it demand peace and go about it to bring peace 
in a way that is its own. 



/ X*HE power to declare aggressive war should be 
•*• taken from the ruling class and deposited in the 
people, to be exercised by them only by direct ballot. 

The power to resist actual attack in force should 
remain in the hands of the Congress and the Presi- 
dent whose duty, in such circumstances, it should be 
to defend and protect the people of the United States 
without resort to special authority from the people. 

In the face of threatened invasion, or of any other 
emergency indicating speedy attack in force, the Con- 
gress and the President should have the power, with- 
out resort to special authority from the people, to 
make every needful provision for defense up to, but 
not including, the firing of the first gun. All other mili- 
tary preparations made by Congress should be subject 
to referendum. The first gun should never be fired 
by the United States except by order of a majority of 
the qualified electors expressed by direct ballot. 

The electors qualified to vote upon a proposal to 
declare war should consist of all the men and women in 
the United States more than 18 years old. War is the 
concern of women as much as it is of men, and if a boy 
18 years of age is old enough to die for his country 



he is also wise enough to know whether he wants to 

Congress, by majority vote of the membership of 
each house thereof, should have the power to propose 
war. ' 

War having been thus proposed, Congress should 
set a day for a general election throughout the United 
States to pass upon the proposal. 

The day should not be set within 60 days from the 
date of the proposal, nor should it be later than six 
months therefrom. 

The people should be given time to ponder upon the 
solemnity of the occasion, but it would be neither just 
nor prudent to permit a threat of war to hang too long 
over another nation. 

The ballot should consist of a slip of paper upon 
which should be printed the question: 

Shall the United States declare war against 

Nami ng the nation YES 

Each voter should be required to sign his or her 
name opposite the word indicating his or her desire. 

At each polling place, an accurate record should be 
kept of the numerical order in which the electors ex- 
ercised the right of franchise. 

In counting, the ballots cast by those desiring war 
should be kept apart from the ballots of those opposed 
to war. 


Electors not voting should be regarded as having 
voted against war. 

In the event of a majority of the men and women 
in the United States voting for war, the President, as 
the Commander-in-chief of the army and navy, should 
proceed to make war. 

Every man who voted for war should be regarded 
as having thereby automatically enlisted into the army. 

The President should be authorized to send to the 
front all of the men who voted for war, or as many 
thereof as he might deem necessary. 

If all of the men who voted for war should prove 
unable to defeat the foe, the President should be au- 
thorized to select by lot and muster into service all the 
men who did not vote. 

If still more soldiers should be required, the Presi- 
dent should be authorized to muster into service the 
men who voted against war, choosing first those who 
voted against war latest in the day and working back- 
ward upon the lists to the first man in each precinct 
who voted against war, who should be the last man 
called upon to fight. 

The President should be forbidden to send to the 
front any man who voted against war until every man 
who voted for war had been mustered into service, 
and the resultant army proved insufficient. 

Women who vote for war should not be required to 
perform military service unless war would not have 
been declared without their votes. 

If the votes of women should turn the scale toward 


war, the women who voted for war should be mus- 
tered into the military service in the order in which 
they cast their ballots at their respective polling places. 
But in no circumstances should a woman who voted 
against war be required to perform military services. 

Every writer, public speaker and public official who 
shall advocate war with a particular nation or group 
of nations should be sent to prison for not less than 
one year nor more than five unless he forthwith files 
notice of such advocacy with the President of the 
United States. If, within five years of such advocacy, 
war should take place between the United States and 
such nation or nations, such persons should be im- 
mediately sent to the front as common soldiers and 
kept on the firing line until the end of the war, unless 
temporarily incapacitated by wounds. Such persons, 
if wounded, should, upon recovery, be sent back to 
the front and kept there until the end of the war. 

The power to formulate and execute foreign policies 
and to conduct negotiations with foreign powers should 
be taken from the President and deposited in Congress. 

The present Department of State should be abol- 
ished and all of its functions transferred to a joint 
congressional committee on foreign relations. 

This committee should consist of such equal num- 
ber of members of each house as the two houses of 
Congress might mutually agree upon, each house 
electing its own representatives upon the committee. 

The chairman of the committee, who should not 
necessarily be a member of Congress, should be elected 


by the two houses in joint session. He should rank 
as the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the United States 
and should be responsible, not to the President, but to 

The Minister of Foreign Affairs should have, in the 
disposal of minor matters and routine affairs, such lati- 
tude for individual discretion as Congress might 
choose to give him; but in matters of moment he 
should act only under the direction of Congress, as 
expressed directly or through the committee on foreign 

The Minister of Foreign Affairs should be required, 
not later than the close of each business day, to give to 
the press all the messages that he had received during 
the preceding 24 hours from ( 1 ) American Ambassa- 
dors, Ministers, Consuls and every other official or 
personal agent, by whatever title known; (2), all the 
messages sent during the same time to American Am- 
bassadors, Ministers, Consuls and other agents dis- 
patched to other nations; (3), all the dispatches re- 
ceived from the representatives, official or otherwise, 
of foreign nations and officials; (4), and all the dis- 
patches sent to the representatives of foreign nations 
and officials. 

It should be unlawful for anybody except the chair- 
man of the committee on foreign affairs to communi- 
cate, in the name of the United States, with American 
diplomatic and consular agents abroad, or with the 
official or unofficial representatives of foreign govern- 


It should be unlawful for the chairman of 
the committee on foreign relations to send verbal mes- 
sages or to direct messages to any others than the 
persons for whom they are actually intended. 

Any evasion of these provisions, either by trick or 
device or by failure to publish messages the same day 
they are received or sent, should be deemed sufficient 
justification for the impeachment of the chairman of 
the committee on foreign relations, for his removal 
from office and for his indictment upon a charge of 
felony, upon conviction of which he should be im- 
prisoned in a federal prison for not less than one year 
nor more than five. 

Warships, guns and ammunition should be manu- 
factured only by the government. No individual or 
corporation should be permitted to have a pecuniary 
interest in urging preparation for war. 

The foregoing is a brief outline of the program 
that, if adopted by the world, would banish war from 
the world. It is based upon the assumption that wars 
are fomented by individuals and that the natural ten- 
dency of people is to keep the peace. The plan, there- 
fore, contemplates three distinct achievements: 

( i ) The punishment of writers, speakers and public 
officials who foment wars, by compelling them to be 
common soldiers on the firing line in any wars they 
may provoke ; 

(2) The placing of diplomacy in the daylight, to 
the end that the people may have full and accurate 
knowledge of their negotiations with other nations, 


as they proceed from day to day. It is the lies told 
by diplomatists that inflame people who would other- 
wise be peaceful. It is the darkness in which diplo- 
matists work that enables them to commit aggressions 
that they would not dare to attempt if their own people 
knew what they were doing. 

(3) The equal apportionment of power and re- 
sponsibility, so far as a declaration of war is con- 
cerned, among all of the American people. As mat- 
ters now stand, 134 men in Congress and one man in 
the White House have all of the power without any 
of the physical responsibility, while the rest of the 
people have all of the physical responsibility without 
any of the power. The exercise of power unbalanced 
by responsibility tends toward the abuse of power. 
Responsibility for the acts of others without power to 
prevent the acts is an aggravated form of slavery. 
It is an incomparably greater assault upon justice for 
a few men to have the power to send all others into 
the field to kill human beings than it would be for a 
few men to have the power to send all others into the 
field to raise cotton or reap wheat. 

It is not the contention of the writer, however, that 
the foregoing reaches the root of the war evil, in the 
sense that it reaches the cause of war. So long as men 
tolerate laws under which the necessities of life are 
subject to private ownership, so long will a few men 
own the necessities and so long will the greed of the 
few precipitate situations that will cause them to prefer 
war to the abandonment of their purposes. 


The plan herewith proposed is an attempt to prevent 
a few men from sending all other men to war. It is 
proposed to do this by taking from the few the power 
to make a war-declaration and giving it not only to 
all men, but to all women. 

If this be wrong, democracy is wrong. 

If this be unnecessary, democracy is unnecessary. 

If democracy is necessary to decide the tariff ques- 
tion, it is infinitely more needed to decide the death 

Not every man is thoroughly informed with regard 
to currency and banking, but every man knows whether 
he wants to be shot. 

Upon this question of personal preference, everyone 
can vote with precision and with certainty. 

War is an evil of such colossal proportions that it 
should be curbed at the earliest possible moment. War 
is like a great tiger thirsting for human blood. The 
anti-war program here presented, which will be ex- 
plained and elaborated during the following chapters, 
is intended to be a steel cage enveloping the tiger. 
The tiger once caged, we shall have time to consider 
the best means of killing him. 



TVyTANY measures that are wrong in principle are 
«*■▼ A nevertheless put into practice. We all know 
this. I shall, therefore, venture the assertion that any- 
thing that is right in principle can also be put into 
practice. To challenge this statement is to assert that 
wrong is practical, but right is not. 

By this rule, let us measure the proposal that only 
the people shall declare aggressive war, that they shall 
declare it only by direct ballot, and that those who vote 
for war shall be compelled to accept responsibility for 
their votes by going to any wars they may make before 
any opponent of war shall be summoned to military 

If this proposal be wrong in principle, the ascertain- 
ment of this fact should put an end to the proposal. 
If this proposal be wrong in principle, we need give 
no consideration to the means by which it might be 
applied. But if it should be demonstrated that this 
proposal is right in principle — if it shall be demon- 
strated that this proposal is based upon a great need 
of the human race — then we should go on. Then we 
should consider the means by which the principle em- 
bodied in the proposal might be put into effect 



But before any other question is settled we should 
settle the question of the rightness or wrongness of the 
contention that the people should exercise direct con- 
trol of their war-making machinery. Let us settle this 
question first and settle it with confidence that, if the 
contention be sustained, we shall not lack means to 
carry it out Wrong alone is not practical. Right is 
not less practical than wrong. Right is more practical 
than wrong. And, it is not less true of right than it is 
of wrong that "where there is a will, there is a way." 

The suggestion that the war-making power be taken 
from the Congress and the President and deposited in 
the people contemplates a fundamental change in the 
structure of the government of the United States. 
Let us first ascertain what change is contemplated and 
then consider whether it is justified by our necessities. 

The change that is contemplated in the matter of 
war-declarations is the substitution of direct power for 
delegated power. The government of the United 
States is solely a government of delegated powers. 
The governments of most of our states are not. Most 
of our states give the people the right to vote directly 
on proposed constitutions, proposed amendments to 
constitutions and proposals to issue bonds. In such 
matters, the people have refused to delegate their po- 
litical powers and have insisted upon exercising them 

But the same people, as citizens of the United States, 
submit to a national government that consists solely of 
delegated powers. 


We authorize the President to act in our behalf. 

We authorize the members of Congress to act in our 

As citizens of the nation, we cannot in any matter 
act in our own behalf. Whatever governmental func- 
tion is performed in our name is done by those who 
exercise the powers we have delegated to them. 
Wherefore, we say that this is a representative gov- 
ernment — a government administered by the people 
through their representatives. 

But the state governments, as we have seen, are not 
strictly representative governments. American citi- 
zens, in their capacity as citizens of states, have not 
delegated all of their political powers. Let us seek 
the line that the American people themselves have 
drawn between the powers they were willing to dele- 
gate to their state governments and the powers they 
insisted upon exercising by direct ballot. 

Let us do more than that. Let us try to discover 
why the American people drew the line. Why have 
the American people said to their state legislators: 
"We will delegate to you power to legislate upon this 
subject, but not upon that"? Why have the citizens 
of practically all of the states said to their legislators : 
"We will not delegate to you the power to say what 
our constitution shall be"? And, furthermore, why 
have the citizens of Oregon, California, Arizona and 
some other states said to their legislators : "We will 
not delegate to you any legislative power that is not 


subject to our right to reverse it, at pleasure, by our 
votes at the polls" ? 

We are now approaching bedrock. Plainly, the 
American people, in their capacity as citizens of states, 
have said there were some subjects upon which they 
would not permit their legislators to speak for them. 
Precisely as plainly, the citizens of Oregon, California, 
Arizona and some other states have refused to dele- 
gate unqualified legislative power upon any subject. 
Why have citizens of states drawn a line between pow- 
ers they would delegate and powers they would not? 

Is not the reason for this line as plain as day? 
Can there be any doubt as to the reason? Have not 
the citizens of states, with mighty voice said : "There 
are some subjects so important to us that we cannot 
take a chance of having our representatives misrepre- 
sent us" ? If not, why have the people refused to dele- 
gate to their legislators the power to make state con- 
stitutions ? Why, except for the proneness of legisla- 
tors to misrepresent their constituents, have the citi- 
zens of several western states refused to delegate any 
legislative power except upon condition that every act 
performed under such delegated power shall be sub- 
ject to the right of the people to pass final judgment 
upon it at the polls? 

Upon these questions, informed men cannot differ. 
The testimony is all one way. In their capacity as citi^ 
zens of states, the American people have said there 
were some powers that might be safely delegated and 
some that might not be. They have said there were 


some questions so important they dare not entrust 
them to representatives. 

We have now taken the first step toward the finding 
of the truth for which we seek. The right of the peo- 
ple to do what they will with their political power can- 
not be denied. It is their power. Nor can anyone 
deny the right of the people to be the judges of the 
facts. It is for the people alone to determine what 
powers, if any, they may safely delegate and what they 
may not. And it is for the people alone to determine 
what subjects are so important that it would be mad- 
ness to invite the risk of misrepresentation through 
the exercise of delegated power. 

What subject is more important than war? What 
calamity is greater than war ? What horror is greater 
than a war that the people do not want ? What wrong 
is greater than a war enforced upon the many by the 
few? What legislative act, if performed against the 
people's will, could bring more misery to more millions 
than a declaration of war? And, if it be correct in 
principle and wise in practice for citizens of states to 
reserve the right to vote directly upon certain matters, 
why would it not also be correct in principle and wise 
in practice for citizens of the United States to reserve 
the right to vote directly upon a declaration of ag- 
gressive war? 

Denial of this demand can in logic be based only 
upon the assertion that the Congress and the President 
can be trusted never to declare a war that the people 
do not want. But if representatives can so safely bo 


trusted in the matter of war, why should we trouble 
ourselves to reserve the right to vote upon state bond 
issues, state constitutions, amendments to state consti- 
tutions and other relatively trifling subjects, control 
over which we are still clutching with jealous hands ? 

The fact is that no legislative body can safely be 
trusted to give expression to the public will in any 
matter. Legislative bodies sometimes correctly repre- 
sent the public and sometimes they do not. When leg- 
islative bodies misrepresent the public as to relatively 
immaterial matters, the misrepresentation can be en- 
dured, for the moment, and later corrected. But mis- 
representation as to war cannot be corrected. The 
dead remain dead forever and the living grieve to the 
end of their lives. 

Upon what principle of justice or expediency is 
this great power to declare war absolutely delegated to 
a few men? It is a denial of the principle that Ameri- 
can citizens have laid down for themselves in their 
capacity as citizens of states. Nobody questions the 
correctness of the principle that the people themselves, 
by direct ballot, shall determine what their state con- 
stitutions shall be. If it be correct in principle to re- 
serve the power to adopt state constitutions, would it 
be wrong in principle to reserve the power to declare 
aggressive war? Is war less important than a state 
constitution? If it would be unwise to let a legisla- 
ture adopt a state constitution, is it wise to let a hand- 
ful of men in Washington have the power to declare 
war? Is it only in the making of state constitutions 


and other relatively trivial matters that legislators 
may act in opposition to the wishes of the people? If 
the principle of delegated power is not always to be 
trusted in these relatively trivial matters, is it always 
to be trusted in the supreme matter of war-making? 

No American will question the right of the people 
to vote directly upon proposed state constitutions. 
Within a limited sphere, the principle of the referen- 
dum is well-grounded in this country. Within that 
sphere, the principle of the referendum is older than 
the country itself. It harks back to colonial days. In 
advocating both the right and the Expediency of mak- 
ing war-proposals subject to a ratification by the people 
before they can take effect, I seek only to extend the 
sphere of the referendum. 

We may well delegate power to perform certain leg- 
islative acts. We may well permit these acts to take 
effect without direct sanction of the people, though 
we should permit no legislative act to be performed 
without reserving the right to go to the polls and, by 
our direct votes, repeal it. But while we could not well 
have government without delegating some of our pow- 
ers, I contend there is one power above all others that 
no man or woman on earth should ever delegate to any 
other person. I refer to the power to declare offensive 

I am willing to delegate my power to vote upon 
tariff bills and currency schemes. 

I am willing to delegate my power to vote upon ap- 
propriation bills and mail routes. 


If those to whom I delegate such powers vote as 
I would not have voted, the injury done to me is not 
unbearable and the loss may be repaired. 

But if I delegate to others the power to vote for 
me on a proposal to declare war, and if my representa- 
tives vote as I would not have voted, the wrong thus 
done may be beyond all computation and beyond all 
possibility of satisfactory adjustment. 

The wrong thus done is not done alone to me. Even 
though I lose my life in a war that I regard as unjust, 
the wrong thus done to me may be the least of the 
wrongs created by the failure of my representatives 
to vote as I would have voted. For my failure to 
reserve my own war-making power, I am indicted by 
every corpse on every battlefield — both friend and foe. 
I am indicted by every orphaned child. I am indicted 
by every widowed mother. I am scorned by my own 
conscience and derided by my own intellect. 

If I can speak for myself upon no other subject, 
I want to speak for myself upon this subject. If I 


must have the blood of my brothers upon my hands 
(and God forbid that it should be so) I demand at 
least the poor privilege of voting "No" in a jury com- 
posed of the whole people. And, if the majority of 
the jury be against me, I want each member of that 
majority to be compelled to put to his lips the fatal 
cup he has voted upon me before I shall be required 
to sip a drop from it. 

We may now consider the second principle under- 
lying the war-referendum proposal. Is it right to say 


that the first burdens of war should fall upon those 
who vote for it? 

Is it right to say that no man who votes against war 
shall be compelled to serve until every man who 
votes for it has been sent to the front and the result- 
ant army proved insufficient? Is it right thus prac- 
tically to grant immunity from war-service to those 
who vote against war, since war could not be declared 
by less than a majority of 40,000,000 voters, and the 
need for an army of more than 20,000,000 is unthink- 

The principle that underlies this suggestion is ex- 
ceedingly simple. Power should never exist except^ 
as it is balanced with responsibility. Does anyone seri- 
ously contend that power should exist without respon- 
sibility ? Does it seem right in principle that one man 
should have the power to vote another into war with- 
out any adequate responsibility being attached to the 

Would you regard it as just for a man who intended 
to remain at home to vote you into war? Could the 
act of any man in voting you into war be balanced 
by any responsibility lighter than the necessity of going 
with you into the trenches and taking his chances with 
death ? Do you want a man to vote you into war and 
then remain at home on the plea that he is too fat to 
march or to feeble to endure the hardships of war? 

If men were to be permitted to vote for war and 
then remain at home on such pleas, what is your (Opin- 
ion of the likelihood that great epidemics of physical 


incapacity would break out in the upper classes follow- 
ing a declaration of war? Do you believe the rich 
should be permitted to foment wars for trade or for 
other financial reasons and then compel the poor people 
to do the fighting? 

I have been told that to require those who vote for 
war to go to war before anybody else could be sum- 
moned would be to punish men for voting for war. 
It is perhaps not worth while to quibble about words. 
"Punishment" seems to me to be not quite the right 
word. I prefer "responsibility." But let us assume 
that "punishment" is the right word. If war means 
punishment, who should be punished first — those who 
bring it or those who try to keep it away? If war be 
declared, some part of the community must go to the 
front, while the other part remains behind. Would it 
be better to send the peace-lovers to the front and let 
the fire-eaters remain at home? 

Nothing is more nearly certain than the assumption 
that responsibility would sober jingoes. If so, re- 
sponsibility of this particular physical kind would serve 
a highly useful purpose. As an illustration of what 
responsibility might be expected to do to rich jingoes, I 
may repeat a story that Senator Robert L. Owen of 
Oklahoma told me. A rich gentleman called a senator 
on the telephone and urged war with Mexico. The 
senator congratulated him upon his wisdom and— 
added an afterthought. Would the gentleman author- 
ize the senator to list his name at the war department 
as one who, in the event of war with Mexico, would 


volunteer to go to the front as a common soldier? 
"You go to hell," said the rich jingo— and hung up 
the phone. 

In other words, when it was proposed that responsi- 
bility should be attached to his act, the jingo gentleman 
voted against war, though a moment before he had 
voted for it, knowing, as he did, that he intended to 
remain at home whatever might come. 

I do not feel that the suggestion can be successfully 
assailed that those who vote for war should be sent 
to the front before anyone else. I am equally 
sure of the correctness of principle underlying the sug- 
gestion that declarations of aggressive war be included 
among the list of subjects that are regarded as too 
momentous to be entrusted to representatives. I am 
also of the opinion that it is peculiarly the duty of the 
Socialist Party to lead in the battle for the wider use 
of the referendum. The application of the principle 
of the referendum, as herein suggested, stands as a 
challenge to the Socialist Party to do its duty by living 
up to its ideals. The Socialist Party, in its platform 
declaration stands, and for years has stood, for the 
referendum, "nationally as well as locally/' 

The language in which this demand is made in the 
party platform is not qualified. When language is not 
qualified it is deemed to be inclusive. When language 
is inclusive it is deemed to include everything within 
its reasonable scope. The platform of the Socialist 
Party does not demand that some but not all acts of 
Congress shall be subject to referendum. The de- 


mand is in blanket form and no act of Congress is 

This platform demand of the Socialist Party either 
means what it says or it does not. If it does not mean 
what it says, no one can be certain that any other 
demand means what it says. The demand for the right 
to submit every act of Congress to public referendum 
is stated in no plainer terms than is the demand that 
the nation's great industries shall be collectively owned 
and democratically managed. If Socialism were to 
sweep the country at the next election, would any 
member of the Socialist Party dare declare that in 
demanding the public ownership of industry we did not 
mean to include the meat-packing industry? How 
dare anyone then, contend that in making an unqual- 
ified demand for the referendum, "nationally as well 
as locally," we did not demand the right to review 
every act of Congress? A declaration of war is an 
act of Congress. Who has the authority to make an 
exception where the party platform has not? 

The war-referendum proposal stands as a challenge 
to the Socialist Party to live up to its ideals and do 
its duty. The Socialist Party is and always will be 
the party of the plain people. It is composed of plain 
people, it is financed by plain people and it has no 
other mission than to serve those who do the work of 
the world. Moreover, the Socialist Party hates war 
and loves democracy. The referendum as applied to 
war is nothing more nor less than the application of 
the democratic principle to the war machinery of the 


state. It seeks not to create a public will or a public 
conscience, but to give the public will and the public 
conscience — whatever they may be — an opportunity 
to express themselves in a determinative way. What 
man or woman who believes in democracy can with- 
hold his approval from any measure that provides a 
means by which the public will can assert itself upon 
an additional subject? And, if that subject be war — 
what then? 

The world is tired of war. Why not provide means 
by which the public will may express itself in deter- 
minative fashion? People vote on many other sub- 
jects. Why not demand the right to vote on this sub- 
ject that they understand ? Everybody does not know 
that the capitalist system of industry is hell, but no 
one doubts that war is hell. Why protect the hell of 
war by sheltering it under the hands of a minority? 

A cynical politician once said : "We are all in favor 
of democracy, but most of us are opposed to its ap- 
plication." Men and parties are known by the manner 
in which they meet tests of their faith. Every political 
party in this country will ultimately be tested by the 
answer it shall give to the demand for the democrati- 
zation of war-making power. The urgency of the de- 
mand is too great to assume that any party can escape 
it. It has been said that not more than fifty men sent 
Europe to war. The world will not forever permit 
groups of fifty to override the peaceful desires of 
groups of five hundred millions. 

The capitalist parties may be depended upon to 


shuffle and evade the issue when the demand is first 
made. The other parties are in a position to shuffle. 
They have not expressed themselves so definitely and 
so unreservedly as the Socialist Party has expressed 
itself. The Socialist Party has not only taken an un- 
qualified stand in its platforms, but its writers have 
always and everywhere preached democracy both in 
politics and in industry. 

Mr. Morris Hillquit of New York, a Socialist long 
prominent in party councils, thus interpreted in his 
book, "Socialism in Theory and Practice" (p. 277), 
the meaning of the party demand for the referendum: 

"By the 'referendum' is meant the right to compel the 
legislature ,, (that is to say, the legislative body, or Con- 
gress) "to submit to the vote of the entire people any 
few, ordinance or other question, to be adopted, ratified 
or rejected at the polls." 

Mr. Hillquit is a lawyer. He has been trained to 
use language with care. Yet, if he had tried, he could 
not have framed his definition of the referendum to 
make it more inclusive. He did not say the referen- 
dum meant the right to review every act of Congress 
except a declaration of war. He framed his definition 
to include every act that Congress might constitution- 
ally perform. 

In the same book (p. 280), Mr. Hillquit said: 

"The Socialists advocate all political reforms which 
have for their object the democratization of the modern 
state, and that not only on account of their general de- 


sire for political progress, but also for the special reason 
that such reforms are indispensable for the progress and 
success of the Socialist movement." 

To take the war-making power away from 134 men 
in Congress and one man in the White House and de- 
posit it in a majority of all the men and women in 
America would certainly tend toward the democratiza- 
tion of the government of the United States. If Mr. 
Hillquit was ever right (as I believe he was) in as- 
serting that such reforms are not only in the line of 
progress, but are "indispensable" to Socialist success, 
the assertion is not less true now than it was when he 
made it. 

It is, therefore, to the Socialist Party that the world 
must look to lead the battle for the democratization 
of the war-making power. The Socialist Party is 
committed, both in politics and in industry, to the 
democratic principle. The Socialist Party has never 
yet given the world reason to doubt the sincerity of 
its democratic professions. The Socialist Party never 
will give the world such reason to doubt. 



TT is said that it would not be worth while for the 
•*■ people to vote on aggressive war because there is 
no such thing — that war is just war, neither aggressive 
nor defensive, and that war-seeking politicians could 
cause the people to vote for war by making each war 
in which they wished to engage appear to be a war of 

The foregoing criticisms of the war-referendum idea 
deserve the careful consideration of all those who so 
hate war that they wish to fight it with all their might. 
Let us first consider the statement that there is no way 
to distinguish between a war of aggression and a war 
of defense. 

I shall venture the assertion that all the mystery that 
may exist as to the identity of the aggressor in any 
given war is due to lack of knowledge of the facts. 
Everything with regard to which we lack the essential 
facts is a mystery. Every mystery dissolves when the 
essential facts that underlie it are revealed. It has al- 
ways been so, and reason tells us that it must always 
be so. Reason also tells us that nothing takes place 
in this universe without a reason. Therefore, there 
must be reasons for war and they must operate 



through men. If we would understand war, we must 
know what is done by the men who make war. In 
other words, we must know what messages diplo- 
matists send to each other. Wars come because diplo- 
matists drop the pen and call for the sword. 

All of the mystery that pertains to war will dis- 
appear when the common people of this earth know 
what diplomatists do and gain this knowledge as 
the deeds are done. The instigators of war will 
then stand out in a white light. Upon rare occa- 
sions we may find, as we have occasionally found 
in the past, that two governments were equally 
bent upon war. But we shall not often make 
such a discovery. Mere fear will prevent weak na- 
tions from opening fire upon the strong, except for 
the most desperate reasons, and daylight diplomacy 
would lay these reasons bare. Governments equally 
strong, though equally unscrupulous, do not often, at 
the same moment, desire war with each other. The 
government that first resorts to armed force should 
always be considered the aggressor in connection with 
the suggestion that only the people should declare ag- 
gressive war. 

We should always take care to make a distinction 
between diplomatic aggression and military aggression. 
Much of the confusion of thought that has occurred 
in connection with the war-referendum idea is due to 
the failure of critics to make such a distinction. Diplo- 
matic aggression is a subject that might well be taken 
into consideration by the people in determining whether 


they wished to declare war, but no degree of diplo- 
matic aggression should ever be considered sufficient 
to justify the minority in charge of the government in 
using military force on the plea that the nation had 
been "attacked." 

No degree should be considered sufficient because 
what constitutes diplomatic aggression, as well as what 
amount of it may justify war, must ever remain mat- 
ters of opinion. 

No minority should be permitted to hurl two nations 
into war upon no other basis than its opinion that the 
diplomatists of the other country had gone to unbear- 
able lengths. As a matter of theory, at least, it is con- 
ceivable that a people might justly vote for war be- 
cause of the diplomatic aggressions of another country 
— particularly if it were plain that the people of the 
offending nation approved the acts of their diploma- 
tists — but no minority in control of government should 
be permitted to assume such awful responsibility. 

The consequences of war are so terrible that we 
can hardly err in going to extreme lengths to avoid 
it. So long as a nation is wronging us only diplo- 
matically, we may well wait sixty days from the time 
that our governmental minority might feel inclined to 
make war, and thus give the people an opportunity 
to say whether they want it. The wrangling of diplo- 
matists, while it is proceeding, is seldom of any im- 
portance to a nation, anyway. Diplomatists often be- 
come heated while they are exchanging demands and 
threats, but their demands touch the lives of common 


people, if at all, only when the employment of military 
force, or the ability to exert preponderating military 
force, compels unwilling obedience. And a large pro- 
portion of diplomatic wrangles are of no concern to 
the common people, because they pertain only to the 
efforts of the capitalist class of one nation to gain 
some advantage from the capitalist class of another 

Every consideration of humanity, therefore, requires 
that diplomatic aggression should never be considered 
by a minority as an "attack," in the military sense of 
the term, and, therefore, as an act justifying the mak- 
ing of war by the minority. Equally plain are the 
grounds upon which the minority in charge of the gov- 
ernment might justly engage in war without explicit 
command from the people. 

So long as a people desire to retain their national 
existence, they must resist military attack. Military 
attack, instead of being a matter of opinion, is a fact. 
Anyone who does not wish to quibble can pass upon 
any given act and tell whether it was an act of war. 
Bombardment by a warship or a fleet is an act of war. 
So is armed invasion in force. But the firing of a shot 
over a warship's launch is not an act of war, nor is it 
an act of war for a few dozens of armed soldiers to 
cross a frontier. , 

The intent of a nation, so far as the making of war 
is concerned, may well be judged by its acts, and no 
nation, when it really intends to begin war, goes about 
it in any way except vigorously. If war is begun upon 


the sea, it is not by a single shot over a cutter's bow — 
it is by an attack in force, either with submarines or 
big ships — and if the attack be made upon land, it is 
not made by a handful of men, but by an army. 

That governments administered by capitalist minori- 
ties frequently try to shift responsibility for beginning 
war is no proof of the assertion that it is impossible 
for the common people to distinguish between wars of 
aggression and wars of defense. Guilty governments 
are able to deceive the people only because they have 
power to conceal facts. The people, on the other 
hand, have the power, if they will use it, to compel 
diplomatists to perform public business in the open. 

War broke out in 1864 between Denmark, on one 
side, and Prussia and Austria on the other. If ever 
there was a war, responsibility for which could not 
be questioned, it was this war of two big nations 
against one little one. Yet, at the time of the war, 
Bismarck sharply contended that Denmark had 
brought it about by annexing the duchy of Schleswig, 
an independent province of which the King of Den- 
mark was grand duke. 

Thirty years later, when Bismarck was an old man 
and out of office, he wrote his memoirs and afterward 
printed them under the title of "Bismarck, the Man 
and the Statesman." A long chapter is devoted to 
the causes of the war with Denmark over Schleswig- 
Holstein. Bismarck, it appears, forced the war for 
no other reason than to gain territory for Prussia. 
His task was not easy, because King William I. and 


the crown prince thought him drunk or crazy when he 
first suggested war and pillage. I quote from Bis- 
marck's own report (Vol. II, p. 10) of a cabinet coun- 
cil at which he urged upon the King war with Den- 
mark for the sake of conquest : 

"I reminded the King that every one of his immediate 
ancestors, not even excepting his brother, had won an 
increment of territory for the state . . . and I en- 
couraged him to do likewise. This pronouncement of 
mine did not appear in the protocol. As Geheimrath Cos- 
tenoble, who had drawn up the protocol, explained to me, 
when I asked him the reason of this, the King had opined 
that I should prefer what I had blurted out not to be 
embedded in protocols. His majesty seems to have im- 
agined that I had spoken under the Bacchic influences 
of a dejeuner, and would be glad to hear no more of it. 
I insisted, however, upon the words being put in and they 
were. While I was speaking, the crown prince raised 
his hands to heaven as if he doubted my sanity ; my col- 
leagues remained silent." 

, A little later (p. 13) in speaking of the proposal to 
annex Holstein to Prussia, Bismarck quotes King Wil- 
liam I. as exclaiming : "I have no right to Holstein !" 
But the masterful Bismarck prevailed over the King 
and the crown prince, war came with Denmark, terri- 
tory was gained for Prussia and Modern Germany 
was in the making. 

U t 

'After the Gastein convention/ wrote Bismarck (p. 
20), 'and the occupation of Lauenburg, the first addi- 
tion made to the kingdom under King William, his 
frame of mind, so far as I could observe, underwent a 
psychological change; he developed a taste for con- 

9 yy 


On September 15, 1865, the King, who thought 
Bismarck was drunk because he proposed a war of 
conquest against* Denmark, wrote Bismarck the fol- 
lowing letter: 

"Today full possession is taken of the Duchy of Lauen- 
burg, an act resulting from the great and admirable in- 
sight and circumspection with which you have adhered to 
my government. During the four years since I called you 
to the head of the government of the state, Prussia has 
won a position that is worthy of her history, and prom- 
ises her, moreover, further fortune and glory yet to 
come. In order to express my thanks and bear open 
testimony to your distinguished services, for which I have 
so often had occasion to express my thanks, I hereby 
raise you and your descendants to the rank of count, a 
distinction which will, at any rate, prove how high my 
appreciation was of your services to your country. Your 
affectionate king, 


In the light of the facts belatedly admitted by 
Bismarck, we may ask these questions: 

May wars waged for territorial aggrandizement 
properly be called wars of aggression ? 

If so, was not the war waged against Denmark a 
war of aggression? 

If Bismarck had told everybody, in 1864, what he 
told the King at the ministerial council, would any- 
body have doubted that a war of aggression was 
waged against Denmark by Prussia and Austria ? 

Is it true that there is no such thing as an aggres- 
sive or a defensive war — that "war is just war" ? 

"During the time that I was in office," wrote Bis- 


marck (Vol. 2, p. 293), "I advised three wars, the 
Danish, the Bohemian and the French/' 

The war with Denmark was ended by what was 
known as the Treaty of Gastein, under which Prussia 
and Austria were to have joint control of most of the 
territory gained as a result of the war. That we may 
judge whether the war between Prussia and Austria 
was "just a war" or whether there was an aggressor, 
let us consider the following paragraph from "Europe 
Since 1815" by Professor Charles Downer Hazen 
(p. 260) : 

"Bismarck approved the Treaty of Gastein because, in 
his opinion, it ended nothing. He called it a mere 'stop- 
ping of cracks.' He regarded it simply as a new trick in 
the game with Austria. That the convention was uni- 
versally denounced abroad and in Germany as merely 
cold-blooded bargaining was a matter of indifference to 
him. Out of the situation which it created he hoped to 
bring about the war with Austria which he had desired 
for the past ten years as being the only means whereby 
German unity could be achieved by Prussia and for its 
advantage. In this he was successful within a year." 

If the foregoing statements are true, the war be- 
tween Prussia and Austria was a war of aggression 
waged by Prussia. Bismarck himself gives what 
amounts to the testimony of the crown prince in the 
matter. The dramatic incident that he sketches oc- 
curred during the war between Prussia and Austria. 
The Prussian armies had won great victories and the 
military party, headed by the King himself, wanted 
to go on. Bismarck was in great fear of intervention 


by one or more European Powers and wanted to 
stop the war before they could interfere. Bismarck's 
insistence upon making peace "excited the King to 
such a degree that a prolongation of the discussion 
became impossible." The King was determined to 
go on with the war, and Bismarck left his presence 
determined to resign his post and join the army. Bis- 
marck adds (Vol. II, p. 53) : 

"On returning to my room I was in the mood that the 
thought occurred to me whether it would not be better to 
fall out of the open window, which was four stories high, 
and I did not look round when I heard the door open, 
although I suspected that the person entering was the 
crown prince, whose room, in the same corridor, I had 
just passed. I felt my hand on his shoulder while he 
said : 'You know that I was against this war. You con- 
sidered it necessary, and the responsibility for it lies on 
you. If you are now persuaded that our end is attained, 
and peace must now be concluded, I am ready to support 
you and defend your opinion with my father/ " 

So, we have the statement of Professor Hazen 
that Bismarck had desired war with Austria for ten 
years before he finally brought it about; the state- 
ment of the Prussian crown prince that responsibility 
for the war lay on Bismarck, and the admission of 
Bismarck himself that he "advised" it. 

In the light of such testimony, is there any doubt 
that Prussia was the diplomatic aggressor ? Bismarck 
was always clever enough to jockey his opponent into 
a false position. He placed the odium of actually 
beginning war upon Austria. But we now know that 


Bismarck diplomatically provoked the war, and that 
a minority in Austria took the responsibility of resist- 
ing Bismarck's diplomatic aggression by force of arms. 
The responsibility for the war, therefore, rests upon 
the ruling classes of Prussia and Austria. Bismarck, 
merely by diplomatic pressure, could not have com- 
pelled an attack from Austria if the Austrian minority 
in charge of the government had not joined with 
equally small minorities in other German kingdoms 
in a declaration of war upon Prussia. 

The Franco-German war of 1870 also offers inter- 
esting material bearing upon the question of whether 
there be such a thing as a war of aggression. Though 
hundreds of thousands of men were killed and 
wounded in the great conflict between France and 
Germany, the world does not yet fully know why the 
war took place ! Professor Hazen, in "Europe Since 
1915" written 39 years after the war, thus begins 
a chapter on the diplomacy that led to the conflict: 

"Concerning that diplomacy, much is known, but much 
remains obscure. Not until the archives of France and 
Germany, the papers of Napoleon III., William I., Bis- 
marck and their ministers and agents are freely given to 
the world will it stand forth fully revealed. Yet, frag- 
mentary and unsatisfactory as our information is, the 
broad outlines of the story can be drawn with reasonable 

A little later (p. 293) Professor Hazen says: 

"The war grew directly out of mere diplomatic fenc- 
ing. The French people did not desire it, only the people 


of Paris, inflamed by an official press. Indeed, until it 
was declared, the French people hardly knew of the mat- 
ter of dispute. It came upon them unexpectedly. The 
war was made by the responsible heads of two govern- 
ments. It was, in its origin, in no sense national in either 
country. Its immediate occasion was trivial. But it was 
the cause of a remarkable display of patriotism in both 

The fact is that France had long been ruled by an 
exceedingly brutal and unscrupulous military party. 
Thomas Carlyle wrote a letter to the London Times 
in which he expressed the hope that Germany would 
win the war and thus "crush out militarism in 
France." The incident that was seized upon by the 
French military party as the occasion for making 
trouble with Germany was the action of the Spanish 
ministry in calling Leopold, hereditary prince of Ho- 
henzollern, to the Spanish throne. The French mili- 
tary party made such an outcry that, to keep the 
peace, the prince announced he would not accept the 

Of course, the matter was of no consequence, either 
way, to the common people of France and Germany. 
When a peasant is trying to dig his living out of the 
soil, it does not much matter to him who sits upon 
the throne of a neighboring kingdom. At any rate, 
the act of the Hohenzollern prince in stepping aside 
should have ended the matter, as it would have ended 
it if the people of France had controlled their diplo- 

The military party of France, however, were not 



so easily satisfied. They had set out to look for 
trouble and must find it. The French Ambassador 
to Germany was dispatched to Ems, a watering place 
where King William was sojourning, to make a 
further demand. King William was asked to bind 
himself never at any future time to give his approval 
to the candidature of a Hohenzollern for the Spanish 
throne. The King's secretary reported the event to 
Bismarck in Berlin in the following telegram: 

"His majesty writes to me: 'Count Benedetti' (the 
French ambassador) 'spoke to me on the promenade in 
order to demand from me, finally in a very importunate 
manner, that I should authorize him to telegraph at once 
that I bound myself for all future time never again to 
give my consent if the Hohenzollerns should renew their 
candidature. I refused, at last somewhat sternly, as it 
is neither right nor possible to undertake engagements 
of this kind a tout jamais. Naturally, I told him that I 
had as yet received no news, and as he was earlier in- 
formed about Paris and Madrid than myself, he could 
clearly see that my government once more had no hand in 
the matter/ His majesty has since received a letter from 
the prince. His majesty having told Count Benedetti 
that he was awaiting news from the prince, has decided, 
with reference to the above demand, upon the represen- 
tation of Count Eulenburg and myself, not to receive 
Count Benedetti again, but only to let him be informed 
through an aide-de-camp; that his majesty had now re- 
ceived from the prince confirmation of the news which 
Benedetti had already received from Paris, and had noth- 
ing further to say to the ambassador. His majesty leaves 
it to your excellency whether Benedetti's fresh demand 
and its rejection should not be at once communicated 
both to our ambassadors and to the press." 


The withdrawal of the Hohenzollern candidature 
so humiliated Bismarck that he determined to resign 
his post. 

"We had got our slap in the face from France," 
he wrote, "and had been reduced by our complaisance 
to look like seekers of a quarrel if we entered upon 
war, the only way in which we could wipe away the 

Bismarck saw no hope of war and, intending to 
resign, telegraphed his family that he would soon be 
home. "I took it for granted," he wrote, "that France 
would lay the prince's renunciation to her account as 
a satisfactory success. ... I was very much 

Then came the King's telegram from Ems, which 
reached Berlin a little after 6 o'clock. Count Von 
Moltke, Chief of Staff of the Army, and Albrecht 
Von Roon, Minister of War, were dining with Bis- 
marck. "Both were greatly depressed," wrote Bis- 
marck, "and reproached me indirectly of selfishly 
availing myself of my greater facility for withdrawing 
from service." 

Bismarck read the telegram to his guests "whose 
dejection was so great that they turned away from 
food and drink." Bismarck's alert mind instantly 
caught the line in which he was authorized to com- 
municate the telegram to the press. The idea of how 
he might bring about war had come to him. 

I put a few questions to Von Moltke," he wrote, 
as to the extent of his confidence in the state of our 



preparations, especially as to the time they would still 
require in order to meet the sudden risk of war." 

Von Moltke replied that if there were to be war, 
Germany could gain nothing by waiting, and that if, 
at the beginning, Germany should be unable to protect 
her entire frontier along the Rhine, she could never- 
theless gather strength more rapidly than could France. 
Von Moltke, according to Bismarck, "regarded a 
rapid outbreak as, on the whole, more favorable to us 
than delay." 

Bismarck also wrote that he gave consideration 
to the thought that "the gulf which diverse dynastic 
and family influences and different habits of life had 
in the course of history created between the south 
and north of the Fatherland could not be more effectu- 
ally bridged over than by a joint national war against 
the neighbor who had been aggressive for many cen- 

Then Bismarck, in the presence of his guests, "re- 
duced the (Ems) telegram by striking out words, but 
without adding or altering," and gave it to the press 
in the following form: 

"After the news of the renunciation of the hereditary 
prince of Hohenzollern had been officially communicated 
to the imperial government of France by the royal gov- 
ernment of Spain, the French ambassador at Ems fur- 
ther demanded of his majesty that he would authorize 
him to telegraph to Paris that his majesty, the king, bound 
himself for all future time never again to give his con- 
sent if the Hohenzollerns should renew their candida- 
ture. His majesty, the king, thereupon decided not to 


receive the French ambassador again, and sent to tell 
him through the aide-de-camp on duty that his majesty 
had nothing further to communicate to the ambassador." 

"Now it has a different ring," Bismarck quotes 
Von Moltke as saying. "It sounded before like a 
parley; now it is like a flourish in answer to a chal- 
lenge." Bismarck also said that although he had 
only condensed the telegram he knew that in its new 
form it would "have the effect of a red rag upon the 
Gallic bull." 

"Fight we must," he quotes himself as saying to Von 
Moltke, "if we do not want to act the part of the van- 
quished without a battle. Success, however, essentially 
depends upon the impression which the origination of 
the war makes upon us and others; it is important that 
we should be the party attacked, and this Gallic over- 
weening and touchiness will make us, if we announce in 
the face of Europe, so far as we can without the speak- 
ing-tube of the reichstag, that we fearlessly meet the 
public threats of France." 

With the sending of the condensed telegram, Bis- 
marck said that his sombre guests became joyous and 
lively. "They had suddenly recovered their pleasure 
in eating and drinking and spoke in a more cheerful 
vein. Roon said : 'Our God of old still lives and will 
not let us perish in disgrace.' Moltke . . . smote 
his hand upon his breast and said: 'If I may but 
live to lead our armies in such a war, then the devil 
may come directly afterwards and fetch away the 
old carcass.' ... I found my military colleague 
in the King's service changed from his usual dry and 


silent habit, cheerful, lively, I might even say merry, 
, . . his love of combat and delight in battles were 
a great support to me in carrying out the policy I 
regarded as necessary. . . ." 

And the war between France and Germany came on 
precisely as Bismarck would have had it come. "It is 
important that we should be the party attacked," he 
said to Von Moltke after the Ems telegram had been 
"doctored" and sent away to be the red rag to the 
Gallic bull. The French military party sprung the 
trap and declared war. 

Where shall we seek a finer example of a terrible 
war brought about by diplomatists? The pretext for 
the war amounted to nothing, so far as the common 
people of both nations were concerned. The French 
people hardly knew about the row until it broke into 
blood. The French people were the victims of their 
military party which controlled, not only their diplo- 
matic machinery, but their military machinery. The 
Germans, too, were the victims of their diplomatic 
machinery. The original Ems telegram sounded so 
un-warlike that Von Moltke, who wanted war, turned 
away from his food when it was read to him. 

What if there had been a law in Germany that would 
have compelled Bismarck to publish the original Ems 
telegram or be impeached, removed from office and 
sent to prison? 

What if the people of both France and Germany 
had known at the time of the nature of the trick that 
was being perpetrated upon them ? 


If the people of both nations had known the facts 
and neither nation could declare war except by vote of 
the people, is it likely there would have been war? 

But the ruling classes of Germany and France are 
not the only ones that deceive their people with regard 
to the causes of war. Benjamin Franklin, in writing 
to an English friend in 1789, said : "I believe govern- 
ments are pretty nearly equal in honesty, and cannot 
with propriety praise their own in preference to that 
of their neighbors." 




TF the world wanted war, it would not be worth 
■*- while to talk peace. It seems worth while to talk 
peace because it appears certain that the world is 
tired of war. If it be true that the world is sick unto 
death of war, the fact that war persists is proof that 
the world's will is set at naught by a few. 

Why not, then, take from the few the power to 
break peace? Why not provide that aggressive war 
shall be declared only by vote of the people? If the 
people want peace, why not give them an opportunity 
to vote for peace? Why not take from the minority 
the control of all war-making machinery? Could the 
minority make war against the will of the people if 
they lacked the power to begin a battle upon land or 

A few gentlemen who believe in the right of the 
people to vote upon every other governmental matter 
do not believe it would do any good for the people 
to demand and get the right to vote upon the question 
of declaring aggressive war. These gentlemen say 
there is no such thing as aggressive war — that war 
is just war. 



A hundred years ago, much the same views were 
held with regard to bubonic plague and other deadly 
diseases. Nobody was ever held responsible for carry- 
ing a disease from one house to another. The entire 
calamity was charged to God. But, as we have come 
to know more about certain diseases, our tendency has 
been to blame God less and man more. God has not 
changed. Diseases have not changed. Man has not 
changed. Nothing has happened except that some 
of the facts pertaining to diseases have become known. 

It is the contention of the present writer that wars 
do not happen, that they are made by men, and that 
knowledge of the facts would show who these men 
are. It is the custom of diplomatists to make wars 
and then misrepresent the facts upon which the wars 
are based. Historians know this, if the common peo- 
ple do not. Historians have this truth thrust upon 
them in the search for the materials out of which 
history is made. Facts are denied them. They are 
told, in effect, to go away and return, perhaps, in a 
hundred years. 

As to this point, the testimony of Professor William 
M. Sloane of Columbia University is pertinent. I 
quote from an extended article about Professor Sloane 
that was published in the New York Times on Sep- 


writing based on the criticism of historical papers, I 
have come to realize that the dispatches of trained diplo- 
mats are for the most part purely formal, and that while 
these respective applications of Great Britain and of Ger- 
many have a certain value, yet, nevertheless, the most 
important plans are laid in the embrasures of windows, 
where important men stand and talk so that no one can 
hear, or they are arranged and oftentimes amplified in 
private correspondence which does not see the light until 
years afterward, and that the most important historical 
documents are found in the archives of families, members 
of which have been the guiding spirits of European policy 
and politics. 

"So that what the secret diplomacy of the last years 
may have been is utterly unknown, and certainly will not 
be known for the generation yet to come and perhaps for 
several generations. The student in almost any European 
capital is given complete access to everything on file in 
the archives, including secret documents, only down to a 
certain date. That date differs in various of these store- 
houses, but I think in no case is it later than 1830!" 

We have here the word of an historian that diplo- 
matists, when they are committing the acts that lead 
to war, palm off whatever they please upon the public 
and suppress the rest. In a subsequent chapter, I 
shall consider whether such practices should be stopped 
and whether they can be stopped. The question that 
presses now, however, is this : "If the people, at the 
outbreak of war, knew the facts that diplomatists 
suppress, is it not likely that the people would be able 
to see an aggressor in each struggle and to name 

In the preceding chapter was shown Bismarck's 
absolute responsibility for two wars and his exceed- 


ingly close connection with responsibility for a third. 
Long after the bones of his victims had mouldered 
in the grave, Bismarck told the truth as to why they 
died and took responsibility. But if Germany, under 
Bismarck, waged two wars of aggression, she did not 
thereby place herself in a peculiar class among nations. 
All great nations have waged wars of aggression. 
The hands of the United States are by no means clean. 
Great Britain's arms are red to the shoulders. No 
empire could be so far-flung as the British empire 
without taint of innocent blood. England's history 
is in no small part composed of the story of her 
aggressions against weaker peoples. Does any sane 
person believe that the war between Great Britain and 
the Boer republics in 1899 was "just a war"? The 
archives of the Boer war are still closed. The exact 
facts may not be known for another half century. 
Yet, from the beginning, circumstances pointed so 
plainly to Great Britain as the aggressor that the ver- 
dict of the world has never wavered. 

The United States, for no better reason than Eng- 
land's reason for fighting the Boers, once committed 
as great a crime. The time was during the adminis- 
tration of President Polk. The victim was Mexico. 
Mr. Polk was a Southern Democrat. Southern Demo- 
crats were exceedingly interested in devising ways 
and means to tighten the hold of chattel slavery upon 
the government of the United States. A war of 
conquest against Mexico was deemed advisable, inas- 


much as it would yield territory out of which addi- 
tional slave states might be erected. 

The Government, of course, made no such admis- 
sions. As every government does in such circum- 
stances, the administration of President Polk, repre- 
senting the slave-holding oligarchy of the South, mis- 
represented the facts. It was contended that Mexico 
"attacked" the United States while American troops 
were engaged in the peaceful pursuit of occupying 
Texas, which had just come into the union of its 
own free will. It was not explained that Americans 
had brought about the secession of Texas from 

Ulysses S. Grant fought in the war against Mexico. 

After he had twice been President of the United 

States he wrote a book in which he told what he 

thought about the war. The following paragraphs are 

taken from his "Memoirs?' : 

"My duties kept me on the frontier of Louisiana with 
the army of observation; and, afterward, I was absent 
from home during the war with Mexico, provoked by 
the action of the army if not by the annexation itself" 

(p. 35)- 
"Ostensibly we were intended to prevent filibustering 

into Texas, but really as a menace to Mexico in case 

she appeared to contemplate war. Generally, the officers 

of the army were indifferent whether the annexation was 

consummated or not ; but not so all of them. For myself, 

I was bitterly opposed to the measure, and to this day, 

regard the war which resulted as one of the most unjust 

ever waged by a stronger against a weaker nation. It 

was an instance of a republic following the bad example 

of European monarchies in not considering justice in 

their desire to acquire additional territory" (p. 37). 


"Texas was originally a state belonging to the republic 
of Mexico. It extended from the Sabine river on the 
east to the Rio Grande on the west, and from the Gulf of 
Mexico on the south and east to the territory of the 
United States and New Mexico — another Mexican state 
at that time — on the north and west. An empire in ter- 
ritory, it had but a very sparse population, until settled 
by Americans who had received authority from Mexico 
to colonize. These colonists paid very little attention to 
the supreme government, and introduced slavery into 
the state almost from the start, though the constitution 
of Mexico did not, nor does it now, sanction that insti- 
tution. Soon they set up an independent government 
of their own, and war existed between Texas and Mexico 
in name from that time until 1836, when active hostilities 
very nearly ceased upon the capture of Santa Anna, the 
Mexican president. 

"Before long, however, the same people — who with 
permission of Mexico had colonized Texas, and after- 
wards set up slavery there, and then seceded as soon 
as they felt strong enough to do so— offered themselves 
and the state to the United States, and in 1845, their 
offer was accepted. The occupation, separation and an- 
nexation were, from the inception of the movement to 
its final consummation, a conspiracy to acquire territory 
out of which slave states might be formed for the Ameri- 
can union" (p. 37). 

"Even if the annexation itself could be justified, the 
manner in which the subsequent war was forced upon 
Mexico cannot" (p. 38). 

"In taking possession of Texas after annexation, the 
army of occupation, under General Taylor, was directed 
to occupy the disputed territory. The army did not stop 
at the Nueces and offer to negotiate for a settlement of 
the boundary question, but went beyond, apparently in 
order to force Mexico to initiate war" (p. 38). 

"The Southern Rebellion was largely the outgrowth of 
the Mexican War. Nations like individuals are punished 
for their transgressions. We got our punishment in the 


most sanguinary and expensive war of modern times" 

(p. 38). 

"The presence of United States troops on the edge of 
the disputed territory furthest from the Mexican set- 
tlement was not sufficient to provoke hostilities. We 
were sent to provoke a fight, but it was essential that 
Mexico should commence it. It was very doubtful 
whether Congress would declare war; but if Mexico 
should attack our troops, the executive could announce, 
'Whereas war exists, by the acts of/ etc., and prosecute 
the contest with vigor. . . . Mexico showing no wil- 
lingness to drive the invaders from her soil, it became 
necessary for the invaders to approach to within a con- 
venient distance to be struck. Accordingly, preparations 
were begun for moving the army to the Rio Grande, to a 
point near Matamoras" (p. 45). 

General Grant, in his old age, made the foregoing 
charges against the United States Government. The 
truth of his charges is beyond question. Americans 
settled in Texas, as Englishmen settled in the Boer 
republics, to acquire property interests and then make 
trouble. In each case, when trouble came, the real 
wrong-doer tried to shift the responsibility for war 
to the shoulders of his weaker adversary. The South- 
ern slave owners did not quite dare go to the length 
of declaring war on Mexico, because they feared pub- 
lic sentiment would not support them. So the South- 
ern gentlemen adopted the more crafty method of 
sending an army into the disputed territory to "pro- 
voke a fight/' and when the fight did not come, the 
army was advanced to a point where it would be 
more likely "to be struck." 

Mexico was finally goaded into battle, and the 


A hundred years ago, much the same views were 
held with regard to bubonic plague and other deadly 
diseases. Nobody was ever held responsible for carry- 
ing a disease from one house to another. The entire 
calamity was charged to God. But, as we have come 
to know more about certain diseases, our tendency has 
been to blame God less and man more. God has not 
changed. Diseases have not changed. Man has not 
changed. Nothing has happened except that some 
of the facts pertaining to diseases have become known. 

It is the contention of the present writer that wars 
do not happen, that they are made by men, and that 
knowledge of the facts would show who these men 
are. It is the custom of diplomatists to make wars 
and then misrepresent the facts upon which the wars 
are based. Historians know this, if the common peo- 
ple do not. Historians have this truth thrust upon 
them in the search for the materials out of which 
history is made. Facts are denied them. They are 
told, in effect, to go away and return, perhaps, in a 
hundred years. 

As to this point, the testimony of Professor William 
M. Sloane of Columbia University is pertinent. I 
quote from an extended article about Professor Sloane 
that was published in the New York Times on Sep- 
tember 20, 19 14, in which he said: 

"Having been accustomed to reading, all my life, long 
diplomatic documents, really having been trained, you 
might say, almost in the school of Ranke, who was 
the inaugurator of an entirely new school of historical 


writing based on the criticism of historical papers, I 
have come to realize that the dispatches of trained diplo- 
mats are for the most part purely formal, and that while 
these respective applications of Great Britain and of Ger- 
many have a certain value, yet, nevertheless, the most 
important plans are laid in the embrasures of windows, 
where important men stand and talk so that no one can 
hear, or they are arranged and oftentimes amplified in 
private correspondence which does not see the light until 
years afterward, and that the most important historical 
documents are found in the archives of families, members 
of which have been the guiding spirits of European policy 
and politics. 

"So that what the secret diplomacy of the last years 
may have been is utterly unknown, and certainly will not 
be known for the generation yet to come and perhaps for 
several generations. The student in almost any European 
capital is given complete access to everything on file in 
the archives, including secret documents, only down to a 
certain date. That date differs in various of these store- 
houses, but I think in no case is it later than i8$o!" 

We have here the word of an historian that diplo- 
matists, when they are committing the acts that lead 
to war, palm off whatever they please upon the public 
and suppress the rest. In a subsequent chapter, I 
shall consider whether such practices should be stopped 
and whether they can be stopped. The question that 
presses now, however, is this : "If the people, at the 
outbreak of war, knew the facts that diplomatists 
suppress, is it not likely that the people would be able 
to see an aggressor in each struggle and to name 

In the preceding chapter was shown Bismarck's 
absolute responsibility for two wars and his exceed- 


A hundred years ago, much the same views were 
held with regard to bubonic plague and other deadly 
diseases. Nobody was ever held responsible for carry- 
ing a disease from one house to another. The entire 
calamity was charged to God. But, as we have come 
to know more about certain diseases, our tendency has 
been to blame God less and man more. God has not 
changed. Diseases have not changed. Man has not 
changed. Nothing has happened except that some 
of the facts pertaining to diseases have become known. 

It is the contention of the present writer that wars 
do not happen, that they are made by men, and that 
knowledge of the facts would show who these men 
are. It is the custom of diplomatists to make wars 
and then misrepresent the facts upon which the wars 
are based. Historians know this, if the common peo- 
ple do not. Historians have this truth thrust upon 
them in the search for the materials out of which 
history is made. Facts are denied them. They are 
told, in effect, to go away and return, perhaps, in a 
hundred years. 

As to this point, the testimony of Professor William 
M. Sloane of Columbia University is pertinent. I 
quote from an extended article about Professor Sloane 
that was published in the New York Times on Sep- 
tember 20, 19 1 4, in which he said: 

"Having been accustomed to reading, all my life, long 
diplomatic documents, really having been trained, you 
might say, almost in the school of Ranke, who was 
the inaugurator of an entirely new school of historical 


writing based on the criticism of historical papers, I 
have come to realize that the dispatches of trained diplo- 
mats are for the most part purely formal, and that while 
these respective applications of Great Britain and of Ger- 
many have a certain value, yet, nevertheless, the most 
important plans are laid in the embrasures of windows, 
where important men stand and talk so that no one can 
hear, or they are arranged and oftentimes amplified in 
private correspondence which does not see the light until 
years afterward, and that the most important historical 
documents are found in the archives of families, members 
of which have been the guiding spirits of European policy 
and politics. 

"So that what the secret diplomacy of the last years 
may have been is utterly unknown, and certainly will not 
be known for the generation yet to come and perhaps for 
several generations. The student in almost any European 
capital is given complete access to everything on file in 
the archives, including secret documents, only down to a 
certain date. That date differs in various of these store- 
houses, but I think in no case is it later than 1830!" 

We have here the word of an historian that diplo- 
matists, when they are committing the acts that lead 
to war, palm off whatever they please upon the public 
and suppress the rest. In a subsequent chapter, I 
shall consider whether such practices should be stopped 
and whether they can be stopped. The question that 
presses now, however, is this : "If the people, at the 
outbreak of war, knew the facts that diplomatists 
suppress, is it not likely that the people would be able 
to see an aggressor in each struggle and to name 

In the preceding chapter was shown Bismarck's 
absolute responsibility for two wars and his exceed- 


upon America. Public attention had been turned to- 
ward impending developments in the West Indies. 
The thought of conquering and holding the Philippine 
Islands had not been publicly discussed, and the people 
were dazed when they read that Dewey had placed 
the islands in their grasp. But while America was 
still talking about Dewey's victory, and before any 
consideration had been given to the question of 
whether we should keep the islands, a London dispatch 
to the Associated Press, two days after the battle, 
declared that the people of England assumed that the 
United States would, "of course," keep the Philippines. 
Why was Admiral Chichester so kind to Admiral 
Dewey? Why did Britons discover, even before we 
ourselves discovered it, that we would "of course" 
hold what Dewey had won? 

But the conviction that the United States Govern- 
ment was the aggressor in the war against Spain is 
based upon something more than suspicion. The 
United States Government, in 1903, published a "Re- 
port of the Foreign Relations of the United States?' 
for a period that included the diplomatic negotiations 
preceding the war with Spain. This report, which not 
one American in ten thousand has yet read or ever 
will read, shows that on February 26, 1898, the Ameri- 
can Minister to Spain, General Stewart L. Woodford, 
reported in writing to President McKinley that he had 
obtained the "practical adjustment of every problem" 
committed to him. 


On April 3, 1898, Minister Woodford cabled from 
Madrid to President McKinley as follows (p. 732) : 

"If conditions at Washington still enable you to give 
me the necessary time, I am sure that before next Oc- 
tober I will get peace in Cuba with justice to Cuba and 
protection to our great American interests. I know that 
the Queen and her ministry sincerely desire peace, and 
that if you can give me time and reasonable liberty of ac- 
tion, I will get for you the peace you desire so much, 
and for which you have labored so hard." 

On April 10, Minister Woodford again cabled Pres- 
ident McKinley, repeated the foregoing sentiments and 

"I hope that nothing will be done to humiliate Spain, 
as I am satisfied that the present government is going, 
and is loyally ready to go, as fast and as far as it can. 
With your power of action sufficiently free, you will win 
the fight on your own lines." 

Yet on April 19, Congress ordered armed interven- 
tion in Cuba, and, three days later, adopted a resolution 
in which it was declared that "war exists." Why? 
Because Spain had destroyed the Maine? Because 
Spain would not yield to the American demands with 
regard to Cuba? Not at all. Spain had yielded to 
all of our demands — had yielded not only to one set 
of demands, but to others as Mr. McKinley kept piling 
them in. The destruction of the Maine had, it is true, 
inflamed the American people to a frenzy, but passing 
years have served only to indicate that the outburst 
of passion against Spain was unjustified and that the 


McKinley administration perhaps had a reason for 
sitting quietly by while the yellow press fanned the 
flames. After the war, it was all but impossible to 
get the United States Government to raise the wreck 
of the Maine. The bodies of the dead sailors for 
whom the nation had fought were permitted to lie in 
the muck of Havana harbor for ten long years. A 
cofferdam was eventually built around the spot and all 
the water pumped out. The wreck of the Maine lay 
exposed. The surrounding muck was taken away. 
Not a sign of a mine or of a cable leading to a mine 
was found. The hull was patched and it was an- 
nounced through the press that the Maine would be 
brought back to the United States and maintained as 
a national memento. The Maine was made able to 
float, but instead of appearing in the United States, 
it was suddenly announced that, because of unsea- 
worthiness, she would be taken to sea and sunk. Taken 
to sea, she was. And, under so many fathoms of 
water that human eye can never again see her, the 
ship for which we went to war lies in her ocean grave. 
Not a particle of evidence has ever been found to 
prove that the Spanish Government destroyed the 
Maine, or that anybody destroyed it. In 1898, an 
investigating commission declared that the ship's plates 
were bent inward, indicating an exterior explosion, 
but when the wreck was exhumed, no trace of a mine 
was found. No responsible person would today de- 
clare that the Spanish Government destroyed the 
Maine. ' 


The Johns Hopkins University Press, in 1906, pub- 
lished a pamphlet by Mr. Horace Edgar Flack, entitled 
"Spanish-American Diplomatic Relations Preceding 
the War of 1898." Mr. Flack makes an exceedingly 
critical analysis, not only of the Maine affair, but of 
the negotiations with regard to Cuba. He recalls 
the offer of the Spanish Government to submit the 
matter of the Maine to an impartial tribunal, by the 
verdict of which Spain offered to agree to be bound; 
notes the statement of Mr. McKinley to Congress 
that he had ignored the proposal, and then asks why? 
Says Mr. Flack: 

"The internal evidence and the later facts seem to give 
only one answer, and that is that our government had 
practically decided on war and that the Maine question 
was considered the best thing to arouse popular enthusi- 
asm. This will explain why our government, which has 
generally seemed so favorable to arbitration, was unwil- 
ling to submit the Maine to an impartial tribunal." 

Mr. Flack quotes the protest of the Spanish Minister 
of State against the submission to the American Con- 
gress of the report of the American board of inquiry, 
without giving Spain the slightest opportunity to prove 
her innocence, and adds: 

"There can be no question that this was a true and 
valid criticism. . . . We cannot but conclude that the 
action of our government was indefensible, even if it was 
fully convinced that the ship was destroyed by a torpedo 
or a mine, for that fact would certainly not fix responsi- 
bility upon Spain. A government is only held to exercise 
due diligence in preventing injury to others, and just as 


our government held that it was impossible to prevent 
filibustering expeditions altogether — could not guarantee 
that there would be none — neither could Spain guarantee 
absolutely that no injury would be done our battleship. 
Even if negligence on the part of the Spanish Government 
could be shown, still there would be hardly any justifica- 
tion for war, especially since the Spanish Government 
proposed to abide by the decision of a neutral tribunal, 
and so was willing to make amends." 

Mr. Flack quotes from the messages sent by Minister 
Woodford to President McKinley to prove that Spain 
had granted demand after demand in an effort to 
avoid war. The United States Government demanded 
the withdrawal of the reconcentrado order. Spain 
withdrew it. The United States demanded that the 
belligerents agree upon an armistice. Spain said she 
would willingly grant one if the Cubans should re- 
quest it, but her pride forbade her to grant what the 
rebels had not asked. As warlike preparations pro- 
ceeded in America, Spain pocketed her pride and pro- 
claimed an unasked armistice. The armistice was an- 
nounced on April 9. On April 8, Minister Woodford 
had cabled to the President : 

"The sober sense of Spain is slowly but surely coming 
to the front, and a few days (if these days can still be 
had) will see a crystallized public sentiment that will sus- 
tain the present Spanish Government, if that Government 
has the courage to do at once the things that are neces- 
sary for peace." 

"But these few days," says Mr. Flack, "were not 
given, though the Spanish Government did act imme- 


diately and courageously, for the die was cast when 
the President sent his message to Congress on 
April ii." 

Mr. Flack offers no suggestions as to the real rea- 
sons why the Government of the United States, in 
1898, waged an aggressive war against Spain. He 
only uses the diplomatic correspondence, made public 
long after the war, to show that the reasons given were 
not the true reasons. If the private journals and 
private correspondence of William McKinley, John 
Sherman, Mark Hanna and some of their associates 
shall ever become public, we shall doubtless know why 
we forced war upon Spain. 

The capture of Vera Cruz in the spring of 1914, by 
order of President Wilson, was also an act of aggres- 
sion, and if war had followed, the war would have 
been a war of aggression on the part of the Govern- 
ment of the United States. Vera Cruz was captured 
because General Huerta, before sundown on a certain 
Sunday evening in April, did not salute the United 
States flag. The specific offense of General Huerta's 
government was that some of its soldiers had arrested 
American marines who went ashore for their ships' 

Considerable exaggeration would be required to 
prove that the arrest of a few sailors was an attack 
upon the United States Navy and, therefore, the be- 
ginning of a war of Mexican aggression. But the 
storming and seizure of Vera Cruz was an act of 
war and an act of aggressive war. The Government 


of the United States was guilty of it, and if the laws 
had so provided, the people could have been given 
an opportunity to vote on the question as to whether 
Huerta's refusal to salute our flag should be followed 
with war against Mexico. If the people had voted 
on a proposal to "Remember the Maine?' by waging 
war against Spain, it is probable that they would have 
voted for war — but that suggests jingo editors and 
what should be their responsibility for inflaming 



Ti^INORITIES embroil nations in quarrels and 
±H bring about unwarranted wars. The world is 
tired of war. Where should we strike the first blow 
to bring perpetual peace? 

The logic of the situation points to one answer. 
Secret diplomacy should be done to death. Daylight 
diplomacy should take its place. The power to formu- 
late and execute foreign policies should be placed 
under direct control of the people. It is largely be- 
cause the diplomatic function has not been democra- 
tized that small groups are still able to bring about 
war. It is by the exercise of two forms of political 
power that minorities precipitate war. The power to 
formulate and execute foreign policies is one of these 
powers. The power to declare war is the other. 

It is at this point I differ from those who contend 
that the only way to rid the world of war is to rid it 
of the industrial system that causes minorities to 
seek war. 

I maintain that the absorption, by the people, of 
the political powers with which minorities make war 
will prevent them from making it. 

I assert that the history of the progress of popu- 



lar government is little more than the history of the 
capture by the people of political powers once held 
by minorities. The capitalist system does not fall 
every time the people wrest from the capitalist class 
an additional political power, but the fact that such 
powers can be captured, even before the system can 
be supplanted with something better, is demonstrated 
-again and again. 

The history of government in that part of North 
America in which we live is little more than the history 
of political powers conquered by the people from the 
ruling class. 

The castihg of a ballot is a political power, yet in 
colonial days, property qualifications and other require- 
ments were erected as barriers to keep the masses 
away from the polls. The fight to capture the political 
power that we know as suffrage was not won by the 
last American man until nearly one hundred years 
after the formation of the government — and but few 
women have captured it yet. 

To vote for Presidential electors is to exercise a 
political power, yet for many years after the Govern- 
ment was established, few citizens had such power. 
State legislatures, for the most part, chose the mem- 
bers of the electoral college. Without waiting for the 
capitalist system to fall, the people captured the polit- 
ical power to elect Presidential electors. The people, 
indeed, did more. They captured all the political 
power held by the electoral college by depriving its 
members of the right to exercise their individual judg- 


ment in the selection of President and Vice-President. 

The election of judges is a political power, once 
held solely by minorities. The President and the 
Senate still select all Federal judges, but the people 
have captured the political power to choose state 

The election of United States Senators is a political 
power that was held for 125 years by the legislatures 
of states. The legislatures of states no longer hold it. 
The people have captured it. 

The capitalist system exists both in Russia and in 
England, but England is more nearly democratic than 
Russia, because the people of England have captured 
from their ruling class more political powers than the 
people of Russia have captured. 

I propose that the principle of conquest be carried 
a step further by capturing the political powers with 
which the capitalist class foments and declares war. 

The ruling class incentive to create wars cannot be 
destroyed without destroying the capitalist system, but 
the ability of capitalist minorities to exercise their 
warlike desires can be destroyed by taking from them 
the political powers with which they make war. 

If I believed it would be easier to destroy the sys- 
tem that causes a few to desire war than it would be 
to deprive the few of the means by which they gratify 
their desire, I should combat war only by advocating 
the destruction of the capitalist system. 

But history shows it is easier to wrest from the 


capitalist minority political powers they have assumed 
than it is to destroy the system itself. 

I believe the system should and will be supplanted 
by a system of industry that will be infinitely better, 
but if war can be abolished even before the capitalist 
system can be ended, I am in favor of making war 
quit the world first. War is too great an evil to be 
tolerated a day longer than is necessary. 

I believe war can be made to quit the world first 
Moreover, the loss of the war-making power would 
unquestionably hasten the collapse of the capitalist 
system. Foreign war has ever been a favorite ruling- 
class method of drowning demands for internal re- 
forms. When the people are about to insist upon their 
rights, they are sent to war to forget them. 

A nation's foreign policies should not be formu- 
lated and executed in the dark. No man or group 
of men constituting a minority should have the power 
to determine what a nation's foreign policies shall be. 
The people, at all times, should have the power to 
order the abandonment of foreign policies already in 
operation, and to initiate new ones. This power should 
be exercised by direct ballot. 

Only an absolute monarch can declare war. The 
President of the United States is not an absolute 
monarch, but he often has the power to make war 
inevitable. The President's control over our foreign 
policies gives him the power to provoke war. The 
Constitution of the United States does not give the 
President the power to formulate and execute the 


nation's foreign policies, bat he does both. Under 
the Constitution, the President's right to such powers 
is, at most, an implied right. The Constitution gives 
the President and the Senate the power to appoint 
Ambassadors, Ministers and Consuls, but it does not 
say whether the President, the Senate, or both, shall 
formulate the policies that our representatives abroad 
shall execute. 

The Constitution does not even say there shall be 
a Department of State or a Secretary of State. The 
department and the secretary are both creatures of 

But while written law is silent, unwritten law gives 
the President sole power to formulate and execute 
American foreign policies. The Senate, though it 
shares with the President the power to appoint diplo- 
matic officials, never presumes to fix the policies such 
officials shall execute. Diplomatic officials regard 
themselves and are regarded by others as creatures of 
the President. The President has both the power to 
nominate and to remove them. The President also 
has the power to nominate and remove the Secretary 
of State. 

In practice, if not in constitutional law, the power 
of the President to formulate and execute the nation's 
foreign policies is unlimited. The President, if he 
had been so disposed, could have compelled the United 
States to take part in the great war in Europe. The 
power to formulate foreign policies gave him such 
power. Hardly a day passed without an incident that 


might have been used as a pretext. All the nations 
accused each other of violating the rules of war. Some 
of the nations were charged with violating provisions 
of The Hague agreement that the United States, 
jointly with other powers, is pledged to maintain. 
Floating mines sent adrift by one of the belligerents 
blew up American ships, and warships of other bel- 
ligerents captured American ships. Great Britain and 
Germany, whenever it suited their purpose to do so, 
threw international law to the winds. If the President 
of the United States had desired war, he could have 
forced it with a minimum of effort. A little insulting 
diplomacy, together with the sending of warships 
abroad "to protect our interests/' would have touched 
the spark to the powder. 

That the President, in this instance, sought peace 
rather than war is no justification of his power to 
make war. Peace is too precious and war too horrible 
to entrust the question of war or peace to any one 
man. The security of a nation should be founded 
on something more stable than the good intentions or 
the ability of any individual. The people themselves 
should have the power to keep the peace. They can- 
not have such power until they take from the Presi- 
dent the power to formulate and execute foreign poli- 
cies and vest it in Congress, reserving, meanwhile, the 
power to reverse Congress by referendum if it shall 
seem desirable to do so. 

Furthermore, it is by no means true that every 


President can be trusted not to abuse the great diplo- 
matic power reposed in him. 

According to Ulysses S. Grant, President Polk used 
his diplomatic and military powers to provoke war 
with Mexico. 

According to the late Stewart L. Woodford who, in 
1898, was Minister to Spain, war could have been 
prevented if President McKinley had been willing to 
tell Congress and the country what Mr. Woodford told 
the President ten days before war came — that a little 
more time would yield a bloodless victory for the 
United States. 

President Wilson, in April, 1914, almost if not quite 
violated the Constitution by ordering the commission 
of an act of war against Mexico — the seizure of Vera 
Cruz — merely because General Huerta refused, within 
a given time, to salute the American flag. That war 
did not follow the President's act was merely because 
Mexico was too weak and disorganized to fight. 

What is true of the United States with respect to 
the control of diplomatic functions by a minority, 
is true in greater or lesser measure of every other 
nation. The people of no nation control their diplo- 
matic relationships with the government of any other 
nation. But in few great nations, aside from absolute 
monarchies, is the power to formulate and execute 
foreign policies vested, as it is in the United States, 
in one man. Moreover, in Europe, custom requires 
that records of diplomatic exchanges be speedily pub- 
lished in the form of "blue books" or "white books/' 


while in the United States there is no such custom 
and there exists the greatest uncertainty and irregular- 
ity in the publication of diplomatic correspondence. 
The correspondence preceding the Spanish-American 
War was not published until 1903. In 191 5, the cor- 
respondence between Mr. Taft and Henry Lane Wil- 
son, American Ambassador to Mexico, is still unpub- 
lished, though the period of Mr. Wilson's ambassador- 
ship included the stormy days that led to the assassina- 
tion of President Madero. Nor has the correspondence 
between President Wilson and John Lind yet been 
published, though it was the failure of Mr. Lind's 
meddling mission that ultimately brought about the 
attack upon Vera Cruz. Mr. Lind went abroad upon 
public business, but his activities were cloaked under 
all of the secrecy that might have surrounded private 
business. The Government at Washington published 
only such information as it pleased. 

A new principle should be introduced into diplo- 
macy — the principle of instantaneous publicity. If it 
were a requirement of law that all correspondence, 
both incoming and outgoing, should be made imme- 
diately available for publication, the character of diplo- 
matic communications would be speedily changed. 
Diplomatists would not dare do in the open what they 
now do in the dark. If the people had the right to 
vote upon the question of war they would instantly 
develop such an interest as they have never had in the 
foreign relationships of their nation. Except in crises, 
the people now have little interest in foreign affairs, 



because they have no responsibility for their conduct. 
But if the people were to seize the power to shape dip- 
lomatic courses and the power to declare war, they 
would note with the gravest concern any tendency of 
their government toward diplomatic aggression. 

"It is so easy," said J. Ramsey MacDonald, a mem- 
ber of the British parliament, "for diplomatists to com- 
mit countries in such a way that their very existence 
is jeoparded, and then turn to the citizens and say: 
'Unless you fight, the enemy will batter down your 
gates and reduce you to a state of subjection/ " 

If diplomacy were brought out into the open, diplo- 
matists could not juggle nations into death-traps. The 
people would not be left unwarned of the danger of 
war until it was too late. The daily publication of dis- 
patches would reveal the first sign of diplomatic ag- 

Critics have said that diplomatists would not obey 
the law if they were required to publish all dispatches 
upon the day of their transmission or receipt. Critics 
have not carefully considered the nature of such a law. 
Its enforcement would not depend upon the adminis- 
tration that violated it. The power to enforce the law 
would always lie in the nation which might be the ob- 
ject of unjust attack by the Government of the United 
States. No American official would ever have an in- 
centive to suppress a dispatch that he considered just. 
An unjust dispatch that had been suppressed need only 
be published in America by the government that re- 
ceived it American public opinion would compel the 


enforcement of the law. Any nation that the Govern- 
ment of the United States might be wronging would 
naturally, through its ambassador in Washington, 
make a daily comparison of the messages it received 
and the messages that the American Government ad- 
mitted having sent. The moment the law was violated, 
the aggrieved government would have the Government 
of the United States in its power. The ambassador 
of the foreign nation would naturally proceed to lay 
the suppressed dispatch before the American people, 
through the press. So many newspapers would be 
eager to print proof of the criminality of an admin- 
istration that no newspaper would think it worth while 
to try to suppress the facts. 

No administration could stand up under such proof 
of guilt. However much it might be disposed to shel- 
ter the guilty head of our Department of Foreign 
Relations, it would not dare to do so. Public senti- 
ment would compel his impeachment and removal from 
office, his indictment, trial, conviction and imprison- 
ment upon a felony charge. 

It seems exceedingly improbable that any high offi- 
cial would ever place himself so completely at the 
mercy of his enemy. If not, the law requiring imme- 
diate publication of all diplomatic dispatches would be 

Secret diplomacy can be abolished. Unfortunately, 
jingoes cannot be. But they can be held accountable 
for their acts. Publishers, editors, writers, public 
speakers and public officials who incite war can be 


compelled to serve as common soldiers in any wars 
they may incite. It can be legally declared that to 
advocate a policy of aggression toward a nation is to 
incite war. The period can also be legally fixed in 
which responsibility for a given utterance shall exist. 
The people may say that if war with a particular 
nation shall follow within two years or five years 
of the advocacy of aggression toward the nation, the 
author of the advice shall be required to prove his 
sincerity and his disinterested patriotism by going to' 
the front. It would be a simple matter to require 
all publishers and writers of articles advocating ag- 
gression to send their names and addresses and copies 
of their articles to the war department, and to report 
changes of address for five years following each ar- 
ticle. The threat of a fine and imprisonment for not 
making such reports would insure observance of the 
law, because the publicity attendant upon publication 
would make knowledge of the facts widespread. 

It would be still simpler to hold publishers respon- 
sible for the acts of their writers and to hold writers 
responsible for their own acts. Breathing war f rom 
a newspaper skyscraper would be a less popular di- 
version if it carried with it the certainty that, in the 
event of war, both writer and publisher would breathe 
smoke on the battlefield. 

Jingoes can be sobered without first destroying the 
capitalist system. The people are ready for the ap- 
plication of the remedy. Congress can apply it. It 


would be unnecessary even to amend the federal con- 

It has been argued that to compel writers and pub- 
lic speakers to take part in such wars as they might 
incite would be to violate the rights of free speech 
and a free press. This criticism need not be taken 
seriously. When free speech and freedom of the 
press become no more than the right to preach race 
hatred and mass murder, they will have become 
"rights" unworthy of preservation. 

The absurdity of the criticism is more sharply re- 
vealed, however, by an analysis of its legal aspects. 
Why should there be no responsibility for wronging 
a nation when there is already so much responsibility 
for wronging an individual? One who advocates 
the murder of an individual becomes, in the event of 
crime following his advice, an accessory before the 
fact, equally guilty with the actual murderer. Why 
should one who advocates a crime against two na- 
tions (his own and another) escape all responsibility? 

No power should exist without responsibility, and 
the greater the power the greater should be the re- 
sponsibility. We should probably not electrocute men 
who advocate war, but we can with perfect propriety 
demand that they shall take the medicine they pre- 
scribe for others. Indeed, the world's safety requires 
that we shall do so. Jingo journalism and jingo 
oratory are the handmaidens of secret diplomacy — 
the bloody trio of modern civilization. 



THE war-referendum plan has been criticised on 
the ground that it would tend to give a popular 
sanction to war. This criticism has been made by 
those who so object to war that they would withhold 
from it every vestige of public approval. 

Such critics fail to perceive the purpose of the plan. 
I do not advocate the war-referendum for the pur- 
pose of giving to wholesale murder any degree of 
respectability that it now lacks. Nor do I advocate 
the war-referendum to increase the ease with which 
war might be declared. I urge the people to take 
over the war-making power because • I believe they 
would seldom or never use it. If I believed the people 
were more blood-thirsty than their masters, I should 
prefer that their masters retain the power to make 
war. I am opposed to the retention of such power by 
the masters, because I believe they are more war-like 
than the people. 

The master class has selfish reasons for en- 
gaging in war. The people have none. 

The master class finds war tolerable, or they would 
end it. The people find war horrible and should end 
it. . 



The people have the desire to end war — the mas- 
ters have not. If the popular horror of war were 
made effective, war would be no more. 

I contend that the popular horror of war can be 
made effective. If no aggressive war could be begun 
except by direct vote of the people, the popular 
horror of war would be effective. The master class 
would be disarmed. It could not fire a gun on land 
or sea. The people could fire every gun on land and 
sea, but if they had a horror of war, they would not 
do so. 

It would be far better if there were nowhere any 
guns to fire, but the guns are here. So long as they 
are here, the control over them must rest somewhere. 
If the majority do not seize this power, the minority 
will retain it. I urge the seizure of this power by 
the majority to prevent the minority from using 
it. If the people are peaceful, I am right. If the 
people are less war-like than their masters, the people, 
if they had the war-making power, would make fewer 
wars than their masters make. 

An exceedingly important principle underlies this 
phase of the subject. Any governmental act that must 
be done quickly should be the function of an indi- 
vidual, or at most, of a few men. There may be in- 
\ stances where the objections would outweigh the ad- 
vantages of such a distribution of power, but in the 
main, the principle is correct. However powerful 
may be the public will, once it is placed in operation, 


it cannot assert itself quickly. Democratic govern- 
ment is proverbially slow to get into action. 

If there were no other reason for placing the war- 
making power in the hands of the people, it should 
be done for this reason. Aggressive war should 
never be begun quickly. Here the public lethargy 
may well be turned to account. To attack another na-A 
tion is almost if not always to do wrong, and noth- 
ing can ever be lost by postponing the day of wrong- 
doing. If there be justification for attacking another 
nation, the justification must necessarily be so deep- 
seated that it will last until the people have voted. 
Justification that would not last sixty days would not 
be justification. 

If other nations soon learned that the people of 
the United States invariably voted against aggressive 
war, the proposal of war by Congress would not so 
alarm our prospective victim that it would strike at 
us while we were preparing to vote. 

The people themselves, if left to themselves, are 
everywhere opposed to war. Professor Muensterberg, 
in a book entitled "America and the War" makes the 
statement that it is the kings and kaisers who are op- 
posed to war and that within the last twenty-five years, 
the governments of Europe have several times 
thwarted the wish of the people to engage in war. 

It is unfortunately true that scheming diplomatists 
and jingo journalists have the power so to inflame 
peoples that they desire war. It is even more cer- 
tainly true that the ruling class of each nation knows 



that the people at heart want peace. The ruling class 
of no nation dares to trust the people to wage the 
wars in which the ruling class wishes to engage. 

If the ruling class of Germany trusts the people of 
Germany to wage all the wars in which the ruling 
class wishes to engage, why is there compulsory mili- 
tary service in Germany? 

Why is there compulsory military service in France? 

Why does Great Britain, whenever she cannot get 
enough volunteers, resort to conscription? 

Why has the Government of the United States en- 
acted the Dick military law under the terms of which, 
in the event of war, the President has the power to 
demand and compel military service from every able- 
bodied citizen between the ages of eighteen and forty- 
five years? 

A r hy does the Government of the United States, 
whenever it cannot get enough volunteers, resort to 
the draft? 

Why were there draft riots in New York City and 
elsewhere during the Civil War? 

If the people are so war-like and the rulers are s# 
peaceful, why do the peaceful rulers everywhere take 
such pains that the war-like people shall not be per- 
mitted to remain at peace? 

A series of advertisements printed by the British 
Government in the leading London reviews throw a 
strong light upon the foregoing questions. The Brit- 
ish Government, on August 4, 19 14, embarked upon 
the greatest war in the world's history. It was with 


difficulty, however, that the men of the British Isles 
were induced to embark in the war by enlisting. An 
American who returned from London in September 
said: "Everybody in England is urging everybody 
else to go to war." War-like banners were flung 
across the streets ; taxicabs chugged along bearing the 
legend : "Your country needs you. Go to the front 
God save the King." Public monuments were draped 
with similar admonitions — yet after the first flush 
of excitement following the outbreak of war, enlist- 
ments dwindled to insignificant proportions. 

London newspapers gravely discussed the public 
lethargy. "It is believed," said one, "that when the 
cold weather sets in, many of the homeless unemployed 
will see the wisdom of seeking shelter at the front." 
The youth of the land were roundly scolded for their 
attendance upon sporting events. It was shameful that 
young men should prefer cricket or the seashore to 
the performance of their solemn duty in the trenches. 
Zeppelin raids, from time to time, stimulated enlist- 
ments, as did the German attacks upon the seacoast 
towns of eastern England. Yet, the British Govern- 
ment nevertheless felt it necessary to accelerate the 
process of transferring men from peace to war by 
printing in London newspapers and periodicals a series 
of advertisements of a most remarkable nature. They 
were remarkable not alone for their admission that the 
British ruling class is conscious of the necessity of 
urging common people to fight — they were remarkable 
because of their unconscious revelation of ruling class 


character. Artemus Ward was willing to sacrifice all 
of his wife's relations to put down the bloody rebel- 
lion — but Artemus did not exceed in sacrificial spirit 
the British ruling class of today. Measured by its 
unblushing impudence, the following advertisement 
from The Spectator of January 23, 1915, stands high : 

Five Questions to Those Who Employ Male Servants. 

1. Have you a butler, groom, chauffeur, gardener, or 
gamekeeper serving you who at this moment should be 
serving your king and country? 

2. Have you a man serving at your table who should 
be serving a gun? 

3. Have you a man digging your garden who should 
be digging trenches? 

4. Have you a man driving your car who should be 
driving a transport wagon? 

5. Have you a man preserving your game who should 
be helping to preserve your country? 

A great responsibility rests on you. Will you sac- 
rifice your personal convenience for your country's 

Ask your men to enlist TODAY. 

The address of the nearest recruiting office can be ob- 
tained at any postoffice. 

God save the King. 

Not a suggestion that the comfortable, affluent gen- 
tlemen to whom the advertisement was addressed 
should themselves go away to be killed — only an 

urgent appeal to them to induce their servants to enlist 
"today." The British Government solemnly tells the 
British rich man that "a great responsibility rests on 


you" — the responsibility of doing without his flunkeys 
in order that they might lose their lives, if need be, in 
the protection of the master's property. 

The Nation, of London, on January 30, 191 5, pub- 
lished an advertisement that, among other things, 
rather clearly defines the master class definition of 
patriotism, so far as it pertains to the master class. 

An Appeal to Patriotic Employers. 

As an employer have you seen that every fit man under 
your control that can possibly be spared has been given 
every opportunity of enlisting? 

Will you call your employes together today, and ex- 
plain to them that in order to end the war quickly we 
must have more men? 

Many more men would enlist if you explained to them 
what you are prepared to do for them whilst they are 
fighting for the empire. 

They will listen to you — use your influence and help 
to end the war. 

Call your men together — today. 

Your country will appreciate the help you give. 

God save the King. 

The British Government's idea of the way for a 
rich Briton to be a patriot is to induce the poor men 
who work for him to go to war, and he is assured 
that "your country will appreciate the help you give." 
But the British Government's idea of the way a poor 
man should go about it to become a patriot is revealed 
in the following advertisement from The Spectator of 
February 13, 1915: 


To the Men of England. 

Your country knows that it is no light sacrifice that 
she demands of you. 

You are not blamed for letting others, who felt the call 
more keenly, get in ahead of you. But now it is your 
turn to play the man ; if you do so, we will not think the 
less of you because you could not go sooner. 

Remember this, if you don't go willingly today, you 
and your children, and your children's children, may have 
to go unwillingly to wars even more terrible than this one. 

Your country wants you NOW. 

Enlist today! 

God save the 

This is what might be called a liberal proposition. 
The gates of hell are opened to the humblest, while 
nobody who enters is to be blamed because he did not 
enter earlier. Benevolence in government could 
hardly go further. 

The revelation of British ruling class mind is but 
an incident, however, of the foregoing advertisements. 
The fact that they prove beyond all question is that 
the British people are not as war-like as their masters. 
The publication by the government of the advertise- 
ments is an official admission that in the face of the 
greatest war in England's history, the English people 
must be coaxed to fight. 

Yet nothing could be further from the truth than 
the conclusion that the Englishman is lacking in cour- 
age. No braver man walks the earth. The point is 
that until conscription begins, the Englishman is left 
free to exercise his own judgment. His judgment is, 


in the main, that he should stay at home. If the 
Frenchman and the German were different, it would 
be unnecessary for the governments of France and 
Germany to make military service compulsory. If the 
American were different, the Dick law would be un- 

The people of America are so peaceful that if the 
people of the South had controlled their war-making 
power there would have been no Civil War. Histo- 
rians on both sides of Mason and Dixon's line have so 
obscured the . facts concerning the war's beginning 
that the present generation has lost sight of what 
were the realities. Certain matters cannot be blotted 
out, though they may be, as they are, ignored. A 
most significant fact is that five months after the 
first secession ordinance was introduced in a Southern 
legislature, so few states had seceded that the plan to 
form a Southern Confederacy seemed doomed to cer- 
tain failure. 

Horace Greeley told the whole story in a history of 
the Civil War * that he published immediately after 
the close of the conflict. The following statements are 
taken from pages 450 and 632 of the first volume of 
Greeley's history. 

Secession ordinances were introduced in the legis- 
latures of the 15 Southern states. Seven of the states 
adopted ordinances. The other eight balked. Five 
months after the seven seceded, the other eight were 

* "The American Conflict? two vols., published 1865, by O. D. 
Case & Co., Hartford, Conn. 


still in the Union- Tennessee, Arkansas and most of 
the border states had, by overwhelming vote, refused 
to secede. Of the border states, Kentucky, Maryland 
and Delaware consented to consider the question fur- 
ther, but took no action. It began to look as if none 
of the other states would take action. 

The secession of a few states, however, had para- 
lyzed the business of the South by destroying its 
credit in the North. In a practical sense, the South 
was neither in the Union nor out of it, and had none 
of the advantages which either position would have 
given it The situation was so grave that the South- 
ern leaders decided to resort to extreme measures to 
revive the languishing secession movement and force 
the South out of the Union. 

Mr. Greeley tells what those measures were and 
quotes, as his authority, Jere Clemens, who, before the 
war, was a United States senator from Alabama. 
Clemens spoke at a unionist meeting that was held at 
Huntsville, Alabama, on March 13, 1864. Greeley 
quotes Clemens as follows : 

"Before I declare this meeting adjourned, I wish to state 
a fact in relationship to the commencement of the war. 
Seme time after the ordinance of secession was passed, 
I was in Montgomery and called upon President Davis, 
who was in the city. Davis, Memminger, the secretary 
of war, Gilchrist, the member from Lowndes county and 
several others were present As I entered the conversa- 
tion ceased. They were evidently discussing the firing 
upon Fort Sumter. Two or three of them withdrew to a 
corner of the room, and I heard Gilchrist say to the secre- 


tary of war : 'It must be done. Delay two months and 
Alabama stays in the Union. You must sprinkle blood in 
the faces of the people. 3 

9 »» 

Forthwith blood was "sprinkled." Fort Sumter was 
fired .upon. The Federal Government, feeling com- 
pelled to protect its property, resisted the attack. The 
people of the South were told by their leaders that 
the resistance of the North constituted an attack upon 
the South. Then came the war. Blood had been 
"sprinkled in the faces of the people." States that in 
time of peace had been opposed to secession, as well 
as states that had been so indifferent toward it that 
they would not sanction it, drew away from the Union 
after President Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers 
to recover Fort Sumter and put down the insurrection. 

From these facts it appears that the war between 
the states was not brought about by the hot-headed im- 
petuosity of the Southern people. The masses in the 
South, then as now, were poor people, struggling to 
make a living. They owned no slaves, nor ever ex- 
pected to own any. They had their little homes and 
their little occupations, and the controversy about 
slavery so slightly concerned them that they were un- 
willing to withdraw from the Union to erect a slave 
nation. They accepted war only when they believed 
they had been attacked. They believed they had been 
attacked only because they did not know the facts. 

It would not have been within the power of the 
Southern leaders to precipitate the conflict if it had 
been a recognized principle in the South that no 


war should be begun except by direct vote of the peo- 
ple. The firing upon Fort Sumter was an act of war. 
How likely is it that in states where even secession 
ordinances could not be passed through legislatures, 
the people would have voted to fire upon a federal 
fort? What Southerner, even now, believes Abraham 
Lincoln would ever have attacked the South? Yet 
Lincoln, in 1861, was the same man that all the world 
now knows him to have been. The Southern people, 
in 1 86 1, did not know Lincoln. Their leaders would 
not let them know him. Yet Lincoln was there to be 
known. The Southern people simply lacked the ma- 
chinery for finding out the facts. 

The great, unnecessary war between the North and 
the South affords a powerful illustration of the need 
of daylight diplomacy. If it had been an accepted 
principle in the South that diplomatic affairs should 
be conducted in the open, the South would have de- 
manded full knowledge of all the steps that led to 
the war. Strictly speaking, of course, the South, 
prior to the war, had no diplomatic relationships with 
any government. Southern leaders, however, were 
performing acts that had all of the ominous signifi- 
cance of the gravest diplomatic acts. There were ne- 
gotiations between states that regarded themselves as 
independent, sovereign states. Jefferson Davis of 
Mississippi was in communication with Alexander H. 
Stephens of Georgia. Their communications were es- 
sentially of a diplomatic nature. The people of the 
whole South — at any rate, the people of the two states 


immediately concerned — should have known every 
word that passed between these two men. 

Of course, if all the negotiations of the Southern 
leaders had been conducted in the open, it would not 
have been possible to precipitate the rebellion. It is 
not the custom of minorities to hatch rebellions in the 
open. But that is a fact that minorities, rather than 
majorities, should regret — the fact that publicity 
would block them. 

It is easy enough to conceive situations in which 
daylight diplomacy would be a positive detriment. 
But it would be difficult to lay down a principle, how- 
ever nearly just and advantageous in the main, that in 
some conceivable circumstances might not work badly. 
But in 99 cases out of 100, daylight diplomacy would 
serve public interests. Secret diplomacy is the means 
by which minorities foment and bring about wars. As 
between the two, an informed public can have but 
one choice. Moreover, if the people ever take the 
power to vote on war, they should have daylight 
diplomacy to provide them with the information with 
which to vote intelligently. 

Some critics of the war-referendum plan have been 
much concerned lest the people, if they had the power 
to vote war, should vote wrong. It has even been 
argued that the people should not have the power to 
vote on war because of the probability that they would 
vote wrong. One critic offered the defeat of an eight- 
hour law, when submitted to a referendum of the peo- 


pie of California, as proof of the inability of the 
people to recognize their interests when they vote. 

Such criticism, if made by the Czar of Russia, 
would be quite understandable. It is quite im- 
possible to understand when made in America. Demo- 
crats believe Republicans vote wrong ; Republicans be- 
lieve Democrats vote wrong ; Progressives believe both 
Republicans and Democrats vote wrong, and Socialists 
believe everybody but Socialists vote wrong — yet we 
find it possible to tolerate each other's exercise of the 
franchise upon the theory that the public welfare re- 
quires that we rule ourselves as well as we can, even 
if we make mistakes. We prefer such degree of self- 
rule as we can get to any autocratic government 



A MEMBER of the Socialist Party whose opinions 
"* are always worthy of consideration, agrees in 

principle with the war-referendum plan, but doubts the 
advisability of advocating it. He says: "I am in- 
clined to think that when we have power enough to 
add your plan to the constitution, we shall come pretty 
nearly having enough power to make a new constitu- 
tion." Other Socialists have put the same idea into 
the question : "Would it not be as difficult to get a 
capitalist Congress to agree to relinquish the war-mak- 
ing power as it would be to get a capitalist Congress 
to install Socialism ?" 

Such criticism is interesting. If it is well-based, I 
should abandon the advocacy of the war-referendum 
and confine myself to the advocacy of Socialism, in 
which I also believe. If it is not well-based, other 
Socialists should advocate the war-referendum in ad- 
dition to Socialism. I welcome the issue and shall 
proceed to demonstrate that the criticism is not well- 

Let us make our starting-point a fact, as to the 
truth of which we can all agree. That fact is : 



The people have the power to do what they will 
with their government. 

The people can destroy their government. They 
can knock down part of it and let the. rest stand. They 
can capture all the political power of the capitalist 
class or they can capture part of it They can take 
some of the principles of capitalism out of the consti- 
tution and put in some of the principles of Socialism, 
or they can take out all of the principles of capitalism 
and put in all of the principles of Socialism. So far 
as determining the structure of government is con- 
cerned, there is nothing the people cannot do. 

But none of these things can be done unless there 
be first desire, and after desire must come agreement 
as to the method that shall be pursued to accomplish 
it First, the people must want to do a thing and then 
a majority must agree as to how they shall proceed to 
do it 

Let us make a careful comparison of the chief pur- 
pose of Socialism and the chief purpose of the war- 
referendum plan. 

The chief purpose of Socialism is to enable the 
people to carry on industry without exploitation of 

The chief purpose of the war-referendum plan is to 
enable the people, the world over, to prevent insignifi- 
cant minorities, or minorities of whatever size, from 
precipitating wars against the wishes of the people. 

Each of these purposes is sufficient to introduce into 
the public mind the element of desire, which must 


precede every attempt to change the structure of gov- 
ernment. The people desire that the robbery of the 
many by the few shall be ended. The people desire 
that the power of a few to embroil millions in war 
shall be ended. So far as the element of desire is con- 
cerned, Socialism and the war referendum are on 
equal terms. The people are in favor of the purpose 
of each program. 

We have now progressed one step in the search for 
the correct answer to our question, which is: Is it 
likely that the war-referendum idea could be enacted 
into law much if any before the whole Socialist pro- 
gram could be enacted? We have recalled that the 
wresting from the minority of any political power 
must be preceded by popular desire, and that desire 
must be followed by agreement as to the method that 
shall be pursued to gain the desired end. 

We are now ready to take the second step, which • 
has to do with the problem of uniting a majority upon 
a particular method of accomplishing a general desire. 
What are the factors in a program that tend to unite 
a majority? 

First, the majority must be convinced that the pro- 
gram, if enacted into law, would accomplish the de- 
sired result. 

The majority, too, must be convinced that the ad- 
vantages of a program would be greater than its dis- 
advantages, and that it is possible to place the program 
in effect within a reasonable time. 

Measured by these tests, I know of no reason why 


the program of Socialism should not make a perfect 
appeal not only to the people of America, but to the 
people of the world. I believe Socialism would end 
poverty, without creating any evil whatever in its 
place, and I know of nothing that can prevent the 
inauguration of Socialism, once the people order it to 
be installed. 

But in these matters, the great majority of the peo- 
ple do not agree with me. Why ? All but an insignifi- 
cant minority earnestly desire to end robbery, but the 
great majority have yet to be convinced that the So- 
cialist remedy for robbery is the correct one. 

Remember, now, that neither the Socialist program 
nor the war-referendum program can become effective 
until at least a majority of the people believe both in 
its efficacy and its practicability. Let us place the two 
programs side by side and consider which is likely 
to conquer the public mind first. 

To prevent a few from robbing everybody else, the 
Socialist Party demands the public ownership and 
democratic management of all the means of production 
and distribution that are collectively operated. 

To prevent a few from embroiling millions in wars 
they do not want, the war referendum demands that 
secret diplomacy give way to democratized diplomacy ; 
that only the people, by direct ballot, shall have the 
power to declare war; that in the event of war, those 
who voted for it shall be the first ones to be sent to 
the front, and that women as well as men shall have 
the right to vote on a proposal to declare war. 


I perceive no flaw in the Socialist program that 
should account for the failure of the people to turn 
to it en masse. It is a program that reaches to the 
roots of our civilization, but the wrongs we are trying 
to eradicate also reach to the roots of our civilization, 
and no shorter program would reach the wrongs. A 
tree that is grounded in fifty feet of gravel cannot be 
pulled down with a shoestring. We Socialists realize 
only too well the depths to which the roots of the capi- 
talist tree descend, and though we regret that we can- 
not uproot this monster with a toothpick, we submit, 
with entire confidence, an explosive that we believe will 
uproot it. That explosive is the public ownership and 
democratic management of the things of which and 
with which the necessaries of life are collectively pro- 
duced. Private ownership is the weapon with which 
the industrial grafter grafts. We purpose to take 
his weapon from him. We do not see how he could 
steal without a weapon. Neither does the grafter, evi- 
dently, see how he could steal, because he is doing his 
very best to cling to his weapon — which is the owner- 
ship of the things we all must use to live. 

It is, however, an unfortunate fact that the mere 
statement of the Socialist program is not sufficient 
to carry conviction to all who hear it. That is not 
the fault of the program — it is the misfortune of the 
people. It is the misfortune of the people that they 
so often take counsel of their fears, rather than their 
hopes. The Socialist program contemplates a pro- 
found change in the basis of society. We ourselves 


boldly proclaim that we are "revolutionists," meaning 
thereby that we are intent upon bringing, by means 
of the ballot, a revolution in the existing world that 
will put the people on top of it. We should be frauds 
if we did not proclaim the revolutionary character of 
our purposes. 

But the very stupendousness of our program (and 
it could not be less if it were to be effective) stuns and 
silences the man who hears it for the first time. 
Everybody is said to be a coward at 2 o'clock in the 
morning, and a great many of us are cowards at noon. 
Blistered by the present, we nevertheless shrink from 
change. We feel that to change means to sail out in 
the dark upon an unknown sea. A few figuratively 
lash themselves to the mast, as Farragut did when he 
sailed up Mobile Bay, and like Farragut shout: 
"Damn the torpedoes — go ahead !" It is in this spirit 
that all discovery, social and otherwise, has been made. 
The way to unknown lands is not led by weaklings. 
The star of implicit belief must ever be enough to 
light the leaders on. They must have but one pas- 
sion and that must be to discover a new world. And 
the world of plenty which Socialists seek is not to be 
had for the asking. It is a world that is not to be 
received as a gift, but a world that must be taken as a 

It is inspiring to read of the exploits of discoverers 
and pioneers. As we follow them, line by line, our 
hearts and our hopes leap with their hopes. But there 
is a peculiarity in human nature that causes most 


persons to glut their desire for discovery and explora- 
tion by reading about it The average man holds back. 
He believes either that the trip is not worth while or 
that it is attended with too many dangers. Regard- 
less of the particular reason by which he is moved, 
he permits the pioneer to precede him, and where the 
dauntless lead today, the laggards go tomorrow. 

The disciples of graft have exhausted their re- 
sources in an effort to make tke way to Socialism ap- 
pear to be a plunge into a jungle inhabited only by 
man-eating tigers and boa-constrictors. Upon each 
side of what is really a broad highway, these grafters 
have set up dummy horribles in much the same man- 
ner that a scene shifter sets a stage. One horrible 
monster, stuffed with straw, carries in suspension from 
its neck the placard : "Socialism Would Destroy Ini- 
tiative." A boa-constrictor made of mud conveys the 
intelligence that "You will have to change human 
nature to make Socialism work." Other placards 
read : "If you were to divide everything equally to- 
day, a few would have almost everything tomorrow;" 
"If the government owned everything, the politicians 
would ruin everything;" "Socialism would destroy in- 
dividuality;" "Socialism would mean tyranny;" "So- 
cialism might be a good thing, but it cannot be 
brought about in less than a thousand years — and in 
the meantime, vote for Bunko and Steerer, labor's 

Granted that these "monsters" are all fakes. Admit 
that they are. Admit, also, that the people will ulti- 


mately discover that the fakes are fakes. It is never- 
theless a fact, highly important for our present pur- 
poses, that the people have not yet been convinced 
of the fraudulent character of these dummies and, be- 
cause of them, are keeping off the Socialist highway. 
We are at present trying to determine whether it 
would be possible to convert a majority of the people 
to the war-referendum plan much, if any, before it 
will be possible to convert them to Socialism. The ex- 
tent to which it is possible to misrepresent Socialism 
is therefore an important factor to consider. 

Is it possible to misrepresent the war-referendum 
plan as much as it is possible to misrepresent Social- 
ism? If it is, it will be idle further to discuss the 
war referendum, because, with the coming of world- 
wide Socialism, war will end. 

Let us take the first demand of the war-referendum 
program — that no war be begun except by direct vote 
of all the men and women of the nation in which war 
is proposed. 

What is there in that demand that is open to easy 
misrepresentation ? 

Can anyone be convinced that to take the war-mak- 
ing power away from fifty men in Europe and 135 
men in the United States would destroy the home, or 
destroy initiative, or require a change of human nature, 
or strew the world with sorrow and suffering ? What 
is to be the basis of the misrepresentation? Is it to 
be that the people do not know enough to vote in 
favor of their own interests? Let anyone who de- 


sires, seek thus to misrepresent the plan. The person 
to whom he makes it may be implicitly trusted to 
estimate the misrepresentation at its real worth. No 
man or woman will ever admit that he or she would 
not be able to vote intelligently upon the matter of 
war. Few persons will admit that they cannot vote 
intelligently upon anything. Moreover, if the prin- 
ciple is to be established that the people are to be per- 
mitted to vote only upon the questions that they un- 
derstand, who is to determine for the people what they 
understand and what they do not? Anyone who 
should try to attack the war-referendum on this 
ground would immediately find himself in trouble. 

Is the plan to be misrepresented because it would 
give to Congress and the President the power they 
already have to resist attack ? Let anybody who would 
fly-speck this demand move to amend by providing 
that in case of attack we should do nothing for sixty 
days until the people had voted. We must repel at- 
tack without voting or repel it after voting — one or 
the other. 

Is there opportunity for successful misrepresenta- 
tion in the proposal that Congress and the President, 
without consulting the people, should have the power 
to prepare for emergencies? Congress and the Pres- 
ident now prepare for emergencies and the people 
have no referendum upon any act of Congress. I 
propose that Congress and the President have the 
power to prepare for emergencies and that the people 
have the right to submit any and every act of Congress 


to referendum. Would there be much force in the 
contention that if Congress and the President were 
given authority to provide for real emergencies, sub- 
ject to popular referendum if there were time and the 
people so desired, that Congress and the President 
would have the power to plunge the nation into mili- 
tarism and plead that they were only providing for 
an emergency? What would the people be doing 
with their referendum power? Would they be silent 
and inactive while the Government was piling up 
armaments against the popular will? 

What convincing criticism could be made of the 
proposal that those who might vote for war should 
be sent to the front, in the event of war, in the order 
in which they voted, and that nobody who voted 
against war should be called upon to serve until every 
war-maker had served and the resultant army proved 
insufficient? If the people should vote for war, part 
of the people would at once have to go to war. Is it 
likely that anyone who opposed war would be preju- 
diced against the war-referendum plan merely because 
it would send the war-makers to the front first? 
Would a young man who wanted to live be prejudiced 
against the plan merely because it would send to the 
front first any old man who might feel inclined to vote 
the young man into war? 

It is not pleasant to think of an old man in battle. 
It is not pleasant to think of a young man in battle. 
If the old man votes for battle and the young man 
votes for peace, which should be in battle first? In 


these days of trench warfare, any man who is physi- 
cally able to ride from point to point on troop trains 
and, eight times an hour, raise his head above the 
trench and fire toward the enemy, is competent to be 
a soldier. A fat, apoplectic broker probably could not 
stand trench life as well as a young, sinewy farmer. 
Let the broker vote for peace, then. Do you believe a 
peace-loving young farmer could be prejudiced against 
the war-referendum plan merely because, in the event 
of the broker and a majority voting for war, the 
broker would be required to go into the trenches while 
the farmer remained at home ? Try it on a farmer and 
see. I may be wrong. Perhaps he would insist upon 
going in the broker'? place. 

Is it possible successfully to misrepresent the war- 
referendum plan merely because it proposes that all 
war-ballots shall be signed by those who cast them? 
We believe, on general principles, in a secret ballot. 
Why? Is it not because we believe a secret ballot is 
in our interest? Exactly so. What we seek, then, is 
the advancement of our interests. 

Suppose, in the matter of war, it should appear that 
our interests would be best served by a signed ballot. 
Should we still cling to secrecy when it had become a 
danger rather than a safeguard? Suppose you had 
voted against war and were therefore entitled to re- 
main at home until every advocate of war had been 
mustered into service and been whipped to a stand- 
still. Would you be interested in proving by the signa- 
ture on your ballot that you had voted against war? 



Would you repudiate the whole plan merely because 
somebody told you that no war-ballot should be 
signed ? Would you prefer, in the event of conscrip- 
tion, to be drafted and sent to the front while mil- 
lions of men who voted for war skulked behind their 
unsigned ballots and remained at home while you 
fought ? 

Do you believe war should be made, if at all, in 
secret or in open? How could war by ballot be made 
in the open if the ballots were not signed? Do you 
believe employers who wanted war would discharge 
employes who voted for peace? Suppose the nation 
voted for peace — do you believe a few employers could 
discharge the nation? Suppose only ten or fifteen 
million men and women should vote for peace and the 
other twenty million should vote for war — do you 
think a few capitalists would discharge the ten or fif- 
teen millions ? How long do you believe it would be 
before revolution would overrun a land in which the 
normal army of unemployed had been suddenly in- 
creased by the discharge of ten or fifteen millions, 
whose only crime was that they had voted against 

Is it probable that the people could be much preju- 
diced against the war-referendum plan because it 
would make secret diplomacy a felony, and give Con- 
gress (subject to popular referendum) the power to 
formulate and execute foreign policies ? The making 
of a foreign policy is often the making of war. Why 
should the question of whether we are to remain at 


peace be solely dependent upon how the President 
feels about the matter? The President now has the 
sole power to make and execute foreign policies. If 
we are protected, he protects us. Why should we not 
have the power to protect ourselves? Is it probable 
that any considerable number of persons could be 
unalterably prejudiced against the war-referendum 
plan, merely because one of its proposals seeks to 
give the people power to protect themselves? Or, 
might the people be expected to object because it is 
demanded that the jingoes be compelled to fight in any 
wars they may create? 

We are now prepared to sum up the facts we have 
considered. The people are opposed to poverty and 
industrial robbery, and we Socialists tell them that So- 
cialism will end both poverty and industrial robbery. 
The people are opposed to wars fomented against 
their will by minorities. The advocates of the war- 
referendum plan declare that if diplomacy were de- 
mocratized and the war-making power vested in the 
people themselves, no war could be begun for which 
the people had not voted. 

If the war-referendum program is less susceptible 
to misrepresentation than the Socialist plan, it can 
command a majority of the people more quickly than 
can the Socialist program. 

From a knowledge of both programs, I contend 
that the war-referendum plan is simpler than the So- 
cialist program, much more likely to carry conviction 
with the mere statement of it, and much more difficult 


to misrepresent. The Socialist program goes to the 
roots of government and industry. The war-referen- 
dum program goes to the roots of but two functions 
of government — diplomacy and war. A part of a 
thing is always less than the whole of it — that is why 
the war-referendum plan is less than the Socialist pro- 
gram and therefore more easily understood. 

Whatever the people are determined to do with gov- 
ernment, they can do. Nothing can stand in the way 
of the demands of a united, insistent people. All the 
people want about the same things but have difficulty 
in agreeing upon a way of getting them. The people 
are tired of poverty and tired of war, and the question 
is whether the Socialist plan of ending poverty and 
war or the war-referendum plan of ending war is, 
in its nature, most likely to lead in making its way into 
the public understanding. 

Perhaps a few straws will show which way the 
wind is blowing. 

On December 19, 1914, I was in Washington and 
passed the war-referendum idea around among a few 
members of Congress. On December 29, 1914, Sena- 
tor Robert L. Owen, of Oklahoma, with whom I had 
spoken, introduced in the United States senate a reso- 
lution proposing that the United States constitution be 
amended by taking the war-making power from the 
Congress and depositing it in the people, to be exer- 
cised by them only by direct ballot. 

The Pennsylvania State Grange and the Farmers' 
Union of Kansas, according to the public press, en- 


dorsed the plan — the first in December and the second 
in January — and in each case the initiative was taken 
by the body itself. 

The Emergency Peace Conference (non-partizan) 
which was held in Chicago in February, 191 5, accord- 
ing to the public press, demanded that offensive war 
should be declared only by vote of the people and that 
the diplomatic function should be democratized. 
Miss Jane Addams and other non-Socialists of her 
standing, attended the conference and voted in favor 
of the war-referendum plan. 

Literally hundreds of articles have been written 
in favor of the plan by persons whom I never saw, 
since I formulated it in August, 1914. 

I have yet to hear of any non-Socialist member of 
Congress introducing a resolution to establish Social- 
ism, nor have I ever heard of a state grange demand- 
ing Socialism. Socialism is the more important, but 
unfortunately it does not directly appeal to the public 
mind. I regret the fact, but I am compelled to recog- 
nize it. 

But I also recognize the fact that war is so horrible 
that it should be ended at the earliest possible moment. 
I know of no better way to end war quickly than to 
enable the public hatred of war to control the war- 
making power. I believe the loss of the war-making 
power would greatly cripple capitalism. If so, the 
seizure by the people of the war-making power would 
accelerate the departure of capitalism and hasten the 
coming of Socialism. 


Moreover, the more things we put into the Socialist 
platform that people already know they want, the 
sooner will they discover that they want and need the 
rest of the platform. 

I am against war and for Socialism — therefore I 
am for the war-referendum. 



T)ERHAPS the greatest shock the human race ever 
-■- received was caused by the breaking out of war 
in Europe in the summer of 19 14. Dull indeed was 
the mind that could not think in those great days. 
Some men thought as they had never thought before, 
and some men thought who had never thought before. 
In the* face of a common danger, men struck out for 
the truth, regardless of what they had regarded as 
true the day before. For a few days, the New York 
World boldly advocated an embargo upon the exporta- 
tion of American food. Others lay stress upon the 
fact that a few had brought to Europe a war that the 
millions did not want. It was a time of such earnest 
thinking as we shall not soon see again. 

During this period of tremendous intellectual ac- 
tivity, one clear note was heard again and again — 
heard in America, heard in Europe, heard every- 
where : 

Women must have the vote. The war had proved 

"Something new and helpful must be born in the heart 
of the world from its long travail in war," said The No- 



Jim, of London. "Is it too much to suggest that in such 
a society the chief argument against the enfranchisement 
of women must fall to the ground?" 

A gentleman who wrote from the Reform Club in 
London thought it was not too much to hope that the 
war would give the ballot to women. He had always 
been opposed to the enfranchisement of anybody but 
men. In the Liberal Party, he had fought the en- 
franchisement of women. But in the great tumult of 
war, he heard a voice he had never heard before — the 
voice of woman crying for the means with which to 
protect herself. 

The same cry was heard in America. Newspaper 
after newspaper echoed it Sometimes it was echoed 
in an editorial — sometimes in a picture. Wherever it 
was echoed, the argument and the entreaty were the 
same. The argument was to this point: Women 
bear the children and care for them until they are 
grown. War kills the men outright and drives the 
women before it as before a prairie fire. What women 
have borne, women have a right to protect with their 

But is there a person on earth who can demonstrate, 
by a process of reasoning, that it would have the slight- 
est effect upon war merely to give women the right to 

Do not the men of most civilized countries already 
have the right to vote? If mere voting were, in itself, 
enough to keep the world from war, why is a world 
in which men vote still at war? If half of the adult 


population, having the right to vote, cannot keep the 
world from war, why should we expect peace to come 
merely because the other half are permitted to do what 
the first half have so long done ineffectively? 

Women should understand, as men should under- 
stand, that the right to vote amounts, in itself, to little. 
What women and men most need is the right to vote 
directly and determinatively upon the things that most 
vitally concern them. To this day, men have not 
gained the right to vote directly upon many things that 
much concern them. That is why the ballot, even in 
man's hands, has thus far amounted to so little. We 
vote not upon a question, but upon a man. We do 
so, not because it is the right way to do, but because 
it is the wrong way to do. If it had been the right way 
to do, the ruling class would have provided some 
other way. The men who have the power to surrender 
under fire, surrender only as little as they must. The 
history of the enfranchisement of men is but the story 
of the miserly manner in which the ruling class, under 
.stress of necessity, has abdicated its power. First, 
the demand for the ballot was denied and resented 
upon the ground that it was not the province of com- 
mon people to govern ; then, in the face of a renewed, 
an insistent and an ominous demand for the ballot, the 
form, but not the substance, was given to men only. 

When women first demanded the ballot, they were 
rebuffed by all men as common men had themselves 
been rebuffed by their masters. The common men, in 
their selfishness and littleness, also clutched at what 


they believed was their power but which, in reality, 
was but the shadow of power. The common men of 
the world are now shedding their selfishness and vot- 
ing to let women share with them the shadow of 
power, but neither the men nor the women realize 
that it is but a shadow that they are to share. 

What reality is there in the political power that we 
men have in this country — so far as war is concerned ? 
I center the question upon war, not because it does not 
equally apply to every other act of government, but 
because the relationship of woman to the ballot and 
to war is the subject under consideration. 

What reality is there in the political power that we 
men possess? Just this much and no more: By a 
more or less circuitous route, we men are able to rea- 
son that our votes set into action a certain train of 
events. We may not like the train of events — we 
often do not. But if the Secretary of State, by stu- 
pidity or design, should so handle our diplomatic af- 
fairs that we should become involved in war, we 
should be able to say that we elected delegates to a 
national convention who, for reasons best known to 
themselves, nominated for the Presidency a certain 
man, and that he, when he became President, for rea- 
sons best known to himself, nominated and, with the 
consent of the Senate, appointed the Secretary of 

We men, though we have the ballot, have no more 
to do with the question of whether this nation shall or 


shall not make war upon another than have the women 
of the country who have no ballot. 

The war-making power in this nation is held by 
fewer than 600 men, and it is possible to declare war 
at the will of only 135 men. I am a man and I have 
the ballot, but in the matter of war, my ballot gives 
me no power that is not possessed by an immigrant 
woman tripping down the gangplank of a steamship 
with a bundle of clothing balanced upon her head. 
Yet men say and women say that the Great War in 
Europe demonstrates the need of women for the bal- 
lot that men already have. 

It would be fortunate indeed if war could be so 
easily ended. It would be fortunate indeed if the 
possession, by women, of the mere right to vote, could 
reasonably be expected to have an adverse effect upon 
war. But have we justification for indulging such 
expectation ? I contend that we have not. 

It was not necessary to have the Great War in 
Europe to prove that women have a right to vote. As 
human beings, women had, when they were born, all 
of the inherent rights of men. What the Great War 
in Europe proved beyond a doubt was that both men 
and women needed something more than the ballot. 
Both need not only the power to vote, but the power 
to vote upon subjects worth while. War is such a 

No argument was ever made against woman suf- 
frage that could not have been made with as much 
force against men. The strongest male advocates of 


woman suffrage, however, have always recognized the 
fact that the mere enfranchisement of women would 
not much alter matters, and in some respects might 
make them worse. Women, as a class, are even less 
informed than men concerning public affairs, and are 
perhaps more inclined to carry caution to the point of 
timidity. Excess of caution is not favorable to the 
uprooting of wrong and the establishment of right. 

But every argument that has ever been made 
against woman suffrage falls flat when it is applied to 
the demand that both women and men shall have the 
power to vote on war. Anyone can say that women 
do not understand the tariff question, or the currency 
question, but no one can prove that women do not 
know whether they want war. Women know what 
war means and, without a moment's preparation, they 
are perfectly equipped to say whether they wish to 
exchange peace for war. Women might have to spend 
a lifetime to master the tariff, but they would not have 
to spend a day to master war. 

Nor would the excessive caution of women (if it be 
true that women are excessively cautious) constitute 
a handicap upon progress if women were given the 
power to vote on war. On the contrary, the greater 
conservatism of women would prove an asset rather 
than a liability. 

Woman, armed the world over with half of the war- 
making power, would instantly become a political fac- 
tor of the first importance. With half of the war- 
making power in the hands of women, eternal peace 


would have come to the world. It is inconceivable 
that more than a handful of women would ever vote 
to deluge the earth with blood. 

If it be conceded that women, as a class, would 
everywhere and always vote almost solidly against 
war, we are brought back to the questions from which 
we started. "Do the human beings who inhabit the 
earth really want to end war?" Do the common 
people fight because they like to or because they have 
to? If the common people are opposed to war, why 
should they not seize the war-making power and 
divide it equally among the sexes? 

This is the point at which we must test our pro- 
fessed desire for peace. If we cannot stand this test, 
we do not really want peace. The energetic women 
of the land are eager for the ballot The enlightened 
men of the land are eager to give the ballot to women. 
Socialists, in particular, are insistent in their demand 
that women shall be enfranchised. Let all such per- 
sons answer this question: "If you are so eager that 
women shall vote on subjects that perhaps they do not 
understand, why not demand for them the power to 
vote on a subject they do understand — war?" 

It is easy enough to say that so long as the capitalist 
system of industry is in existence, it will not be worth 
while to demand such power from government, which 
the owners of industry always control. 

The reply to such criticism is that the duration of 
the capitalist regime is largely dependent upon the 


number of persons who become dissatisfied with it be- 
cause of its refusal to meet their just demands. 

Let five million women and five million men begin 
to clamor for the war-making power, and your gov- 
ernment at Washington, though it may not instantly 
yield to the clamor, will accord it most earnest and 
respectful attention. Ten millions of American citi- 
zens are not to be ignored by any government. No 
President ever had ten million votes. Yet five mil- 
lion men and five million women would constitute but 
a quarter of the adult population of the United States. 
If a quarter of the adult population were insufficient to 
move the Government, another ten million could hardly 
fail to compel obedience from the strongest capitalist 
administration. It is unsafe long to resist any de- 
mand made by half of the people, because to resist 
is to invite revolution. When half of the people 
unite upon any demand, public sentiment is over- 
whelmingly in their favor, because part of the remain- 
ing half may be depended upon to be indifferent. 

Women who are leading the fight for equal suffrage 
will be blind indeed if they do not also demand the 
legal right of both men and women to vote on war. 
No argument could be made that would appeal more 
powerfully to men. Common men everywhere are 
heartily sick of war and wish to end it forever. Show 
such men that if both men and women had the power 
to vote on war there would be no more war and men 
would be instantly supplied with a reason they never 
had for giving the ballot to women. If women will 


say to men : "Give us, not only the ballot, but the war- 
ballot, and we will promise to cast it with you against 
war," men will be interested in giving the vote to 

The desire to do justice to others is perhaps the last 
motive by which most human beings are moved. The 
general tendency is to hope that all persons may have 
justice — and leave them to get it themselves as best 
they may. Yet, up to this time, the campaign for 
equal suffrage has been wholly based upon the argu- 
ment that men, if they wish to be just, must give the 
kallot to women. No man has ever been made to feel 
for a moment that his personal welfare would be, in 
the slightest degree, safeguarded by giving women the 
right to vote. 

Since man (like woman) is selfish, why not utilize 
his selfishness? Why fight for equal suffrage in the 
hardest way? Why demand justice for yourselves 
when you can as well also promise protection to men ? 
In the matter of war, women can promise protection to 
men and men will believe them. Women cannot say 
to men (and be believed) : "If you will only permit 
us to vote, we will settle the tariff question for you 
much better than you have ever been able to settle it 
for yourselves/' Men would laugh at such promises, 
even if women were foolish enough to make them. 
But women would be believed if they were to say to 
men: "Give us not only the power to vote, but the 
power to vote on war ; also take such power yourselves, 
and together we will use it to keep peace." Men 



would believe such a promise and be moved by such an 
argument, because the promise is in harmony with 
what men know of women and the argument is ad- 
dressed both to men's fears and their needs. Men fear 
war and need peace. Men know women abhor war. 
No man could be convinced that the women of this 
country would ever vote to convert the United 
States into a slaughter house. If men doubted the 
ability of women to vote wisely upon any other sub- 
ject, they would still trust women to vote against war. 

Have women less confidence in themselves than 
men have in them? Do the leaders of the equal suf- 
frage movement doubt that if women were empowered 
to vote on war they would vote almost solidly against 
it? Is there a single woman suffrage leader in the 
world who doubts the ability of women, as a class, to 
vote wisely on the question of war? 

If peace is important and women, like men, are 
opposed to war, why is it not vital that the war-mak- 
ing power shall be vested in those who may be de- 
pended upon not to use it? If women believe they 
have the ability to vote wisely upon war, why should 
they content themselves with a mere ballot ? A woman 
who would admit that she c6uld not vote wisely as to 
war would have difficulty in convincing most men that 
she could vote wisely upon anything. A woman who 
would declare peace to be preferable to war would 
convince most men that she understood something 
about war, even if they believed she understood noth- 
ing about anything else. 


Woman's right to equal suffrage cannot in justice 
be disputed. 

Woman's ability much to improve conditions, if 
given the ballot, can be questioned. 

But the probability that women, if given the power, 
would vote overwhelmingly against war, approximates 
a certainty. 

Which is the stronger plea to make to selfish men 
— that women should have justice, or that both men 
and women should be, and voting together can be, 
spared from tke horrors of war? I trust that I have 
made this point so plain that suffrage leaders will not 
overlook it. 

I have here Suggested that women be given a great 
power. Power should always be accompanied by cor- 
responding responsibility. I have ventured, however, 
to depart somewhat, in this instance, from a correct 
principle. If woman's power to vote on war were to 
be balanced with responsibility equal to the power, each 
woman who might vote for war would, in the event 
of war, be compelled, like men, to take her place in 
the ranks as a soldier. 

I have suggested that departure be made from a 
correct principle to the extent of sparing from mili- 
tary service every woman who might vote for war un- 
less the votes of men, without the votes of women, 
would have been insufficient to create war. I have 
suggested that women be compelled to serve as sol- 
diers only in the event that their votes should turn the 
scale toward war, while adding that no woman who 


might vote against war should, in any circumstances, 
be compelled to serve. 

These suggestions depart, in two particulars, from 
the program suggested for men. Any man who might 
vote for war might be compelled to serve in the event 
of war, and any man who might vote against war 
might be compelled to serve if the war-makers should 
be unequal to the task of defeating the enemy. I have 
suggested the exceptions in favor of women because 
the thought of women on the battlefield is abhorrent to 
me. I have suggested that women who might vote for 
war should, in some circumstances, be compelled to 
serve, because the thought of men on the battlefield is 
abhorrent to me. 

The suggestion that women, in any circumstances, 
should serve as soldiers is probably superfluous. It 
is made more as a matter of principle than anything 
else. I still contend, however, that if there be 10,000 
women in America who would join a minority of men 
in bringing about war they should be sent to the front 
and compelled to take their chances. 

The point is not worth pressing, however, because 
it is a practical certainty that if men and women were 
to seize the war-making power in America, the women 
would outdo even the men in voting against war. 

At this place, a practical question arises. If the 
people of the United States were to democratize their 
war-making power and their diplomacy, would war be 
forever banished from the United States? 

Not necessarily. No plan, if adopted by a single 


nation, would be sufficient to insure that nation against 
war. Socialism, if adopted by the United States iuone, 
would be by no means sufficient to bring eternal peace, 
nor should we have such peace if we were all Quaker^. 
Neither Socialism nor the hatred of war that is in 
Quakers would insure peace, because we should be in 
danger of attack so long as other peoples left their 
war-making powers in the hands of minorities. No 
legislation that we can enact can prevent minorities 
who have the power from attacking us. The most 
we can do is to prevent any minority in this country 
from attacking any other nation. Every time we pre- 
vent a minority in this country from attacking another 
nation, we spare two peoples from the horrors of war 
— ourselves and those who would have been our vic- 

It is my contention that the adoption of the policies 
here advocated would immediately banish from the 
United States all wars except such as minorities in 
other nations might force upon us, and that the adop- 
tion of the policies throughout the world would banish 
war from the world. 

If the people throughout the world are opposed to 
war, they would not, if they had the power, vote to 
begin war. 

If the people of no nation would vote for wars of 
aggression, no people would be compelled to wage 
wars of defense. When aggression ceases, the neces- 
sity for defense will also cease. 

To contend that the absorption by the people, the 


world over, of the war-making power, and the con- 
trol jy the people of diplomacy would not end war is 
to contend that the people want war, and that the 
minorities who make war are only giving the people 
what they want. 

This contention is so absurd that the mere state- 
ment of it is enough to show its falsity. 



TVyJODERN war is caused by the laws that give a 
***• few men the power to own the earth and 
govern everybody on it. In each nation is a great 
working class and a small owning class. The inter- 
ests of these classes are fundamentally antagonistic. 
We who live upon and do the work of this earth are 
little more than the customers of those who own it. 
We buy from them the privilege of living. We are 
their assets and they are our liabilities. If it were not 
for us, they would have no customers. If it were not 
for them, we should have no masters; we could use 
the earth without paying anybody for the privilege, 
and we could consume what we had made without 
paying anybody a profit. 

The best of corner grocers sometimes fall out be- 
cause one gets a customer away from the other. The 
worst of owning classes sometimes fall out because 
one outstrips the other in the race for foreign trade. 
Owning classes, upon such occasions, cannot be 
friendly. Owning classes exist only for the purpose 
of obtaining profits, and profits cannot be obtained 
without foreign, as well as domestic, trade. Domestic 
trade is not, in itself, enough. It is not enough be- 



cause the working class of a nation caij buy back no 
more of the goods it has made than it can pay for 
with its wages. If the wages of the workers were 
enough to enable them to buy back all the goods they 
had made, there would be no profits for the owning 
class and therefore no incentive for ownership. 
Wages must therefore always be less than the value 
of the product, and the goods that the domestic work- 
ing class cannot buy must be sold abroad or devoted to 
the extension of domestic industries. 

However absurd it may be for the owning class 
of each nation to try to produce more goods than 
can be sold at home and to try to sell the surplus to 
foreign workers who are too poor to buy all of their 
own product — however absurd this plan may be, it is 
the plan upon which the world is run, and it is the 
great cause of war. The ruling classes of Great Brit- 
ain and Germany hate each other because they are 
bitter rivals for foreign markets. The United States 
of America has hardly a friend among the nations of 
the earth for no other reason than the fact that the 
owning class of America is aggressively in pursuit 
of foreign trade. 

The great cause of modern war is therefore the 
ownership by a few — and for private profit — of the 
industrial machinery with which we supply our needs. 
If goods were produced for use and not for profit, and 
were exchanged for convenience rather than for profit, 
nobody in Germany would care how much hardware 
Great Britain might ship to China and nobody in Great 


Britain would care how much cloth Germany might 
ship to South America. But so long as the people of 
the earth remain mere customers of the owning classes, 
we may expect the owning classes to wish to fight to 
hold them. It is no more certainly true that it is the 
attractive power of the earth that brings the rain from 
the clouds than it is true that it is the private owner- 
ship of industry that causes war. But an effect 
can sometimes be avoided before the cause can 
be removed. The building of a roof repeals the law 
of gravitation, so far as the man who is sheltered from 
the rain is concerned. To strip the owning class of 
the war-making power would leave the world at peace 
though the private ownership of industry still gave 
the owning class the desire for war. 

Each nation is governed by representatives of its 
owning class. By this is meant that each nation is 
governed by a man or by men who represent the 
views of its owning class with regard to the ownership 
of property. The views of the Czar of Russia are in 
harmony with the views of the Grand Dukes and other 
landed aristocrats. The President and the Congress 
of the United States may and sometimes do differ 
from great capitalists as to details, but the Government 
at Washington is always in Harmony with the great 
capitalists in the contention that the great industries 
of this country should be privately owned for private 
profit. The owning class of each nation always takes 
care to control the Government. Such control is 
necessary to the permanence of the owning class. 


JVithout such control, the owning class would soon 
cease to own. 

The interests, aims and purposes of the owning class 
are antagonistic to the interests, aims and purposes of 
the working class. The owning class control govern- 
ment, therefore goyernment is administered, in the 
main, in the interest of the owning class. If govern- 
ment were not so administered, we should not have 
war. The diplomacy of the world is but little more 
than the story of the efforts of owning classes to rob 
each other, and the greatest tragedies of history are 
the wars fought by simple peasants and factory work- 
ers to settle; questions that concerned them not at all. 
Of what possible advantage has it been, for instance, 
to the peasants of Russia, that the Baltic coast is con- 
trolled by the Russian Government ? Yet to gain this 
control cost the lives of seven hundred thousand Rus- 
sian workingmen, according to Professor Usher in 
his book entitled "PanrGermanism." Moreover, he 
says, "her territory on the Black Sea coast cost the 

Fourteen hundred thousand lives snuffed out — for 
what? Dare anyone say that the plight of the Rus- 
sian peasant, miserable as it is, would have been worse 
if the flag of the Czar had not been pushed to the 
shores of the Black and the Baltic Seas ? The owning 
class of Russia murdered more than a million Russian 
men to push the flag along. Probably as many men 
died in opposing armies to keep the Russian flag back. 


None would have died if only the interests of the peo- 
ple had been consulted. 

But Russia, it may be explained, wanted to expand. 
How deftly do ruling classes try to make their pur- 
poses seem to be our purposes. What do we mean by 
"Russia" ? What do we mean by "expand" ? Do we 
mean that the people of Russia were crowded and 
wanted more land upon which to live? Do we mean 
that millions were willing to die to get more land for 
those who might survive ? How can we mean either of 
these things ? Do we not know that when the Russian 
people — or any other people — wish to live elsewhere, 
they have but to board a train or a steamship and de- 
part? Is it not one of the commonest sights of life to 
see part of the people of a nation "expanding" by 
steamship or railway ? The people, when left to them- 
selves, never insist upon carrying the frontiers of their 
country along with them. More than a million Euro- 
peans come to the United States every year, yet not 
one of them has ever tried to induce his native country 
to annex the United States. Thousands of American 
farmers annually emigrate to British Columbia. The 
crossing of the frontier by these Americans brings no 
shock to either country. But there would long ago 
have been war between the United States and Great 
Britain if the United States had attempted to convert 
the peaceful expansion of population by passenger 
train into forcible extension of national boundaries. 

The cry of expansion is heard around the world. 
We are told that growing peoples must have room. 


No more fraudulent cry was ever raised. It is the 
cry of ruling classes bent upon holding the power they 
have or gaining more. What do ruling classes care 
for people, except as customers and soldiers? Do 
they care anything? If they care anything, why do 
not they cease robbing the people in times of peace and 
driving them forth to war to be slain ? Yet the ruling 
class of a nation that is losing millions of its domestic 
customers by emigration invariably draws a long face 
and urges expansion of national boundaries by force 
of arms. 

The reason therefor is simple. Every citizen is a 
potential soldier. Every soldier is power personified. 
Ruling classes depend upon power for their existence. 
A nation that has lost 10,000,000 men, women and 
children by emigration has lost the equivalent of a 
mighty army today and a mightier army tomorrow. 
From a military point of view, Germany would be 
vastly more powerful today if she had the 10,000,000 
Germans who have emigrated to the United States. 
If it were not for the military power of these departed 
Germans, the ruling class of Germany would not have 
the slightest interest in their whereabouts, or the 
slightest desire for expansion. Rich Germans care 
nothing for poor Germans except as customers and 
soldiers, precisely as rich Americans care nothing for 
poor Americans except as customers and soldiers. 

The antagonisms between working class interests 
and owning class interests are so plain that, in the mat- 
ter of war, it is almost impossible to overlook them. 


Mr. G. Lowes Dickinson, an English publicist, con- 
tributed to the December, 19 14, number of the Atlantic 
Monthly an article in which he analyzed some of the 
causes of war with remarkable clearness. He flatly at- 
tributed war to the class that controls government. 
He called this class the "governing" class, and no- 
where intimated that he also perceived the governing 
class to be the representative of the class that owns 
the world's industries. 

Writing of the Great War in Europe, Mr. Dickin- 
son said : 

"I believe that this war, like all wars for many cen- 
turies in Europe, was brought about by governments, 
without the connivance and against the desires and the 
interests of peoples; that it is a calamity to civilization 
unequaled, unexampled, perhaps irremediable; and that 
the only good that can come out of it is a clearer compre- 
hension by ordinary men and women of how wars are 
brought about, and a determination on their part to put a 
stop to them. 

"The millions who are carrying on the war, at the cost 
of incalculable suffering, would never have made it if 
the decision had rested with them. That is the one in- 
disputable fact." 

Why, then, would it not have been better if the de- 
cision had rested with the people? 

Mr. Dickinson next proceeds to inquire how gov- 
ernments force unwilling peoples to war : 

"The immediate answer is simple enough. In no coun- 
try is there any effective control by the people over for- 
eign policy. . . . The foreign offices and the press do 
with nations what they like." 



Why would it not be better for the people to do 
with foreign policies and the press what they like? 

Mr. Dickinson attributes war to the fact that 
states are governed by "governing classes" who re- 
gard nations as natural enemies, since the welfare of 
each demands that it expand at the expense of some 
other. "The world," he says, "is being controlled by 
men who are the victims of sheer illusion ; whether it 
be defect of mind, of heart or of soul that has fas- 
tened the illusion upon them" Mr. Dickinson does not 
pretend to know. 

Whether the ruling class is insane, degenerate or 
merely representing the interests of business is not the 
fact of chief importance. The fact of chief impor- 
tance is that war persists in a world that is tired of 
war because the war-making power is held by a class 
who use it against the wishes of the people. Mr. 
Dickinson may or may not believe the ruling class is 
insane, or degenerate. If the rulers of the earth are 
insane, they are perhaps the most successful lunatics 
who have ever been born. If fifty lunatics can hurl 
400,000,000 sane people into war, there would seem 
to be no advantage in being sane. The ruling class 
never go hungry. The working class are always on 
the brink of hunger. Unless we wish to proceed upon 
the assumption that sanity is a handicap and lunacy 
an accomplishment, we might as well open our eyes to 
the simple fact that the owners of this earth are merely 
trying to govern it in their own interests, rather than 
in the interests of the people. The owners of the 


earth would prefer to accomplish their desires, if they 
could, without war, but they prefer war to the aban- 
donment of their desires. 

Many of our inherited opinions help the owning 
class to rob us in peace and kill us in war. We have 
inherited the opinion that the earth should be divided 
into nations and that each nation should enrich itself 
at the expense of some other or of all other nations. 
The first flaw in this opinion is the belief that 
to gain trade for an owning class is not to gain wealth 
for the working class. We may ship great quantities 
of cotton goods to China, yet the American cotton 
mill operative never receives more than a bare living. 
The second flaw lies in the idea of nationality itself. 
The more nations there are in the world— at least un- 
der owning class rule — the greater the probability of 
trouble. We Americans have derived untold blessings 
from the fact that our territory is under one general 
government. If continental United States were carved 
into six nations, each of them would be compelled to 
arm against the others as each nation of Europe is 
compelled to arm against the others. We keep the 
peace from the Atlantic to the Pacific, except for in- 
dustrial wars, because no part of our population is 
compelled to arm against any other part, and the Gov- 
ernment at Washington prevents one state from clos- 
ing its ports to another or erecting tariff barriers. 

What we have gained from being a single nation, 
the world would gain if it were a single nation. The 
existing nations should be self-governing units so far 


as local affairs are concerned, precisely as our states 
are self-governing units, but a congress sitting in 
Washington, London or Bombay, and composed of 
representatives from all of the units, should be the 
supreme governing power. Such a congress would 
not have much to do. Most of the questions that con- 
cern us are local. If the earth and its industries be- 
longed to the people collectively, precisely as the postal 
system belongs to us collectively, a world congress 
would have little to do but lay down general principles. 
Governments now chiefly concern themselves with war 
preparations, war operations and contests for trade. If 
the profit system, with its owning class, were discarded, 
and national boundaries were obliterated, none of the 
acts with which governments now chiefly concern 
themselves would be necessary. 

All of the causes of war may be crammed into the 
single statement that war comes as the result of the 
neglect of the people to own their earth and rule 

So long as the earth is parceled out among owning 
classes who rule the people on it, so long will the own- 
ing classes quarrel among themselves as to which shall 
have us for their customers, and so long will the dis- 
putants occasionally wish to set us .to fighting to settle 
their quarrels. 

No necessity can be cited for the situation that ex- 
ists. The people do not need an owning class to own 
the earth and rule them. The fact that such an owning 
class exists is a colossal calamity. That class breeds 


poverty in peace and death in war. The people of the 
United States run all of the trains and factories in 
the United States. It is no advantage whatever to the 
people that these industries are owned by a few idlers. 
The people are as well able to own the industries as 
they are to own the capitol at Washington. Nobody 
has ever questioned the ability of the people to own, 
collectively, great machines for the killing of men. 
Why cannot the people as well own great machines to 
feed and clothe men and women? If it be proper for 
the people to own the means of taking life, why is it not 
proper for the people to own the means with which to 
make life worth while? Since the existence of small, 
wrangling owning classes is the cause of both war and 
poverty, why not end both war and poverty by end- 
ing the owning classes? In the meantime, why not 
wrench the dagger from the hand of Greed by depriv- 
ing the owning classes, the world over, of the power 
to declare war ? Who except the owning classes would 
thereby be weakened ? Owning classes have no power 
except that which they derive from laws backed by 
the force of their victims' bodies. Why not take 
from the owning class of the United States the law 
with which they declare war? 

What might we reasonably expect would be the 
effect upon the working classes of other nations if the 
word should go around the world that the working 
class of the United States had made it impossible for 
anybody except themselves to declare aggressive war? 
What would be the effect upon war-worn peoples, the 


world around, if they should discover that the people 
of the United States were firmly resolved to begin no 
war upon another nation? How long would it be 
before the people of other nations, already tired of 
war, would say : "We, too, are weary of being driven 
away to wars we do not want. We, too, demand that 
our rulers shall surrender to us the power to declare 



WE should have war until the crack of doom if the 
people were never to change their ideas about 
the things that make war. If we want war forever, all 
we have to do is to sit back and say : "We are right 
today. We were right yesterday. We have always 
been right, and we will never acknowledge we have 
been wrong about any thing/ ' 

Nobody would be so foolish as to make such state- 
ments. Everybody is willing to admit, in a general 
way, that the whole world has much to learn. Yet, 
when you pin a man down to a particular thing and 
ask : "Are you not wrong about this ?" the chances 
are that he will prepare to back up his old beliefs. 
This is particularly true of any belief that has come 
down through the centuries. 

One of our oldest beliefs has to do with patriotism. 
There is an old saying : "My country, may it ever be 
right, but right or wrong, my country." Anyone who 
can say that and feel it is regarded as grandly patri- 

People who believe in patriotism do not understand 
what patriotism is, or what it leads to. If they did, 
they would revise their definition of patriotism, or 



cease to be patriotic. As honest men and women, they 
would be compelled to do so because the kind of pa- 
triotism they believe in leads to war. Without such 
patriotism, there could not be war in Europe today. 

What does patriotism mean to the average man? 
Ask the average man and he will say, "Patriotism 
means love of one's country." 

Now, with all respect to those who regard patriot- 
ism as a virtue, this is nonsense. What does the pa- 
triot mean when he says he loves his country? He 
cannot mean that he loves the ground that lies within 
the nation's boundaries. What does he mean? Does 
he mean that he loves the country's laws and its gov- 
ernment? He certainly does not. If such were the 
definition of patriotism there would be almost no 
patriots in the country, because nobody is satisfied 
with the laws and almost everybody has a feeling that 
the Government does not deal out even-handed justice 
as between rich and poor. 

Does the patriot, then, mean that he loves the people 
of his country? That is the only sort of patriotism 
that would be worth having. Nothing could be more 
splendid than for human beings to regard each other as 
brothers and sisters and to treat each other with con- 
sideration and feel for each other affection. But 
does the patriot love his country in this sense? He 
certainly does not. In this sense, almost nobody loves 
his country. We do not live in a world that permits 
anybody to have much good feeling for anybody else. 
The struggle for existence is too hard. In order to 


keep alive, everybody has to be pretty much for him- 
self. Moreover, we get in each other's way. We 
are all after an opportunity to work and live in com- 
fort and there are not enough opportunities for every- 
body. There might be enough, but there are not 
enough. So, instead of going about it in an intelli- 
gent manner to increase the opportunities — which we 
might easily do — we shoulder each other out of the 
way if we can and feel toward each other a brotherly 
feeling of considerable chilliness. 

Furthermore, why should anybody have more love 
for the people of his own country than he has for 
the people of any other country? If we poor human 
beings are anything, are we not brothers all the world 
around? Does anyone of sense believe there is much 
difference in the inherent goodness of civilized human 
beings? Are we so ignorantly conceited that we be- 
lieve we are better than Englishmen, Germans or 
Frenchmen? Certainly the people of each country 
cannot be better than the people of every other coun- 
try. If the people of some country are better than 
the people of any other country, the people of every 
other country must be inferior. Yet what people 
regard themselves as inferiors? No people. Patriot- 
ism causes the people of each country to believe they 
are the best people in the world. 

But patriotism does more than that. Patriotism, on 
the surface, is the measure of our love for ourselves, 
but beneath the surface it is the measure of our hatred 
of others. In times of peace, this hatred slumbers. 


But no matter how much our hatred of others may 
slumber, it never dies. It is always there, ready to 
spring up like a tiger when poked by circumstances. 
Unscrupulous men know how to control the circum- 
stances that stir our hatred of others. Print a few 
lies in the newspapers; represent the people whom 
they want us to murder as scoundrels and the deed 
is done. We immediately become patriotic and go 
forth to kill. 

That is what has been done in Europe. England 
and Germany have been lying about each other for 
years. France and Germany have been lying about 
each other for years. Germany and Russia have been 
lying about each other for years. I mean, of course, 
that the ruling classes of these countries have been 
lying about the people of the other countries. No 
matter what anyone may say, accept this much as true : 
The people of none of these countries are bad. They 
are precisely as good as any other people. If they 
were left to themselves, they would not fight. If they 
were not lied to, they would not fight. If they were 
not "patriotic" they would not believe the lies. If I 
were patriotic, I could not believe that the people of 
any other country are as good as I am, and as we are. 
It is only because I am not patriotic that I know I am 
no better and we are no better than others. 

Patriotism is a delusion and a danger. The word 
should have no place in our dictionary, and the 
thought should have no place in our minds. If we 
consider patriotism in its best sense — merely as love 


for the people of one's country — it is stupid because 
there is no reason why we should single out our own 
people above any others; we should have a kindly 
feeling toward human beings everywhere. If we con- 
sider it as the expression of our feeling of superiority 
over others, it is also stupid, and if we consider it is 
the measure of our smoldering power to hate — then 
it is a crime. 

It is because the people of Europe are patriotic and, 
therefore, have the power to hate that they are fight- 
ing. And, at that, they do not know what they are 
fighting. The Germans will tell you they are fighting 
"England," for instance. "England," just now, stands 
for a thing that Germans hate. This thing that Ger- 
mans hate is really nothing but the attitude of a few 
Englishmen toward the Germans. In other words, the 
thing that Germans hate is the British policy toward 
the German people. But the British people have no 
more to do with determining the British policy toward 
Germany than the German people have to do with 
determining the German attitude toward the British 
people. The ruling class of each country determines 
what the attitude of the country shall be toward all 
other countries. Yet the German people are not kill- 
ing the men who have made the policy they hate, nor 
are the English killing the men who have made the 
German policy they hate. If they were, there might 
be some sense in this war. 

The German and the English soldiers who are kill- 
ing each other are killing men who have absolutely 


nothing to do with the creation of the policies that 
they hate. 

They are cutting each other's throats merely be- 
cause, being patriotic, they have been taught to be 
pompous, proud and full of venom. Otherwise, the 
Germans would have said to their ruling class : 

"We are not going to kill the common people of 
England merely because we do not like the things their 
rulers have done. We like the English people. We do 
not believe the bad stories that you tell us about them. 
We do not like the policy of the British ruling class 
toward Germans and, if you want to make war on the 
British ruling class in person, we might consider it. 
But kill the British people — no." 

Without patriotism, the English would have made 
the same reply to their ruling class. In fact, the 
gentlemen who rule these two nations might not have 
been able to have a war unless they fought it them- 
selves, which we may depend upon it they would not 
have done. 

Workingmen would never think of giving up their 
lives for their ruling classes if they knew what they 
were doing. Patriotism makes them believe they are 
fighting for their country. Think of an Englishman 
without house or home, money or a job, fighting for 
his country! Or a German, a Frenchman — or an 
American. It is perfectly legitimate for a man to 
resist invasion on the ground that however poor he 
may be, he has a right to remain undisturbed; but 
to call that fighting for his country is somewhat ex- 


ceeding the limit. But the ruling class is compelled 
to glorify the killing business and make it seem some- 
thing it is not in order to induce people to engage in it. 
The best thing that any man can do for his country 
is to keep alive, mind his business, keep at work and 
be decent to those about him. 

The audacity of the ruling classes in this matter is 
almost enough to burst the brain of a workingman who 
understands it. Think of these poor soldiers in Eu- 
rope who are not only giving up their lives but endur- 
ing untold hardships "for their respective countries." 
If there were any decency in the ruling classes that 
they are in fact serving, the survivors, for the re- 
mainder of their lives, would be all but smothered 
with every sort of evidence of ruling class gratitude. 
Nothing in France would be too good for the French 
soldier after the war is over. In all the countries 
at war (if there were any such thing as ruling class 
gratitude) laws would be revised to give the common 
people who did the fighting a fair chance for exist- 

Let us consider what these poor soldiers are doing 
for their respective ruling classes in order that you 
may the better judge whether they are entitled to 
any gratitude. A correspondent was describing life 
in the trenches. He said the rain of bursting shells 
was so severe that it became necessary to cover the 
trenches with timber and pile earth upon it. Under 
these "bombproofs" the men huddle. The tremendous 
thunder of the artillery and the shrieking of shells is 


terrifying. But so long as the enemy's artillery is in 
action, the men in the trenches can only hide and wait. 
But, at a word of command from their officers they 
must leap out of the trenches, face this hell of fire, 
and endeavor to shoot down the enemy's infantry 
when it advances under cover of the artillery. 

Where do men get the courage to do such things? 
What hearts they must have to be able to climb out 
of the trenches and plunge into such a holocaust of 

And it is this sort of service that the common peo- 
ple of Europe are performing for their respective 
ruling classes. 

If the ruling classes really appreciated such services 
do you believe it would be too much if they would say 
to the working classes, after the war is over : 

"You have made good with us. You have gone 
into hell's mouth to save us and our property and we 
hereby serve notice that we are going to get off your 
backs at once and keep off. We take off our hats to 
you. From now on, the most we will ask is a chance 
to take our places beside you, work as you work and 
live as you live" 

But no such speech will anywhere be made. The 
British worker will go back to his little old London 
slums, or to his underpaid place in a factory. The 
French and Russian peasants will go back to their hard 
lives and the German soldier will go into the army 
of unemployed and try to find a job. 

Fighting and dying for one's country mean fighting 


and dying for the ruling class of one's country. To 
be patriotic in wartime means to hate the ruling class 
and kill the working class of the country which your 
own rulers want you to fight. And mind you, your 
own rulers have nothing against the people whom they 
want you to kill. Your own rulers want these people 
killed only because they have become the dupes of the 
ruling class which your own ruling class wants, per- 
haps, to rob. 

Old Samuel Johnson used to say that "Patriotism is 
the last refuge of the scoundrel." I doubt if this is 
correct. It is one of the first refuges. About the first 
thing the child at school is taught is to salute the flag 
and be patriotic. 

So far as the stars and stripes may be said to symbo- 
lize the sovereignty of the people of the United States, 
our flag is a grand and noble symbol. 

So far as our flag symbolizes love for each other 
and love of liberty and justice, it is a glorious symbol. 

But to the extent that our flag stands for the crim- 
inal, fraudulent sentiment that fills us, first with swag- 
gering self-conceit and, next, with contempt for or 
hatred of others — to that extent, our flag is a fraud. 

But the flag, it should always be remembered, is 
only what it means to each of us. If the flag made 
me feel patriotic, I should hate it. I look upon the 
flag as the outward symbol of a great people's hopes 
for life, liberty and happiness on this earth and in 
this place. It is because I love the flag I see that I 
so often regret the base uses to which it is put. 



^I¥THO loves peace? Christians love peace. Who 
* * are Christians? The Czar of Russia is a 
Christian. The French President is a Christian. The 
King of England is a Christian. The Emperor of 
Austria-Hungary is a Christian. The King of Bel- 
gium is a Christian. The King of Servia is a Chris- 
tian. And the United States is a Christian nation. 

What are Christians doing to bring peace back to 
the world and hold it? The Czar of Russia is pour- 
ing millions of troops into Germany and Austria- 
Hungary. The German Emperor is shaking the heav- 
ens over France with his mighty siege guns. The 
French President is hurling at Germany such armies 
as Napoleon never saw. The British King has sta- 
tioned in the North Sea the greatest fleet that ever 
went forth to battle. The British King has a mil- 
lion men in France — to fight Germany. The Em- 
peror of Austria-Hungary is bringing to bear upon 
Russia, France and Great Britain every gun and 
every man he can muster. The King of Belgium, 
"with bloody hands, is welcoming Germans to hos- 
pitable graves." The King of Servia is killing every 
Austro-Hungarian whom he can reach. And the peo- 



ple of the United States, on Sunday, October 4, 1914, 
at the request of President Wilson, went forth to 

Good Christian people of the United States, you 
never seemed so admirable as you do now. Your 
eyes are wet with tears, but your hands are not wet 
with blood. Your own troubles are many, but they 
have not made you forget the greater troubles of 
others. They pray to the God of Battle. You pray 
to the God of Peace. May you be heard. 

But what if you should be heard? What if your 
God should ask you questions? What if your God 
should say : "You ask me to bring peace to Europe. 
What have you done to keep peace in the United 
States? The United States may be at war next. I 
note that it has a large navy, and I have observed that 
its government occasionally has a meddlesome disposi- 
tion. If the United States should be at war next, 
whose fault would it be? Would it be your fault or 
the fault of your rulers? Would you declare war, 
or would a few men declare war for you? If a few 
men should declare war for you, do you believe I 
should hold you blameless? Did I say 'Thou shalt 
not kill/ or did I say 'Thou shalt not kill unless others 
shall tell thee to do so — and then thou shalt kill by 
hundreds' ? Did I say you were all my children and 
all brothers to each other, or did I say that some were 
my children and others were not? Did I tell you to 
love yourselves or to love your neighbors as your- 


Good Christian people of the United States, let us 
answer these questions by talking about prayer. And, 
since the great nations of Europe are at war, let us 
search our hearts by considering what some of the 
great men of the nations at war have said about 

In Russia is a proverb so old that no man may say 
how old it is. That proverb runs as follows : 

"What men usually ask for, when they pray to 
God, is that two and two may not make four" 

Gentle Christians — followers of the Prince of Peace 
— are you not asking that two and two shall not make 
four in Europe? Are you not asking that two and 
two shall not make four in the United States? The 
people of Europe had little or nothing to do with the 
bringing about of the present slaughter because they 
had foolishly permitted a few men to hold the war- 
making power. The Kaiser sent Germany to war. 
The Czar sent Russia to war. Francis Joseph sent 
Austria-Hungary to war. A handful of men in the 
French parliament sent France to war. A handful of 
men in the British parliament sent Great Britain to 
War. Nowhere were the people consulted, either at 
the moment of war-making or before the war. Kings 
made treaties as they pleased, though the treaties were 
sputtering fuses leading to powder chambers in the 
hearts of their respective subjects. 

Wherein is the situation in the United States much 
different? Our constitution declares that Congress 
shall have the power to declare war. Congress is com- 


posed of 531 members. A quorum is 266 members. 
A majority of a quorum can declare war and 134 
members are a majority of a quorum. Add the Presi- 
dent and we have 135 men as the number necessary to 
hurl 100,000,000 people into war. 

Suppose 135 men should hurl us into war and you 
should go to God and pray for peace. If you had not 
fought to obtain for everybody the right to vote upon 
the war declaration, do you believe your God would 
say: "You are a good man. You deserve peace. 
I'll end the war." Or is it possible that your God 
would say: "When you have peace why don't you 
protect it? Why do you permit a few men to speak 
for you and all the other millions ? Why do you not 
speak for yourselves? Have I ever said that I did 
not hold each of you responsible for the observance 
of my commandment not to kill? Have I ever said 
that if 135 should vote to kill I would pardon the 
other 100,000,000 for killing?" 

Europe is cursed with secret diplomacy. Secret 
diplomacy helped to bring about the present war. 
How much better is our diplomacy ? It is not as bad 
as European diplomacy, but how far short is it from 
what it should be? How much do the people have to 
do with shaping it? The United States, in 1914, by 
the narrowest of margins escaped a war with Mexico 
in which tens of thousands of Americans and Mexi- 
cans would have been killed. 

If such a war had come and you had gone to God 
to pray for peace, what do you believe God would 


have said? Do you believe He would have said: 
"Don't worry about those miserable Mexicans. Thty 1 
are not my children — they are dogs. Kill all yau 
want to of them. Your President is quite right in 
slaying them. You are quite right in permitting your 
President to begin slaying them without consulting 
you." Or do you suspect that God might have said 
something else? Is it possible that He might have 
said: "It is useless to beseech me to make two and 
two anything but four. If you do not like the result 
you would do well to cease creating the causes." 

Martin Luther, speaking from the Germany of long 
ago, said : "The fewer words, the better prayer/' 

In how many words do you pray for peace in Eu- 
rope? Do you use one of the prepared prayers fur- 
nished by New York pastors who employ from 500 
to 800 words in which to frame their supplications? 
Why not be Luther-like and put it all into a single 
sentence : 

"Almighty God, give us the courage to resist our 
rulers and say that we will not go to war unless we 
ourselves have voted for it and are willing to go be- 
fore you with bloody hands and try to justify our con- 

Jeremy Taylor, speaking from the England of olden 
times, said: "Whatsoever we beg of God, let us 
also work for it." You pray for peace in Europe. 
You long for continued peace in the United States. 
How much have you done and are you doing to in- 
sure continued peace in the United States? Do you 


hold any part of the power to declare war? Do you 
believe you have no responsibility for making certain 
that war shall not come? If you have failed to fight 
for the right to vote against war do you believe God 
would acquit you of responsibility for a war that you 
had done nothing to prevent? Do you believe there 
are not crimes of omission as well as of commission? 

Victor Hugo said : "Certain thoughts are prayers. 
There are moments when, whatever be the attitude of 
the body, the soul is on its knees" 

Good Christian people of the United States — we 
Socialists are accused by grafters of almost every 
crime in the calendar. We should be surprised if we 
were not accused by grafters of almost every crime in 
the calendar. We are after the grafters. We are try- 
ing to put the grafters out of business. The grafters 
desire to remain in business. They therefore attack 
us. Among other things they say of us that we are a 
wicked, irreligious people. 

I do not know what the grafters may mean by "ir- 
religious." I do not much care. I have no great re- 
spect for a grafter's conception of religion. But this 
much I know to be true: If "certain thoughts are 
prayers," Socialists are praying all the while. If 
"there are moments when, whatever be the attitude 
of the body, the soul is on its knees," the souls of 
Socialists are always on their knees. Socialists are 
praying all the while in the sense that they are trying 
to add their little mite toward making this a kinder, 
better world. The souls of Socialists are always on 


their knees in the sense that they are constantly plead- 
ing with you, and all other well-disposed men and 
women, to help them make this a kinder, better world. 

Christian men and women of the United States: 
It is useless to shuffle facts or mince words. Either 
war is right or it is wrong. Either the Savior said : 
"Thou shalt not kill," or He didn't. If He said 
"Thou shalt not kill" presumably He meant precisely 
what He said. If He meant precisely what He said, 
war is wrong. If war is wrong, each of us has an in- 
dividual responsibility for war. 

It is not enough to cry peace when there is no 
peace. It is not enough to oppose war without taking 
adequate measures to prevent a few from precipitat- 
ing us into war. We shall have wars until the crack 
of doom if we permit small ruling classes, having the 
war-making power, to control the governments of the 
world. We shall have race hatreds because it is to 
the interest of the ruling classes to foment race 
hatreds. To the engines of war, race hatreds are 
what steam in the boiler is to steam engines. 

Will you not help us to end this intolerable condi- 
tion ? Ask your God what you should do ? Ask Him 
whether, in this war matter, we Socialists are right 
or wrong? 

Our souls are on their knees to you. Help us to 
take away from 135 men the power to plunge this 
country into war. Help us to write into the constitu- 
tion of the United States: "War shall not be de- 


clared except by direct vote of all the men and women 
in the United States." 

They say that dead men tell no tales, but it is not 
so. The oratory of no living man is so passionate as 
the oratory of the dead peasant killed in war. To 
every man, at some time, nature gives a tongue. The 
peasant, when he is alive, is thick of speech. His 
words halt. His sentences stumble. He is eloquent 
only as his sufferings indict his time. But when his 
heart is still and his face is upturned to the stars above 
the battlefield — then it is that he speaks as living man 
never spoke. 

Every dead soldier in Europe is today speaking so 
loudly that the living can hardly be heard. Every 
dead soldier in Europe has a particular message for 
the people of the United States. That message is : 
Take war into your own hands. 
'Don't let one man, two men, three men or 500 
men say whether a hundred million shall be plunged 
into war." 




WELL-MEANING, but thoughtless, men speak 
of the present conflict in Europe as "the last 
war." Men who can see beneath the surface of things 

speak of it as "the first great war." Men of this sort 
see in the present conflict in Europe the first of a 

series of colossal struggles that will shake civilization 
to its foundations and perhaps place Europe under the 
domination of the yellow races. 

Roland G. Usher, Professor of History, Washing- 
ton University, St. Louis, published a book early in 
19 1 5 which he opened with the following declaration: 

"The United States is facing a crisis without parallel 
in its history since the signature of the Declaration of 
Independence. . . . Whatever the result of this war" 
(the Great War in Europe) "may be, whoever wins it, 
whenever it ends, the victor will be able to threaten the 
United States, and, if he chooses, to challenge our su- 
premacy in the Western Hemisphere. The motive for 
challenging it is already in existence ; the power to do so 
effectively will, beyond doubt, be in the victor's hands." * 

A Frenchman, Urban Gohier, writes most interest- 
ingly upon the prospect of a series of great wars fol- 
lowing this one. He says : 

* "Pan- Americanism!' p. 3, published by the Century Company, 
New York. 



"Remember the two Balkan wars. The first one was 
terrible ; the second was still more cruel. The allies who 
had crushed Turkey rent each other in the struggle to di- 
vide the booty. After the collapse of the German em- 
pire and the Austro-Hungarian empire, the booty will be 
richer, the participants therein more numerous, the diffi- 
culties more inextricable. 

"Within each country, formidable disorders will arise. 
Several millions of men will return home to their hearths 
with new souls. Their sufferings and perils will have 
given them other desires, other ideas, other manners. 
They will not dread violence as yesterday they dreaded 
it, and they will not have the same respect for human life; 
they will have seen death from too near by, and will have 
marched over the corpses of friends and enemies. 

"On the morrow of the peace, England will find herself 
face to face with Russia, and the Socialists face to face 
with the conservative parties, the anti-clericals face to 
face with the Catholics and political coteries face to face 
with their rivals. To sum up, I foresee a long battle be- 
tween the Germanic bloc and the Allies, followed by ar- 
duous difficulties among the Allies themselves, before the 
territorial, economic and dynastic reorganization of 
Europe and its dependencies ; thereafter, social disorders 
of great violence." 

In the United States, a publication called The Navy 
predicts a "world-wide convulsion that may set race 
against race and continent against contkient v ; declares 
its belief that this is "but the first of a series of tre- 
mendous world-wide conflicts that will be fought by 
the inhabitants of the earth for national supremacy 


until that supremacy is obtained by some single people 
or possibly by an amalgamated race, the ingredients of 
which are now being thrown into the melting pot" 
The Navy closes with the final supplication : 

"When Afro-Eurasia has passed under the domina- 
tion of the final winner and its now undeveloped peoples 
have assimilated the war science of the modern world, 
then will come the test of the new world's strength. May 
we be prepared 1" 

It is only prudent, on our part, to give thought to 
these matters. They are serious. Each of the predic- 
tions is possible. The struggle in Europe is too gi- 
gantic for anyone to place limits upon its possibilities. 
It is shaking civilization to the ends of the earth. 
Its effects will be felt for centuries. But we who live 
in this country may (if we have the intelligence and 
the foresight) keep out of the maelstrom. If we shall 
not keep our civilization afloat, it will be because we 
lack the brains and the energy. 

How can we keep it afloat ? By heeding the appeak 
of The Navy, the official organ of the navy, and build- 
ing a great, aggressive fighting establishment ? Never 
could anyone indulge a greater folly than by thinking 
so. Germany had the greatest military establishment 
on land that ever existed — and Germany is in blood to 
her ears. Great Britain had the greatest naval es- 
tablishment that ever swam the seas — and Great Brit- 
ain is fighting for her life. Neither military prepared' 
ness or unpreparedness has ever saved a nation from 


war. Spain was in miserable condition in 1898 to fight 
the United States — but she had to fight us. 

How can we so put our house in order that it shall 
not catch fire ? Let us begin in the cellar and see what 
tinder is lying about. 

Eight thousand miles west off our western coast are 
the Philippine Islands. Upon these islands dwell an 
alien people. Our flag floats over them — against their 
will. As it flutters in the breezes of the Far East, it 
is to many other nations like a red rag to a bull. 
Japan does not want us there. Japan would like the 
islands for herself. They are important to her, for 
strategic purposes. They are rich in raw materials. 
They are needed as an outlet for her crowded popu- 

So long as we permit our flag to float over the 
Philippine Islands, so long will it be possible for any 
nation to strike us eight thousand miles away from 
home and compel us to go eight thousand miles from 
home to protect ourselves. So long as we hold the 
Philippines, there will be an incentive for the capitalist 
class of Japan to attack us at the favorable moment. 
So long as we hold the Philippines, we shall stand be- 
fore the world as an unjust nation. We say to the 
world, through our Monroe Doctrine : "You shall not 
colonize in the western world — the two Americas." 
Yet we say to the world : "We will colonize where 
we please. You shall not come west, but we will go 

By no principle of equity can this attitude be justi- 


lied. We are wrong, and so long as we hold this posi- 
tion, we shall always be wrong. The world, since 
1899, has borne with our wrong-doing, but the world 
will not always bear with it. If we hold the Philip- 
pines, sooner or later we shall have to fight for them. 
When we fight for them, we may not have to fight 
Japan alone — we may be pulled into a world war and 
have to fight with whatever allies Japan may chance 
to have. 

Are the Philippines worth it ? Are the Philippines 
worth anything to us? What are the Philippines 
worth to you? Has it been easier for you to make a 
living since McKinley took the Philippines ? Are your 
wages higher ? Is your rent lower ? Are your grocery 
bills less ? 

The possession of the Philippines has helped no liv- 
ing person in America except the office holders who 
have been sent to them, the sugar and tobacco trusts 
and other groups of capitalists. They have already 
cost us hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands 
of lives. Mr. Taft says we must keep them at least 
50 years longer before we can safely leave the Fili- 
pinos to govern themselves. If the retention of the 
Philippines 50 years longer should drag us into a world 
war, do you think their retention would be worth 
while? Granted that the Filipino is not capable of 
governing himself — are you to blame for the Fili- 
pino's shortcomings? Which is the more important 
to you — yourself or the Filipino? Are you willing 
to slaughter yourself to educate him? If you are not, 


why not cut him loose and let him do the best he can ? 
Why not speed away from him as the captain of a 
battleship would swerve aside to dodge a floating 

If the people of the United States desire to keep 
clear of the welter of blood that is coming they should 
draw back upon their own continent, stick their toe- 
nails into their own soil and say to the world : "Here 
we stand. We want no foot of alien soil. We will 
not go a foot away from our shores to fight anyone — 
but we will put six feet under ground anyone who 
comes here to fight us." 

We should set free, not only the Philippine Islands, 
but Hawaii, Guam, the Samoan isle that we own in 
partnership with Germany, Porto Rico and every other 
insular possession. Each of these islands is a source 
of weakness to us, rather than of strength. We took 
them only because we became intoxicated with the 
fumes of world-power. We wanted coaling stations 
and supply depots for our warships. If we had in- 
tended to keep our ships at home, where they should 
be, we should not have wanted coaling stations all 
over the far seas. But we did not intend to keep our 
ships at home. We intended to send them far away. 
We intended to be marauders on the high seas. We 
intended to be trade-grabbers and land-grabbers. We 
intended to depend, not upon the justice of our cause, 
but upon the strength of our arms. We intended to 
forsake our traditions and become strugglers with 
the powerful for the spoils of the earth. 


Let us turn back before it is too late. Let us go 
back to the good old days when we stood upon our 
own continent — and nowhere else — and feared no- 
body, though we were unarmed, because we were 
wronging nobody and everybody knew that our in- 
tentions were both honorable and peaceful. 

If we have the wisdom and the energy, we can com- 
pel our Government to abandon the race for world- 
power, to set free the distant islands that are like 
bombs dangling at our breasts, and return to the ways 
of an honest nation. Settled back upon our own con- 
tinent, we shall be out of the currents of strife. We 
shall be exceedingly unlikely to be dragged into war, 
and, in the event of war, we shall be enabled to fight 
along our own coasts, where we are strongest, instead 
of 8,000 miles away from home where we are weakest. 



A MAN who is not a Socialist wrote a letter to the 
-*** editor of the Springfield Republican in which 
he said: "If Socialism will put an end to war let us 
have it, and quickly, too." The editor of the Spring- 
field Republican, who is not a Socialist, wrote an 
editorial reply in which he said: "Socialism never 
looked more attractive than now."* 

Good sometimes comes as the result of driving iron 
into the souls of men. This tremendous war in Eu- 
rope is driving iron into the souls of men as no other 
event ever did. By the light of gunfire, we are seeing 
our civilization as it is. Gentlemen who, in the past, 
have endorsed this civilization may well be asked what 
they now think of it. 

Let us look facts in the face. This is a civilization 
rooted upon the private ownership by a few of what 
everybody must use. It is a civilization of barter and 
trade, supply and demand, plunder and profit. It is 
a civilization in which the few always have the supply 
and the many always have the demand. It is a civili- 
zation that gives the greatest possible incentive to 
selfishness and the least possible incentive to brotherly 

♦The editorial is reproduced in the appendix. 


love. It says to all of us : "There is but one law in 
this world and that is the Law of Get." It says to all 
of us: "Everything that material earth can offer 
shall be the prize of those who can get." Which 
makes it certain that everything that hell can inflict 
shall be the punishment of those who cannot get. 
From the cradle to the grave they must be clad in a 
mantle of fear. They must try to wrest a living from 
an earth they do not own. They must know the tor- 
tures of summer heat and the rigors of winter cold. 
Everything that poverty and ignorance can do to 
harry and torment human bodies and human souls is 
done to them. I often wonder why the disinherited, 
when they look up into the starry heavens and see some 
of the twenty million suns, each of which is sur- 
rounded by several planets — I often wonder why they 
do not ask: "Why did God send us here? Is there 
no place in the universe where men might live with- 
out being preyed upon in peace and butchered in 

We who are Socialists ask you who are defenders 
of the present system to survey what you have 
wrought. You say your civilization is based upon 
Christianity. We are compelled to ask you if you 
know what Christianity is. Does Christianity mean 
slums? Does Christianity mean ignorance? Does 
Christianity mean race hatred? Does Christianity 
mean Gatling guns for those who strike for more 
wages? Does Christianity mean Homestead, Ludlow 
and Louvain? Does Christianity mean Rockefeller, 


the Rothschilds and Morgan? Does Christianity 
mean battleships, battalions and bombs dropped from 
the air? And, if Christianity means none of these 
things, why do you say this civilization is Christian? 
Why do you taint the name of Christ by mentioning 
it in the same breath with the existing industrial 
order ? 

You oppose Socialism. You say it would destroy 
the home. You say it would destroy initiative. You 
say it would introduce chaos into civilization. What 
is capitalism doing? Is capitalism breaking up any 
homes in Europe ? Is capitalism destroying any initia- 
tive? Is it introducing any chaos? If the public 
prints may be believed, a war is at this moment in 
progress in Europe that may conceivably destroy 
civilization. It is desolating hundreds of thousands 
of homes. Twenty millions of men are fighting each 
other with every deadly weapon to which they can 
lay their hands. Fighting each other for what? 
Fighting each other because their economic masters 
have ordered them to do so. Fighting each other that 
the capitalist groups of some countries may hold their 
trade and their profits, or gain the trade and profits 
of some other countries. For no other reason under 
the heavens is this war being fought. In no conceiv- 
able circumstances can any gain come .to the working 
class of any of the nations, irrespective of which 
group of nations may be victorious. Such gain as 
there may be will be only for the group of capitalists 
who happen to be upon the winning side. 


Are these the acts of a Christian civilization? Do 
you believe Christ would set twenty millions of men 
fighting to determine which groups of capitalists 
should derive profits from the slaughter? Do you be- 
lieve Christ would sanction slaughter for profit? Then 
why do you say your civilization is Christian, bot- 
tomed as it is upon the private ownership by a few 
of what all must use ; bottomed as it is upon poverty, 
profit and plunder ? 

If this civilization is Christian, what would be devil- 
ish? If a devil were actually in existence and ruling 
this world as the capitalists are ruling it, would you 
approve his acts? If America had produced record- 
breaking crops, as it did in 1914, and the masses of 
the people were yet hard put to it to get bread for 
their mouths, would you still say, "We are indeed 
ruled by a wise and benevolent devil — I shall vote for 
his candidates at each opportunity"? 

If the devil denied work to millions of Americans, 
though all about them were the materials with which 
they might make themselves comfortable, would you 
still say, "By no means must we forsake our grand and 
noble devil. Without him, God knows what we should 

And if the devil, to increase his profits, were occa- 
sionally to set millions of his subjects to slaughtering 
each other, would you say, "Do not blame our dear 
devil. It is not his fault. His heart bleeds to see us 
murdering each other, but we are just naturally wicked 
and stupid enough to do so." Would such actions be 


"Christian" even if performed by the devil? If not, 
how can they be Christian when performed by capi- 
talists ? 

We Socialists lose no opportunity to paint capitalism 
black. You who support capitalism often accuse us 
of indulging in too much denunciation. Will you be 
kind enough to read what the great spokesmen of 
capitalism say of each other? Emperor William, in 
his cablegram to President Wilson, declared that 
"After the capture of the French fort of Longwy, 
my troops found in that place thousands of dum-dum 
bullets, which had been manufactured in special works 
by the French Government" ; that "the way in which 
this war is being waged by my opponents is making 
it one of the most barbarous in history," and that the 
Belgians, like the French, had been guilty of enormous 

At the precise moment when this message was com- 
ing under the ocean, a commission of Belgians were 
coming over the ocean to make even worse charges 
against Germany. And, within 36 hours, the Presi- 
dent of France cabled to President Wilson that every 
word cabled by the Emperor of Germany was a lie, 
that Germany herself, "since the beginning of the 
war," had used dum-dum bullets, and "violated daily 
the law of nations." 

Now, in the German Emperor we have not an ir- 
responsible German soldier babbling about a rumor 
that some other soldier may have told him. Nor in 
the Belgian commission or the President of France 


have we irresponsible men. Nor do these responsible 
men qualify their charges by saying that "it is re- 
ported" that dum-dum bullets were used or other 
atrocities committed. Each of these men makes the 
unqualified charge that his country's enemies are out- 
rageously offending against the law of nations, while 
the German Emperor says the barbarity of his enemies 
is "making this one of the most barbarous wars in 

From these statements there can be but three infer- 
ences. One inference is that capitalism in Europe is 
represented in one or more nations by barbarians. 
One is that it is represented by liars. The other is 
that it is represented by both barbarians and liars. We 
who are Socialists leave this to you who are not So- 
cialists for your consideration. 

The fact is that capitalism is barbaric and menda- 
cious at all times — in peace no less than in war. If 
you want to see barbarism of the most atrocious kind, 
go to any great industrial center and observe the con- 
ditions that capitalism enforces upon the working 
class. Go to Gary, Indiana, and see the shacks cov- 
ered with tar-paper in which the employes of the 
prosperous Steel Trust live. Go to the coal mining 
regions of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio or Illi- 
nois. Go to the mining towns of Michigan or Colo- 
rado. Go to the East Side of New York or the stock- 
yards district of Chicago. Go even to the smallest in- 
dustrial cities and villages and there you will find pa- 
tient men and women industriously toiling for enough 



to keep soul and body together. Belgium mourns for 
but one loved and lost Louvain, but in the heart of 
almost every working man and woman more than 
40 years old is a blackened, desolated city — the ruins 
of the City of Hope. Barbaric capitalism, for no 
other reason than to obtain profits, strikes down this 
city in millions of breasts and leaves the workers to 
live from hand to mouth until death closes their eyes. 

Nor is this all. When barbaric capitalism is threat- 
ened with the loss of any considerable part of its prey, 
barbaric capitalism becomes a liar. If a great strike 
becomes formidable, press agents are hired to flood 
the country with lies about the strikers. According to 
these lies, the labor conditions in the strike regions are 
always "the best in any similar territory in the coun- 
try," with wages the highest and general working 
conditions the most satisfactory; the strikers are al- 
ways declared to have been perfectly satisfied witk 
conditions until "agitators" invaded the region and 
by threats and violence actually drove the workers out. 
If trouble occurs, it is always because the strikers at- 
tacked the millionaires. 

But why go on with these familiar facts? It is 
enough to say that capitalism, both in peace and in 
war, is a liar. Who would take a capitalist's mere 
word for any sum of money large enough to make it 
to his interest to break his word ? Certainly not any 
capitalist. When these gentlemen — who know each 
other— do business with each other, everything of 
importance must be in writing and, if possible, with 


some sort of forfeit attached. It is not that they are 
intrinsically bad men, but the system under which they 
live is bad. It is this system that makes the monarchs 
of Europe liars or barbarians or both. 

Never within the lifetime of anyone now living can 
the world be what it might have been if the capitalist 
system had been destroyed before it plunged Europe 
into war. Europe will bind up its wounds, but for 
many a year it will be a pale, shaken Europe. The 
blood of a continent cannot be drained from its veins 
without producing a profound effect, both upon the 
continent and the world. 

Let me put a little sharper point upon this. 

At the time this criminal war was precipitated, the 
world was in the highest state of efficiency that it had 
ever been. By "efficiency" I mean that the various 
parts of the social organism were co-ordinating better 
than they had ever done before. The process of co- 
ordination was by no means complete — in fact it had 
barely begun — but the results obtained were none the 
less noteworthy. 

To illustrate the difference between a world in which 
there is little co-ordination and a world in which there 
is an approach toward harmonious social functioning, 
let us turn to the field of invention. When James 
Watt, in the latter part of the eighteenth century, 
invented the steam engine, there was little or no social 
co-ordination. An atmosphere had not yet been 
created that much stimulated invention. The telegraph 
and the newspaper had not yet made easy the inter- 


change of thought. Even neighboring nations were 
farther apart in thought than the east now is from the 
west. The news of what Watt had done traveled at 
snail pace. Wherever it penetrated, nobody was much 
concerned. The world was too dull to be much con- 
cerned about anything. And, as a result of this lack 
of co-ordination, something like a hundred years were 
required to develop the old-fashioned "reciprocating" 
type of steam engine. In fact, it is only within the 
last quarter-century that this type of engine reached 
what appears to be the limit of its capacity, the sign 
of which was that inventive genius turned to other 
and better types — the steam turbine, for instance. 

How different the reception of the automobile. 
The first automobile was made early in the 'go's. It 
was a new world into which it came. . The inventors 
and mechanics of Europe and America seized the auto- 
mobile and exerted themselves to the utmost to de- 
velop it. America, France, Italy, Germany and Eng- 
land worked with fine enthusiasm and with such splen- 
did results that within 20 years from the first "horse- 
less carriage," the automobile is practically developed. 

Barely 10 years ago the Wrights began to glide in 
the air. Less than seven years ago they began to fly 
with mechanical power. Instantly, the power of co- 
ordination was felt. The inventors and mechanics of 
the earth tackled the aeroplane, with the result that in 
this criminal war, aeroplanes are more numerous than 
buzzards. The aeroplane is by no means developed, 


but it has advanced more in seven years than Watt's 
engine advanced in seventy-five. 

To the co-ordinative faculty of the world this colos- 
sal war is like a railway tie thrown into the wheels 
of a machine. War will not destroy the telegraph and 
the printing press, bat it will vitiate the atmosphere 
in which invention thrives. Europe, when it gets off 
the operating table, will be too preoccupied with its 
wounds to pay much attention to what the rest of the 
world is doing. Since this is a fight for fife between 
certain of the nations, the defeated ones, whichever 
they may be, are not likely to strike their old stride 
for many a year. Nothing is more certain than that 
this war has stifled ideas of value that, in favorable 
circumstances, would have been developed and given 
to the world. We, who are still at peace, may con- 
tinue to generate such ideas as we can, but when we 
turn to Europe for help toward their development we 
shall not find the alert, effective Europe that so greatly 
contributed to the development of the automobile and 
the aeroplane. That Europe is being shot to pieces. 

Yet impaired efficiency is only a part of what the 
world must lose because groups of competing capital- 
ists set upon a course that plunged half the world 
into war. Who can go to the battlefields and pick 
out and bring bade to life the dead Marconis, the deJd 
Edisons and the dead Watts? Genius is so erratic 
in choosing its parentage that millions of men, even 
though they be poor, cannot be shot down without 
danger of snuffing out some star that would have de- 


veloped into first magnitude. Edison, if he had been 
a year or two older, might have been killed in the 
Civil War without anyone suspecting that in the death 
of this poor Michigan boy the world had lost a genius 
of the first order. 

If it were only in war that capitalism is murderous; 
if it were only in war that undiscovered genius is 
snuffed out before it can bloom, the case for capitalism 
would still be blade, but it would not be so black. 
While "Peace hath her victories, no less renowned 
than war," it is also true under capitalism that peace 
hath her industrial murders, even more numerous 
than war. 

Every year capitalism, by failure to provide safety 
appliances the cost of which would reduce dividends, 
slays the miners who dig our coal and iron. 

Every year capitalism, by enforcing unjustifiable 

poverty upon the land, kills 150,000 Americans with 

tuberculosis,* though tuberculosis is purely a prevent- 
able disease. 

Every year the scourge of typhoid (the disease that 

killed Wilbur Wright) goes on, though the means 

of preventing typhoid are well known. 

Year after year, millions are compelled to live in 

squalor in the great cities, often unable to get work, 

never able to get any of the comforts nor more than 

the barest necessities of life; always the prey of the 

* See the "Report on National Vitality" made to President 
Roosevelt by Professor Irving Fisher of the Department of 
Political Economy, Yale University. 


diseases to which their declining vitality and their 
unwholesome surroundings make them subject. 

Every year millions of the children of the poor are 
taken from the schools before they have obtained any 
groundwork of education that is adequate to make 
them able citizens of a great republic. 

Every year the high schools graduate less than 5 
per cent, of those who entered the elementary grades, 
the remaining 95 per cent, representing (ordinary 
mortality excepted) those whom poverty compelled 
to become breadwinners while they were still children. 

All of these evils are upon us because capitalism is 
upon us. 

After painful research we have learned how to 
stamp out tuberculosis, only to discover that we can- 
not apply our knowledge because of the fact that to do 
so would compel some capitalists to destroy their foul 
tenements, and other capitalists to pay enough wages 
to enable their employes to maintain their physical 

We have learned after painful research how to de- 
stroy the sources of typhoid infection, only to dis- 
cover that our knowledge cannot be applied without 
the expenditure of more of the capitalists' money than 
they are willing to contribute in taxes. 

We know how to build sanitary houses and we 
know how to make food that is not poisoned nor 
vitiated by the substitution of cheaper, though harm- 
ful ingredients, but our knowledge does us little of 
the good it might Every city is largely composed of 


houses that are palpably unfit for human habitation; 
the forests and the earth abound with materials with 
which good houses might be made ; the streets swarm 
with idle men who would gladly earn a living for 
themselves by building the houses we need. But under 
the capitalist dispensation these men are not permitted 
to build houses nor to do anything else ; and the same 
class of men who prevent the idle from doing the 
work that we need done also fight us tooth and nail 
if we try to compel them to make food that is fit to 
eat. Anyone who considers the last statement an 
exaggeration would do well to communicate with Dr. 
Wiley. The pure-food cause is making progress, but 
it is doing so only as it fights and defeats the persistent 
capitalists who, for no other reason than the desire 
to increase their profits, are eager to rob, starve and 
poison their fellow men. 

What shall we say of a class against which such 
charges can be truly made ? Is civilization based upon 
this class a Christian civilization? If it were not for 
the "right of private property," which carries with it 
the desire to profit from the labor of others, none of 
these charges could be made. The institution of 
private property is the very heart and soul (if there 
be a heart and soul) of capitalism. Yet it is this in- 
stitution of private property that, in this country alone, 
annually kills hundreds of thousands and condemns 
millions of the working class to an existence that is 
void of hope and full of misery. The Reverend 


Holden E. Sampson, of Corpus Christi Church, New 
York City, even went so far as to declare : 

"The war in Europe, the most decimating of all wars 
in history most probably, is more merciful, less cruel, 
than peace, as times are. To many thousands it is far 
better, happier, to die on the battlefield than to live in 
our present 'civilization/ The death roll of 'civilization* 
is vastly greater than the death roll of all the battlefields 
the world has ever witnessed." 

All that this gentleman says about the death roll of 
civilization is true. All of it is important What are 
you going to do about it? Do you want it to con- 
tinue? Are you going to call it "Christian" ? Do 
you doubt that it will continue so long as the under- 
lying cause continues? Do you doubt that the under- 
lying cause of inadequate wages is the private owner- 
ship of the industries that pay the inadequate wages? 

What are you going to do about the school ques- 
tion? You believe in free schools. Why don't you 
also believe in free school children ? Are you willing 
that nine-tenths of our children shall forever be driven 
out of school by poverty while they are still in the 
grammar grades? What kind of citizenship do you 
expect from ignorance? A republic can be no wiser 
than its people — what kind of a republic do you ex- 
pect to rear upon education that is stopped in the 
grammar grades? How monstrous is a civilization 
that denies to millions of adults the right to work 
while compelling children to leave school to work ! 

We Socialists tell you that this might be a nation 


of happiness, in so far as a sufficiency of needed ma- 
terial things can create happiness. 

We tell you that the natural resources of this coun- 
try, if developed solely for the country's good and 
without thought of private profit, are sufficient to care 
for a population of 500,000,000. (Note the popula- 
tion of little Belgium.) 

We tell you there is no reason except capitalism 
why all the men in this country cannot be employed all 
of the time, as we tell you there is no reason except 
capitalism why any of the children should be hired 
out to wage-slavery any of the time. 

We tell you there is no reason except capitalism 
why great military establishments should be main- 
tained at the expense of the people or wars fought 
by the people at their own expense. 

By voting against us, you challenge every state- 
ment that we make. 

But in the white light of war will you kindly take 
paper and pencil and point out our errors. 

We want beef. Is there any reason except capital- 
ism why the United States Government could not 
raise cattle in sufficient numbers and market the beef 
at the cost of operations? The United States Govern- 
ment is carrying parcels, though a few years ago you 
said it couldn't. The United States Government, at 
an expenditure of $400,000,000, is carrying steam- 
ships across the isthmus of Panama. Why cannot the 
United States Government raise and market beef, dig 
and market coal, grind wheat and market flour, dig 


iron and market steel, weave and market cloth, own 
and operate railways? 

Why cannot the United States Government build 
houses and rent them for a sum that represents only 
the annual depreciation? Little New Zealand is do- 
ing it. The United States can build floating fortresses 
that cost $10,000,000 each — fortresses in which death 
is dealt out to human beings. Why cannot the United 
States Government as well build houses in which life 
and comfort are dealt out to human beings? 

Why cannot the United States Government take 
this tremendous army of unemployed that is now go- 
ing to worse than waste and set it to work raising 
beef, weaving cloth, operating trains and producing 
those things of which we stand so much in need ? 

To say that the United States Government, if per- 
mitted to do so, could not do all of these things and 
more is to say that the United States Government is 
administered by fools. Such is not the fact. The 
United States Government is administered by men far 
above the average in intelligence. But the United 
States Government is also administered by men who 
are pledged to the support of the capitalist system. If 
these "gentlemen did not so believe they would not 
have the Government in their charge. 

It is no answer to the foregoing questions to say 
that Mr. Wilson and his associates are wise men and 
that, if it were well to perform the acts herein sug- 
gested, they would perform them. The administrators 
of every system have always supported the system. 


The leading savages supported head-hunting. The 
leading barbarians supported barbarism. The nobles 
and the kings supported feudalism. But such civiliza- 
tion as we now have is due to the fact that, one after 
another, savagery, barbarism and feudalism were ban- 
ished from our part of the world. Moreover, they 
were banished not by the leaders — they were banished 
by the people who refused longer to be led by such 
leaders. They were banished and the world was made 
better by lowly men who, to the marrow of their bones, 
felt that the things the wise men endorsed were evils 
of the vilest sort. 

We Socialists make a practice of taking nothing 
for granted. We accept nothing merely because it is. 
We have some sort of knowledge of the route by 
which humanity has emerged from the jungle, and 
we know that the thing that is impossible can be done. 
The thing that is impossible has always been done. 
Only by the doing of things declared to be impossible 
has the human race advanced a foot. Edison himself 
told me that when he set out to make a dynamo that 
Ohm's law — a formula laid down by a great German 
electrician — made the creation of a dynamo for com- 
mercial purposes impossible; or, at least so he was 
informed by electricians who advised him to save his 
time. Edison had no respect whatever for Ohm's law. 
He determined to prove it no law. He did it. You 
tell us that the people of the United States, acting 
through their Government, cannot feed, clothe and 
house themselves. We frankly say we do not believe 


you. By the power of our press and the men in our 
trenches we are going to drive you from your position. 
We are strong in the sense that we have right on our 
side and the needs of humanity upon our side. We 
will not be denied. By constant reiteration, by con- 
stant agitation, we will yet make the reasonableness 
of our demands so apparent that no well disposed man 
or woman will think of challenging us. 

We are in this war to stay — every one of us — and 
we are going to say until the undertaker puts us 
away. In our fight against needless poverty and the 
capitalist power that makes needless poverty, we feel 
that we are engaged in as holy an undertaking as ever 
called men to action. We are resolved to be true to 
the end. 

We hope the end will not be too long delayed. The 
human race has within it possibilities altogether too 
splendid to be wasted in the wars and woes of capital- 
ism. We ask you to help us realize those possibilities. 
We ask you to come into counsel with us. We ask yow 
to come with an open mind. We ask you to bristle 
with interrogation points as we ourselves bristle with 
interrogation points. We are eager to defend and 
explain. But, above all, we ask you to consider the 
God of Things as They Are as Edison considered 
Ohm's law. Don't come encrusted in the past. Be 
willing to look out and look up. Whether you help 
or not, the world is going to move on. With your 
help, it will move on more quickly, but without your 
help it will move on. The processes of evolution have 


not stopped. The world is not finished. Indeed, it is 
hardly begun. 

In a little while, at longest, you will be dead. The 
gentle rain at night will patter down upon your earthen 
roof and the morning sun will seek you out in vain. 
In a little while nothing that you have done will re- 
main to show that you ever lived. 

Before that time comes do something for humanity ! 
Make posterity your debtor by helping to bring about 
a better civilization. Even at that, you may not be 
remembered. What of it? Is every drop in the ocean 
remembered by those who see the ocean ? Yet every 
drop in the ocean, had it the power to speak our 
tongue might say: "I am the ocean, for, had I not 
the power to be, the ocean could not be." 




(Resolution drafted by Allan L. Benson, adopted by 
the Philadelphia local organization of the Socialist 
Party and seconded by one hundred other local So- 
cialist organizations.) 

We demand that the constitution of the United States 
shall be amended as follows : 

The power to declare war against a nation that has 
not attacked the United States of America shall rest 
solely in the people, to be exercised by them only on di- 
rect ballot. The power to resist attack shall remain and 
be in the hands of the President and the Congress, and 
shall be exercised without resort to special authority from 
the people. This nation shall not be regarded as having 
been attacked, however, within the meaning of this con- 
stitution, unless it shall have been invaded by an armed 
force or otherwise attacked in force in such manner as 
plainly to indicate the intent of the assailant to begin 
war. Unfriendly acts short of actual acts of war shall 
not be deemed sufficient to authorize the making of war 
by the United States without direct vote by the people. 
Nothing herein stated, however, shall be construed as 
any limitation upon the power of Congress and the Presi- 
dent to prepare for emergencies by making such prepara- 
tions as they may deem necessary for the defense of the 

Congress, by a majority vote of the membership of 



each house, shall have the power to propose war. War 
having been thus proposed, an election shall be held in 
not less than sixty days from the date of the proposal, nor 
later than six months therefrom to determine whether 
war shall be declared. Congress shall fix the day of 
the election, which shall be the same throughout the 
United States. All male and female citizens more than 
eighteen years of age shall be deemed qualified to vote 
upon the proposal to declare war, and the ballot shall con- 
sist of a slip of paper upon which shall be printed the 
question : 

"Shall the United States declare war against (naming 
the nation) 

Each elector shall sign his or her name opposite the 
word indicating his or her choice. 

In each precinct or polling place an accurate record 
shall be kept of the numerical order in which the electors 
exercised the right of franchise. In the event of a ma- 
jority of the legally qualified electors of the United States 
voting to declare war, the President, as commander-in- 
chief of the army and navy, shall proceed to make war. 
But he shall not be authorized to call upon any elector 
who voted against war to perform military services until 
every male elector who voted for war shall have been 
mustered into service, sent to the front and the resultant 
army proved insufficient. In the event of a declaration of 
war, the men voting for such declaration shall be enrolled 
into the army in the order in which they cast their bal- 
lots, Men who vote against war shall be mustered into 
military service, if at all, in the reverse of the order in 
which they cast their ballots. Failure to vote shall be 
construed as a vote against war, but in the event of war, 
those who failed to vote shall be mustered in before any- 
one who voted against war shall be compelled to serve, 
compulsory service in this case being determined by lot. 
Women who vote for war shall not be required to per- 
form military duty unless the votes cast by men for war 


would have been insufficient to bring war without the 
votes of women, in which event the women voting for 
war shall be sent to the front in the order in which they 
appeared at the ballot boxes. But in no event shall any 
woman who voted against war be compelled to perform 
military duty. 

Every writer, public speaker and public official who 
shall advocate war shall, forthwith upon such advocacy, 
notify the President thereof, conviction of failure to do 
so being punishable by imprisonment for not less than 
five years nor more than ten. In the event of war fol- 
lowing such advocacy within five years, such persons 
shall be required to go to the front as common soldiers 
and remain in the thick of the fight until the end of the 
war, unless sooner killed or incapacitated by wounds. If 
wounded, such persons, upon recovery, shall be sent back 
to the front if the war be still in progress. 

The power to formulate and execute foreign policies 
shall be held and exercised only by the Congress. Each 
house of Congress shall elect such equal number of mem- 
bers as they may mutually agree upon to membership 
upon a joint committee of foreign relations. Congress, 
in joint session, shall elect the chairman of this commit- 
tee, who may or may not be a member of Congress. The 
chairman of this committee shall rank as the head of the 
Department of State. In routine and minor matters he 
shall have such discretion as Congress may deem wise 
to give him, but in other matters he shall act 'only upon 
the initiative of Congress as expressed directly or through 
the joint committee on foreign relations. 

Not later than the close of each business day, it shall 
be the duty of the chairman of this committee to furnish 
representatives of the press with complete and accurate 
copies of (i) all dispatches sent during the day to repre-* 
sentatives of foreign nations (2) to all American am- 
bassadors, ministers and consuls and (3) from represen- 
tatives of foreign governments. It shall be unlawful to 
send verbal messages, or to direct messages to any other 
than the persons for whom they are actually intended. 


Any evasion of these provisions, either by trick or de- 
vice, or by failure to publish a message the same day it 
is sent shall be deemed sufficient justification for the im- 
peachment and removal from office of the chairman of 
the committee on foreign relations and his indictment 
upon a charge of felony, upon conviction of which he 
shall be imprisoned in a federal prison for not less than 
one year nor more than five years. 


(From the Springfield Republican.) 

A striking if despairing statement, this : "If Socialism 
will put an end to war, let us have it, and quickly, too; 
whatever it may be, and no one seems to know exactly, 
it can be no worse, and may be infinitely better than a sys- 
tem which can generate such a frightful spectacle as the 
world now sees before it in Europe." The correspondent 
who closes his letter in that impressive style has undoubt- 
edly given expression to an idea which has been the gist of 
the thinking of many minds in recent days. In the gloom 
of the hour, forward-looking people inevitably try to dis- 
cern whatever of good may come out of the strife and 
tumult, and hope may even fasten upon anything that 
promises to put an end to war. 

Socialism, whether regarded as a theory, or an or- 
ganized movement, or a state of mind, never looked more 
attractive than now. Considered merely as an ideal, it 
has the inestimable temporary advantage of being able to 
prove beyond any possible controversy the cataclysmic 
capacity of the existing order for upsetting the civilized 
world. Could anything be worse ? And the question may 
not confidently be answered at this point in the unfolding 
of a stupendous catastrophe. If Socialism in any form 
could be depended upon to insure mankind against such 
a prodigious backslide into savagery as one beholds at 
the center of western civilization, the case would be in- 
stantly closed and millions of minds would be made up 
that have hitherto seen in Socialism nothing but the per- 
fectionist aspirations of visionaries. 

But, in regard to war, Socialism is plainly on the right 



track, whether or not it could ever be realized fully in the 
industrial organizations of society. At two points it 
strikes heavily at the foundations of the world's militar- 
ism. First, it embodies the principle of internationalism 
as opposed to nationalism, and the principle of human 
solidarity as opposed to race hatred. This war is a 
frightful jumble of national rivalries and jealousies, and 
of racial conflicts" and animosities — so much so that by 
selecting in turn some particular factor for special em- 
phasis one may plausibly justify the warlike course of 
each of the eight nations at this moment pursuing the 
business of organized murder. 

The higher Socialism means, in the last analysis, the 
brotherhood of man ; but it begins by wiping out nation- 
alities and creating a political federation of the states 
that may be brought within the sphere of its influence. 
Socialism would create in Europe one great state having 
no aggressively imperialistic or militaristic basis, and thus 
it would obliterate those bitter nationalistic passions 
which have been responsible for so many wars period- 
ically drenching the continent's soil with human blood. 

"Slav against Teuton," "Latin against Anglo-Saxon/' 
"Caucasian against Mongolian," "white against black," 
all the catchword coinage of the fierce race conflicts of 
the world, find in Socialism a consistent foe. This "Slav 
peril," which forms the staple excuse of the Austro- 
German alliance in precipitating the present war, shriv- 
els to nothing under Socialism's analysis, for are not 
Slavs human and have they not built up a civilization and 
have they not produced great men and women who have 
enriched the world's culture? 

Socialism strikes its second heavy blow at modern war 
by recognizing the complete equality of women with men 
in regulating the affairs of civilized society. What did 
women have to do with making this war? Absolutely 
nothing. Comparatively speaking, woman's influence has 
been negligible, because fighting Europe has been domi- 
nated by that fighting animal, the male of the species. 
The primitive passion for war is masculine ; war has ever 


been man's "game"; and men are the incontestable d& 
ators of the whole machinery and apparatus of scientific 
warfare. Women, according to war-lord philosophy, are 
made by the Almighty simply to bear sons in a fine plenty 
to be butchered on the battlefield. Women today 
throughout Europe are toiling in the harvests which were 
left unreaped when the storm burst and the sons and 
brothers and husbands were hurried away from their 
homes at the war-lord's summons. 

If there are 20,000,000 soldiers from the Atlantic coast 
of France to the Ural Mountains, there are twice that 
number of women left desolate, perhaps impoverished, 
always in agony of spirit over the dreadful possibilities 
of the crash of arms. Surely, a world in which women 
exercised their legitimate influence upon affairs of state, 
as the natural conservators of the race, would make short 
work of war. 

Militarism for tne moment is dominant in the world, 
but it may be counted upon to bleed itself white in this 
titanic frenzy of conflicting nationalist, racial and auto- 
cratic ambitions. A momentous reaction will follow, and 
no one need be in doubt as to its character and trend.